Enjoy, if you will, this Easter 2012 sermon written by the Reverend Mark Wright, Pastor of the Unity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Piedmont, South Carolina.
What did the Roman soldiers know about Jesus? A great deal, I think! What did the Roman soldiers think of the spectacle of the trial, condemnation, and crucifixion unfolding before them? How did they account for such hatred and rejection of Jesus by the mob and the religious authorities? Better still, how do we?
With a “G-O-L-L-Y!”, a “Shazam!”, and a “Sur-prise! Sur-prise! Sur-prise!”, a spark of hope still burns for the reformation of Erskine as the Erskine board now has an evangelical Christian majority! In the words of Bob Dylan: “Times they are a changin’!”
Since the initial news a month ago (December 10, 2012) of the accrediting agency SACS putting Erskine College & Seminary on “warning” status, not a word has been heard out of Radio Due West. Where is the transparency promised by the Erskine administrators and board leaders? Where is the open communication with the ARP Church promised by Erskine administrators and board leaders? The sound we are now hearing is recreant silence! And the recreant silence is deafening!
Understanding the limits of tolerance in an engine is of the utmost importance for the reaching of any performance goals. Despite the laws of physics, empirical evidence, and common sense, there is a deep underlying pseudo-scientific worldview exalting unlimited tolerance (multiculturalism) as the one rule to which all of life must be subject.
Well, it’s the Christmas Season again. Erlene loves all things Christmas, and, somehow, her delight in Christmas has transformed her husband, a recovering Grinch, into a Christmas-lover. The story of Christmas is the story of a MIRACLE – the miracle of the Virgin Birth of Jesus. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”.
The news coming out of Dallas at the meeting of SACS is calamitous for Erskine College. Erskine’s accreditation has not been renewed! The reason: administrative incompetence – the very warning given by the Moderator’s Commission at the 2010 “Snow Synod”.
When we in the ARP Church are confronted with the history of Erskine, what do we say? Have we hastened to obey God? Knowing the “right thing,” have we attempted to do it? The 2013 meeting of General Synod is the time for us to “Carpe Diem” and “hasten” to obey God.
If you have never seen “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” you need to put this movie on your “must-watch” list, as it aptly describes the experience of President David Norman as he was on the way to the October 17 and 18 Erskine board meeting, which he expected would be uneventful. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the board meeting…
Our congregational statistics indicate we have become non-participants in the harvest work of Christ’s Church and God’s Kingdom. “Zero” was not an uncommon number for “adult-professions-of-faith” in many of our congregations, including some flagship congregations. What is wrong with us? We claim to be evangelicals. We claim we love, uphold, and promote the Bible. We claim we believe in evangelism. We wear “orthodoxy” as a banner. We are the heirs of those who promoted the free-offer of the Gospel. What has gone wrong with us? Why has the glory gone?
The first time I remember someone talking about Psalm 91:7 was in 1965 while in college. One of my professors left us opened-mouthed with stories of escapes from death while in Vietnam. He told us his wife came to him the night before he shipped out and handed him a piece of paper with Psalm 91:7 hand copied on it, and how it become a ritual for him to quote Psalm 91:7 before he flew out on a mission and when he returned. Dr. Jackson came to experience Psalm 91 as “SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS.”
After years of patience with the trustees and administrators at Erskine, the General Synod rebuked, admonished, and attempted to correct the sins, the heresy, and the malfeasance of administrations past. Their response decried the actions of Synod, contending the ARPC acted intemperately, prejudicially, and illegally in our efforts to deal with the sins and abuses at Erskine. Sin is at our door and we will not address it? We ignore the sin. We cover the sin. We do not call for repentance. We do not call for newness of life. No wonder God is withholding his blessing!
According to reliable sources, the “blame” game has begun – well, unofficially, at least! At the board meeting on August 17th and 18th, in scattered and private conversations, the lament, “ARPTalk is killing us!”, was overheard. To blame the Erskine disaster on Chuck Wilson and ARPTalk is a gratifying but ultimately ridiculous act of blame-shifting.
Ms. Jane Green’s letter of resignation on July 29 from Erskine Theological Seminary was a surprise. Fourteen months ago she was brought on board ETS with a record of success and a sterling reputation for industry and integrity. The reasons she lists for her resignation are plain and damning.
For more than 40 years, the modus operandi of the administrators of Erskine College & Seminary (now EC&GSR) was to ignore ALL statements of “faith and practice” made by the ARP Church. Should we now expect the newly restructured EC&GSR of President David Norman’s administration to function differently? In 2008, the same old MO of ignoring Synod was attempted; however, the situation has changed. The MO of ignoring is not as easy as it once was.
Throughout history, God has inspired individuals who have inspired us to look at eternal truths. They have given us new perspectives, challenged us to think in new ways, and shown us a vision of our times through the light of the Spirit. Unlike the Old Testament prophets, every word they speak is not correct, but even so God uses them.
The enclosed article below is by Mr. Craig Mutton. Mr. Mutton and his family are members of the Unity ARP Church, Piedmont, South Carolina. “Let me make it clear that I have not spoken out because I like to participate in controversy. In fact, I hate confrontation. I would much rather see our denomination in the place of Psalm 81:13-16 than in the place of Psalm 109:6-15.
According to President Norman, the following restructuring at Erskine has occurred: Erskine College has absorbed ETS into what looks like “Erskine College and Graduate School of Religion” This plan has not been presented to or approved by the board. Certainly, the ARP Church was not consulted. Does permission from or what the ARP Church desires matter any longer in Due West? Hopefully, the trustees will pause for a moment of silence to show respect for the memory of Erskine Theological Seminary.
I am forced to repeat a maxim I believe to be incontrovertible: Do not trust any report or communiqué until it is shown to be factual! Sadly, what comes out of Belk Hall rarely resembles reality. Mr. Cliff Smith, Director of Communications at Erskine, attempts to blame WORLD Magazine for Erskine’s plight. The reporter(s) of WORLD Magazine described the mess and got it right. ERSKINE MADE THE MESS!
In the wild, the wolf is an apex predator at the top of the food chain. In Biblical parlance, because the wolf is a dangerous carnivore that feeds on sheep (and anything else she catches), Isaiah’s juxtaposing of a wolf and a lamb living in harmony becomes an eschatological symbol of millennial and eternal peace. The wolf is a cunning, remorseless, and edacious hunter. “Wolf” is one of the terms used to specify the heretical teacher. Are there “wolves” in the ARP Church? If there are “wolves” in the ARP Church, where would one go to find the wolf’s den? Is it not time that we not only exposed but were RID of the wolf’s den?