ARP Church Family 2 ARPTalk Reverend Chuck Wilson Synod

The meeting of General Synod last Thursday and Friday (October 22 and 23) sparked my imagination. In the beautiful sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC, we heard numerous delegates speak of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as “family.” Well, are we family because we are small (and, indeed, we are small and very scattered)? Are we family because so many of us are blood-related (and such was the case and much more when I became an Associate Reformed Presbyterian in 1972)? Are we family because so many of our ministers are graduates of Reformed Theological Seminary (but most of us who are RTS grads don’t know each other)? So, what kind of family are we? Perhaps, the cartoon above is an uncanny representation of who we are — like the Simpsons, we are a portrait of a dysfunctional family.

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ARP Church Family ARPTalk Reverend Chuck Wilson Synod

The meeting of General Synod last Thursday and Friday (October 22 and 23) sparked my imagination. In the beautiful sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC, we heard numerous delegates speak of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church as “family.” Well, are we family because we are small (and, indeed, we are small and very scattered)? Are we family because so many of us are blood-related (and such was the case and much more when I became an Associate Reformed Presbyterian in 1972)? Are we family because so many of our ministers are graduates of Reformed Theological Seminary (but most of us who are RTS grads don’t know each other)? So, what kind of family are we? Perhaps, the cartoon above is an uncanny representation of who we are — like the Simpsons, we are a portrait of a dysfunctional family.

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Questions and Answers by Chuck Wilson ARPTalk Associate reformed Presbyterian Church

As a lover of long words, a long word describes my thinking in this post. In a time of financial uncertainty, watching the churchmen who run Central Services in Greenville applying for a government loan instead of appealing to God’s people in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is gut-wrenching. Does this reflect a distrust of the people in the pews? Has the ARP Center become the Vatican of Greenville? Have the various boards and agencies distanced themselves so far from the people of the pews they have become parachurch organizations? And, like parachurch organizations, are their own agendas and continuation the foremost priority? Have they lost their role as servants of Christ’s people in the congregations? Like politicians in Washington, do they think they know better than the people they claim to serve? As I said, what I am watching is gut-wrenching. What I think about it is floccinaucinihilipilification. Now, that’s a word. What’s in a word?

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Floccinaucinihilipilification ARPTalk ARP Church Wilson Returning Payment Protection Program Money

As a lover of long words, a long word describes my thinking in this post. In a time of financial uncertainty, watching the churchmen who run Central Services in Greenville applying for a government loan instead of appealing to God’s people in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is gut-wrenching. Does this reflect a distrust of the people in the pews? Has the ARP Center become the Vatican of Greenville? Have the various boards and agencies distanced themselves so far from the people of the pews they have become parachurch organizations? And, like parachurch organizations, are their own agendas and continuation the foremost priority? Have they lost their role as servants of Christ’s people in the congregations? Like politicians in Washington, do they think they know better than the people they claim to serve? As I said, what I am watching is gut-wrenching. What I think about it is floccinaucinihilipilification. Now, that’s a word. What’s in a word?

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The Noble and the Ignoble ARPTalk ARP Church Applies for a Government Loan Executive Board Chuck Wilson

Tuesday last week, April 7, in the midst of our Covid-19 crisis, the Executive Board of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, sitting in an “emergency” meeting, voted 9 to 7, to run to the federal government for $300,000 to $350,000 in financial aid just in case we are unable to pay the salaries of those who are employed by Central Services, the ARP Magazine, and the ARP Foundation. With no pending emergency, without calling on God’s people in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church or praying to the God of the Bible who declares He owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50.10), the members of the Executive Board voted to call on Caesar. Now mind you, this call for help to the federal government comes not because we are in financial crisis and cannot pay the salaries of our Synod employees; rather, they are running to the federal government because WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO PAY SALARIES AT A LATER DATE — a sum of $300,000 to $350,000! But, at this point, I equivocate: let me say it plainly: there is free federal money available to small businesses; so, let’s get ours — first come, first served!

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So, what happened at the board meeting? Two things happened: the board voted to petition General Synod to restore the president of the quasi-Erskine Alumni Association to the board with “voice” but without “vote”; and the board petitioned General Synod to remove the Moderator of General Synod from the board as a “voting” member and to redefine the Moderator’s role as one with “voice.” Therefore, making the Moderator of General Synod and the president of the quasi-Erskine Alumni Association equals. These two actions equal betrayal by Gustafson.

