Attack, Dogs! Sic’Em!


Below is a paper entitled “Further Input to Discussions on 2011 General Synod Requests” (FID). Erskine board (EBOT) Chairman Joe Patrick sent this out as an official response from the EBOT to the signers of the Minority Report two days before the meeting of the EBOT on May 17-18. The paper, NOT SIGNED, seems to be the work of Mr. Patrick in the early paragraphs and the work of attorney David Conner (the author of the Ad Hoc Committee’s report) in the latter paragraphs, especially those sections that evidence legal jargon. The paper is an “attack piece”! It flings double-speak, half-truths, misdirection, avoidance of findings, unctuous pseudo-piety, self-justification, and threats of reprisals like water at the signers of the Minority Report. WHY? They were caught by the signers of the Minority Report in their treachery and exposed with their drawers down! What they have done in both the FID and the Ad Hoc Committee’ report (the official report of the EBOT) is reprehensible. Indeed, when I was a boy my Daddy told me: “Son, a half-truth is a whole lie. As a matter of fact, a half-truth is the worse kind of lie. It’s a damn lie!.” Well, I agree with my Dad. Deception and cover-up and misdirection are sent forth to deceive. Deception is an alternative way of spelling “lie.” The writers of this paper disgrace themselves. They demonstrate as EBOT trustees they are not “fiduciary responsible,” not “informed,” not “knowledgeable,” and not “competent.” They dissimulate and confusticate!

Formatting Note:

Below the FID is in black and in this font. The analysis and comments of the Editor of ARPTalk are indented, in this font, and in blue. Unlike the author(s) of the FID, the Editor is the author of this article and takes full ownership of his words with his signature. The Editor’s comments follow this insertion:***ARPTalk – Response***”.

Further Input to Discussions on 2011 General Synod Requests

May 15, 2012

In recent years the Erskine Board of Trustees has been in a season of turmoil and equally strained relationships with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC), with faculty, with students, with alumnus, and with accrediting agencies. These difficult times and the demands of life have caused us to forget who we are –children of God who commune in relationship with the Holy of Holies and who live, even in our fallen state, to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

The mission and vision of Christian higher education is a grand one and typically significant pursuits demand remarkable effort – a high calling. If there is any hope of Erskine’s restoration and a mission fulfilled, as so eloquently stated in the Statement of Philosophy of Christian Higher Education (SPCHE), then we the Board have to figure out our own relational difficulties that exist among us. It is important that we get this right. After all, we do not extol the virtues of a Christian liberal arts and seminary education for vanity’s sake. We long for an Erskine education to help fortify the spiritual foundations of our graduates so that the whole person can flourish, and in doing so the bright light of the Gospel shines forth. We the Trustees, at a minimum, should be laboring to model what a Gospel-centered life looks like, and presently our bright light is dull and otherwise hidden.

True faithfulness to the church is marked by intimacy and relationship. Scripture is replete with passages calling us to love thy neighbor, For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen…(I John 4:20). In an attempt to help us understand the full import of this, Andrew Murray provides this sober perspective,

It is a solemn thought that our love for God is measured by our everyday relationship with others. (Humility)

While most of us are separated by geographical distances and other family and vocational responsibilities, when we serve on this Board together we become neighbors. We need to begin acting like it. C.S. Lewis says,

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory…(but) it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor…All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or (the) other…immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. (Weight of Glory)

As neighbors, we have failed one another on a variety of fronts which might best be categorized as board responsibilities, relational realities, and Presbyterians.

***ARPTalk – Response***

The metaphor for these opening paragraphs (also the whole paper) is the mask a thief uses to hide his identity in the perpetration of a robbery. Pious-sounding phrases and words like “children of God” and “faithfulness” are put on like a mask to disguise the author’s true intentions, which are deception and cover-up and denial. Hypocritically misusing and deconstructing 1 John 4:20, the Biblical concept of community, and comments lifted out of context from Andrew Murray and C. S. Lewis, the author attempts to redirect the discussion by introducing extraneous issues and a saccharine call for niceness. The issue the author attempts to evade is the trustworthiness of the two reports from the EBOT to Synod: (1) The Ad Hoc Committee’s report that is either poorly researched and therefore faulty or is purposely skewed and is an instrument of deception; and (2) The Minority Report’s findings which contradict the research and conclusions of the Ad Hoc Committee’s report and is either true or a slanderous work of evil. Both of these documents cannot be correct.

