Wednesday, June 29, 2016

29 June 2016




“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]



Presbyterians Week Headlines

[1] Synagogue of Satan: PCUSA General Assembly Offers Prayers to Allah

[2]
Six Audio Sermons on Islam by the Rev. Brian Schwertley Available from Still Waters Revival Books

[3] Flood Relief for Virginia and West Virginia

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[1]
Synagogue of Satan: PCUSA General Assembly Offers Prayers to Allah

A 26 June 2016 Now the End Begins article titled “Chrislam Alert: General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA Offers Prayers to Allah” reports that at the 2016 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) meeting in Portland, Oregon, Wallid Said of the Portland Muslim community offered the following prayer as the first order of general assembly business:

“Allah bless us and bless our families and bless our Lord. Lead us on the straight path – the path of all the prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Peace be upon them all Amen.

“In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful, let us praise the Lord. The creator of the universe, the most merciful, the most compassionate and the Lord of the universe who has created us and made us into nations and tribes, from male and females that we may know each other, not that we might despise each other, or may despise each other. Incline towards peace and justice and trust in God, for the Lord is one that hears and knows everything and the servants of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful, gracious are those who walk in the earth in humility and when bigots and hateful and Islamophobes address them, they say peace. Peace be upon them and peace be upon Allah.”


+
Now the End Begins, Contact Page

+
Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202, 888-728-7228, Fax: 502-569-8005


[2]
Six Audio Sermons on Islam by the Rev. Brian Schwertley Available from Still Waters Revival Books

With the U.S Government encouraging and facilitating the immigration of tens of thousands of Muslims from the Mideast and other places into the U.S., and the tenets of Islam as found in the Koran calling for the takeover of non-Muslim nations, the conversion to Islam of all persons, the call to kill Christians, Jews, and others that will not convert, and the implementation of Sharia law, it behooves Christians in the U.S. to learn about Islam and what makes Islam antithetical to Christianity so we may be better prepared to face the inevitable persecution to come.

Six sermons on Islam by the Rev. Brian Schwertley are available from
Still Waters Revival Books, Inc. are available here:

http://www.puritandownloads.com/islam-by-brian-schwertley-6-audio-sermons/

The six sermons are titled:

Islam (Part 1): A Biblical & Historical Critique

Islam (Part 2): Allah The Moon God

Islam (Part 3): Islamic Jihad

Islam (Part 4): Islamic Jihad Continued

Islam (Part 5): The Koran

Islam (Part 6): The Koran's View of Christ


+
Still Waters Revival Books, Inc., 4710-37A Avenue Northwest, Edmonton, Alberta T6L 3T5, Canada, 780-450-3730, support@puritandownloads.com


[3] Flood Relief for Virginia and West Virginia

Close to nine inches of rain fell in Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Monroe counties in West Virginia and Allegheny County in Virginia on 24 June 2016. The ARP Churches and families in the area sustained minor damage limited to power and water outages and flooding in basements.

However, the communities of Rupert, Rainelle, and White Sulfur Springs in West Virginia sustained heavy losses in property and life. Right now, crews from FEMA, the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, SBC Disaster Relief, and local churches are working to help people clear out their belongings and begin the process of repair and rebuilding.

Please continue to pray for our area and the long term rebuild. Pray for families who have lost loved ones and praise God that the loss is not as bad as it could have been.

God bless,

Rev. Ike Hughes
Fairlea Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
Fairlea, West Virginia

A Disaster Relief Fund has been set up for the flood victims. Online contributions can be made by clicking the link below. You may also mail your check to the ARP Center, 1 Cleveland St., Ste. 110, Greenville, SC 29601. Be sure to write in the memo line Good Samaritan Fund. We will collect financial contributions through July 31. All contributions will be sent to Samaritan’s Purse.

https://secure.accessacs.com/access/oglogin.aspx?sn=96075&f=300


+ Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland Street Suite 110, Greenville, South Carolina, 29601, 864-232-8297, Fax: 864-271-3729




Wednesday, June 22, 2016

22 June 2016



“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]


Presbyterians Week Headlines

[1] STILL Unfinished Business in the Presbyterian Church in America

[2] Intern Position at Atlanta Presbyterian Fellowship in Atlanta, Georgia

[3]
News from the Deepest Recesses of Hell

[4] Raging Heathen and Vain Imagining

[5] The Religion of Peace

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[1] STILL Unfinished Business in the Presbyterian Church in America

As the 2016 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) meets this week in Mobile, Alabama, much social media virtual ink is being spilled about forty-two overtures before the court regarding racial repentance (e.g. http://theaquilareport.com/review-and-comparison-of-pca-2016-ga-racial-repentance-overtures/), and other overtures including thoise proposing yet another reexamination of the role of women in the PCA.

The 2016 PCA GA though, continues to ignore financial shenanigans going back more than twenty years involving PCA teaching elders still in good standing and the PCA-affiliated Investors Fund for Building and Development (IFBD) (later Presbyterian Investors Fund (PIF) and then Cornerstone Ministries Investments (CMI)), which operated as a fraudulent Ponzi scheme resulting in CMI’s 2008 bankruptcy in which 3500 mostly-PCA churches and members, many now pensioners, lost all but a few pennies on the dollar of more than US$142 Million in investment assets.

To the 2016 PCA GA delegates – please study the following well-documented Christian Observer articles about this decades-long debacle, please bring those responsible for the financial suffering of so many to God’s justice as is your responsibility.

-- Unfinished Business for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)

-- Should Cornerstone Ministries Investments Have Existed? – Part One

-- Should Cornerstone Ministries Investments Have Existed? – Part Two

-- Should Cornerstone Ministries Investments Have Existed? – Part Three


+ Presbyterian Church in America, 1700 North Brown Road, Suite 105, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043, 678-825-1000, Fax: 678-825-1001, ac@pcanet.org

+ Christian Observer, Post Office Box 1371, Lexington, Virginia 24450, christianobserver@christianobserver.org


[2] Intern Position at Atlanta Presbyterian Fellowship in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Presbyterian Fellowship, a ministry of Great Lakes-Gulf
Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, hereby
announces the following opening for an intern position.

An intern would preferably be someone who either has received seminary
training or is presently a seminary student. He could be someone who
aspires to the gospel ministry, or, perhaps is someone who desires to
engage in ministry even though he believes that he is called to another
vocation.

Among his duties are the following:

(1) Transportation of children and others.

(2) Helping to keep the church building neat and clean.

(3) Conducting youth meetings and other Bible classes during the week.

(4) Teaching of the adult Sabbath School class on a regular basis.

(5) Filling of the pulpit once a month (if the man is deemed qualified
to do so).

(6) All other duties assigned.

