Despite our Presbyterianism, most are unaware the ARP Church has an ecclesiastic who sits de facto as a bishop over a board and agency of General Synod. The chairman of the Erskine board sits without ecclesiastical parallel in the history of the ARP Church. And he, as was his two predecessors, is unparalleled in the use of his office to resist the will and directives of General 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.
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.
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.
The meeting of the General Synod did not end but fizzled out like a wet firecracker for want of a quorum at about 8:00 PM on Thursday, June 7. I am still depressed. How does one describe the 2012 meeting of Synod? Erskine, Erskine, Erskine, Erskine ad infinitum, ad nauseum. And Wolves.
What’s Going on at Erskine? Have You Noticed That Reality at Erskine Ain’t as Real as It Is Outside of Due West?
How is the ARP Church an “external influence” (like the Alumni Association, EC Foundation, the Due West Subway restaurant, and the homeowners’ association) and not an “internal influence”? If Erskine administrators say they are under Synod’s Manual of Authorities and Duties, how is the ARP Church an “external influence” and not an “internal influence”? An “external influence” cannot do the above things. Yet the ARP Church is now identified as an “external influence” by the administration. Oh, the irony of the howling contradiction! And, pray tell, how is it that SACS and ATS are not turning flips over these things?
Last week, an unsigned “attack piece” was released by EBOT Chairman Joe Patrick as an official response from the EBOT to the signers of the Minority Report. It flings double-speak, half-truths, misdirection, avoidance of findings, unctuous pseudo-piety, self-justification, and threats of reprisals like water at the signers. WHY? They were caught by the signers of the Minority Report in their treachery and exposed with their drawers down!
Folks, I am so tired of this. I am tired of Erskine College telling the ARP Church that has birthed them, prayed for them, and given more than $20,000,000 in the last 40 years to stay out of their business. I thought they WERE our business. What we are asked is to drink water from a poisoned well! I will not do it!
According to Julie Andrews in the film Mary Poppins, “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” is a word that one says when one has nothing to say. It is a nonsense word meaning nothing. And if there is a better word to describe some of the goings on in the ARP and Erskine communities nowadays, I do not know it. Indeed, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious maximus!
With all the miseries that have beset the ARP Church regarding Erskine College (EC) and Seminary (ETS) the last five years, an obvious thing has been lost in the miasma of words. That is, all roads lead to Greenville. Well, I suppose all roads lead to GARPC. One gets a feeling there is an embedded institutional incestuousness when begin to look at the players involved.
The blowing of the wind that you heard and felt a few days ago was the collective sigh of relief that came out of Due West, SC. The question terrifying Erskine was whether or not ATS would forgive ETS for all the indiscretions that occurred under the “reign of incompetence” of Harvey Gaston. Also in this article is a current-events demonstration of what happens when a denomination fights for its college. Would the ARP had been so bold…
Though the responses of the session of the Greenville ARP Church to those who brought charges against Dr. Taylor are somewhat tedious and convoluted and overreaching at points, the basic argument includes that Dr. Taylor sincerely believed that as an EBOT trustee he was doing the right thing when he filed suit against the ARP Church in civil court. Well, are we now to assume that we have a higher vow for elders and ministers – The Vow of Sincerity?
The Erskine Theological Seminary Self-Study Report was finished and distributed in January. At 465 pages, the document is a massive chronicle of the monumental failure that ETS has become as a result of the feckless leadership these last years. What the Editor of ARPTalk has been reporting for the last four years and the Moderator’s Commission report from the “Snow Synod” now has a stamp of validation.
Other than the photograph, there is NOTHING beautiful about this issue of ARPTalk. It is about as FAR OUT as one can get in the realms of the bizarre and surreal without going through the Looking Glass and having mercury and lead laced tea with the Mad Hatter at the cotillion of the evil and insane Queen of Hearts. Reading the comments posted is something like eating a Lay’s potato chip: “Bet you can’t eat just one! Indeed, the Editor challenges the reader to look at the third part of the issue and read just one post and stop.
It is time now to TURN THE PAGE on the “Bill Crenshaw Era” at Erskine. The last chapter of this story has been written. The Faculty Executive Committee is satisfied that the College followed the procedures for dismissal as outlined in the College Faculty Manual and that Dr. Crenshaw’s procedural rights have not been violated.
It is safe to say that it would have been unthinkable at that time for anyone in the ARP Church to envision Erskine Seminary as a place where there would be attempts to undermine and even betray the theological tenets of the ARP Church. In the last 40 years, what once was unthinkable has been thought and has taken place and is continuing at Erskine Seminary.
There is a constant call on the Alums’ Facebook Site for contributions to be made to the EC Foundation. The EC Foundation reportedly has a war chest of at least $150,000 to bring a civil suit against the ARP. Four of the EC Foundation Directors are ARP Elders (Can we hear echos of Parker Young?). What will the ARP Church do when this takes place?
An Open Letter to the Participants at the Monday Pre-Synod Meeting at Reformation Presbyterian Church
I think most of us who were participants in the 2011 General Synod of the ARP Church arrived at Bonclarken discouraged and left for home encouraged. Honestly, I expected more and deeper division amongst us; however, I returned home with a renewed hope for unity and renewal in the ARP Church.
Well, the June/annual meeting of the General Synod of the ARP Church has come and gone, and the Editor of ARPTalk is not depressed. The Editor, in fact, was surprised by both the actions of the Erskine Board of Trustees (EBOT) and the General Synod (GS). Included is a recounting of the highpoints of the meeting of the 2011 General Synod with commentary.