President of Erskine Asked to RESIGN

Erskine College & Seminary President David Norman has been asked to resign by the Executive Committee of the board. Rumors of this began to circulate late Tuesday, April 9. The rumors were confirmed on April 11 by an e-mail to the board from Chairman David Conner.

On April 1, the Executive Committee completed its analysis of President Norman’s annual performance survey. On April 9, a sub-committee met with President Norman to inform him of the Executive Committee’s findings and intentions. On Thursday morning, April 11, Chairman Conner sent out an e-mail informing board members of a “called” telephone-conference meeting of the board to hear the Executive Committee’s report on their review of President Norman and to take actions pertaining to their report. Chairman Conner also stated President Norman was given 10 days to resign and accept a “gracious in terms” severance package. In other words, according to Chairman Conner’s letter, he and the Executive Committee of the board have given President Norman until April 19 to resign or face a vote of “no confidence” at the board meeting on April 22.

Obviously, the stakes are high for President Norman. If he challenges the actions of the Executive Committee at the board meeting and loses, the “gracious in terms” severance package will probably be taken off the table.

The actions of the Executive Committee seem severe. Why are they rushing to judgment now? The school year ends in a month, and an action such as this will create conflict and confusion on the campus. Besides, the May meeting of the board is only six weeks away.

Why is Chairman Conner rushing to judgment with a razor-sharp sword? What is his agenda? HIS AGENDA IS THE REAL STORY!

Chairman Conner has made the following clear:

  1. He is not a friend of the theological direction of the ARP Church;
  2. He holds loyalty to Erskine College & Seminary over loyalty to the General Synod which appointed him to his stewardship;
  3. He is opposed to the General Synod being written back into the Erskine bylaws; and
  4. He promotes the separation of Erskine College & Seminary from the ARP Church (see URL: http://www.arptalk.org/covenant/).

As I see it, the following is Chairman Conner’s agenda: SEPARATE ERSKINE COLLEGE & SEMINARY FROM THE ARP CHURCH.

The following are obstacles for him:

  1. He has lost the “nominations battle,” and seven nominees who are loyal to the evangelical Christian mission of Erskine will be approved by General Synod and seated on the board on July 1, thus creating a new majority;
  2. Very few of the trustees take his “Covenant” of separation seriously, leaving it DOA; and
  3. He is facing increasing opposition to his leadership on the board.

If I were Chairman Conner, here is what I would do:

  1. Call for President Norman’s immediate resignation or, if necessary, call for a vote of “no confidence.”
  2. If President Norman is willing to resign, offer him a “generous” severance package with a non-disclosure clause to keep him silent about the goings-on behind the scenes of the board.
  3. Once President Norman is removed, appoint an Interim President who aligns with “Olde Erskine.”
  4. Name a Search Committee from the current board which is decidedly more liberal than the board will be on July 1, 2013.
  5. If the Interim President is an “Olde Erskine” type, the EC Foundation and the secular alums will increase their financial support significantly making the Interim President look like a rainmaker. Then move to truncate the search process and appoint the Interim President the new President, ala the process that produced Dr. Randy Ruble in 2006.
  6. Even if it is illegal and winds up in court, find a way to stop the seating of the new trustees on July 1, 2013.
  7. If all else fails, find a way to create a lawsuit. Legal actions are anathema to the General Synod.

Whom should we expect Chairman Conner to put forward as the Interim President? I am told Chairman Conner and the secular alums are high on Dr. D. Scott Davis (see URL: https://about.mercer.edu/officers/davis/). Dr. Davis is an Erskine College alum. “Old Erskine” is his reputation. Currently he is Provost at Mercer University (a school that severed its 173 year-old connection to the Georgia Baptist Convention in 2006).

Chairman Conner’s actions are obviously highhanded and precipitous. His repeated efforts to put distance between Erskine and the ARP Church have greatly increased the division and distrust on the board. Now, will his frantic efforts create confusion and uncertainty on campus at a critical time in the recruitment cycle, lead to further conflict within the Erskine community as the battle for succession begins, and greatly cripple the reputation of Erskine on all fronts?

In the near future, will there also be a vote of “no confidence” in the Chairman of the board? Is not Chairman Conner also responsible for the policies of the President he has supported and now abandons?

Attempts were made to contact both President Norman and Chairman Conner by phone. These calls were not returned.

These are my thoughts,



Charles W. Wilson

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  1. This is very disturbing news. Will be in prayer.

    • Dear Benjamin P. Glaser,

      Indeed!

      Chairman Conner chose the worst possible time to do this. No matter what the board does now, the Erskine campus is going to be in an uproar until the end of the school year. Like Pilate, Chairman Conner is going to wash his hand and say he is innocent of the consequences – it’s the Executive Committee fault and he did what he was told to do! Dissimulation!!!

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  2. Robert Shaver says:

    Ya know, it strikes me as a strange that Chairman Conner says he only wants what is best for Erskine College, and yet his decisions and actions do not really benefit Erskine much…
    Thoughts?

    • Dear Mr. Robert Shaver,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Your comment regarding Chairman Conner is well struck. I don’t know how to respond. I can’t see inside his head.

      There are, however, a number of things I can say. One, I can say his decision and the decision of the Executive Committee to ask President Norman to resign is hypocritical. These are the people who have upheld and directed President Norman in his decisions and policies. This looks like betrayal to me.

      Two, I can say Chairman could not have chosen a worst time to do this. This puts the campus in turmoil. This puts a pall on recruitment for next year. Parents and students will be rethinking their decision regarding Erskine. This will also put a pall on retention. Those students who can will transfer.

      Three, Erskine is already in trouble with SACS. The status is “Warning.” Is Chairman Conner trying to attract the attention of SACS? Madness!!!

      Four, if I were a member of the board, whether it would pass or not, I would make a motion of “no confident” in the leadership of Chairman Conner.

      These are the thoughts I have. What are your thoughts? What are the students saying?

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

      • Robert Shaver says:

        My thoughts?
        Well first, I’d agree with you that this is the worst possible time to be removing a president, and especially when taking into account the SACS issues. Though the Chairman claims to having Erskine’s best interests at heart, I don’t understand how this could possibly benefit Erskine in the long run (except maybe that President Norman was under-qualified for the job), which makes me question his motives.

        As to the response of the students, I’m sure you are aware of the notorious Erskine Rumor Mill and how quickly and accurately news is reported here at Good Ol’ Erskine… I would wager that %90 of the student body knew by the time of SGA Ball at 7:30, and if not they found out a version of the story at the dinner. There are a lot of mixed reactions; Some say that their salvation has come; Some mourn his imminent passing; Some have a more level head and try to look at it objectively and see both sides of the coin; Some have no idea what they are talking about, but refuse to shut up…; Some students really couldn’t care less – the semester is almost over so they’ve pretty much checked out. If I had to pick a majority feeling, I’d go with those rejoicing about his resignation, because even if they don’t know what they are talking about or why, Norman wasn’t as personable to them as our former illustrious President.

        Robert Shaver

  3. Sarah Money says:

    Technically, I have not received my diploma yet and am “technically” not an alum as of yet.

    I finished my degree in January, and worry for the even further turmoil Erskine will endure. Norman has been at Erskine for two years. Enrollment is already down, and it seems that alumni have spent the last few years enraged. Do we really need more students and alum upset at the school?

    I’m glad I’m not on campus right now to hear the drama circulating inside the student body following this announcement. Though I’m curious- If not Norman, then who? And what direction, other than the downhill spiral is seems Erskine is already sucked into, will the school head?

    • Dear Ms. Sarah Money,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Congratulations to you on the eve of your graduation!!

      Indeed, the “drama” at Erskine is going to be intense between now and graduation. The actions of Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee are outrageous. Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee claim President Norman has failed. Good grief! They are the one who enabled and blessed him on his way. They are asking President Norman to resign!?? Why are they not manning-up and also resigning?! The failures of the last three years also rest on them – AND MORE SO FOR THEY HAD THE POWER TO ALTER THE DIRECTION AND DID NOT! Particularly, Chairman Conner has failed in his STEWARDSHIP!

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  4. Neil Jones says:

    As a former ARP, an alum, an EBK Scholar and finals interviewer, a former Erskine Board member (who served at the same time as the person in charge of this website), a former member of the EC Search Committee that nominated Randy Ruble as President of EC, and the father of a wonderful daughter who will be a freshman next year at Erskine, let me say that it is high time that Erskine returned to the “Olde Erskine” referred to by Mr. Wilson. I have sat silently by for the last several years since I resigned my seat on the EC Board with only 2 months of service left (which was done in protest to the ultra-right that was beginning to take shape on the Board). It is time for the “Olde Erskine” to rise again and return Erskine academically and reputationally to what it was before the 90s and before this ultra-conservative group with zero connections to Erskine took hold of the ARP Church and the Erskine Board. The future of Erskine is in precarious hands right now. I want my diploma, my wife’s diploma, my grandparents-in-law’s diplomas, my mother-in-law’s diploma, my sisters-in-law’s diplomas, my brother-in-law’s diploma, my aunt’s diploma, my cousin’s diploma, and my daughter’s diploma to be worth something. If the wrong choice is made now, those diplomas will have been wasted by this group that does not understand what Erskine really is and what it really should be.

    • Dear Mr. Neil Jones,

      Thank you for your comments.

      First of all, yes, I remember you well from our board days. You haven’t changed much, have you? I was so delighted when you resigned.

      Second, please, sit down, take a nerve pill or two, and take a deep breath before you go totally apoplectic and foam at the mouth.

      Third, I want to thank you for your pedigree. Do you mind if I enter you in the Westminster Dog Show? You’re not too inbred, are you?

      Fourth, let it be known, the recent collapse of Erskine is attributable to “Olde Erskine.” Have you forgotten Randy Ruble? He is the reason Erskine is in this present mess. He left an unfixable mess! He wasn’t the choice of “ultra-right” conservatives like me. He was “Olde Erskine’s” boy. His is the legacy of “Erskine Killer.” “Ultra-right” conservatives have never been in control. You and your ilk put Randy in charge!

      Fifth, when we were on the board the academic reputation of Erskine wasn’t all that good! You guys think mediocrity is gold.

      Sixth, yours is a prescription for Erskine as the next Cokesbury College. You didn’t get it then and you still don’t get it. Thank you for being an ex-ARP.

      Seventh, here is the conundrum for everyone: who in his right mind would want to be the next Erskine President? A qualified candidate can do better than Erskine.

      Finally, Neil, have you lost your mind? You are sending your daughter to a college on “Warning” by SACS!?? Are you really going to send your daughter to a college on the verge of leadership collapse? Are you really going to send your daughter to a college on the verge of an “ultra-right” conservative take over? Were the discount rate and other financial goodies that good? Wouldn’t Furman be a better choice? Good grief, she might lose her ability to read-and-write at Erskine. Then what would her diploma mean – four years wasted?

      Neil, your comments were over the top. I thought I would float in outer space with you.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

      • Eric Moore says:

        My goodness, Mr. Wilson. Don’t you see that posts like this are a disgrace to you and your church? For Christ’s sake, please stop.

