Erskine: Handmaiden of the EC Foundation


Here on the verge of the meeting of the General Synod of the ARP Church, are we watching as Erskine College and Seminary becomes the handmaiden of the EC Foundation? The Erskine administration and board (EBOT) are declaring the independence of Erskine from the ARP Church, threatening retaliations from SACS, and sending reports to General Synod that are poorly crafted attempts at dissimulation, obfuscation, disinformation, and slight-of-hand. Concurrently, the administration and EBOT are cozying up to the EC Foundation that in the last two years, unlike the General Synod that has given over $1,000,000 of tithes and offerings of the church of God to Erskine, has discouraged gifts to Erskine and openly siphoned money away from Erskine in order to pay the attorneys’ fees of those EBOT members and Erskine Seminary professors who have taken the ARP Church to civil court. Why are we in the ARP Church continuing to send nearly $600,000 (a full fourth of Synod’s budget), to an “independent” college and seminary that not only disdains our generosity but scorns our theological beliefs and has become the consort of the EC Foundation?

Witness the following that is taken from the web site of the EC Foundation:

Walking the Tightrope

The Directors of the EC Foundation have been anxious to communicate the things we have learned about Erskine – on the one hand, and on the other hand, we have felt compelled to be quiet as several high level negotiations were taking place on the Board of Trustees of Erskine. We have previously let our convictions be known on this website as well as in other arenas. This spring, the Alumni Board asked for our suggestions regarding the very significant decrease in giving to Erskine as revealed by the Alumni Survey and as evidenced by the alumni giving reports. We have struggled in our effort to make helpful suggestions which will not be counter-productive to any audience. These suggestions were sent to the Alumni Association President, Nan Campbell, who had no objection to us publishing them on our website.

Recommendations from the EC Foundation to the Alumni Board:

  1. Produce and market positive information about the Institution, its Board and its students.
    • Emphasize the current attempt to strive for Academic Excellence among students.
    • Emphasize the desire of the Administrators to position EC as a leading Christian Liberal Arts College
    • Emphasize the anticipated increase in overall enrollment next year producing a better financial footing.
    • Thank and praise the current board and its leadership for their recent actions that are helping to define the responsibility of the Board of Trustees especially with regard to the relationship between the Board and the Synod.
    • Discuss a possible change in the affirmations required for employment.
  2. Help educate constituents of the reforms to the method of selecting trustees which will advance the process of seating gifted individuals who can meet Erskine’s needs and thus build upon Erskine’s governance.
  3. Help educate ARP Elders who will represent individual congregations at the 2012 Synod in June regarding Erskine and its needs.
  4. Help educate ARP ministers regarding EC and its needs and especially the response from the BOT to the Synod this summer.

The meeting of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Church, which is scheduled on June 5-7 at Bonclarken Conference Center, promises to be a crucial time for Erskine. We would commend to each A.R.P. alumnus the importance of communicating your concerns regarding Erskine to your Elder representatives and Ministers as they will ultimately have several important decisions to make regarding the long term outlook of Erskine College and Erskine Theological Seminary. Please join us as we continue to hold Erskine and its Board up in prayer as they face this important time in the life of this institution.

That the EC Foundation is GIDDY to communicate what they have learned is happening in several “high level negotiations” regarding Erskine College and Seminary and the EBOT should arouse the suspicion and concern of delegates to the 2012 General Synod next week. Why are those who oppose the Synod’s historic relationship and ministry of Erskine College and Seminary (to the point that they formed this 501c.3 organization for the purpose of raising funds to sue the ARP Church) so giddy? What high level negotiations? Is this the work of the Rev. Andy Putnam, who touts himself “the great negotiator” of conflict, and, who as Moderator and EBOT trustee, has often sat behind closed doors helping to create the present disaster? Indeed, for two years Mr. Putnam has represented and aided the Synod in the manner a fox aids chickens in a hen house. He has been so effective in representing Synod’s interests that he has the EC Foundation as giddy as a school boy with a new girlfriend. Under his watch as Moderator and EBOT trustee,

  1. the bylaws have been rewritten BY MR. PUTNAM AND HIS PALS ON THE BYLAWS REVISION COMMITTEE to the liking of the liberal Alumni Association and EC Foundation, making the ARP Synod, for the first time in it’s history, an “undue influence” in the affairs of Erskine, and
  2. WITH HIS CONSENT AND HELP AS A MEMBER OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE, the EBOT has defiantly refused Synod’s request to clarify the charter/bylaws in order for Synod to have the authority to remove board members “for cause,” as is the case with all the other agencies of the ARP Church.

Remember, General Synod has always had this power, but did not exercise it until March 2010. The efforts of some to obfuscate reality and suggest that we have asked Erskine to “grant” the ARP Church a new privilege and power to remove EBOT members “for cause” is intentionally misleading and revisionist history.