It is expected that this position would require twenty (20) hours of
work/week. His total compensation would be $1,000 per month. Depending
on the individual, it is quite possible that the compensation could be
structured so as to be tax-free. For example, this amount could include
a certain percentage being designated for housing (which, since he would
be expected to live in a particular area, should not be taxable), and,
in the case of a present student, could include a certain percentage
that would go to pay seminary tuition (which also likely would not be
taxable, since this would be considered part of his training). The term
of service would be for no less than six (6) months and preferably for
one (1) year. The intern will be granted two (2) weeks of vacation per
every six (6) months of engagement in this position.

APF has been serving the English Avenue/Vine City neighborhoods since
2010. This area, very close to the Georgia Dome, is greatly
impoverished, and has been known for several decades for heroin dealing
and prostitution. But now, sparked by the new Georgia Dome,
gentrification is happening.

But what is more significant is what is happening at Atlanta
Presbyterian Fellowship, in which people of different racial,
socio-economic, and theological backgrounds are coming together to form
a faith community where the sense of fellowship is palpable, and where
there are no tensions along ethnic or social lines.

Any and all men who are interested in this position are urged to contact
the minister of Atlanta Presbyterian Fellowship, Dr. Frank J. Smith, at
770-241-3946; his email address is franksmith76@gmail.com.

For Christ's crown and covenant,

Frank J. Smith, Ph.D., D.D.
Minister, Atlanta Presbyterian Fellowship (RPCNA), Atlanta, Georgia
http://atlanta-rpc.org
770-241-3946


+ Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), 7408 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15208, 412-731-1177, Fax: 412-731-8861

---

[3]
News from the Deepest Recesses of Hell

-- Obama Administration Forces California Churches to Pay for Abortions

-- Canadian Senate Passes Bill Allowing Anyone to Kill Someone by Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide

-- Scientists Are Now Attempting to Figure Out How to Get Men Pregnant

-- Awards Ceremony Honors the Top Abortionists in the Country for Killing the Most Babies

-- Alabama Child Protective Services Steals New-Born Breast-Feeding Baby from Rape Victim while Still at the Hospital


+ LifeNews.com, Post Office Box 270841, Fort Collins, Colorado 80527, news@lifenews.com

+ Now the End Begins, Contact Page

+ Medical Kidnap, Contact Page


[4] Raging Heathen and Vain Imagining

-- NDAA 2017 Includes Draft for Women, Indefinite Detention of American Citizens

-- After ‘Terror Watch List’ Disarmament, ‘Haters’ Will Be Next in Line

-- U.S. Senate Votes to Require Women to Register for the Draft

-- All Twenty-Eight European Union Member States Agree to Push LGBTI Cause across Europe for First Time Ever

-- As Great Britain Gets Ready to Vote on Brexit, George Soros Is Lurking in the Shadows

-- Disney Comes Out of the Closet with First Transgender Character ‘Sting-Rhonda’ in ‘Finding Dory’


+ Oath Keepers, 5130 South Fort Apache Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89148, Contact Page

+ Zionica

+ LifeSiteNews.com, Incorporated, 4 Family Life Lane, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, 888-678-6008, Contact Page

+ Now the End Begins, Contact Page


[5] The Religion of Peace

-- Islam and The Religion of Peace Is the Greatest Single Threat the World Faces in 2016

-- Fifty-One Percent of United States Muslims Demand Sharia, Say Islam Is Superior to American Democracy

-- Obama Blames Republicans and Gun Owners, Not Islamic Terrorists, for Orlando Attack

-- Saudi Prince Claims Saudi Arabia Has Funded Hillary Clinton Campaign from Beginning

-- Six Egyptian Christians Charged with Holding 'Illegal' Prayers

-- ISIS Crucifying Ramadan Violators ‘Every Day’ in Syria

-- Cops, Media Hide Idaho Girl’s Sex Assault by Muslim Migrants

-- ISIS Beheads Four-Year-Old Girl Then Forces Mother to Soak Hands in Her Blood after ‘Swearing to Allah’

-- Former U.S. Government Officials Reveal America’s National Security Controlled by the Jihadists

-- Vatican Makes History: Pope Allows Islamic Prayers, Koran Readings

-- In Week Following Nightclub Attack, Obama Sends Florida Same Number of Syrian Refugees as Americans Killed in Orlando


+ Now the End Begins, Contact Page

+ Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, Contact Page

+ Assyrian International News Agency (Nineveh Software Corporation, 2317 West Farwell, Chicago, Illinois 60645, 773-575-5863, Fax: 773-761-8534)

+ Pamela Geller, writeatlas@aol.com

+ Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch

+ Zionica

+ Virginia Free Citizen, 2711 Buford Road, Suite 105, Richmond, Virginia 23235, Jeff@VirginiaFreeCitizen.com

+ The Washington Times, 3600 New York Avenue Northeast, Washington DC 20002, 202-636-3205

+ DennisMitchellLynch.com, Contact Page


Thursday, June 16, 2016

15 June 2016




“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]



Presbyterians Week Headlines

[1] Making Sense of the Orlando Madness

[2] The Associate Reformed Presbyterian General Synod Was a Surprise!

[3]
Reformed Church in America 2016 General Assembly Votes against Endorsing Reparative Therapy for Homosexuals

[4]
Pope Francis and Leaders of the World Communion of Reformed Churches Stress Common Commitment to Justice

[5] United Church of Christ Blog Article Says All Whites Are Racist

---

[1]
Making Sense of the Orlando Madness

"We've reached no definitive judgment on the motivation of the shooter ..." Barack Hussein Obama, herein, misrepresented material fact, deliberately, to downplay that the Islamo-fascist psychopath had publicly pledged allegiance to ISIS just prior to the savagery.

The apparent Islamic apologist President knew afore that the Islamo-fascist publicized his Islamo-fascist motivation. Moreover, the President, as an apparent tacit advocate of Islam, has publicly, deliberately misrepresented material fact before, unambiguously alleging, verbatim, "the Islamic state is not Islamic."

In further injury to American security, Barack Hussein Obama opined: "This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon ... And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well," distracting from the core problem at hand. Blame-shifting the Islamo-fascist psychopathic mass murder on inalienable human, civil, and constitutional Second Amendment rights to defend oneself from these very attacks is irrational, self-contradictory, and tacit advocacy for a higher body count.

Some react, in the aftermath of the psychopathic mass murder in Orlando, with the false palliative of a mountebank: "make all guns illegal." Why not, in the same vein, make marijuana totally illegal everywhere, so no one, anywhere, would have any? Isn't a law, to them, like magic? Better than Harry Potter? Assuming a law can magically render a new reality is at best, wishful thinking, if not a quack imagination, or even a quasi-delusion. (I am writing this now at Prohibition over dinner on 547 King Street [Charleston, South Carolina]. Did the prohibition amendment (20th) eradicate beverage use of alcohol?)