Loving one another and neighborliness are high priorities for the author of the FID. What about love for the student and the neighborly care of the minds and hearts and souls of the students that have been put in the care of Erskine? Is the author so bold and ignorant to say the light of Jesus’ love has been boldly proclaimed and brightly shown forth at Erskine in the last 40 years? The last five years?

I thank the author for finally recognizing that “Erskine’s restoration” is important. That is what the General Synod of the ARP Church has been attempting for the past 40 years. That was the goal of the “Snow Synod”; however, the author speaks derisively of the “Snow Synod.” Why then is the author so opposed to the efforts of the “Snow Synod”? Is it perhaps because Mr. Joe Patrick’s father-in-law, Dr. Richard Taylor, was one of the trustees removed by that Synod? Indeed, the author must be aware that his efforts are NOT going to lead to Erskine’s “restoration” but to injury.

The author writes: “we do not extol the virtues of a Christian liberal arts and seminary education for vanity’s sake.” No, what has been done at Erskine in liberal arts and seminary education has turned the endeavor in Christian liberal arts and seminary education into a “Vanity Fair” where the “bright light” of the Gospel has gone to be sacrificed under the sacred oaks in front of the twin towers of infamy that stretch into the clouds of idolatry that cover “the spiritual foundations” of Erskine students in the darkness of agnosticism and immorality.

The author writes: “True faithfulness to the church is marked by intimacy and relationship.” No! “True faithfulness” (John 14:15, 23 and John 15:10) does not attempt to deceive! It is also marked by a willingness to call sin “sin,” and in the absence of this there is no true faithfulness!

The author of these words is mad! He hypocritically asks those who are attempting to save Erskine to have fellowship with, be nice to, and call “brother” those who are attempting to steal Erskine from the ARP Church (and I think they may have accomplished their aim). How stupid they must think we are! Well, here is the proper passage from 1 John: “They went out from us, but they were not of us” (2:19).

Certain Board members have caused to be submitted to the delegates of General Synod a document entitled, “Minority Report of Erskine Trustees Regarding the Erskine Board’s Response to the General Synod.” The document is not a minority report of the Board as contemplated under Robert’s Rules of Order (the procedural rules specifically adopted by the Board as its governing process per the Bylaws at Article XIV(1)) and appears to go against the Statement of Trustee Responsibilities. Nevertheless, there are significant issues contained therein that merit response and discussion in the hope of rightly understanding and responding, especially in light of the fact that it has been distributed to the General Synod delegates and in the context of Erskine’s imminent reaccreditation issues discussed below.

***ARPTalk – Response***

In the words of Shakespeare, “My lady doth protest too much.” In the words of Chuck Wilson, “The man can’t read!” The Minority Report is not directed back to the Erskine board. Note the wording: “Minority Report of Erskine Trustees . . . to the General Synod (emphasis added).” As the Ad Hoc Committee’s report is sent to General Synod, so the Minority Report is sent to General Synod. The argument in the above paragraph is a lawyer trick, an exercise in not-so-clever misdirection!

If there were “significant issues contained therein [Minority Report] that merit response,” WHY WERE THEY NOT ADDRESSED BY THE EBOT on May 17-18? WHY? The information was available from more than one source. There was sufficient time. Is this another disingenuous ruse? Is this an attempt at confustication? What is being held back and hid?

