Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The Convert Syndrome?
The Convert Syndrome?
04/21/2009 - James White
I was directed to this report on a talk given by Frank Beckwith. I found the following line most interesting:
Following his return, Beckwith's faith was changed in more than name only. "I started reading the Bible much more," he said. "I used to read the Bible looking for arguments. I now read and look for wisdom." This does not ring true to me, at least, in light of Beckwith's own statements. I refer in particular to statements such as this one from Return to Rome, p. 79:
One may wonder where the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura (or "scripture alone") factored in all this. To be blunt, it didn't, primarily because over the years I could not find an understanding or definition of sola scriptura convincing enough that did not have to be so qualified that it seemed to be more of a slogan than a standard. Then a little later, p. 80:
But as I slowly and unconsciously moved toward Catholicism in the early 2000s, I began to even find the sola scriptura of the Magisterial Reformation not entirely satisfactory. It seemed to me to subtly and unconsciously incorporate into its theological framework all the doctrines that sola scriptura, without a settled canon or authoritative creedal tradition, could never have produced out of whole cloth without the benefit of a Holy Spirit-directed ecclesiastical infrastructure. Now, according to his published work, since the early 2000s Beckwith was sub-Protestant in his view of the Bible and authority to begin with. He had a "weak" doctrine of sola scriptura (which really was not a doctrine of sola scriptura at all). So I wonder if the person reporting this talk missed something, since there would be no logical basis for Beckwith to claim he was reading the Bible "looking for arguments" (a pretty lousy reason to be reading the Scriptures to begin with) when in his published works he says he had already given up the idea that that is what the Bible is to be used for anyway. If Beckwith did say this, then we might well have an example here of the "convert syndrome." That is, if you listen to converts/reverts to Roman Catholicism often enough, you begin to learn the "mantra." They know what they are expected to say about their former faith, and especially about reliance upon the Scriptures, and hence they produce these kinds of statements. Again, all this depends on the accuracy of the report, but if it is accurate, we see a pretty clear problem with the assertion.
10:25:02 - Category: Roman Catholicism - Link to this article -