I am not writing to condemn or defend Dinesh D’Souza. The facts in this case will eventually come out and I am not willing to invest the time to work through the details, nor do I trust all of the available sources of those details. I hope that as a Christian, Mr. D’Souza has someone to whom he is accountable and no matter what he did or did not do, he will grow as a result.
In response to the stories in the news, I offer some thoughts on a framework for developing a response:
- All human leaders fail. In small ways or big, all leaders will eventually fail. This is just as true for Christian leaders. There is danger in putting Christian leaders on a pedestal, expecting too much from them and being disappointed when they do not meet our expectations. We cannot expect perfection. So when a Christian leader falls, it should not rock our world to the point where we doubt the truth of Christianity.
- God chooses to use flawed men to accomplish his purpose for humanity. Or more correctly, God chooses to use us in spite of our flaws. The failure of men, even men of high standing, cannot derail God’s plan.
- Christian leaders should be held to the standard of Scripture. The qualifications for Christian leadership are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. When the qualifications for leadership are not met, then it is appropriate to have that leadership role taken away. Christians should not knowingly sit under the leadership of anyone who does not meet the qualifications for leadership that the Apostle Paul outlines.
- Every leader has the opportunity for repentance and restoration. God uses broken people who have experienced failure. Peter denied his Lord. The Apostle Paul was a murderer. David was a philanderer and a murderer. Moses had anger issues. Abraham got caught lying to a king (twice). Yet, God used all of these men to play significant roles in the advancement of His agenda. We cannot write off any leader as a total failure.
We cannot use the excuse that everyone has flaws to give a leader a pass when he fails. The failure must be addressed. But, it must be addressed with the goal of repentance and restoration.
My prayers are with Mr. D’Souza, The King’s College and those men who can speak into Mr. D’Souza’s life. No matter what actually happened, the controversy has created a storm around the college and her former president. All involved will need wisdom and grace.