The “minority report” starts with and is based largely on the premise that the Board’s Response to the General Synod has somehow changed the relationship between Erskine and the ARPC and that Erskine must now be “rescued” through board removal authority. Erskine’s “ownership” and control, as a separate and distinct non-profit corporate entity, are well-defined in the charter, the by-laws, and South Carolina law. Erskine’s “ownership” and control have been understood, accepted, and supported by the ARPC for almost 175 years. In all of those years, the ARPC has only once (to the best of anyone’s knowledge) ever asserted the right of Board removal, in 2010, despite the report’s assertion of Board failures going back years before 1976 and “four decades . . . of Synod instructions and entreaties.” The 2010 effort was led by some of the same people who may be leading the current effort to gain removal authority.

***ARPTalk – Response***

If this paragraph was not written by Mr. David Conner, what was the name of the attorney who wrote it? The author is well aware that the question he asks and answers is not what General Synod asked last year. The General Synod asked the EBOT to change the Erskine bylaws/charter to comply with General Synod’s policy of removal of trustee “for cause.” By the way, Synod’s policy is so lenient I am not sure that a hog could be removed from a Jewish deli for being non-kosher. Indeed, what Synod asked of the EBOT can be done if the trustees are willing. The Minority Report states that such a policy is in effect in at least three colleges that are within 100 miles of Due West. At this point, the issue is not Synod’s request or the Minority Report’s finding, but the recalcitrance of the EBOT. The rest of the author’s argument is an avoidance technique that ignores the issue.

Attorney Conner states that South Carolina Law defines Erskine as a separate and distinct non-profit corporation and implies that the ownership, therefore, lies outside the Synod. What he does not point out is that the same South Carolina law established Synod’s right to remove trustees because Synod appointed them UNTIL THE EBOT CHANGED THE BYLAWS IN 2011 AND INCLUDED THE ONE WORD THAT REMOVED THIS PROVISION OF THE LAW APPLYING TO SYNOD: “only the board . . . may remove a member from office for cause” (emphasis added). The SC law states, “Except as otherwise provided in the articles or bylaws, an appointed director may be removed without cause by the person appointing the director” (emphasis added). Because this change in the bylaws changed the charter’s stated authority for the Synod to appoint trustees and this included removal authority according to SC law, the EBOT has unilaterally changed the provisions of this part of the charter, ignoring the charter’s explicit statement that “Any change in this section of this Charter must have prior approval of both the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and the Board of Trustees of this corporation.”

The argument also presented is that the Board’s refusal to “recognize” the removal right somehow changes the “organic” relationship between Erskine and the ARPC. Such is not the case, but such an argument attempts to obtain from the Board a right that does not now exist. By so framing the argument, it appears as if the Board has taken action that the ARPC must now correct.

***ARPTalk – Response***

This paragraph makes no sense. General Synod made a request of the EBOT. The response of the EBOT through its Ad Hoc Committee’s report written by Mr. Conner is that it cannot be done. The Minority Report demonstrates that the request of General Synod is not only possible but is in place at three colleges within 100 miles of Due West and no loss of accreditation has occurred. The issue: THE EBOT DOES NOT WANT TO COMPLY WITH SYNOD’S REQUEST. The Erskine board has said NO! to General Synod and effectively declared independence from the ARP Church.

Compounding the confusion, the need to gain removal authority is presented with incredible urgency – that somehow the historic relationship between Erskine and the ARPC “hangs in the balance” if the right is not given by the Board. This is the very type of “precipitous action” that the General Synod warned against in 1978, and it is incorrect to present this single point as the defining issue of the relationship between Erskine and the ARPC. In fact, the Board’s Response to the General Synod affirms the relationship, properly understood, and expresses a genuine desire for a continued and better relationship – one that is committed to healing the ways that Erskine and the ARPC have been “out of sync” with each other in recent years.

***ARPTalk – Response***

The author speaks of “confusion.” The confusion is the making of the author in not simply addressing Synod’s request.

The author writes that the requests by the General Synod demonstrate “incredible urgency” and “precipitous action.” HOW? The author is being less than candid. The request from General Synod came with the imprimaturs of President Norman, trustee Andy Putnam, and “consultant” Matt Miller and with the consent of Chairman Joe Patrick and Vice-Chairman Bill Cain. All of these men acknowledged that the request was reasonable. Chairman Patrick even asked Synod to tell the EBOT and administration what was desired. If the author is Mr. Conner, why did he not ask his pastor Matt Miller about this matter? If the author is Chairman Joe Patrick, he was there. Either way, why all the feigned outrage and flustered huffing and puffing?

