Dr Beckwith

It’s the trendy thing these days to have a post on Dr Beckwith. Here’s mine.

Dr Beckwith, president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) has reverted to the Church of his youth: the Catholic Church. Three cheers for a man of much fortitude, as the comment box to the last linked post will evidence. It takes a lot for a man of his stature to “face the music”. He will have a hard road to ride at first, although I am sure a man of his numerable talents will land on his feet. A la Scott Hahn.

What is especially interesting to me in this whole thing is the attitude of the Combox Armchair Theologian (CAT). Here is the president of the ETS, coming to terms with the Church Fathers and, among other things, the Catholic view of justification. This man is a lover of the Bible. And yet, the CAT feels that there is no better response to the news of this bibliophile poping than to string together a series of random bible quotes in an attempt to win him back. It’s not so much *what* they do, because, being honest, there’s not much more for them to do. It’s *how* they do it. In doing it, it never seems to strike them of the irony and futility of their position. Ironic because Dr Beckwith could biblically trounce them with both hands tied behind his back. Futile because the argument isn’t nor ever was about scripture. WE ALL ACCEPT IT. The issue has always been over what it means. That Dr Beckwith should repent in sackcloth and ashes based on Some Guy’s interpretation of the Bible is ridiculous. That the CAT hasn’t yet come to terms with this only indicates how deeply he has drunk the Protestant Kool-Aid. Why should *anyone* trust him?

This is especially in evidence in those comments that accuse Dr Beckwith of choosing the Fathers over Scripture. Wrong. It’s choosing the Father’s interpretation of Scripture over that of any and all non-Catholics post AD1517. Because, you know, living in close cultural, geographical and temporal proximity with the Apostles might afford one a particularly incisive view of what they meant when they wrote what they did.

Others, perhaps sensing the futility of their little system, attempt another tact; namely, to lead us to their own favorite “Fathers of the Church”. OK. At least that’s a little more honest and a little less clueless. They seem to admit that we all have our interpretive traditions, including Protestants, when we come to Scripture. But it remains very unclear as to why Martin Luther should be regarded as having a better idea of what the Scriptures mean than, say, St. Augustine. One gets the feeling that we are back at square one again. “Well, Martin Luther should be listened to because he bases what he says on Scripture.” So does St. Augustine. And they disagree!

Finally my favorite comments always contain some reference to 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

Again, apparently never realizing the immense irony. Doesn’t, like, every single Christian group use this verse as a cudgel for others. All it seems to mean in their hands is: “I disagree with what you’re doing; therefore you are wandering from sound teaching.” Has it never ocurred to you, oh dear CAT, that this verse might apply to you?


~ by Rob on May 8, 2007.

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