Francis Beckwith is going to hell.
Actually, I don’t believe that at all. He has, however, deconverted from evangelicalism and reconverted to Catholicism. Here’s his story.
I must admit, I only felt this way once before. It was the summer of 1996, and pro-wrestling was in a bad place. WWF story lines were way over the top, and WCW was continuing to suck like it always did. Then, out of nowhere, two guys from WWF start “invading” WCW. Fun enough. But the gut wrenching moment came when Hulk Hogan joined forces with them, turning heel for the first time. This outraged so many rednecks at the event that they started pelting the ring with garbage like Hogan had just surpassed Dale Earnhardt for wins at Talladega. I sat in amazement as Hogan switched teams, as he left the good guys and joined the bad guys.
Sadly, this is how many bloggers are portraying Beckwith’s turn. I wish I could say I had taken the high road, yet I could not deny that the whole time I was reading his article I was struck with the same feeling I had when Hogan joined forces. It was a sheer mix of unbelief, mixed with sadness. The question I have sought to answer over the weekend is: do I, or any other crazy Christian bloggers, have the right to be upset?
I actually had no problem with Frankie’s reasoning when it came to doctrinal issues. I totally agree that the church has totally blown the reformation way out of proportion, to the extent that you would have a hard time figuring out if certain guys ever thought the church existed between the Creeds and Luther. That being said, I created a list of my problems.
- For someone who knows the gospel well, Beckwith will have a hard time that the Catholic church makes the person and work of Jesus the central issue.
- For someone in touch with the university culture, Beckwith will have a hard time making a case for the cultural relevancy of how the Catholic Church does church.
- For someone who bases their entire work on logic, Beckwith will have a hard time explaining the Eucharist.
- Beckwith should also have a hard time explaining the lack of checks and balances within the Catholic Church structure.
- Beckwith should have a hard time explaining infant baptism.
- Beckwith should have a hard time explaining how many people who are confirmed haven’t truly repented of their sins, and really don’t know Jesus.
BIG PROBLEM — I HAD TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FOR THE CHURCH
- Most evangelical churches don’t even make the person and work of Jesus the central issue.
- Obviously some people find the Catholic Church relevant (like Beckwith’s nephew, and a few of my co-workers to be specific).
- At least the Catholic Church focuses of Jesus’ death each week, how often do most Evangelical churches choose to “remember” Jesus’ atoning sacrifice?
- Evangelical church structure. Right, that’s going well (google pastor and arrested and see what happens)
- Infant baptism. Wait, Evangelical churches do that. Wait, John Piper’s church
accepts (correction:is friendly to) those baptized as infants. Crap.
- How many people have “accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior” and have never repented of their sins, and don’t really know Jesus?
My major problem in seeking to answer the questions that bothered me about Beckwith’s turn is that they all were true of Evangelicalism as well. If we look hard at Beckwith’s reasoning we will see a man who sincerely loves Jesus, and has found a Church that enables him to worship Jesus. Most bloggers need to realize that Francis could smoke them in a debate, so it might be best to put down the Mac for a while and pray about it.
I am not saying I am in love with how the Catholic church, or how it operates. Nor am I saying that I would ever encourage someone to go to a Catholic Church. I am simply saying that I grabbed by bag and gathered as many stones as I could, but when I looked into my heart, I couldn’t find a single good reason to even throw one stone.