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Baylor Church-State Professor Converts To Catholicism, Resigns As Head Of Evangelical Society

(May 9, 2007)—Evangelical philosopher Francis Beckwith, an associate professor of church-state studies at Baylor University, has become a Roman Catholic and has resigned as president and as a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, Associated Baptist Press reports.

Beckwith was Catholic as a youth and needed only to go to confession and receive absolution in order to rejoin the faith, ABP reported.

Click Here For Full ABP Article

Beckwith said his decision to become Roman Catholic stemmed from a desire to find “historical and theological continuity” with the early Christian church, ABP reported.

It came, Beckwith wrote in his blog, “after much prayer, counsel and consideration.”

Click Here For Francis Beckwith’s Web Site

The Evangelical Theological Society issued a statement wishing Beckwith well and describing his resignation as appropriate.

“We recognize the right of Roman Catholic theologians to do their theological work on the basis of all the authorities they consider to be revelatory and infallible, even as we wholeheartedly affirm the distinctive contribution and convictional necessity of the work of the Evangelical Theological Society on the basis of the "Bible alone and the Bible in its entirety" as ‘the Word of God written and . . . inerrant,’" the statement said.

Click Here For Evangelical Theological Society Statement

From 2003 until early this year, Beckwith was associate director of Baylor’s J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies, a position to which he was named despite protests from some of Dawson’s descendants

In a letter to then-Baylor President Dr. Robert Sloan, signed by Dawson’s son, a retired Baylor law professor, and Dawson’s granddaughter and bearing the names of nearly 30 descendants, 14 of whom were Baylor graduates, family members accused Beckwith of holding church-state positions at odds with the strong stand for separation of church and state that J. M. Dawson advocated.

"We are troubled because Dr. Beckwith is a fellow of the Discovery Institute. The activities of this organization are widely recognized in the academic community as engaging in political activities that contravene the fundamental principle of the separation of church and state for which J.M. Dawson stood," the letter said.

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