"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beckwith and George: Can You Be Catholic and Evangelical?

On September 3, Wheaton College hosted a friendly discussion between professors Timothy George and Francis Beckwith focused primarily on the following question: Can you be Catholic and Evangelical? Timothy George is a Southern Baptist and dean of Beeson Divinity School, and a co-signer of The Gift of Salvation. Francis Beckwith was the president of the Evangelical Theological Society when he reverted to the Catholic Church in 2006; he is now Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University. The video of the discussion and the following Q&A can be found here.

Such a discussion, and the way it was conducted, are very encouraging signs with respect to the goal of seeking the reunion of all Christians, especially Protestants and Catholics. In my opinion this event is exactly the sort of conversation Protestants and Catholics should be having. The discussion often just touched on various points of disagreement, without going into significant depth. But the purpose of the discussion was not to go into depth on these issues, only to sketch out the overall picture and develop a better mutual understanding of the common ground and the differences between Evangelicals and Catholics in relation to the question that titled the event.

My comments below focus only on Professor George’s statements. My purpose is to advance the discussion of our disagreements, by pointing to the deeper reasons underlying our disagreements.

(continue reading at Called To Communion)