Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dinesh D'Souza named president of The King's College

(HT: Carl Trueman)  On his blog, the always thoughtful Professor Trueman writes:
The announcement that The King's College, New York, has appointed Dinesh D'Souza as its new President is interesting for a number of reasons.  D'Souza undoubtedly makes a good choice for an institutional president -- articulate, dynamic, and learned, as well as being a public figure of considerable stature.  He has also in recent years earned a reputation as a gracious apologist for Christianity.
What makes the appointment surprising is that he is a Roman Catholic....
What perplexes me about the D'Souza appointment is the fact that The King's College sees
itself as rooted in the Protestant, evangelical tradition, and sells itself on training young people in terms of a Christian worldview and then sending them out to be cultural leaders.
Clearly, if the school can now be headed by a Roman Catholic, the Christian worldview of The King's College presumably sees issues of authority, the Bible, the interpretation of the Bible, the sacraments, justification, and the church (among numerous other doctrines) as negotiable, as areas where there can be significant disagreement and which are, by inference, only tangential to a Christian view of the world.   This is not to denigrate either Protestant or Catholic views in these areas, but merely to point out the fact that there are huge differences here which yet are not seen as impinging on the worldview being taught.  One is left to assume that this "Christian" aspect of the worldview consists, theologically, in little more than agreement on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Filioque, and not much else.  `Generic and minimalist' seem scarcely adequate as a description at this point.
As I have argued before, if these issues really are negotiable, then we should all return to Rome.  Not to do so is an act of schism, as disagreement over them drove the Reformation in the first place and gave Protestantism its reason -- its only reason -- to exist.   Francis Beckwith realised this and, with honesty and grace, returned to the church of his childhood.  And when a college which plays on its Protestant, evangelical identity appoints a Roman Catholic as president, the theologically vague coalition that is evangelicalism is once again exposed in all of its basic theological incoherence and indifference.
Read the whole thing here.

5 comments:

Irenaeus said...

The guy writes as if there's one particularly Protestant position on "issues of authority, the Bible, the interpretation of the Bible, the sacraments, justification, and the church (among numerous other doctrines)..." But there's not; in the evangelicalism in which I live and move and have my being, there's a wide, wide variety of ecclesiologies, conceptions of biblical authority, and (especially) sacraments. Some of us have a high view of communion, do it weekly, and baptize our infants. Others have a low view of communion, do it quarterly, and don't baptize infants. And so...

"One is left to assume that this 'Christian' aspect of the worldview consists, theologically, in little more than agreement on the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Filioque, and not much else. `Generic and minimalist' seem scarcely adequate as a description at this point."

But that's precisely what evangelicalism has become, precisely because it's a pan- and non-confessional thing, spanning Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc etc etc circles. How could it be otherwise? And so...

"...the theologically vague coalition that is evangelicalism is once again exposed in all of its basic theological incoherence and indifference."

It was exposed as such well before D'Souza was appointed president of the school. The only way, I think, this guy's comments make sense is if he assumes that Calvinism is one thing and is to be equated with authentic evangelicalism.

Tim said...

Iraenaeus-

Dr. Trueman (and I) would argue that Calvinist confessionalism is what "evangelicalism" (and Rome, for that matter) needs. Trueman certainly would never suggest Protestants have one global view of authority, etc.

Christopher Lake said...

As a Catholic "revert" from "Calvinist confessionalism," this appointment is surprising to me, in some ways, though I am certainly not dismayed as some of my Protestant brethren may be.

Dinesh D'Souza is a fine Catholic Christian thinker. If one disagrees on the pairing of the words "Catholic" and "Christian," I must ask, is one willing to be consistent and posit that Saints Justin Martyr, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas also were/are not Christians? They all held distinctly Catholic views of Church authority, Scripture and Tradition, baptism, and justification.

Christopher Lake said...

Correction: D'Souza once described himself as a "poorly practicing Catholic," but now, apparently, he sees himself as having a "Catholic background" but as being a "non-denominational Christian." Protestants have no need to fret here. D'Souza has seemingly traveled a similar road, out of the Church, that millions of other "poorly practicing Catholic(s)" have traveled...

http://insightscoop.typepad.com/2004/2010/08/puzzling-even-perplexing.html

Glenn Petrone said...

Like many modern conciliar Catholics D'sousa is a crypto-protestant. Vatican II created a new religion.