Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dinesh D'Souza. ,The King's College, and The Campus Crusade For Christ

Oh No!! To say the least there is some mild disappointment among Catholics.

This story have developed out of Dinesh D'Souza being named President of The King's College in NYC which is Evangelical. Let me say I from the outset I think King's College ,that is located in the heart of Manhattan, is a very good thing.

Dr Francis Beckwith has a great post on this at Does "mere Christianity" mean the rest consists in only "mere squabbles"?: More on the D'Souza hiring

Now this is a story that is important to look at as to many levels. The controversy will mostly come from the evangelical side I think. More on this later

Now there were signs that D' Souza perhaps was more difficult to pen down as to Faith matters than many Catholics thought.

I like many thought he was still a practicing Catholic attending Mass while he attended also attended an evangelical Church for the sake of his his wife and family.

Here are some reasons why these latest developments might come as a shock to some.

First he never renounced his Catholicism publicly.

Second he has often talked and incorporated Catholic arguments and spirituality into his arguments.

Third he works for National Review which at times has a Catholic Ethos about it. It is still linked in some ways with that Catholic Conservatism in the Belt Way

Fourth and lets be honest, Catholics are sort of theological intellectual and spiritual snobs at times. While Evangelicals have learned a lot from Catholics and engaged Catholic authors and thought in reality that has not happened on the other side among the people in the pew or the net.

In other words Dinesh D'Souza is brilliant so he must be a great practicing Catholic.

Now let's return to the Dr Francis Beckwith post that comments on the very informative Christianity Today article.

I thought there was an obvious question that was never asked. Has he been re baptized!! That too me is one of the more interesting things here. It seems to be that being re baptized is a very important public breaking with the Catholic Faith. He very well might have been but I doubt it. I suspect if he had that would have leaked out.

Now from the evangelical side I suspect that might be a issue too. If you read the Christianity Today article you see the ties the school has to the Campus Crusade of Christ. Though it appears that formal relationship might be breaking up.

Campus Crusade for Christ is sort of an odd bird in many ways. It's ethos might change from place to place but I have observed they go out of their way to say they have Catholic members when recruiting. Though it is clear to me there is a tension as can be seen in their Statement of Beliefs which seems to indicate a true believing Catholic could not be a member.

However at least when I was around them, there were some radical strains within the Crusade. This might have changed but I can recall some factions of it being very anti organized religion. Even if that was the local Baptist Church. Now those were not the majority but I observed it on my campus among some of their membership. No need to belong to one of the Churches let us gather together on Sunday among ourselves.

Again I am not sure how strong the presence of that faction is at Kings College. Also the fact that Statement of Beliefs does not indicate infant Baptism is wrong (though no doubt a belief among the majority) is important. This is one of those areas as both the Campus Crusade of Christ Statement and The King's College seem to include here:
"We accept those areas of doctrinal teaching on which, historically, there has been general agreement among all true Christians. Because of the specialized calling of our movement, we desire to allow for freedom of conviction on other doctrinal matters, provided that any interpretation is based upon the Bible alone, and that no such interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the ministry to which God has called us.'

So in other words evangelical Methodist and Reformed Presbyterians are OK and perhaps infant Baptized Catholics!!

Now there has been a good bit of tension between the Crusade and some Evangelicals. There has a LOT of friction at times between Fundamentalists and the Crusade.

The Crusade does not go out of their way to say certain beliefs of the Catholic Church are false and in fact have worked with Catholics. EVEN JOHN PAUL THE II . In fact we get a lot of the essence of the Crusade here at The Remarkable Joint Cooperation of Venerable Pope John Paul II and Campus Crusade for Christ. A must read.

To see some of these tensions between Protestants of different flavor here are three articles I just got off the net in seconds . See Campus Crusade for Christ(Crusade for Who?) (Which indicates in some Countries abroad they have had Catholics on staff) , BILL BRIGHT JOINS HANDS WITH FALSE GOSPELS , and Campus Crusade for Christ and My Past.

This mirrors some of the tension I saw between the Crusade and other Protestant groups on Campus. For instance back in the day I observed on the surface relationships between the Baptist Student Union and the Campus Crusade were great. Indeed among many members it was!! However there was some grumbling I could detect at the BSU on among some.

Francis Beckwith knows a lot about theological signing statements to say the least relating to the controversial issue of his membership in the Evangelical Theological Society. Now I might be incorrect on this, but I sense the The Crusade and perhaps the ethos of King College is a lot less concerned about certain rules and might gives more dispensations than the ETS.

He does point out that signing statement is in fact very Protestant. But perhaps the College has decided hey he is "born again" so let's not have JUST the ordinance of Baptism or that pesky rule about believing in the Protestant Canon Only get in the way.

Again I am not sure how prevalent attitudes of some members of the Crusade as I discussed above are at the college. However I think it might have something to do with how Kings College looks at the whole affair.

Now the signing statement does say:

God admonishes His people to assemble together regularly for worship, for participation in ordinances, for edification through the Scripture and for mutual encouragement."

Also see above links on the Canon of the Bible

So there seems to be tensions and contradictions as we see sigbning statements the Crusade in reality.

The Crusade might have changedwhile I was at college. I saw there was peer pressure to conform to all the things in the above statement of beliefs but it was never indicated to me parts of it were real requirement to be a member of Campus Crusade. Though I suspect they get a lot more strict rules when it is a leadership position.

Now I have no idea what is the teaching of this Calvary Church that D'Souza attends. I suppose it is possible they are very Campus Crusade like.

However, I can see why D' Souza might be comfortable at KING'S College. It does appear there might be "Formal Rules" but in other cases the rules are informally let go.

So I suspect this might be the real issue. The Crusade might put on general orthodox Evangelical Clothing in public and might in it's heart believe them ,but sees many things in reality negotiable. .


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