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My Return to the Catholic Church

During the last week of March 2007, after much prayer, counsel and consideration, my wife and I decided to seek full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. My wife, a baptized Presbyterian, is going through the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).  This will culminate with her receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation.  For me, because I had received the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation all before the age of 14, I need only go to confession, request forgiveness for my sins, ask to be received back into the Church, and receive absolution.


Given my status as president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), I decided several weeks ago--after consultation with trusted friends--to not seek absolution until my term as ETS president ended in November and then to request that the ETS nominations committee not place my name on the executive committee ballot as an at-large member.  I wanted to make sure that my return to the Church brought as little attention to ETS as possible.  To complicate matters, I received conflicting advice from wise friends on when and how to address the ETS executive committee on this delicate matter. Some suggested that the ETS executive committee would rather not know about my reception into the Church until after the national meeting in November. These friends recommended I lay low, give a presidential address that is irenic and does not address Protestant-Catholic issues (which I had planned on doing all along), and then quietly ask not to be nominated to the executive committee for the four-year at-large term. Other friends, equally as wise, gave conflicting advice. They opined that my withholding from the executive committee my plans to return to the Church would play to prejudices that some Protestants have about “secretive Jesuit conspiracies” and the like. They were concerned that my planned move would be inadvertently disclosed by friends before the November meeting and that the news that I had withheld information concerning my return to the Church could be perceived by many as a bad witness for the Gospel.

I did not know exactly what to do. So, I prayed and asked the Lord to provide to me clear direction.  I believe I received this direction on April 20.  On that Friday morning, my 16-year-old nephew, Dean Beckwith, called me and asked if I would be his sponsor when he receives the sacrament of Confirmation on May 13.  I could not say “no” to my dear nephew, who has credited his renewal of his faith in Christ to our conversations and correspondence. But in order for me to do this I would have to be in full communion with the Church.  So, on Saturday, April 28, 2007, I received the sacrament of Confession.  The next day I was publicly received back into the Catholic Church at 11 am Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waco, Texas.  My wife, standing beside me, was accepted as a catechumen.  (A Baylor student, who I do not know, was present at the Mass and provides an account of it on her blog).

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. However, because I am sensitive to the fact that my status as ETS president changes the dynamic of my return to the Church, I had originally thought that it was wise for me not to step down as ETS president before my term expires in November. For, I thought that my resignation would draw needless attention to ETS.  On the other hand, because I had no doubt that word of my return to the Church would disseminate quickly through private conversation and correspondence over the next six months, I suggested to the ETS executive committee that it appoint someone else on the committee to preside over the remaining meetings in both August and November.  I offered to attend those meetings and contribute to them in ways to advance the good of ETS.  But I also told the committee that if it did not think it was appropriate for me to attend, I would not. On the other hand, if it thought I should conduct the meetings, I would do so. Regardless, I deferred to their collective judgment on this matter. However, I also told them that I intended to remain as ETS president until my term expires in November, but not to accept a nomination for a four-year at-large appointment to the executive committee after the end of my term. 

But, as many of you now realize, word of my reception into the Church was delivered, without my knowledge, to several bloggers.  A tiny percentage of these bloggers have engaged in much speculation about my motives, the timing of my move, as well as my status as ETS president. Unfortunately, some of these speculations had pockets of uncharity, for they were not advanced under the assumption that I have a true love for my Evangelical brothers and that I may have had undisclosed reasons, perhaps personal and theologically delicate ones, that time and circumstance prevented me from fully conveying in one full swoop.  Fortunately, the uncharitable aspects of these postings have had no impact on people of good will and devout faith, both Protestant and Catholic, who have offered their prayers, advice, and even critical comments to me in the form of private messages adorned by a love of Christ and a sincere desire to honor and respect both me and my wife. Many of these messages, especially the critical ones, have been extremely important in helping me to reassess my decision to remain as ETS president.  As I have already stated, my decision was based on a cluster of goods that I thought would be best protected by my completing my tenure and then permanently moving off the executive committee. However, given the immense public attention and commentary that my reception into the Church has provoked, I no longer think that it is possible for ETS to conduct its business and its meetings in a fashion that advances the Gospel of Christ as long as I remain as its president.  I now believe that my continued presence as president of ETS will serve the very harms that I had originally thought that my retention would avoid.  For this reason, effective May 5, 2007, I resign as both President of the Evangelical Theological Society and a member of its executive committee.

In order to dispel any other rumors, I want to make it clear that no one on the ETS executive committee asked for me to resign.  They received my letter concerning this matter during the week of April 30, and I have no doubt that they have since then discussed that epistle among themselves. As stewards of this important academic society, these men not only have the right to do this, they have the obligation. And I would have willingly and graciously resigned if they had asked me to, even if I thought that I could serve out my term with little controversy. But knowing these wonderful gentlemen, and the measured and serious way they take their responsibility, I knew they did not want to be rushed into assessing such a delicate matter. I have no doubt they have been thinking, deliberating, and praying about what to do.  But given the fact that it is unlikely that I would have been elevated to the presidency of ETS by its membership if my reception into the Catholic Church had occurred prior to the time of my candidacy, I think it would have been more than reasonable for these gentlemen to ask me to step down.  But they had not done so yet.  Nevertheless, I am stepping down, in order to relieve them of the burden of that judgment as well as to avoid bringing scandal to either ETS or the Church. 

There is a conversation in ETS that must take place, a conversation about the relationship between Evangelicalism and what is called the “Great Tradition,” a tradition from which all Christians can trace their spiritual and ecclesiastical paternity.  It is a conversation that I welcome, and it is one in which I hope to be a participant. But my presence as ETS president, I have concluded, diminishes the chances of this conversation occurring.  It would merely exacerbate the disunity among Christians that needs to be remedied. 

The past four months have moved quickly for me and my wife. As you probably know, my work in philosophy, ethics, and theology has always been Catholic friendly, but I would have never predicted that I would return to the Church, for there seemed to me too many theological and ecclesiastical issues that appeared insurmountable. However, in January, at the suggestion of a dear friend, I began reading the Early Church Fathers as well as some of the more sophisticated works on justification by Catholic authors.  I became convinced that the Early Church is more Catholic than Protestant and that the Catholic view of justification, correctly understood, is biblically and historically defensible. Even though I also believe that the Reformed view is biblically and historically defensible, I think the Catholic view has more explanatory power to account for both all the biblical texts on justification as well as the church’s historical understanding of salvation prior to the Reformation all the way back to the ancient church of the first few centuries. Moreover, much of what I have taken for granted as a Protestant—e.g., the catholic creeds, the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, the Christian understanding of man, and the canon of Scripture—is the result of a Church that made judgments about these matters and on which non-Catholics, including Evangelicals, have declared and grounded their Christian orthodoxy in a world hostile to it.  Given these considerations, 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.

I have tremendous respect for both what ETS stands for as well as for each and every one of the members of the ETS executive committee. If not for them, their predecessors, and so many of their (and our) mentors and teachers in the Protestant Evangelical movement, my present faith would be diminished. ETS’s tenacious defense and practice of Christian orthodoxy is what has sustained and nourished so many of us who have found our way back to the Church of our youth.


Comments

It is clear, to anyone who has read any of your work, that you are a man of grace and integrity.

I congratulate you on your return to the Church, and commend you on the way you have handled yourself.

I wish you and your wife all the joy and happiness in the world.

Seems like Dr. Beckwith followed the teachings and beliefs of some early church fathers, instead of trusting in the truths found in God's Word. Kind of sad, but nothing new. The gospel of grace only satisfies those saved by it. All others spend a lifetime trying to achieve it. That's just the way it is. I'll pray the Lord does for Dr. Beckwith what He's done for me.

Dear Frank:

This is a sad day for all true sons and daughters of the Protestant Reformation, for all who lived and died for its truths.

Having abandoned the distinctives of the Reformation (which are deeply rooted in Holy Scripture), you are embracing serious theological error. I wish I could say otherwise, but conscience-bound, I cannot.

By joining Rome, you are putting an institution above God; you are putting men (and I mean males) ahead of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ (See Galatians 1:6-11).

However, you are doing the right thing to resign from your position at ETS.

I have appreciated much of your writing over the years, but I lament what you have now done.

Sincerely,
Doug Groothuis

I give thanks that you have found your way home. Peace be with you and your family.

This is all very interesting. I've been a big fan since reading Relativism and Politically Correct Death. Although I am quite convinced that the reformed view of justification is correct, I don't think it will diminish my admiration for you as a philosopher. In fact, I would very much be interested if you would write something philosophical about transubstantiation since it has been my biggest obstacle to accepting Catholicism on the basis of what seemed to me to be some serious philosophical difficulties. Please give it some thought. Take care, and good luck to you.

Sam

Dr. Beckwith,

First I want to say how proud of you I am. I left the Reformed faith about a year and half ago and lost many friendships over it, being so involved and committed to Evangelical Protestantism.

I came across this site by way of Jimmy Akin, and saw your link to Kacy Sandidge's blog, with whom I am friends. She and I talked about the very same issues you mention, and I would suggest getting to know her as she attends the parish you now belong to. She has a sharp mind and I am convinced is going places in the theological world to come (maybe the next Amy Welborn?)

Anyway, if you are ever in the DFW area, please let me know. I'll buy you a beer.

XC,
Andy

thecommonanglican@gmail.com

God bless you, Dr. Beckwith, and welcome back home. I've long been an admirer of yours and had links to your material on ethics years ago, on my pro-life web page.

You and your family will be in our prayers. I pray that all the public ruckus will not be a cause of great difficulty for yourself or your family.

Having observed what other converts (already known online) have endured (notably, Fr. Al Kimel), sadly, I can't predict that it will likely be a smooth road. But I hope that it can be as "pothole-free" as possible for you and yours.

When I converted in 1990 no one knew me from Adam so I was spared much of these sorts of annoyances. :-)

In Him,

Dave Armstrong

Thanks for sharing, and from one person in the Body of Christ to another, I am truly sorry for any pain the Body (and bloggers like myself) have caused you and your family.

Grace and peace,

--Will--

It is unfortunate that your return to the Catholic Church should have been attacked priot to your public announcement. Even if those who attacked you beleived this disqualified you from leading or even remaining in ETS, common courtesy and the Word of God demands they first seek to contact you personally prior to going public. The fact that they did not (what if the reported return to Rome was erroneous?) indicates they were more interested in their status as theological police than their Scriptural obligations. Although I do not share your evaluation of Rome (I'm still an Anglican - despite the difficulties), I can fully understand the appeal of the Great Tradition. My prayers are with you. God bless.

Welcome home. I'll pray for you and for you and your family's continued maturation in Christ Jesus our Lord. Praised be Jesus Christ!
In fact as seen as I hit post, I'll chant a Te Deum and visit the Eucharist to pray for you. God bless you!

Dr.Beckwith, I am very sorry to hear you are going back to Roman Catholicism. I was raised Catholic also but realized I can never get assurance of my salvation and that Justification through the sacraments in not biblical and falls under the anathema of Galatians 1:8,9. The Roman Catholic canon is different by including the apocrypha which was declared canon in 1563 at the council of Trent. Roman Catholic authority is the Magisterium, Tradition and Scripture, not Sola Scriptura. So the reason I would not go back to the Catholic church is because to them, Scripture is not sufficent to function as the infallible rule of Faith. They do not have the Gospel of Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone based on Scripture Alone. Romans 3:28,4:3,5, 5:1,6:23,10:9-13.John 3:16,36,5:24,6:47, Gal 2:16,Eph 2:8,9,2Tim 3:15-17
Did you consult other evangelical scholars on what you were reading from Roman Catholic scholars to hear their counter arguments? I have been edified by your books and articles. I pray you would reconsider your decision. Rome has a different final authority and a different Gospel. How do you reconcile Roman Catholicism to the Reformed Faith and say they are both valid?

I guess if open theism is evangelical then bowing down to wood and stone should be as well.

Who is attacking Dr. Beckwith as a person. I'm reading that he is being attacked, but I haven't read anyone actually attacking Dr. Beckwith as a person. We all know Dr. Beckwith is a well respected man, a good thinker, etc. But, like Greg Koukl says at times, good thinkers make simple mistakes. This is certainly one of them for Dr. Beckwith. But, he is not a jerk for doing so, and I know if no one who will call him names such as this or even worse.

It is a bad theological decision and one a lot of us hope he will reconsider...on thoelogical grounds

Dr. Beckwith,

I have followed this with great interest. I am very saddened that you have made this decision based on a belief that you must look for the fullness of truth in the Church fathers. I sincerely believe that by taking such a philosophy of history, you are failing to move forward in the understanding of key theological issues as doctrine has developed through the guidance of our Lord in history.

Having said this, I do believe that God may use you greatly in the Catholic church to bring balance, change, and understanding of the Evangelical position. I pray that you leave with no bitterness or lack of understanding of Evangelicals and I hope you join hands with the more balanced Catholics such as Kreeft in fostering dialog between Evangelicals and Catholics.

While I do believe you have joined a tradition that lacks the fullness of the Gospel, I don't doubt your love for Christ.

May God bless you Dr. Beckwith.

Michael Patton

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

I just wanted to say thank you for resigning as the ETS President. Though, theologically, I disagree profoundly with your decision to join the Roman Catholic Church, I think you did the right thing with regard to resigning from your elected office in ETS.

Respectfully but with great sadness,

Alex Chediak

God bless you, Dr. Beckwith. I entered full communion with the Catholic Church almost ten years ago and have never looked back. I took with me all the wisdom of the Reformed tradition, but also some correction and a lot of wisdom that was just simply not on the map. All good things are taken with you. For Christ is the source.

Congratulations Dr. Beckwith (I'm rather stunned at the moment, so I'll not say more!)

My ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, is part of the Traditional Anglican Communion, whose House of Bishops has been talking with several Cardinals in the Vatican about the possibility of intercommunion between both sides one day (a video that disccuses this in part can be found here http://www.themessenger.com.au/Video/20070329.htm). We too heed our Lord's call in John 17 that we may be one.

God Bless.

Frank,
I am astonished by this turn of events. I have spent much time pouring over all the well known Roman Catholic apologists, and I find their arguments over the way of Rome to be bankrupt and not founded on biblical reasoning and often logic itself. Nevertheless, let this not divide us as friends. I would like to see you at some point address the reasons why you have returned to Rome. I think your post was honest and it was good you stepped down from ETS.

- Bill Alnor

We will be praying for you and for your Evangelical friends who, understandably, will find your decision a difficult one. As a former Evangelical myself, I know it can be difficult to explain to friends the work of the Spirit in moving you toward full communion with the Catholic Church. Let us pray that we all will grow closer in the Truth, who is Jesus Christ.

For Evangelicals who would like to read a Protestant-sympathetic treatment of the Catholic understanding of the relationship between the Church of Christ and the Word of God, I highly recommend Louis Bouyer's The Word, Church, and Sacraments in Protestantism and Catholicism . This book was written before Vatican II, by a Lutheran theologian who became a Catholic priest. (A lengthier treatment by Bouyer can be found in The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism.)

I don't expect that Evangelical readers will necessarily be convinced by Bouyer--though he helped me to change my mind--but I do think he will help Evangelicals to understand why an Evangelical might come to believe that the Catholic Church does not elevate a mere human institution above the Word of God.

I'll be praying for your salvation and the salvation of your family Dr. Beckwith. To go from the Protestant Church to the Romanist church is truly a step downhill. As a member of ETS who believes that a man is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone, to God's glory alone, I would like to thank you for being decent enough to not seek further influence in the organization.

To quote an old TV show, "welcome back, welcome back, welcome back." Be warned though in advance that the hard part is not over -if anything it is just beginning as you will realize with time. Do not let it discourage you though -one thing that is nice is that you will realize that the inside is a lot bigger than it appears from the outside. That will make more sense over time as there are just as many self-proclaimed "popes" in Catholicism as there are in Protestantism, Orthodoxy, or anywhere else. But that is a subject for another time. In the meantime, welcome home.

You will be verbally persecuted for reception into the Church, you will lose many friends, your motives and reasoning will be psychoanalized and summerily dismissed ... ...

I dare say that you will be more persecuted for His names sake by those within and those without the Church than you have previously experienced.

It is a hard road. It is a hard and beautiful road. Welcome, and I offer prayers for you and your family.

Dr. Beckwith,

I find it very sad you've chosen to "err on the side of the Church with historical and theological continuity with the first generations of Christians" instead of staying with the Christians who are the most faithful to the very first generation of Christians, the authors of the New Testament.

The more I've studied the history of the Reformation, the more I am thankful for the work of the Reformers--rejected, excommunicated and utterly repudiated by your Church, if not burned alive.

May you influence the Church of the Bishop of Rome for the Gospel--and help reform that body.

Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gracia, Sola Fide, Soli Deo Gloria!

Blessed be God, in His Angels and in His Saints!!!!

I must confess that I know nothing of you, Dr. Beckwith, or the ETS, but I found your story through the happy Catholic blogs and overcame my fear of com boxes to say WELCOME HOME! I'm so happy and excited for you, even though it is a difficult situation for you and your dear family.

To my separated brethren, you, too, are always welcome into the loving arms of Rome.

Viva Cristo Rey!

I have the privilege of counting Frank and Frankie Beckwith as personal friends.
As a Baptist who comes from a Catholic background, I appreciate the integrity of your words, Frank.
To those of you who are dissapointed, I say two things: Frank has not abandoned Christ, and he has not abandoned evangelicalism. I have seen this man remain faithful while enduring attacks for his conservative views.
As evangelicals, we can rejoice that he will continue to be one of our most articulate allies.
More important, Frank will never be abandoned by our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray and not attack. Instead, let us anticipate that day when all of Jesus' children will indeed fullfill what he prayed for us...
Peace,
Carlos

While I am not a Catholic, I believe that good can come of this in time. I believe that your knowledge of both views will be of benifit to all.

I honor your strength and integrity in following that path you feel God has lead you and your wife on. May it be a fruitful one and a blessing not a burden.

Peace be with you.

Frank, could you at some point tell us what your position is on the Council of Trent? Should I, a Protestant, still enjoy the status of "anathema"?

Protestant Support for Beckwith

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

Although I am a Christian of Evangelical-Protestant alignment, and attend a certain 'west-coast, dispensational' seminary, I am comfortable with, and supportive of, your decision to embrace Roman Catholicism. It is evident that your motives are pure and your reasons sound. As a member of ETS, I am sad to hear of your resignation, though I completely understand your reasons for the decision. To whatever extent you will be absent from the ETS, you will be sorely missed.

The common ground we share as orthodox Christians far surpasses whatever differences may divide us. I hope my protestant brothers and sisters will remember the commandment Jesus gave: “love one another; as I have loved you” (John 13:34). While we may disagree, it is the presence or absence of love by which the world will know that we in fact are Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father.

God bless you, Frank. I hope that this occasion serves to foster constructive dialogue between Protestants and Catholics, leading to increased understanding, and ultimately, unity. God desires and commands as much.

For those wishing to explore ecumenical concerns further, and better understand the different branches of Christianity, see: http://ecumenical.foglight.info.

Welcome home Dr Beckwith (from a fellow Baylor Bear). While I did not enter the Catholic Church while in Waco, I did know Fr Timothy and my talks with him did eventually bear fruit. After finishing a PhD in religion at Baylor and moving away I entered the Church and now teach theology to Catholic seminarians. I encourage your critics to peruse the Joint Catholic Lutheran Declaration on Justification and the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement on Salvation to understand how one might be both Evangelical and Catholic.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Beckwith,

As one who came back into the fullness of the Faith 12 years ago, I can only say, with a heart full of love and admiration, "Welcome Home!"

As a former RCIA teacher, I know of many amazing evangelicals (missionaries, Bible scholars, and just plain wonderful Christians) who have made the journey to the Catholic Church. They already knew and adored Jesus Christ, but now they rest secure and joyful in the Church He founded.

It will not be easy, but as you know, the joy is greater than can be humanly described.

With all the angels and saints, Welcome Home!!

Dr. Beckwith,

Please know that you and your family will be in my prayers.

I have been a Catholic for nearly all of my 37 years. I served as a parish director of religious education for some years and had the privilege of accompanying many people on their journey into the full communion of the Church.

In his recent book, Catholic Matters, Father Richard John Neuhaus noted that, even as a child growing up Lutheran, he knew instinctively that "Catholicism was more."

In reading your account of returning to the full communion of the Church, I had the distinct impression that you feel that in your return you were not forsaking the many goods in the Evangelical tradition but, instead, embracing more while leaving nothing that is good, true and beautiful behind.

May God continue to bless you and your family on your journey and may many Catholic and Evangelical Christians be blessed through it.

Welcome Home sir!

"Stu"
LCDR, USN

Dr. Beckwith, I have to say I'm saddened by your decision. I know it was not made lightly, and I know you have made after searching the scriptures and prayer, but I still think you're wrong.

I'm also saddened by some of the responses your decision has received. I hope mine will be perceived as a bit more charitable.

I have a number of dear friends who are Roman Catholic, and we have debated these issues at some length. Those interactions have helped me to distill my thoughts into this:

You said, "Given these considerations, 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."

I would say that you should err in exactly the opposite direction. If I may borrow from Pascal, we have a wager to make between two positions. One is the RC view of salvation by grace plus (a gross understatement, but I'm sure you get the point); the other is the reformation view of salvation by grace through faith alone.

If the RC view is correct, committed protestant believers who live out their faith can still be saved. If the protestant view is correct, those who rely on grace plus cannot. So the only safe way to "bet" is toward the protestant view. So rather than err to the side of the group with the longest history, I encourage you to err to the side that is the most forgiving of mistakes.

Grace and peace to you and your family.

Almost a decade ago I (a Mennonite)found myself walking into a bar with a Lutheran, a Roman Catholic and an Antiochian Orthodox. The occasion was a continuing theological discussion after a class at Fuller Sem.

Over many pints and many classes I've come to realize that the differences that divide us are nothing compared to the One who unites us.

Grace and Peace to you and your family from the risen Saviour we all serve.

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Beckwith:
Welcome Home!!
I too was raised as a Catholic in the 60's and left the Church in the early 70's and reverted to the Church 3 years ago. I have never felt more one with Christ since returning and you too will now experience the joy of the full gospel. Being one with the Church Jesus started.
You are in our prayers and we look expectantly for the great gifts you bring to the Catholic Church.

Frank: This is such wonderful news. Welcome, welcome.

When I was received into the Church after many years as a Protestant, I got plenty of warnings about how Catholicism is no panacea, given the liturgical chaos and theological deviance infecting many sectors of the American Church. And this is true enough. But what my well-meaning friends did not seem to appreciate -- and perhaps this is true of those saying similar things to you -- was that my conversion was not a mere matter of "smells and bells." To be sure, the aesthetics of traditional Catholic worship were what initially got my attention, but it was the deeper mysteries that the aesthetics signalled that made me realize that the Church was my true home. It is so easy to assume that when another person joins his religion, the person is moved by reason and pure motive, but when the person departs from it, he is overcome by passion or lethargy. But I, like you, came to believe, after serious investigation, that Christ is really present in the Eucharist, even when a crappy Marty Haugen song is playing in the background, and that the Pope is the successor to Peter, even if a few of his subordinates are complicit in the culture of death. Moreover, it often goes unnoticed that there are many thriving parishes and dioceses in the U.S. -- yours (and mine, when I am in Austin) being one of them, presided over by the wonderful Bishop Aymond, an intelligent, humane, and warmly orthodox man. Rumors of the death of orthodox Catholicism are greatly exaggerated.

I guess what I'm saying is, don't let the turkeys get you down. Not that those who intelligently disagree are turkeys. But those who are using your decision as yet another occasion to mutter darkly about the "traditions of men," meanwhile evincing no interest in serious dialogue, are turkeys. But alas, the turkeys will always be with us.