        • Dear Mr. Eric Moore,

          Thank you for your comment.

          Regards,

          Chuck Wilson
          ARPTalk

        • I concur with Brother Moore’s assessment and admonition. I would re-emphasize that this appeal is for the Church, both visible and Invisible. Stop being a Gossip-monger and cynical curmudgeon in your replies. You have lost all sense of speaking to someone else, in the Love of Christ. Your posts are vitriolic at best, curmudgeony at norm.

          • Dear Mr. David Pritt,

            Come on, David, I have known you since you were a kid. Don’t you remember, we have dialogued in the past? If ever there ever was a curmudgeon who was a master of vitriol and cynicism, you get the prize.

            You know, a good way to damn the truth is to call it “gossip.” Way to go!

            Why is it when you guys attack me, it’s the sweet love of Jesus? Why is when I respond to your profound silliness, you call me hateful? You guys need to tell your mamas to buy you some long pants. I’m way past tired of your hypocrisy!

            Regards,

            Chuck Wilson
            ARPTalk

            • David Brainerd Pritt says:

              Sir

              You cannot use that phrase: “I have known you since you were a kid” honestly.

              You should withdraw it. You are not a close friend of my family.

              My father taught me, as he taught all the people he shepherded, that it was a sin to gossip, or to bear false witness against your neighbor (certainly posting information given in private, when you had no source document meets this standard). He warned us how the book of Proverbs was full of people who were given to doing nothing but “talking without knowledge”.

              I choose whom I take as a friend, or close companion. You sir are an online acquaintance. You have been called to be a minster of the Word and Sacraments, not a town crier of gossip and half truths.

              • Dear Mr. David Pritt,

                Thank you for your comments.

                Of course, I knew you when you were a kid. I didn’t say we were friends. I didn’t even intimate it. Re-read what I wrote. It is clear we are online combatants.

                What I post is not gossip or half-truths. What I post is always based on multiple sources. Of course, I had the documents necessary to post. You haven’t seen anyone challenging me, have you? Actually, I hope Chairman Conner does. However, he won’t! He’s not stupid.

                Here’s some advice for you: look before you leap!

                Regards,

                Chuck Wilson
                ARPTalk

      • Ralph T. Bowling, III says:

        Chuck,
        Your remarks about Dr. Ruble are wrong. He was a faithful servant of Erskine College and Seminary. He was a man who was open to all points of view. He fostered a tremendous learning environment for thousands. He is held in high esteem by so many in academia across world. He deserves more respect.

        If anyone is killing Erskine, it is you and your ilk. I live in the Greenwood area. More and more high school seniors in the area are not giving Erskine much of a look these days. They look to Lander, Presbyterian, and Anderson as their small college option. Even more distressing, I have discovered that human resource officers with companies in the area do not like to hire EC graduates. Erskine is seen to be a college that is on a downward spiral. There are real questions about what is going on up there. In the early 1980′s , when you walked into a job interview with an Erskine Degree you had something. That is not so today. It is sad.
        You and your ilk have turned Erskine from a liberal arts college to a right wing fundamentalist church camp that last four years. It is becoming a little more than academic paper mill. Another five years, it will not even be that.

        • Dear Mr. Ralph T. Bowling III,

          Thank for your comments.

          Your comment regard former President Randy Ruble is INCORRECT. The precipitous drop in Erskine’s academic standing is attributable to Dr. Ruble. During his time as President, the prestigious Liberal’s Art status was lost, the EBK was jettisoned, athletic programs were promoted over academics, study halls were established and required in order to keep athletes from failing their Freshman year, a student revolution took place, retention decreased sharply, he called in SACS and nearly lost accreditation, he was booed on the floor of General Synod, the Academic Dean left, and then, I hear, he woke up from his nap and resigned and retired. Is this the Randy Ruble you love and admire? God help you!!

          We will agree on the following: (1) high school students are going elsewhere; (2) Erskine is on a “downward spiral,” and (3) the Erskine degree has lost it luster.

          Mr. Bowling, “de Nile” is not just a river in Egypt. Chuck Wilson and his “ilk” have [NOT] turned Erskine from a liberal arts college to a right wing fundamentalist church camp [in the] last four years. First of all, it is obvious you have no idea what a fundamentalist college looks like. Erskine isn’t that!! Second, the Erskine administration didn’t need Chuck Wilson and his ilk to turn Erskine from a liberal arts college. They have proved themselves most successful in that endeavor.

          Regards,

          Chuck Wilson
          ARPTalk

    • Nancy Branch says:

      I can’t say it any better than you have Mr. Jones.

    • Kevin Lindley says:

      Hi. My name is Kevin Lindley. I am an Erskine College alum, and graduated in 2009. I have a question for you, Mr. Jones. What is your understanding of the “Olde Erskine”? I’m just looking for further clarification at this point.

      • Kevin Lindley says:

        In other words, do you mean that Erskine used to be a more liberal school?

        • Dear Mr. Kevin Lindley,

          Thank you for your question to Neil Jones. I look forward to his answer – if he will answer.

          Regards,

          Chuck Wilson
          ARPTalk

        • Neil Jones says:

          Kevin -

          Actually, if you will go back up to the beginning of the blog, you will see that Chuck Wilson first used the term “Olde Erskine” (“5.If the Interim President is an “Olde Erskine” type. . . .”). I was merely carrying that on based on his use of the term (which is why I kept using his antique misspelling of the word). You might want to ask him what he meant by that term.

          As for my “Old Erskine”, I am talking about my Erskine of the 1970s and 1980s where students and professors were recruited and taught to be critical thinkers and to make their own decisions about Christianity, life, science, religion, etc, instead of being faced with the prospect of being forcefed a particular indoctrination by a minority coalition of Board members and Synod participants who had never attended Erskine College and had no “history” there. Where Erskine was relatively financially sound and had a student enrollment of over 700 and more than 225 students in every freshman class. Where very few single rooms existed on campus because the dorms were bursting at the seams and we were talking about the need to build more dorms. Where the majority of incoming Erskine freshman also got in to schools like Clemson, Furman, Wofford, Davidson, UNC, Emory, etc. but chose to go to Erskine because of the atmosphere, the Christian environment, and the professors and the knowledge that, academically, Erskine was perceived by all as being in the same league as each of those schools. Where students who had no clue where Due West was located and had never heard of Erskine enrolled because they received an invitation from a Roddy Gray or a Dot Carter to visit campus and, when they arrived, they found the warm and nurturing nature of the school to be exactly what they were looking for. Where, if turmoil did exist between the school and the ARP Church (I would argue that it did not, and certainly did not on the scale at which it exists today), students and faculty on campus were blissfully unaware of it because they were receiving and providing an outstanding Christian liberal arts education (which, no doubt, is exactly what students receive today, but burdened with the knowledge and understanding of the terrible feud that is raging). Obviously, Kevin, some of these things still exist today at Erskine and I am certain that you experienced them. But, unfortunately, some do not.

          That is MY “Old Erskine”. It has nothing to do with being liberal or being conservative. It all has to do with the reputation of, atmosphere at, and “control” of the school.

          -Neil

          • Dear Mr. Neil Jones,

            I was wondering how long it was going to take you to answer Kevin. YES is the answer. Why didn’t you say it? Of course, Erskine was far more liberal in those days. Those were the days of Bruce Ezell. He was so dislike a portrait of him was not hung in Moffatt until a few years ago when Randy Ruble the Inept insisted on it.

            My use of “Olde Erskine” is derogatory. The best description I have seen for “Olde Erskine” is found below (and at http://www.arptalk.org/2011/09/13/turn-the-page/, Comments, conversation with Kevin Metz). I got it from the Rev. Kyle Sims. I think the author is one of your classmates. I withheld his name. You can ask Kyle his name.


            Point of clarification. The Erskine that I attended was an ARP supported school that was focused on high academic achievement and bringing in the best students from around the country and mixing them with ARP kids. We had Christians, Catholics, Jews and yes lots of atheists. We drank, we had lots of sex, (yes I said it,) some people did drugs and we played hard and studied hard. We had a mix of people from all over the country and world and the only thing that mattered was you stretched your brain. Of course we were intolerant of Chis, or Philos, or Euphies but a Jew was just a Jew and gay was just gay. Some of the best students were the ones doing the most drinking/sexing/freethinking but the idea was that you needed all of that to push people to open their minds. In my four years at Erskine, no one ever found my lack of faith to be, well, disturbing. Indoctrination and zealotry was what the seminary was for. My point is this; in the early 90s Erskine made a dramatic shift to embracing evangelism over intellect. I am sorry but you simple cannot believe in biblical inerrancy and creationism and then expect to have the best and brightest students in the country. You cant crack down on sex and alcohol and expect the best and brightest to put up with that for four years. Seem to me the ideal Erskine student already knows everything they need to know before they get there, they are just killing time waiting on a degree. There is a term for what Erskine students have now, it is an impolite term for a bunch of guys pleasuring themselves in a circle. Academics is a quest for truth, not a quest for conformity. God gave you a brain, man gave you a bible.

            Well, what is “Olde Erskine”? It the Erskine you knew when you were there. And, if all runs true to the above, it’s the myth you created after you woke up from the hangover.

            I was around in those days. Erskine was no more in the same class with “Clemson, Furman, Wofford, Davidson, UNC, [and] Emory “ than Erskine is in the same class with them today. Tell the truth. The reason you went to Erskine is because you got an all expenses paid trip to Due West.

            The “Olde Ersine” of the 70s and 80s was a lie. The Erskine administrators came to General Synod every year and lied about what they were doing and what was going on in Due West. The “Olde Erskine” lied about its faithfulness to the mission. The “Olde Erskine” lied about its Christian commitment. The “critical thinking” you bought into from the class of Crenshaw the Omnicompetent and All-knowing was to doubt and/or reject evangelical Christianity.

            If the Erskine you knew was doing so well numbers wise, why do I remember discussions regarding recruitment and finances? And when we were on the board, why do I remember all the oohing and aahing over the largest Freshman class ever? Did you miss that meeting?

            You write “Old Erskine” “has nothing to do with being liberal or being conservative.” Hogwash! it has to do with being a lie.

            Men become what they worship! What have you become?

            Regards,

            Chuck Wilson
            ARPTalk

            • Neil Jones says:

              Chuck -

              You can obviously continue your misplaced rant and disparaging characterizations all you wish. You can also continue to spew outlandish claims and implications about my family and me personally (e.g., “The reason you went to Erskine is because you got an all expenses paid trip to Due West.” – give me a break; ask a couple of people who know me or the students who were at Erskine in the 70s and 80s to find out if I and they had other and better opportunities at the same price but chose Erskine because it was Erskine; it is just those kinds of statements and implications that demonstrate that you have not a clue about what being an Erskine College student in the 70s and 80s was like!). Seems like there is some saying about “sticks and stones” and “words” in my memory. . . .

              I must say thank you for allowing me to post my comments on your blog. The debate has been quite intriguing, but has grown very tiresome in this format. Its continuation in this particular forum is not advancing the ball anywhere. Moreover, I have more important things to do for my clients and my family that are much more pleasurable.

