Letter by Anonymous Student, Class of 2008, June 9th, 2009
Dear Mr. Moderator and Mr. Vice-Moderator,
My name is [Name Removed] and I am a 2008 graduate of Erskine College. I thoroughly enjoyed my Erskine experience and genuinely loved and appreciated my professors. It has come to my attention that some concerns have developed regarding Erskine’s commitment to integrating faith and learning in the classroom. These concerns were emerging while I was still a student, but now the situation has escalated enough to prompt current students and alumni to approach the ARP synod to ask for an inquiry into the conduct of Erskine College and its administration over the school’s mission. To summarize, Erskine College has compromised by allowing evolutionary, humanistic and secular concepts to be taught (without the criticism of a Christian worldview perspective) and by failing to stop such teachings when they first began. This, in turn, jeopardizes the students’ personal faith.
The faculty of Erskine is not stressing a Christian approach to scholarship and learning in the classrooms. Indeed, their lessons directly contradict the teachings of Scripture. According to the Statement of the Philosophy of Christian Higher Education of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, those academic institutes belonging to the ARP Church “have a responsibility to stress Christian doctrine as well as Christian ethics.” In addition, Erskine College’s mission statement expresses the desire of the school to integrate “learning and biblical truth.” However, Erskine has failed to integrate Christian principles in the classroom. For example, the science classes are permeated with Darwinian, naturalistic evolutionary theory where as nowhere in Scripture is this ideology evident. Instead, Scripture teaches that God created the world and all it contains in six days and rested on the seventh day. The faculty who teach this form of creation are bowing to the ideas of secularism and humanism that states God does not exist. By this, Erskine has undermined herself and her promise to adhere to the teachings of Christ.
Erskine College further compromised herself by failing to stop false teachings when they first began. The ARP Church’s philosophy on higher education states that the “church has the ultimate responsibility for the administrative, academic, and moral life of the college.” Thus, it is the responsibility of the ARP denomination and her leaders to ensure that Erskine College continues in the tradition of providing education based upon Scriptural truths, not the so-called truths of humanism and secularism. Despite this commitment, the ARP Church has not held the Erskine faculty and administration accountable to Erskine’s mission of providing faith combined with learning.
By teaching evolution, humanism and secularism, with no attempt to criticize them, the student’s faith is jeopardized. This jeopardizing of faith is accomplished by teachings that contradict Scripture and by professors mocking and criticizing their students’ faith (in the classroom). The ARP Church’s Philosophy on Christian higher education states that the “primary task of the College should be to guide the student into the development of a mature faith.” How can a student be given a strong foundation in the faith if he is taught theories, ideas and concepts that directly oppose the inerrant Word of God? What can be worse than to destroy the faith of a young adult? Matthew 18:6 says that “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Erskine College is doing exactly that, causing young men and women to fall away from God by leading them away from the one true God. It would be better for Erskine to close its doors than to continue leading students down the path of humanism and secularism.
In the end, the root of Erskine’s difficulties lie in her failure to adhere to her commitment to integrating Christian principles with academics. This has lead to the presence of false teachings, the failure to stop such teachings, and the jeopardizing of the faith of students. However, before closing this letter, let me reiterate how much I love Erskine. I have a deep respect for the Faculty, Administration, Trustees and the ARP denomination. It is because of this love that I choose to write this letter. Please take these words and the words of current students and alumni seriously. I implore the Synod to examine the current state of Erskine College through a commission so that necessary changes will ensure that she is able to provide an education than integrates excellent academics with sound Biblical teachings.