I'm sorry to go on so long, but I also wanted to express a vote of confidence in your approach to the situation with the ETS. I must confess that, when I first heard about your return to the Church, I thought you should quit the ETS forthwith. But you really were in a bind -- a resignation could easily have looked like a finger in the eye to evangelicals, which is clearly the last thing you wanted. Plus, as Alex pointed out, it's not like a Catholic can't affirm the ETS's statement of faith -- a surprisingly brief statement, no doubt intended to distance the ETS from liberal Christianity but manifesting no obvious attempt to exclude Catholics. So waiting was probably the right thing, though, as you indicate, circumstances seem to have made it impossible for you to pursue the course you intended without mischief.

Anyway, it is always a pleasure to see someone embrace the Church, and a very special pleasure when the person is a high-profile Protestant. I'm sure you'll find Catholicism to be as enormously satisfying and deeply true as I do. The riches of the Church are literally endless.

Dr. Beckwith, Thanks for your honesty. If you do get a chance to clarify things, I think everyone would appreciate further comments on the issue of justification. You said that you believe the Reformed view of justification is biblically and historically defensible, but simply not as strong in explaining all the evidence as the Catholic position. The Catholic view and the Reformed view seem to be mutually exclusive in light of the Council of Trent. Perhaps some of the more "sophisticated" works on justification helped to move you beyond this issue. Could you share those with us?

I am aware that you are probably overwhelmed with everything at this time, but if you take time to blog anymore on this issue, will you at least address this. I think it could go a long way toward understanding things.

James Grant

I've known the Beckwiths for a long time, and if it weren't for Frank my beliefs and life would almost surely be a lot different than they are now - and probably not for the better. He is one of the sharpest thinkers I've had the privilege to know, and both he and his wife are extraordinarily independent thinkers. Maybe their decision was mistaken (and maybe not), but I'm sure it was not only prayerful but very well thought-out and not driven by any improper motives.

I can't say "welcome home", since I'm one of the "separated brethren" (and in any case he wasn't away from home - he was a Protestant, not an apostate!), but I wish you both well and am confident the two of you will continue making a positive difference for Christ. God bless you both.

A warm welcome and congratulations to you and your family, Dr. Beckwith. You have given up nothing that is good and true of the Evangelical tradition. I hope to one day read more about the obstacles you overcame to reach this decision. May God's grace be with you always!

This past week I taught Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” to my son’s home school co-op class, prompting my observation as a longtime ETS member that it seems apparent ETS today would roll out the red carpet for Erasmus, but would give old man Luther the boot. Those tempted to cast a longing glance after Dr. Beckwith would do well to read “Bondage of the Will,” themselves. It’s a perfectly Scriptural cure for Tiberculosis.

My cap is off to all of the Evangelicals who have responded to Dr. Beckwith here with grace, charity and encouragement. I must admit, however, that I do find this combox an interesting case study in the fundamental problem with Protestantism - it's refusal to admit of a magisterial human authority in the Church while simultaneously making proclamations with an unapologetic tone of magisterial authority! If there is one thing that unites all the various stripes of Protestants, it is the right to protest - the right to dissent when one's private judgement on Christianity runs against the grain of any given Christian establishment. So here we have a Christian, ( a highly trained and respected philosopher and theologian no less) Dr. Francis Beckwith, apparently exercising that right to dissent, and he is immediately and stridently met with a magisterial anathema from the very brand of Christian who decries such anathemas, and in whose tradition great heroes have bled and died defending the right to privately judge the scriptures - the very thing they accuse Dr. Beckwith of doing! Am I the only Evangelical here (okay, ex-evangelical, let's be honest) who sees the tragic-comic irony here? It seems to me that the most any Protestant has the right to say when one of their number leaves the fold is "I don't agree with you but God Bless".

A commenter above, I can't recall who, made reference to "The Protestant Church". Supposing I walked into any small town in this great world of ours and asked the question "Where can I find the Protestant Church"? Would 10 people give me the same answer?

Otherwise, it's also no small source of amusement to see folks trying to give Dr. Beckwith, doubtless the most learned and competent theologian/philospher in this combox/post, anything resembling a theological/philosophical lecture.

As an ex Roman Catholic, and as one who strives to reason with my unsaved Roman Catholic family held captive to its bogus claims, I feel nothing but shame toward people like yourself.

You may well be a respected theologian and smart guy, a great philosopher and all that, but to me, you are a traitor and a stumbling block for the truth of the gospel.

I am grieved in my spirit regarding this decision.

Humanly speaking you make my witness to Roman Catholics and especially my family, so much more difficult by your actions.

You should resign immediately and if not, be removed before November with a strong statement reaffirming the tragedy of your actions.

Tartanarmy.

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Beckwith,
A kind and warm Welcome Home to you both from a life long Roman Catholic.

Oh Lord, pour forth upon us the spirit of Thy love, that those whom Thou hast fed with one heavenly Bread, Thou mayest, by Thy mercy, make of one mind. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum.

We Catholics have always appreciated Dr.Beckwith's work especially on the abortion issue. It is with great joy that we welcome him home. We thank our Evangelical separated brethren who have supported Dr. Beckwith since his decision to join the Catholic Church. We hope that his move will lead to better understanding between us.

Art Sippo MD

Dear Frank,

Thanks for posting some of your reasoning regarding your return to the RCC. I understand that you found the theological and ecclesiological issues that once divided you from Rome nor longer sufficiently compelling. What I don't understand is why that discovery alone would lead you to rejoin the RCC. By analogy, if I left a 30 year association with the Baptist General Convention 10 years ago because I didn't agree with their church polity and now come to see that their polity is not a dividing issue, I would see no immediate reason on that basis alone to rejoin the Baptist General Convention.

You mention it being wise to err on the side of the church with historical and theological continuity with the first generations of Christians, but I find that to be a very loose criterion. Depending on what one means by historical and theological continuity, many Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox groups would equally fit the bill. Perhaps you believe that the Roman Catholic Church as a whole has greater historical and theological continuity with early Christians--then why not work to bring that same continuity to Protestantism? I just don't see what continuity has to do with church membership as long as various churches have "good enough" continuity.

I have heard some argue that once one fails to find sufficient doctrinal issues that divide RC and Protestantism (or Orthodoxy), then one ought to join the RC communion for the sake of church unity. While I didn't see that argument in your statement, I don't see how church unity would be a compelling reason to join the RCC. It seems to me quite clear that what Christ meant by his disciples "being one" had absolutely nothing to do with one's church affiliation, but rather a unity of love amongst brothers and sisters in Christ. On that score it seems that church unity was no less of an issue prior to the Great Schism than it is today.

To close, for myself, I am aware of only one compelling reason to join up with a group of Christians with whom I find myself in close enough theological and practical agreement and that is because I find myself (and my family) called to that particular body of believers. So perhaps something like that is your reason?? But then it seems fair to simply say that for sociological reasons you felt led to join this particular congregation and it turned out that the congregation was RC. The denominational affiliation becomes secondary and the sense of calling (and all of what that involves) becomes primary. But that does not appear to be how you present your move--it seems there is some compelling non-sociological reason to join the RCC. What is that?

Thanks for being willing to process this with others.

Steve

Dr. Beckwith:

I have read through the comments sent to you regarding your return to the Roman Catholic Church. It is interesting to see that many appear to assume such personal authority in making pronouncements as to the wisdom or error of your decision. Christ did not call us to be Roman Catholic or Protestant. He called us to love one another and live in his love. I thank you for the fine example you have set for the rest of us laboring under the obsession to push a Protestant or Roman agenda. I may not agree with your decision but I firmly support you in what you did because you are my brother in Christ. I am called to love you not judge you. Your example is pointing us back to the fullness of Christ's love. The Protestant/Roman wars and intolerance end when we live in the love of Christ. We may choose to differ but this must never make us sad, disappointed or judgmental of each other. Love knows no such language.

Sincerely,
Nathan Rayner
Calgary Canada

Dr. Beckwith,

I hope you will be posting more on the theological justification for your return to Rome (unless ou are saving that for an appearance with Marcus Grodi?). Something must have caused you to leave Rome in the first place yet now you say you want to err on her side? Have the reasons for your leaving changed?

As for historical continuity, my Orthodox friends would most strenuously disagree with you on that matter. You see, they have a bit of trouble with matters such as the filioque clause, etc.

Kamilla

Growing pains for the Body. As long as a yearning for the Lord and to Love each other overwhelms our yearning to point fingers and despise each other, I believe that He will continue to lead us into the unity that he prayed for in the Garden, the night before He died for us all.

I read your statement, your decision to return to the Roman Catholic Church as one who only wants to love as Christ loved, and my initial reaction is "So what? (Respectfully) Wonderful that you are seeking his face and obedience in all things for you and your family!" Some day, a man like yourself might make that kind of decision and would be able to keep his position without thinking twice about it.

I still see this all as progress. Hey, not 50 years ago, we might have been killing each other over things like this. Maybe in another 100 years we might get together in some way, not foreseen, and do the things to our full potential that this dying world is waiting for us to do.

God bless you and your honesty, and your obvious passion for the Gospel.

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

You are certainly a courageous man. I think the most shocking part of your whole post was the fact that the comboxes were open.

Many blessings on your return to the fullness of Christianity.

Dr. Beckwith, welcome to the Table! I'm always amazed that Protestants can disagree on almost everything, yet it seems that the one point that unites them all is their rejection of the Magisterium of the Church.

Somehow they fail to see that in the book of Acts, the Apostles and elders (appointed by the apostles) made decrees for the whole church to obey. (Acts 16:4) Each local congregation was not left to rule themselves via sola scriptura. There was one church with one teaching authority. Sola Scriptura was not in play at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). There was clearly a teaching Magisterium in place, and the point is made that some were teaching who had no authority to teach.

"For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts." Malachi 2:7

They refuse to see that the Bible does not support the idea of sola Scriptura. The Church is the pillar and foundation of Truth. (1 Tim 3:15) While it is totally by grace alone that we are saved, faith alone is not a Biblical concept. The Bible clearly states "faith without works is dead." Grace is the free gift of Jesus dying on the Cross for us while we were yet sinners. When Jesus comes to separate the sheep from the goats, it will not be according to faith alone. (Matt 25)

Dr. Beckwith, I am so glad that you were noble like the Bereans by receiving the words of the apostles (through apostolic succession) with eagerness and searching the Scriptures to see that what the Church teaches is Truth. I am saddened that many people responding to your announcement are treating you like the Thessalonians treated Paul.

Peace be with you and your family.

Frank,
On behalf of Catholics of the Eastern Churches, welcome home to the Eucharistic Table of our Lord Jesus Christ! May you find strength and joy through the prayers of our holy fathers and mothers who've gone before us.
"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!"

I've known Frank only through his work with University Faculty for Life, but I remember that the first time I heard him give a paper I assumed that he was a Catholic. And that sense was confirmed by reading other things he had written.

The way he reasoned through arguments and the sources he seemed to rely on were quite familiar to my Catholic friends in the audience. So I was suprised, and quite happy, to find that he was an Evangelical Christian. To me this was a hopeful sign that Catholics and Evangelicals were thinking along the same lines.

I wish Frank much happiness and peace in his choice. I am a cradle Catholic, and one who has grown in my love of the Lord and his Church over the years. I will always be grateful to all those who labored over the centuries to bring me this relationship with Christ.

I also understand why people want an explanation. I think it's fine that Frank gave some reasons for his decision, but in my experience, intellectual reasons for faith are just starting points. They explain things and they remove obstacles, but "the heart has reasons that the mind knows not of." And those heart reasons have more of a pull than any syllogism. They also cannot be put into words.

I could explain the concept of transubstantiation to someone and it would mean zero to them. But I will receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ tomorrow morning at Mass, and I will be filled with his love and peace. I feel sorry for those who deny themselves or who cannot accept this treasure. I'm sorry for whatever historical reasons have led to people feeling so much animosity to the Church.

I can understand why some Evangelicals will be upset about Frank's decision. It feels like a rejection of things they hold very dear. And it is refreshing to see how much passion and concern people have regarding their faith.

I do find the anti-Catholicism displayed here and on other evangelical web sites rather shocking. God bless you all, and I hope that some day such misunderstandings and grievances will all be washed away in the oceans of God's merciful love.

James 5:19-20 has been a important to me. Thank God for your testimony and I want to welcome you and your wife home to the Faith established by Christ through his Apostles. God bless you and all your family and fill you with great peace. Know that the enemy is not happy with your decision. Please stay strong.

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

I just want to thank you for your example of courage. I am grateful that I have been born Catholic. I have gone on to study at Protestant institutions--I am currently finishing my Ph.D. in Theology at Fuller in Pasadena, CA. I have great respect for non-Catholic Christians. Many of my non-Catholic professors have been some of the holiest individuals I have ever met and God has used them to bless my life in countless ways. I have learned a great deal from non-Catholics.

Nonetheless, the more I study the deeper I fall in love with Christ through learning from His Church. There is so much wisdom there. Sadly, however, too many of us Catholics take that all for granted--your sacrifice challenges us all.

Your are truly a courageous man. Reading your post anyone can tell that you are "a true Israelite, in whom there is no guile". We are all blessed by your example. You and your family will remain in my prayers.

In Christ Jesus,

Michael Barber
Professor of Theology, Scripture & Catholic Thought
John Paul the Great Catholic University

P. S.
For those of you interested in the Catholic view of justification as taught by Trent, I highly recommend you read the following article "Sola Gratia, Solo Christo: The Roman Catholic Doctrine of Justification". There is a lot of misinformation out there on Trent--this might surprise some of you. God bless...

Several posts written by Evangelical Christians have attacked Dr. Beckwith for choosing Tradition and the Church fathers over the Scriptures. What they classically fail to understand is that the Scriptures themselves are a product of Tradition - the two are an insperable, indivisible well-spring of knowledge of Christ. The Scriptures didn't just drop out of the sky as is. Though undeniably the inspired word of God, they came into being through the community of believers who were under God's innerant inspiration. This community of believers is the one true Church that Christ Himself founded, and to which Dr. Beckwith has so joyfully returned.

Dr. Beckwith:

As another convert to the Faith, I rejoice in your return to the Body of Christ. Having come from a Sephardic family who owed their very lives to Catholic prelates who forged baptismal certificates in order to smuggle us out of Europe, and where exposed to the Faith in Christ by example rather than coersion I know what an important step it is to put ones total trust in Christ and the Church He established, as well as promised to remain with until the consumation of the world. While the actions of some individuals has been shameful over the centuries, the promise of Christ Jesus remains solid.

I find it shameful that your detractors would use such tired old fables as the codification of the Canon of Scripture being decided at Trent, rather than the truth that when Protestantim rejected it, the canon was re-affirmed at Trent. That other libels against the Church remain among men claiming to be scholars shows that debates about the Faith are secondary to prayers that the Holy Ghost will enlighten those who like Saul opposed themselves to Christ and the Church, in the name of the written law. I'll step down off the pulpit now, and join the Angels and Saints in welcoming you home to the Body of Christ.

Pax Christi in Regno Chrisit

Dear Professor Beckwith,

I have long enjoyed your philosophical arguments and I congratulate you on returning to the one and only Christian faith, the Catholic Church.

To the Protestants who Inappropriately Commented in a negative way on Dr. Beckwith’s return:

It would behoove you to study the real history of the Christian faith, rather than rely on misinterpretations of Scripture, which you would not have, had it not been for the Church.

It is shameful for you to conduct yourself in this manner.

Individualistic faith cannot “save” and will not suffice for proper Christian living. Dr. Beckwith has set an example that all, in the end, will have to follow. All intelligent people are beginning to realize this.

Grace and happiness to you and your family Dr. Beckwith.

Best,

Brandon W.

Eph 2:8

"It is by Grace that we are saved, through faith."

Reverts to the Catholic Church (such as me) have learnt so much about their Church and the Holy Scriptures from modern-day American converts. You, in your turn, will influence countless others to understand this intimate interconnection of Grace, faith, and the Church Christ established.

I'm sure there's a great cloud of witnesses (including the Gospel writers and early Church Fathers) who join in rejoicing.

Most of the Protestant comments left for you here are disgusting. The kind of bile being raised up in their throats has no place in one who would call themself "Christian."

I'm a Baptist seminarian here in Waco with you who finds himself more and more in sympathy with Catholicism. I am horrified by the condemnations and judgments pronounced by those who would call me brother. Shame on all who did so. What a blight on the name of Christ.

Grace and Peace to you, sir.

A hearty and overjoyed "Welcome HOME!" to the Beckwith family!

Hi Dr. Beckwith,

Thank you for your decision to step down as president of ETS.

I know that this conversion is hard for you and your family. I pray that God will be with you in this difficult situation.

I do not agree with you regarding Romanism and its teaching on justification that it is biblical. And I find it difficult to grasp how the Early Church Fathers would become for you the decisive factor of truth rather than surveying the biblical exegesis for that matter.

In any case, I appreciate your journey of faith. I do hope, now you have converted, that you will now look at our Reformed Faith in a more comprehensive and exhaustive look than when you were a protestant before.

God bless you and your family.

Regards,

Joey

I was also born in New York City in 1960. I worked as an actor for a while and now am a Catholic priest in a Religious Community living in Rome. It is interesting to see the work of the Holy Spirit in the unfolding of one's life path. You and your family will remain in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you for your courage!

Fr. Joe

Dear Frank,

Considering the tendency of evangelical ecumenism to lead to Catholicism, your conversion to Rome is not an entirely unexpected development. However, it is nevertheless disappointing to see you implicitly, even if not with cognizant intention, reject the entire sufficiency of Scripture. You and your wife remain in our prayers.

In Christ,
Malcolm

While one has to admire the intellectual integrity of going with the weight of the evidence, exactly how does Rome have more explanatory power on the side of justification by faith alone? How has the Reformed tradition on the historical views of salvation been wrong? Exactly how has the Reformed tradition missed the boat on these most precious and essential truths? I would like to know because I don't want to be wrong. Could it be that my (and your) eternity weighs in the balance? Please, Frank, tell us! Please. May I go so far as to say that, as a believer in the glorious Gospel, that you have an ethical duty to do so?

William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, (you) Francis Beckwith, Norman Geisler, Peter Kreeft, Gary Habermas, Scott Rae, and Alvin Plantinga have made huge contributions to Christian apologetics in recent decades. I know you will continue to be one of the most influential conservative intellectuals of our time. Both Catholics and Protestants should read each others most sophisticated writing. Until Catholics and Protestants honestly read each others best writing, there is going to be an unnecessarily high level of confusion and straw man arguments between the three branches of Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism). It is fantastic to hear the good news about you and your wife.

Congratulations on your return to the Catholic Church. I will be praying for you and your wife and your nephew at Mass this morning.

In any decision such as this, a model of prayer and not polemics guides you. As such, I will pray for you in your journey. I love the Church and her liturgy and I pray you to come to that same love. For in that is the love of Christ and finally the love of God.

My heartiest congratulations to you, Dr. Beckwith. I've always been a fan of your work, and am excited to see where it has led you.

I converted two years ago and have never been happier. Now that I have entered into full communion with the See of Rome, I have come to understand that God loves me unreservedly and has justified me through Jesus Christ. I now have an assurance of my salvation that I never had as a Protestant. And I never truly learned how to repent of my sins until I converted. Now, at long last, I understand these things in my heart, and not simply in my head.

I thank God for your witness, Dr. Beckwith, and I shall pray for you.

Good Job Dr. Beckwith.

Once one swallows the red pill, there really isn't any turning back.


According to the prayer of Christ, I encourage you to now continue to strive for and facilitate that UNITY that He so obviously and deeply desires.

God bless you and your family!

The Great Tradition
F.B.-
"There is a conversation in ETS that must take place, a conversation about the relationship between Evangelicalism and what is called the “Great Tradition,” a tradition from which all Christians can trace their spiritual and ecclesiastical paternity"

Carl Trueman-
"Protestants (and, indeed, some Catholics at that point) held to the notion that there was one source of revelation from which the church’s tradition flowed, namely, Scripture; and that this tradition (which Oberman calls T1) was thus always in principle corrigible by Scripture. There were others in the Catholic Church, however, who argued for a two-source theory of tradition, Scripture and extra-scriptural revelation as recognized or defined by the church (T2)."

I embrace the Gospel message with gratefullness for what Christ has done for me on the Cross. It would be like a slap to His face if I would return to the Roman system. I love Christ too much to do that to Him.

Dr. Beckwith, I hope and pray that you'll come to trust in Christ alone for your salvation. Now as a Catholic you have embraced a false and deceptive doctrinal belief on salvation.

2Ti 4:3
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear

Left Rome for my Heavenly Home.

Wonderful news! May the Lord bless you on this journey. You truly have heard the call of Christ, just like St. Peter, and followed after Him.

Alleluia

And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Grace and peace.


Congratulations and welcome home. I know you spent much time in prayer and discernment over this and despite the naysayers, you must have a tremendous sense of peace.

Dr. Beckwith with all the pains and struggle your family will endure know that we are with you and while the Catholic family be imperfect, you can always call on us.

Dr. Beckwith,

Though I am not a Roman Catholic, I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your decision and can only hope that my fellow Protestants will recognize that above certain inevitable differences, we retain a unity and brotherhood in Christ our Lord that transcends any such things.

May God bless you and your family richly and reveal to you the mysteries of the Godhead ever more each day.

Grace and peace to you.

In Christ,
JB

Welcome back, Brother Beckwith, and thanks be to God alone for His inestimable grace, which alone can justify and save us.

Wow. Congrats, Dr. Beckwith. As a convert from Calvinism, let me join you in affirming that all that was most good and holy has not been left behind, but confirmed in unimaginable splendor. The road will be rough, but may your many gifts now be brought to bear fruit in our most Holy Church. heaven knows we need them...

Congratulations, Dr. Beckwith! Welcome home!

I love the Catholic Church! It's the only place they let sinners in! It's also the only Jewish Church. I am so grateful I found my way home, and I welcome you, Dr. Beckwith, to this hot fuss we call the Church!

welcome Home! The Catholic Church has always been the surest way for those searching for God, and it is never an easy road! May God give you all the graces you need to persevere!

Dr. Beckwith,

I'll pray for you, and I mean the following with no disrespect. However, why would you choose the opinions of the church fathers over the clear statements of justification found in Scripture. The church fathers were a group of individuals that held greatly diverse opinions from one to another across the centuries. These opinions were often influenced by language (as in the case of the translation of dikaiosune to iustificare), Greek and Roman culture (as opposed to Judaic), and philosophy (Platonism, Pythagorianism, etc.). Scripture is our only sure foundation.

To quote Augustine:

"Especially as in the writings of such authors I feel myself free to use my own judgment (owing unhesitating assent to nothing but the canonical Scriptures), whilst in fact there is not a passage which he has quoted from the works of this anonymous author that disturbs me."
-Augustine, On Nature and Grace, Against Pelagius, ch.71

Sir, welcome Home.

The fight for protecting life in this Culture of Death is near and dear to my heart, and I love you for being such an outspoken soldier for that cause.

Now, you can celebrate, adore, and imbibe on the greatest channel of Grace available in this fight: the Holy Eucharist.

The Real Presence of Jesus is by far the paramount reason any Evangelical should consider the Church; His true presence and love, "My flesh is food indeed and my blood is drink indeed", is worth crossing any river for, even the Tiber.

To all who don't believe this, please visit Him in adoration yourself. You don't have to be Catholic to adore Him.

Blessings and Peace be upon you and your family.

Doug G: "Having abandoned the distinctives of the Reformation (which are deeply rooted in Holy Scripture), you are embracing serious theological error."

So when is Doug Groothuis gonna read those Church Fathers? We'll take William Lane Craig and Norm Geisler as well (any day). Welcome back!

PhilVaz

I'm a tradition-friendly evangelical Protestant.

