Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Some First of the Week Notes: More on the Beckwith Situation
05/07/2007 - James WhiteThese things go in waves, don't they? Especially when it comes to Roman Catholicism. Well, better to address the issues openly, demonstrate that we do so for consistent and biblical reasons, and provide, by our refusal to engage in the same kinds of behaviors common in our critics, that dedication to the truth honors God and edifies the saints.
Well, let's see. Paul Owen has demonstrated his utter inability to even pretend to be unbiased in joining in the ridiculous "outrage" that I would dare to make public mention of Dr. Beckwith's reversion to Roman Catholicism. I long ago stopped worrying about what Owen thinks, but the level of dishonesty to which he has sunk in recent years is lamentable on any level. Note just this one absurd line from his comments on the situation: "Nor would a frowning Reformed Baptist congregation which spends every waking hour contemplating the beauty of TULIP (especially the “L”) be very attractive to these great saints of old." The only way you could possibly write such a line is either you are 1) desperately disconnected from reality, or 2) you are desperately dishonest. I'll let Owen's history speak for itself at that point. Every generation needs its Alexander the Coppersmith!
Ironic, isn't it, that Patty Bonds is back on the scene at a time like this. I had gotten word that she was going to be on The Journey Home again a few weeks ago (oh, am I not supposed to mention that, either? Am I "outing" someone again? It is so hard to know!). Whether this will be a repeat of the program from years ago, or a new one, I do not know. For those interested in the story, here's the information.
Then we were informed that over on the Catholic Answers Forums they have posted a "poll" using my direct words in my opening statement on sola scriptura from 14 years ago against Patrick Madrid, but without telling anyone who wrote those words. So far, the large majority say it is an "accurate" statement of the doctrine. I wonder how the poll would have been impacted by having my name attached to my own words?
I was asked by a Roman Catholic today if I had followed Matthew 18 with Frank Beckwith. Uh, no. Frank Beckwith was not a member of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church. I had, and have, nothing personal against Frank Beckwith; there is no matter of personal sin between us, which, of course, is what Matthew 18 is about. This question, together with Owen's rhetoric, once again shows how most people see these issues as personal things, when they are not. My reason for noting the reversion was simple: I knew this would once again raise the issue of the gospel, the sufficiency of Scripture, and would require the faithful to once again speak the truth in love in defense of the faith once-for-all delivered to the saints.
Now, let me be quick to add something that will once again result in howls from the post-modernists who have little concern about truth and honoring the God who gives is: if the church Dr. Beckwith has left has the courage of its convictions, they will place him under discipline. I do not know what kind of church he was a member of, if he was a member of a church at all. But if the New Testament means anything at all, or has authority and is normative for our practice---confessing the faith, and then denying it, is grounds for discipline. This should have been done in the case of Mrs. Bonds, but to my knowledge, was not. It should be done now out of obedience to Scripture in reference to Dr. Beckwith. I can assure you, beyond all question, that anyone who was a member of a Reformed Baptist Church that uses the London Baptist Confession of 1689 would be placed under discipline and, barring repentance, excommunicated, for such an action. The post-modernist cannot understand this. The post-evangelical cannot either (since they have almost never seen the church exercise discipline for any reason, let alone a doctrinal one). But the honor of God's truth, the health of the church, and the edification of the saints, requires that those who go out from us be marked as such. The reason this probably won't happen is simple: very few alleged "Protestants" today actually believe converting to Roman Catholicism involves a denial of the gospel. I surely believe it does.
"Oh, that is so unloving!" No, believing otherwise is. You do not show love for God by subjugating His law and His will to man's whims. You do not show love for Christ and His gospel by allowing it to be trampled underfoot without result. You do not show love for God's Word by pretending it is not clear enough to address what the gospel is, or what we should do about apostasy. You do not show love for God's people by modeling for them a lack of concern for the purity of the body or obedience to the Word. And finally, you do not show love for Francis Beckwith by allowing him to think that such a profound abandonment of justification by grace through faith, the finished work of Christ, the imputed righteousness of Christ, the sufficiency of Scripture, etc., can be engaged in without the people of God calling him to repentance and, should he not do so, making a clear statement that he stands opposed to what he once professed. It is this final reality, which requires a belief in the objective truth of the gospel, that scandalizes so many post-modernists today. But the honest hearted reader knows I am speaking in perfect accord with the New Testament itself.