Monday, May 07, 2007

STR on Beckwith's Return to Roman Catholicism

Stand to Reason's President, Greg Koukl, (who coauthored Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air with Francis Beckwith) and Director of Operations, Melinda Penner, respond to Beckwith's recent conversion to Roman Catholicism.

3 comments:

YnottonY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YnottonY said...

Hi Keith,

I suppose you are probably busy, but I was wondering about your thoughts on the issue of sola fide. Do you think sola fide is an essential aspect of the gospel message? Do you think that a genuine believer (one of the elect) could persist in denying (key word there) that sola fide is true?

As a former Roman Catholic who has had to deal with lost relatives and friends still trapped in that system, I am really troubled by some of the responses I am reading. It's as if the sacrifices Christians have made on this matter (even dying) were unnecessary. I am not one to immediately jump to the conclusion that Beckwith is lost. However, I think his decision is serious enough to make one doubt whether or not he has genuinely trusted Christ. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Tony

p.s. When are you going to disable that snap feature on your blog?

KP said...

Hey, Tony. Like you I've been troubled by much of the reaction to Beckwith's reversion to Roman Catholicism. To listen to some it's as though the differences between Rome's official teaching on the nature and condition of justification and that of evangelical Protestant theology is of little consequence, a sentiment with which I strongly disagree. As Carl Trueman observes: "...the key differences -- impartation versus imputation, and the instrumentality of faith – are mutually exclusive. One has got to be wrong, both may be wrong, but both cannot be right."

I don't think that a genuine believer will persist in denying that he or she has been saved by the grace of God alone through faith alone. The apostle Paul draws a causal connection between faith and grace when he writes in Romans 4:16: "That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace..." It seems to me, therefore, that a denial that faith is the sole instrument by which one is saved is tantamount to a denial of sola gratia.

Judging from comments he made to Melinda Penner (linked to in the above post) about most of the disagreement between Protestants and Catholics being a matter of different vocabulary rather than substantially different doctrine, I suspect that Beckwith does not consider himself as denying sola fide. I think Beckwith is confused here but I eagerly await a more detailed explanation of his thinking.

Now, about that Snap feature. I never said I was going to disable it. You misidentified me at Justin Taylor's blog. You mistook the KP who denigrated SnapShot over at Justin Taylor's blog for me but it was not. However, I'll admit that reading through those comments has made me think about doing away with it. Perhaps I'll put it up for a vote. If I do, please don't vote often. ;-)