A disconcerting dark underbelly of this tragedy is that the FBI was "on" to this suspect in 2013, breathed down his neck, but could not make any charge "stick," even though he had made Islamo-fascist comments, which would lead a reasonable, objective person to conclude he was a security threat. In our current milieu, a student may be expelled for their free speech of saying they will blow up the school. The free speech of saying one will kill the President is a class E felony under the U.S. Code, Title 18, Section 871.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court Brandenburg rule, one can advocate violence, in general, as protected speech, but not specific violence, as specific/particular incitation to violence may constitute criminal conspiracy. Under Brandenburg, one could stand on a street corner and proclaim “I believe the U.S. government should be overthrown by violence.” However, under Brandenburg, one could not stand on a street corner, and ask to meet a hardware store to buy fertilizer, acquire a detonator, and blow up a federal building at a specific time. The U.S. Supreme Court standard under its Schenck ruling is "clear and present danger," while in its Whitney ruling, the standard is a mere "bad tendency."

Is it right at this time and under current circumstances for a statute that allows law enforcement against one who merely professes allegiance to, or merely endorses, ISIS?


+
Rev. Dr. George J. Gatgounis, Esq., Gatgounis Law & Consulting Firm, LLC, 3 Broad Street, Suite 400, Charleston, South Carolina 29401, 843-364-8529, Fax: 843-408-4469, GeorgeTheLawyer@me.com


[2] The Associate Reformed Presbyterian General Synod Was a Surprise!

By the Rev. Dr. Chuck Wilson

Before I get into an analysis of the 2016 General Synod, I want to call the reader’s attention to ARPTalk(122) — “Decimation of Erskine Seminary: Interview with Dr. Chris Wisdom, former Erskine Seminary VP” (http://www.arptalk.org/2016/01/30/decimation-of-erskine-seminary/). Below is an e-mail (11 June 2016) from Dr. Wisdom.

Dear Chuck,

Thank you for publishing the interview in ARPTalk 122. I know there were other contributors, but I for one am glad that you used my name. I want the readers to know that I concur fully with what is written in ARPTalk 122 regarding the grave concerns about the ongoing decimation of Erskine Seminary.

For the record, I also concur with the motions approved by the 212th Stated Meeting of General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church 7-9 June 2016 concerning the funding of Erskine Theological Seminary and the separation of Erskine Theological Seminary from Erskine College.

Finally, Chuck, while I am grateful to all those who have prayed for me and called for me during this time of my illness, thank you for being one of the very first ministers of the Gospel who most regularly and consistently ministered to me from the very beginning of my illness, offering me help and giving it to me even before I knew how much I needed it during these past six months. I am getting stronger by the grace of God, and I am thankful for your pastoral ministry.

With appreciation,

Chris Wisdom

When I wrote ARPTalk(122), Dr. Wisdom was emotionally and physically exhausted and near collapse from his experiences at Erskine Seminary. While allowing Dr. Wisdom to speak his mind, I gave him cover by adding my thoughts and taking full credit for the article with my name. Of course, where possible, I verified what he said with corroborating sources. Naturally, I appreciate his kind words and willingness to own the article.

For those who are interested, it is informative to compare the Wilson/Wisdom article with Ms. Jane Greene’s letter from 2012 (http://www.arptalk.org/2012/08/09/a-lady-of-integrity-a-double-minded-board/). Not much has changed!

To Barbecue or Not to Barbecue

On Friday afternoon before the meeting of Synod, a number of us realized the traditional Erskine Seminary appreciation of General Synod barbecue was not scheduled. Instead, President Kooistra authorized a “Coffee and Cookie” on Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. We agreed: such parsimoniousness was an insult to both General Synod and Erskine Seminary. Besides, coffee at 7:30 p.m. for old people is not a good idea! Caffeine keeps us awake and running to the bathroom all night!

Instead of a “Coffee and Cookie,” we organized a barbecue to show our appreciation for the members of the Erskine Seminary faculty. And what an appreciation it was! 270 plus people were served! The most ever!! And they did not come for the food; rather, they came to show their support for our seminary. If all the pledges come in (and they will), we raised US$7,451. The meal cost about US$2,400. This means we have an appreciation gift of about US$5,000 for Erskine Seminary.

President Kooistra missed a grand opportunity. I was surprised to see him attend! I am sure he was uncomfortable!

The New Moderator

Rev. Lee Shellnut was elected Moderator by acclamation. Shellnut is pastor of the Huntersville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (First Presbytery) in Huntersville, North Carolina. His Vice Moderator is Mr. Bill McKay, and he is the Clerk of our Canadian Presbytery.

Normally, I am the one who makes the motion to close nominations and that the nominee be elected by acclamation. After the Wednesday evening session, both my wife and I were not felling well, she drove us home, and I missed the Thursday morning session and the election of the Moderator. Rev. Mark Miller stood in my place and made the proper motion. I want to thank Miller for his good work. It is heavy lifting work! :-)

Guinness_World_Records_logo.svgRev. Morrie Lawing made the nominating speech for now Moderator-elect Shellnut. When Lawing began, I understand a representative of Guinness came in and clicked on his stopwatch. A new world record for the longest nominating speech was set! (And, Morrie, one of your good friends dared me to write this!!! The guilty party knows who he is, and, with glee, I think he will confess to you. By the way, I also hear you did real good!)

It Ain’t Never Been Done Before!

I have been attending meetings of General Synod since 1973, and I want to thank President Kooistra of Erskine for making it possible for me to see a line item in the budget changed. Instead of the 60/40 split of monies for Erskine College and Erskine Seminary, a motion was made and overwhelmingly passed to designate all US$421,000 to Erskine Seminary this year. This was not easy to do. It took two super majority votes to accomplish. In spite of President Kooistra’s passionate pleas, General Synod voted to show its support for our seminary.

What Does This Mean?

This is a repudiation of Kooistra’s leadership of Erskine Seminary. The President begged. Synod said No! The President read his numbers. The board’s Chairman of the Seminary Committee Rev. Peter Waid read his numbers and the present Acting Dean of the Seminary R.J. Gore read his numbers. Waid and Gore were trusted and followed. Kooistra was not followed. This was a public repudiation of Kooistra’s leadership. No one followed him!

Nevertheless, it was a marvelous show. I saw something I have never seen before! A line item in the budget changed. I doubt I will live long enough to see such a thing happen again! But hope springs eternal, doesn’t it?

