Francis Beckwith was the President of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). He has recently left his current church membership to return the the church of his youth and upbringing, The Roman Catholic Church. You can read about his decision in Right Reason.
A few comments.
Francis Beckwith can belong to any church he wants to belong to. Here is the first paragraph of his explanation:
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.
I can only guess that one of the sins that he would need to be forgiven of would be the sin of leaving the church, and corresponding to that the sin of belonging to a non-Roman Catholic church. Just a guess, and I am desirous of correction, but isn’t that the underlying presumption. Had Beckwith left whatever church he had been attending and come to our denomination, he wouldn’t have to repent of his association with that particular church. It is interesting to me that a church would demand that a man of Mr. Beckwith’s obvious spiritual stature. Would he not already have asked for forgiveness, and received it without a visit to the local confessional? But I am offended that his association with us would be considered something needing repentance.
I have never been a member of ETS, and have no standing or voice in that group – but it is interesting to me that they would have still allowed Beckwith to be a member in that organization. Their doctrinal statement is:
“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.”
So back in the 80’s they kicked one of my favorite human beings out of their society for his views on the use of redaction in the New Testament. He still held to inerrancy. He still held a trinitarian position. But ETS is not a fan of redaction criticism so he was asked to leave. In recent years, Open Theists have been allowed to remain. And now, it would be OK to be a Roman Catholic and remain in ETS. I am sure there will be many discussions about this in their next meeting in November in San Diego. Maybe I will go.