President of Evangelical Theological Society Becomes Roman Catholic

Dr. Francis Beckwith announced his return to the Roman Catholic Church today. He also announced the he has resigned from the presidency of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). I did not post about this news yesterday when I heard about it because I suspected that Dr. Beckwith had not authorized the bloggers who were writing about it to make the announcement for him. It turns out that I was right.

But now that the cat’s out of the bag, Dr. Beckwith has posted his own explanation of his recent conversion and how he intended to phase out quietly from his leadership position in the ETS. Here’s the link: “My Return to the Catholic Church.”

Responses Worth Reading:

“Thoughts on the Return to Rome of Professor Beckwith” – by Carl Trueman

“ETS President Converts to Catholicism” – by Russell Moore


  • Andy

    I think the blogger made the right decision to expose on it. Actually the news was already broken when Beckwith’s student blogged on it and also people who had been interacting with him.

    The blogger was not the first to report, its just so happen that the blogger was a well known blogger.

    The real Beckwith is not how he is portrayed within this few days. You should read his attacks on Walter Martin’s daughter.

  • James White

    Mr. Burk:

    You wrote, “I did not post about this news yesterday when I heard about it because I suspected that Dr. Beckwith had not authorized this blogger to make the announcement for him. It turns out that I was right.”

    Could you direct me to the “Internet Authorization Service” to which I must submit my blog entries? 🙂

    I was unaware that I had to seek Dr. Beckwith’s authorization before commenting on his conversion. His decision is not just his own: he accepted, through various ways, a great deal of responsibility, as president of ETS, as a teacher, author, etc. He partnered with many who are now left dealing with his decision. And, of course, as I predicted, the Roman Catholic apologetics community is trumpeting his conversion just as I said they would. So once again, might you explain your language in your post? You seem to be accusing me of wrong doing. Could you document this wrong doing? Thanks.

    James White

  • G.L.W. Johnson

    Given the present malaise that characterizes much that goes by the name ‘Evangelical’ this is not all that surprizing. Consider: We have the category of a ‘generous orthodoxy’ made popular by Brian McLaren and the Emergent church in which nothing distinctively Reformational is essential for admittance into the club. In fact the whole debate being carried on by ‘postconservative ‘ Evangelicals says in effect that the concerns of the Reformers are decidely mossback especially as these were articulated by Old Princeton.Then we have the pell-mell state of affairs surrounding the article of a standing or falling church, as Luther called the doctrine of justification with the New Perspective on Paul and this coupled with a similar revision of ‘sola fide’ being advanced by Norman Shepherd and his followers in what goes by the label ‘The Federal Vision’ in which ,in some real sense justification is by ‘works’ defined as ‘ covenantal faithfulness’. We should be prepared to see this as a fairly common occurance.

  • benarbour03

    Someone should tell James White that there is such a thing as professional courtesy and that family decisions sometimes fall under this category. There is not Internet Authorization Service. You don’t have to check in. But could we have waited maybe a whole week? Maybe Dr. Beckwith wanted to wait until his resignation, which he had clearly been working towards before his rejoining the Roman Catholic Communion.

    So, no, maybe Dr. White didn’t do anything wrong, or sinful in the sense of transgressing natural law or such, or even unethical, per se. But it might be discourteous, rude, and in a sense not done out of Christian love towards Dr. Beckwith.

  • Andy


    That was a quick editorial change from “this blogger” to “the bloggers.” I guess it is the owner’s prerogative on this blog……

  • jeff miller

    When I read comments and links under this post of people very concerned with how to maintain status as Catholic or Evangelical, I can’t help but think the issue of real importance is “Union with Christ”. Will having the Catholic label promote union with Jesus…maybe not. Will having the Evangelical label promote union with Christ…maybe not. So, how do we know union with Jesus? -Sacraments? -Confession of a creed (catholic or evangelical)? -Through your local elders?
    Can we legitimatly institutionalize it?

    Certainly there are many of us who think that Jesus and union with him is worth everything. What has He, who filled up all the Law and the Prophets, said about union with Him?

    Jeff Miller

    p.s. Denny, thank you for posting on those martyred in Turkey.

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