Sabbath Keeping

Erskine board member Andrew Savill made the motion that General Synod remind the members of the Erskine board that the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church still affirms the position of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms on the Sabbath, and that the board instruct the administration to honor the Lord’s Day by not scheduling either athletic or academic events.

Certainly, this was in response to the recent events at Covenant College (PCA) and Erskine College. Covenant College forfeited a tennis championship because it was scheduled on Sunday. Erskine College won a tennis championship on Sunday and publicly celebrated the victory and championship in Erskine’s official newsletter. The members of the General Synod were embarrassed by this! The motion passed overwhelmingly.

I wonder: did President Kooistra understand this is a rejection of his athletic model for Erskine College? Does he realize the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is not following his leadership?

Support for Separation

The unanimously signed petition from the seminary’s faculty to General Synod and the Erskine board asking for separation from the college was read, and a motion to inform the Erskine board of Synod’s concurrence was passed unanimously (for a copy of the petition see http://www.arptalk.org/2016/04/04/bring-in-the-clowns/, paragraph 5).

Interestingly, President Kooistra spoke in favor of the motion.

Well, why not?

Kooistra is not presently giving leadership to the seminary. Repeatedly, he has been asked by the members of the Seminary Committee, the seminary faculty, and the board to appoint a VP for the Seminary, a Dean for the seminary, and to provided other leadership for the seminary, and he has yet to respond. This means the seminary has no representation on his Leadership Team (that is, the President’s cabinet).

Kooistra and the seminary faculty are openly at odds and in conflict. His leadership of the seminary is a leadership of neglect.

Amazingly, the news article on the meeting of Synod in the Insidehighered says nothing of Kooistra’s support of the motion regarding separation (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/06/10/erskine-explore-splitting-seminary). When interviewed by the Insidehighered reporter, I asked him if he knew of Kooistra’s support of the motion. He said he did not. He said Cliff Smith (Erskine’s communications Czar) said nothing of it when he interviewed him. I said, “Well, Cliff was there. I’m not lying. There are hundreds of witness to the fact.”

Southerns (and especially Associate Reformed Presbyterians) are not inclined to be direct and not nice. The actions of General Synod regarding Kooistra’s are a nice way of saying NO CONFIDENCE. Actually, it is not nice; it is a public humiliation.

What will Kooistra do?

On the personal level, Kooistra is liked by most members of the Synod. He is artful at “Jesus-Jesus-speak,” and we are inclined to relish in such talk — most of us are not particularly skeptical.

Nevertheless, rumors at Bonclarken were thick as fleas on a dog’s back as to whether Kooistra would resign in the light of General Synod’s rebukes.

Kooistra is stubborn and proud. He does not like to lose. I fear he is going to take the route of Admiral Gunther Lutjens, Flottenchef of the Bismarck squadron. When surrounded by the British fleet, he put on his dress uniform and went down with the ship.

I hope Kooistra will allow us to celebrate his success in getting SACS to repeal the probation sanction, celebrate his success in the Annual Fund, celebrate his recruitment of a class of 244 this Fall, and, realizing the changes in the landscape, retire to Atlanta. The man is 74, and the tasks of framing a Strategic Plan, developing an enrollment plan, finding a VP of the Seminary, a VP of Development, and a VP or Director of Admissions, re-establishing trust with the board and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and raising a ton of money are daunting for a younger man and beyond his reach.

However, as I said, I am not hopeful. Kooistra and the secular alums have embraced each other (http://www.arptalk.org/facebook-alum-finance-comments/). He does not embrace the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He has measured us. He knows both the church and the board do not like the nasty business of firing a president. He feels he can stand us down. He knows we love Erskine and do not want to hurt the institution. He does not love Erskine and is not afraid to hurt her. It is the old story of the one who loves the least in a relationship is in control of the relationship.

A Judicial Mess in First Presbytery

A longstanding judicial mess in First Presbytery finally crawled onto the floor of General Synod. Charges, complaints, points of order, and appeals were fodder for entertainment if it were not a serious matter. After about 30 minutes, everything that could have been said was said; however, the discussion and debate went on for another 45 minutes because not all had spoken. The matter was sent to the Ecclesiastical Commission on Judicial Affairs so we can enjoy it again next year.

I can only say to the members of the committee charged with re-writing the Book of Discipline to go forward posthaste. Our need for a new Book of Discipline is critical.

Theological and Social Concerns

Two matters were before Synod. The first is a statement regarding women in the military which provides an avenue for assignment to non-combat duties, and it was adopted.

The second was a paper on race relations and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The paper was received as information. Then a motion was made and passed that we repent of our racial sins of the past. This is a mea culpa for the southern past of some of us. But how do I repent for someone else?

I abstained for each vote. I did not know how to vote. In 1861, some of my people did not own slaves. In 1861, some of my people owned slaves. In 1861, some of my people were slaves. In 1861, some of my people fought to keep their slaves. In 1861, some of my people fought to free slaves. In 1861, some of my people ran away. I am a mutt! I will sit this one out! I think this is more about an evangelical PC culture than about people. I suppose we can now say, “Me too! Me too!” to show our solidarity with the latest socio-theological whim. The past is the past, and it is not going to be changed. The future is uncertain. My observation is most people who talk about race have little knowledge and few friends of a different race.

Memorials

There were three memorials disposed of in the following manner.

One, there was a memorial from the Canadian Presbytery asking for changes in the Form of Government regarding membership vows. It was referred to the Committee on Theological and Social Concerns.

Two, there was a memorial from First Presbytery asking for the establishment of a RUF ministry at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Of course, the motion was adopted and sent to the Committee on Campus Ministry Oversight for implementation.

Three, General Synod voted to allow a “late” memorial from the Canadian Presbytery. The subject of the memorial was church planning paradigms which are implemented by Outreach North America. The memorial requested General Synod to task the Committee on Theological and Social Concerns “to study and to determine if each paradigm is grounded in the Word of God and agreeable to the ecclesiastical standards of the ARP Church.” The matter was referred to the Board of Outreach North American for study and to frame a report for General Synod next year.

The Highlights of Synod

As far as the Editor is concerned, the highlights of Synod were two.

First, a little more than a month before the meeting of Synod, Moderator Phil Williams had a mild heart attack and a procedure on his heart. Moderator Williams looked great and was wise to function in a ceremonial fashion, allowing Vice Moderator Patrick Malphrus to do the stressful work of moderating the meeting. Malphrus is young, and, as we all witnessed, very capable. It was a joy to watch him work. He is very knowledgeable in parliamentary procedure. Not known for lavish praise, Parliamentarian Andy Putnam commented to me, “He’s good!”

Moderator Williams made a wise choice in Malphrus and a wise decision to use him much. Indeed, our prayers are with Moderator Williams for his full recovery. He has much work yet to do. The travel and long meetings come after the meeting of Synod.

