- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

Evangelical returns to Catholicism

DALLAS — The head of the Evangelical Theological Society has returned to the Roman Catholic Church and, as a result, has stepped down from his post with the evangelical group.

Francis J. Beckwith, associate professor of church-state studies at Baylor University, said his resignation as president and as a member of the society was effective May 5.

The Evangelical Theological Society was formed in 1949 to promote conservative Bible scholarship and now has more than 4,000 members. “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant,” its doctrinal statement says.

In a statement Tuesday, the society’s executive committee said Mr. Beckwith’s decision to leave was the right one, in light of theological differences between evangelicals and Roman Catholics. The committee cited Catholic teaching about the infallibility of some pronouncements of a pope on church dogma and the Catholic inclusion of the Apocrypha in the church’s Scriptures.

Mr. Beckwith was accepted back into the Catholic Church on April 29, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waco, Texas. He said he was persuaded to return to Catholicism after a friend suggested he read the early church fathers and Catholic works on justification, about how sinners are transformed to a state of holiness.

Evangelicals plan a third congress

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Conservative Christians are planning a world evangelism summit modeled on the 1974 Lausanne Congress that at the time was considered the widest-ranging meeting of Christians ever held.

The Third International Congress on World Evangelization is scheduled for Oct. 16-25 in Cape Town. Organizers say the event will consider new evangelism strategies in light of shifts in the global population of Christians. Christianity is growing dramatically in the developing world, while many churches in Western countries are losing strength.

The 1974 Lausanne Congress was led by the Rev. Billy Graham and drew more than 2,700 traditional Christian leaders from 150 countries. Participants in the meeting drafted what is known as the Lausanne Covenant that described the theological basis for world evangelism.

In 1989, 3,600 leaders from 190 nations attended Lausanne II in Manila.

Man throws pie at Episcopal pastor

COLORADO SPRINGS — A teenager faces potential criminal charges after throwing a cream pie at the pastor of a breakaway Episcopal parish as the cleric was leading Sunday worship.

The pastor of Grace Church and St. Stephen’s Church, the Rev. Donald Armstrong, was reading a Church of England sermon called “Of Christian Love and Charity” at the time. He ducked and the pie missed him.

The man, Marcus Hyde, 18, tried to escape, but parishioners chased and caught him. Tim Chambers, a parishioner who witnessed the May 5 incident, described it on his blog, tbc.livejournal.com, saying, “This act was hateful. It was an invasion of sacred space.”

According to a police report, the suspect said he was passing judgment on Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Hyde declined to comment when reached by phone, saying he needed to talk to a lawyer first.

The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado late last year had moved to suspend Mr. Armstrong while it investigated charges against him of financial misconduct. Mr. Armstrong has denied wrongdoing.

The pastor returned to the theologically conservative parish in March, when church leaders voted to leave the liberal-leaning Episcopal Church. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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