Forgetfulness is one of the trademarks of this author. He speaks of the conflict between the ARP Church and Erskine as though it were a child of the last five years. This is a longstanding conflict that goes back at least 40 years. Also, as he speaks of “healing,” does he not realize that he is contributing to the conflict?

Contrary to the FID assertion, in fact, the Minority Report seeks to address much more than trustee removal in its recommendation for Synod to appoint a Special Committee to Study the Relationship between the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and Erskine College and Theological Seminary. This study would not be limited to trustee removal authority.

The asserted difference in the “minority report” between “operational autonomy” and “compositional autonomy” does not withstand scrutiny. The attempted removal of trustees in 2010 belies the assertion that there is a difference between “operational authority” and “compositional authority.” The attempted removal of trustees in 2010 by the General Synod also belies assertions in that “[r]egarding the day-to-day activities of the institution, the Board is independent of the General Synod . . .”; that “[c]ompositional autonomy has nothing to do with activities or operations of the institution . . .”; and that “. . . no trustee need to look over her shoulder to see if Synod is looking because of the way she voted on an issue of Erskine governance.” The 2010 removal attempt was precisely because the Board refused to acquiesce to certain operational demands made of it by an element within the General Synod.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Good grief! Has the author even read the Synod’s removal policy? The removal of a trustee according to Synod’s policy is a daunting task. At the beginning of this screed, the author spoke of Erskine’s “restoration.” That is exactly what Synod attempted. The author is picking fly specks out of black pepper.

The mischaracterization of the Board’s Response regarding “potential” problems with the requested charter change also does not withstand scrutiny. The “minority report” argues that there is nothing to be concerned about because the “potential” problems cited by the Board are not “known” or “established” problems.

However, a future problem based on a proposed charter change can only be characterized as “potential” precisely because it is a future event – until it occurs it is not known or established. The “potential” for the future problems discussed in the Board’s Response are well-founded in the Board’s own recent experience and in the SACS report discussed below. The “minority report” simply ignores the Board’s obligation to weigh the “potential” problems against “potential” benefits.

***ARPTalk – Response***

“The mischaracterization” is the author’s. One, he has refused to acknowledge that the Synod’s request is possible if the EBOT is willing. Two, he has refused to address the FACT that Erskine administrators, board members, and supporters were in agreement with and supported the request of the 2011 Synod. Three, he ignores the findings of the Minority Report that invalidate the Ad Hoc Committee’s report. Wow, not many people can obfuscate with this kind of skill! Does a law degree help?

The attempt to force readers of the “minority report” into a choice of only two understandings/definitions of the relationship between Erskine and the ARPC – either vertical or horizontal – also does not withstand scrutiny. The “minority report” argues that the relationship between Erskine and the ARPC is either vertical or horizontal; either “an arm of the church or an independent civil entity.” These are false choices presented in an attempt to force or limit one’s thinking into one or the other scheme. In varying ways, the relationship can be described by all of the presented options and others.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Whether the relation between Erskine is a “vertical or horizontal” is a non-issue. What is the issue? The issue for the author is how to establish a template whereby Erskine is independent and is still the recipient of Synod’s money. Listen, if the ARP Church was not the largest “M-O-N-E-Y” donor that Erskine has, the EBOT and administration would have told the ARP Church in the plainest of language to go away a long time ago! The trick the author is attempting is this: “How do we tell them to get lost and still get their money?”

