Monday, June 07, 2010

Francis Beckwith: ETS Shows Sympathies for the Catholic Canon: Swan

Here's a blog post by James Swan on about Francis Beckwith related to his views on the proof for the Roman Catholic Canon.
CORRECTION: My explanation of Francis Beckwith's statements was inaccurate. He was not attempting to prove the Catholic Canon, but was "assessing the ETS statement of belief and whether a Catholic could sign it in good conscience."


Francis J. Beckwith said...


I am not defending the Catholic canon as the correct one, though I in fact believe the Catholic canon to be the correct one. I am in fact discussing an entirely different question. I am assessing the ETS statement of belief and whether a Catholic could sign it in good conscience.

Part of my assessment involves the ETS' suggestion that the Chicago Statement sheds light on what "the Word of God" means (including, presumably, the scope of the canon). The Chicago Statement, I note, seems ambiguous on this question, for it contains no list of canonical books and includes the unhelpful suggestion that the OT canon "appears had been fixed at the time of Jesus." What stands out about the statement is its modesty and caution. Thus, it seems sympathetic to the Catholic canon in so far as it does not rule it out and that many "at the time of Jesus" held to non-Protestant OT canons including what has come to be known as the Catholic one. Perhaps this why the Chicago Statement claims that it only appears "it had been fixed." This sort of caution was rare in the inerrancy debates of the 1970s and 1980s.

The defense of the Catholic canon qua canon is a different question, and no doubt an important one. But it is not the focus of that small section of my book. The focus of that was the ETS statement of belief and what it would allow in principle.

Thankfully, that portion of my book was republished as a journal article last year and is fully accessible online here: relevant section is on pages 130-133)

Thank you for your interest in my work.


Jennie said...

Thank you for clarifying that, Francis. I was struggling to explain the subject matter in a short sentence, and should have taken more time to be accurate.