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

As if this obviously refers to the Catholic church! It probably concerns (proto-) Gnosticism, and it would be easier to apply this text to present-day Protestant liberals than Catholics. Or to the Protestant Reformers themselves! How does Catholicism suit one's own desires? It's a hard faith.

Further, Scripture alone simply isn't sufficient. If it were, we wouldn't have the 30,000 denominations we have in North America (an actual figure, not an exaggeration). Even the Reformers conceded that tradition was important, and generally kept it unless they felt Scripture prohibited it. The "Bible alone" is a chimera that doesn't work.

the cachinnator said, "I'm a Baptist seminarian here in Waco with you who finds himself more and more in sympathy with Catholicism. I am horrified by the condemnations and judgments pronounced by those who would call me brother. Shame on all who did so. What a blight on the name of Christ."

Then you stand against all historical Protestant traditions which denounce Rome as a false church and anathematize their teaching on justification on the basis of Galatians 1:6-9.

I quote the following, not to make people mad or to offend anyone, but the gravity of Dr. Beckwith's decision cannot be overemphasized!

"And, therefore, such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies."
-The Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647, ch.25 sec.5

"The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order, or government of the Church is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof, but is no other than Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God: whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
-The London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, ch.26 sec.4

Dr. Beckwith,

I've followed and admired your work for quite some time, all the while thinking you were a Catholic because, well, you thought and sounded like one. Once I found out that you were Protestant, I remember thinking that this surely wouldn't last, and it would be only a matter of time before you entered into full communion with the Holy Roman Catholic Church. In fact, the feeling I had with you was EXACTLY the same one I had with Rusty Reno, who I also believed was a Catholic (when in fact he wasn’t). Then, when I found out he was a Protestant, I just knew he would be received into the Church soon enough.

Chesterton talked about how the first stage the convert goes through is when he/she decides to be fair to the Catholic Church. But Chesterton maintained that this is simply not possible and that one cannot adopt a neutral, objective or detached posture with respect to the Catholic Church because you’re either for her or you’re against her, and as soon as you stop being against her, you begin to be for her, cheering her on. It’s inevitable.

With some people, especially Protestants, given the way they reason, given their worldview and their *goodwill* toward the Catholic Church, but most importantly, their deep love of Christ, one just knows that they’ll return to the Church, even if it’s on their deathbed.

Welcome home!
Aiden from Toronto

Welcome!

I am a bit shocked at some of these comments. There is always comfort and consolation in the Word:

But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker; yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God. --1 Peter 4:13-16

My Dear Dr. Beckwith,
Peace be with you!
I guess my wife and I are no longer the newest Catholic converts. After 56 years of Southern Baptist tradition, we, like you and your wife have found our way to our Lord and the Church He instituted. Praise be to God!!
We entered the Church at the Easter Vigil last month. We were a couple of
Baptist nobody's and we still had our share of problems when we made our beliefs public. I can only imagine you will have a much harder "row to hoe"
We will keep you and your family in our prayers and if you ever come to Southeast Texas we will be at St. Henry Parish.
God bless you

Welcome home to you and your wife. May our Eucharistic Lord strengthen and comfort you in the coming months and years. Getting on the Barque is only the beginning of the adventure, and we can use all hands on deck. My prayers will be with you.

Dear Dr. Beckwith:

I commend your courage to return to full catholicism. I can only understand a smidgen of waht you must have had to go thru as I, also a cradle catholic, also did fall away for the theologies of many of our protestant bretheren....

Many choose to follow church fathers they call the reformers, whom, in their eyes, somehow, had a fuller truth than even early church fatehrs who received the laying of on hands to start their ministries by those whom were witnesses to the truth or their very disciples.... My study was a hard one also and in my return, it came by way of biblical exergesis and study and one day, I realized, almost everything I had come to believe was catholic doctrine, not evangelical, not early reformers and not messianics...

We must all search out the ways of old, while we still have time to do so and while it is still light outside....

May God continue to richly bless you wtih his graces and welcome.

Y E S !!!!!!

Welcome home.

Dr. Beckwith,

Thank you for sharing your story. For some of us, the conversion to Christianity itself was the source of much strife among friends and family who did not understand our reasons, and it seems that this is a similar experience for you as you join the RCC. It is the evidence that the wounds on both sides of the 'battle' run deep and have yet to be healed. I pray that the Lord might use you as an instrument in that healing, and also that:

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
And give you peace, and give you peace;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious, and be gracious;
The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.


Sincerely,

Richie Heimbrock

Your decision will be a door for thousands who up until this moment could not conceive of a man of your stature entering (or returning to) the Catholic Church.

How can this man we respect so much become Catholic?

That question will be the beginning of a great journey for many! God bless you for your courage and faith.

'He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."' (Matthew 16:15-19)

Welcome back to the Church, Dr. Beckwith.

Then you stand against all historical Protestant traditions which denounce Rome as a false church and anathematize their teaching on justification on the basis of Galatians 1:6-9.

I hate to stick my nose into a fight that is old, firey, and practiced by those with far more learning than I. But, hey, its the 21st century, and asinine arrogance is what we do.

In response to the above statement, it seems to me it is a condemnation of the Catholic Church on the basis of Protestant tradition. I understand agreeing with arguments based on scripture, but why on Earth, as a protestant, should I want to hold Catholics in ill-will on the basis that we have a tradition of doing so? Would not this be the height of hypocrisy? Should we not continually search the scriptures afresh and pray that in doing this God will bring us to greater unity in his truth?

Welcome home!

'Irenaeus' said, "If it were, we wouldn't have the 30,000 denominations we have in North America (an actual figure, not an exaggeration)."

Actually, that is a mythical figure that was debunked years ago. The figure refers to any church body which may have even the slightest difference from another church body. This could include hymns vs. praise music, etc. Also, the same book says that there are 223 Roman Catholic denominations!!! The documentation can be found here:

http://www.ntrmin.org/30000denominations.htm

You should start reading the responses to the RC apologists as well.

'Irenaeus' said, "Even the Reformers conceded that tradition was important, and generally kept it unless they felt Scripture prohibited it. The "Bible alone" is a chimera that doesn't work."

This is a straw-man of sola Scriptura. No one (at least not the Reformed) has ever said that the Bible was the ONLY authority, but rather, we say that it is the only *infallible* authority for the church *today*. Tradition should play more of a role than it does in many evangelical churches, but we should not elevate the highly contradictory opinions of the church fathers to be the grid through which Scripture is interpreted.

To quote Augustine again:

"On such terms we might amuse ourselves without fear of offending each other in the field of Scripture, but I might well wonder if the amusement was not at my expense. For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error."
-Augustine, Letters of St. Augustine, Letter 82.1.3

Dr. Beckwith,
As a seminarian studying at Saint Meinrad Seminary, I would like to say welcome back. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. God's Peace,
Steve

Welcome home Dr. Your story is encouraging.
It seems you join the long line of great converts to the Catholic Church by way of right reason.

"To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant" - Newman

God Bless

Welcome home!

I am a recent convert myself. It is very encouraging to hear of others coming to the church(or back to the church)

God bless

Matt

Dear Dr. Beckwith:

Congratulations and welcome. My wife and I converted to the Catholic Church from Evangelicalism in 1994 and never looked back. I wrote my story in Crossing the Tiber.

You are not the first to cross the Tiber, you won't be the last -- you are in good company!

Welcome, welcome! Joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Saint Sinner: "Actually, that is a mythical figure that was debunked years ago. The figure refers to any church body which may have even the slightest difference from another church body."

And counter-counter debunked here

http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a120.htm

David Barrett et al does indeed refer to "over 33,000 denominations in 238 countries." (World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson, 2001 edition, Table 1-5, vol 1, page 16).

There is basically one Roman Catholic denomination for each country (for a total of 242 countries) according to Barrett. And that leaves 30000+ non-Roman Catholic denominations. Whatever you think the true number is, its a sad state of affairs. Meet us at Catholic Answers forums to discuss.

Phil P

Wonders of Oyarsa said, "I understand agreeing with arguments based on scripture, but why on Earth, as a protestant, should I want to hold Catholics in ill-will on the basis that we have a tradition of doing so?"

I don't hold RC's in ill-will as people, and I do believe that it's possible for RC's to be saved. However, it would be in spite of the stated dogmas of their church. I hold them and their church anathema specifically because of Galatians 1:6-9.

Do I hold this position sadistically? To use the words of Paul, "May it never be!" However, if you don't believe that this passage anathematizes RC's, then I would like to ask you, "What does it mean?" If Paul anathematized the Judaizers who didn't deny the substitutionary atonement of Christ but merely added circumcision, then shouldn't we do the same to RC's for adding penance, the mass as a propitiatory sacrifice, satispassio (i.e., purgatory), etc.?

Again, I recognize the desire to come together to battle the forces of secular humanism, but this IS STILL very important.

We returned to the CC in Dec 2004 and are truly blessed to be back Home. It was a long haul! 26 years worth of searching here and there in 3 different churches, large and small for the fullness of Truth. That search finally led us back to the Tiber and we took the plunge!

All roads and rivers lead to Rome, it's true! History will lead true seekers of truth there if they're honestly digging for it.

We took the Tiber plunge and swam back to the CC with much so joy in our hearts we've never looked back. We still love our brothers and sisters, and hope they'll take the time to 'seek for themselves.' Either the CC is TRUE or she's not. We know she's TRUE...that's why we are Catholic.

Welcome back Home, Dr. Beckwith!

Joyful Catholics,
Rich and Susie

First, to all my non-Catholic brethren I have read several posts above that said something to the effect that "Scripture is the only sure foundation." Well, I have but one question: who speaks for the Protestant church with the AUTHENTIC interpretation?? If the Catholic Church is wrong then someone HAS to be right. All we've seen from the less charitable responses above have been self-proclaimed assertions that their opinion is the right one. Unfortunately this is the core weakness of sola scriptura and Protestantism. With all humbleness please consider this conundrum.

Dr. Beckwith, I empathize with your situation...I know it is difficult, and will be for quite a while, but I want you to know that I welcome you home and will pray for your transition. I expect that you will have a profound impact as other convert/reverts have had in recent years. May God bless you!

Dr. Beckwith,

I want to offer all the encouragement I can to you. You have truly done the right thing.

In my senior year at college slightly over 20 years ago, at the cost of tension with my parents and the loss of many of my friends in the Campus Crusade for Christ movement, I joined the Catholic Church. I can't tell you that every day since then has been filled with laughter and smiles, but I can tell you that today, more than ever before, I'm grateful that God gave me the grace to recognize His Church -- despite my manifest unworthiness.

Three points above all other arguments drew me in: 1) the impossibility of an infallible declaration on the limits of the Biblical Canon without an infallible extra-Biblical authority to make the declaration; 2) the authority Jesus clearly gave the Apostles to forgive sins and perpetuate authoritative teachings via oral instruction (see John 20:22-23 and II Thessalonians 2:15); and 3) the durability and steadfastness of the Catholic Church's moral instruction -- inexplicable when you consider the fact that the Church is in the midst of the most secular and liberal of all the world's societies. I wrote a manifesto of sorts that covers some of these points, and offer it to you in case it is of any use in your discussions. It's available here: http://www.seattlecatholic.com/a051116.html

May God bless your steps ahead! Regards, --Bill

I must say that although I expected it, I continue to be beyond stunned at the level of venom which continues to come from those of the Reformed heresies towards any of their people who wake up and realize that there is absolutely no proof of their doctrines extant prior to 1517. The only "proof" that they offer, when cornered, is to frantically wave their Bibles and claim that their personal interpretations are what the Church has always believed. This is, I believe, called a "circular argument" and convinces no one who really knows the history of the Christian Faith. The proof of what Christ taught the Apostles is found in the doctrines that the Church taught as early as the second century. These teachings could only have come from two sources: either the Apostles or error. If the latter, then the promise Jesus made to the Church in Matthew 16 regarding the gates of hell He was unable to keep. If the former, then the Reformers were nothing more than a bunch of malcontent rebels infected with the ever growing humanism of the times which culminated in the French Revolution. History and respect for Christ's promises assures me that it is the latter.

There are vast quantities of apologia on the Internet and elsewhere that show quite clearly that the doctrines of the Reformation are nothing more than theological novums which are indefensible when you understand the nature of God's covenantal dealings with us.

It is also incredible to see these same men making statements regarding the Early Chruch as if there was either no such thing as true Christianity before 1517, or that the Early Fathers would have actually accepted their theological heresies. The fact is that if Reformed doctrines were presented at the Council of Nicea, these men would have been hooted out of the hall and told to go repent! Would that they would take that advice and stop decieving the world with their novums.

Welcome Home, Dr. Beckwith. I do hope you will soon be writing on behalf of the Truth of the Catholic Faith and that your snide detractors would stop acting as if their thoughts are the be all and end of of theological understanding and start being honest with both the Holy Scriptures and Christian history.

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

Your journey home into the Catholic Church testifies to Truth ... Beyond Protestantism To The Catholic Church:

A Time Comes To Break The Silence.

A Time Comes When Silence Is Betrayal.

God bless you!!
WELCOME HOME!!

Cyndi Baker

"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice."

That seems to be the case with a few people here! But for those who are seriously, and sincerely curious to learn more about the reasons that many people have taken the same path as Dr. Beckwith, this should be of great help:

http://www.threestepstothefountain.com/step3.html

But please be forearned... the truth can sometimes be like a flash of lightning - rather scary, although very enlightening!

But as our Lord often said when he appeared to people who would rightfully be scared, "Do not be afraid."

God bless Dr. Beckwith and his family, and all God's people on the deeper journey into the fullness of truth!

Also from the lips of our Lord, "May they all be one..." - John 17

Best wishes and prayers to you,
Dr. Beckwith. Your thoughtful writings describing how you came to this decision is a testimony to the love and concern you feel for all who follow Christ and for all who are being called to Him.

Welcome back to the Table, Dr. Beckwith. May the Lord bless you and your wife for great courage I'm sure this move required.

(From a very recent convert.)

Dr. Beckwith,

You have broke my heart by returning back to Roman Catholicism... I want you to know that Evangelicals throughout this country (the world?) are mourning your decision and that you have left a great sorrow upon our hearts.

I will keep you in my prayers b/c ultimately it is your soul that is on the line before Christ and if you wish to stand behind Rome in your defense before the Father instead of soley behind Christ's finished work on the cross than you really do need my prayers.

This is truly a sad day.

Hopefully this verse will bring you to truly know Christ and for me to say "Welcome Back Brother"

Galatians 3:3 "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"

Dr. Beckwith,

I have not followed this entire thing. To be honest, I'd never even heard of you until yesterday when a friend told me about this whole ordeal. As a Catholic who struggled immensely to reconcile the poor catechesis I received as a child with philosophy and the claims of so many separated brethren who tried to convert me, I was forced to investigate the faith in my teens and, comparing theology, philosophy, and the Gospel, have come to an understanding of the organic unity of Catholicism. As one who has walked the road of discovery of the reality of the Catholic faith, rather than the common misconception, I wish to applaud you on your decision to swim the Tiber. It is truly wonderful to see so many brilliant and shining men and women of such wide and varied intellectual traditions entering the fullness of the Catholic Church.

For those who have chosen to use your blog as a theological war zone, perhaps you can explain the reality of the Catholic view of justification (about which I just wrote my thesis), the importance of the Tradition (without which we would have no keys to open the treasure of God's Word), and the working of grace in the soul toward conversion.

I hope that God will give me the strength always to move as openly, honestly, and freely toward him as you have.

May you be not discouraged. You have many friends, comrades who have flocked to the fullness of communion with you.

Deus te benedicat,

Micah

Welcome home, from one of your Evangelical Catholic friends who loves Jesus and the Catholic Church more than life itself! I ask God to console you now, through what must be a sweet reunion, coupled with unspeakable grief. I also ask God's blessing on those who love you and who are stunned by your decision. I love Protestants, and am convinced I might never have met the Lord without them. I pray that somehow they might open their hearts to us...we have so much to share with you! Let us begin again from Christ. And to my Catholic brothers and sisters... let's be careful and humble and peaceful, and not revert to a former triumphalistic attitude that we were warned about in V-2.

Your critics are surely all in their 20's. They have yet to go through "the crisis".

Or they may just suffer from the emotional stunted condition of Reformed baptists of all ages.

Best wishes...and may ETS continue to be blessed with enlightenments.

Dr. Beckwith,

You have my highest respect as a Christian Philosopher and fellow believer. Thank you for all the work you've done over the years and will continue to do (I pray) for many more.

I am terribly saddened, not by your decision (although I respectfully and lovingly disagree with it), but by the simply un-Christlike comments and responses you are enduring (even right here on this blog) because of it from your very brothers and sisters. I must say, my friends, we present a pretty ugly picture of Christ to this world when we treat one another as many of you have in response to Dr. Beckwith's decision.

This is perhaps an excellent moment to remind many of my fellow evangelicals to take a look at the work being done over the past dozen years or so by Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). Read the statements that have come out of that group and look at the comments specifically from the protestants explaining why they participated in ECT.
I wish we could ask Packer, Colson, Bright, and others of our theological persuasion their view on this. I'm certain that they'd disagree theologically with Dr. Beckwith here. But I'm equally certain they would affirm that this is not a moment to score a theological point, but rather to support, love, and embrace our brother. There is far more that unites us than separates us. It is sad that we must continually remind one another of this. It is sad that so many of you so quickly forget it.

I suppose what saddens me most by my evangelicals friends is when I see them wrap their heavy-handed rebukes against Dr. Beckwith in a cloak of false-bravery. They try to suggest that they *must* attack Frank in such a way, for their conscience dictates it. I imagine many of them feel like little Luther's here taking a theological stand by attacking Frank and his decision. ... my brothers and sisters, this is not the Council of Worms, you are not "conscience-bound" to disparage and lament Frank's decision; you are not here doing anything other than attacking one of your brothers and trying to score another point for your own theological hubris. We know you disagree with Beckwith's decision. If you didn't you wouldn't be a protestant. Your attacks on him are not helpful, do not further the kingdom, and do not further our theological persuasion's cause. I am disappointed that some of my closest mentors and friends do not see this and instead insist on focusing on division.

The world is lost and broken. Evangelicals and Catholics need to come together and defend the truth together. The challenge before us is immense. Where we disagree on what the truth is, let us lovingly wrestle it out together. And let our very conduct in these disagreements be a signpost to the world of the truth we both passionately believe and defend. Right now, I'm afraid, many of your conduct towards Dr. Beckwith displays just the opposite.

With love and respect for the entire Body of Christ,

-BJ Strawser

Then we are all anathema, who hold to justification by faith? This is, after all, the infallible teaching of the Church.

Frank, that's why it's personal. I wouldn't mind so much if a person just changed their mind about theology, but when they join an association that declares me accursed, how can I any longer think well of them? From what I know of you, I like you very much, but this is an occasion for sorrow.

Welcome back! I remember you from Feddie's place way back when. I myself am a convert who grew up in a devoutly Southern Baptist home.

If you're interested, compare the comments you've received to the comments that have been posted about Bill Cork, brother of a friend of mine (and I hope a friend in his own right.)

I thought we catholics were behaving abominably until I dropped in here and had my understanding of that word expanded greatly.

The Catholic Catechism says that if you claim to know you are saved- then you are anathema. I've read Foxes Book of Martyrs; too bad they died torturous deaths thinking there was actually a difference between Rome and the Gospel of Christ. Kevin
www.consumingfirefellowship.org

As a Catholic, I am very happy for Dr. Beckwith and his family. And I rejoice that the Catholic Church will gain so gifted a champion.

Several Protestants have expressed regret here at what they see as the harsh tone of some of their fellow Protestants' comments. I have been impressed, rather, by the kindly and respectful tone of most of the Protestants' reactions here. And even most of the more grim reactions were not really "hateful". They think Dr. Beckwith has made a terrible and fateful mistake; and if they think so, then they have a right and perhaps a duty to say so. As for the (very few) who have rather presumptuously questioned Dr. Beckwith's salvation, they should have more respect for the conscientiousness of his decision.

I join my hearty welcome to the many offered by my fellow Catholics.

Steve Barr

Saint and Sinner,

What do you make of this statement by Augustine, who you quote as much as any devout Catholic?

"I would not believe the Scriptures unless I first believed the Church." - Augustine


I am deeply saddened, the position of Pope, veneration of relics, priestly confessions, the place of

Interesting - my copy of the Catholic Catehcism says "reflection on God's blessings in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is at work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty."

"guarantee" hmmm...

Anyway, happily Calvinist am I, but our tradition can't boast except in producing people who very often are wracked by doubts about their salvation, promotional claims to the contrary.

Hi Dr. Beckwith,

Well, after so many congratulations (amongst other things), you hardly need another - I feel quite the johnny-come-lately! - but I'd like to offer my own anyway. The wonderful work you have done in defending Christ and His Gospel is quite inspiring and I thank God that He has been able to work through you so wonderfully in His service.

You truly are a "good and faithful servant", and I thank you profoundly for your service, and welcome you into the arms of the Church and to the fullness of the Gospel! Welcome home indeed!

With delight and gladness, may the Grace and Peace of Christ be with you always,

Peter
+ :)

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

I am not condemning your decision to join the Roman Catholic Church. However, based upon what I read of your conversion, it made me wonder whether you ever seriously considered other alternatives, such as Eastern Orthodoxy.

This quest began in January according to your own words. Was that sufficient time to *really* process the rather extensive amount of material involved in the Church Fathers and make a truly informed decision about all of this?

Have you truly worked through the issues of Ex Cathedra authority of the Pope, indulgences, the role of Mary, *worship* of the eucharist, the right of priests to *absolve* sin, and other issues that those even in the Eastern Orthodox Church would find objectionable?

Are you sure that your decision was not knee-jerk?

I, as a former evangelical and Orthodox Christian, have been studying and struggling with these issues for years, and still have not come to any conclusive opinions on certain matters. By no means are the *Church Fathers* clear on all of the points for which the Roman Catholic perspective is built. Yes, justification is not seen according to the Protestant rubrics. But did you realize that the Orthodox and Roman Catholic perspectives differ on this matter? The Orthodox perspective also claims to have come from the teachings of the Church Fathers.

Philosophically speaking, there is a major difference in how the Church Fathers view things, depending on whether they are Greek or Latin.

So, have you fully examined this issue? Four months seems like hardly enough time. Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to sell you Orthodoxy here. I am just questioning whether you have used due diligence in making such a profound decision.

May God richly bless you, brother, in the Roman Catholic Church, and may you grow into all the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!

Humbly,

Jim

Welcome back! I am a clergy convert myself. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. You have my prayers and best wishes. Fr. J

Dear brother
Welcome. I pray that the Lord give the grace to leave this new step in His peace. Thank your for your integrity and for your love for truth.
Benoit

Dear Sir,
You have traded one form of confusion for another.. catholicism is more divided than Protestanism; sects of atheistic communism masking as Liberationism,
Sects of charismania,
Sects of traditionalism where Catholicism is dominant in the world,
sects of minor evangelicalism in the USA,
sects of cultic behaviour and idolatry in Europe and the Middle East,
and then the various traditional sects termed "orders".
Surely the desire for unity is one founded principally from a desire for order (as the monism of old), where sometimes no order can exist.
True Christian unity is transdenominational and found only with those in true Union with Christ, as directed by His Word.
I fear that what you have lost far surpasses that which you have "gained".
Steve

Wonderful news Frank, from a fellow philosopher. I have to admit I was intially blown away when I first read about this conversion to Catholicism. I've always admired and respected your work.

God bless you for your decision.

Scott

Welcome, home, dear Dr. Beckwith and Mrs. Beckwith!

God bless you both and keep you strong in your decision and commitment! Your presence "in medio ecclesiae" will be a blessing to us and, as your dear evangelical friends will discover in time, a continuing blessing for them as well.

