Phillip Malphrus, Moderator of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, addressed Erskine faculty, staff, and students Jan. 15 at the first convocation of the spring semester.
Malphrus spoke about “Wisdom for the Future,” focusing on a scripture text from Proverbs.
Prefacing his remarks with a reminder to students of “how much you are prayed for” by members of the ARP denomination, the moderator offered his own best wishes to students for a beneficial experience at Erskine.
Taking Proverbs 3:1-7 as his text, Malphrus noted that the passage includes promises of “many days and well-being” for those who maintain “loyalty and faithfulness,” qualities described as leading to longevity and peace.
The moderator posed the question “How are we to be loyal and faithful?” and cited three means of meeting that goal.
Essential to loyalty and faithfulness, both to God and to others, is “trusting in the Lord, not yourself,” Malphrus said.
Also necessary for loyalty and faithfulness is “knowing the Lord, not just knowing about the Lord”—and not just knowing, but “knowing loving, and following the Lord,” he stressed.
Finally, Malphrus urged his hearers to avoid being “wise in your own eyes.”
Issuing a challenge to his listeners, the moderator asked, “Do you know Him? Are you following Him?”
“I want the absolute best for you,” the moderator told the students, and assured them that the “absolute best” comes in knowing, loving, and following the Lord.
Worship in the Due West ARP Church was led by the Rev. Paul Patrick, chaplain. Prof. Tobi Otekayi served as pianist, and the Erskine Choraleers, led by Dr. Keith Timms and accompanied by Otekayi as well as by Sam Tam, cello, presented a choral anthem.
Erskine President Dr. Robert Gustafson introduced the speaker, a retired educator and member of Devenger Road ARP Church who lives with his wife in Woodruff, S.C. “He knows how education works,” the president said.
Dr. Leslie Holmes, seminary provost, offered a prayer for the campus community and pronounced the benediction.