              I will leave you and the rest of the Arptalk world with the following true story and anecdote. Several years ago I was making an argument to a judge. After I had gone on for several minutes more than I probably should have, the judge peered over the bench and said: “Mr. Jones, are you trying to say that opposing counsel is wrong.” I replied, “Yes sir, your Honor” at which point the judge said, “Well I thought so and I agree with you, so sit down and shut up.” So, Chuck, I will simply say that you are wrong and I will let your readers be the judge of whether I am right or not. In the meantime, I am sitting down and shutting up.

              Take care and I hope you continue to openly and prominently demonstrate to us all what potentially lies at the bottom of that precipice should the powers that be at Erskine Colege decide not to make a tough decision in the coming weeks.

              Thanks.

              –Neil

              • Dear Mr. Neil Jones,

                Have you heard the joke about the lawyer? The question: how do you tell if a lawyer is lying? Answer: his lips are moving.

                I can’t believe you have the gall to intimate you didn’t get a free ride at Erskine. You may have been able to go elsewhere and get the same as you got at Erskine, but, at Erskine with the EBK, you got a free ride. So don’t tell us what you put into Erskine while you were a student. What you got was given to you by an ARP who helped to frame the statement of evangelical faith to which both the ARP Church and Erskine subscribe.

                Thanks for bringing in the Judge. So I will say: YOU’RE BOTH WRONG AND YOU HAVE MISREPRESENTED THE FACTS! Is that clear enough?

                Thanks for showing up on ARPTalk. Thanks for going away.

                Are you like your bud Jay West who promises to go away and won’t?

                Cheers,

                Chuck Wilson
                ARPTalk

  5. Neil Jones says:

    Chuck -

    My first boss and mentor, the late, great, and wonderful Jean Galloway Bissell, once told me that she “wished that sometimes lawyers would just sit down and shut up rather than try to respond to everything opposing counsel says.” I should probably heed that advice (and will on the personal attacks), but just a couple of comments on your response are required.

    The “collapse” of Erskine (particularly its financial issues) is not attributable to, and did not start with, Randy Ruble. Randy was the right choice at the time after the ultra-conservative section of the Board completely railroaded the unsuccessful nomination of a very qualified presidential candidate that was chosen by what I refer to as the “Who’s Who of EC Search Committees” that included long-time Erskine names such as John Moore and Frank Hunt, etc. The so-called “collapse” began well before that and long before I was fortunate enough to serve on the EC Board. My original post said the “90s” and that is exactly when the current political issues came to light, at least publicly (the financial issues actually started in the late 80s).

    In addition, when I was referring to diplomas being “worth something”, I was referring not to the academic reputation of the college, but the very real possibility that, because of turmoil, SACS, and finances, the school may not exist at some point in the future. However, while Erskine is no longer spoken about in the same academic breath as Furman, Clemson, Davidson, Wofford, Emory, etc. (as it was in the 70s and 80s), it is still an outstanding liberal arts college that provides students with a great education in a warm and nurturing environment. THAT, sir, is why I am sending my daughter to my alma mater. It is because of the Howard Thomases, the Anne Bowes, the Brad Christies, the Steve Snitemans, the John Showalters, the Joan Littles, the Jan Haldemans, the Bill Reameses, the Mary Edwardses, and the John Macaulays of the world (as well as the Buddy Furgesons, the Robyn Agnews, the Ann Hawthornes, the Greg Haseldens, and the Jason Allens) that students at Erskine receive something they cannot receive anywhere else in the world. If Erskine does not finally put an end to the public turmoil that has been going on now for 15 years it will be unable to attract either the necessary faculty or the student base to support its higher education ideals and reputation.

    My hope, faith, and prayers are that Erskine will survive the present situation, and that it will come out on the other end as a more financially sound, reputationally advanced, and attractively marketable institution of Christian higher education. If you are correct that David Conner and the Executive Committee intend to return Erskine to the “Olde Erskine”, then they have my full support.

    –Neil

    • Dear Mr. Neil Jones,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Neil, I thank you for taking a different tone.

      You are correct about the financial ruin of Erskine. This goes back to Stan Bell, Bruce Ezell, and Jim Strobel days. The first year we were on the board, Erskine actually had a “real” balanced budget. During the Carson years, didn’t Erskine have her largest Freshman class? To say the debacle of Rand Ruble wasn’t real is incorrect. He is the destroyer of Erskine’s academic reputation with his emphasis on athletic programs, athletes, and professional degrees over liberal arts degrees. BTW, you spoke of being an EBK scholar, didn’t you? Wasn’t it Ruble who got rid of the EBK? Indeed, since Ruble, Erskine is a very different institution.

      Barbara Stresand sings, “Mem’ries, / Light the corners of my mind / Misty water-colored memories / Of the way we were.” Well, the way we were at Erskine is not the way we are. Have you checked out the list of names you posted? A goodly number have retired or on the verge of retirement.

      The notion that in the 80s and 90s Erskine was spoken of in the same breath with Furman, Clemson, Davidson, and Emory is a gratuitous fiction promoted by Erskine admissions counselors who were attempting to fill their quota. This is not to say Erskine isn’t good academically, but Erskine wasn’t on the same level with the schools you mentioned.

      If Erskine survives this latest earthquake, the feared right-wing conservative take over is inevitable. So, once again, why are you sending your daughter to an institution that is on the cusp of a radical change in direction? Indeed, both natural attrition and the implementation of systemic change by the right-wing conservatives dictate this inevitability.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

      • CJ says:

        As a member of the ARP church, I am truly embarrassed to see comments like this coming out of someone who is considered a representative and extension of the church. Very disturbing.

        • Dear Mr. C. J. Long,

          Thanks for the comment.

          I’m sorry you feel the way you do. At times, the nasty truth of reality is unpleasant. I hope you are not one of those who think I don’t know of what I speak. My info is always correct. I don’t report unless my info is solid.

          Regards,

          Chuck Wilson
          ARPTalk

  6. James Evans says:

    No, but for real, PLEASE stop. This writing is hateful, and destructive. Some of us have to be around those who are quick to agree that the sky is falling.
    just stop, and enjoy your life
    thankyou

    • Dear Mr. James Evans,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Stop what?

      What is “hateful” and “destructive”?

      Is the sky not falling?

      I do enjoy my life!!

      What are your “anterior” motives?

      BTW, tell your dad and granddad Chuck says Hi!

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

      • James Evans says:

        Do you still love children of God? Why are you so quick to claim evil in people?
        Why stir up dissent. You make me and many others doubt the effectiveness of Christianity as we know it.
        Fiber in my diet takes care of my anterior motives.
        You can tell them Hi yourself if you are a friend of theirs.

        Regards,
        James Evans
        Facebook.com

        • Dear James Evans,

          Thanks for your comments.

          What do “the children of God” have to do with this? Please be specific instead of cryptic.

          What evil have I attributed to people?

          It is impossible to “stir up” what is already present.

          If I trouble your “Christianity” with the truth, your “Christianity” isn’t much!

          Once again, what are your “anterior” motives? I have made a few inquiries. I have read your writings on Facebook. Don’t let the pot call the kettle black!

          Regards,

          Chuck Wilson
          ARPTalk

          • James says:

            I am sorry, I was entertained by your childish all caps yell writings. But I am now more annoyed. You could sublimate your need for drama with judge Mathis. The sky is not falling, and you are wasting your days with anger. I don’t even have time to read the comments and see you pat yourself on the back,but I heard that you called someone inbred. That’s messed up, there is no coming back from that. Tell your Heavenly Father I said hi

          • James Evans says:

            Posting again, from my own computer(earlier was a borrowed mobile device)
            Your hate does not trouble my Christianity, but only your own “Christianity”.
            Is your church growing? Have ANY of the fruits of the spirit been shown themselves recently?
            How long will you cling to a worship of doctrine and correction? Don’t you realize that even these can be misused?
            My motives are for you to stop. It is an embarassment.
            Regards,
            James Evans
            jameslangstonevans@gmail.com

  7. Scott Cook says:

    Chuck,

    Do you know who was on the subcommittee that met with Norman? Just wondering who all was involved.

    Thanks,
    Scott

    • Dear Mr. Scott Cook,

      Thank you for the question.

      In my opinion, this is the most sensational and despicable part of the story. As I understand it, Chairman Conner did not extend to President Norman the courtesy of his presence. What a cowardly snub! Instead, a sub-committee of three was sent. They were trustees Bryan Bolt, Bill Cain, and Andy Putman. Once again, as I am told, on the day the sub-committee met with President Norman, Rev. Bolt was unable to be present. The bearers of sad tidings were Mr. Bill Cain and Rev. Andy Putnam.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  8. Daniel Stephens says:

    For me, though this move is hardly surprising, it is tough to form an opinion about it. If we ignore the political factors, in 2010 the college was in financial and academic trouble and enrollment was declining. Any president would have to tackle these issues and because of the nature of the problem they would need to do it fast. Thus it makes sense that a president who can’t turn the tide in two years needs to go. Erskine’s dire situation precludes a solution that occurs over time. The solution would need to be almost immediate if the institution is to survive.

    Unfortunately for Dr. Norman, it was going to be extremely difficult for him to do this, even if we don’t take into account the politics. He doesn’t have a lot of name recognition (which is not his fault, he simply hasn’t had the time to build that). Without an easily recognizable name, it would be extremely difficult for him to quickly get money, professors, and increase enrollment in such a short time frame.

    So I find it difficult to blame the board for seeking a new president. But that doesn’t let anybody off the hook. The board put a man into a position where it would be nearly impossible for him to succeed. Add the politics to the mix and how could anyone honestly expect him to succeed in saving the college? True, I wasn’t thrilled with his stance over the past two years, but that hardly justifies blaming him for being unable to magically heal the relationship between the board and the synod while instantaneously reversing the monetary, academic, and enrollment decline.

    On the face of it, this seems the logical choice, but this situation is the result of a number of bad decisions on the part of the board (and the Synod for giving in to the board). We can’t blame Norman for not being able to solve the mess we created any more than one can blame a mechanic for not being able to fix a car one drove off a bridge.

    But, as we all know, “on the face of it” only takes you so far with Erskine. We’d be fools to think that where Erskine is involved motives are singular and straightforward.

  9. Dear Mr. Daniel Stephens,

    Thanks for the comment. It’s good to read your words on ARPTalk again.

    You write: “We’d be fools to think that where Erskine is involved motives are singular and straightforward.” That has to be the understatement of year! Good turn!!

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

  10. Robert Shaver says:

    This was just sent out to the Erskine Student body.

    “Over the weekend, considerable confusion was caused within the Erskine community by the release and misrepresentation of confidential information. This is unfortunate and has created an awkward situation for everyone involved. The Board of Trustees has no comment regarding confidential personnel issues. We urge the patience and restraint of the entire Erskine community out of love and respect for the Institution.

    W. David Conner
    Chairman, Erskine Board of Trustees”

    • Dear Mr. Robert Shaver,

      Thanks for the comment. Thanks for the information.

