Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Evangelical Philosopher Switches Teams at 47

Francis J. Beckwith, leading Christian philosopher and current (until May 5) president of the Evangelical Theological Society, has reverted to the Roman Catholicism of his youth, and resigned from both the ETS presidency and even membership in the inerrancy touting society.

Beckwith, an associate professor at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, said the decision he made to seek "full communion" with the Roman Catholic Church grew from his desire to find "historical and theological continuity" with the early Christian church.

In an interview with Christianity Today's David Neff, Beckwith said:

"I still consider myself an evangelical, but no longer a Protestant. I do think I have a better understanding of what sometimes the Catholic Church is trying to convey. Protestants often misunderstand. The issue of justification was key for me. The Catholic Church frames the Christian life as one in which you must exercise virtue—not because virtue saves you, but because that's the way God's grace gets manifested. As an evangelical, even when I talked about sanctification and wanted to practice it, it seemed as if I didn't have a good enough incentive to do so. Now there's a kind of theological framework, and it doesn't say my salvation depends on me, but it says my virtue counts for something. It's important to allow the grace of God to be exercised through your actions. The evangelical emphasis on the moral life forms my Catholic practice with an added incentive. That was liberating to me."

Additional references on Beckwith: J._Beckwith

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