The idea that the nomination of board members is the “shared” work of both General Synod and the EBOT marginalizes the General Synod from the process. Woe to us if we listen to these voices that say that the Erskine people are happy to tell us their specific needs, to make their recommendations of specific persons, and to house the database of these persons on the Erskine campus in order to keep the records safe (Wink! Wink!). In the end, they will DARE us that, if we do not give them the trustee appointments they want, they will sue us in court for “undue influence” and failure to cooperate with their new bylaws and policies THAT THEY THEMSELVES HAVE REWRITTEN IN ORDER TO MARGINALIZE THE ARP CHURCH. Have we not learned that these people are not worthy of our trust?

The idea of an “anticipated increase” in the enrollment at Erskine College this Fall is laughable. The only way this can happen is if between now and August half of the Freshman class is recruited out of the bottom of the academic pond and BOUGHT outright. It is well known that Erskine has been recruiting and buying warm bodies. I predict more of the same this year. Therefore, the language about “academic excellence” is ludicrous, and just as laughable as the notion that Erskine College is a “Christian college.” The idea that Erskine College is going to become a “Leading Liberal Art College” is a pipedream. Under the present board and administrative leadership (or any leadership connected to the EC Foundation) that is not going to happen. I want a case of whatever they are drinking.

The EC Foundation’s hypocritical concern that Erskine is losing financial support is also laughable. These are the people who set the house on fire. Are they now decrying the heat? Well, could there be another reason that contributions are declining? Could it be that conservative alums who love the ARP Church, such as the Editor, have given up on Erskine? Truly, before I give to Erskine again, I will give to the Society for the Propagation and Advancement of Swamp Leeches!

That the EC Foundation is publicly issuing thanks and praise for the EBOT’s work in redefining the relationship between Erskine and the ARP Church SAYS IT ALL! The enemies of all the ARP Synod stands for as a Gospel proclaiming and Scripture affirming Church celebrate the EBOT’s perfidy in rebuffing the ARP Church. May Jesus remember their treachery in the day of His coming!

Well, it looks as though our doctrine of Inerrancy is the next target. The whine is this: “We can’t get top notch faculty because of the requirement that professors affirm inerrancy.” Others can! Why can Erskine not do it? Well, I bet you a blind man can do it. It is sort of like the research of the Ad Hoc Committee, is it not? By the way, who says Erskine now has “top notch faculty”?

“Seating gifted individuals who can meet Erskine’s needs on the Board” means the EC Foundation wants a self-perpetuating board of its own liking and the General Synod of the ARP Church out of the business of Erskine – oh, with the exception of the Synod’s money.

“Help educate ARP ministers regarding EC and its needs and especially the response from the BOT to the Synod this summer” means let us pull the wool over the eyes of those naïve fools and get them to foolishly allocate Erskine $600,000 again so that we can dishonor the name of Christ and His Church for another year.

Now we have this News Release from the EC Foundation:

Latest News:

It is with pleasure that the Foundation notes that our President, William W. Lesesne, participated in the 2012 Graduation Excercises [sic] at Erskine, reading the citation for Winnie Morrison Phillips, former alumni director at Erskine, who received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Bill Lesesne is a former vice president for student affairs and athletics at Erskine.

In a conversation with a friend about this, he said that this was “David Norman throwing the EC Foundation a sop.” No, it is not sop; it was a union! My friend mis-read what took place. It was Erskine becoming the handmaiden of the EC Foundation. Gomer has gone after her lovers!

Well, we at ARPTalk have a plan. Give Erskine to the EC Foundation and those who have made Erskine such a loathsome caricature of a “Christian College.” People like Mr. Bill Lesesne spent long careers at Erskine living off the money of the ARP Church. They are like leeches that have enriched themselves off the blood of the ARP Church. They have not been servants of the ARP Church. They have been hirelings who have lived off the church. And along the way, they did little or nothing to advance the cause of Erskine. When Mr. Lesesne began his career at Erskine the student body was about 550 and Anderson University and North Greenville University were small junior colleges. Today, Erskine has about 550 students (and a seminary on life support) while Anderson University and North Greenville University count their students in the thousands. And, by the way, they honor their denomination and have trustee removal “for cause” clauses in their bylaws/charters that Synod requested of Erskine. Also, they affirm inerrancy and do not have problems finding qualified professors.

It is a travesty that President Norman countenanced Bill Lesesne, the President of the EC Foundation, at the Erskine graduation! Well, what else was he going to do? Dr. Norman and the EBOT are now the equivalent of handmaiden and consort to the EC Foundation.

Brothers and sisters in the ARP Church, why do we continue to hang on to and fund this uncomely and God-dishonoring canker? No wonder the ARP Church is not experiencing the blessing of God!

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson




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