Related to this definitional maneuvering is the suggestion of the “simple” solution that the Board acknowledge that Erskine is an “agency” of the General Synod and that the two are “distinct” but not “separate.” Again, this seems to be an argument presented to make it appear as if Erskine is changing the relationship and does not want to be associated with the ARPC. But Erskine (as opposed to some other agencies – possibly Bonclarken) was not founded as and cannot, consistent with its Charter and Bylaws, be operated as an owned “agency” of the ARPC as the ARPC’s Form of Government defines the duties, obligations, and authority between the ARPC and its agencies. As recognized by the General Synod in 1978, Erskine is both separate and distinct,

. . . under the laws of the State of South Carolina, a separate corporation, legally distinct from the church and governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is empowered to exercise its independent judgment with reference to the operation of Erskine College and final decisions related thereto lie within the exclusive province of the Board. It is clear to the committee that, from a legal standpoint, the Board of Trustees is an autonomous body.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Once again, the mischaracterization is the author’s. The request of General Synod was: “Please, would you change the EBOT’s bylaws/charter to reflect Synod’s policy for the removal of trustees ‘for cause’?” The Ad Hoc Committee’s report which was adopted by the EBOT states that the EBOT cannot do that. The author of the FID says the EBOT cannot do it. The findings of the Minority Report demonstrate that not only can it be done but it has been done in at least seven (7) colleges and seminaries and without the interference of SACS or the loss of SACS accreditation. Come on, Mr. Conner or whoever you are, just say it: “No! However, send us your money!”

The mischaracterization of the Board’s Response regarding accreditation also does not withstand scrutiny. The Board’s Response does not assert that SACS and ATS have no member schools where a denominational body with trustee appointment might also have removal authority. The Board did discuss this specific issue and what was represented to the Board was exactly what had been communicated to the Ad Hoc Committee by two different organizations. However, this assertion was not included in the Board’s Response and we now know was inaccurate, this notwithstanding, as with any significant decision, it is the whole body of information that should be weighed and understood. Since the Board’s Response does not include this assertion and was not founded upon this premise, the “minority report” confuses the issue of whether removal authority is possible with the issue of whether removal authority is advisable – implying that if another school can do this so can and should Erskine. The Board’s Response with respect to accreditation issues is based on the Institution’s own experience with SACS and ATS and in light of its relationship with the ARPC; not on what may or may not be possible for other schools, especially ones with different ownership structures.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Indeed, the author can dance with his logic. I wonder if he has aspirations for Washington politics. I wonder if he can define “is.” Well, I digress. I want to thank him for making not only the point of the Minority Report but my point. Indeed, the change can be done if they are willing. They are not willing!

There appear to be questions regarding the completeness and accuracy of some of the assertions in the “minority report” and their applicability to Erskine. To cite one example, the Baptist seminaries discussed, in contrast to Erskine, are apparently legally owned by their denomination. There may be other accuracy and applicability issues that are not yet known or understood; nevertheless, the issues of possibility vs. advisability should not be confused.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Yes, indeed, the Baptist seminaries are owned by the Southern Baptists. It is stated in their documents. So, why does the EBOT not alter the Erskine documents to state that Erskine College and Seminary is owned and operated by the ARP Church? That they can do. Why do they not clear this matter up and do it? I believe the documents once said “owned and operated by the ARP Church,” did they not?

One might also question the wisdom of Board members openly criticizing and accusing the accreditation agencies in the manner in which it was done.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Why not? I did not know that accreditation agencies were above criticism. As I remember, accreditation agencies have done some rather underhanded things in the past. As I remember, as in the case with Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS), the accreditation agency was sued and WTS won the suit.

The “minority report” asserts incorrectly that, “[f]or the Synod to remove a trustee for cause, thus re-configuring the board, is no different in terms of the board’s operations from its reconfiguring the board each year through the appointment of new trustees to replace trustees whose terms expire.” The Board’s experience in 2010 does not affirm the asserted definition of “reconfiguring.” It was during the middle of a term, and not through any annual appointment process, that the 2010 attempt was made to remove trustees because the Board would not accede to all of the demands being made of it. Further, the denomination’s proposed removal grounds “for cause” actually include “any cause.” The report argues that, “this is not unreasonable” without acknowledging any actual or potential misuse of such an unfettered right.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Come on Mr. Conner or whoever you are, you can read, and I am sure you have read Synod’s removal policy. You know it is almost impossible to put into effect. Do you and your fellow trustees want a closer and healing relationship with the General Synod? I think not!

Finally, the assertion that “the Board’s action was . . . less than faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ” in a document signed by ordained ministers of the denomination is deeply upsetting and very troubling. It is one thing to argue about what is in Erskine’s best interests. It is entirely something different and altogether inappropriate to impugn spiritual unfaithfulness simply because of differing views regarding governance. All trustees need to be aware of the report of the SACS On-Site Reaffirmation Committee, written as a result of the on-site visit at Erskine during March 13-15, 2012, that has now been submitted to the SACS Commission on Colleges for the final determination of reaffirmation of accreditation. That report contains clear findings regarding SACS Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4, which are reprinted verbatim below. In reviewing this portion of the SACS report, Board members need to be reminded that the protection from undue influence is one of the rationales discussed in the Board’s response.

***ARPTalk – Response***

In 40 years of dealing with Erskine administrations’ and boards’ reports, I have learned two incontrovertible operating principles: (1) Trust nothing; (2) Expect deception, obfuscation, manipulation, denial, misrepresentation, cover-up, and untruth. That is my experience, and many others agree with my sentiments. Certainly, the conclusion of the Minority Report is spot on: “the Board’s action was . . . less than faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ.” The outrage of the author of the FID is feigned and hypocritical. He is upset that someone checked his footnotes and found them wanting. The dark shadows swallowing truth and faithfulness by the twin towers of infamy have fallen over him. He lost sight of the fact that obfuscation is not a spiritual gift.

In interviews with trustees, I was informed the trustees have yet to see the report from which the author quotes. Listen, in the name of faithfulness for which the author of FID argues, that ain’t fair!

Let this be very clear: No one is questioning what “3.2.4.” says. That is not the issue. The question remains, is the EBOT willing to change the bylaws/charter to reflect Synod’s removal policy “for cause”? The EBOT is not being made to do this. The EBOT was politely asked by General Synod to change the bylaws/charter to reflect Synod’s policy. Which, by the way, the Erskine President and Board representative agreed with.

3.2.4 The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence. (External influence)

In July of 2010, the SACS Commission on Colleges placed Erskine College on warning for twelve months “for failure to comply” with Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4. Erskine’s Board of Trustees took steps to address the concerns. The Board revised its bylaws to include a new Article (Article VII) that makes explicit a conflict-of-interest policy including a section on “undue influence” along with procedures to address perceived or actual cases. In May 2011, the Board of Trustees voted to approve the revised Bylaws in toto and without amendment. The General Synod of the ARP Church was informed of these changes in June of 2011, and at the end of that month the Commission voted to remove the warning.

Although there are no current sanctions regarding undue influence, continued efforts by the General Synod of the ARP Church appear to persist. The June, 2011 General Synod of the Associated Reformed Church requested that the Board of Trustees consider and respond to a new request to amend the College’s Charter and Bylaws to grant authority to the Synod allowing it to remove Trustees from the Erskine College Board of Trustees (minutes of the June, 2011 General Synod of the Associated Reformed Church).

In that proposal it was requested that the Charter grant authority to the Synod to “remove trustees for cause by a process set forth in the governing documents of the ARP Church…and to require all Erskine Board members, faculty and administration…give affirmation that the Philosophy of Christian Higher Education and the Synod’s Definition of Evangelical are in accordance with their own views and commitments. In its oversight of the institution through the Board of trustees, the Synod shall seek….” Since the Synod is an outside religious body this level of attempt at control and influence may be considered undue Influence.

The Erskine College Board of Trustees, in a document entitled, “Response of the Erskine College and Theological Seminary Board of Trustees to the 2011 General Synod’s Requests,” offer reasoned and specific evidence as to why the Board of Trustees cannot accede to these requests. The ARP Synod meets in the summer so the College has received no official response. Since the Synod elects the Board of Trustees and seeks to oversee “the institution through its Board of Trustees,” significant concern is generated by the ongoing actions of the Synod.