Second, Moderator Williams’ choices for preachers were outstanding. I am a very critical listener. I was impressed.

Concluding Remarks

As usual, most of the business of General Synod was SOP. Reports were heard and received as information or approved or modified.

I have been attending General Synods since 1973. This meeting of Synod was an outstanding experience. The overall mood was positive — even spiritual! I attribute this to Moderator William’s work in the background. Longstanding wounds are healing. Brothers who were pulling in different directions are pulling together. I was surprised! I went home encouraged!


+
ARPTalk Blog, 864-882-6337, wilson6114@bellsouth.net

+
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1 Cleveland Street Suite 110, Greenville, South Carolina, 29601, 864-232-8297, Fax: 864-271-3729

+ ARP First Presbytery, c/o 4784 Styers Ferry Road, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27104, 336-624-9529, jerry.hallman1048@comcast.net

+ Erskine College and Theological Seminary, 2 Washington Street, Due West, South Carolina 29639, 864-379-2131, Fax: 864-379-2167, jguyette@erskine.edu


[3]
Reformed Church in America 2016 General Assembly Votes against Endorsing Reparative Therapy for Homosexuals

On Friday, 10 June 2016, Reformed Church in America (RCA) 2016 General Synod delegates voted “to declare that the RCA does not support the use of reorientation/reparative therapy but does affirm the power of the Holy Spirit to transform all lives.”

Reparative therapy describes a variety of treatments intended to change someone’s sexual orientation.



+
Reformed Church in America, 4500 60th Street Southeast, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512, 800-968-6065, questions@rca.org


[4]
Pope Francis and Leaders of the World Communion of Reformed Churches Stress Common Commitment to Justice

Leaders of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) on Friday, 10 June 2016, met with
Roman Catholic Pope Francis stressing a new urgency for Christians to work together to bring unity and justice to a suffering world.

After their first papal audience in ten years, the delegation of Reformed Church leaders said this urgency for a common Christian witness is inspired by the forthcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation and by the continuing economic and environmental crises which oppress and destroy human life.

Speaking at a press conference following their meeting with the Pope, the President of the WCRC, Rev Jerry Pillay and Secretary General, Rev Chris Ferguson, shared perspectives on their priorities ahead of the next General Council to be held in Leipzig, Germany, in the summer of 2017.

These include working for greater communion, increased mission and ecumenical engagement, as well as a strong focus on economic, environmental and gender justice within the Church and within wider society. While not all Reformed Churches allow women in ministry, the WCRC has committed itself to full equality of women in leadership and says it hopes to engage others in dialogue around this critical issue.


+
The Vatican, Città del Vaticano, Rome, Italy, 39-6-69-88-35-11, Fax: 39-6-69-88-54-47, Contact Page

+
World Communion of Reformed Churches, 150 route de Ferney, Post Office Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland, 41-22-791-6240, Fax: 41-22-791-6505, info@reformedchurches.org


[5]
United Church of Christ Blog Article Says All Whites Are Racist

A 1 June 2016
United Church of Christ (UCC) blog article by UCC editor of New Sacred and social media Marcha√© Grair asserts that all white [Caucasian, melanin-challenged] persons are “racists,” “no matter what.”

Ms. Grair provides ten ways that “white privilege” can be rejected:

1. Take up minimal space during anti-racism dialogues and protests.

2. Stop contributing to gentrification and calling it “urban development.”

3. Listen when people call you on your microaggressions.

4. Never invite POC [Person of Color] to the table for the sake of claiming diversity.

5. Refrain from using your POC friends as your “urban dictionary.

6. Stop lifting up non-confrontational POC as examples for what POC activism should be.

7. Call your friends, family and co-workers out on racism—even if a POC isn’t in the room.

8. Understand that all anti-racism work doesn’t look the same and advocate accordingly.

9. Realize that all discussions about race aren’t for you.

10. Recognize that you’re still racist. No matter what.

The editor reminds Ms. Grair what Acts 17:26 says of all of us:

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…”


+
United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115, 216-736-2100, ogm@ucc.org



Thursday, June 9, 2016

8 June 2016




“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” [Ezekiel 33:6]

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]


Presbyterians Week Headlines

[1] New Christian Observer Articles for June 2016

[2]
Erskine College and Theological Seminary - It’s a Butt Fumble!!

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[1]
New Christian Observer Articles for June 2016

New Christian Observer articles for June 2016 include:

--
The Name and the Flame: The Westminster Challenge and the God Who Answers by Fire – by Christian Observer Contributing Editor David Brand – The demise of confessional standards in the mainline U.S. Presbyterian Church;

-- Accommodating Transgenderism– Stepping Toward the Toilet in Schools by Christian Observer Contributing Editor Dr. Joe Renfro – The federal transgender directive as a means to further debilitate the public schools;

And, links to the daily In the Gates devotionals by T.M. Moore on the Fellowship of Ailbe website.


+ Christian Observer, Post Office Box 1371, Lexington, Virginia 24450, christianobserver@christianobserver.org


[2]
Erskine College and Theological Seminary - It’s a Butt Fumble!!

[Presbyterians Week Editor’s Note: As the 212th Stated Meeting of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church General Synod meets 7-9 June 2016 at the Bonclarken Conference Center in Flat Rock, North Carolina, the ARP’s Erskine College and Theological Seminary remains on life support from several score decades of inadequate oversight by the ARP Synod and a world-conforming parallel path by Erskine administrators, board members, and alumni.

The following article is the 130th installment of the ARPTalk blog, in which since 2008 ARPTalk editor the Rev. Dr. Chuck Wilson has often-thanklessly chronicled the continuing demise of Erskine College and Theological Seminary, the disingenuous efforts of the Erskine board and administration to mollify the ARP Synod, and the fence-straddling balancing act which characterizes the ARP Synod’s oversight of Erskine.

The Presbyterians Week editor prays that the 212th ARP Synod will finally do something of substance to deal with the train wreck in Due West, South Carolina which is Erskine College and Theological Seminary.]

By the Rev. Dr. Chuck Wilson

Football at Erskine is dead — again!! It was a “butt fumble” by President Paul Kooistra and Vice President for Athletics Mark Peeler (
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82RIfy-gRa4&feature=youtu.be). In the meeting of the board’s Committee on Student Services, Kooistra and Peeler were aggressive and demanding (if not belligerent). Their message was delivered in this manner: “Football! Football! We want football! Give us football or we die!” The committee’s recommendation to the board was “No football!” and the board voted 17-3 to cease and desist on a football program, in spite of Board Chairman Ron Vigus’ desire to postpone the vote until the August meeting of the board. The result: Erskine football is no longer “undefeated since 1951.”