      I was wondering when Chairman Conner would release a statement. It is interesting he does not deny what I reported; rather, he calls it “misrepresentation.” That’s the ploy of those who are caught with the proverbial hand in the cookie jar.

      What do you think these “confidential personnel issues” might be? Could it be Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee informed President Norman their recommendation to the called meeting of the board on April 22 is not to renew President Norman’s contract?

      Thank you, Chairman Conner, for the confirmation of what I reported. The ploy of saying it ain’t so when it is so doesn’t make it ain’t so!

      Now, what are Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee going to do?

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  11. Scott Cook says:

    Chuck,

    Well, what do you think Connor and the executive committee are going to do now? Is this a sign that they are backing off?

    Scott

    • Dear Mr. Scott Cook,

      Thank you for the question.

      Scott, have you heard of the Spanish Inquisition?

      At this point, I think Chairman Conner is going to put on the royal purple of kingship and the scarlet and black of the Inquisitor and become King David the Tyrant and Inquisitor. His hubris is boundless. The “Olde Erskine” Facebook sites are abuzz with chatter about right-wing conspiracies and information leaks.

      Just this afternoon, I was informed a truck arrived at Belk Hall. I am told workmen were seen unloading a rack, a head crusher, a knee splitter, a burn pole, and other infernal devices of truth extraction. King David the Tyrant and Inquisitor will attempt to withdraw confessions from anyone on the board who has ever muttered a kind word to Chuck Wilson. Indeed, Scott, you may soon see the sky over Due West alight with the fires of martyrs.

      King David the Tyrant and Inquisitor is so disingenuous. He is so worried about board confidentiality. However, he has no problem with betraying the General Synod of the ARP Church which appointed him to his stewardship.

      Scott, the amazing thing is Chairman Conner doesn’t return my calls. If he had returned my call, he might know as much as I do. But I don’t think he will ask me how I know what I know. What do you think?

      Well, I almost forgot. You asked if this was a sign “they were backing off.” I don’t think so. William Congreve wrote: “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” He was wrong. Hell hath no furry like an attorney scorned.” A king and inquisitor doesn’t “back off”.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson (-:
      ARPTalk

  12. Jacob DeLuca says:

    Chuck Wilson,

    How about you leave my school alone. Obviously no one likes you nor respects you. Move on with your wasted life and do something meaningful. You did not attend Erskine College, you have no idea what any of the students are like. Stop being a creepy old man, get out of your basement and move on.

    Truly Yours,

    Jacob DeLuca

    • Robert Shaver says:

      Mr. DeLuca

      I think you are missing some of the facts.
      Chuck is anything but a creepy old man. He has a number of doctorates, was a pastor for many years, a respected football coach, was a member of the Erskine Board of Trustees, and is a graduate of the Erskine Seminary.
      And you would also be incorrect in saying that “obviously” no one likes him. In fact, I would think that a man of reasonable intelligence would be able to read these comments and easily perceive that some, if not many people do in fact like him – myself included. How would a blog survive and be able to have such influence if no one liked him?
      And he does have a very good idea what the students are like. In fact, he has met several of them – myself included!

      My point, is that you should be very careful what accusations you bring against a man, especially without having the facts.

      Respectfully,
      Robert Shaver

      • Dear Mr. Robert Shaver,

        Thanks for your comment.

        Regards,

        Chuck Wilson
        ARPTalk

      • Taylor Kern says:

        Mr. Wilson,

        I’m a senior about to graduate at EC, I see that you have been a constant donor and thank you for your contributions in chance that I may have been a recipient in some way.
        My time here has been most unpleasant and over all I’m dissatisfied with my entire college experience. That being said, I have no stake or opinion in anything Erskine related on this site, for as of May 18, I plan on having amnesia from 2009-13 to forget this place. I do not care for the politics of the school nor do I care to formulate an opinion. In fact, I do not care what becomes of Erskine after I graduate, I know that’s a terrible attitude to have but unfortunately that is what my time here has done to me.

        I’m writing here not in concern or relation to what is going on at Erskine, but rather to post one thought in regards to you sir.
        Because I’ve been hearing a lot about you and your “blogs” if that’s what you call this I decide to “drop by”. I hear from both sides concerning you, sides of praise and fairly unpleasant claims. So all the commotion struck my curiosity to come visit and read some threads. Originally I had no intention of writing anything, just to read and see what all the fuss was about. After reading quite a few posts and interactions between you and others who’ve posted on here, I felt the need to say something.

        Here are my thoughts (with the utmost respect):

        It’s people like that make me detest the very idea of Christianity (not the sole reason of course). I couldn’t believe it when people told me you were actually once a pastor. Having an opinion and wanting to spread information is one thing, but the way you go about it is like Eric Moore said in a previous post: ” a disgrace to you and your church.” Not only to you and your church, but it’s Christians like you that cause people like me who struggle with their faith to shy away from any interaction whatsoever. Again I realize it’s not just you, I have many internal struggles and past happenings that have influenced my lack of faith and at this point being more agnostic view. I say that to clarify that I’m not here to make you a scapegoat for my dislike for faith/religion.

        With the many posts I’ve read, you have come across extremely obnoxious, rude, condescending and a bully. One of the reasons I haven’t stepped foot into the church in many years is because of this type of personality I’ve encountered so often there. It seems that you state your thoughts, and those that agree receive praise, and those opposed are allowed their say to some extent, then once you’ve had enough opposition you politely dismiss them, in some cases sarcastically so.

        I don’t know you personally and don’t have a 100% concrete opinion of you as I’ve never met you, but I’ve seen enough to have a first impression.

        I know your not supposed to base your faith and religion on the actions of others, as it’s supposed to be a relationship with God. But people like you leave nasty tastes in the mouths of others in my predicament. To be honest you had no effect on me until I came to this site, and even then it’s not a deep impact or anything to bring me closer and push me farther away. My problems were here long before my boredom lead me to this sight. In reality, I’ll probably forget all about this interaction as it has no significant value to either you or I. And since I’m the one with the problem…the solution is simple: stop coming here and reading, no one is forcing me here. And honestly I think some of the people on here who have a problem with you should do the same. That’s life, if they don’t like what your doing here, stop interacting as I’m sure you’re not going to change who you are because someone doesn’t agree with you (and why should you?).

        In summary: Like I said my issues were rooted long long ago, but you may want to be more cognizant of your actions as it may fall on someone who is on the fence as I once was, and push them away.

        Again, this is all in the utmost respect possible.

        Regards,
        Taylor Kern

        PS:
        Robert Shaver, I’m sure you know way more than i do in regards to the politics of EC as I have no desire to know what goes on around campus. But I’m sure you don’t know enough to be instigating and partaking in the conversations on here either. Try focusing on your studies rather than feeding the fire of the unproductive dialogue occurring here.

        • Dear Mr./Ms. Taylor Kern,

          Thanks for your comments.

          My goodness, ain’t you a rose – all full of thorns.

          Take responsibility for yourself. If you have walked away from faith in Jesus Christ, it’s not because of me. Look inside your own heart!

          Regards,

          Chuck Wilson
          ARPTalk

          • Taylor Kern says:

            Mr. Wilson,

            Thank you for proving my point^

            Regards,
            Taylor Kern

            • Dear Mr. Taylor Kern,

              You really do have a sense of entitlement, don’t you?

              If you so hated your time and education at Erskine, why didn’t you have the gumption and courage to leave and find a place where you would have been happy? Your complaint about your four years of misery at Erskine is more than pitiful! And in case you don’t understand, it speaks more of you than of Erskine.

              Regards,

              Chuck Wilson
              ARPTalk

    • Dear Mr. Jacob DeLuca,

      Thank you for your comments.

      For your enlightenment: (1) I have an Erskine degree and three others; (2) I am a former board member; (3) I have contributed thousands of dollars to Erskine – you may be a recipient of my past generosity; (4) I have recruited numerous students to both Erskine College and Erskine Seminary; (5) Neither Erskine College or Seminary is yours; specifically, Erskine belongs to the ARP Church, and as a minister in the ARP Church I’m one of the share holders; (6) I’m old but I’m not creepy; as a matter of fact, I’m probably in better shape than you are; (7) My life has been filled with many successes; (8) You will be surprised what I know about the Erskine and Due West communities; and (9) I don’t have a basement.

      I’ll give you a challenge. Why don’t you come over to Seneca and have lunch with me. I’ll buy you anything you want. There are a number of Erskine folks who have experienced my hospitality. I’m very gracious. You can reach me at 864-882-6337.

      BTW, you have added nothing to this discussion. The first question is whether I have told the truth. I have. You will not be blindsided when all this unfolds. The second question is whether I have misrepresented the situation. I have not. The information I have reported may be important to you and your future.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  13. Jacob DeLuca says:

    Chuck,

    It was great talking to you on the phone tonight and getting to know you better, I definitely misjudged you. I am glad we could clear things up with no hard feelings. I hope to meet with you soon, I am looking forward to that steak! Take care.

    -Jacob

  14. Daisy Smith says:

    Just curious, when Chairman Connor was first appointed, was he “a friend of the theological direction of the ARP Church”? If I had been asked without reading this, I would have thought surely… just curious. And wondering who the interim will be. Praying for EC.

    • Dear Ms. Daisy Smith,

      Thank you for your comments and questions.

      Before I respond to your inquiries, let me say I love your name. Daisy is a name I haven’t seen in a long, long time. It brings back memories of an aunt I loved dearly.

      You ask, “When Chairman Connor was first appointed, was he ‘a friend of the theological direction of the ARP Church’?” Well, that was how he was promoted by his pastor Rev. Matt Miller of the Greenville ARP Church. Pastor Miller pressed hard for the appointment of Mr. Conner. He described him as the most spiritual man on the Session of the Greenville ARP Church. He said Mr. Conner would protect the interests of the of the ARP Church. Mr. Conner has done everything but protect the cause of the ARP Church.

      You also asked as to who will be the Interim President. Mr. Conner has to win this battle first. Who knows! I don’t expect it right now, but there may be a “no confidence” vote in Chairman Conner. That would be interesting!

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  15. Jay West says:

    Chuck,

    I must say that I am deeply distressed over your treatment of Neil Jones, and in the lack of civility concerning your comments. I am disappointed that you would leak anything that would compromise David Norman or his family. He has a wife and two young children. you know the truth behind what happened before, and my family was the recipient of this kind of malice. Please do not use Norman’s family as a tool to prove a point. It is no secret that I did not believe Norman to be the right person for the presidency when he was selected. Yet, David and I have had very civil and congenial conversations. We simply disagreed. He did not assassinate my character, nor I his. However, as a former recipient of your insidious ability to create unmerited havoc, I can’t say that I am surprised that you have relegated yourself to the ranks of investigative, secular journalism.

    As a fellow student with Neil Jones and Scott Davis at Erskine in the early eighties, I know both gentlemen to be men of unquestionable character and remarkable ability. Why is it that the ARPC frowns so highly on individuals who have represented the institution so well post-graduation? In the late eighties and nineties, the ARPC touted the accolades received by such promising alumni. Now, those with no loyalty to the institution within the ARPC continue to assassinate character, malign reputations, deceive, and create havoc, rather than embracing the diversity that exists in the body of Christ.

