Presbyterian church fires board members

By Educate Truth Staff

Christianity Today reported a conflict between Erkshine College and its denomination. Apparently the Presbyterian church has been having similar issues with one of their colleges as us.

In a special meeting March 3, the church’s Synod decided that the Board of Trustees and administration of Erskine College and Seminary have not been faithful to the church’s directives. “As a result, the synod voted 204-to-68 to restructure the Erskine Board of Trustees, firing and replacing 14 board members and keeping 16 holdovers for a 30-member interim board of trustees.”

One of the primary issues has been over the inerrancy of the Bible. A minister who runs a blog on denominational issues said, “The issue is not ‘academic freedom.’ The issue is ‘academic license’ that seeks to subvert the evangelical witness of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in higher education.” Does this sound familiar?

Like many church-based institutions of higher education, Erskine College and Seminary in Due West, South Carolina, has had many battles over the relationship between faith and learning at its campus. But the drama that unfolded at the college March 3 was unlike the online debates and denominational meeting grumblings that had come before.

In a special meeting that day, the General Synod of the denomination that sponsors Erskine—the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church—heard a commission’s report which concluded: “the oversight exercised by the Board of Trustees and the Administration of Erskine College and Seminary is not in faithful accordance with the standards of the ARP Church and the synod’s previously issued directives.”

More simply put, the commission found evidence of mission drift—as well as “a number of financial irregularities and administrative failures”—in the college and seminary and blamed the board for letting it happen. (Read Article)

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17 thoughts on “Presbyterian church fires board members

  1. There is no doubt that LSU’s Board has also failed in making sure LSU is upholding the standards the church has established for it’s schools. The time for fact finding should be over. The time for asking the university to right itself is over. LSU’s administration is in full rebellion against it’s employeer. Action now needs to be taken to restore confidence in our schools and our leadership. Further delay will only feed the rebellion and set presidence for other schools to lead their students astray.




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  2. Very interesting… and very relevant to our own issues with a very similar problem within the SDA Church and our schools of higher education. I wish that our own leadership would show a similar degree of courage to uphold the SDA fundamental ideals within our own institutions against the cries of those who would invoke “academic freedom” to undermine the stated ideals of the very Church that provides funding and the very name of these schools as “SDA” institutions.

    If a person really wants true academic freedom, that person should start his/her own school. Otherwise, there really is no such thing… not even in public universities.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. “Erskine President Randall T. Ruble… who plans to retire June 30, said his main concern is that the college could lose its accreditation with the… Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

    The move was a violation of the college’s bylaws, which say trustees can be removed only for “cause,” he said. The action was taken under a state law that allows removal of trustees of a nonprofit organization without cause, he said.”

    Guess what school is also a member of The Association of Theological Schools.
    I wonder what the state law is in California.




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  4. “The matter is very simple: Is Erskine an agency of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church or is the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church an agency of Erskine?” said Wilson. “All church and college documents are clear that Erskine is an agency of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.”

    This is what has been said all along on this site. LSU and its administration and teachers are agents of the SEVENTH-DAY Adventist church, and therefore must further its goals, mission and theology.




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  5. How tragic that religious bodies without the penetrating light available to Seventh-day Adventists appear to be showing greater courage and sounder judgment than some within our own ranks! What this demonstrates, more than anything else, is that firing teachers for theological unfaithfulness is still very legal and possible for institutions with the integrity to demand such accountability from their workers.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  6. I looked this up on the internet and Erskine is claiming that they are not owned by the church because many gifts and endowments have been given. They have gotten a judge to hold off on the reorganization until it can go to court. I asked an auditor I know about this and he said it depends on if their articles of incorporation lists them as a subsidiary or if they are just associated with the church. Many protestant churches were relunctant to have all their holdings in one basket and therefore have no real control. As you all know that is how we lost Battle Creek San.




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  7. If the Seventh-day Adventist Church did the same and fired the board of trustees, many of those fired would not only be ordained ministers, but conference officers including three presidents.

