Separation of Church and School — by World Magazine

by Mickey McLean at World Magazine

The struggle over the governance of Erskine College and Seminary continues

The ongoing battle between the board of trustees of Erskine College and Erskine Seminary and their founding denomination, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, over the governance of the schools remains unresolved following the ARPC’s annual denominational meeting that ended Thursday.

ARPC pastors and ruling elders, who make up the delegates to the denomination’s highest court, the General Synod, voted to appoint committees to continue to study the issue and report back at next year’s annual meeting.

In making the motion to continue to study the situation, former ARPC Synod moderator Steve Maye said, according to a reporter for The Aquila Report

Read More

Minority Report of Erskine Trustees Regarding the Erskine Board’s Response to the General Synod

The following report is presented to the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (the Synod) in response to the action taken by the Erskine Board of Trustees (the Board) at its February 17, 2012 meeting.

A majority of the Board refused to thoroughly address a motion made at Synod’s 208th meeting stating in summary that they did not concur with changing the charter to recognize Synod’s authority to remove trustees, and that they did not seek further dialogue on this issue.

We recognize that the issues discussed below have a lengthy history, and that the current Board’s action (as well as actions of the Boards of the past quarter century), which necessitates this report is yet another episode in the story of ongoing tension between these two bodies.

We also recognize that these issues are complex, and we urge that delegates to the General Synod read this response with care. The stakes are high, for the historic relationship between the General Synod and its educational institutions now hangs in the balance. In addition, it is time for the Synod to move its focus to preaching the Word, discipling believers, and reaching the lost for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The list of Minority Report signers is varied—those who voted against the Board’s action and who voted for it (on the basis of information provided by the Board’s ad hoc Committee that has now been demonstrated to be factually incorrect), but now realize that their vote was mistaken. All are united, however, in the conviction that the Board’s action was not in the best interests of Erskine and that it was less than faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ.

Read More

A message from Erskine Board of Trustees Chair Joe Patrick

Dear Ministers and Elders,

Prior to the June 2012 meeting of the General Synod, I wanted to follow up regarding my previous note. Earlier I had communicated the Erskine Board of Trustees’ response to the 2011 Synod motions regarding the removal of trustees from the Erskine Board.

David Conner has given a presentation on these motions to the Board of Trustees (at its February 2012 meeting) and to various other groups since that time, including the Executive Board of General Synod. The presentation contains some of the numerous materials that are cited in the Board’s response to General Synod. The requirements of the accrediting agencies were more stringent than many of us anticipated and the materials demonstrate the constraints which shaped the Board’s decision.

In the interest of transparency, I have included materials in the presentation that explain the Board’s position.

Read More

Louisiana College Wins Legal Battle for Inerrancy — Lessons for the ARP Maybe?

Liberal professors “candidly testified [before the court] that their errant view of the Bible was in conflict with the inerrant beliefs of the [school] administration.”

The professors filed suit in 2005 against the school amid a growing furor over the school’s movement away from Baptist doctrine. The professors fueled the controversy with statements they made during class, including voicing skepticism over the bodily resurrection of Jesus and Mary’s virginity, school President Joe Aguillard said.

In response to complaints from parents and students about how liberal the small college in Pineville, La., had become, the Louisiana Baptist Convention appointed a new slate of conservative trustees to oversee operations, Aguillard said: “Their goal was to bring the college back to its biblical roots.”

They have now won the mandate to finish those goals.

Result? During the last five years enrollment has grown by 89 percent.

What are the lessons for the ARP?

Read More

How Does Erskine Implement Christian Education? — Two Opinions

Two Opinions about implementing Christian Education.

ONE: I can watch on my television as three hundred cyclists climb the Alps and then race through the streets of Paris toward the finish line, not having any idea whatsoever which one is engaged in Christian cycling and which is practicing Jewish cycling perhaps or Hindu cycling. In other words, the activity itself, though practiced by a Christian, has really not changed at all in and of itself. Therefore, there is no such thing as Christian Education either.

TWO: There is no doubt that the Bill of Rights is the Bill of Rights whether one studies it at UC Berkeley or Regent University. One could therefore try to make the case that the adjectives “progressive” and “conservative” are meaningless as applied to constitutional jurisprudence. That would be news to the faculty and students at either institution. Or one might say that because Yale Divinity School and Westminster Theological Seminary use the same Greek New Testament, the adjectives “evangelical” and “non-evangelical” are vacuous in New Testament studies.

Obviously, the term Christian Education has meaning.