Ut unum sint!

Frank,
Eddie Colanter told me of this this morning. I trust that you have taken the proper consideration and prayer. I hope that in the future you will enumerate your reasoning more fully. There are many doctrines in the present day Catholic Church which i would find differcult to accept. (infallability ex-cathedra, co-redemptress) RC Sproul wrote Faith Alone, would you consider an extended critique or tome of your own? God-Bless

Dr. Beckwith:

I, too, converted from Catholicism to evangelical Christianity in my youth. I have since progressed to a full-fledged Reformed theology, and while I remain firm in my convictions and have no intention of considering a return to Catholicism, I'm intrigued when you write, "...in January, at the suggestion of a dear friend, I began reading the Early Church Fathers as well as some of the more sophisticated works on justification by Catholic authors." Could you supply us with the names of these Catholic authors and the titles of their works? Thank you.

You have given me food for thought.
I admit to never having read much of those early Christians to whom some refer as the Church "Fathers," and instead relied on what others SAID they said.
I think I have to start knowing for myself, and not depending on more modern spin doctors.

Thank you and God bless you and your family.

I have read several times now that the first chapter of Galatians poses some difficulty for Catholicism. As I read Galatians, Paul is opposing the belief that one is justified by works of the law (such as circumcision), i.e., that view of justification is the perversion of the Gospel (or the “different gospel,” or the “gospel other than the one that you received”) that Paul is speaking of (see the second chapter, verses 15 and 16). What does this have to do with Catholicism? The Church does not teach that one is justified by obedience to the law or by works. Granted, Catholics emphasize that works are a necessary consequence of faith (as James teaches), but this is not equivalent to the doctrine that Paul is criticizing. What, if anything, am I missing? And if the reply is, “You’re misinterpreting Paul,” my reply is “According to whom?”

A few things:

(1) Even if I'm wrong about 30,000 protestant denominations, the principle stands. Even if the number were 30, we'd have a scandal.

(2) Galatians 3:3 ("Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?") has nothing to do with protestant/catholic debates. Paul is contending against Jewish-Christian missionaries who believe his Gentile converts need to undergo circumcision and become full-fledged Jews in order to remain Christians. It's not about faith/grace/spirit vs works, but faith/grace/spirit vs particular Jewish practices such as circumcision, Sabbath keeping, and kosher eating. And I doubt very much that informed Catholics believe people are saved by works anyway.

(3) Kevin said, "The Catholic Catechism says that if you claim to know you are saved- then you are anathema. I've read Foxes Book of Martyrs; too bad they died torturous deaths thinking there was actually a difference between Rome and the Gospel of Christ."

As if Foxe's book of martyrs was an unbiased account! While it is true that many Protestants suffered torture and death at the hands of those secular powers loyal to Rome, this gate swings both ways: Protestants tortured and killed just as many Catholics. No one's hands are clean here, pure and simple.

(4) An Orthodox Christian raised what for many is a most pressing issue: it might be easy to say that Protestantism doesn't work, either theoretically or practically, but once one decides to leave, how would one judge between the Roman and Orthodox communions?

May God bless you for your courage and convictions. I myself am a convert to Catholicism and follow the Plain Catholic life of modest dress and covering. The Early Fathers convinced me of the True Church in the Roman Catholic faith.

Congratulations and may you be open to God's many graces in the Catholic Faith.

"Your critics are surely all in their 20's"

Well, I'd thank you for the compliment but I'm not sure that's what it is. I am in my mid-40s and know at least two other posters (Doug Groothuis and Tim Bayly) are just a bit older than me (though I hope they won't mind my saying so!).

I agree with their posts. Given the position Dr. Beckwith has just resigned, I think he owes a fuller explanation of his reversion to Rome. I hope one will be forthcoming in the near future. I am still puzzled as to what has changed - what did he think was so wrong with Rome that he left in the first place? And why should her want to now err on her side? ISTM, such a momentous decision should only be taken when one is sure one is moving away from error!

Kamilla

Dr. Beckwith,
In good faith you have followed your heart and the call of the Holy Spirit. That should be good enough for anyone.
God bless,
Roger

"catholicism is more divided than Protestanism"

What gibberish. There's a gigantic difference between, on the one hand, one united huge church encompassing a diversity of theological points of view, and, on the other hand, thousands and thousands of separate and disunited churches. There's no way you can get "greater disunity" out of "unity."

Dr. Beckwith:

As moderator of the forums on the Coming Home Network, I am pleased to welcome you home. At the same time, I remind you of the words of a very wise archbishop, Fulton Sheen:

"There are not a hundred people who hate the Catholic Church; however, there are millions who hate what they think the Catholic Church to be."

As a former Catholic who admits to having been "Catholic friendly" no doubt you were willing to look beyond Protestant misunderstandings of Catholic teaching, such as the outrageous notions that Catholics "worship" Mary and the saints, or repeatedly sacrifice our Savior, or teach that salvation is through words rather than through faith, and have rediscovered the truth of the Catholic faith.

Welcome home, and we invite your participation in the Coming Home Network forums at http://chnetwork.org/forums

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

Welcome home!

I sincerely appreciate the power and frailty of this moment for you. I myself am a returned Catholic after some years as an Evangelical Episcopalian (at Truro, now home of CANA).

Seeing the many posts here it is clear that this renewal in your life is also accompanied by some spiritual deaths or crosses--the loss of friendships, and the acusations you will sustain on behalf of the Church. As members of Christ's mystical body we will suffer as he did for the sake of his Gospel.

Yet, Dr. Beckwith, there is so much joy to be experienced in the sacramental life of the Church. There is an overabundance of Christ's grace. Perhaps at 14 you left behind what you did not fully appreciate. But now as a man trained in the scriptures and the tradition of the ancient faith you shall benefit more than you can now imagine from the infinite divine life available to us in the sacraments.

I hold you up in my prayers asking the Lord to smooth your path and deliver you as much as possible from the uncharities and indignities heaped upon you in these days.

Your charity, grace and spiritual dignity is evident in what you say and do. And, you give witness to Him powerfully.

May your ongoing work and ministry bear great fruit. God Bless,

Arthur

Phil,

PhilVaz said, “There is basically one Roman Catholic denomination for each country (for a total of 242 countries) according to Barrett. And that leaves 30000+ non-Roman Catholic denominations. Whatever you think the true number is, its a sad state of affairs. Meet us at Catholic Answers forums to discuss.”

It still remains that the 30,000 figure takes into account the slightest difference from one church body to another. Even at a slightly larger level, the difference between the PCA and the OPC is comparatively…nothing.

Also, your church refuses to get rid of its theological liberals, wacko-feminists, abortion supporters (though I applaud its stance on that issue), etc. The conservative evangelicals distanced ourselves and denounced our liberal counterparts (who don’t even deserve the title ‘Christian’) long ago. So, your church has a surface-level ‘unity’, a façade of unity.

Matthew,

Matthew said, “Well, I have but one question: who speaks for the Protestant church with the AUTHENTIC interpretation?? If the Catholic Church is wrong then someone HAS to be right. All we've seen from the less charitable responses above have been self-proclaimed assertions that their opinion is the right one. Unfortunately this is the core weakness of sola scriptura and Protestantism. With all humbleness please consider this conundrum.”

First, the assumption being made here is that if there isn’t an infallible authority to give an “authentic” interpretation, then there can be no interpretation at all. However, just like the Indian cosmologist who believes that the earth must rest on something (therefore it rests on the back of a turtle), so this argument results in an infinite regression of infallible authorities. As the saying goes: Turtles all the way down!

Second, there is very little disagreement amongst Protestant interpreters as to 99% of Scripture, and almost all (if not all) would agree that Scripture teaches that “Faith…is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is never alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied by all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love” (Westminster Confession 11.2), the very thing that divides Protestants from Roman Catholics.

Third, how many passages of Scripture has Rome actually given an “AUTHENTIC interpretation” of? According to some of your own scholars, that number is zero. So, not even Rome can give me a proper interpretation of that which is “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Fourth, which infallible interpreter? The Mormon prophet can give me that. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society? The teachings of the Eastern Orthodox as found in the Philokalia? If you answer that I should use historical evidences and interpret the church fathers using a grammatico-historical method in order to determine that Rome is the true church, then I would simply say that I could use the same method to determine which books were in the canon as well as their proper interpretation. [It should be noted that Dr. Beckwith’s comments about the church determining the canon of Scripture are incorrect. The church discovered the canon. Any work on the canon or even a DaVinci Code-debunker book will show this.]

Fifth, I believe the Scriptures to be very clear when taken in their grammatico-historical context. If you’re telling me that I need an authoritative interpreter to interpret my Bible, then you might as well have said that I need the same to interpret my local newspaper.

Seth Ward,

Seth Ward said, “What do you make of this statement by Augustine, who you quote as much as any devout Catholic? "I would not believe the Scriptures unless I first believed the Church." - Augustine”

First, the text you mention comes from Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental, ch.5. However, it is removed from its surrounding context. Here’s ch.5 as a whole:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf104.iv.viii.vi.html

John Calvin dealt with this in his own day, and if you would like to read a *contextual* interpretation of this passage, read Calvin’s Institutes 1.7.3:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.htm

Second, I’m not saying that Augustine didn’t have a high view of the Church or of tradition. What I am saying is that he believed that Scripture was the only infallible authority for the church after the death of the last apostle. To quote Louis Bouyer:

“The Fathers of the Church, St. Augustine above all, themselves practiced that devotion derived from Scripture, whose ideal the Protestants steadily upheld; they hardly knew any other. No doubt they were much more careful than many Protestants not to isolate the Word of God in its settled form of Scripture from its living form in the Church, particularly in the liturgy. But, this reserve apart…they were no less enthusiastic, or insistent, or formal, in recommending this use of Scripture and in actually promoting it. Particularly from St. John Chrysostom, one might assemble exhortations and injunctions couched in the most forcible terms; they have often been recalled by those Protestants, from the sixteenth century onwards, the best grounded in Christian antiquity. It would be impossible to find, even among Protestants, statements more sweeping than those in which St. Jerome abounds: Ignoratio scripturarum, ignoratio Christi is doubtless the most lapidary, but not necessarily the most explicit. What is more, in this case just as when the authority of Scripture is viewed as the foundation of theology, the constant practice of the Church, in the Middle Ages as well as in the patristic times, is a more eloquent witness than all the doctors…For them, it was not simply one source among others, but the source par excellence, in a sense the only one.”
-Louis Bouyer, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1964), pp.132-133. Translated by A.V. Littledale. First published by Les Editions du Cerf, Paris, 1954.

Lastly, to all out there, I have no personal hatred or anamosity toward Dr. Beckwith, and I do not claim to be brave by coming to his blog and making my comments. However, I feel I must be like the author of Hebrews in that I must warn of the penalties of reverting to a false religion (Hebrews 6:1-8). So, please stop with the post-modern “you offended me” talk and respect that everyone here has a very deeply-held viewpoint, including me and my Reformed brethren.

So what do you think the ancient church fathers would have thought about the Catechism saying Muslims and non-believing Jews being able to get to heaven?

Or what do you think the New Testament has to say about the subject?

I would respect this move more if you became a sedevacantist. Normal Roman Catholicism has been crushed to dust by the law of non-contradiction.

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

At the University of Virginia, they often say (in contast with the Univ. of Chicago joke), that here Dominicans teach Calvin to Episcopalians. I am the Dominican in that joke. I am that Dominican.

As you wrote " I also believe that the Reformed view is biblically and historically defensible," I would be happy to discuss this with you. Contrary to the false interpretations of Calvin on grace and the sacraments that are retailed by some of the Reformed, Calvin was, I would say, the one catholic writer among the Protestant reformers.

I am sure you already know them, but for the sake of your readers, I recommend the writings of the greatest American Calvinist theologian, John W. Nevin, _Mystical Presence_, and _The Anxious Bench_.

Beckwith,
I'm encouraged by your ability to change. But if I thought your move to Roman Catholicism was a good one I'd be one too. You, Frankie and all other Catholics who proclaim Christ are no more or less a pedigree than this mutt.

I'm looking forward to your reasons for the change and think your move is going to benefit both Catholics and Protestants. Well played.

your brother in Christ,

Frank: I salute your honesty and courage. This decision was no doubt gut-wrenching and soul-searching. May God always bless your spiritual searching and I urge you to keep looking -- there is more yet to see and hear. Share with us the dimensions of insight you gain from viewing the world from another perspective.

Doctor Beckwith, As a Latter-day Saint, and one with no dog in this fight, I do wish you well. Each of us is on a journey to God, which takes us down interesting paths and roads. The Catholic Church is a Christian Church, regardless of what any evangelical may think. It is led by a good man, and as with many other Christian faiths, much truth. Christ taught us to love others as he loves us, and to not judge others. The term heretic is a sad term, as it divides, rather than brings us together in Christ. I would wish that our Protestant brothers would be more charitable in their views. If, as they believe, one is saved by grace, then you and I are saved, even as they are. But if grace is just one component of salvation and justification, as Catholics and Mormons believe, then we all stand in need of removing the beam out of our own eyes prior to seeking out others' motes.

God speed in your spiritual journeys.

Gerald Smith

Dr. Beckwith

Although I am not a full member of the Roman communion, and have many good reasons for not changing that status, I commend you and congratulate you on following your conscience in this respect.

As an ETS student member I also wish to thank you for staying in the Society, and I hope and pray that these events will provide an opportunity for a dialogue which brings greater unity to the Body of Christ.

Your decision to resign from the presidency saddens me, but I understand completely.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be always with you and your family.
Isaac

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

Welcome home!! Your testimony is a proof of your love for truth.

You and your family are in my prayers.

Greetings from Mexico,

Daniel

Dr. Beckwith,

I feel like I am just joining the amen choir, but congratulations and welcome home. I have always been a big fan of yours (especially your use of the substance view of personhood to defend the life of the unborn), and my admiration will only grow now that you are a member of the one true Church.

I too left Evangelical Protestantism for the Catholic Church. The move cost me many friends but I gained the Eucharist (John 6:51-58), Confession (John 20:21-23), and the pillar of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15, Ephesians 2:19-20, Revelation 21:14).

I think it was a pretty good trade-off.

Welcome back to the other side of the Tiber!! May I snap open a pre-heated towel in welcome? Many blessings to you and your family and know that you'll be supported in prayer as you re-acquaint yourself with that Catholic Suffering stuff. Looks like you've got a lot of commentary to offer up! As a convert myself I wish you many blessings and suggest you polish your sense of humor, it'll help!

Dear Dr. Beckwith,
Welcome home. My wife and I (Methodist and Southern Baptist) converted 28 years ago after serving as missionaries for two years in Jerusalem. God had a sense of humor dropping two dispensationalists in the middle of the Palestinian Catholic community. What a witness they were! May God richly bless your you and your family.

Welcome Home Dr.Beckwith. My wife and I just entered the Church from Protestantism.(non-denominational evangelicals) On May 5,2007 our marriage was validated,we were confirmed,received communion,and had our three son's baptized. What a Mass!! I've admired your work for many years as a Protestant and will continue to as a Catholic. God Bless you and your wife. We will pray for you.My Christ bless you in all that you do.
Chad Gueits
Whittier Ca

Dr. Beckwith,

I don't know you but I heard about this recently through a friend. I too was a life long Reformed Presbyterian. Last Easter I was received into the Church as well. There are many negative comments so far on the board. It's so sad to see people act as if you've gone apostate for following your heart and the Holy Spirit. Let all prayer for unity and love for one another as Christians.

Dear Dr. Beckwith and Family,
Congratulations and a Hearty Welcome Home. While I rejoice for you it is very sad to see the hurtful comments of those who don't agree. There is a great deal of misunderstandings among various protestants about what the Catholic Church is all about. It is the Church founded by Christ, entrusted to Peter, the Apostles and their successors. The Church, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit wrote, gatherered and protected the canons of the Bible all with the sole idea of bringing people to Christ. We are His Church, in His service and as he promised Peter: The gates of hell will not prevail againist it. I believe and take Christ at his word. I pray for all of you to show love to all your fellow Christians and to others who separated by even great divides that all may come to know and love Christ.
Sincerely,
Mary

Greetings Dr. Beckwith, Needless to say I was quite flabbergasted on your recent return back to Rome. I admire your work as a christian philosopher with a backbone. I believe you should utilize the same analysis to Rome as you did with your co-authored work in, See The gods Fall. I, myself, am an ex-catholic and understand why. Please reconsider your decision, not by reading the early church fathers alone, but do so on the basis of exegesis of the key texts that divide Rome from Geneva. Please consult James R. White's debates on the issue along with Holy Scripture by David King and William Webster, the Gospel of the Reformation by William Webster, the Matthew 16 Controversy and The Old Testament Canon and the Apocrypha, also by Webster. In addition please study Justification by faith Alone, published by Soli Deo Gloria and Dr. Nettles, By His Grace and for His glory. Both you and your spouse will prayerfully be persuaded and corrected by these works. You are a gifted man but understand that you are wrong to re-align with Rome. You are in my prayers, Regards, Mike.

I have known Frank Beckwith for nearly 40 years and have never met anyone with a greater love for Christ. Frank’s love for Jesus is not just found in is heart and soul though, but in his mind. His intellectual quest, which began as a teenager, has guided his entire life. I know that this decision only happened after much thought, research, and prayer.

I never doubted that this day would come, though I prayed often for it. I want to welcome you home to the Church that Christ created (Matt 16: 18-19) and let you know that the Dayton Beckwiths all love you and Frankie dearly.

You, my brother, are my hero.

James wrote:
Have you truly worked through the issues of Ex Cathedra authority of the Pope, indulgences, the role of Mary, *worship* of the eucharist, the right of priests to *absolve* sin, and other issues that those even in the Eastern Orthodox Church would find objectionable?

Dear Sir,

You really need to learn a LOT more about the Orthodox faith if you belief this. We differ on the first two issues, but we do not find worship of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist objectionable. Nor do we condemn confession, which is an important part of our lives as Christians. As for Mary, we have some differences about doctrines such as the Immaculate Conception, but we see her in much the same role in contrast to the Protestants.

Your "Orthodoxy" sounds more Protestant than truly Orthodox.

Very simply...welcome home!
God Bless you and your family!
Julia

"However, why would you choose the opinions of the church fathers over the clear statements of justification found in Scripture"

Ah...the clear statements of the bible that 30000 Protestant Denonminations can't agree on.

Dr. Beckwith, I apologize for holding a "conversation" in the comments box of your blog; feel free to reject this response.

Saint and Sinner, you quoted Augustine's Letter 82.1.3: "On such terms we might amuse ourselves without fear of offending each other in the field of Scripture, but I might well wonder if the amusement was not at my expense. For I confess to your Charity that I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error."

Yet the canon of O.T. Scripture Augustine firmly believed in was the same accepted by the Catholic Church (On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Ch. 8, Para. 13, cf. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf102.v.v.viii.html ) by Pope Saint Damasus I in AD 382.

Beginning the conversation between Evangelicalism and the "Great Tradition" will require overcoming a psychological/emotional disaffection as profound as any doctrinal difference. Quite apart from content, the human mind is conditioned not to believe authoritative interpretation of anything unless it is mediated by the all-authoritiative self. Richard John Neuhaus in Catholic Matters is eloquent about the self-sacrificing docility and child-like humility involved in receiving the Great Tradition. His personal insights illuminate the difficult path ahead.

Dr. Beckwith, your ministry has always meant a great deal to me. As a Protestant of a dispensationalist hermeneutic, this is most perplexing I have to admit. But scripture warns that these events will occur from time-to-time and that we are to "cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for what account is to be made of him?" It also says "by their fruits then surely ye shall know them." I suppose that can be applied to institutions as well as persons. Whatever man measures to you will mean nothing when you give account of yourself before Christ. I would like to say I will pray for you but I'm not sure how. The will of the Lord be done.

Welcome home and God bless you!

+JMJ

My prayer is that you would leave the Roman Catholic system.

Dr. Beckwith,

Apostasy in the evangelical church is in full swing! How one who claims to be a Christian, can go back to the abomination that is the Catholic church has to be deceived by Satan!
Saints, statues, sacraments, sex and Satan all wrapped up in one.

"Come out of her my people!"

Dear Dr. Beckwith,
It is an honor to have someone of your stature and integrity come home to the Catholic Church.
Although your re-conversion was done for personal reasons, I believe you have just done more to build up the Body of Christ than you realize.
Congratulations, and please know you are in the prayers of many!

Welcome back! I hope the Church will be for you, as it is for me, an inexhaustible source of joy and wonder. It is a lovely family to be a part of, even if it is not always the more functional family in the block!

May God be with you in your correct decision.

Dear Dr.Beckwith, welcome home!

Your witness will surely be a rich blessing to drowsy Catholics and also a convincing call to our separated brothers and sisters for visible unity. From one convert to another - I give thanks to God for showing us the way home to His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ on Saint Peter. May God bless you and your family with every grace necessary for your well being and continuing journey in the Faith. W. Clanton.

Saint and Sinner, I never stood against anything; I stood in support of my brother in Christ from the hateful attacks of those who would claim to be Christians.

But, you're absolutely right. I do repudiate those confessions and traditions. You picked a pair of English confessions that were as political as theological. Damning the largest denomination of Christians and those solely responsible for three-quarters of Christian history over a narrow interpretation of three verses? Absolutely right, I repudiate them.

It is convenient for Protestants to pretend that Scripture stands with them and against Catholics when in fact it does not. It is equally convenient to read a crystal-clear and unified message from the NT about justification when none such message exists.

I'm not sure why I should care about being a good Protestant or conforming to its tradition. I am interested in being a good Christian.

That said, there's also some untoward condescension and gloating coming from some of the Catholic commenters here. They are equally out of place among brothers and sisters as the nasty things being said by the Protestants. For the love of cake, aren't we past this nonsense? Can't we use our words to build each other up in love?

This quest began in January according to your own words. Was that sufficient time to *really* process the rather extensive amount of material involved in the Church Fathers and make a truly informed decision about all of this?

Jim, there is no time limit when it comes to these matters. When one *knows* that the Lord is calling one to become Catholic (or Orthodox or Baptist or whatever), then one must follow the Lord's call.

One does not need to become a student of the Church Fathers in order to make a thoughtful decision to become Catholic, though for some this is an important route.

As you point out, the historical evidence alone is not dispositive, for our assessment of the evidence is informed by our theological and ecclesial commitments. Newman in fact addresses this question in his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (chap. 8). For myself, I knew I could never master the Church Fathers within my lifetime, so I decided simply to trust Newman's judgment that the claims of Catholicism are consonant with the patritic testimony. Newman certainly knew the Fathers better than most men, whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox.


At some point, I think, when reason has taken us as far as it can, we simply decide to trust the testimony, judgment, and example of individuals we respect and the voice of conscience within. If we are wrong, may God forgive us.

Chesterton's comment is apropos: "The Church is a house with a hundred gates; and no two men enter at exactly the same angle."

I strongly commend Chesterton's essay "The Catholic Church and Conversion."

Dr. Beckwith: ad multos annos from an Orthodox Christian who would love to see Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Oriental (non-Chalcedonian) Orthodox figure out how to mend fences sooner than later.

It's always a mystery to me when the same Evangelical who makes common cause with "sacramentalism" over issues such as abortion spews such venom over one of theirs heading to one of the Romes. In all fairness, a few here seem to address this in a comment or two about "Evangelical ecumenism" and acknowledge that this is the very reason some Evangelicals are uncomfortable cooperating between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics (and presumably Orthodox, although I'm not sure they'd all know an Orthodox Christian if one handed them a piece of antidoron). When you're on speaking terms over one thing, I guess, it makes it a lot more impolite to say what you really think about something else.

