An Open Letter by Bill Marsh to the ARP Church
You have been an ARP for more than twice as long as I have, so I write you with you a question. I was struck this afternoon by the apparently-terrifying fear of sunlight shown by the Executive Board in the matter of my complaint.
As you recall, I complained in March to the Executive Board that they had no business taking up your complaint as an emergency given the pace at which they handled the matter (at least until the end!). I further complained that they were proscribed by the Manual of Authorities & Duties from acting on any presbytery matters. Finally, I complained about the actions of the investigators and the particular men selected to both investigate and prosecute you.
Rather than addressing the allegations I made in the complaint, the response of the Executive Board was to put forth a proxy (former parliamentarian Andy Putnam) to argue that the complaint was out of order since it partially complained against actions take in October by the EB. However, it also argued against March actions of the EB in a complaint also filed in March. Since I am long past caring enough about the terminal patient that is the ARP’s denominational agencies and boards to travel to its third-rate campground, I was not present on Tuesday to ask a question. I pose it to you here: Rather than hide behind the calendar’s apron strings, how do the members of the Executive Board respond to the specific allegations I made in the complaint?
That they put up a former parliamentarian to reprise his old role of moving the court with his self-asserted apodictic certainty, and that they asked a former Moderator of Synod to temporarily take the chair who is now an employee of a General Synod agency (and would thus wisely toe the party line), suggests that they would rather do anything than have to defend their actions in the sad matter that was your judicial case.
One could fairly ask: Do our leaders take their work seriously? Or just themselves?
What am I missing?
Questions to which the Executive Board owe answers to the ARP Church:
How was your handling of this matter consistent with an emergency? 211 days from referral by a presbytery to trial. Remind me of “two weeks to stop the spread”!
Do our Synod’s officers believe that the Executive Board is a court of the church?
How do they reconcile their taking up Second Presbytery’s referral to the Synod with the Manual of Authorities & Duties’ specific directive from the Synod that the Executive Board not act on any presbytery matters? If the discipline of a minister is not a core presbytery function, what exactly is a core presbytery function?
Do they believe that they appointed investigators who could be reasonably viewed as impartial to Rev. Charles Wilson in light of his — and their — past actions and statements?
Why did the Investigators not speak to any witnesses except those with animus against Rev. Wilson? Why did they only speak to the two daughters making accusations but not the other three children raised in Rev. Wilson’s home?
Do they believe that the second charge made against Rev. Wilson was adequately supported by witness testimony? Since the Investigators advanced a charge on the testimony of one person, do the officers of Synod believe that it met Biblical criteria?
Are the officers of Synod proud of the vulgarities and profanities the Investigators used in the charges? Do they believe that those statements were necessary to be included in the language of the charges rather than as supporting evidence? Do the officers of Synod believe that the ARP Church into posterity has been edified by such language?
Do the officers of Synod believe that, having accepted the allegations of the Investigators, that they were powerless to vacate their prior approval of the charges and accept new charges as part of a resolution that might bring healing to the Wilson family?
In what ways have the ministers and elders of the Executive Board worked toward reconciliation and any kind of redemptive outcome for this family? Is any member of the Wilson family better off because of the efforts of the (now) former Moderator, (now) former Vice Moderator, Principal Clerk, or the Parliamentarian of the General Synod?
Can every member of the Executive Board state -ex animo- that he knows every action taken in his name and that he approves of the actions of the leaders of the Executive Board?
Do the officers of the Executive Board claim that they afforded every opportunity to the defense that they accorded the prosecution?
How much of Synod’s funds did the Executive Board spend on its investigation of Rev. Wilson?
Did the Executive Board believe that a 77 year old blind man constituted such a physical threat that Synod’s funds should be expended for two Greenville County deputies for multiple days?
Sadly, I do not expect answers to these questions.