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Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic
     

Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic

5.0 1
by Francis J. Beckwith
 

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What does it mean to be evangelical? What does it mean to be Catholic? Can one consider oneself both simultaneously? Francis Beckwith has wrestled with these questions personally and professionally. He was baptized a Catholic, but his faith journey led him to Protestant evangelicalism. He became a philosophy professor at Baylor University and president of the

Overview

What does it mean to be evangelical? What does it mean to be Catholic? Can one consider oneself both simultaneously? Francis Beckwith has wrestled with these questions personally and professionally. He was baptized a Catholic, but his faith journey led him to Protestant evangelicalism. He became a philosophy professor at Baylor University and president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). And then, in 2007, after much prayer, counsel, and consideration, Beckwith decided to return to the Catholic church and step down as ETS president.

This provocative book details Beckwith's journey, focusing on his internal dialogue between the Protestant theology he embraced for most of his adult life and Catholicism. He seeks to explain what prompted his decision and offers theological reflection on whether one can be evangelical and Catholic, affirming his belief that one can be both.

EXCERPT
It's difficult to explain why one moves from one Christian tradition to another. It is like trying to give an account to your friends why you chose to pursue for marriage this woman rather than that one, though both may have a variety of qualities that you found attractive. It seems to me then that any account of my return to the Catholic church, however authentic and compelling it is to me, will appear inadequate to anyone who is absolutely convinced that I was wrong. Conversely, my story will confirm in the minds of many devout Catholics that the supernatural power of the grace I received at baptism and confirmation as a youngster were instrumental in drawing me back to the Mother Church. Given these considerations, I confess that there is an awkwardness in sharing my journey as a published book, knowing that many fellow Christians will scrutinize and examine my reasons in ways that appear to some uncharitable and to others too charitable.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In May 2007, Beckwith, the president of the Evangelical Theology Society (ETS), stepped down as president of the society and resigned his membership. Eight days earlier, Beckwith had embraced the Catholicism of his childhood and youth and had been publicly received back into the Catholic Church. In this thinly written, often plodding book, Beckwith lukewarmly chronicles his journey back to Catholicism, from his early days of reading philosophy and his academic study with Protestant Christian apologists such as Norman Geisler and John Warwick Montgomery to his graduate work at Fordham and the encouragement of various family members to embrace Catholicism once again. In the end, Beckwith takes the best from both worlds, claiming that he is an evangelical insofar as he believes in the Gospel (evangel) and a Catholic insofar as he believes that the church is universal. Since Beckwith's book resembles a conversation among those in the know about the principles and struggles within ETS and Catholicism, it would have been more useful as a journal article. The book has little meaning for anyone outside this select circle struggling with a move from Protestantism to Catholicism. (Jan.)

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Library Journal

Here, Beckwith, a high-profile former Evangelical Theological Society president, tells the provocative story of his return to the Catholic Church. He begins with his early religious upbringing and training, dropping the names of past and present theologians along the way, then explains the rationale behind his atypical spiritual odyssey as well as why he still considers himself an evangelical. Grover Gardner, who's read over 650 commercial audio titles, employs a solemn tone for this tale of transformation. Of limited interest and therefore recommended only to scholars or theologians. [Audio clip available through christianaudio.com.-Ed.]
—Deb West

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441203908
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/10/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
873,038
File size:
637 KB

Read an Excerpt


It's difficult to explain why one moves from one Christian tradition to another. It is like trying to give an account to your friends why you chose to pursue for marriage this woman rather than that one, though both may have a variety of qualities that you found attractive. It seems to me then that any account of my return to the Catholic church, however authentic and compelling it is to me, will appear inadequate to anyone who is absolutely convinced that I was wrong. Conversely, my story will confirm in the minds of many devout Catholics that the supernatural power of the grace I received at baptism and confirmation as a youngster were instrumental in drawing me back to the Mother Church. Given these considerations, I confess that there is an awkwardness in sharing my journey as a published book, knowing that many fellow Christians will scrutinize and examine my reasons in ways that appear to some uncharitable and to others too charitable.

Meet the Author

Francis J. Beckwith (PhD, Fordham University; MJS, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis) is professor of philosophy and church-state studies, and fellow and faculty associate in the Institute for the Studies of Religion, at Baylor University. In 2008-09, he will serve on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame as the Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case against Abortion Choice and To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview.
Francis J. Beckwith (PhD, Fordham University; MJS, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis) is professor of philosophy and church-state studies, and fellow and faculty associate in the Institute for the Studies of Religion, at Baylor University. In 2008-09, he will serve on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame as the Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case against Abortion Choice and To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview.

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Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
A couple of years ago Francis Beckwith created a small sensation in Christian circles when he decided to return to the Catholic Church while still the president of the Evangelical Theological Society. This book is his account of the events and deliberations that prompted him to make such a move. Even though the book focuses on this particular move, it is filled with theological and personal reflections that can be of interest to many who are interested in the role that Christian life plays in America in the past fifty years. Like most conversion stories, this book narrates both the personal experiences and theological reflections. This is not a triumphalist book that will try to pound a particular doctrinal message, but a frank and honest reflection of someone who tries to live his Christian vocation with integrity and sincerity. Rather than stressing the discontinuities between his two lives as a Catholic and one as an Evangelical protestant, Beckwith portrays all of these transitions as part of his spiritual and intellectual growth. He is very charitable and respectful of all of his erstwhile Evangelical Protestant colleagues, and tries to maintain good relations with them. He also makes a powerful case that there is nothing intrinsically contradictory in being an Evangelical and being a Catholic, and a chapter in this book is dedicated to making an argument for inclusion of Catholics in Evangelical Theological Society. He maintains also that there are many things that faithful Catholics can learn from Evangelicals, and hopefully this book can serve the purpose of bridging the gap between those two sometimes-estranged communities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While not a comprehensive understanding of Catholic doctrine it corrects common error in most protestant though.