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Comment: Copyright 2009, softcover, 114 pages. All pages are clean.
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Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic Paperback – December 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press; Second Printing edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432477
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In May 2007, Beckwith, the president of the Evangelical Theology Society (ETS), stepped down as president of the society and resigned his membership. Eight days earlier, Beckwith had embraced the Catholicism of his childhood and youth and had been publicly received back into the Catholic Church. In this thinly written, often plodding book, Beckwith lukewarmly chronicles his journey back to Catholicism, from his early days of reading philosophy and his academic study with Protestant Christian apologists such as Norman Geisler and John Warwick Montgomery to his graduate work at Fordham and the encouragement of various family members to embrace Catholicism once again. In the end, Beckwith takes the best from both worlds, claiming that he is an evangelical insofar as he believes in the Gospel (evangel) and a Catholic insofar as he believes that the church is universal. Since Beckwith's book resembles a conversation among those in the know about the principles and struggles within ETS and Catholicism, it would have been more useful as a journal article. The book has little meaning for anyone outside this select circle struggling with a move from Protestantism to Catholicism. (Jan.)
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From the Back Cover

"In 2007 Francis Beckwith, an esteemed scholar on ethical and political issues at Baylor University, after announcing that he had returned to the Roman Catholic Church, resigned as president of the Evangelical Theological Society. In this highly readable apologia pro vita sua, Frank reveals the reasons for his surprising spiritual odyssey."--Edwin M. Yamauchi, Miami University and 2006 ETS President

"Frank Beckwith sketches vividly the sense of home that so many of us have found in the Catholic Church. It is the one place where we can have it all, where we can be both evangelical and catholic. Told with grace and wit, Frank Beckwith narrates life as it really is: a divine comedy. And he makes us all laugh with him as he tells a truly edifying story."--Scott Hahn, Franciscan University of Steubenville

"Moving, memorable, unblinkingly honest but always alive with charity, Beckwith's Christian story--leaving the Catholic Church, serving the Lord as a world class Evangelical scholar and teacher, then finally returning to his Catholic roots while treasuring his Evangelical journey--is an unforgettable witness. I highly recommend it."--Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Denver

"St. Augustine famously said that the word 'religion' is derived from reeligere, to choose again, perhaps over and over in the sense of a reunion. Here is that reunion story once again. Frank Beckwith takes us through some of the most interesting religious and intellectual terrain of the post-1960s generation of American Catholics. Far from being a rebuke of Evangelical Protestants, who nourished him deeply, Beckwith's 'confession' should be a wake-up call for Catholics."--Russell Hittinger, University of Tulsa

"Frank Beckwith's memoir is a remarkable act of evangelical charity. He recounts his reversion to Catholicism in ways that honor his Evangelical past, even as he shows how its riches are being transformed by his new life in the communion of Rome."--Ralph C. Wood, Baylor University

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Customer Reviews

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This book reads very much like an explanation.
What is unique about this story is that Francis Beckwith wants to continue to be considered as an Evangelical even as he returns to his Roman Catholic roots.
Jan P. Dennis
I recommend this book as highly as possible for both Catholics and Protestants.
Florida Dad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Florida Dad VINE VOICE on December 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
When Dr. Francis Beckwith announced that he was stepping down as President of the Evangelical Theological Society and returning to the Catholic Church of his youth, it caused quite a stir. Catholic and Evangelical blogs alike parsed every word and action of Dr. Beckwith, either rejoicing at his move or trying to divine the "real reason" behind his conversion. Now we can hear the full story in his book, "Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic."

As a former Evangelical who converted to Catholicism over 15 years ago, I was eagerly anticipating Dr. Beckwith's book. I was especially intrigued that he continues to consider himself both Evangelical and Catholic, designations I've retained as well. Then when I saw that two former professors of mine - Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, a prominent Evangelical, and Dr. Scott Hahn, a prominent Catholic convert - had both endorsed this book, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible.

I was not disappointed. It was difficult to put this book down: personal, humorous, and engaging, "Return to Rome" is a marvelous account of one man's journey back to the faith of his fathers. Nothing in the book is new when it comes to doctrinal debates, although Dr. Beckwith's erudite style admirably adds to the Protestant-Catholic discussion. The real value in this book comes from Dr. Beckwith's charitable attitude towards his non-Catholic brothers and sisters, and his continued admiration for (and attachment to) all that is true and right within Evangelicalism. The danger for the convert is that he rejects not only the errors of his past, but that he also rejects even those things that are good and beautiful about his former way of life. Dr. Beckwith does not fall into this trap.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Jan P. Dennis on November 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
In one sense, there's no need for a book like this to be written. The tale of a prominent Protestant ethicist and philosopher, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, returning to the communion of his youth, the Roman Catholic Church, really isn't news; this kind of thing goes on quite regularly--Evangelical Christians becoming Catholic, and Catholic Christians becoming Evangelical.

What is unique about this story is that Francis Beckwith wants to continue to be considered as an Evangelical even as he returns to his Roman Catholic roots.

How does that work? Isn't there a great divide that separates Evangelicals from Catholics?

Not necessarily, says Beckwith, and, one might add, a growing number of ecumenically minded Christians, from both sides of the aisle, so to speak. For example, from the Protestant side, you have Brian McLaren, with A Generous Orthodoxy, in which he claims that, as a Protestant Christian, he is free to adopt the Catholic liturgy (or at least portions thereof) as his rightful patrimony, as well as Mark Noll's interesting book, Is the Reformation Over?, not to mention D. H. Williams's exercise in Evangelical Ressourcement, Evangelicals and Tradition. From the Catholic side you have books like Louis Bouyer's Spirit and Forms of Protestantism and Word, Church and Sacraments, as well as Jean Guitton's great and irenic book, The Church and the Gospel.

What does all this mean?

For one thing, it means that the divided Church is a scandal, per se. In a sense, it doesn't even matter who's to blame: the mere FACT of the divided Church brings scandal to Christianity. The question is, how to get it back together?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
A couple of years ago Francis Beckwith created a small sensation in Christian circles when he decided to return to the Catholic Church while still the president of the Evangelical Theological Society. This book is his account of the events and deliberations that prompted him to make such a move. Even though the book focuses on this particular move, it is filled with theological and personal reflections that can be of interest to many who are interested in the role that Christian life plays in America in the past fifty years. Like most conversion stories, this book narrates both the personal experiences and theological reflections. This is not a triumphalist book that will try to pound a particular doctrinal message, but a frank and honest reflection of someone who tries to live his Christian vocation with integrity and sincerity. Rather than stressing the discontinuities between his two lives as a Catholic and one as an Evangelical protestant, Beckwith portrays all of these transitions as part of his spiritual and intellectual growth. He is very charitable and respectful of all of his erstwhile Evangelical Protestant colleagues, and tries to maintain good relations with them. He also makes a powerful case that there is nothing intrinsically contradictory in being an Evangelical and being a Catholic, and a chapter in this book is dedicated to making an argument for inclusion of Catholics in Evangelical Theological Society. He maintains also that there are many things that faithful Catholics can learn from Evangelicals, and hopefully this book can serve the purpose of bridging the gap between those two sometimes-estranged communities.
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