Update, Oct 18: Dinesh D’Souza has resigned from his role as President at The King’s College according to Christianity Today.
It’s the worst type of story. Yesterday, World Magazine published a shocking account about Dinesh D’Souza. Christianity Today summarized the scandal:
Dinesh D’Souza, president of The King’s College and a well-known evangelical author, faces questions from his board over his relationship with a woman he introduced as his fiancee in late September, according to World magazine. The problem? D’Souza, who has experienced a “meteoric rise in the evangelical world,” is still married to his wife of 20 years, Dixie. World reports that D’Souza and his wife filed for divorce on Oct. 4, but D’Souza appeared at a September speaking event in South Carolina with a “young woman, Denise Odie Joseph II, and introduced her to at least three people as his fiancée.”
D’Souza not only introduced her as his fiancée, but he also shared a hotel room with her at that same speaking event. The King’s College has launched it’s own investigation into the issue, but the facts we know now–and D’Souza’s own words–are self-indicting and will have major repercussions for his university and the credibility of his witness. I don’t amplify Mr. D’Souza’s missteps to gloat in them. I do so to mourn with him, his family and the ministry of The King’s College in the midst of this ugliness. And I do so to unearth the uncomfortable questions:
How can we help our Christian leaders finish well? How many more Christian leaders need to publicly collapse for us to get serious about its implications?
It is incredibly discouraging to learn about the moral failures of a prominent evangelical leader like Mr. D’Souza. And it’s not a new story. From Ted Haggard (President of the National Evangelical Alliance) to Bob Pierce (founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse) to Tom White (executive director of Voice of the Martyrs) …we have read this heartbreaking story before. Christian leaders are not immune to sin. You can make a compelling argument that they’re even more susceptible than anyone else to collapse. We serve a God whose love for his children is unchanging and whose grace is always sufficient. And it’s because of our shared depravity that we have a responsibility as Christians to protect each other from succumbing to it.
Mr. D’Souza’s situation makes me even more resolute about the importance of Peter Greer‘s forthcoming book, The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good. With Peter’s permission, I’ve posted a timely and important excerpt from the book’s introduction (releasing next year). Peter is taking a huge personal risk in penning this book, but I applaud him for the audacity to do so. When moral failures plague Christian leaders, it is magnified in the public eye. But the reality is, this book is one all Christians need. All those who are sinners, at least.
When I looked at Scripture for guidance, what I found troubled me. Only 30 percent of biblical leaders finished well. People who hear from God and even perform amazing miracles seem just as likely to blow it as everyone else.
Our renewed emphasis on doing great things for God, without focused attention on who we are becoming, might be pushing an energetic and service-oriented Church towards a backlash of spiritual disillusionment, faith fallout, and personal burnout.
I truly celebrate the renewed movement of service, and I am cheering for you as you go out and tackle the world’s greatest issues in the name of Christ. But I desperately want more than 30 percent of us to finish well. And to finish well, you and I first need to learn to live well. And to live well, we need to be willing to uncover the unique challenges and temptations that accompany our good deeds.
A prayer from the Valley of Vision:
Keep me ever mindful of my natural state,
but let me not forget my heavenly title,
or the grace that can deal with every sin.