Monday, May 07, 2007

Doing the Right Thing . . . But Questions Remain

I have been watching from the sidelines the events regarding the recent conversion of Frank Beckwith (until now, president of the Evangelical Theological Society) to Roman Catholicism. He has, effective May 5, stepped down from his position as president of ETS, and just today has announced his resignation as a member of ETS.

. . . the right decision, both actions. I applaud him for that.

Questions remain, however, about how all this happened--though not so much for Beckwith as for ETS and the climate it has created. I think we can assume Beckwith didn't have a Damascus-road conversion to Rome. No one, except for the hopelessly impulsive, leaves a long-held theological heritage for a diametrically opposed theological heritage without engaging for many months or even years in thoughtful reflection about it--during which it must have become obvious (to him if not to others involved) that his theological allegiances had reversed. Did he have questions about where his allegiance resided when he assumed the position as president of ETS? What were the signs of his apostasy? And what measures did/does the ETS executive committee take to provide oversight over the theological musings of its president? How was Beckwith nominated, selected, and voted in given his (now well known) leanings evident in his articles, in his conversation, in his teaching?

This kind of thing is occurring with alarming regularity these days, due in large part to the post-modern, post-Christian abandonment of fidelity to truth (recall my last blog article on Timothy George). There are warning signs for this sort of thing, and they are not that difficult to detect. Do we really need to wait until someone follows through with his "exploratory" musings, all in the name of academic freedom, before we begin to call him to account?