My Resignation from the Evangelical Theological Society
As many of you know, on Saturday May 5, 2007, I resigned as president of the Evangelical Theological Society seven days after being received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church (see here). I have now decided to take the further step and resign as a member of ETS, an organization to which I have belonged as either a student or full member since 1984. Between 1986 and 2001 I published five articles in the ETS academic periodical, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. So, it is with deep regret that about an hour ago I tendered my resignation as a member of ETS.
Although I firmly believe that I can sign the ETS doctrinal statement in good conscience, my high-profile presence in ETS will likely result in the sort of public conflict that occurred during the debate over the openness view of God and the attempt on the part of some members to oust believers in that view. Because, as I noted in my prior posting on this matter, that I deeply desire a public conversation among Christians about the relationship between Evangelicalism and the Great Tradition, a public debate about my membership status, with all the rancor and stress that typically goes with such disputes, would preempt and poison that important conversation. For this reason, I am resigning as a member of ETS.
I want both my Catholic and Protestant brothers and sisters to clearly understand that I am doing this on my own accord, after prayerfuly considering the greater good of the Body of Christ. I have spoken with some members of the ETS executive committee and they have been as gracious and cordial as one would expect from a true follower of Christ. They agreed that the sort of conversation I envision will and must take place with ETS intimately involved. I was told, by two former presidents, that I would be welcomed as a guest to participate in such conversations, which is fairly typical of ETS meetings, which include many guest speakers some of whom are Catholic.
My resignation from ETS is inspired by the prayer of our Lord: "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:11b - NIV)