I am told Kooistra and Peeler are “smart.” Well, if they are smart, how did they miss the obvious? A survey of board members was recently conducted in which they were asked to rank a number of ideas for growing Erskine. Football was dead last (with only one trustee ranking football as the highest priority). The highest priorities were (1) the historic mission of Erskine as Christian and liberal arts, (2) re-embracing the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, (3) moving Erskine away from the athletic model and back to the academic model; and (4) re-focusing recruitment on Christian school graduates and homeschool students.

Though overwhelmingly defeated at 17-3, the vote on football is not as overwhelming as it might have been if the votes of trustees who were absent were included. Four trustees were unable to attend the meeting; however, they e-mailed their statements of disapproval of football to their fellow board members. In other words, the real vote is 21-3.

Nevertheless, President Kooistra stubbornly persisted in his pursuit of a football program. Clearly, he has no other plan for Erskine. Kooistra said he would have to think about his future as the president of Erskine. He is reported to have said an Erskine without football will fold, and he did not want to be remembered as “Kooistra the Closer” [my phrase]. If remembered at all, I think he will be remembered as “Kooistra the Krazy!”
Furthermore, to rub salt in Kooistra’s wound, the board then passed a motion limiting the number of athletes. Presently, with an open enrollment model of “any ol’ dude will do,” athletes outnumber non-athletes by 2 to 1. The result is clearly seen in the difference between recruitment and graduations.

Kooistra brags the Freshman class will be in the 240s and the total student body will be in the 640s this Fall; however, as I noted, the real measure is the number of graduates in May. Since I rolled off the board in 2004, the number of seniors graduating remained static at about 100.

How Kooistra does not realize the no vote on football is a NO CONFIDENCE VOTE in his leadership is beyond me. It is reasonable to say his leadership is rejected. The board is offering him the opportunity to leave Due West gracefully. He can say he was able to get Erskine off probation by SACS. He is wise not to allow his Dutch stubbornness to persist to the August meeting of the board.

Essentially, the no vote on football was a piece-by-piece dismantling of the April 2014 Cabinet Plan (
http://www.arptalk.org/cabinet-meeting-with-trustee-leadership-2014-04-22/). The Cabinet Plan and the leadership of all who signed it are now rejected. All the Jesus-Jesus-talk Kooistra could muster was not enough to stop the board from putting an end to this Due West Tom Foolery.

A Tale of Two Petitions

Kooistra and his athletic braintrust pulled out all the stops in their full-court press for football. Chairman Ron Vigus attempted to postpone the vote until the August meeting of the board. He failed.

A student petition demanding the board’s full support of Kooistra’s leadership and the board’s condemnation of ARPTalk was presented (
http://www.arptalk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/NicholsBrownLetter.jpeg). It was ignored.
With regard to the petition, the authors of the petition are allegedly Aaron Brown and Destin Nichols. Destin Nichols is the nephew of Kevin Nichols (Head Baseball Coach/Assistant Athletic Director). The story on campus is Mark Peeler (Vice President for Athletics) is the actual author of the petition. Nevertheless, compare this 2016 student petition with the SAFE petition from 2009 (
https://gairneybridge.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/erskine-students-speak-out/). One petition is a plea for an Erskine focused on athletic programs; the other petition is a plea for a mission focused and Christ-centered Erskine.

A Prayer Meeting Called

Finally, an e-mail was sent out by Scott DeCiantis to college personnel (but not to seminary personnel) asking for a prayer meeting in the Moffat Dinning Hall during the board’s meeting. And who is Scott DeCiantis? He is an ATHLETIC TRAINER who is also the Academic Dean. That is, ATHLETIC TRAINER/ACADEMIC DEAN Scott DeCiantis! Only at Erskine! And only at Erskine a coach calls for prayer! One can only ask, did DeCiantis and company receive the board’s decisions regarding football and Kooistra’s leadership as answers to their prayers?

A Personal Note

With regard to the so-called petition by the students, let me remind the authors of the petition and those who signed it, the Editor of ARPTalk is not surprised they are offended by what he writes. The truth is often offensive. However, if what the Editor writes is incorrect, the Editor has a record of correcting errors when they are demonstrated as such to him. The petition calls for certain punitive action to be taken against the Editor by General Synod. If they want to take this path, it is obvious they do not know what they are doing. The Editor is happy to help them file their charges in order for the charges to be properly before the appropriate church court for action. However, there is a thing called “discovery” involved in the procedural process. The Editor looks forward to a discovery process. The authors and the signers of the petition may not want to see what the Editor has in his files. Nevertheless, the Editor is not offended by this petition; he sees it for what it is: SOPHOMORIC BLUSTER!

Erskine Theological Seminary Is Vanishing!

Confusion, uncertainty, distrust, and division were apparent in the board’s actions regarding the seminary. The seminary is slowly being drained of life by Kooistra’s administrative neglect.
The April 2014 Cabinet Plan called for the separation of the college and seminary, Kooistra is on record for the separation, the seminary faculty petitioned for separation, and the board’s Seminary Committee concurs with the seminar’s faculty’s petition, but Kooistra is now backtracking on the idea. The members of the board are confused. They are gentle people who are dismayed by the depth of the Byzantine nature of Belk Hall. They are slowly coming to terms with Kooistra’s administrative style of neglect.
The details are a bit convoluted. The following represents the Editor’s efforts to organize and analyze the events.

One, the Erskine budget for next year is $31 million. That is, the college budget is $29 million (and growing), and the seminary budget is $2 million (and static). The seminary’s part of the total budget is 6.45%. However, Kooistra contends the 15% for institutional services the seminary pays to Belk Hall is a deal for the seminary. Amazingly, Kooistra says this and ignores all other narratives as though they did not exist. It is the story of “what belongs to the college, belongs to the college, and what belongs to the seminary, also belongs to the college.” Well, the seminary must have enough that Kooistra and the Belk Hall Looters do not want to lose it.

Two, the actions of the Seminary Committee (particularly, the separation of the seminary) were referred to the ad hoc committee on the seminary which is to take up a strategic plan for the seminary. However, Board Chairman Vigus did not appoint a single member of the seminary to the committee. What was Vigus thinking? Rather, was he thinking at all or simply following Kooistra’s directives? Obviously, Vigus is either in-over- his-head or has joined Kooistra in a plan to kill the seminary by inaction and silencing knowledgeable voices. It is well known that both SACS and ATS expect all key stakeholders to be involved in strategic planning, and it is hard to make the case that the members of the seminary faculty are not key stakeholders.
Three, Kooistra was cautioned to be careful in dealings with the seminary faculty while the ad hoc committee does its work. That is, Kooistra is not to storm over to the seminary and fire people he does not like. Well, is this not the equivalent of taking the president out to the barn and hogtying him? Clearly, Kooistra is not welcome in Bowie Divinity Hall. And, amazingly, Kooistra claims he spends 50% of his time on the seminary. Well, I enquired if there were Kooistra sighting at Bowie. The answer was no. He claims he is often in Bowie but is rarely seen.