    Personally, if Neil Jones were to serve on the BOT again, and Scott Davis was asked to be the president by the BOT, I would have complete and unwavering confidence in the future of EC. Understand, these two men you referenced (Jones and Davis) are of the highest quality with regard to their scholarship, professionalism, character, and FAITH. You simply disagree with their vision and the vision of the “Old Erskine.” That does not mean that you need to embark on a crusade against them.

    The problem is one that has presented a solution several times over. If the two parties would begin with integrative negotiations, rather than distributive (buying a used car), both would realize there is a settlement to benefit all. The ARPC deserves the right to train their own minsters. The college, on the other hand, has been built with the blood, sweat, and tears of many alumni and friends. So, let the ARPC take the seminary, and the alumni take the college. It is not that difficult. The more we all continue to fall into the falsehood that once a power shift has occurred all will be well, is a gross miscalculation.

    Chuck, I do not want to see the seminary or the college fall into to complete disrepair. I still love the ARPC, as I knew it. I will would work tirelessly for both to be successful, but not together. The newer members of the clergy do not understand the depth of our heart for an institution we love, nor do we understand their passion for changing an institution into something it cannot be in the future. Erskine has always worked because of the people. I have a similar pedigree as Neil Jones. My parents, aunts, uncles, great grandmother, in-laws, are all graduates of Erskine, and I have two sons currently enrolled. All I ask is that you and the ARPC take a breath, and consider why it is that many of us love the institution so deeply.
    There is a solution at hand, and time is of the essence. I long for a day when I can cheer for the success of all parties involved.

    • Neil Jones says:

      Jay, thank you for those kind words, but you give me way too much credit. To clear up one point – I have no direct pedigree at Erskine. If you look closely at my first post, you will see that almost all of the relatives that I mentioned are Erskine graduates by way of marriage. I was the first person in my direct family to ever receive a four-year bachelor’s degree and to ever even have the opportunity to attend a school like Erskine. I must confess that I am basically just a good ole’ country boy who was given enough smarts and graciousness by God and his parents, and who was given the opportunity to attend Erskine by the Stuart family, so that I could be relatively successful in a career and extremely satisfied in life and faith. Most importantly, Erskine and the Stuarts gave me the ability to have followed His plan to find the woman and her family with whom I fell in love almost 30 years ago. She, and they, are the ones who give me, by way of marriage, my “Erskine Pedigree”.

      To answer Chuck’s continued questioning, I remain extremely excited about my daughter being able to carry on in her mother’s, grandmother’s, and great-grandmother’s footsteps at MY Erskine, regardless of the issues that exist today. She will be a 4th-generation female Erskinite. That is an unbelievable accomplishment and shows Erskine’s true character and draw. Erskine is a place where bloodlines come back to on the one hand but on the other is a place where people like my three best friends at Erskine (whom I met at orientation in 1981 and who are still my best friends today) and me come without hardly any connection at all. We find that Erskine is all that we thought it would be the moment we pull in to Due West. We were not privy to hear stories of the “Old Erskine” and were not always destined to be at Erskine like all of my wife’s siblings. That combination, Chuck, is what makes Erskine great. Unfortunately, it is something that those who are not Erskine graduates (even if you are an Erskine Seminary graduate) cannot possibly comprehend. As I said previously, despite the present turmoil, Erskine remains a place where students receive a great liberal arts education in a warm, nurturing, and Christian environment. My prayer is that enough professors and staff from today’s Erskine will be around the next four years to fulfill my hope.

      The thing that is certain in everything that Chuck and Jay have said about me is that I still love MY Erskine College. In addition, Chuck’s implications are correct – now is a very critical time in the life of the institution. The college (not the Seminary) sits on the precipice between long-term success and immediate failure. If the wrong decision is made this time, I believe that Erskine College will eventually cease to exist. It is time to end 15 years of turmoil (and, yes, Chuck, this started in 1998) before we lose the people at the college, both professors/staff and students, that make Erskine what it is and what it can and should be.

      Chuck, while I will give you credit that your facts about what is going on at Erskine are usually spot on, your accusations, insidious tone, and wayward principles do nothing more than throw fuel on a fire that is now about to rage again. The bottom line is that it is time for this fire to be extinguished and either, as Jay suggests, the “Old Erskine” alumni need to prevail or the ultra-conservatives with no connection to the College (as opposed to the seminary) need to prevail. Perhaps, however, there is a way for both groups to prevail.

      Jay’s proposed solution has been one that has been discussed over the last 10 or so years and it is now time, in my opinion, to put it into place. Chuck, you are wrong about the college not belonging to the students and, instead, belonging to the ARP Church. As with any institution, whether it is educational, business, or political in nature, an institution belongs to the institution’s constituents. If constituents are “paying” for the institution, reaping the rewards from the institution, and suffering the losses from the institution, then the constituents own the institution. In businesses, the shareholders own the business – they reap the rewards of successful profit margins and they take the financial losses when the business is unsuccessful. Voters are supposed to own their political representatives such that the constituents decide their fate at the next election. It is the same way with educational institutions of higher learning. The students and alumni, who are paying to receive an education or to give others the education that they received, reap the rewards of success but also feel the pain of failure. The ARP Church does not reap the rewards of a successful education model and the Church certainly does not feel the pain if Erskine ceases to exist. Yes, there will be something missing amongst the Church’s missions if Erskine College is no more, but will the Church really suffer? In fact, the Church might actually fluorish and prosper because Synod can then turn its attention to more pressing issues such as the leading and maintaining of God’s children in a relationship with Christ. It is the students and the alumni who will suffer if Erskine College fails. They are the ones who reap the rewards of an academically-excellent Christian education and they are the ones who will feel the loss. They are the ones who “own” the college. So, yes, Chuck, it IS MY Erskine College (and, for you, it is YOUR Erskine Seminary). I understand that the ARP Church created the college and I understand that the Church supports it financially (somewhat – I don’t remember what the percentage is, but is only a minute portion of the College’s annual budget). But, the College was created for the purpose of empowering students with Christian commitment and academic excellence. Those two ideals are not impossible to simultaneously achieve. But, if this battle continues, they will become impossible, at least at Erskine. I certainly hope the Board (and Church) adopt Jay’s plan. In my opinion, that is the only way both sides can be successful in this mess. Each group comes away with what should mean the most to it. If those who are pushing the doctrines and philosophies that are seen as an enigma to those of us who want the “Old Erskine” to return are given the Seminary, they can experiment and direct all they wish. In fact, if they want to ultimately start a new college that upholds the same principles and ideals that guide the Seminary, that would be fine as well. Shoot, I bet some good ole’ country boy might even be willing to give them free services to explore the possibility that the Erskine trademarks and name can co-exist without creating confusion in the market!

      • Dear Mr. Neil Jones,

        Thank you for your comments – I guess!

        One. Of all the arrogant and elitist nonsense! You write: “Those who are not Erskine graduates . . . cannot possibly comprehend.” So, you’re the first class people and the rest of us are field hands? Erskine is just a college – a place to get an education. Indeed, Erskine is unique. Just like every other college is unique. You guys don’t know who to worship as God, do you?

        Two. You write the following regarding this conflict: “Chuck, this started in 1998.” Neil, you know as well as I know, this conflict goes back decades. I came into the ARP Church in 1972 (26 years before 1998) and the Erskine conflict was boiling then. A cursory reading of the Minutes of Synod reveal the conflict has been boiling since the early 50s. This you know – and you know it very well! You are aware of Ware and Getty’s history of the ARP Church. They taught you, didn’t they? At this point, you have willfully and knowingly misrepresented the truth and attempted to deceive. Do we want to debate “wayward principles”? That’s not a topic for a lawyer!

        Three. Don’t lecture me on what students and alums pay. In fact, you were an EBK. You got an all expenses paid ride, didn’t you? BTW, Bill Stuart, Sr. was also a benefactor to me – at RTS. Does it not hurt your face to write these paragraphs? You were on the board with me. Don’t you remember, I was on the finance committee? In 1998, we were moaning and groaning that students were being bought instead of recruited. They are still being bought! I know what the discount rate is. It’s not a secret.

        Finally, you want me to work with you and Jay West on a project. Well, I have worked with both of you in the past. Before I do that again, I will be set on fire!

        Regards,

        Chuck Wilson
        ARPTalk

    • Dear Mr. Jay West,

      For heaven’s sake, Jay, didn’t you ban yourself from discussions on ARPTalk? Don’t you remember?

      Stop being disingenuous! Neil Jones is a lawyer; he’s not hurt anymore than I am. You’re not distressed over my treatment of Neil. You know good and well I was playing with Neil. I even said it. Besides, as narcissistic as you are, the only things distressing you are those things which pertain directly to you.

      Stop acting as though you are concerned about President Norman. You have made it very clear you’re not. No, it’s not an intellectual discussion regarding direction; it’s personal for you. Your trail of venom is very long and very public. Are the FaceBook posts still up?

      Let me correct you. You are not “a former recipient of your insidious ability to create unmerited havoc.” As is well known, that which happened to you at Erskine and in Second Presbytery was your own doing. Yes, you did it to yourself. Take responsibility for who you are.

      Well, I see you want to talk about your “pedigree”. Once again, Me! Me! Me! Don’t you ever weary of it? Who cares? Don’t you remember Theology 101? God doesn’t have grandchildren – only children. The pedigree is not what counts.

      Sorry, I can’t help you in what you want to do! I only report what’s going on.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  16. James Evans says:

    “Erskine belongs to the ARP Church”
    FALSE FALSE!!!
    you are not a shareholde! there are no shareholders for this non profit. The BOT has power, but you are NOT an owner.

    You can buy as many lunches as you want, but you spread damage everywhere you go with your lies and arrogant sense of ownership.

  17. Robert Shaver says:

    Readers of ARPTalk: It has come to our attention that this comment, identified as coming from Mr. Robert Shaver, did not come from Mr. Shaver. This was a false representation on someone else’s part, taking on Mr. Shaver’s identity and reputation.

    Based on the IP Address this comment was posted from, it matches that of Mr. James Evans and Mr. Jacob DeLuca, which indicates this comment originated from within the Erskine campus.

    As The Editor would say, “Didn’t your mamma teach you any better???”


    Original Comment:

    It’s about time you put him in his place, Dr Wilson!

    You are a father to us all, and an upstanding and honorable church leader.
    Thank you for separating his nonsense and protecting our Christian way of life!

    • Robert Shaver says:

      The preceding post is a despicable and blatant lie. I did not post this. It was created to make me look like Chuck’s personal lapdog, which I most certainly am not.

    • To the person or persons who falsely posted in Mr. Robert Shaver’s name:

      Shame on you! You have acted as a malicious idiot! You don’t need to be in a college; you need to be in a jail. YOU ARE NOT A CREDIT TO YOUR COLLEGE!

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  18. Daniel Stephens says:

    I think this sums up the last 24 hours of comments well:

    Let’s try to get some reasonable discussion going. I have a degree from Erskine, so I’d say I’m moderately pedegreed (sorry for the pun I couldn’t resist).