Read More

Erskine Alumni Association Newsletter — April, 2012

Dear Alumni,

Spring is breaking out all over Due West with fresh colors and new beginnings.  Alumni Weekend with our annual Association meeting will be coming up Saturday, April 28.  This event signals new beginnings as well.

To kick off our meeting, Erskine’s 15th president, Dr. David Norman, will be sharing with our Association how he has quickly come to love Erskine.   We will also be electing six new Alumni Board Directors and giving consideration to a revision of the Association’s Constitution and Bylaws.

There are many reasons for you to plan now to come to Due West April 27-28 for Alumni Weekend.  Come see how beautiful the campus looks, come hear how Dr. Norman has fallen in love with Erskine, come make your mark on our Association’s future, and come spend a day with friends.   You’ll be glad you came.  You’ll see how a new generation is flourishing and return home with refreshed memories of the academic village we know as Erskine.

With confidence in Erskine’s future,

Nan Campbell

President, Erskine Alumni Association

Read More

Erskine Spring Break Widow's Service Ministry Project

Visit the Erskine RUF website

A dozen students, a dozen widows?

12 Erskine students spent the week of Spring Break ministering to about 12 widows in the Honea Path, SC area doing various yard and house cleaning projects. The week of ministry included having conversation and prayer with the widows in their homes and beginning to build relationships with them that can continue to grow over the course of time.

Campus Ministry at Erskine has partnered with Widow’s Watchman Ministries (Bill and Janae May) of Honea Path, SC to incorporate college students into ministry-service opportunities that attempt to fulfill the ‘true religion’ spoken of in James 1:27. For the week, the guys camped outdoors and the girls camped indoors while the days were filled with work projects and the nights were filled with conversations, devotions and fellowship with one another. Each student was asked to raise $150 to cover the expenses of their meals and to raise support for Widow’s Watchman Ministries. It was a great week of growing together and serving together as we sought to ‘be’ the kind of people we have been created, called and redeemed to be!

Read More

Erskine Alumni Survey Summary

Between September and December 2011, the Erskine Alumni Association conducted a survey that sought to better understand giving trends and perspectives among Erskine alumni. If you were among those who participated, thank you for your feedback. About 26% of those asked to participate responded, yielding a wealth of information and insight from nearly a thousand alumni.

We are pleased to report that in the months since the survey was initiated and conducted, the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Board, and administration of Erskine have made significant progress, working together to cultivate continued healing among Erskine’s constituencies and ensuring that Erskine’s best interests are served.

Erskine has seen some difficult times over the past few years and the effects are certainly reflected in the survey results. However, the resilience and perseverance that have characterized Erskine and her alumni for nearly 175 years have also been demonstrated in tangible ways. We are pleased that the work accomplished in recent months addresses many of the survey’s findings. In particular, the Board of Trustees and Erskine administration have made considerable headway in several key areas of concern expressed in the survey results.

Read More

Erskine College Board reaches out to ARP Synod

Written by Liz Carey, Independent Mail Friday, 24 February 2012 Erskine College said it wants to keep dialogue with the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church open, its President David Norman said. The school released another news release Wednesday to expand on a previous news release that said the school’s board of trustees…

Read More

Erskine Hopeful for Continued Dialogue with ARP Synod

Erskine trustees look forward to a continued, cooperative, and mutually beneficial relationship with the ARP General Synod.

Every message has at least two parts: content and delivery. Delivery becomes especially important when the content of a message is not what the recipient is hoping for, or when previous interactions have been difficult.

So while the Board of Trustees of Erskine College & Theological Seminary voted last week that it would not alter its charter or bylaws to provide a mechanism for its sponsoring denomination to remove trustees, Board Chairman Joe Patrick, the trustees and Erskine President Dr. David Norman are working hard to ensure that message is delivered with the same respect and genuine hope for continued peaceful dialogue with which the request was made.

The request originated with the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church last June. Norman, Patrick, and several other Erskine trustees were present at that meeting to receive the request and supported the tone of it. “I support both the tone of the request and the tone of the response,” Norman noted, “because this is a conversation. We need to keep a productive conversation going.”

Read More

Erskine College Sophomore takes Christmas break mission trip to Kenya

Written by Erskine News During the mission, the team conducted “a fantastic worship service,” Putnam said, in which two members of the mission group spoke, “and there was very lively music and joyous praise.” Some 250 people responded positively to the gospel message during the mission, she said, “which is pretty amazing.” As the fall…

Read More