To an extent, some here seem to say it would be easier if we dropped all the pretense--you think we're heretics, we think you're pagan scum--and went back to frankly behaving as if those on the other sides aren't Christians. Isn't an honest, reflexive anti-Catholicism easier than a dishonest truce? It's certainly easier than addressing the cognitive dissonance one discovers as a Protestant when reading, say, the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, with something other than "Well, that's just proof that the Roman cult corrupted everything almost immediately."

Too bad. I guess it just means we need to pray for them more.

Richard

Welcome home, Dr. & Mrs. Beckwith!

I am also a Protestant convert to the Catholic Church, and I have never been happier, nor has my faith been more vibrant, than in the Catholic Church.

If any of the Protestant naysayers in the combox so far wish to find out what the Catholic Church REALLY teaches, as opposed to what you THINK it teaches, I encourage you to visit the forums at www.catholic.com so we can debate the issues there. :)

Dr. Beckwith,

You have, you declare, "returned to the Church". That attitude comprehends all the colossal arrogance of Rome from the beginning. I am reminded of Sadoleto's unctuous and threatening letter to Calvin. I echo what an earlier poster said re: the council of Trent. Given its canons irrevocably still in force in "the Church", why this pretense of well-wishing to your evangelical "colleagues", indeed this surfeit of sycophantic welcoming on the one hand, lauding the potential for "peace and understanding" and on the other hand the qualified good wishes of evangelicals. With all your learning you cannot discern the most simple of Biblical doctrines: Christ is the Head of the Church, and the Holy Spirit is the Vicar of Christ. What magnitude of sin for the one man to assume a role that usurps both offices.

Go your way, Dr. Beckwith. In your place may God raise up 100 men with the stomach for truth and who will continue to preach it though none will follow, as did Jeremiah and Isaiah.

Welcome back. :) I'm currently being recieved into the Catholic Church under the auspices of the Byzantine Rite. Many of my evangelcal friends still don't quite understand me when I tell them that I've never felt closer to Jesus than in Catholicism. But it's true. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family. :)

Dr. Beckwith,

As a former Roman Catholic, I am grieved, both as a member of ETS and as a Christian brother. I am all too familiar with the great resistance to the Gospel Rome has around the world. I know of Roman priests inciting riots and burning Scriptures, homes and churches. While followers of Rome in the US customarily dismiss these kinds of things as individual acts of Third-world priests, the truth is more sinister. A good friend of mine from Mexico had the opportunity to hear John Paul in Mexico and then in the US with only a few months between. In Mexico he exhorted the people to resist the evangelicals and painted our work as evil. In the US, he schmoozed Protestants and called us brothers. While there are certainly followers of Jesus in the Roman organization, Rome itself is opposed to the true Gospel. Until they renounce infallibility and condemn idolatry (the current and previous pope have both referred to Mary as co-redemptrix), there is no hope for Rome.

I take great issue as well with your assertion that joining Rome is somehow erring on the side of historical and theological continuity. The Western Church was very diverse in the Middle Ages. After the Reformation, the semi-Pelagian, authoritarian, relic-venerating party was firmly in control. When a church splits, how do we decide which is the true Church? Do we search the Scriptures or do we decide the the one who controls the property and trademark is the true Church? I realize the the papacy was able to keep St. Peter's and the name, "Catholic Church," but somehow it just doesn't seem as convincing as "the Word rightly taught, the Sacraments rightly administered, and discipline rightly applied." May God have mercy on you for those you are leading astray.

Without hatred or rancor,
Travis D. Hutchinson

Welcome back, and may God richly bless you and your family.
And may the Lord also enlighten those Protestants and Catholics who think the 16th-century wars of religion are still on.

Murdoch Macleod
Calgary, Alberta

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

I've been for many years an admirer of your work in First Things and elsewhere. It was a great blessing to have you standing in the breach against the Culture of Death -- a blessing when you were a Protestant, as it will be a blessing now that you are a Roman Catholic again, as am I. You have not changed armies, nor have you taken your eyes off the Commander.

I really don't want to mix it up with the theologians on this string; it doesn't seem the fit place for it, especially since you have hardly begun to explain what led you back to Rome. I do have a check for $500 waiting for the person who can explain to me exactly what the differences are among Aquinas' view of predestination and the cooperation of free will and grace, and Calvin's and Trent's view of the same. I share Fr. Augustine's admiration for that French lawyer, for his keen sense of the majesty of God, and for his confession of our utter inability to do a single righteous thing without being led to do so, and being led to will to do so, by the grace of God.

It is all grace, and all the life of Christ -- not most, not almost all, but absolutely all, without qualification. So Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants of all stripes believe who really understand the faith. As for those who do not understand the faith, we can thank the Father who saves us by the death and resurrection of his Son, and not exactly by theology about the death and resurrection of his Son, as necessary as that is. The typical man and woman in the pew, loving Christ with all their hearts and striving to allow Him to reform and renew their lives -- those "fools" will be saved, and they'll be coming from all kinds of ecclesial places. Me, I may be an amateur theologian, but I'm counting for my salvation on the man on the Cross, period, as are all the brothers and sisters in Christ that I know.

But welcome, Frank, and God bless you and your family,

Tony Esolen

Just read this blog over 3 times, read all the comments, etc. etc. and I haven't found a meaningful Protestant attack on our brother in Christ yet. Hopefully this well help lead Protestants to actually study the faith and to join the One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church. There is none other.

After reading through your post and the following comments...I can't help but wonder if you have converted/reverted to what you see to be the Catholic faith of the Fathers, rather than post-conciliar Catholic faith of Trent and Vatican II.

After just reading Mark Noll's work on church history, it is easy to see the allure of the faith that was lived out by the early fathers, and the lifestyles of those traditions.

However it seems to me that modern practices and theologies of the Roman System tangentalized from patristic thought about a thousand years back, not that protestantism has fared any better.

Either way, I commit my judgements and anathemas into the hands of the Trinity. After all, the judge of the earth will do that which is right.

May we all be found in Christ. Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Pentecostal

It has been said that every lapsed Catholic looks for a reason to return to Rome, and apparently You have been looking in that direction for a long time.

From your post it is clear that you see a difference between the RCC doctrine of justification and the Protestant/Reformed doctrine of justification, but yet you also say that you hold to both.
And, as you know, it is abundantly clear from the writings of the RCC and the Protestants that they hold to different definitions of this key doctrine.

So, it seems as if your decision is less of a theological one and more of a philosophical one.

It sems as if you have followed one of the spirits of the age and have no problem believing two completley opposed views of this essential doctrine at the same time.

There is no theological reconciliation between the RCC and the Reformed understanding of justification.
But, philosophy has always enabled men to hold positions that theology proves impossible.

I don't know your heart. To your own master you stand of fall. But I wonder, where does this come from? Were has your journey taken you - to Athens through Rome, or to Jerusalem?

To date, no one has been able to theologicially reconcile Rome and the Reformation. No doubt you will work towrd that end, but it will be philosophical not scriptural.

The drama is a tad silly.

Somehow the statements:

"Rome itself is opposed to the true Gospel. Until they renounce infallibility and condemn idolatry (the current and previous pope have both referred to Mary as co-redemptrix), there is no hope for Rome... May God have mercy on you for those you are leading astray."

and:

“Without hatred or rancor,
Travis D. Hutchinson”

Don't line up.

I guess I would call myself a "protestant" (or at least my Catholic friends would, although I don’t really care to protest anything,) and I think that ANY protestant that tries to say that other protestants have NEVER been responsible for atrocities or hatred just need to roll back the clock to the civil rights movement. Or how bout the 80's with the televangelist scandals? Sin is on both sides of the fence people. I think that is something we can ALL agree on. Sheesh. No brainer there.

I might disagree with some doctrines in the Roman Catholic Church, but I am not about to be so arrogant as to say that they lead people astray or to Hell. In fact, I am 100% confident that is total bull. One only needs to read a few lines of Mother Teresa or St. Francis to quell that stupidity. I was in a Baptist church once where the Preacher told the congregants that “the evil in our country is coming out of Africa.” Did that mean that Baptists are leading the world to hell? I think not.

On the optimistic side of things, I think the old guard of hatred is dying off. Seminaries that preach hate and fire and escort their moderate Presidents off campus by ARMED GUARD are choking. Just take a look at the enrollment rosters of the past 20 years.

On the Catholic side of things I think Vat. II was a big step in the direction of unity. I mean hey, at least now we are called brethren albeit “separated.” Still progress right?

It has been said that every lapsed Catholic looks for a reason to return to Rome, and apparently You have been looking in that direction for a long time.

From your post it is clear that you see a difference between the RCC doctrine of justification and the Protestant/Reformed doctrine of justification, but yet you also say that you hold to both.
And, as you know, it is abundantly clear from the writings of the RCC and the Protestants that they hold to different definitions of this key doctrine.

So, it seems as if your decision is less of a theological one and more of a philosophical one.

It sems as if you have followed one of the spirits of the age and have no problem believing two completley opposed views of this essential doctrine at the same time.

There is no theological reconciliation between the RCC and the Reformed understanding of justification.
But, philosophy has always enabled men to hold positions that theology proves impossible.

I don't know your heart. To your own master you stand of fall. But I wonder, where does this come from? Were has your journey taken you - to Athens through Rome, or to Jerusalem?

To date, no one has been able to theologicially reconcile Rome and the Reformation. No doubt you will work towrd that end, but it will be philosophical not scriptural.

I'm not addressing my comments to Dr. Beckwith. I'm addressing them to those "Reformed" and evangelical Protestants who have the audacity to judge his soul and pronounce him unfit to their refined theological tastes.

Those of you who do such a thing are tramping on the blood of Christ and rendering it useless.

I've become disgusted with fellow Catholics who have done the same things. These "Catholics" excoriated one Rod Dreher, who now works for the Dallas Morning News, for converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. Of course, before Dreher's conversion, these same self-benighted "defenders of the faith" excoriated him for having the audacity to tell the truth about the Catholic sex-abuse crisis -- and to write a Wall Street Journal piece in which he criticized (legitimately) the late Pope John Paul II for devoting less of his waning energy to that crisis than to criticizing the American invasion of Iraq.

You "Reformed" and evangelical Protestants might have major disagreements with Catholics over the nature of the sacraments, biblical interpretation, the nature of ecclesisatical authority, etc. But you ahve one thing in common with most of the Catholics I've seen on the Internet: You, like they, are de facto idolaters who worship your theology, your denominational identity -- and, ultimately, your own egos -- before God. When any of these things, let alone your theological disagreements, can replace the blood of Christ in atoning for and redeeming from sin, please let me know. Until then, I humbly suggest that, when you plan your respective funerals, that you make sure that your corpses are enclosed in asbestos body stockings. Not that it would do much good....

Dear Dr Beckwith,
I don't know you but reading your account I can see you are a man of great integrity. This has clearly not been an easy decision for you so I applaud you for taking it. Undoubtedly there will be difficulties ahead, especially from the 'point-scorers' who really ought to be more concerned with their own spiritual journey than yours. Don't let them discourage you. Continue to respond with courage to God's call on YOUR life. May you be supported by friends, old and new, from both traditions and I will pray for you and your family.

I read most of the posts, then the posts on several other boards. As usual some were kind, some were not. All I can say is I am amazed by just how far we seem apart, but we really are not that far apart. I am neither a theologian nor a biblical scholar so my opinion should be measured along those lines. Also I tend to be an emotional person and much of what I say is from the gut, which also lessens it validity and basically its use. I don’t know the original languages, and I can’t exegete my self out of a paper bag. All I know is I have seen Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox work together in some amazing ways. Granted this is ecumenism so in some eyes it is vile and can only be from Satan. I mean it was Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, etc who ran into the two towers with no thought of their own lives. I find that God honoring and His grace working through people of differing creeds but still working hand in hand. I don’t know if that makes me a hell bound apostate? It may.

My “experience” and I do understand experience is also often looked down as emotional and thus entirely useless. But in the confessant hospitals often folks who, in their past lives, were able to ponder great things have lost that faculty. Just trying to realize they are not being attacked by some horrible hallucination is a grace. It is so quick that our own “mind”, “intellect” can be lost to some disease or tragic accident. I can remember many times saying the Our Father and everyone sparking to life and by the end of the prayer everyone was saying the words. I don’t know if this is some twisted act of a demon because the Our Father is just to “Catholic” and should not be said. Again I don’t know I just do what I can to ease the pain and fear. I don’t know if that makes me a hell bound ecumenist serving Satan by proclaiming the Catholic faith.

Funny thing is I have no great love for the Catholic faith as an organization and I could go into why but it is not edifying nor is it based on history or creed, it is based on past experience which still tears at my heart (it was not an abuse issue of any kind). I did eventually find some peace with one priest I struggled with, it was good to ask for and grant forgiveness. I don’t know if that to makes me an evil ecumenist who has abandoned the Cross and the Love of Christ. I mean I will admit to saying the Hail Mary to some folks in the hospital because it was the only prayer they knew. I suppose that could be evil and me a servant of Satan which seems to be a theme at times.

You see when it is basic; it really does not seem to matter. I mean Catholics seem to think us “Protestants” are saved despite us being “Protestants” through some special channel of grace, which is basically the same things some Protestants think about Catholics. Now I understand there are differences and they are quite extreme in some cases. But we both believe in God that is a start and a common ground. One other question for both sides, God, in your POV opened your eyes and gave you grace to see the Truth and be saved, or are being saved etc. I have always wondered why that grace does not move people to walk softly. I mean the Catholics have the 7 sacraments and the fullness of the faith, and the Protestants have received the true faith of grace through faith, one would think this would bring about joy, love and a deep sense of mercy.

I mean God granted you mercy maybe that could be given to each other. I am sure I am wrong and that to means very little in the sense that I am just one small speck trying love God. I do wish you all the very best. Brian
Sorry for the long post
Feel free to edit as you see fit.

+Bism ir Abi wal ibni war rough il Qudos.

I am an Evangelical-influenced Roman Catholic contemplating the hard decision of making a canonical transfer to become an Eastern-Rite Catholic in time to come. It is not easy to make such decisions, and since you are coming to Catholicism from the Reformed tradition, you are to be commended.

Do not fret, brother. Your experience in the Evangelical Reformed tradition will really help you in your journey as a Catholic. Although I never formally associated with the evangelical denominations, I have always felt that being Catholic and Evangelical worked both ways, for me at least. I need the Word just like any other Evangelical, but at the same time, I also need to experience God's grace through the Sacraments, which is the first way but not the only way that God communicates His grace to us.

It will be a hard journey ahead but God's grace will be with you. If our faith is indeed in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit enlightens us to see deeper; making Scripture & Tradition compatible, somehow. Jesus saves! Hallelujah!

Al-Maseeh Qaam,
Collin

Mr. Hutchinson,

The Holy See keeps the text of the speeches of John Paul II's Mexico-St. Louis trip online at:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/travels/sub_index/trav_mexico-st-louis-1999.htm

Perhaps your friend could indicate which speech in particular he was referring to. Maybe he misunderstood what was being said.

---

Dr. Beckwith,

Evangelicalism was where I first heard the Gospel presented in a way that made coherent sense, and I will always feel gratitude and affection for it for that reason. But Catholicism was where the puzzle pieces finally clicked together completely. I was received into the Church in 1994. Welcome, welcome home.

Dr. Beckwith,

I will not pretend to know truth beyond what I know it to be. You have shown me in your candor that you are not afraid to practice the truth as you know it to be. For that, i greatly admire what you have done. You have shown us what personal conviction followed through looks like. It may not be pleasant for some, but for others it is refreshing to witness your quest for God's will for your life carried out in such an apparently dramatic way.

God bless you always.

Benjamin

Dr. Beckwith,

Allow me to add to my earlier comment. The predictable uncharity and downright nasty tone of so many Evangelical commenters here only serve to highlight the courage required to return to the Church. Their bitter commentary only serves to make your witness all the more powerful.

Many of us who have made the journey to Rome have experienced the same. As you know, it is paramount that we not return evil for evil but love those who would assail us. From yesterday's Gospel reading:
"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As an Irish nun friend of mine always says: "Cast your cares on Him."

Again, thank you for your wonderful and powerful witness and may God Bless you richly in these days.

Arthur

All this joy at Frank crossing the Tiber makes me want to sing this morning...This hymn, written and sung around the world to Pope John Paul II, seems to say it all. Welcome to Rome, my boy. Welcome. :-)

Long live the Pope!
His praises sound
Again and yet again:
His rule is over space and time:
His throne the heart of men:
All hail! The Shepherd Pope of Rome,
The theme of loving song:
Let all the earth his glory sing
And heav’n the strain prolong.

Beleaguered by
By the foes of earth,
Beset by hosts of hell,
He guards the loyal flock of Christ,
A watchful sentinel:
And yet, amid the din and strife,
The clash of mace and sword,
He bears alone the Shepherd Staff,
The champion of the Lord.

Then raise the chant,
With heart and voice,
In Church & school & home:
"Long live the Shepherd of the Flock!
Long live the Pope of Rome!"
Almighty Father bless his work,
Protect him in his ways,
Receive his prayer, fulfill his hopes,
And grant him length of days!


Please be assured of the prayers of this fellow Catholic for you and your family during this joyful yet difficult time. God bless you and keep you and welcome!

"Second, I’m not saying that Augustine didn’t have a high view of the Church or of tradition. What I am saying is that he believed that Scripture was the only infallible authority for the church after the death of the last apostle."

Yes, and what you are saying is wrong. We all know St. Augustine believed the Scriptures to be an infallible authority. But you have not established that he believed it to be the only infallible authority. And anyway, even if he did think it was the only infallible authority, as others have pointed out here, St. Augustine's biblical canon was very, very different from your Bible, so it is incoherent for you to selectively appeal to St. Augustine in support of your beliefs about the Bible's authority.

Welcome home!

Mr. Beckwith,

I don't understand how you can embrace (as a former RC of almost 30 years ago) a system that teaches that a person becomes a child of God by faith (personal or through a sponser)and baptism while the NT plainly teaches it is by faith alone. I don't how you can say that "I can in good conscience, as a Catholic, affirm the ETS doctrinal statement" when infact the statement contradicts what the RC Church teaches (e.g., the exammple above). Being seminary and post-seminary trained, I find your move even more puzzling. Having done decades of research in the issues (theologically & historically) between RCism vs. Protestantism to say that after a few months of reading the church fathers that the RC church has "historical & theological continuity with the first generations of Christians that followed Christ's Apostles" I find naive. The RC Church you have gone back to only has roots to about the 8th or 9th centuries. The biggest thing for me as a former RC is that you have gone back to a system that denies one becomes a child of God by faith alone. The Gospel of John plainly teaches this. You have deinied the Gospel. How can you in good conscience do this after knowing the truth? It was not until I embraced this ( by faith alone) truth that my ruined life (as a catholic practicing the sacraments that helped NOTHING) was changed completely; bad habits started to drop off. My thinking & life was changed by grace alone through faith alone becuase of Christ alone. NO SACRAMENT EVER DID THIS.

Welcome back, Frank. May Truth Incarnate continue to guide you in humility, may His love use your return for the unity of His followers.

I am struck by the focus on justification in the comments. It seems to me that in intellectual honesty, we should all acknowledge that each of the extant accounts of justification faces some exegetical difficulties. Each account fits very nicely with some texts of Scripture but forces one to interpret others in a way that appears less compelling. This is not an argument against such an account: sometimes the correct interpretation of a text can appear less compelling than an incorrect one.

This is a plea for exegetical humility. When we opt for one interpretation, which is very compelling with regard to one group of texts but less compelling with regard to another, we have to admit that--barring supernatural help--reasonable Christians may come to an interpretation that puts a greater emphasis on the texts for which our own interpretation works less well, and come up with an interpretation that seems to work better for those texts, not unlikely at the expense of being less compelling for the texts for which our interpretation seemed to work best.

It is easy in a case like this to brandish the texts for which our own interpretation appears to work best as proof of our position and then defensively show how one can, albeit with some difficulty, interpret the texts that seem at first sight to fit less well in light of the others. But of course those who disagree with us can do the same thing, but in reverse: use the second group of texts as support for their position, and then show, with some difficulty, how to interpret the texts that we took to be most supportive of our position.

I think most of us have seen this pattern of argument, particularly on justification. Romans and Galatians versus James and the Gospels, and all that.

What follows? Well, as I said, I think we do all need to honestly acknowledge that none of the accounts of justification that we have appear to fit equally well with all of Scripture.

Does this mean that Scripture is self-contradictory? By no means! "Appearing to fit less well" is different from "contradicting." Scripture is inerrant and hence non-contradictory.

Am I saying that every interpretation is on par? By no means! Some interpretations are simply very poor ones. But what I am saying does seem to apply to the exegeses on justification, carefully worked out by different sides over centuries.

But it does mean that exegetical humility is needed, a recognition that exegesis based on a different set of emphases may well lead to different solutions.

Now unless one comes to believe (as Frank, I and others have) that there is an infallible exegetical authority, then it seems the most one can say to someone one disagrees with in these matters is a gentle: "Brother, I read these texts differently. My reading seems to work better for some texts than your does. Maybe yours works better for others. But I have prayed over my exegesis, and must stick to it. Thus, consistency forces me to say that yours is wrong. Let us pray that we may all come to the fullness of truth."

And even if we do believe we have an infallible exegetical authority (be it the Church or private divine guidance), we still need to be gentle with those who do not acknowledge this authority, and recognize that their exegesis may well have some merits.

While this post dealt only briefly with your reason for changing back to Catholicism, I look forward to a book from you defending some of the Roman Catholic Church's more controversial distinctives. It may be of great benefit to Evangelicals!

Dr. Beckwith,

Welcome home!

For those who do not and cannot understand, I recommend Dr. Richard White's paper titled "Sola Gratia, Solo Christo: The Roman Catholic Doctrine of Justification," written for a class at TEDS. it can be found here.

Professor Beckwith,

Thank you.

If I may presume to speak on behalf of all young people who love Christ and His Gospel, and whose obedience TO the Scriptures have led them to the Catholic Church: your faithfulness and courage are an inspiration.

I also returned to the Church that Christ founded on the Apostles. I also am attacked by well meaning yet ignorant friends who are blind to the truths of the Apostlolic faith. I pray for you to have perseverance and charity when confronted with such hurtful yet well intentioned commentary on you faith conviction. You are called to witness to those people as only a convert is able.

Steve

I think the proper rejoinder to those who say that there are far fewer than 30,000 Protestant denominations is actually "why is there more than one?"

I am a Baylor Alum, raised in the Baptist Church, but was received a year ago into the Catholic church after several years of prayer and theological scrutiny. I welcome you with enthusiasm.
From personal experience the church is full of the riches of God's grace when you make yourself disposed to the Him in the gifts given to His church to sanctify the faithful.
Dr. Beckwith, you will be humbled and challenged in new ways. Take heart and persevere! While I love the tradition I was raised in as it instilled in me a love for truth that led me to pursue it fully to this end, I desire for all that I love to find their home in the Church as she is the pillar of truth as attested to in Holy Scripture.
For those Protestant readers, please remember charity and love are the greatest gifts of the spirit without which we are only clanging gongs. Give the benefit of the doubt and please entertain the notion that you may indeed be in ignorance in what you say. And Dr. Beckwith take heart, there are more protestant converts in the Roman Catholic church than you'd be able to imagine! The Holy Spirit is doing an amazing work to reconcile people to the Church!

You are and will no doubt continue to be a fine philosophical thinker, and not the first contemporary or ancient Roman Catholic philosopher to merit my admiration (from Aquinas to Kreeft).

But it is still perplexing to learn that you returned to an embrace of all of the dogma and tradition of this church. You rightly point out that the historic creeds and doctrinal statements shared by all believers are rooted in the first few centuries of the church, but this is really 'pre' the Roman Catholicism of the Vatican-based, papacy-led institution of the early medieval period.

