William C. PlacherJanuary 12, 2009 - 9:40am0 comments
Return to Rome
Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic
Francis J. Beckwith
Brazos Press, $14.99, 144 pp.
In 2007, Francis Beckwith was a full professor at Baylor University (then embarked on a plan to be “the Evangelical Harvard”) and president of the Evangelical Theological Society—one of the intellectual centers of Evangelical Protestantism. So it was dramatic news indeed when Beckwith returned to the Catholic faith of his childhood. This book tells the story of how it all happened.
Born in 1960, Beckwith grew up in a liberal Catholic family in Las Vegas, attending Catholic schools and Mass every Sunday, in the midst of post–Vatican II liturgical reforms he remembers as “cute nuns and hip priests playing ‘Kumbaya’ with guitars, tambourines, and harmonicas...usually not done very well.” As a teenager, he found a variety of mostly nondenominational Protestant groups more impressive in their “commitment to following Christ,...personal warmth, and high view of Scripture.” After a brief bout of agnosticism, his path as described here led steadily upward through a series of academic degrees, connections with influential Evangelicals, and teaching appointments until he arrived at Baylor in 2003 and, within the next five years, was denied tenure, received tenure on appeal, and was promoted to full professor. Amid the twists and turns of his religious pilgrimage, his politics moved sharply to the right and stayed there. Hired at Baylor by a controversial conservative president who then left, Beckwith lost his first tenure fight...