    I’ve read the synod minutes, old Mirror issues, and looked at other documents and I just don’t see the old Erskine everyone is talking about. I see the same conflict going on, sometimes with more heat and sometimes with less. But since the 50s-60s Erskine and the ARP have come to be defined by their strained relationship with each other.

    It seems to me the problems began in earnest when the denomination began to go liberal. The college, being an institution of the church, followed suit. The denomination stopped it’s drift and began to come back to the conservative side of the spectrum. However, the college did not follow the church back, partly due to some structural, political moves in the 70s that consolidated power among those in leadership.

    The next 30 years or so were marked by a strained relationship where the church didn’t follow through on bringing the college back. The conflict gradually intensified in the 2000s until the church did follow through in 2010.

    Essentially what I am saying is that while the amount of conflict between the church and the school has been more intense in the past few years, the conflict has been there for a long time. We shouldn’t let the intensity of the conflict blind us to the reality of the past. In short, I see the idea that there was a good old Erskine that was ruined by the church as revisionist history.

    Even if such a culture could be established at Erskine, how could it hope to survive today? A tepid, southern ‘Christianity’ may have worked in the past, but that culture is dying and dying fast. If you look at the massive cultural shifts in America in the past decade, it is clear that this sort of ‘Christian’ institution would fail to bring the requisite number of students and quickly fold.

    I think it would also be beneficial to look at the history of other institutions instead of being fixed on the church and its institution. North Greenville is more conservative than the ARP church wants Erskine to be and it has been growing in the past 2 decades. This shows that the lack of students can’t be blamed on the conservatism of the ARP church. If anything, it shows that the odds for Erskine’s survival increase with a more conservative vision.

    Even without the witness of scripture, it would be foolish for the college to break from the church and seek to establish ‘old Erskine.’ Future generations would see it as a pipe dream of those who are unwilling to follow scripture and oblivious to the broader cultural context.

    • Dear Mr. Daniel Stephens,

      Thanks for the well written comments.

      Well, of course, you’re correct!! “Olde Erskine” is a sentimental myth. For Neil Jones and Jay West, “Olde Erskine” was their college days.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  19. Jay West says:

    Chuck,

    Everyone knows that Bill Evans and his student platoon blew that way out of context and deceived others without talking to the only other person present. The issue was adjudicated by a moderator of presbytery who was in this process of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, and telling me not to speak and defend myself against false accusations. Please. Let it die!

    Chuck, as a minister of the Gospel, I am just curious how you justify constantly tearing apart the lives of others. Are you the “White Knight,” bearer of truth, and does that excuse your method and means? Seriously, I am fascinated by whatever may be your justification, please tell.

    Honestly, I have not understood how Second Presbytery or the ARPC allowed you to promote such vile and hateful rhetoric. What does that say about the heart of the church? Who is at cause?

    • Dear Mr. Jay West,

      You wrote:
      “Everyone knows that Bill Evans and his student platoon blew that way out of context and deceived others without talking to the only other person present. The issue was adjudicated by a moderator of presbytery who was in this process of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, and telling me not to speak and defend myself against false accusations. Please. Let it die!”

      My Response:
      1. I didn’t bring “it” up. You did. Read what you wrote. You started on your tired old mantra again of “Poor me! Poor me!” You let it die!
      2. You incurred the wrath of the students by your actions. Dr. Evans wasn’t needed for what ensued.
      3. The issue you referenced occurred long after you left Second Presbytery.
      4. You were treated very graciously by Second Presbytery. If you had spoken in order to defend your actions, you would have been tarred and feathered. You ought to thank the man for protecting you.

      You wrote:
      “Chuck, as a minister of the Gospel, I am just curious how you justify constantly tearing apart the lives of others. Are you the “White Knight,” bearer of truth, and does that excuse your method and means? Seriously, I am fascinated by whatever may be your justification, please tell.

      “Honestly, I have not understood how Second Presbytery or the ARPC allowed you to promote such vile and hateful rhetoric. What does that say about the heart of the church? Who is at cause?”

      My response:
      1. “White Knight” is one of the kinder things I have been called. Thank you!
      2. Well, you want to know what protects me. I will tell you. I tell the T-R-U-T-H.
      3. Jay, how dare you lecture anyone on ethics?

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  20. System Admin says:

    Dear “Voice of Reason” : You say, “I find it interesting that Mr. Wilson refused to post my comment. I think the censorship is entertaining.”

    The Editor finds it entertaining that you continue to post statements without revealing your name. As you can surely read, anonymous comments will not be posted. The Editor is happy to dialog with anyone willing to play the man and not hide behind a fake name and email.

    Cheers!

  21. Bruce Dowdy says:

    I have enjoyed reading all your comments. It gives me much information to consider and pray about. Thanks to all who have contributed thus far.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Dowdy
    Wrens ARP

  22. Scott cook says:

    Chuck,

    How long has Connor been chairman of the board and how long til his term expires?

    Scott

    • Scott cook says:

      Chuck,

      Sorry, I hit the send button before I was finished. I also meant to ask if you think he will be able to finish out his term after the firestorm he’s created?

      Scott

      • Dear Mr. Scott Cook,

        Thanks for the comments and questions.

        1. As I recall, Mr. Conner became the board Chairman when Mr. Joe Patrick rotated off the board as a trustee and chairman in 2011. According to the Minutes of Synod, Chairman Conner rotates off in 2016. He serves as Chairman at the pleasure of the board.

        2. This firestorm is not the first for Mr. Conner. He was one of those who led the board to change the bylaws and read the ARP Church out of the bylaws. He led the board to ignore the request of the General Synod to write the Synod back into the bylaws. Last year, his actions were met by a board minority report to Synod. He has proposed a “Covenant” which breaks the historic relationship between the ARP Church and Erskine. His tenure as Chairman has been marked by controversy and division.

        3. Tomorrow is an important day for Mr. Conner. If President Norman has the courage of his principles to refuse the extortionist ploy of the Executive Committee, then the “called” telephone meeting of the board is going to be fascinating. In conversation with a couple of former trustees, I don’t think a “called” telephone meeting of the board can conduct the business necessary to remove a President. A “called” telephone meeting can only communicate information. Official action will have to wait until the May meeting of the board. At that point, Chairman Conner will look foolish. He will be responsible for an unnecessary firestorm that has caused disruption on campus. This level of ineptitude can only take place on the Erskine board. Of course, he will not take responsibility for his action. The villain will be the Editor of ARPTalk for exposing the story.

        4. The storyline I reported a few days ago may have changed. Indeed, the storyline has changed if President Norman stands. The new storyline may be CONNER v. NORMAN. By midnight tomorrow we will know.

        5. If President Norman does resign, I wonder if Chairman Connor will attempt to appoint an Interim President during the “called” telephone meeting. I don’t think he can. I think the bylaws read that in the absence of the President the Vice President and Dean of the College, Dr. Bard Christie, is the Acting President until the board can meet and do otherwise.

        Regards,

        Chuck Wilson
        ARPTalk

  23. Lewis McKelvey says:

    Just want to offer some words in support of comments posted by the likes of Neil Jones, Ralph Bowling, and others want to help rekindle the “Olde” Erskine. Many of my fellow 70s/80s alums who are looking for ways to take back our school. Yes, a significant number are disturbed by the tone of Chuck’s posts, and unfortunately a significant number use this as an excuse to turn away and abandon support of the school. That mindset not withstanding, I feel that the continual sclerotic bile of Chuck’s rants and attacks are a blessing. For even those uber conservatives who’ve retained the capacity of rational thought are beginning to see damage this pervasive mindset has caused to our Alma Mater……but it’s a curable disease. Hopefully the “Olde” guard can reassemble and revive Erskine before the current virus kills it.

    • Robert Shaver says:

      I’m currently a student here at Erskine, and I’ve got a question for you. Everyone keeps throwing around the term “old Erskine”, but I’ll bet a lot of people have no clue what that means. So I ask you two questions: 1) What do you mean by Old Erskine? What defines it, and what makes it different from the “current Erskine”? and 2), do you really think that its possible to go back to the way things were in the 70s and 80s? Society is completely different now, and I really doubt that the culture of the 70s and 80s could even survive now, whether it should or not.

      Sincerely,
      Robert Shaver

      • Dear Mr. Robert Shaver,

        Thanks for your questions.

        One, you ask: what is “Olde Erskine”?

        The best definition of “Olde Erskine” comes from an alum who attended Erskine in that era. The quote is below:



        Point of clarification. The Erskine that I attended was an ARP supported school that was focused on high academic achievement and bringing in the best students from around the country and mixing them with ARP kids. We had Christians, Catholics, Jews and yes lots of atheists. We drank, we had lots of sex, (yes I said it,) some people did drugs and we played hard and studied hard. We had a mix of people from all over the country and world and the only thing that mattered was you stretched your brain. Of course we were intolerant of Chis, or Philos, or Euphies but a Jew was just a Jew and gay was just gay. Some of the best students were the ones doing the most drinking/sexing/freethinking but the idea was that you needed all of that to push people to open their minds. In my four years at Erskine, no one ever found my lack of faith to be, well, disturbing. Indoctrination and zealotry was what the seminary was for. My point is this; in the early 90s Erskine made a dramatic shift to embracing evangelism over intellect. I am sorry but you simply cannot believe in biblical inerrancy and creationism and then expect to have the best and brightest students in the country. You cant crack down on sex and alcohol and expect the best and brightest to put up with that for four years. Seem to me the ideal Erskine student already knows everything they need to know before they get there, they are just killing time waiting on a degree. There is a term for what Erskine students have now, it is an impolite term for a bunch of guys pleasuring themselves in a circle. Academics is a quest for truth, not a quest for conformity. God gave you a brain, man gave you a bible.


        I think this quote stands on its own. The question: is this what a Christian college looks like? Is this how Christianity is defined? What do you think about the quote?

        Second, you ask: do I think “Olde Erskine” will return? No! This is silly sentimentalism.

        Regards,

        Chuck Wilson
        ARPTalk

    • Dear Dr. Lewis McKelvey,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I’m sure Neil and Ralph are encouraged by your support. I hope their convalescence doesn’t take too long.

      “Sclerotic bile!” I like you! Good show! It’s good to have a man of words and style post on ARPTalk. It’s good to have a man with a doctorate in pharmacy posting on ARPTalk. It’s good to have a professor and dean at Presbyterian College posting on ARPTalk. We are honored.

      Thank you! Most liberals do not believe “uber conservatives” are capable of reading and writing and rational thought. You have honored us.

      Dr. McKelvev, you’re smart. You’re a professor and college administrator. Can you explain this: how is it the voice of ONE troglodyte has been able to do so much damage to “Olde Erskine’? I don’t think “Olde Erskine” is going to survive the wounds I have so grievously inflicted. What would happen if there were two Chuck Wilsons?

      BTW, this adds nothing to the discussion before us; however, it has been great fun. Will your mama let you come out and play again?