Four, a motion was made and passed calling for an independent audit of the shared services and the state of the seminary’s endowed monies. This means Kooistra and Haselden are not trusted.

Five, chairmanships for board committees are appointed by the Board Chairman and approved by the board. In spite of the seminary faculty’s unanimous request for Peter Waid to continue as the Chairman of the Seminary Committee, Board Chairman Vigus (probably acquiescing to Kooistra’s request) appointed Gordon Query. It was forcefully argued by many that the Chairman of the Seminary Committee needs to be a minister and graduate of a seminary instead of a layman. The appointment of Gordon Query failed, and Board Chairman Vigus, in a huff, failed to appoint someone else. Therefore, since Waid was not replaced, I suppose he remains the Chairman of the Seminary Committee until the August meeting of the board. Well, our seminary still has one strong voice advocating for it.
At this point, there needs to be a word of explanation regarding Gordon Query. Query is a former Moderator, he was a member of the Moderator’s Commission at the “Snow” Synod, he is a genuinely good man, and we still call each other “friend.” He is caught in a conflict regarding the training of ministers. The board acted wisely. The Chairman of the Seminary Committee needs to have ministerial credentials and experiences, particularly, in a time such as this.

Six, the relationship between Kooistra and the seminary’s faculty and the Chairman of the Seminary Committee is strained with Board Chairman Vigus listening only to Kooistra and ignoring Waid and the voices from the faculty. Kooistra claims Chairman Waid will not listen to him, and he says he does not want to work with him. Waid sees Kooistra as a bully, and he is adamant in his decision not to follow Kooistra in the dismembering and destruction of the seminary of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Waid says his allegiance is to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and not to Kooistra. Also, because of (1) Kooistra’s personal heavy-handedness with the seminary’s faculty, (2) his continuing unwillingness to provide leadership for the seminary, (3) the financial misunderstandings (real or perceived) regarding money management and allocations, (4) Kooistra’s unwillingness to sit down with the faculty and articulate his plans for the seminary, and (5) his unwillingness to be reconciled with a faculty he has greatly offended, means the faculty is not in a mood to follow Kooistra’s leadership. My prediction: by August, this situation will worsen! The seminary will be drifting like a ship without a rudder.

Seven, with many objecting, Kooistra announced he is appointing Max Rogland of the Columbia campus as Dean to replace Acting Dean R. J. Gore whose resignation as Acting Dean is effective on June 30. At this point, it is not clear whether Kooistra appointed Rogland as “Acting Dean” or “Dean.” If Kooistra appointed Rogland as “Acting Dean,” it is in his authority to do so; however, if he appointed Rogland as “Dean” apart from the proscribed search procedure, he is in violation of both the protocols of Erskine and the accrediting agencies (ATS and SACS). Since it seems Kooistra is often ignorant of procedures, it will be interesting to see what transpires. We can be sure of his response: “I will check into it and see what the procedures are.” Whatever takes place from this point, Rogland’s life is going to be very different. Once he was an Old Testament academic who wrote commentaries; he is now an administrator whose commentary writing days are over. One can only hope his administrate skills are as topnotch as his commentary writing skills. He can expect long days and a world of frustrations. I wish him well, for his success is the seminary’s success.
Unfortunately, the board failed to thank R. J. Gore for his work as Acting Dean of the Seminary for the past 21 months. Gore did the work of Acting Dean for NO pay. In the past 21 months, he wrote and oversaw six successful audits. Because of Gore’s work, the accrediting agencies are not at Kooistra’s door. Perhaps, the board will remedy this oversight at its August meeting. Kooistra continues as his misanthropic self!

By the way, Loyd Melton has been the Director of the DMin Program for the last 21 months with NO pay. Perhaps, the board will also remember him in August. Kooistra will keep his praise to himself! It is not in his DNA to thank people for anything!

The following is my analysis. (1) The only reason the seminary and college are not presently separate institutions is because the seminary is the college’s golden-egg-laying goose. (2) The seminary needs an identity which is distinct from the college’s identity which is toxic to the seminary. (3) The seminary needs its own board that focuses on seminary issues and is not consumed with decisions regarding athletics and other such matters which are irrelevant to a seminary. (4) The seminary needs its own President, its own TRUSTED CFO to watch over its monies, its own admissions director and recruiter, and its own development officer. (6) The cost of a seminary independent of the college is not that exorbitant. One needs to remember the initial cost projections of two million dollars in 2014 were the cost projects of CFO Haselden, and his loyalties and management of seminary funds and allocations are suspect.

Continuing to Fib and Obfuscate

For the readers who are Associate Reformed Presbyterians, do you remember the promise to General Synod regarding the MEDCOM DMin program? Since the MEDCOM program was in violation of the seminary’s mission, the board voted to have the program placed under the college. What did the administration do?

Currently, as I read the seminary’s catalogue, all that has been done is a name change on the diploma. The seminary still manages admissions. The seminary’s faculty still teaches the courses (and NO course is taught by a member of the college faculty). The seminary faculty still supervises the dissertations. The seminary is still credited with DMin income from MEDCOM. And the seminary’s budget will sustain the loss of the MEDCOM income beginning next year. Nevertheless, the diploma bears the name of the college.

Does this seem like “smoke and mirrors” to the reader? Is this obfuscation? Well, thankfully, this program will soon disappear. However, a lie never dies.

I wonder: is there enough outrage left in the members of the General Synod this year to be disgusted and scandalized at this lie? Knowingly and willfully, the Erskine administration has ignored the will of General Synod and the vote of the board. Well, I suspect President Kooistra will say he did not know about this; but, be at peace, he will check into it.

Potential NCAA Woes

When Kooistra took over the work of admissions, he said everyone quit on him. He says Kevin Nichols (Head Baseball Coach) is his real Director of Admission. No wonder! Nichols has been “the go-to-guy” after May when students are needed to fill beds in the dorms. Witness a baseball team with over 100 players.

This is an NCAA disaster waiting to happen.

NCAA regulations assume a regular admissions process and an athletic process which are distinct. Such separation is vital to maintaining the academic and fiscal integrity of a school. It is now common knowledge in Due West that the baseball coach is running Erskine’s admissions office. As I understand it, the previous Admissions Director was recently removed (and I suspect) because the Director was attempting to maintain the stated admissions standards of the college rather than admitting whoever coaches wanted to admit. Months later, no Admissions Director has been named and no search has been launched to fill the position. The reason is clear: in everything but name, the head baseball coach (Kevin Nichols) is the Admissions Director.

