Monday, November 17, 2008

Evangelical and Catholic

That is the title of the essay I published this morning in the online magazine, Inside Catholic. Here is how it begins:

On May 5, 2007, I resigned as president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), and two days later I resigned my membership, one I held for more than 20 years. I did so because I quickly realized -- after news of my April 29, 2007, public reception into the Catholic Church had spread like wildfire on the internet and in the media -- that there was no way that ETS could conduct business with my continued presence on the executive committee or its membership. In fact, soon after my resignation, two ETS members proposed extensive changes in the organization's doctrinal statement so that no one would ever question the indelible Protestant character of ETS. Although not supported by the ETS executive committee, their proposal will be voted on by the membership at this week's annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. These changes, if passed, would leave no doubt that ETS excludes all non-Protestants from its membership.

One may ask why I waited six days after my public reception into the Catholic Church to resign my ETS presidency, and eight days to resign my membership. I did so because I did not believe that the present ETS doctrinal statement is inconsistent with my Catholic beliefs. My resignations were motivated entirely by my desire not to cause needless offense to my brothers and sisters in Christ from whom I have learned so much in my over three decades in the Protestant world. Nevertheless, I still believe that the ETS doctrinal statement is broad enough to allow Catholic members. (In fact, I remain a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society [EPS], which has an identical doctrinal statement)


You can read the whole thing here.

(Cross-posted on Southern Appeal and What's Wrong With the World)