Saints We Love

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Francis J Beckwith's Testimony

Francis J. Beckwith's Testimony

Francis J. Beckwith, the ex-president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an association of nearly 5,000 Protestant theologians, resigned in 2007 to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church.

Francis Beckwith is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A. in Philosophy), Simon Greenleaf School of Law, Anaheim (MA in apologetics), Fordham University (Ph.D. and M.A. in philosophy) and the Washington University School of Law, St. Louis (Master of Juridical Studies).

He was raised as a Catholic in Las Vegas and was “born again” as an evangelical during his teens, at the height of the countercultural “Jesus movement” in the 1970s.

As a result of his return to the Catholic Church, Francis Beckwith said in a telephone interview that he had expected some repercussions in academic circles but was stunned by the public response. He said strangers have called him at home to berate him, and that his Internet server was overwhelmed by 2,000 e-mails a day to his personal Web site, which in the past seldom generated more than 90 a day.

He said that for many years he agreed with the criticisms of the Catholic Church made by Martin Luther and other leaders of the 16th-century Reformation, who emphasized the authority of the Bible alone — rather than the pronouncements of church leaders — and who argued that justification resulted from the grace of God, not from good deeds.

But his thinking began to change, he said, as he read more deeply into Catholic theology, including works by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. After studying Ratzinger’s book “Truth and Tolerance”.

“I do agree with Protestants that there is no good I can do, no work I can perform, that would justify me,” Beckwith said. “But there are many places in scripture that say there’s an obligation Christians have to take on the character of Christ, and that contributes to their justification. The Catholic solution is: I am required to take on the character of Christ, but it is not my power that does it, but God’s grace” said Beckwith.

He has written a book; Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic.

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