ETS Resignation Triggers Tradition Discussion
Debate over open theism preempted previous attempts to discuss Roman Catholic theology, said Bock, ETS president from 2000 to 2001. He expects discussion will address at least six areas: justification by faith, the role of the pope, Mariology, the sacraments, the extent of the biblical canon, and how Protestants' and Roman Catholics' views on each other have changed.
Gregg Allison, associate professor of church theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, teaches about Roman Catholicism and previously worked with Campus Crusade for Christ in Rome and at the University of Notre Dame. He affirmed the desire many Christians have to connect with church tradition, but noted that Roman Catholics do not merely affirm the early church. They also recognize apostolic succession that ties together both the Council of Trent, which anathematized Protestants, and the Second Vatican Council, which recognized Protestants as brothers.
"I would consider myself an evangelical who deeply appreciates the great tradition of the church," Allison said, "but it's a chastened tradition."
Still, Allison said Beckwith's conversion should act as a wake-up call for evangelicals to consider tradition. Writing in 2002 for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Scot McKnight said a connection with history is one reason why some evangelicals have lately flocked to Rome.
"Evangelicals need to have this conversation about our relationship to the great tradition," he said. "Evangelical churches in general need to think more carefully about historical theology and our historical rootedness. This dearth of historical consciousness and [the habit of] reinventing the church every half generation are biting us with people like Frank Beckwith."
Collin Hansen is a CT associate editor.
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David Neff interviewed Beckwith about his conversion.
Other recent news articles include:
Prominent evangelical returns to Catholic roots | Baylor professor resigns as head of conservative intellectual group. (The Dallas Morning News)
Baylor prof Beckwith becomes Catholic, resigns as head of evangelical society | Renowned evangelical philosopher Francis Beckwith has become a Roman Catholic and, as a result, has resigned as president -- and also as a member -- of the Evangelical Theological Society. (Associated Baptist Press)