Tuesday, 8 May 2007

ETS president converts to Rome

Aaron notes that, in a fascinating turn of events, the current president of the conservative Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) has converted to the Roman Catholic Church. Francis Beckwith had planned to keep his conversion under wraps until the end of his term as ETS president. But unfortunately a talkative blogger broke the news. So now, in an attempt to minimise controversy, Beckwith has decided both to resign as president and to withdraw his membership from the ETS. (Ironically, however, he observes that “I can in good conscience, as a Catholic, affirm the ETS doctrinal statement.”)

On his blog, Beckwith discusses his conversion to Rome, as well as his resignation from the ETS. It’s depressing to see the rancour of some of the Protestant responses. Even a professional theologian (who ought to know better) adds a comment describing Beckwith’s conversion as “a sad day for all true sons and daughters of the Protestant Reformation, for all who lived and died for its truths” – as though the religious violence of the 16th and 17th centuries (“living and dying”) were the proper norm for a contemporary understanding of ecclesial differences – or as though our primary responsibility today were to honour the dark legacy of this violence!


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