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President Rob Gustafson ARPTalk Chuck Wilson Betrayal

So, what happened at the board meeting? Two things happened: the board voted to petition General Synod to restore the president of the quasi-Erskine Alumni Association to the board with “voice” but without “vote”; and the board petitioned General Synod to remove the Moderator of General Synod from the board as a “voting” member and to redefine the Moderator’s role as one with “voice.” Therefore, making the Moderator of General Synod and the president of the quasi-Erskine Alumni Association equals. These two actions equal betrayal by Gustafson.

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ARPTalk Urbana 18 Celebrates Cultural Marxism Reverend Chuck Wilson

Well, what did I learn at this seminary on poverty which was sponsored by Outreach North America?

One, I learned not many Associate Reformed Presbyterians are interested in a seminar on poverty. Besides Outreach North America people, people from the Greenville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, there were not many Associate Reformed Presbyterians present. This is not a statement of criticism; it is an observation of the makeup of the audience. Also, after speaking with a number of the participants, I do not think many of them have a personal experience with poverty. Once again, this is not a criticism; it is an observation.

Two, when dealing with words like “justice,” “mercy,” “social responsibly” and other hot button words, clear definitions are necessary in order to prevent people from talking at and past each other.

Three, I greatly appreciated Nabors and Broadus’ emphasis on preaching the gospel to conversion and diligent discipleship of believers. If I understand what they were saying, poverty is a sign of God’s judgment. As I heard them, discipleship in the local church leads people out of the life-destroying lifestyles that produce and continue generational poverty. In other words, a form of Christianity which does not transform is not authentic.

Four, I learned the best way to deal with poverty is by planting Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, and Bible-discipling congregations in poor communities. Since poverty is a sign of God’s judgment (Deuteronomy 14.4-5), the seed of poverty is spiritual. Government, therefore, is unable to deal with the root issue of poverty. (Actually, government institutionalizes, industrializes, and promotes poverty to a political end.) A local congregation which is Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, and Bible discipling has the transformational tools which enable the poor to overcome poverty. In the words of Randy Nabors, “The local church is God’s vehicle for social change.” That is to say, the gospel transforms people!

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ARPTalk Erskine Theological Seminary Reverend Chuck Wilson

Well, what did I learn at this seminary on poverty which was sponsored by Outreach North America?

One, I learned not many Associate Reformed Presbyterians are interested in a seminar on poverty. Besides Outreach North America people, people from the Greenville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, there were not many Associate Reformed Presbyterians present. This is not a statement of criticism; it is an observation of the makeup of the audience. Also, after speaking with a number of the participants, I do not think many of them have a personal experience with poverty. Once again, this is not a criticism; it is an observation.

Two, when dealing with words like “justice,” “mercy,” “social responsibly” and other hot button words, clear definitions are necessary in order to prevent people from talking at and past each other.

Three, I greatly appreciated Nabors and Broadus’ emphasis on preaching the gospel to conversion and diligent discipleship of believers. If I understand what they were saying, poverty is a sign of God’s judgment. As I heard them, discipleship in the local church leads people out of the life-destroying lifestyles that produce and continue generational poverty. In other words, a form of Christianity which does not transform is not authentic.

Four, I learned the best way to deal with poverty is by planting Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, and Bible-discipling congregations in poor communities. Since poverty is a sign of God’s judgment (Deuteronomy 14.4-5), the seed of poverty is spiritual. Government, therefore, is unable to deal with the root issue of poverty. (Actually, government institutionalizes, industrializes, and promotes poverty to a political end.) A local congregation which is Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, and Bible discipling has the transformational tools which enable the poor to overcome poverty. In the words of Randy Nabors, “The local church is God’s vehicle for social change.” That is to say, the gospel transforms people!

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ARPTalk Erskine College Sports Reverend Chuck Wilson

More Sports Programs Anticipated at Erskine College I must begin this issue of ARPTalk by apologizing to our readers. In the last issue of ARPTalk, I announced the following new sports were added at Erskine College: football, acrobatics, E-Sports, lacrosse, track and field, and rodeo. There are, however, other sports programs under consideration. At the…

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