If you seek a return to something that feels more authentically ancient and thus closer to the roots, more liturgical and in touch with the councils, why not go with the Eastern Orthodox, where Greek was maintained over Latin, where no Germanic/Frankish synthesis or 'Holy Roman Empire' was ever part of the deal, where over-reaching papal claims of the Middle Ages were rejected, where there is direct lineage of bishops back to the first two centuries, where the cult of the Virgin never reached the erroneous level of doctrinal legitimacy?

I am Protestant by conviction but I offer the question regarding the Eastern ancient tradition simply to lead into this question:

Is it not most likely that your own background and cultural familiarity led you back to Rome (as opposed to Constantinople)?

As I have scanned through these commments, I continue to see Roman Catholics hope for a dialogue that increases "understanding" to ensue from this public annoucement of apostasy.

Volume upon volume has been written on the irreconcilible differences between Rome and Protestantism. What would one hope to come from this? More ECT documents? Joining hands for common causes moreso than is being done now? To be considered little more than a "Christian" denomination, such as Mormonism has attempted to peddle over the last several years? To understand that Rome is not apostate and has not been for thousands of years? What is this "understanding" that RC's are hoping to gain from a new church member?

For quick reference, I thought I'd post the ETS doctrinal statement: "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." (http://www.etsjets.org/doctrine.html)

Dear Dr. Beckwith:

Your journey is one that many people have taken. Each of your life experiences has helped to form the person you have become. While I am unacquainted with your work and writing, I have read your testimony and see that you are a person who is docile to the Spirit. It is this docility, conformed to the will of the Lord Jesus, that has led you along the path of Truth. Unlike so many other learned men, you have not made an idol out of your own intellect. The Spirit speaks and you listen. Thanks be to God! We are all working out our salvation in fear and in trembling confident in the infinite mertis of Jesus and the need for great love and understanding. As our Blessed Mother said so long ago in Cana, "Do whatever He tells you." Words to live by! All for Jesus and His Church, which we know will emerge victorious during the present exile. The Lord has promised us that "...not even the powers of hell will prevail against it.." ....or the powers of derision, disunity and pride. I pray that others struggling to find their home will recognize the marks of the true Church(...one, holy, catholic and apostolic) and see that she is indeed distinguished by her unity and the dignity of love that safeguards her in time and space. Thanks be to the living and true God for the great apostolic tradition left to us, as well as the constant protection of St. Michael (...which is very Biblical indeed).

Just a comment among many but I wanted to let you know that you and your family will be in my prayers. I commend you for following God at any cost and I know that this is not an easy time for you in many respects.

As a recent convert myself, I understand the difficulty in dealing with people who do not understand.

On the other hand, this is an absolutely joyous occasion!

Welcome home!

And so we now see the philosophies of men and all its humanistic enticements are reflective of Rome’s adulterous tangibles.

Dear Frank,

We rejoice with you in your return to full communion with the Church. My wife and my two daughters and I were received into full communion with the Church on October 8 of last year. While the conversation in the comments above is difficult and at times painful, it is a conversation that Catholics and Protestants need to be having, as we continue praying intensely that Christ's desire for his disciples to be "perfected in unity" be actualized. I hope that we continue the conversation in the love and affection of Christ, with patience and with hearts seeking mutual understanding and peace.

To some it seems arrogant and sectarian to believe that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded. This is generally not because they believe that some other institution is the Church that Christ founded, but typically because they believe that Christ founded only an invisible Church, and not a visible institution. I think it is important for Protestants to understand that Catholics believe that Christ founded a visible institution.

I understand why your return to full communion with the Church is painful and frustrating to some of our Protestant brothers and sisters. When I was a Protestant, I would have experienced it in the same way, as a departure and even a kind of betrayal. Whether it would have been any consolation to me in such a time, here is what I would have wanted someone to help me see. Catholicity, by its very nature, retains all that is good and true. That is why movement toward catholicity provides us with a "both/and", and not an "either/or" about what is good and true. And that is why Fr. Neuhaus could write the following in 1990 when he was received into full communion with the Church:

"To those of you with whom I have traveled in the past, know that we travel together still. In the mystery of Christ and his Church nothing is lost, and the broken will be mended. If, as I am persuaded, my communion with Christ’s Church is now the fuller, then it follows that my unity with all who are in Christ is now the stronger. We travel together still." (Cf. April 2002 issue of First Things)

May God use this event to bring us all more determinedly to the table of loving dialogue, patient conversation, and sincere inquiry.

In Christ,

- Bryan

Francis -
Welcome home.
Let me begin by saying that when I read how the Fathers had influenced you greatly in your decision to return, it brought tears to my eyes. As a Catholic who was raised and remains Latin, yet loves deeply the beauty that the Eastern tradition brings to our Church, I commend you for delving into what (presumably) Basil, Athanasius, Chrysostom (my personal favorite!) and their brethren had to say to us. I strongly suggest that my Protestant brothers and sisters do the same. Not only were these men truly touched by the Holy Spirit to charitably instruct and defend the Faith, but in large ways became unified to Christ in His suffering.
In conversation with a priest of the Orthodox tradition, we touched upon how we are indeed called to union with God in a sacramental life. It is as the temple becomes typified in the lives of the various denominations of Christians. With all due respect, those who rely solely on Scripture wait in the outer court. But Christ, through His institution of the Sacraments, which are eternally united to His Life, Death and Resurrection, calls us to enter the Holy of Holies - to be a priestly people!
Likewise, if we are to be a people reliant upon the word of God, we must recognize the Petran commission of Matthew 16. If we begin to parse out Scripture or rely too heavily upon one Gospel or another and do not recognize the complimentary quality of not only all four, but all the books contained in the canon, we run the risk of dividing the house against itself.
Again, I welcome you home and ask God for every grace and blessing for you and your wife in your renewed Christian life.

Pax Christi,
JMMKP

Frank,
I want to express my deep distress and concern over the news of your return to Roman Catholicism. Though I admire you greatly for your integrity and conscientiousness in the difficult decisions you have had to make (both in your turn to Catholicism and your resignation as ETS president), I believe that your return to Catholicism is a dangerous error. I must disagree with you that Roman Catholicism provides a more biblical view of justification than the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone. As a friend and colleague in ETS/EPS, I urge you to reconsider.

I am disappointed by your decision, especially since you were the president of ETS. You must understand how potentially damaging this is - people who are held captive/tempted by this false gospel now see you returning to it. I will pray for you, however, and I really do wish for God's goodness in your life.

Grace and peace.

Frank:
Stunned. That's what I am. Stunned. I hope you'll provide your understanding of where you are in terms of the Reformation essentials. You honestly believe that official RC doctrine sets forth the gospel? I am deeply grieved that you have made this choice, Frank. But you will be in my prayers. Thank you for our good conversations with one another. Did our mutual friend Michael B. "help" you in your thinking? Many blessings. Dr. Larry Dixon Columbia International University Seminary and School of Mission, Columbia, SC.

Welcome home brother. It must be hard for you and for your family. You have the prayers of myself and my family.

Dr Beckwith, I encourage you to close the combox. The rhetoric being displayed here is out of control. You need not subject yourself to this abuse.

Welcome home, Dr. Beckwith! I was led into the Catholic Church by the Holy Spirit 31 years ago. It's the best thing I've ever done! I know you won't regret coming back to the Church.

May God bless you & your family!

I wonder if some of the negative commenters here realize how closely their comments are veering to unintentional self-parody.

But I suppose these same posters are those who believe Christianity Today is apostate.

Dr. Beckwith,
One of your former students, one who has himself 'made the journey home,' pointed me to your blog. I congratulate you on your decision, and ask you not to be disheartened by the attacks that will be made upon you. Reading through your comments, I am so saddened to see our Protestant brothers and sisters finding your choice so abominable. I am further stunned at how WRONG and MISGUIDED are their understandings of the Catholic Church. This has not been an easy conversion for you, and it will be much more difficult, I am sure. I will be praying for you and your family as you go through this journey. I will be praying for all those who persecute you as well. May we all look forward to a day where we are all truly united in Christ's true Church. God bless! Angela

Welcome home!

ETS doctrinal statement: "The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs."

Curious wording. This leaves open (perhaps unintentionally) the possibility of spoken words (by a divinely inspired man) being 'the Word of God spoken.' Of course, if those words were subsequently written down, then there would be a problem. Perhaps divinely inspired spoken words lose their inspiration when written down.

Dr Beckwith:

Welcome Home! As a convert myself, I know how hard the road to the true Body of Christ is.

All I can offer are my encouragements and prayers for you and your family!

---"The biggest thing for me as a former RC is that you have gone back to a system that denies one becomes a child of God by faith alone. The Gospel of John plainly teaches this."---

The Gospel of John teaches "faith alone?" How come then, did Jesus point Nicodemos to baptism in John Chapter 3 when he asked Jesus how to be saved?

The gospel of John is so Catholic in theology (sacramental etc) it is almost unbelievable that one would make such a comment.

The words "faith alone" appear in the bible once...and it says, "we are not saved by faith alone." - Book of James (which incidentally is the book which Martin Luther called an "epistle of straw" and wanted to delete from the cannon.

Also, real quick, somebody said that the "Apocrypha" was "added on" at the council of Trent. Actually, the entire cannon was defined all at the same time. So...John, Romans, Malachi, Tobit and every other book were defined as cannon at the same time.

It has been interesting reading about you returning to the church (all over the blogosphere), I too returned to the Church late last year and it is an interesting journey.

You have my prayers and support.

Welcome home from another recent convert.

Our Lady the Ever-Virgin rejoices together with the honorable bodiless powers of Heaven at your return to the bosom of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

May she enfold you in the skirts of her intercessions, which are powerful.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

Galatians 5:1-6

When Paul wrote this he didn’t know that he was being prophetic or maybe he did. In the context of the above Passage Paul was speaking of Christians who were being “bewitched” by “Judaizers” or those from Jerusalem who were going out and telling the newly converted Gentile Christians that they need to be circumcised and follow the Jewish Law.

But this law was a law of dead works, or outward acts with no inward righteousness and this is what Paul was speaking of.

And as it says in Mathew 15:1-9

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

What Jesus was saying here was that over time the Jews had added traditions to the original law given to Moses at Mount Sinai, and made their traditions equal with the word of God and even de-emphasizing the commandments of God in favor of their traditions, thereby making the law of none affect. This is what the Catholic church has done.

So why anyone would want to throw away Christ to turn towards the “Traditions and commandments of Men” is unfathomable and sad indeed! In doing so Christ will profit you nothing and you have fallen from grace and hence salvation.


Welcome back to the family table!! I am a Biola University graduate and former evangelical missionary - now a 100% convinced, comitted, and theologically satisfied Catholic. I thank God every day that He gave me the grace to seek and then to find His Church, our REAL home. Thank you for your courageous and public testimony. May many others follow your lead.

Dr Beckwith:

I dont know personally. I dont what are the things inside your heart and mind. I dont know what are your problems in life. I dont judge you for your decision. Coz I am not a theologian like you.

But pls consider my this: You are quoting the church father's teaching. I do believe that they are more catholic not protestant. Coz they are influenced with man made philosophies. There commentaries are not biblical or not with the context of the bible.

I hope that you will come back again in the true faith. The faith of the apostles recorded in the bible. God bless

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

While I have never met you, I have read some of your work and actually just applied a Baylor University grad school (unfortunately, got denied). Anyway, I am an evangelical, but with marked ecumenical leanings. I am pursuing graduate studies in patristics and early church history, and plan on attending Catholic University of America this fall. I can certainly understand your decision, and sympathize with it to a large extent. Personally, at this point if I ever go anywhere, I'm leaning toward Eastern Orthodoxy. For me, I wonder about the dynamics of your decision within your marriage. I realize this is intensely personal, but my wife is not as keen on the idea of joining either Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. I see this as being a hurdle later on, if it ever comes to actual conversion. I am grateful that this decision was agreed upon with your wife and was a joint undertaking-what a blessing!

Like some of the other Protestants on this combox, I, too, long for a greater unity to sweep through Christendom, a real unity not based on glossing over differences, but based on common understanding and love. Each of the three main branches of the Christian tree has much to offer the others. I pray that you will take the best of evangelicalism with you, and turn and offer the best of Catholicism to us in return. God go with you on the road ahead!

Pax Christi,
Jesse

Can you possibly still be reading these? If so, God bless and keep you. As an evangelical who has for the last few years wrestled with the tug of Rome (see my recent blog) I couldn't be happier for you.

And again as an evangelical I know how difficult this must be. I had decided to attend Mass for the first time next weekend; perhaps your post is one more way that God is pulling me towards home. Know that your life already has and will continue to be used for his purposes.

Dr. Beckwith, welcome home. This is neither the time nor the place to debate but a time to congratulate you and your family as well as pray for you in your ongoing service of Christ and his body. The courage you have exhibited is a model for prospective Catholics and current believers alike. God Bless.

St. Augustine says:
In necessariis unitas,
In essentials unity,
In dubiis libertas,
In doubtful things liberty,
In omnibus autem caritas,
But in all things love.(2)

Welcome Home, Brother!

Dear Frank,

As a Church of Christ minister and friend I fully support your decision to become a big "C" Catholic Christian. I pray that your move into the Catholic Church will spark conversations about the nature of Christianity in the days after modernity.

Many people have attacked Frank Beckwith's decision to convert based on charges that the Catholic Church does not hold to the "true gospel" because its teaching office is grounded in "man-made institutions" and "traditions". The assumption in this argument is that Reformation principles themselves are somehow historically pure and exempt from man-made interpretations and tradition building. It is clear from a reading of history that the Reformation principles so often appealed to in such attacks are also built on man-made assumptions. Reformation is a tradition built by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and many others. Did the Roman Catholic Church need to be reformed? Sure it did. But let's not forget this reformation is a man-made tradition. Does not the existence of the idea of "the Reformation," with all of its main characters, historical dates, literature, and followers, prove its historical contingency?

However, historical contingency is not bad. Tradition and man-made institutions are not evil. They are also unavoidable because God likes to work through his creation to achieve its redemption (note male and female created in the image of God and then restored to God's likeness through the God-man Jesus Christ). Catholic Christians, Evangelical Christians, and Eastern Orthodox Christians, all stand on the Great Tradition that Dr. Beckwith mentioned. This Great Tradition assembled the Canon of Scripture, and the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. We stand on this broad and deep Tradition together as brothers and sisters in Christ. The idea that tradition is bad and the "institutions and opinions of men" are evil is more an idea produced by the Enlightenment than it is the Christian faith. The eminent church historian of our age, Jaroslav Pelikan explained this quite well in his Vindication of Tradition.

We must take Christ's prayer that "they may all be one" very seriously. The fragmentation of Protestantism into 20,000 or so denominations is hardly the unity we see in the Scriptures. At the same time there are planks in the Catholic church as well. But we must all admit that our criticism of each other is based on the beliefs and practices we have received from the Great Tradition. We affirm and disagree on the same ground that is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the LORD. Let's work together to build common ground as separated Protestant and Catholic brothers. Let's become, as Peter Kreeft has said, more Catholic and more Protestant at the same time, so as to draw all men to Christ! Yes, we are separated, but we are of the same family.

I pray that during this difficult time, God will reveal his plan for the unity of the church in the third millennium to all who reflect upon Dr. Beckwith's decision to become Catholic.

As a former Roman Catholic, I am astonished with your decision. I never did find the gospel message in the church of my upbringing. Apparently, you have had more insight than I did. You did the right thing in resigning your post at ETS. God bless.

This comment is a response to Danes Manosca's comment on May 7, 2007 12:50 PM.

Danes, a cursory reading of the Early Church Fathers shows that they were exemplary Biblical exegetes, filled with a deep devotion and love for the Bible. Reading them is like listening to your favorite Evangelical preacher, except for the fact that they are "Catholic" in their interpretation of Scripture.

Reminds me of when Thomas Howard rocked to Evangelical world when he converted some 20 years ago. Good for you Dr. Beckith, and welcome home.

Thebyronicman said:

A commenter above, I can't recall who, made reference to "The Protestant Church". Supposing I walked into any small town in this great world of ours and asked the question "Where can I find the Protestant Church"? Would 10 people give me the same answer?

I say:
your comments concerning the plethora of Protestant Churches displays not only arrogance but ignorance as well. I will show you how ridiculous your statement is:

God created man knowing that each would have a unique personality and not one of them would be the same, and that each one would perceive things around him or herself differently, was God therefore a fool for creating mankind? Why therefore didn’t he create each and every one of them as robots thinking exactly the same? The plethora of Protestant denominations does nothing to prove your point that because there is One Catholic Church it must therefore be the correct church!

Thebyronicman said:

Otherwise, it's also no small source of amusement to see folks trying to give Dr. Beckwith, doubtless the most learned and competent theologian/philosopher in this combox/post, anything resembling a theological/philosophical lecture.

I say:

Another arrogant statement, you assume that because Dr. Beckwith is a Theologian / philosopher then he must have reached the apex of “Wisdom” and hence he can no longer be given any more wisdom when in actuality no statement was ever truer than this: A Philosopher is never more satisfied than when he has turned even his own most cherished notions into complete ridiculousness by his own self doubt.

True Godly Wisdom and Discernment of Truth can only come from above. And the only way it is imparted from above to a completely depraved and fallen man is when man realizes his own complete depravity and relinquishes his complete will to God. When this has been done, God gives peace to a fallen mind and intellect and it can rest from trying to micro-dissect each and every thought in an attempt to know all things. It is part of our fallen nature to have an inability to know all things. Modern Seminary education exalts fallen intellect over obedience to God, the recognition that we can not know all things and hence a need to depend on God in faith. And in this furtherance of education of this sort pulls man further and further away from God and hence True Godly Wisdom and Discernment so in contradiction to your statement Dr. Beckwith has much to learn.

Somebody named "JOHN" said this, "In doing so Christ will profit you nothing and you have fallen from grace and hence salvation."

By doing so he claims greater authority than the Pope has ever claimed....

I found this thread from a sidebar link on timesandseasons.org.

This is very interesting news -- may your journey always be led by the Holy Ghost and may He “teach you all things” (Jn 14:26) and “guide you into all truth” (Jn 16:13).

Considering,

Scripture alone simply isn't sufficient. If it were, we wouldn't have the 30,000 denominations we have in North America (an actual figure, not an exaggeration). Even the Reformers conceded that tradition was important, and generally kept it unless they felt Scripture prohibited it. The "Bible alone" is a chimera that doesn't work. (Iraneus, 5/6 11:45am)

and

First, to all my non-Catholic brethren I have read several posts above that said something to the effect that "Scripture is the only sure foundation." Well, I have but one question: who speaks for the Protestant church with the AUTHENTIC interpretation?? If the Catholic Church is wrong then someone HAS to be right. (Matthew 5/6 3:19pm)

and

What, if anything, am I missing? And if the reply is, “You’re misinterpreting Paul,” my reply is “According to whom?” (Ipse 5/6 6:41pm)

I’m glad for the authoritative light and knowledge now available through the apostles and prophets in Christ’s restored Church. I pray that you eventually follow the Holy Ghost -- as I have -- to this blessing.

I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell. (2 Nephi 33:6)

God bless you in your journey!


I am a Catholic. Have been one for a long time. I have read the Bible (or have it read to me) daily for at least the past 30 years. The doctrine of sola scriptura, as defined by Protestants, makes no sense to me vis a vis their professed beliefs. They don't say so, but the implication is 'sola scripture' applies to all of scripture when I know they don't mean that.

John 6:35-59 is crystal clear in what it says, yet Protestants reject it. Our Lord speaks directly and unambiguously when He says, "I myself am the bread of life...; the bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." He says that half a dozen times in various forms. "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." There is no dispute about what He means unless you believe He intended to decieve those listening to Him.

They 'quarreled among themselves, saying,"How can he give us his flesh to eat?" He replied, "Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." and he goes on and says it again.

After that, many of his desciples broke away and would not remain with Him any longer.

If Jesus did not mean what He said *literally* why did he allow those desciples to leave him thinking he did? Sola Scriptura??? You can start any time.

Throughout the Gospels Peter is shown to be the leader of the Apostles. When Jesus asks a general question of them, it is always Peter who answers. He does not question all the Apostles about their love for Him, He questions Peter: "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." "Feed my lambs." Three times for that one. Why did He single Peter out and charge him alone with feeding His sheep?? Sola scripture??? You can start any time.

I know Protestants do a lot of explaining away on these and other scripture passages in an effort to convince themselves the words do not mean what they say. Yet they claim a fidelity, not merely to Scripture, but ONLY to Scripture. They can start any time.

"I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now. When (the Paraclete) comes, however, he will guide you to all truth."

That is the passage, read with those directed specifically to Peter, which gives rise to the Church's dogma regarding the infallibility of the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra. (For those Protestants who don't know, which I suspect is all of them, there have been exactly three ex cathedra statements of dogma in the past 200 years (if we include the statement on infallibility itself), perhaps longer.

"Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." is one of the statements to Peter. "I will give to you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven." Whatsoever you shall bind of earth will be bound in Heaven, etc.

These statements by Our Lord all point in one direction only, yet Protestants reject them -- reject Christ Himself -- as if He never said them.

Sola Scriptura or sola only those parts of scriptura which appeal to me and let me exclude those parts which don't???

Start any time.

Thebyronicman said:

A commenter above, I can't recall who, made reference to "The Protestant Church". Supposing I walked into any small town in this great world of ours and asked the question "Where can I find the Protestant Church"? Would 10 people give me the same answer?

I say:
your comments concerning the plethora of Protestant Churches displays not only arrogance but ignorance as well. I will show you how ridiculous your statement is:

God created man knowing that each would have a unique personality and not one of them would be the same, and that each one would perceive things around him or herself differently, was God therefore a fool for creating mankind? Why therefore didn’t he create each and every one of them as robots thinking exactly the same? The plethora of Protestant denominations does nothing to prove your point that because there is One Catholic Church it must therefore be the correct church!

Thebyronicman said:

Otherwise, it's also no small source of amusement to see folks trying to give Dr. Beckwith, doubtless the most learned and competent theologian/philosopher in this combox/post, anything resembling a theological/philosophical lecture.

I say:

Another arrogant statement, you assume that because Dr. Beckwith is a Theologian / philosopher then he must have reached the apex of “Wisdom” and hence he can no longer be given any more wisdom when in actuality no statement was ever truer than this: A Philosopher is never more satisfied than when he has turned even his own most cherished notions into complete ridiculousness by his own self doubt.

True Godly Wisdom and Discernment of Truth can only come from above. And the only way it is imparted from above to a completely depraved and fallen man is when man realizes his own complete depravity and relinquishes his complete will to God. When this has been done, God gives peace to a fallen mind and intellect and it can rest from trying to micro-dissect each and every thought in an attempt to know all things. It is part of our fallen nature to have an inability to know all things. Modern Seminary education exalts fallen intellect over obedience to God, the recognition that we can not know all things and hence a need to depend on God in faith. And in this furtherance of education of this sort pulls man further and further away from God and hence True Godly Wisdom and Discernment so in contradiction to your statement Dr. Beckwith has much to learn.


Congratulations Dr. Beckwith! and Welcome? I was baptised a Catholic 18 years ago and know what peace you must enjoy right now.

It is unfortunate that so many of those leaving comments seem to think that you are putting the early Church Fathers above the Gospel. You are, of course not doing that, but rather you have seen that since the earliest times the Church has been Catholic as it will always remain.

As John Henry Newman said, "To be deep into history is to cease to be a Protestant."

