Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Frank Beckwith Promotes "Return" to Rome: Again Shows a Naive Understanding of the Key Issues
07/17/2008 - James WhiteˇˇˇI hate to say "I told you so," but...I told you so. I took a lot of heat for making Beckwith's "reversion" public and immediately calling for his resignation as President of ETS. I said at the time that pressure would be put upon him to be a "celebrity revert," and what is more, his position as President of ETS, despite his lack of credentials relating to theology and church history (he is a philosopher) would be used apologetically by Rome. Well, as you can see by the cover of the book that will be released in November, it wasn't overly hard to write the script on this one. When the book was noted on the Between Two Worlds blog, Beckwith even showed up to comment on the announcement. Ine the combox, Beckwith wrote,
Francis J. Beckwith said...ˇˇˇInfusion versus imputation! What a novel idea! Cutting new territory! Once again, the "I really had never taken the time to fully understand the issues that were at the heart of the Reformation and I never truly embraced a consistent position in opposition to Rome on matters of the nature of grace, the nature of man, epistemology, etc.," comes to the fore. And this is not a matter of "conceptual keys" "for me" or anyone else. It was a matter of anathema for Trent, and though modern Rome is muddled, confused, and a patchwork of contradictory viewpoints, the historic divide is clearly marked.
Hi guys! What Carlo and Phillip are discussing I cover in some detail in my book. Without giving away too much, the conceptual key to understanding the faith/works issue, for me, was to not think of either forensically. If one uses an imputation model, then works turn out to be acts in exchange for some good. That sense of "works" is clearly unbiblical, as Trent rightfully points out. But if one thinks of grace as infused, then works are not against grace or faith but the work of grace itself in helping us to conform to the image of Christ. Just as God taking on a human nature did not diminish his divinity, grace working through us with our cooperation does not diminish that grace and efficacy.
Read it when the book comes out. I simply can't do it justice here.
ˇˇˇA few years ago my wife and I ran into Frank and his wife while waiting for a flight in Terminal One of LAX. We chatted for a while. What if I were to run into Frank today? Well, I would ask him the same question I asked Peter Stravinskas a number of years ago, the question I ask Roman Catholics all the time. Here is the encounter: