Beckwith The Protestant Roman Catholic

The much awaited book by both Roman Catholics and Protestants is here.  It is none other than former President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Dr. Francis J. Beckwith’s new book Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic.

Quite the title, huh?   This is the reason this book will appeal to both Catholics and Protestants.  We all want to see, “What happened?”  Most likely, Catholics will want to see what they can learn from Beckwith’s journey that will help them evangelize Romanize Protestants.  We Protestants will want to know how to keep such a “return” from happening and address any misunderstandings.

BrazosPress, the publisher’s website, lists some questions that the book addresses.

What does it mean to be evangelical? What does it mean to be Catholic? Can one consider oneself both simultaneously?

Yes, what does it mean to be Evangelical?  Even a modern dictionary will point you to Protestantism.  My understanding of being Catholic is that you abandon key Protestant positions such as the Five Solas.  And embrace such doctrines as the immaculate conception of Mary, purgatory, transubstantiation and the doctrine of infallibility to name a few.  So I’d like to see these definitions and whose definitions they are. It seems that the only way to blend these positions is to redefine Evangelical.  Let’s move to the answer.

The answer given?

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.

If this stated answer is true then categorically one could be a Catholic and an Evangelical without joining the Catholic church. Of course, Rome would never go for that. I want to read this book to see how such a position is worked out. What is lost?  What is gained?  What is unchanged?

I am eager to see what definitions are used of words like Evangelical and Catholic.  Whatever Beckwith has to say on these things, in more ways than one, the Devil is certainly in the details.

UPDATE: Dr. Beckwith has created a site about the book,  Return to Rome.  Seems as though there are going to be some excerpts from the book.

UPDATE II: What would James White ask Beckwith today?  Some very good questions!

A commenter also stopped by to answer the question of “What is an Evangelical Catholic?

I have to wonder if this movement/position is sanctioned by Rome.

For your indulgence



tagged as , , in Church Issues,Culture,heresy,relativism,theology

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TurretinFan July 16, 2008 at 5:03 pm

I wonder if he’ll continue to claim in his book that he had been misled about what the council of Trent said?

2 Teresita July 17, 2008 at 9:16 am
3 Rhology July 17, 2008 at 3:11 pm

For my indulgence? I don’t get it…

4 Teresita July 17, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Rhology, it’s an inside Catholic joke. Some Protestants were upset that some sisters in a certain convent sold chocolate Indulgences. It was one of the items on that list of 95 grievances Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church on Halloween once.

5 ABClay July 28, 2008 at 12:39 am


Luther was upset about some sisters selling chocolate candies?

All this time I thought he was upset about the swindling Johann Tetzel. I have alot to learn still….

Back to the books…


6 Douglas K. Adu-Boahen July 28, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I don’t know much about Beckwith, but it seems like he is the latest Catholic poster boy which they’ll use to poke “Protestants” in the side with. He clearly has no grasp of issues that even kids understand, yet he wishes to make himself some sort of an authority…


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