Crossing The Tiber : 2007-05-07
I crossed the Tiber on March 22, 2007. Dr. Francis Beckwith crossed the Tiber the very next week, as he explains on his blog
The difference is that I crossed literally
, whereas Dr. Beckwith made the figurative trip, returning to the Roman Catholicism of his youth. (For those confused by the term, the Tiber River separates the Vatican from the city of Rome. To "cross the Tiber" is commonly used to refer to Protestants who "swim back" to the Vatican and the Roman Catholic church.)
This is big news because Dr. Beckwith is the president of the Evangelical Theological Society. I have chatted with Frank at ETS gatherings, although only briefly and never about justification. One statement in the above-linked article surprised me:
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.
James White addresses this on his blog
In 1998 I attended the national meeting of the ETS in Orlando, Florida. At one of the sessions some of the founding members were being asked questions about why they did certain things, why they wrote the statement of faith as they did, etc. A woman asked a question of the panel. "Why did you write 'the Bible alone' in the statement of faith?" The ETS statement of faith is very, very short. It reads:
"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."
Roger Nicole rose, slowly, and made his way to the podium. He looked out at the lady and said, "Because we didn't want any Roman Catholics in the group." He then turned around and went back to his seat. While most sat in stunned silence, I and a friend with me broke into wild applause. The brevity of the response, and Nicole's dead-pan look, was classic. Most looked at us like we were nuts, but we appreciated what he said. Here, one of the founding members made it clear that the ETS was founded as a Protestant organization and that primary to their own self-understanding was a belief in sola scriptura.
I have no idea how Dr. Beckwith deals with that problem, but it is certainly a sad day for ETS. How this situation is handled may well affect if I retain membership. I almost left along with Norman Geisler over the open theism issue, but we shall see how this turns out.
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