    I do not believe the church has authority to fire the board. The bylaws of La Sierra is very explicit on who elects the board of trustees. It is not the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And we are not a hierarchy. The General Conference has no authority regarding La Sierra as I understand.

    Unfortunately, the church provided for a lot of influence to be established outside of the church when the bylaws were written. It appears that over the years modifications give more power to non-church entities. I imagine that some in the school are not fearful of the church. But, they ought to fear God. He will not be mocked forever. A day of retribution is coming if repentance is not forthcoming. A line has been drawn in the sand and all are taking their stand on God’s side or against Him. Let us pray for the school and our conference officers.




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  8. okay, we can’t do this? What is holding us up on finalizing this atrosity? If the church don’t have the authority to fire board members , who does?? I truelly cannot believe that this is happening! I don’ t understand why it seems that this is not being taken serious. Maybe there are things being done behind closed doors that we don’t know about. God will get the glory from this. It seems for a while satan has the upper hand. This is serious enough, but what comes next? What happened to an intitution that did not hold up Gods laws that EG White spoke about? It was burnt to the ground! That is how serious God is about his remnant people standing up and holding the bloodstained banner! We have to continue to fight and never give up until Jesus comes! Come Lord Jesus!




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  9. Am I mistaken in my thinking that Pastor Doug is not paid by our denomination ?

    By the way, I think that North America is in the wrong for going against the decision of the church body as a whole and it should be delt with at the up coming GC meeting in Atlanta. God bless you all.




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  10. If a person really wants true academic freedom, that person should start his/her own school. Otherwise, there really is no such thing… not even in public universities. Sean Pittman

    Not so. At least for now. I attend a public college, soon to transfer to UNR in Reno NV, I’m now in my 4th semester.

    Since the beginning I have written in class discussion posts, spoken up in class discussions, applying Bible principles to the topics raised, and I continue to do so. Despite professors “ordering me to cease and desist” not one has been able to stop me, nor has one been able to force me to rewrite a post or research paper.

    Once in a Sociology 101 class discussion on homosexuality, a student began to describe in graphic detail the activities at a party of two persons of the same sex. I walked out in protest and went straight to the deans office and then to the dean of student services.

    I was told academic freedom allowed the student to express his story and “feelings.”

    Then upon reading the schools code of conduct clause, it stated speech must not exceed the bounds of what is considered in society to be normal good taste. So given the overall state of wickedness in society today, there was nothing more I could say.

    However, this same professor claimed to be a Christian minister, yet in our private discussion he complained that over 90% of the students disliked my Bible commentary, which was actually sparsely given, and demanded I stop. My reply was simply, no. I really believed that statement from him was a not true, as most students being just out of high school, were too shy to speak up and even state an opinion.

    That professor was let go after the semester, but he was also blind claiming to know the text material through audio CD’s, which obviously he did not.

    We still have freedom of speech in America, fortunately, but if that speech is slanderous, then the law provides no protection. Inflammatory speech to incite riots is of course a crime.

    My first writing assignment In Humanities 101 was to imagine myself a caveman 16 thousand years ago; and what is my world view.

    So my opening lines were “6000 thousand years ago as I was worshiping the true God, who created heaven and earth, the fountains of waters, etc., with the descendants of Adam….”

    I loaded that post up with plenty of Bible quotes as you can imagine.

    The professor, who is also a fantasy fiction writer, demanded I rewrite the piece without mentioning the Bible. I said no. I quoted him the schools academic freedom of speech policy and showed him how I was on topic according to his directions. So he backed off and I received an A.

    So contrary to Sean’s comment here, we do have academic freedom of expression. The difficulties in starting ones own school are insurmountable for most students.

    However, since LSU is a 7th day Adventist facility, there may be freedom of speech, but there should be no license to teach what is contrary to the 28 fundamentals.




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  11. Sean Pitman says,

    I wish that our own leadership would show a similar degree of courage to uphold the SDA fundamental ideals within our own institutions against the cries of those who would invoke “academic freedom” to undermine the stated ideals of the very Church that provides funding and the very name of these schools as “SDA” institutions.

    If a person really wants true academic freedom, that person should start his/her own school. Otherwise, there really is no such thing… not even in public universities.

