Unwilling to play the unseemly game of ecclesiastical oversight, I withdrew from the political nonsense of the ARPChurch. I did not renounce my faith. I did not renounce the Church of Jesus Christ. I did not renounce the ministry, for I am still ordained — just not in the ARPChurch.
I was anathematized as outside the bounds of the Church of Jesus Christ, as having lost my salvation, and in danger of hell by Clerk Kyle Sims and Bill McKay. However, both men make an unfounded assumption: the ARPChurch is THE Church of Jesus Christ. Wow! You know, this sounds a bit like something coming out of the Roman Catholic Church during the time of Martin Luther, doesn’t it?
I was in the ARPChurch for 51 years. I have never seen what Moderator Bill McKay did. Through the news auspices of the ARPChurch, he informed the world that Chuck Wilson was excommunicated. In the last 51 years, I remember others who left or were forced out of the ARPChurch, but I don’t remember such a public treatment. I suppose a word of thanks is due here!
Bill McKay, who is infamous for informing the Canadian police that one of the ARPCanadian congregations was meeting for Sunday services during Covid, was the voice of condemnation (through I suspect someone else wrote the email). The ARPChurch is blessed to have such a leader!
The reader may find this an interesting piece of information. When my wife and I entered the Greenville Vatican (called Central Services), we were met with two policemen in full “battle rattle.” The only thing I was armed with was an old Montblanc fountain pen (which I still use to compose articles before I type them into “Pages”).
It was amazing! They were afraid of a sickly 77-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman. Specifically, they were afraid of a 77-year-old man who is blind in his left eye and legally blind in his right eye, who has diabetes, who is hypertensive, who suffers with amyloidosis-wild, who had a heart attack 18 months ago, and who struggles with progressive heart failure. Incredibly, young men I know who have “carry permits,” were afraid of a wizened old man!
I am reminded of Proverbs 28.1, “The wicked flee when no one pursues.”
When my wife and I walked out of the Greenville Vatican, we remembered these words from an old Negro spiritual,
Surely been 'buked, and surely been scorned, thank God almighty, I'm free at last,
but still my soul is-a heaven-born, thank God almighty, I'm free at last.
Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.
In the style of Jonathan Swift and others, I opened my pen and began a satire of the leaders of the ARPChurch. I did not publish or post the satire; rather, I sent it to Kyle Sims, Patrick Malphrus, Matt Miller, Nathan Frazier, and Tom Shoger to see what they though of it. I don’t think they much like it!
Below is their response.
You should have already received this email from our attorney Andrew Mathais which contains our response to your previous email. I am forwarding this to you in the event that his original email went to your junk file.
Rev. Kyle E. Sims, D.Min
Principal Clerk, Associate Reformed
Below the email from attorney Andrew Mathais
I am in receipt of your email seeking comments concerning your draft ARP Talk blog post entitled “Going Down (Part 2)” (attached here). Please accept this as the comment you requested.
DO NOT “release” your draft blog post as it is filled with untruths that will give rise to claims of defamation if published. Expensive and public litigation is not in the best interest of you or the Church.
My clients are prepared to take legal action should you continue to make defamatory statements about them. While my clients hope to avoid litigation, I hereby provide notice of our evidence preservation demand. As a potential party to a legal action, you and all individuals acting on your behalf should consider this communication as formal notice of your legal obligations pertaining to the preservation of evidence. This preservation obligation extends to all documents, data, and any other tangible or electronically stored information that could become a source of discovery and evidence in this dispute, including but not limited to all written communications, electronic communications, voicemails, receipts, financial records, emails, text messages, iMessages, Facebook messages, or other social media communications concerning or in any way related to the statements contained in your draft blog post or any other future defamatory comments, written or otherwise. Notice is hereby given to you and all individuals acting on your behalf that any destruction, concealment, or loss of such documents, data, or information (including, without limitation, emails, text messages, or other electronic communications) will be considered spoliation of evidence. These obligations also extend to any of your agents, employees, representatives, advisors and/or counsel. Failure to comply with this notice may result in the imposition of severe sanctions by a court of competent jurisdiction.
A more fulsome response to your request for comment will follow. The nature of this second communication depends on whether you choose to ignore my admonition not to publish “Going Down (Part 2).”
Who are these guys kidding? They also play in the world of the blogosphere, the Internet, the Facebook, Twitter, texts, and emails. It’s a rough-and-tumble world.
Before I was a part of the ARPChurch, I was a freeborn American citizen, and I am still a freeborn American citizen. I don’t think the First Amendment can be taken from me, even if I engage in satire/caricature of individuals who are public or semi-public figures. It seems the righteous clerics of the ARPChurch fear criticism. All tyrants do!
There is no libel in what I have written. There is, however, satire of men with very large egos who have spent their lives hiding in the dark under the guise of being righteous.
Well, I had no intention of publishing the draft.
I wonder if it were the caricatures that they didn’t like!?
The caricatures are below. What do you think? Do you think it may have upset them?
Is freedom to caricature/satire church leaders guaranteed under the First Amendment? Well, Yes, it is! There is a long history of it. Church leaders are also political leaders. Some may think caricature/satire is in bad taste, but the First Amendment is not about good taste. Nor does it protect pompous clerics from being called out.
Maybe they should have confiscated my old Montblanc pen at the Greenville Vatican.
Sadly, the ARPChurch cannot be turned from its slow march to the graveyard of denominations. What I have read in the Synod reports for this year is discouraging. The indicators are pointing do, and the leaders rejoice that it is not a bad as it could be.
Saint W. C. Fields said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.”
It has been 15 years for ARPTalk. I have been a damn fool for long enough. It is time for others to take my place.
I say farewell and adieu,
Charles W. Wilson