The board of Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in Pensacola dismissed Michael Brown as the school's president December 2001.
Brown subsequently launched F.I.R.E. (Fellowship for International Revival and Evangelism) School of Ministry, practically next door to his former campus.
Brown also created a new congregation called "F.I.R.E. Church."
Bob Phillips, chairman of the board at Brownsville School, said Brown was dismissed because he "was seeking greater independence from the church."
"As the board, we took the position -- and it is in our bylaws -- basically that there's an accountability of the board to both the church and the school and so we saw the presidency as a position of stewardship, not ownership," he said.
The Brownsville School opened in 1997 and is affiliated with the Assemblies of God (AOG), which is the largest Pentecostal denomination.
A loan of more than $2.5 million from the AOG paid for the school property.
"The board felt that its only decision was to release Dr. Brown from the position as president," said Phillips.
Brown, a so-called "messianic Jew," was not affiliated with the AOG, but instead affiliated with an independent church in New Jersey. He said he wanted to head both the church and school so they could "work together as one."
But Brown apparently did not wish to work under direct AOG supervision.
Two black Pentecostal churches decided to provide space for Brown's new school, though its students are predominantly white.
Eight of the 10 full-time faculty have followed Brown to his new F.I.R.E. School.
The Brownsville school had 1,100 students in the fall of 2001.
It was reported that "many hundreds of students" would be transferring to Brown's new school.
Phillips acknowledged this and added, "There will be students that probably will drop out, unfortunately."
Richard Crisco, a faculty member of the Brownsville school, was named interim president.
The student body is mostly college-age, but adults also attend that are interested in ministry training and missionary work.
Brown said he hoped to have "a good strong relationship" with his former employer despite the circumstances.
"There's no competition," he claimed. "We're all building the same kingdom."