ARP News Update

Erskine Board Action Regarding Seminary

Among the important issues considered by the Erskine College Board of Trustees in its meeting Aug. 17, 2012, was the recent administrative restructuring at Erskine Theological Seminary. In view of some confusion regarding the intent of these changes, the board adopted a statement, “Affirming Erskine Theological Seminary.” Here, Erskine President Dr. David Norman offers a response to the board’s encouraging action. The statement itself is also presented in full.

God has seen fit to bless Erskine Theological Seminary with a rich history, a sound endowment, excellent campus facilities, and most recently, reaffirmed accreditation. Over the past five to seven years, the Father has also allowed Erskine to face significant struggles. We are grateful for the strong relationships we continue to maintain with historic churches, both within and outside the ARP — even during a time when the internal culture of our sponsoring denomination has been in transition.

Much has changed in the 175 years since our founding. Our core mission to educate persons for service in the Christian church has not changed. Around the change of the millennium, Erskine, along with several other evangelical and reformed seminaries, experienced a period of rapid growth and expansion. In more recent years, however, economic pressures and cultural shifts have brought different challenges. Remaining true to our mission has required that we make strategic organizational changes. While we desire and work for Erskine to educate as many men and women as God sees fit, we place a greater priority on serving our students and the Body of Christ than on growth.

This summer we enacted administrative changes designed to increase internal efficiency and communication and to ensure we operate within a balanced budget. Although we do not expect these changes to have a negative impact on the quality education we offer our students, we acknowledge that change is often difficult for all involved, but especially for our valued employees. For this reason we are grateful for the board’s recent statement of support. I hope it will be a comfort to our employees and returning students.

Affirming Erskine Theological Seminary
Erskine Theological Seminary is an educational institution of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC), and the Seminary has been called by God and commissioned by the ARPC to serve the Church of Jesus Christ. The mission of Erskine Theological Seminary is to educate persons for service in the Christian Church.

Erskine Theological Seminary is organically and historically related to Erskine College, a Christian liberal arts college. We are an academic community that exists to glorify God by equipping students to flourish as whole persons for lives of service.

We, the Board of Trustees, affirm these statements and commit to the students, staff and faculty our intention to provide governance which stands true and upholds this commitment. It is our desire that Erskine Theological Seminary continues to be a distinct seminary which men and women can attend and know that they will be instructed in the things of Jesus Christ, His Church and His mission. Through these times of transition, we should, more than ever, hold true to our mission and strive to lead our seminary so that God indeed is glorified.

Unanimously adopted by Erskine College Board of Trustees, August 17, 2012