Additionally, as reported in the same minutes of the General Synod meeting but in another item of business, the Synod singled out and praised 6 faculty members for their “public support for ARP General Synod’s definition of an evangelical Christian…whereas we live in times in which the call to orthodoxy in doctrine…with established denominational and institutional commitments…do hereby heartily commend these faculty members for their faithful support of the doctrinal standards of the ARP Church and for encouraging the administration and board of Erskine College and Theological Seminary in their efforts to uphold those same high standards.”

The On-Site Reaffirmation Committee believes that, based on the pattern of ongoing and previous activities of the ARP Synod and the current efforts of the Synod to influence faculty members in a specific manner in the Internal affairs and governance of the College, undue external influence is being exerted. Moreover, based on the church’s efforts (1) to influence the trustees by obtaining the power to remove trustees, and (2) to establish adherence to expanded creedal positions by employees and trustees, the Committee believes that the Synod’s action is an exercise of undue influence. To single out and reward compliant faculty places pressure on other faculty members to fall into line with the preferred position of the church.

Recommendation 4. The Committee recommends that the institution provide evidence that the governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence.

***ARPTalk – Response***

Attack, dog! Attack, SACS! What unmitigated pomposity and arrogance! Do you think that some collusion between the Erskine administration and/or EBOT and SACS has taken place? It is well known that SACS officials stand ready and eager to help a church college in a fight against the church. What a ruse! I call hypocrisy on all this. It seems to me that SACS and Erskine have broken the prime directive of freedom of speech. The General Synod is directed as to what it can say and commend or not say or not commend.

ARPTalk – Conclusion

Brothers and sisters in the ARP Church, I am tired of dealing with and supporting such doublemindedness. I am tired of dealing with a spiritually unstable institution that is run by untrustworthy men and women. These words are fierce. One of reasons these words are fierce is because it is not difficult to do the homework that should have been done by Chairman Patrick and Mr. Conner. Even a blind man can make a few phone calls.

O God, may these words be “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.”

These are my sincerest thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson


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  1. Tony Locke says:

    I need the sound bite.

    • Dear Mr. Tony Locke,

      Thanks for your comment. It is always good to hear from you. Yes, the article was long.

      To you and to all the readers of ARPTalk, I apologize for the length of this article. I could not figure out how to make it shorter. The FID was seven pages long.

      I was attempting to report on the May meeting of the EBOT. Because of the FID, it took two articles, and this last one was a beast. However, to the ones who overcome, they will see just how contemptuous and derisive are those on the board who despise the ARP Church.

      My article is frustrating to read, and it was even more frustrating to write. The levels of personal and corporate dishonesty and dissimulation in the FID are astounding. If we did not know it, we would think that we are dealing with Washington politicians who recoil at telling the truth.


      Chuck Wilson

  2. Daniel Stephens says:

    I read plenty of “lacks scrutiny” but read very little scrutiny. Where is the argumentation, documentation, and detailed analysis of the issues? I saw lots of assertion, a good bit of rebuke, and some intimidation as well, but I can’t seem to find this “scrutiny” by which the argument of the minority report are made null and void.

    I hate (and I mean hate) deception, lies, and disingenuousness, but often recognizing and dealing with them is taxing. There are a number of clear statements in the FID that should be noted:

    “Erskine… was not founded as and cannot, consistent with its Charter and Bylaws, be operated as an owned ‘agency’ of the ARPC”


    “The Board of Trustees is empowered to exercise its independent judgment with reference to the operation of Erskine College”


    “the Board of Trustees is an autonomous body.”


    “Since the Synod is an outside religious body…” (note that ‘religious’ is derogatory and set in implicit contrast to Erskine.)

    I am a 24 year old man, and undoubtedly I have much to learn and much wisdom to gain, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a sage to see what is being said here.

    • Dear Mr. Daniel Stephens,

      Thank you for your comments. BTW, don’t apologize for your youth. It’s a gift. wisdom and age are not necessarily friends. Often the gift of age is braindeadness!


      Chuck Wilson


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