    Steve Billiter says,

    The professor, who is also a fantasy fiction writer, demanded I rewrite the piece without mentioning the Bible. I said no. I quoted him the schools academic freedom of speech policy and showed him how I was on topic according to his directions. So he backed off and I received an A.

    It appears to me here that Sean refers to academic freedom of leaders (i.e. professors) being non-existent in even public universities to the extent it is claimed in some private institutions, while Steve refers to academic freedom for students being in place in one or some public universities.
    God bless,

    Rich

    We are dependent on the Bible for a knowledge of the early history of our world, of the creation of Adam and Eve, and of their fall. Remove the Word of God, and what can we expect other than to be left to fables and conjectures, and to that enfeebling of the intellect which is the sure result of entertaining error? We need the authentic history of the origin of the earth, of the fall of the covering cherub, and of the introduction of sin into our world. Without the Bible we should be bewildered by false theories. – CTr 351.4




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  12. I too had wonderful opportunities to witness while attending public college in Fresno as had my father before me in San Diego, but it is not easy. I don’t call it academic freedom when you are harrassed when you know that if you are not at the top of the class you will be flunked. i don’t call it academic freedom to have trouble getting into some programs due to your faith. It’s OK though, cause it just makes it more clearcut and awesome when God overrules. I see no reason tho for parents and students to go deeply into debt to attend a program hostile to our faith.




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  13. Within some of the comments left on this site, there is a decided air of the opinion that ‘academic freedom’ is being viewed as somehow threatening to biblical truth. That is indeed sad, to me at least. As an educator for many decades, I not once found biblical truth in any way threatened by even the largest and most sweeping introduction of true academic freedom; that is, introduction of and study into alternative ‘explanations’, particularly those regarding our origins. To assume that a mix of biblical truth with ‘outside’ explanations would somehow leave biblical truth the loser, to me, exhibits a ‘loser mentality’ on the part of the holder of that opinion. In practice, anything BUT this is the norm. Admittedly, it must be done with care, the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit, and absolute consideration for the ‘readiness’ and ‘abilities to absorb objectively’ of the audience being taught. Certainly within such an atmosphere as should exist in an institution of higher learning, one could get much farther with the comparisons. Such an exercise would serve only to strengthen those who are properly prepared and guided. Those who would find it destructive of faith probably did not have faith in any amount in the first place and probably would either be correctly assessed so by the instructor and reassigned to other pursuits more suited to their abilities and readiness, or make their then-informed, and, to them, at least, VERIFIED, and god-given and god-allowed choice to refocus their dedication and adherence.




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  14. The events connected with the tree of knowledge of good and evil are inspired examples of so-called academic freedom which in reality is slavery to Satan leading from bondage to death. (Cf. Gen. 3:4; Prov. 14:12)

    Jesus said, “Sanctify them by thy truth: thy Word is truth.” (Jn. 17:17.) Lies bring sin and death. Adam and Eve are the Bible’s primary examples of those who chose the father of lies who is very much active today. (Jn. 8:44.) The law of God is the true, “law of liberty.” (Jm. 2:12; Cf. Ex. 20:2, 8-9, 10, 11.)

    Jesus educated against the errors of his day, saying, “Ye have heard that it hath been said.” In referring to the faults of reason in certain academic realms we may teach the truth, by saying, “but I say unto you.” (Matt. 5:43-45.)

    There is no such thing as freedom of ideology in the Universe without consequences. This is Satan’s terrible lie who will be destroyed with all liars like him. (Rev. 21:8) We are free to choose for ourselves, but we will have to give account for every soul we mislead as a false witness bearing God’s name or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
    The Bible says,

    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. – Jn. 8:32

    I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. – Rom. 16:19

    God bless,

    Rich




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  15. I find it very interesting that the appearance of a swift moving action was taken with this particular church body but not with the one we belong too! I told people the other day that this is more about money then it is about heresy! I really get the feeling that if these teachers are tenured they will get a “golden parachute” if you will and the church/conference/university doesnt and will not pay for it if they can just keep brushing things under the rug.
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