Saturday, May 5, 2007


Frances Beckwith, Baylor prof and president of ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) has converted to Roman Catholicism. You can read about it at Tom Ascol's blog here. Beckwith's website is here. He contributes to the blog Right Reason. There you can read his own thoughts about his conversion to Roman Catholicism in the post, "My Return to the Catholic Church." There he writes,

Because I can in good conscience, as a Catholic, affirm the ETS doctrinal statement, I do not intend to resign as a member of ETS.
What? The ETS doctrinal statement says:

The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.
How can a Roman Catholic be in agreement with sola Scriptura? Am I missing something here?

Beckwith also blogs:

I thought it wise for me to err on the side of the Church with historical and theological continuity with the first generations of Christians that followed Christ’s Apostles.
Historical and theological continuity? Am I missing something here? Roman Catholicism may be something, but it is not any more historically or theologically continuous with the first generations of Christians than Protestantism.


Chad Toney said...

Hi! I found this blog through a Google search about Dr. Beckwith.

I'll give you a link to answer your first question: "how can a Catholic affirm that Statement of Faith?"

Check out Catholic Apologist Jimmy Akin's explanation here.

Hope that helps at least get the ball rolling...

Pax Christi,

GUNNY said...

VERY interesting slooge, Jay.

My comments here were becoming cumbersome, so I posted the whole slooge to my blog as I found my answer taking into another direction as well.

M. Jay Bennett said...


Thanks for the link to Jimmy's blog.

I read his explanation for why the statement isn't quite worded well-enough to exclude the Romish heresy. He makes a good point.

I wonder what he understands the word Bible to mean? Does he understand it as having a 47-book Old Testament or a 39-book Old Testament?

I suppose, technically, the statement could be understood either way, but as a Papist he would have to read it as a 47-book Old Testament in order to be consistent and maintain his integrity.

M. Jay Bennett said...

New post on this by Carl Trueman.

Jared Nelson said...

I would be a little upset if they kicked him out. Not necessarily because I support Catholicism, but if they let Clark Pinnock and the Open Theists stay in, what's the point? I have more in common with a Catholic than an Open Theist frankly...

GUNNY said...

Jared, that would indeed be the height of instability!

GUNNY said...

It's official.

Professor Beckwith has resigned his ETS membership.

"Although I firmly believe that I can sign the ETS doctrinal statement in good conscience, my high-profile presence in ETS will likely result in the sort of public conflict that occurred during the debate over the openness view of God and the attempt on the part of some members to oust believers in that view. Because, as I noted in my prior posting on this matter, that I deeply desire a public conversation among Christians about the relationship between Evangelicalism and the Great Tradition, a public debate about my membership status, with all the rancor and stress that typically goes with such disputes, would preempt and poison that important conversation. For this reason, I am resigning as a member of ETS."