Marvin Olasky announced his resignation as provost of The King's College just months after the college chose Dinesh D'Souza as president.
On January 31, 2011, Olasky will transition from provost to "presidential scholar," handling the college's guest speaker series. Olasky will focus most of his energies on being editor in chief of World magazine, a bi-weekly news magazine. "It will come as no surprise to you that Dinesh D'Souza and I have different ideas about some things," he said in an e-mail to Christianity Today. "I'd like to leave it at that and not do an interview." This is a shift from what he told CT in August: "I remain committed to King's."
The college, which is headquartered in rented space in the Empire State Building, surprised Christian higher education observers by choosing someone who has a Catholic background to lead a school that says its "roots are in the Protestant evangelical tradition." Olasky defended the decision at the time.
"I know there's some concern on the part of some evangelicals about the direction of King's because of Dinesh's background. But he, in my view, is certainly heading in the right direction," Olasky said in August. "What I can do is work to make sure that the academic program remains firmly in the Protestant, evangelical tradition."
Olasky will move from New York City to Asheville, North Carolina, where World's parent company, God's World Publications, is based.
D'Souza declined through an assistant to do an interview with Christianity Today. In an August interview with CT, he said that his Catholic background would be in line with The King's College vision.
"My apologetic is very nondenominational; it's very much inspired by the C. S. Lewis idea of mere Christianity," D'Souza said. "I'm quite happy to acknowledge my Catholic background; at the same time, I'm very comfortable with Reformation theology." D'Souza has attended non-denominational Calvary Chapel, a nondenominational evangelical church in San Diego, for several years.
In his earlier interview with CT, D'Souza said that he has not seen anything in the literature at King's that described the college as Protestant.
"Being a Protestant is a term defined in opposition to Catholicism and refers to a set of historical battles over denominational issues," he said. "As far as I can tell, those denominational issues are not the center of what's being argued today."
D'Souza said he wants his students to become "effective in the secular city."
"We're not primarily preparing people for ministry. We might have some people who do go into the church," he said. "I'm going to thoroughly encourage King's to be not only training people in the classroom but also developing that public reputation that allows you to be an authority, a source, a speaker, an op-ed writer, to use your knowledge to influence society."
World has written little about D'Souza since he became president at King's. An editor added the following note about D'Souza's faith to a web column by Ken Blackwell:
America's religious freedom is the wonder of the world. Just this week it was announced that Dinesh D'Souza, a devout Catholic, had been named president of The King's College in Manhattan. The King's College is the only evangelical college in New York City.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Blackwell may have relied here on an erroneous press report. D'Souza defines himself as an "evangelical born-again Christian" who grew up Catholic but is a member of an evangelical church and has signed an evangelical statement of faith in accepting his new role as president of The King's College.)
D'Souza's new book, The Roots of Obama's Rage, has caused a stir in many circles, including conservative ones. World has not written a review of the book. The book appeared at number four on The New York Times bestseller list after its October release. It suggests that it will "reveal Obama for who he really is: a man driven by the anti-colonial ideology of his father and the first American president to actually seek to reduce America's strength, influence, and standard of living." Andrew Ferguson of the conservative Weekly Standard wrote, "[W]here facts are missing altogether, faulty reasoning bolsters the case. " (D'Souza responds here.)
Olasky was a tenured professor at the University of Texas at Austin before he joined King's in June 2007 as its provost.
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Previous Christianity Today coverage of The King's College includes:
Dinesh D'Souza to Lead NYC's King's College | Appointment of author and speaker prompts the questions: How Catholic is he? And how Protestant is the Campus Crusade–affiliated school? (August 24, 2010)
State Closes King's College (November 14, 1994)
New York City: King's College Resurrection Signals Big Apple's Renewal (February 9, 1998)
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