The issues which will be the subject of the Commission report to be heard at the Called Meeting on March 1-2 stem from complaints from multiple sources that came to the ARP Synod last summer, principle among them both current and former students. 144 of them signed a petition to the General Assembly this past summer, which reads as follows:
Dear Mr. Moderator and Mr. Vice Moderator, Mr. Moderator-elect and Mr. Vice Moderator-elect:
We are current students and alumni of Erskine College. We love Erskine and its stated mission of providing an excellent Christ-centered liberal arts education. We are committed to seeing Erskine prosper and grow as an excellent Christian liberal arts college. We write to you now because of our deep commitment to Erskine, and because of our desire to see Erskine become, by God’s grace, what it could be.
We know that you have heard different things about whether the trajectory of Erskine as an institution is toward fulfilling its Christ-centered mission. We know that you have heard different things about whether the Erskine ethos – of its Board, Administration, and Faculty – fulfills the mandates you have given it in your “A.R.P Philosophy of Christian Higher Education” and “Institutional Mission and Commitment” documents. We know that because of these concerns many of you question whether Erskine is becoming the academic community under the Lordship of Christ that its mission calls it to be.
Though, we the signatories, come from different backgrounds, different denominations, and have different callings, all of us – like you – are evangelical Christians committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the authority of His Word. And each of us have deep and urgent concerns that Erskine is not accomplishing the mission that you call it to, and that the tithes of your congregations support financially. As evangelicals we are a minority in the classroom, on the campus, and in committee meetings, and so our appeals at Erskine for greater faithfulness to its mission have not been answered. Therefore, we appeal to you, our brothers and elders in the General Synod, not from a desire to belittle or to condemn but because we believe that you share our desire to see Erskine be faithful in implementing its mission and your mandates, so that your covenant children may be nurtured and the lost reached.
Many of us are your covenant children, and all of us are your brothers and sisters in Christ. We appeal to you, as the leaders of the Church, for your help and are available to speak with you should you want to talk with us on an individual basis about our experiences at Erskine. We commit ourselves to pray for you and to pray for Erskine as this process goes forward. Given the personal risk many of us, especially as students, are making by signing this letter we ask that you protect our identity so that we will not experience retribution or adverse treatment on campus. Our prayer is that by your help Erskine College may find its light in God’s Word (Ps. 36:9).