May 9, 2007

Returning to the Catholic Church

Dr. Francis J. Beckwith, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, returned to the Catholic Church. (Here is his homepage). You can read about it here on his blog. Here is the ETS Committee's response.

Despite what you might think about Catholicism, I find the comments on the blog very interesting. And by "interesting," I mean saddening.

I certainly don't want to give the impression that theology doesn't matter. It does. But, I think a lot of doctrinal positioning is just to help us experience God more fully. I think there are general boundaries that define the Christian faith (see the Creeds of the Church). Doctrine helps us put into human words how we have experienced and understand God and Scripture. I love C.S. Lewis's definition of theology.

What I find interesting are the comments about taking the word of the "Early Church" over the words of Scripture. The irony is that the commentor is looking at Scripture through a theological viewpoint. Like it or not, they are not reading the Scripture as someone unaffected by a theological stance. They think they are, but they are reading the Scripture through their own theological lens.

In order to understand the meaning of the Scripture wouldn't you want to know what the Disciple's disciples wrote about their teacher's perspective? That is what the Early Church Fathers are writing about. They were able to sit beneath the actual teaching of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and others without a couple thousand years of separation.

No matter what theological viewpoint you come from, I think God has instructed us all to love our neighbors as ourselves...even when they return to the Catholic Church. I admire a man who is willing to explore his theological convictions, re-evaluate his beliefs in prayer, and then make a commitment to follow no matter what others might say.


  1. I would just say that we all read and interpret scriptures through a lens. Those of us who are Catholic believe that there is a traditional lens, or orthodox lens, which is handed down through the ages, guided by the Holy Spirit. We balance our subjective interpretations by that sacred tradition.

    If you do not believe the Holy Spirit has guided the Catholic Church through the ages then it is up to what you believe is your own subjective interpretation guided by the Holy Spirit.

    For Catholics, (and Orthodox for that matter) it's not a matter of taking the early Church fathers over scripture - it's taking their words with, and in the tradition of, scripture.


  2. Thanks for posting your comment Chad.