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  24. Tyler Durden says:

    In light of recent events I would like to nominate Chuck Wilson to become the new Erskine President. Chuck, you seem to have a good head on your shoulders and your statements seem to be in line with my personal Ethical beliefs. Hold fast! Chuck For President!!

    • My Very Dear Mr. Tyler Durden,

      Good grief! I don’t think I can thank you for this comment.

      “Chuck for President!” Tyler, the “Olde Erskine” folks are in apoplectic shock! There is cussing like you ain’t never heard!

      I like you. Thanks for the humor.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  25. Scott cook says:

    Chuck,

    My time at Erskine came considerably after the decline and fall of “Olde Erskine.” Either that, or some of the alums have a sever case of “sentimentalitis,” causing them to remember an Erskine that never existed.

    We’re things really as crazy as you say they were back in the 70′s and 80′s? Sounds like Hugh Hefner should have been a regular speaker at convo…

    Scott

    • Dear Mr. Scott Cook,

      Thanks for the comments and questions.

      I’m sure Mr. Neil Jones and his buds have a case of nostalgic memory enhancement regarding their days at Erskine. Nevertheless, if what one of their buds reports is true, their “Olde Erskine” was a raucous and higgledy-piggledy place. If what is reported, it was unworthy enough to deserve the appellation of Hugh Hefnerish. “Olde Erskine” was DARK ERSKINE. Below is how it was described:


      Point of clarification. The Erskine that I attended was an ARP supported school that was focused on high academic achievement and bringing in the best students from around the country and mixing them with ARP kids. We had Christians, Catholics, Jews and yes lots of atheists. We drank, we had lots of sex, (yes I said it,) some people did drugs and we played hard and studied hard. We had a mix of people from all over the country and world and the only thing that mattered was you stretched your brain. Of course we were intolerant of Chis, or Philos, or Euphies but a Jew was just a Jew and gay was just gay. Some of the best students were the ones doing the most drinking/sexing/freethinking but the idea was that you needed all of that to push people to open their minds. In my four years at Erskine, no one ever found my lack of faith to be, well, disturbing. Indoctrination and zealotry was what the seminary was for. My point is this; in the early 90s Erskine made a dramatic shift to embracing evangelism over intellect. I am sorry but you simply cannot believe in biblical inerrancy and creationism and then expect to have the best and brightest students in the country. You cant crack down on sex and alcohol and expect the best and brightest to put up with that for four years. Seem to me the ideal Erskine student already knows everything they need to know before they get there, they are just killing time waiting on a degree. There is a term for what Erskine students have now, it is an impolite term for a bunch of guys pleasuring themselves in a circle. Academics is a quest for truth, not a quest for conformity. God gave you a brain, man gave you a bible.


      Accordingly, “Olde Erskine” or DARK ERSKINE was characterized by: (1) an absence of Christian ethics; (2) sexual promiscuity; (3) alcohol abuse; (4) illegal drug use; (5) homosexuality; (6) open disregard for and disrespect of the evangelical faith of the ARP Church; and (7) “indoctrination and zealotry” of secularism. It was a place that embraced and celebrated “God gave you a brain, man gave you a bible.”

      AND THIS THEY CALL A “CHRISTIAN COLLEGE.” Lord, have mercy!

      But there is another Erskine. It’s the OLD ERSKINE of Christian light. It’s the Erskine that embraced and celebrated the Biblical motto of Erskine: “in thy light shall we see light” (Psalm 36:9). It’s the Erskine we in the ARP Church desire to see reborn and returned.

      I wonder if Mr. Neil Jones, a recipient of the EBK scholarship, even knows who Dr. E. B. Kennedy was. He was glad to take the money given to him in Dr. Kennedy’ name. Sadly, he rejects both the faith and vision of Dr. Kennedy.

      In a speech about a conflict similar to the one in which we are presently engaged, Dr. Kennedy wrote: “The friends of Erskine believed that the way to get right with men is to get right with God. The Synod believed then and the Synod believes now, that there is a vast difference between universities in which religion is offered as an optional study, and colleges in which it is the chief cornerstone and crown” (Centennial History of the ARP Church, 1905, p 669).

      What a ghastly Erskine these “Olde [dark] Erskine” supporters promote. It is blasphemous for them to call that Erskine Christian. “Olde Erskine” was dark. It savored of hell – not of heaven!

      “The chief cornerstone and crown” of the “Olde Erskine” crowd is dissipation.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  26. Daniel Stephens says:

    So, it’s Saturday. Any news about what happened or didn’t happen yesterday?

  27. Dear Mr. Daniel Stephens,

    Thanks for the question.

    At this time, nothing has been heard. I think President Norman called Chairman Conner’s bluff.

    The Monday “called” telephone conference meeting of the board is going to be a doozy.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

  28. Dody Morris says:

    As an outsider looking in, it seems to me that the “free ride” to Erskine needs to stop.Appartently people have just used the generousity of others for their own self serving goals, without any loyality to what Erskine should be about. This situation is a micro-system of what the United States is going through. Man struggles over right and wrong, good and evil.We are all at a pivitol point of who will win. Satan is doing his damndist to upset the apple cart. We Christians know who will be victorious. We should search our souls and ask ourselves,”Whom do I serve? Self or Christ?” Our problems,whether at Erskine, in The United States or worldwide all stem from self serving worship. What a wonderful world it would be if we put God first, others second and self third…Just sayin’

  29. Dear Ms. Dody Morris,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

  30. Jay West says:

    Chuck,

    I must say that I am impressed with your constant state of denial. What is so interesting is that I really do enjoy your company at times and the imaginary, fictitious journeys you sojourn.

    Question: Why does the newly minted leadership (past 30 years) of the ARPC even care about Erskine since they have done nothing but tear at her heart for the past 30 years? Why not just let go? Is it the endowment that is so appealing? I told you that most of the alumni understand the ARPC’s right to train their clergy. So, take the seminary, and leave the college.

    Statement: The ARPC has been dying since the rise of the current regime. Churches that were once thriving are now barely filling 20% of their seats on Sunday. The truth is that the current regime began with John Carson, Jim Corbitt, and you while at Reformed Theological Seminary. The self anointed trinity recruited fiercely the disconcerted of other ultraconservative denominations. Where did that lead? A downward spiral. CAN YOU REALLY LOOK AT THE LACK OF PROGRESS OF THE CURRENT REGIME AND THINK GOD HAS BLESSED YOUR EFFORTS? Can we all say, “DENIAL?” It ain’t no river in Egypt baby. Let me guess, you will attribute the decline to all the unrighteous in the denomination. Well, you can’t use that excuse for the past 15 years. We did not hear your murmurings when John Carson was the president and he was one of you. Why now?

    Points: You have assassinated the character of Neely Gaston, Randy Ruble, Jay Herring, Richard Burnett, Michael Bush, Tom Ritchie and many others. Most of these men have come to your aid in a time of need at one point or another, especially when it counted, and you have the audacity to malign their integrity.

    I do not know of many people that will ever have the integrity of the men mentioned above. I know what you are thinking. You are right, I do not either. However, to constantly throw around false and deceitful statements about them is disheartening, especially when many of us know the lengths they went to in providing you with resolutions to your own problems. They could have absolutely castrated you before Second Presbytery. Yet, they were men of God who sought the unity and peace of the church.

    Please stop the nonsense and report on issues with integrity and honesty. I am not concerned about the men mentioned above or myself, but you have reached into the student body at Erskine and caused many to turn away from the church because of your vile hatred of others. Is that what the Gospel is about?

    By the way, I am not pretending to care about David Norman, I do care. I care that he is a human being, a member of the body of Christ, and he has a wife, and children. I have never pretended to be pleased with his appointment, but I did not relegate to a personal war. Please be cognizant of the fact that he has a family.
    In closing, you are wrong. Bill Evans went to Randy Ruble, then President, and asked for my head on a plater. Evans never spoke to me and inquired, he just went on a war path with his small militia of students (8). This is not the behavior of either a Christian or a gentleman.

    Can’t wait to see how you blast me over this comment!

  31. Dear Mr. Jay West,

    Thanks for the comments.

    You have made yourself a vexatious wearisomeness.

    Didn’t you ask me not to bring up your past again? Didn’t you ask me to give it a rest? Well, here you go again! You’re the one doing it. “Me! Me! Me! Woe is me! I have been treated so badly!” That is called narcissism.

    Jay, you have no more authority to negotiate on things regarding Erskine than I do. In fact, if I were in charge, you would not be given a seat at the table. In fact, those alums for whom you attempt to speak are not going to give you a seat at the table either. Neither side trusts you.

    Jay, your days at Erskine are “Gone with the Wind”!

    “Living Hope”: a prayer room used for storage.

    The Drummond Center: an empty box on a piece of paper.

    The Erskine hotel: never materialized.

    Finally, a Vice Presidency which nearly ended in a student revolt.

    BTW, why don’t you ask Randy Ruble why he moved you on? Are you aware Randy likes to talk – even to me?

    Jay, why don’t you give it a break? Neither one of us is going to alter direction.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

  32. Jay West says:

    Chuck,

    Why are you so bitter? Why take the predictable path of attack? By doing so, you have proven my point. Attacking others is the only tactic you and the self anointed trinity know. Bark (Corbitt). Bite (Wilson). Propose Solution (Carson). Have either you or Corbitt ever reached the conclusion that Carson used you both and never got his hands dirty?

    You failed to answer any of the questions I posed to you. Please refer to my comment and attempt to provide an answer to the questions I threw your way.

    You can bring up my past Chuck. I have nothing to hide. Do you?

    As for the alumni, most of us want the same thing and it has been clear from day one, leave us alone and go away. We have no problem being a Christian college, we just do not want to be a Pharisaic college.

    As for my days at Erskine, they are not “Gone with the Wind!” I have a heritage and two sons there now. I will fight for her independence until the day I die.

    Let’s see:

    Living Hope: Trained over 700 students. 30 students sent to China as summer missionaries. How does that compare to Oconee ARP?

    The Drummond Center: An endowed chair in political science and national recognition for the college for seven years.

    The Erskine Hotel: You’re right, but it was Carson’s idea to have it in Due West. We wanted it in another place.

    Vice Presidency: “ended in student revolt!” LOL LOL You call eight students a massive revolt when they were lied to by Drew Carlisle and Daniel Wells thanks to Bill Evans and you? LOL LOL

    You think Randy Ruble moved me on? No, my friend, I left to take a position as CEO at a firm. I trust Randy Ruble implicitly. We are dear friends. At least I don’t shake his hand so I can spit in his face.

    So, why don’t you respond by answering my questions because I really want to know how you defend the downward spiral of the ARPC.

  33. Dear Mr. Jay West,

    Okay, Jay, I will give you the last word. This discussion contributes nothing to the topic. You will now give it a break.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

  34. Scott Cook says:

    Jay West,

    I do not wish to weigh in on many of the topics being discussed. However, you brought out the tired old canard of the conservatives being the downfall of the ARP Church, and that has yet to be addressed.

