Statement of the ETS Executive Committee regarding
Dr. Frank Beckwith’s Resignation as ETS President
May 8, 2007

On May 5, 2007, Dr. Frank Beckwith resigned as President of the Evangelical Theological Society. This resignation has come as a result of his decision to be received into full communion in the Roman Catholic Church, which he did on April 29, 2007. Dr. Beckwith has informed the Executive Committee that this was a decision he came to “after much prayer, counsel, and consideration.” Subsequently, after further prayer and reflection, Dr. Beckwith has voluntarily withdrawn his membership from the Society as well.

The members of the Executive Committee wish Dr. Beckwith well in his ongoing professional work. We have come to appreciate him as a scholar and a friend. On behalf of the Society, we want to express our gratitude for his work organizing and coordinating the 2006 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., with the theme, “Evangelicals in the Public Square.” No one, perhaps, appreciates how much labor is involved in such a task, except those who have undertaken it in the past, as is the case with most of the members of the Executive Committee. And so, we thank Dr. Beckwith for his service to the Society.

At the same time, the Executive Committee recognizes Dr. Beckwith’s resignation as President and subsequent withdrawal from membership as appropriate in light of the purpose and doctrinal basis of the Evangelical Theological Society and in light of the requirements of wholehearted confessional agreement with the Roman Catholic Church.

The work of the Evangelical Theological Society as a scholarly forum proceeds on the basis that “the Bible alone and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in the autographs.” This affirmation, together with the statement on the Trinity, forms the basis for membership in the ETS to which all members annually subscribe in writing. Confessional Catholicism, as defined by the Roman Catholic Church’s declarations from the Council of Trent to Vatican II, sets forth a more expansive view of verbal, infallible revelation.

Specifically, it posits a larger canon of Scripture than that recognized by evangelical Protestants, including in its canon several writings from the Apocrypha. It also extends the quality of infallibility to certain expressions of church dogma issued by the Magisterium (the teaching office of the Roman Catholic Church), as well as certain pronouncements of the pope, which are delivered ex cathedra, such as doctrines about the immaculate conception and assumption of Mary.

We recognize the right of Roman Catholic theologians to do their theological work on the basis of all the authorities they consider to be revelatory and infallible, even as we wholeheartedly affirm the distinctive contribution and convictional necessity of the work of the Evangelical Theological Society on the basis of the “Bible alone and the Bible in its entirety” as “the Word of God written and . . . inerrant.”

In recent years, Evangelicals and Roman Catholics have often labored together in common cause addressing some of the critical social and moral issues of our contemporary culture. We welcome this and fully expect it to continue. A number of publications have appeared comparing Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism. Certainly, the two traditions share many common Christian doctrines. However there are important theological differences as well. We expect that the events of these days will bring a renewed discussion of these matters. We welcome and encourage this as well.

Finally, regarding the Presidency of ETS, Dr. Hassell Bullock, President-elect will also serve as acting President until the annual meeting at which time elections for the officers for 2008 will take place.

We are grateful for Dr. Beckwith’s past association with ETS, and we pray that God will continue to use his considerable gifts.
C. Hassell Bullock, President-Elect
(Wheaton College)

Bruce A. Ware, Vice-President
(The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Edwin M. Yamauchi, At-large member
(Miami University)

Craig A. Blaising, At-large member
(Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Gregory K. Beale, At-large member
(Wheaton College)

David M. Howard, Jr., At-large member
(Bethel Seminary)

James A. Borland, Secretary-Treasurer
(Liberty University)

Andreas J. Köstenberger, JETS Editor
(Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    3 replies to "ETS Speaks on the Beckwith Situation"

    • JoanieD

      Do you know if Francis Beckwith posted a second time on the blog at the above URL? I did try scrolling through all the comments but there are so many! I did come across one by his brother.

      I know he resigned as President of the ETS totally of his own free will. But I am not sure from reading the statement of the ETS if his leaving even as a member was totally his idea.


    • JoanieD

      Gee, you come across a number of interesting things in those comments on the blog that Francis Beckwith explained his going back to the Catholic Church.

      Someone mentioned a book by David Currie, a man raised very much as a fundamentalist and he converted to Catholicism. I found that at:
      It’s called Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. I see a reviewer named Kathleen writes, “He never denigrates his former church or any of the people in it, writing with love of his own journey into the Catholic Church. He still regards his former Baptist congregation as brothers and sisters in Christ.” That’s good to know.

      But then reading comments about the book on Amazon, I see people saying that you should also read Karl Keating’s books and I find he has MANY books.

      I will likely never get around to reading any of these, but it’s nice to know they are out there if I ever want to get a fuller understanding of these issues.


    • JoanieD

      (After this comment, I promise I will not continue to “monopolize” this discussion!)

      I came across a paper on the internet written by David Schütz titled “How did Vatican II develop the teaching “No Salvation outside the Church”? and given at Thomas More Spring School. (That may be Australia, noting the au in the URL above.) Some of the things there may indicate how I have come to have an “inclusivist” point of view. Though I have not been going to Catholic Church for years, I still have obviously been effected by the church, especially Vatican II things and Pope John Paul II. I did an internet search to find out who David Schutz is and think that I found him at

      It says there:
      “David Schütz is the Executive Officer for the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese. Following the completion of ten years of study in theology and humanities, he served as a parish pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) for 9 years. He served for 14 years on the national Lutheran Commission on Worship, did research work for their official publications “Church Rites” and “Rites for Pastoral Care”, and served on the ecumenical body “The Australian Consultation on Liturgy”. From 1998 to 2001, he managed a project which provided lectionary based liturgical resources to all parishes of LCA. After joining the Catholic Church in 2001 he served for three years as Music Director for Our Lady’s parish and school in Ringwood. David is also a keen student of church history and scripture, and deeply involved in ecumenism.

      Formal qualifications:
      Bachelor of Theology (Luther Seminary, North Adelaide),
      Graduate Diploma in Ministry (Luther Seminary, North Adelaide),
      Bachelor of Arts (University of Adelaide),
      Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Management (University of South Australia)”

      All the below quotations are from his paper:

      “The Catechism also includes the following statement from Lumen Gentium:

      Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

      From Vatican II

      It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

      In Unitatis Redintegratio the Council Fathers explicitly absolved from the guilt of “the sin involved in the separation” all “who are born into these [separated] Communities and who grow up believing in Christ”. In fact, they declared, “the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection..”

      From Nostra Aetate

      “One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth. One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men, until that time when the elect will be united in the Holy City, the city ablaze with the glory of God, where the nations will walk in His light.”

      The Declaration Dominus Iesus, quoting from John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptoris missio, puts it this way:

      “…Whatever the Spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures and religions, serves as a preparation for the Gospel and can only be understood in reference to Christ, the Word who took flesh by the power of the Spirit ‘so that as perfectly human he would save all human beings and sum up all things….”

      (and from John Paul II’s Redemptoris missio)

      …There is only one salvific economy of the One and Triune God, realized in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, actualized with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, and extended in its salvific value to all humanity and to the entire universe: “No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit…”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.