I am stunned and saddened as I read of your recent decision. Dr. Beckwith, as a student minister in the United Methodist Church, I have drawn from much of your writing on Ethics/Relativism in my efforts to call young people to a consistent worldview based upon Biblical revelation. I have to say I am angered that you suggest, repeatedly, that you have "returned to the Church." Many of the replies to your letter convey this idea, beginning with the first one: "I congratulate you on your return to the Church" and "Welcome home," etc. Were you NOT a member of the church prior to this recent decision of yours? Are not all who are trusting in the shed blood of the historical, Biblical Jesus members of the Church? Where do I go for an answer, the Bible or to Trent?

Dr. Beckwith, is Christ divided?

I have appreciated you as one who has spoken clearly and authoritatively on philosophy and ethics. Though I consider you a brother in Christ, you have lost my respect as I am keenly aware of the mental gymastics one must be involved in to be in agreement with RCC apologists, and to arrive at "The Roman Catholic Church is the one, true, Church that Jesus Christ founded."
Dr. Beckwith, you of all people should know that that is the claim of every Cult that ever was.

Sean Dollahon said:

Somebody named "JOHN" said this, "In doing so Christ will profit you nothing and you have fallen from grace and hence salvation."

By doing so he claims greater authority than the Pope has ever claimed....


I say:

Biblical Authority derives and is directly proportional to a person's ability to remain within Biblical Truth in their life and in their Doctrine. The office of the Pope long ago abdicated any Biblical Authority because it departed from Biblical Truth not only in how the Popes conducted their lives but in the Catholic doctrine they created. So in that respect yes I do have more authority than any Pope.

Wow, there are a lot of replies to this happening - I don't have the time to read them all. I haven't heard of Dr. Beckwith until just glancing at ewtn's news site and reading of his conversion. So, to Dr. Beckwith, I would just like to say congratulations: may the peace of the risen Christ during this Easter season remain with you in this time of change; may you know His loving embrace throughout your journey.
And, to the posts which are critical of his move: from his announcement it is apparent that Dr. Beckwith was expecting and concerned about this reaction and I simply ask you to pray for him and for the unity which Christ desires in His body.

I've read several of the first comments to this entry and then scrolled to the last one and have noticed something consistent: a negative reaction towards the Church Fathers. I have not studied the Church Fathers extensively and am by no means an expert in this subject, although I am more aware of their teachings through personal as well as philosophical and theological study. Simply put, my response is: remove the Church Fathers, remove the Church. As Dr. Beckwith noted, it is where we trace our roots back to. No Church Fathers -> no Trinity, many unrefuted heresies (which would have torn the Church apart), no canonical Scripture, and the list goes on. Like it or not, from any perspective, these people are the ones who gave us the basic tenets of Christianity which they received from the Apostles who in turn received from Christ the mission to go out to all nations. (Think of the image of the vine that Christ used - we are branches much farther down the line and are reliant on those branches which have preceded us.)

Specifically, it seems there is an idea that the Church Fathers were just pagans who were importing pagan philosophy into Christianity - nothing more [This point could use a lot of elaboration and clarification, but this is not the place for it]. I have to suggest that comments like "the Church Father's didn't know Scripture" is only showing ignorance of their teaching. Just a month ago, I presented a philosophy/theology synthesis in which I explored the human mind. From the theological perspective, besides the Church's teaching, I used the great Greek Father Gregory of Nyssa to help elaborate on a Catholic understanding of the human soul and, specifically, the mind. So, to anyone who would suggest that the Church Fathers didn't know Scripture, I suggest finding Gregory's work "On the Making of Man" (you can google or go to ccel.org to find this) and reading how deep his understanding of Scripture was - how he was able to use God's Light of Revelation to illumine the mysteries of the human person, mainly from a few verses in the Book of Genesis.

May God bless you all.

Dear Dr. Beckwith,
Thank you for this window into your search for the truth. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and though I am not a Catholic myself, I think your reasons for it are very sound. I hope you will find new treasures of guidance, support, and fellowship in the church of your youth, to salve the bruises of this difficult transition. God bless!

I rejoice whenever I see anyone enter into the True Faith, whether it's children receiving Holy Communion for the first time, an adult being baptized at the Easter Vigil Mass or Dr. and Mrs. Beckwith received into the Church at a modest church in Texas. Laetare!!!!


"Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself. In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted."

--Dei Verbum posted in a link by Fr. Kimel

The above is what the Catholic Church believes regarding scripture. Anyone have a problem with it?

The Church believes the entire canon is to be read as the Word of God. All of it, unchanged, without guile or subterfuge, without casting aside those parts we find hard to accept. We accept all of it or none of it can be accepted.

Fr. Kimel: May I suggest the reasons for your wanting Dr. Beckwith to close this combox may be the reasons he should keep it open. If I were in his place and read the vicious, hate-filled remarks directed his way and against the Church Jesus instituted on this earth by people who call themselves Christians, it would serve to confirm my decision.

1Ti 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

1Tim 4:2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1Ti 4:3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

1Ti 4:4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

1Ti 4:5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

1Ti 4:6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

After reading this entire comment page, I would like to add that Mr. Beckwith has not been attacked at all as some have assumed, but has been lovingly warned.

Dear Frank,

Grace and peace to you in Christ. While I cannot agree with your evaluation of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church versus those of the Protestant Reformation, especially on justification and the sacraments, I'm sure your decision followed mature and careful, sometimes surely even painful, consideration, and I pray that you will grow constantly closer to Christ through the study of His Word.

I find it poignant, however, that this news of your reversion to Roman Catholicism comes just a week and a few days after my return from participating in, and speaking for, a two-day conference at the Vatican sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The day following the conference I had free, so I wandered around Rome a good deal to see the historic sites. As I later reported to many friends, the architecture and art were of course impressive, but mostly I found the time spiritually very depressing. The present pope is exalted. Past popes are exalted. Mary is exalted. Other saints are exalted. Michael the archangel is exalted. Other angels are exalted. Relics of the saints are exalted. But one must really be looking carefully to find, in all the art and architecture, Christ exalted, and one must look even harder to find anything that makes it clear the special reason, in addition to His simply being God, why He should be exalted--namely, for His atoning death for our sins. My heart mourned as I watched the crowds--scores of thousands, at all the various historic sites around the city--of faithful Catholics lining up to see all the sites and buy the trinkets that in their superstition they clearly thought (as I could catch from bits of conversation) would enhance their spirituality and perhaps reduce their time in purgatory. I felt something of what Martin Luther must have felt when he visited Rome.

I hope that, having returned to the Roman Catholic Church, you will do all you can to deliver its people at least from the many popular errors that are so rampant in it, even if you don't think such things as Trent's teaching on justification and penance are wrong. (And, Frank, what will you think of all Trent's anathemas on your evangelical, Protestant friends for their belief in the doctrines that Trent condemns?)

You are quite right to say that since you can in good conscience affirm the ETS's doctrinal basis there is no conflict between your being a Roman Catholic and being a member of the ETS--or even its president. Yet you were right also to resign the presidency and from the executive board, out of sensitivity to what "evangelical" has meant historically for the Society. The tension between those is, I believe, a good pointer to the inadequacy of the ETS's doctrinal basis. Apparently "evangelical" means very, very little for the ETS.

Welcome HOME, Dr. Beckwith!
This past EAster was my 14th anniversary in The Church. I was 54 years a Calvinist Protestant who began in 1979 to study the REformation. After reading my way through volumes of Luther and Calvin and bios, etc, I could not in conscience remain a Protestant - I did not begin to look into Catholic beliefs and practices for over a decade but came into the Church within 3 years of taking up the study. I have never for one split second regretted my decision; I hope that you will be as "at peace" in the Church as I have been.

Again, WELCOME HOME to you and your wife!!

I have never heard of ETS or Dr. Beckwith, but I know it must take great courage to accept that you were wrong for so long, and to embrace the Church when you were such a high profile person. Dr. Beckwith, thank you for being a man of courage and integrity, and may God bless you in this new chapter of your life.

Welcome home.

Welcome into the family, Dr. Beckwith. Your sacrifices renew my faith. May the Lord watch and keep you.

>>Welcome back! I am a clergy convert myself.

Dr. Beckwith is not “clergy.” He has no congregation he has been set apart by the Holy Spirit to shepherd. For my own understanding of his error, this is key. Go back to the Erasmus/Luther debate, and the same distinction is pivotal. Erasmus is a scholar, Luther a shepherd.

Here is one more key distinction between Geneva and Rome. Church government done according to Scripture makes the session (elders board) of a particular church the court of original jurisdiction in disciplinary matters, whereas Rome, following her traditional hierarchical government, removes discipline from the hands of the shepherd of the flock, elevating it to professionals.

Yes, in Acts 15 we see Antioch appealing to Jerusalem. Similarly, the local session may appeal to the presbytery and the presbytery to the general assembly. But the doctrine of subsidiarity is foundational to Presbyterian ecclesiology whereas Roman Catholics seem to find it most useful only in non-ecclesiastical contexts. Why does this matter?

It matters because Roman Catholic bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and Rome engage in doctrinal controversy *at least* one step removed from the souls being devoured by particular wolves. By way of contrast, think of the Apostle Paul, shepherd to the Ephesian church and co-laborer with a very specific plurality of elders, warning those elders: “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:26-32).

Thus yesterday I found myself wondering what shepherd knew of Dr. Beckwith’s dalliances over the past months and years, and warned him day and night with tears?

Dear Dr. Beckwith and all those who've posted on this site,

Reading through the comments posted brought tears to my eyes, both of joy and of pain. I cordially invite all those who love Jesus Christ and are seeking Him in Truth to attend a Eucharistic Adoration at your local Catholic Church. Please just come and sit for an hour...and then let's repair our wounds!

With love, Maureen

I congratulate you on handling this situation with a sense of grace and dignity.

Several years ago, as an Evangelical Sunday School teacher, I use to ask my adult students, "do you believe what the Bible says?" Once I started honestly asking myself that question about scriptures Baptists tend to ignore, my journey towards Rome began.

May God bless you and your family on you return to the Church.

Jeff Pement wrote:

"Dr. Beckwith, is Christ divided?"

Unfortunately yes. The mystical body of Christ is broken. You can clearly see that by just reading this page. It shouldn't be (John 17).

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Beckwith,

Welcome home! It takes a great deal of courage and love for God to take such a step. You know that those who criticize do so in good faith, but sharp-tongued comments hurt anyway. Our Lord and the Apostles suffered worse; you're in good company. And in prayers for continued strength, love, and work for God. Best wishes on his Confirmation for your nephew too!

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

I am very happy for you, your family, the communion of saints and our blessed Triune God, all of who are well pleased. Congratulations and welcome home!

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Fredi D'Alessio

P.S. For Catholic Christians your return needs no explanation. Christians of other traditions may find the answers here, here and here .

Mr. Beckwith,

If you are looking for truth in antiquity and from the church fathers, it appears to me that you haven't gone back far enough. Have you considered Peter and Paul and James and Jude?

Steve Nutter

E. Calvin Beisner wrote above: "The present pope is exalted. Past popes are exalted. Mary is exalted. Other saints are exalted. Michael the archangel is exalted. Other angels are exalted. Relics of the saints are exalted. But one must really be looking carefully to find, in all the art and architecture, Christ exalted."

If it is true that those filled with God's divine life are recreated as members of the Mystical Body of Christ so much so that Jesus himself can say to Paul, "Why are you persecuting me?"... then why do you not see Christ exalted when HIS BODY is exalted?

If one of my wife's students (she is a teacher of small children) kept telling me all about how beautiful and wonderful she is, would it not be a terrible thing for me to say, "Stop talking about her! Look at me! Honor me!"

The Church, likewise, is the bride of Christ, and when her members are exalted, Christ is exalted.

Hi Anthony,

I could use the $500, surely. I've written on this in lengthy discussions on Molinism and predestination in general:

See the sections on Predestination on both my Salvation & Justification page:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/salvation-justification-faith-alone.html

and Calvin and Calvinism page:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/calvin-calvinism-index-page.html

I could direct you more specifically, but I don't want to clog up another blog with a bunch of my URL's. There is plenty of documentation of the differences in my 12-15 papers on this topic.

I have PayPal and some capacity for Visa and Mastercard transactions online, and would gladly accept a personal check. :-) :-)

Steve Nutter,

Come now - there really is no call to be a jerk about this...

I apologize for my father's silly comments. He's been huffin' airplane glue again.

Steve Nutter Jr.

Hi Cary,

You said: Volume upon volume has been written on the irreconcilible differences between Rome and Protestantism. What would one hope to come from this? More ECT documents? Joining hands for common causes moreso than is being done now? To be considered little more than a "Christian" denomination, such as Mormonism has attempted to peddle over the last several years? To understand that Rome is not apostate and has not been for thousands of years? What is this "understanding" that RC's are hoping to gain from a new church member?


I, for one, would like those non-Catholic Christians who misstate Catholic doctrine to stop doing so. It is hurtful when done unknowingly and hateful when done cognitively.

Dr. Beckwith,

Welcome Home.

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

Welcome back and a heart-felt thank you for being a beacon of light to other Evangelicals.

I just learned of your "re-version" - I too came back to the Church after 30 years in the desert.

I'm looking forward to learn more about you and your thoughts on all things Catholic.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

Con fides,

Mark


Dear Frank:

One of my students gave me your news this afternoon and pointed me to your website. I so appreciate your wrestling with all the ethical issues involved, as your blog recounts, though I wouldn't have expected any less, knowing you as I do. What an array of responses you've received, which doesn't surprise me either but still saddens me how folks can express their concern or disagreement with such vitriol. I've known enough folks over the years representing a huge diversity of experiences with Catholicism both inside and outside the church to have no doubt about your genuine hope to find an evangelical wing or parish or fellowship in which you can thrive, even while they may remain a minority within the worldwide Catholic communion. I hope you can do great things for the movement from within, though I don't underestimate the struggles you may have. I suspect, though, that it will be at least a little more courteous than all the incredible "crap" you had to put with from Baylor and certain Southern Baptists! You're still my friend with lots of admiration even if I don't anticipate following your pilgrimage.

Please don't close the combox, love the drama of so many hearts being revealed. Riveting.

I've been expecting someone big from Evangelical circles to become Catholic anytime now. I just didn't expect it to happen this fast.

I hope this brings out into the open what we as Christians have been neglecting for so long: to understand what it really means to be a follower of Jesus. Either God's grace is free or it isn't; either His forgiveness is sufficient or requires some other work. For far too long, we've been ignoring glaring differences between Christianity and the Roman church.

Christians died in the past because they held on so passionately to God's truth. In contrast, today, we've watered down our beliefs to accommodate everyone who claims to follow Jesus.

Beckwith is a man I admire greatly. He's one of the reasons why I do full-time pro-life work. But thankfully, he isn't God.

I hope that his story is wakeup call for Christians to truly understand what we believe and to hold fast to what is true. Truth, not an organization, or a self-referenced history, is what will keep our feet firmly planted.

Dearest Dr. Beckwith,

With great joy and admiration, I would like to say:

WELCOME HOME!

The Lord is great indeed.

Sincerely,

Kelly Hansen

Praised be Jesus Christ!
i will pray for you and your family, may His Grace continue to bear wonderful fruit in your life.
welcome home!
Pax et Bonum, E-J

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

Welcome home, or back as it may be in your case. I made my quiet journey from Southern Baptist about 10 years ago, and have not regretted it.

One of the saddest things about this whole comment thread is the misconceptions about the Catholic Church. It is one thing to have honest problems about Mary, etc. but to be against what is not taught is heart-breaking.

I long for the day (probably in heaven) when we will sit down at one table, break one bread and drink one cup of wine

Why not Eastern Orthodoxy?

I do not expect that you will post my comments, but I do hope that you will read them.

Your post made me ill. To think that someone would go back to the Whore of Revelation 17 and base his decision (according to your post) upon the tripe of the Church Infants (you call "fathers") who consistently contradict the APOSTLES and Jesus Christ. Such is a fulfillment of prophecy. A dog returns to his vomit.

However, it is fitting that the Evangelical Theological Society would find it's president fornicating with Rome. Your "society" has pushed the apostate Alexandrian Bible upon the evangelical church for decades. You truly have returned to your mother.

You are one of thousands who are deluded and living a lie as we approach the end of this present world. You will answer for this reproach upon the blood of Jesus Christ and His martyrs. You did not once mention the 20 million souls butchered by the Whore you now join yourself to.

This is not intended as an insult, but as a statement of fact. You have succeeded in making me sick this night. May God have mercy on your blind soul.

And rest assured. I will continue to fight your Whorish "mother church" and her soul damning false gospel until the Lord takes me home and the Beast arrives to assume his post in the city on seven hills.

Pastor Greg Miller
Bible Believers Fellowship PO Box 662
Worthington, OH 43085

Dr. Beckwith,
I took your Introduction to Logic and Contemporary Moral Philosophy classes at UNLV in the early 90s. I am greatly indebted to the philosophical grounding that you provided.

I am now an Episcopal Priest, and found this blog posted on titusonenine.

Finding the Patristics has changed my life as well.

While I believe that the Eastern Orthodox churches hold the great deposit of the faith (and are the logical home for those who discover the apostolic and catholic faith), I believe that those who discover the Fathers have the responsibility of bringing that richness into their own tradition.

My prayers are for the continued blessing upon you , your wife and your ministry in education.

Your Servant in Christ,
HowardRGiles+, Rector
St Mary the Virgin, Manteca, CA

Greg Miller:
You represent 1611 KJVonlyists quite well (as you website attests). Keep up the good work of reminding the rest of us why theology's last name is "logic."

Mr. Beckwith:
I do not know you but it is clear we know the same Jesus and we share the blessing of knowing Him in the Eucharist. I give glory to God for the humility and courage it took for you to return to the Catholic Church. My daughters and I will pray for you and your family at Mass on Tuesday morning.

Welcome Home!

Amy Simmons

The stunning ignorance, complete lack of charity and overweening pride exhibited by so many Protestant commentators here is shameful ... and quite illuminating. The most ignorant, least charitable, and most prideful is, of course, Greg Miller; but perhaps he's also just the most honest.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill to Neville Chamberlin, "Sir, just go."

It took awhile, but we finally got a "whore of Babylon" post. This Orthodox Christian is stunned at the ignorance of the history of Christ's Church as expressed by Pastor Greg Miller; a very brief exposure to a so-called "infant" such as St. Ignatius would be the cure, but it's so much easier to hate than to read. And speaking of martyrs, Pastor Greg, the Church the Romans persecuted was a catholic church, complete with bishops, veneration of the Holy Theotokos Mary and all the rest. Dr. Beckwith, congratulations on your journey. May the day speedily come when we can meet at the Chalice.

May God bless you as you continue your spiritual journey in Christ.

"So why anyone would want to throw away Christ to turn towards the “Traditions and commandments of Men” is unfathomable and sad indeed! In doing so Christ will profit you nothing and you have fallen from grace and hence salvation."

Wow, John's a valuable person to have around. He can tell that Dr. Beckwith has fallen from grace and is now among the damned just because he joined the Catholic Church? I say we have give him a booth or a storefront or SOMETHING. He could make a killing doing this kind of prognostication.

Phew. After a couple of recent posts, I think it really is true: the only thing keeping burnings at the stake or beheadings occurring today are laws preventing it. It is demonstrable that there are a good number of people who'd be a lot happier if we weren't having to pretend to get along and to call each other "Christians" when, in our heart of hearts, we don't really believe it's true.

Richard

St Michael the Arch Angel defend Dr Beckwith in battle and protect him from the wickednes and snares of the devil, may God rebuke him we humbly pray. And do thou, oh great prince of the Heveanly Hosts, by the power of God cast into hell satan and all evil spirits who wander the world for the ruin of souls.

E. Calvin Beisner.

I quote you:

so I wandered around Rome a good deal to see the historic sites. As I later reported to many friends, the architecture and art were of course impressive, but mostly I found the time spiritually very depressing. The present pope is exalted. Past popes are exalted. Mary is exalted. Other saints are exalted. Michael the archangel is exalted. Other angels are exalted. Relics of the saints are exalted. But one must really be looking carefully to find, in all the art and architecture, Christ exalted, and one must look even harder to find anything that makes it clear the special reason, in addition to His simply being God, why He should be exalted--namely, for His atoning death for our sins.

Calvin Beisner. You saw what you wanted to see. I am well familiar with Rome. And, if there is anything more prominent in Rome or any other Catholic place, it is the image of our Lord crucified. Perhaps somewhere in your twisted thinking this somehow doesnt represent Christ's atonement. In case this is true, let me just tell you a little secret. The crucifix REPRESENTS CHRIST'S ATONEMENT. Hello?

And your quips about superstition. You only betray yourself as uneducated and illinformed on things Catholic. You would not know a superstition from a devotion.

But, while we are on the subject of superstition, there are a few new Evangelical superstition I'd like to point out. Prayer Seed=Check sent to a minister that will magically come back to the person many fold. That lie is far worse than the selling of indulgences because it places people's hope not in Christ Kingdom but in the material reality of this world. Second, the prayer cloth. Hocked by Evangelical swindlers as a guarantee of answered prayer--of course, for a small fee.

Before you criticise what you clearly know nothing about, how about you take care of the disorder in your own house.

Dr. Beckwith,

I owe you a debt of gratitude for "Politically Correct Death" which I devoured when I was eighteen and looking for deeper answers about what was wrong with the pro-choice position. The basic apologetics on this question was good, but I wanted something that went into the philosophy behind some of the arguments. I was particularly impressed by your commentary on the Case of the Parasitic Violinist, surely one of the odder but rather emotional pro-choice arguments.

Anyway, I assumed then you were Catholic because your name was "Francis". :-) Yes, I know this is the wrong assumption to make with a lot of Franks, but I was only eighteen!

Welcome back to the Church. And while I say that, it seems that this particular phrase wounds some Evangelicals. So I thought about it and realized that by the word "Church" we mean something a bit different. "The Church" means the entire Christian body to them, so it sounds like we're saying "Welcome to the saved. And by the way, you other guys are outside of that category."

Now, that use of the word Church is justified, since all Christians are ultimately part of Christ's church, but it also has to be remembered that when we Catholics say "the Church" in this conversation we are talking about the Roman Catholic church, an institution with hiearchy, sacraments etc.

In a very objective sense, Dr. Beckwith left the Catholic Church, and is now returning to it, hence our greetings of "Welcome back to the Church." which don't mean at all "Welcome to the saved."

I thank God for an answer to prayer. While I know through baptism (inspired by faith) many evangelicals are outstanding brothers and sisters in Christ, who i believe will receive their just reward, I came into Eastern rite catholicism several years ago through a process somewhat similar to Dr. Beckwith, having grown up Evangelical Wesleyan. (I am sure that there there are those who beleive this only confirms the "softness" of the Wesleyan tradition, but this trajectory is of course by no means limited to Wesleyans. (I am happy to say, incidentally, that a recent gathering of the Wesleayn Philosophical Society was dedicated to Themes in Catholic and Wesleyan Thought). What convinced me to explore deeply both Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicsm was the overwhelming Biblical, historical, and conceptual support for the doctrine of Apostolic succession, along with real presence in the Eucharist.

I continue to remain close to many Evangelicals because I value deeply their fire for the Lord, and I have a great time around them--even those sincerely concerned about what I believe. i know such experiences will be even greater (both positively and negatively) for Dr. Beckwith. I pray that he will continue to feel the peace of the Holy Spirit, as do those who question this decision.