As I wrote, a disaster is waiting to happen! Indeed, if this is found out, it may bring an end to athletics at Erskine. So, let us pray it will be found out. Then Erskine College can become a Liberal Arts college again and re-embrace it mission.

Haselden! Haselden! Haselden!

Questions regarding the role and activities of CFO Greg Haselden continue to mount without unambiguous explanations and transparency.
Until this meeting of the board, the members of the board (including Chairman Vigus) were unaware of CFO Haselden’s conflict of interest statement. Kept a secret in plain sight, Haselden signed he had a conflict of interest on the requisite conflict of interest form. He and Comptroller Christian Habeger are partners in a business in which accounting matters are contracted out to their company on a no-bid basis. Since Erskine no longer has an IT department, it is also said IT operations are being contracted (or about to be contracted) out to another Haselden and Habeger company. This is done with the full knowledge and approval by President Kooistra. When Kooistra was asked if this violated Erskine’s policy, in characteristic fashion, he stated he did not know but would check into it.

Well, this looks like insider trading. Let it be heralded abroad: the “Good Ol’ Boy” network is still alive and well in Due West. When I was on the board (1998-2004), I was on an ad hoc committee charged to look into a similar situation. In those days, a VP and an employee of Erskine owned a construction company which did business for Erskine on a no-bid basis. We never knew when the owners of the company were working on Erskine’s time or on their time or on both. It was a sticky mess then! It is no less sticky and worrisome now!

The Maleficence of PCAers

The leadership influence of the PCA at Erskine is now palpable, and it is negative — a maleficence.

Clearly, Chairman of the Board Ron Vigus does not have the time or desire to oversee his chairmanship in these troubled days. He lives in Tennessee, and, from his back-porch, he cannot see the goings-on in Due West. As a member of a PCA congregation, he has no ties with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. As a hospital administrator, his work consumes his time. His actions reveal he trusts President Kooistra explicitly and is unaware of (or is unconcerned about) the conflicts in Due West and the tensions on the board. He has taken the side of the president and not the side of his board or the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

President Kooistra, a member of the left-wing of the PCA, has no ties with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and no desire to make any. He disdains our General Synod. He ignores our mission for Erskine. Obviously, he is not interested in our definition of an evangelical. Clearly, he has attempted to engineer the demise of the seminary. Furthermore, and this reveals a great deal about the character of the man, Kooistra ignores or is ignorant of the protocols of the PCA. For example: a minister working out of the geographical bounds of his presbytery is required to inform the presbytery in whose bounds he works. Not a member of Calvary Presbytery (PCA), Kooistra has not informed the folks in Calvary Presbytery he is working in a ministerial capacity as the President of Erskine. And how do I know this? I asked. I wonder, will this catch the attention of my PCA readers in Calvary Presbytery? I hope so! If it does, Kooistra’s answer will be he does know about it but will check into it.

Dr. Max Rogland is now the Acting Dean/Dean (?) of the seminary. He is also a minister in the PCA. He is a certified Old Testament scholar. Now, we will see if Hebrew, Aramaic, and the writing of OT commentaries have prepared him for administering a seminary. I wonder, will he do this exhausting work at the same no-pay level as the former Acting Dean did?
Now, add to the list Cliff Smith who is VP for Communications and Strategic Initiative. Are there no Associate Reformed Presbyterians who can provide leadership to our college and seminary? Do not expect Kooistra and company to look for them!

A List of Questions I Would Ask

If I were a member of the board, below is a list of some questions I would pose to Kooistra.

One, Dr. Kooistra, is it true that on November 1, 2014, after declining to take questions, you abruptly walked out on a Curriculum Committee Meeting of the College? Why did you act in such an unprofessional manner?
Two, is it true that on December 11, 2014, visibly frustrated, you abruptly walked out on a College faculty meeting?

Three, there appears to be conflict between you and the entire seminary faculty which has resulted in the Seminary faculty seeking separation from the administration. How did you allow this crisis to develop?

Four, it is reported that at the February 2016 meeting of the Seminary Committee, you lost your temper and publicly chastised members of the Seminary Committee and the faculty in an unprofessional manner. How do you explain this?

Five, two highly qualified senior staff members (VPs) you appointed have resigned after brief terms of service and have expressed concerns regarding the financial leadership of the administration. How do you explain their narratives which conflicts with yours?

Six, Dr. Kooistra, after nearly two years in office, why have we have not received a stated vision, a strategic plan, or an enrollment strategy other than football?

Seven, the following is Board policy: “annually, the president shall report to the board at the first meeting of the new academic year an audit of the shared services to make sure that the correct balance of attention and work is being completed by the shared services personnel” (Board Minutes, May 30, 2014). Why has this not been done?

Eight, current and historic accounting practices of the CFO have created an environment of suspicion inside and outside of the Erskine community. Why have you not addressed this? Why have you not been transparent and forthcoming in this matter?

Nine, Dr. Kooistra, in spite of success in increasing the Annual Fund, why is overall giving continuing to decline?

Ten, Dr. Kooistra, when will you allow an assessment by the college and seminary faculties and administrators to evaluate your effectiveness as President of Erskine College & Theological Seminary? Since this required by the accrediting agencies, why has it not been done?

Will Kooistra Resign?

It is well known Kooistra stated to the board he would know when it was time to resign before the members of the board knew it. Well, maybe he knows and is unwilling to act on his knowledge.

So, what will Kooistra do?

I do not think Kooistra will resign at this time. Too much ego is involved. I think he has measured the psyche of the members of the board. He is prepared to say the things we want to hear, and we are prepared too often to believe a lie. He is aware Associate Reformed Presbyterians are conflict adverse. He knows ours is a culture of niceness. Niceness makes it difficult for tough decisions. Kooistra is pretty sure he is tougher than all the Associate Reformed Presbyterians on the board. He thinks he is safe as long as he wants the presidency of Erskine. Here is his attitude: “They can’t do better than me. They can’t find anybody else who will come to Due West!”
Well, for now, he may be correct! However, I do not think he has read the final chapter yet. If he is still president in August, the August meeting of the board will be nasty.

For now, the problem for Kooistra is the board’s NO vote on football which is a no confidence vote, and there is little he knows to do other than football. His leadership is a joke. If he continues in Due West, he is a public laughingstock — a byword for an old fool.


+
ARPTalk Blog, 864-882-6337, wilson6114@bellsouth.net



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

1 June 2016



The editor is in the midst of but on the upswing from a late-spring cold. D.V., Presbyterians Week will resume on 7 June 2016.