    I find your argument that the “ultra conservatives” are responsible for the purported downfall of the ARP Church to be sophomoric, at best. You marshal no evidence; as former Erskine professor Bill Crenshaw reminded me frequently, assertion is not demonstration. Moreover, your argument appears in the form of a well known logical fallacy: post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Even if the ARP is in a state of decline (which you have not proven), it does not logically follow that the “ultra conservatives” are the cause of this downfall because it occurred during their “rise to power.” There are many other good, logical reasons for the downfall of a denomination.

    After all, the ARP was built in an era of Southern history where agriculture reigned supreme. Now everyone has moved to the city, except the ARP, which could well account for any numerical decline. I think such an argument is supported by looking at the directory of Synod where you will find a large portion of ARP churches (in more than one Presbytery) are out in formerly booming, but now bankrupt, agrarian areas.

    So if you must declare the ARP to be in decline, could you at least cite some evidence to show that there is a downfall, and that the conservatives actually are the cause of it?

    Scott

  35. Daniel Stephens says:

    Do we have any news regarding the Monday’s telephone conference? Thanks.

    • Dear Mr. Daniel Stephens,

      Thanks for the question.

      I do not have direct information. Chairman Conner is doing everything he can to keep a lid on the meeting. Nevertheless, this is Erskine, isn’t it? Information at Erskine is about as tight as water in a sieve.

      If one knows what can’t take place at a meeting, then one knows what probably took place. On the basis on this maxim, I will postulate the following:

      1. Since business can’t be conducted at a “called” telephone conference meeting, President Norman was not asked to resign. No business was conducted.

      2. Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee attempted to explain their conduct. I’m sure trustees were interested in their timing on this matter.

      3. I’m sure much was made of President Norman’s evaluation. With the firing of Crenshaw, the removal of others for various reasons, and the aborted reorganization of the Seminary, I’m sure President Norman was hammered. However, all this was to be expected. Were not Chairman Conner and the members of Executive Committee complicit in these matters?

      4. I wonder what was said about recruitment. Before this blowup, reports out of Due West were that recruitment for this fall was up. I’m told they were quietly predicting 200. I’d say the hearts of the recruiters are now broken!

      5. I’m sure the Executive Committee has come up with a sweeter deal for President Norman if he will resign without a fuss. In simple terms, if he will sign a “nondisclosure agreement” and disappear in the morning midst, all will be hunky-dory. Indeed, the matter will be shut down and the book closed. Chairman Conner will then hide behind the “nondisclosure agreement.”

      6. Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee are probably on pens and needles that President Norman will not resign and force a disclosure of all that has taken place. I bet they are meeting everyday by phone attempting to manage this PR disaster in the making. President Norman is proving to be unpredictable. I think President Norman has discovered courage. I think President realizes he has been betrayed by those who presented themselves as his friends, confidants, and supporters, and he is angry. Rightly so!

      7. What about SACS? Did anyone anticipate the ramifications of this? I hope so. Erskine is already on “warning.” SACS is watching. SACS doesn’t like disruptions like this. If I were President Norman, I would be on the phone with President of SACS.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  36. Scott Cook says:

    Chuck,

    Well, any news yet? Are all things still quite on the Due-Western front?

    Scott

  37. Dear Mr. Scott Cook,

    Thanks for the question.

    I’m willing to bet there is frantic e-mailing between board members. I bet pandemonium is the order of the day. I bet Chairman Conner is intimating a big announcement is imminent. I bet President Norman has responded by saying he is unaware of any announcement.

    I’m willing to postulate the following:

    1. Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee are doing their best to frame a deal that is so sweet President Norman can’t turn it down. Their reputation as leaders is on the line. Their trust-level among trustees has plummeted. With everyday President Norman doesn’t resign, the more foolish and inept Chairman Conner and the Executive Committee are made to look. At this point, their leadership looks as though they learned it from the School of the Three Stooges.

    2. President Norman has made it clear to many he feels he has been betrayed and denied voice in this matter. And so he has!! I think he wants the opportunity to face his tormenters in an open board meeting. He wants the opportunity to tell his side. And I say: good for him! Indeed, Dr. Norman and I have disagreed on many issues; however, I would never have treated him in this manner.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

  38. Dear Readers of ARPTalk,

    For you who have not heard, President Norman announced his resignation this morning.

    For you who doubted, Chuck Wilson was correct.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTal

  39. Jay Brantner says:

    Chuck,

    I graduated from Erskine in 2009. I had no family connection to the college, and I have none now. I have two siblings who have attended college elsewhere, and neither of my sisters in high school are considering EC. So I haven’t been back to Due West in years, and I haven’t followed particularly closely the goings on, although I do read your thoughts semi-regularly.

    EC was much less conservative than I expected, and it did a very hit-and-miss job of integrating faith and learning. When I was there, I saw it lose two of the biggest hits in Dr. Wingard and Dr. Weatherman. I don’t know their motives, but I suspect that the battle between more conservative and liberal factions played a role. I was worried that we would lose more of the best people and replace them with people who did a lesser job of integrating faith and learning. So I went to bat for the conservative side, thinking that if they won, Erskine would get more consistent, positive direction. I met you, Chuck, and had a quite pleasant lunch at a Mexican restaurant in [okay, I don't remember the town].

    But the people on the other side have valid concerns as well. Just as I was concerned we’d drop the “faith” part of “faith and learning,” they are concerned we’d drop the “learning.” And their fears may have been well-founded. Some of the best professors Erskine had at integrating both at a high level–people like Dr. Elsner, Dr. Sniteman, and Dr. Woodiwiss–were not the favorites of the conservative side. There may not have been any calls for their firing (that I know of), but would I blame my opponents for fearing that they may be targeted if the conservatives won the day? Absolutely not. It’s hard to predict how a revolution will go, even if your side wins, and we should welcome the other side’s reminders not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Right now, Erskine seems far away, and my emotional connection to her future is faint. I want my degree to be worth something, but I have two M.A. degrees from nationally known schools, and they’ll be worth just as much or just as little no matter what happens to EC. But when I see this debate, it makes me sad. I look through the comments, and I see no charity. If I looked through my own comments from four years ago, maybe I would see a lack of charity there too. I’ve had classmates comment in this thread, and perhaps they would tell me things I don’t want to hear.

    Moving forward, I do not wish that either side pull punches in getting its point across. What I would like to see is respect between fellow Christians who are all genuine in their (opposed) beliefs about the best direction for the future of Erskine. I’m seeing lots of people speaking what they view as the truth (and I’m far enough away that it’s hard to comment on what actually is the truth), but much less of speaking in love. Keep searching for truth. But do it in love. We can have polemics without insults and arguments without name-calling.

    These are my thoughts,

    Jay Brantner

    • Dear Jay Brantner,

      Thanks for the comments.

      I remember you well. We did have a good time, didn’t we?

      You say you wish we could have a civil discussion between Christians. I would like that too. The problem is the word “Christian.”

      When one defines “Christian” for a Christian college as a place were there is (1) a near absence of and scorn for Christian ethics, (2) sexual promiscuity is tolerated, (3) alcohol abuse is allowed for minors, (4) illegal drug use is allowed, (5) homosexuality is tolerated as an alternative lifestyle, (6) the evangelical Christian faith is openly attacked in the the classroom under the guise of “critical thinking,” and (7)“indoctrination and zealotry” of secularism is celebrated for “God gave you a brain, man gave you a bible,” then I have a problem with the definition. Such a definition is not Christian; rather, it is pagan. If this were a debate between Christians, this debate would have been over long ago.

      Many of us like to think this is a debate between Christians; it isn’t. The two views being promoted are as different a night and day.

      BTW, in my part of this debate, I have not brought any of the professors of which you spoke into it. For the most part, my comments have been aimed at the board, administration, the advocates of “Olde Erskine,” and the like. Also, I do not expect to bring them into the debate.

      Jay, it was really good to hear from you again. Come back to Seneca. Let’s do lunch again. Call me at 864-882-6337 and tell me what you have been doing.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

  40. Daniel F. Wells says:

    Just for the record, Dr. Woodiwiss was one of my favorite professors at Erskine (I never had Dr. Sniteman or Dr. Elsner for a class). One of the best lectures on relating theology to the academy I heard in Dr. Woodiwiss’ American Government class his first year on the job. We disagreed on some things, but I made sure to tell him how much I enjoyed his classes my senior year. I just wish my ‘senioritis’ wasn’t so great and that I would have been a better student for him.

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing with my friend, Jay. Just telling everyone that Dr. Woodiwiss is the man. (And congratulations is due to him for his recent award.)

    • Dear Mr. Daneil Wells,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Regards,

      Chuck Wilson
      ARPTalk

    • Jay Brantner says:

      To be clear, when I said “not the favorites of the conservative side,” I didn’t mean “were hated by the conservative side” but rather “were not the examples usually trotted out as the people we need more of.” But I can certainly understand folks thinking that the conservative side wanted to toss out everyone but the Bible and Philosophy Department. It’s not what most of us (maybe not any of us) think, but like I said, revolutions can be unpredictable, and while I disagree with a lot of people on a lot of things, I applaud their vehemence in making sure great profs like these are kept.

      I think we’re together on this one. Dr. Woodiwiss is awesome!

      • Dear Jay Brantner,

        Thanks for the comment.

        Indeed, we are together. I don’t know Dr. Woodiwiss; however, I know you, Daniel, and others who speak highly of him. Dr. Woodiwiss’ reputation goes before him.

        Regards,

        Chuck Wilson
        ARPTalk

  41. Reiggin Hilderbrand says:

    Chuck,

    I just wanted to say thank you for keeping us on the outside up-to-date on the goings-on at Erskine. If it wasn’t for your blog, I wouldn’t know a THING about most anything that happens in Due West. It amazes me that no one else covers these things and that without your blog, they would be hidden from a good many folks (alumni included). Please do not ever be discouraged by those that would say your blog is just gossip. It’s a far cry from gossip to me and I’m sure others. I’m sure the statistics from the site’s unique viewers would testify to the same. People come here to find out what all the other people won’t tell them.

    Your blog is invaluable and I know that history will look back on it like the words of a prophet speaking out in the wilderness. I say all of this in complete sincerity. You are in my prayers, friend. And if I’m ever driving through Seneca, I’ll call you up in advance.

    Thank you,
    Reiggin

  42. Wilfred Bellamy says:

    Chuck,

    The incipient evil in the Erskine situation is not only the unworthy treatment of David Norman, even though I find that reprehensible, but it is the cavalier manner in which lies and deceit are spread as truth among the people of God and we are supposed to simply swallow what we are told even when common sense screams against it. We know that God is the Judge of all the earth, and we know that He will do what is right. We are not to be concerned about His control, but we are to be concerned about spiritual wickedness in high places. That’s where I find myself troubled.

    Blessings, Wilf.

  43. David Lathan Mims, Jr. says:

    Personal…
    Chuck
    Having just discovered your wonderful work on behalf of EC-ARP, I would appreciate the opportunity to get acquainted. I am in Clemson often.
    Thank you
    David
    540-290-7740

  44. Dear David Lathan Mims, Jr.,

    Thanks for the comment and invitation.

    I am looking forward to meeting you.

    Regards,

    Chuck Wilson
    ARPTalk

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