Dr. Beckwith, thanks for all you have done, and thank the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for all you (and those who support and question you) will continue to do. In Christ, Eric Manchester

Richard - keen, sobering insight about what keeps us from killing each other for the "love of the gospel." Maybe the hard-core church-state separationists have a point after all.
It seems reasonable to me - maybe I'm wrong - that somewhere between a fornicating whore of Babylon and the one and only true Church of God lies the actual truth. I was a Catholic who became a Protestant because I never heard the gospel in the RCC in 22 years (maybe I was deaf to it). But when the evangelical churches I later attended - some well-known, high profile ones - consistently failed to provide answers for the apologetics issues that were a major stumbling block to me, by the grace of God I found a rational foundation for my faith, ironically, by way of Catholic (thomistic) philosophy. My journey has led me to the point where I don't find the condemnation on the Protestant side nor the congratulistic triumphalism on the Catholic side to be especially compelling - again, maybe it's just me. I am grateful to those on both sides of this historically-divisive matter who have tempered their convictions one way or another with grace, humility, and love. It's encouraging to see the possibility that an emotionally-charged debate such as this can be conducted by Christians in a way that at least remotely resembles the exhorations of the Book we claim to believe. I guess we can all keep that up as long as the laws still prevent us from taking up arms instead. God help us. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

My perception is that there is a certain level of agreement between Catholics and Protestants on repentance in that true faith will manifest itself in ongoing repentance.

There are key differences though as I see them: Protestants see repentance as providing ongoing evidence of the fact that our faith is genuine. Catholics see repentance as contributing to our ongoing justification. Also, Protestants would see the righteousness of Christ, which we receive in faith, as the sole ground of justification (Philippians 3:9). Catholics would see Christ righteousness together with our righteousness contributing to our justification.

As for the writings of the Church Fathers, Protestant theologians could appeal to quotes such as this one from Augustine in On the Spirit and the Letter: "Now, having duly considered and weighed all these circumstances and testimonies, we conclude that a man is not justified by the precepts of a holy life, but by faith in Jesus Christ,--in a word, not by the law of works, but by the law of faith; not by the letter, but by the spirit; not by the merits of deeds, but by free grace." (CHAP. 22.--NO MAN JUSTIFIED BY WORKS) Catholics no doubt could cite quotes within the writings of the Church Fathers which favor the Catholic understanding of justification. Point being: The Church Fathers can be in conflict with each other, but Scripture can not be in conflict with Scripture, which is why Scripture must be the final authority for all doctrine.

God Bless

Dear Dr. Beckwith:
I am also one who only today discovered who you are and your conversion.

First, God bless you greatly for having returned to the Catholic Church. I am a cradle Catholic who 25 years ago was mightily attracted to Protestant-evangelical way of living and thinking.

And then I discovered the FULLNESS of truth found in the Catholic Church. I began to actually study what the Church teaches. As the late Bishop Sheen said, "There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing."

For those of you who have a strong aversion to the Catholic Church, I challenge you to actually study the Church through its own documents--not what you think it teaches; not what non-Catholics say it teaches; not what Catholic dissidents say it teaches.

There is no excuse, with the incredible availability of the internet, to remain ignorant of ACTUAL Catholic doctrine. Read it, study it, analyze it.

Then ask yourself: why has a Church who has been so reviled, persecuted, driven underground and out of town survived for 2000 years? If it is the devil's spawn, why do men of integrity like Dr. Beckwith come home to Rome ... still?

[BTW I am reading a biography of the great Catholic convert from Anglicanism, John Henry Newman. The ferocity of some of the postings here don't hold a candle to what Venerable Newman suffered before, during and after his conversion. We ask for his intercession for all separated brethern to come to the truth, as he did.]

Dear Professor Beckwith, I am very disappointed in you that you have abandoned the Evangelical Christian faith for the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church denies justification by grace through faith in Christ alone and teaches many, many unbiblical things and my prayer is that you will return back to Biblical Christianity. Please do not attempt to convert your Evangelical students to Roman Catholicism. Please show some integrity.

Anglicanum said:

Wow, John's a valuable person to have around. He can tell that Dr. Beckwith has fallen from grace and
Is now among the damned just because he joined the Catholic Church? I say we have give him a booth or a storefront or SOMETHING. He could make a killing doing this kind of prognostication.

I say:

It is truly sad that those who hold to the Reformed Faith, who hold to specific Doctrine, are now being painted as haters and persecutors. This type of attack is the ideology of Post-Modernism: Ideology without boundaries, an ideology that values acceptance and unity above Truth.

I have read the post modern prognostications on this thread and they are diametrically opposed to all that Paul taught in his Letters.

I do not wish Dr Beckwith any ill will. But he needs to know that True Faith can only be maintained by a doctrine that is based in Truth, And once again no matter the number of comments in defense of Catholicism, it is not based in Biblical Truth, it is based on the Traditions of Men which make Biblical Truth of none affect and when someone returns to this they have fallen from Grace and the crucifixion of Christ cannot profit them anymore, not my words but Paul’s.

And just because those who defend Catholicism wish to use the tactics of Post Modernism to redefine the belief that Truth is specific and exclusive and needs to be defended to mean being Judgmental and Negative. Because they know the appearance of negativity resonates with unlearned and unstudied post modern audiences proves nothing but only shows the weakness of their position. Post Modern audiences have been brainwashed to turn off listening if they think someone is claiming to stand on and know specific Truth.

I would also like to point out that THE Church whose history is littered with the blood of millions through persecution is the Catholic Church and not the Reformed Church. If any Church has completely violated everything that Christ and the Apostles taught it is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Churches history is built upon the worst of human nature: the desire for Power, Wealth, and Influence, and its bishops and Popes would stop at nothing to achieve this. These aspects are in direct contradiction to Christ’s and the Apostles teachings.

That anyone could after once escaping Catholicism return to it is horrendous. I have no issue with the negativity from the Catholic Defenders, after all Truth is never determined by majority opinion.

The greatest mistake that Dr. Beckwith made was relying on the writings of MEN removed by at least a generation from Christ to make his decision to return to captivity, instead of relying on God for the decision. It is well known that even in Paul’s day heresies were running rife. Is it so hard to understand that men at least a generation removed from Christ could have a certain amount of error in their writings, and that others would add more leaven to this? This is the reason we have a Canon of Scripture, this is the reason certain letters were not included in the original Canon. As it was rightly judged that those who knew Jesus directly or who were involved directly with the apostles would have the most accurate of accounts. Any attempt to add to this has to be considered suspect in order to preserve the original context. This is a logical and wise decision to make and is done when anyone wants to preserve an original account of any event in history, can anyone deny this?

Dr. Beckwith said he prayed and it was “confirmed” by his nephew phoning him and asking him to be his sponsor when he received the sacrament of Confirmation. With all do respect since when is a word from the Lord confirmed in the mouth of one person, especially on such an important fundamental decision? God confirms his word via more than one witness, so the witness is true. Gideon did not accept one sign from God but requested multiple signs to ensure the word was from God. And God made the signs unmistakable.

Or maybe I am kidding myself as most of this thread except for the one’s strongly defending the Evangelical Faith seem to take the Post Modernist line as I stated above of “What’s the Problem so he wants to change Traditions” but again in closing this clearly shows how true God’s Word is (The Bible) As it is a testament of a people who had trod this well worn path before and clearly shows the end result of their “Tradition” and “Relativism”

Most everything in this universe falls victim to the laws of entropy and Protestantism is no exception. Only the omnipotent and ordained will of God can reverse the process and drive the imperfect back towards the perfect. Catholicism has its origins in the Heart of Christ and the Rock of Peter and has maintained the organic unity intended by the Creator since the great Pentecost. Experience confirms that all social structures eventually disintegrate into factions, confusion and competition, but the one Church of Christ has stood united in faith, hope and love. Welcome back to the holy and blameless Bride of Christ that has not fallen victim to the laws of entropy.

Maybe someone can start a forum to continue these discussions? ;)

Greg Watson:

1 Timothy 3:15 does not agree with "Scripture must be the final authority for all doctrine." It reads: "if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark [/foundation] of truth." That is not to mention 2 Peter 1:20: "First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God," which becomes a problem if one sees Scripture as the final authority and thereby becomes the arbiter of what Scripture is really saying.

God's love and good night!

Welcome home!

I'll be praying for you and your wife.

God bless!

Dr. Beckwith,

What were the "more sophisticated works on justification by Catholic authors" that you read? I would like to read them too!

Welcome home, brother.

Pax Christi,
Nicholas Hardesty, M.Ed

Whoa man. After reading some of this stuff I'm yearning for some good old fashioned abstract, disinterested, heady, controversial yet silly philosophy talk around here again.

Welcome home! I am sure you will prove to be a great blessing to the Church and will have wonderful insights to contribute to catholic theology and apologetics!
God Bless you and your family,
Christine

Welcome home. Now you can more fully experience Jesus as you become part of his church.

God Bless!

Roaming Catholic said:

Most everything in this universe falls victim to the laws of entropy and Protestantism is no exception. Only the omnipotent and ordained will of God can reverse the process and drive the imperfect back towards the perfect. Catholicism has its origins in the Heart of Christ and the Rock of Peter and has maintained the organic unity intended by the Creator since the great Pentecost. Experience confirms that all social structures eventually disintegrate into factions, confusion and competition, but the one Church of Christ has stood united in faith, hope and love. Welcome back to the holy and blameless Bride of Christ that has not fallen victim to the laws of entropy.

I say:

Your statement is based on your opinion and not the infallible word of God I hope you can at least admit that.

Additionally you are trying to be clever and use a shallow argument to say that a plurality of Protestant denominations as opposed to a single Catholic Church proves there is greater entropy in the Protestant Churches. When the real measure of entropy should be how much the one single Catholic Denomination’s Doctrine has diverged from the explicit Canon of Scripture as opposed to how much each Protestant Denomination's Doctrine has diverged from the explicit Canon of Scripture.

In addition the plurality of Protestant Denominations more closely resembles how Christ and the Apostles believed how conflict over matters of Doctrine of faith should be handled. They should be handled peacefully and the opposing groups should allow the other to separate and practice their own faith with out any group attempting to impose their doctrine by force on another group. This is in fact how the Catholic Church has maintained a facade of Unity. It has used the most heinous and diabolical methods to crush any dissenting opinion. This is how a Church maintains itself as the "blameless Bride of Christ" or a link to the Heart of Christ and the Rock of Peter?. The Heart of Christ was never to use violence to impose his will. The creator of all allowed those who he created to scourge him, whip him, and crucify him. He did not do this so his "Bride" could turn around and persecute others and commit acts to maintain their position that were more heinous than the Romans could have ever conceived to inflict upon Jesus Christ.

Your words are an abject insult to what Jesus taught his disciples to do.

The Rock that Jesus based his Church on was not Peter, It was upon the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, and the fact that all who believed on Jesus would be saved. This Rock, this Revelation could never rest upon a fallen man. It rests upon who gave it and who is infallible: Jesus Christ!

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Beckwith,

The Shepherd rejoices and we little RC lambs do too. Welcome home.

Come Protestant brothers and sisters, we need you at the Eucharistic table. Your place is set.

Dr. Beckwith, may I greet you with every best wish on your journey. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Like someone before me, I want to thank you for keeping the comments open here. I teach the history of Christianity and biblical studies at the community college level in Northern Virginia. In these comments I find a microcosm of all the theologies of my students. Some of my students come to class with a touch of the stridency I've noticed in some of these posts, but because the Roman Catholic is seated next to the Southern Baptist who is seated next to the Presbyterian (and sometimes next to the Muslim) we have the opportunity to learn not only from the textbook but from each other. It's the most gratifying part of my job.

You are truly a teacher at heart, to be able to share with the wider world what I know is deeply personal and based on much prayer, thought, and reflection.

Kevin:

Scripture is the final authority for doctrine in the sense that nothing which is in direct conflict with Scripture or would nullify a portion of Scripture can be embraced as correct doctrine, because "Scripture cannot be broken." (John 10:35) The Church Fathers can be read as commentators on what Scripture says, but their writings cannot be considered as being of equal authority with Scripture itself. The Medieval philosopher Peter Abelard illustrated the difference between the authority of Scripture vs. that of the Church Fathers in Sic et Non:

    Doubtless the fathers might err; even Peter, the prince of the apostles, fell into error: what wonder that the saints do not always show themselves inspired? The fathers did not themselves believe that they, or their companions, were always right. Augustine found himself mistaken in some cases and did not hesitate to retract his errors. He warns his admirers not to look upon his letters as they would upon the Scriptures, but to accept only those things which, upon examination, they find to be true.

    All writings belonging to this class are to be read with full freedom to criticize, and with no obligation to accept unquestioningly; otherwise they way would be blocked to all discussion, and posterity be deprived of the excellent intellectual exercise of debating difficult questions of language and presentation. But an explicit exception must be made in the case of the Old and New Testaments. In the Scriptures, when anything strikes us as absurd, we may not say that the writer erred, but that the scribe made a blunder in copying the manuscripts, or that there is an error in interpretation, or that the passage is not understood. The fathers make a very careful distinction between the Scriptures and later works. They advocate a discriminating, not to say suspicious, use of the writings of their own contemporaries.

See http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1120abelard.html

God Bless

Greg, my angry brother

From your comment I could only say that you are full of hate. It really hacked me off the first read. On second read, I came back to it and found it a tad funny. Third time, pure smpathy and sadness. It sounds like you are ready to start your church bombing. I am sorry you were born in the wrong generation where the KKK lynch mobs would have welcomed comments like yours with welcome arms but you are not, depending on your area code and hopefully, you aren't that kind of tyrant to the bone.

You sit in the judgment seat and honestly, as a Protestant myself, your post made me horribly sad and sick.

I have been pastor; a pastor's son, actually, I have been in the ministry in one way or another my whole life. The hatred in your comment is closer to the spirit of that beast you speak of, than any Catholic Church I have attended with friends or family. The Catholics I have known and know have only been wonderful loving Christians.

From your post I would surmise that you are a sad, angry man. But maybe we caught you on a bad night after some bad KFC. Please, please, for the love of yourself, your congregants, your family, and an unbelieving world that eats up comments like yours with delight because of their overdramatic ridiculousness, let go of the hate.. Are you seriously that afraid of the big bad Catholics? Drink some warm milk, eat a cookie.

Seriously, let go of the hate. If you disagree, then you disagree. No one here will ever change your heart I am sure, but hopefully someday you will, through grace, acquire some of the Lord’s gentleness. Only God can judge a man’s eternity. And all that business you just typed sounds like you sure like the way the throne feels underneath your butt.

We have all been whores and beggars friend. If you consider yourself better, then... geeze, … where to start. Maybe start with the basic teachings of Jesus... you know, the whole "Love your neighbor as yourself." or "Judge not lest thy be judged" commandments would be a good place to start. Followed by a good does of Paul. Oh I don’t know maybe “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal...”

But you probably know those being a Pastor and all…

John, your comment is so full of contradictions it is silly. The protestant reformation was totally bloody. For cryin' out loud go rent the movie. Maybe read up on some of those Salem witch trials. Or what about all the civil rights stuff. Slavery? You think the slave owners were Catholic. The majority, Nope. Sorry brother. The only thing the Catholic Church has on Protestants with sin is 1500 years. We'll catch up I'm sure though.

Secondly, you say: "Your statement is based on your opinion and not the infallible word of God I hope you can at least admit that." And I hope you can too buddy. Cause by every statement you make it becomes clearer that you fancy yourself and YOUR INTERPRETATION as infallible. Do you really think that all of your theology is based upon YOUR INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURE? If it isn't then, well, don't you think you might be, I don't know, listening to the voice of Protestant tradition? Traditions established by Calvin, Luther, Zwingli? Just how many doctrines did you come to know and understand on your own hmmm?

Third, when you say: "They should be handled peacefully and the opposing groups should allow the other to separate and practice their own faith with out any group attempting to impose their doctrine by force on another group." Aren’t you just spitting in your own face and totally contradicting yourself with this comment by being critical of this man's decision to indeed "practice his own faith without imposing your doctrine?" And did he not bow out peacefully? Who is the peacemaker here?

You are passionate, but you do not convince.

Once again, a fellow protestant steps to the table with a dish of plastic fruit seasoned with hate.

Yes, I am a protestant. And I have ZERO problems with what this man has done. Pure integrity and Christian humility in my opinion.

Dear Dr. Beckwith--

Welcome home! As a lifelong evangelical myself, I got here just less than a month before you. I've been fairly private about my journey across the Tiber, so I can only imagine how difficult this has been for you, who are now deprived of having that luxury.

I am a huge fan of the radio show/podcast "Stand to Reason" - which is where I heard the wonderful news (though they were not overjoyed, though kindly deferential toward you).

I feel for our Protestant brothers and sisters -- imagine OUR pain if a Marcus Grodi or Steve Ray left the Church?

I also never, in a million years, thought I would ever be a Catholic. I associated the Church with non-thinking authoritarianism. The most dangerous thing in the world is to really explore the world of the Bible and history while laying aside, maybe just for a moment, Protestant lenses. Good Christians may disagree, but there truly are good reasons why many of us new Catholics have come to the conclusions that we have.

Oh, I can't believe I'm going to reply to this...

John, I'm not sure of your credentials, but I must preface this reply with the note that your response @ 9:53 PM on 5-7 is filled with many errors.

Firstly, your post-modern argument seems extremely out of place in the same context as Catholic Christians (especially those who believe and practice what the Church teaches. If there is anything I can assure you of, it's that the Church's teaching isn't relativistic; and the fact that you would equate the Catholic Church with relativism means one of a few things: 1) you don't know much about actual Catholicism, 2) you don't know much about relativism. I mean, really, for someone to be so ardently opposed to Catholicism, I would expect you to know something about it, just as anyone would expect the same of anyone else (pick your field of study). To repeat, if there is any one position that is staunchly opposed to relativism, it is that of the Catholic Church (which should even be obvious by keeping up with some form of media).

"But he needs to know that True Faith can only be maintained by a doctrine that is based in Truth,"

To which I reply: who is the formulator of the doctrine? It doesn't just drop out of the sky. Even the Bible was written (through God) by men (cf my post @ 9:56PM on 5-7).

"And once again no matter the number of comments in defense of Catholicism, it is not based in Biblical Truth,"

Well, that's a wide-sweeping brush for two-thousand years of history; especially considering the plethora of Church documents which can be easily found online (just look at the Catechism - it's ever so beautifully immersed in Scripture). I think I'll need to say: "prove it!"

"And just because those who defend Catholicism wish to use the tactics of Post Modernism to redefine the belief that Truth is specific and exclusive and needs to be defended to mean being Judgmental and Negative. "

I think you should substantiate your argument; again, I believe your argument about relativism is way off base...

"Because they know the appearance of negativity resonates with unlearned and unstudied post modern audiences proves nothing but only shows the weakness of their position."

... not to mention, assumptive. Do you really know what these people are intending to convey when they write their notes of congratulation and, pardon them, repulse when they are being insulted?

"Post Modern audiences have been brainwashed to turn off listening if they think someone is claiming to stand on and know specific Truth."

Are you exempt from the culture that we live in? Even the greatest of minds have been unable to separate themselves from that. A flower grows in a particular garden and is influenced by the environment just as well as anything else in it. Just look at how art has changed over the centuries (from majority realism at one end to majority individual expression of emotions at the other).

"I would also like to point out that THE Church whose history is littered with the blood of millions through persecution is the Catholic Church and not the Reformed Church."

Also, I think you should substantiate that claim - if you are referring to Crusades, Inquisition, Reformation, etc, I suggest that you check other sources of history than embittered, (forgive the cliche) white Anglo-Saxon Protestants of the 19th and 20th centuries. It's not uncommon to hear that the Catholic Church is responsible for the deaths of more people than were in the country at the time.

"The Catholic Churches history is built upon the worst of human nature: the desire for Power, Wealth, and Influence, and its bishops and Popes would stop at nothing to achieve this. These aspects are in direct contradiction to Christ’s and the Apostles teachings."

Another wide brush (I hope to point out a pattern here). It's unfortunate that you can condemn billions of people to hell with no second thought. Do you realize that you are essentially saying that everyone who has belonged to the Catholic Church is evil? Again, I do not think that this is an argument that someone who knows about the Catholic Church would rely on.

In response to the two previous quotes: are you trying to say that members of the post-Reformation Church are guilt free? Has there never been a Protestant sinner, especially one that has been in power in one of the post-Reformation churches? I think you overlook an important fact: God works with fallen human creatures (read: nature), be they Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, or atheist. Christ never said that the Church would be without sin, rather, He said exactly the opposite: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15).

"The greatest mistake that Dr. Beckwith made was relying on the writings of MEN removed by at least a generation from Christ to make his decision to return to captivity, instead of relying on God for the decision."

When did the Reformation happen again? Weren't they men? And, what makes those people of the Reformation so much more trustworthy than those who were disciples of Christ and His Apostles?

"Is it so hard to understand that men at least a generation removed from Christ could have a certain amount of error in their writings, and that others would add more leaven to this?"

What about, say, 1500 years after Christ? It seems that the image is a bit blurrier.

"This is the reason we have a Canon of Scripture, this is the reason certain letters were not included in the original Canon. As it was rightly judged that those who knew Jesus directly or who were involved directly with the apostles would have the most accurate of accounts."

Who was it, again, that "canonized" Scripture? You have again affirmed the point that it would be much more trustworthy to seek the teachings of the Fathers than the Reformers.

"Dr. Beckwith said he prayed and it was “confirmed” by his nephew phoning him and asking him to be his sponsor when he received the sacrament of Confirmation. With all do respect since when is a word from the Lord confirmed in the mouth of one person, especially on such an important fundamental decision?"

In a word, one of the most important events in Christianity: the Annunciation. (Gabriel appears, reveals to Mary God's plan, she obediently replies "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.")

So, can God not work through Dr. Beckwith's nephew? And, I don't suspect that it is for you to "discern" (cf your blog) what God's voice is for him. He has a relationship with God that is independent of your input and seems to be aware of where he should be going according to God's will (I believe he gave a pretty thorough and "right-reasoned" explanation above).

Again, I would caution you on your equation of Catholicism with relativism. Even a brief following of Pope Benedict's work so far refutes that claim. This equation only shows to me a lack of knowledge of Catholicism and I encourage you to truly study what the Church teaches and not what is convenient to label Her with. The sources are easily available.

To conclude, I would like to point out something to you which I picked up in your writings:
"Post Modern audiences have been brainwashed to turn off listening if they think someone is claiming to stand on and know specific Truth."
In my study of philosophy, I have learned that throughout history, particularly post-Modern/Descartes, people tend to react in extreme positions, and ironically, assume the problems of the person that they are attacking (e.g. Kant in response to Hume assumed Hume's faulty theory of natures, etc). My last word will be one of alert to you that the quoted sentence above appears to be an example of such a situation. You are claiming that those who are claiming that the Catholic Church is the One Church are relativistic and deaf, all the while being deaf (by brainwashing) to their call that there is definite Truth.

Again, we are all influenced by our culture (the flower grew somewhere, didn't it?), and, especially the philosophical framework that shapes our culture; it is in being aware of this reality that we are more able to do our job in fighting against the relativistic tendencies.

May God be with you on your journey.

Good night, for sure this time!

Greg Watson:

After re-reading your original post, I must admit that I misread it. I'm pretty tired right now to discover what I was responding to, but it appears I thought that you were holding up Scripture as the only source of authority. Possibly because of "Scripture can't be in conflict with Scripture," (in which, I would agree if altered to "interpretation of Scripture can't...") but, again, I'm tired.

My apologies.

And, hopefully now, good night ;).

Peace be with you! I will pray for you and your wife, and I hope that you pray for me, a sister Catholic, too.

God bless you!

Dear Dr. Beckwith,

First off: thank you for coming home. We need you!

I'm a convert to the Catholic faith, and I went through many of the same reactions (both good and bad) that you're experiencing here. I know this journey can be an amazing demonstration of the term "bittersweet", to put it mildly!!!

After 13 years as a Catholic, I still get flack from some Protestant folks, but in that regard I'm reminded of the words of our Blessed Lord: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".

God bless you and your family, and remember...there is much rejoicing going on in Heaven over you and your wife.

God is with you, and he always will be.

Dominus Vobiscum!

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff" --Unam Sanctum

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" Galatians 1:6-9

I pray you will reconsider and be restored.

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