Earlier this year Frank Beckwith stepped down as president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). His actions were the right thing to do as he returned to the Roman Catholic Church, IMO. But maybe I and others who agree with me were wrong. Upon reading CT's short q&a State of the Society with ETS's current acting president, Hassell Bullock, I can't help but wonder if it would really matter had Beckwith stayed in office.
When asked about the current debates on justification and the hopeful outcome.
Since the doctrine of justification was the "watchword" of the Reformation, and thus the one doctrine, perhaps above all others, by which Protestantism distinguishes itself from its Catholic and Orthodox communions, it is only wise that we should talk about it and try to understand why our understanding distinguishes us from other Christian brothers and sisters. <emphasis mine>
If the doctrine of justification doesn't matter so that the Gospel isn't affected in anyway and we're all brothers and sisters in Christ then why couldn't Beckwith stay? What difference would it really make?
As for discussing Beckwith's resignation. I think this further strengthens my questioning of his resignation.
The executive committee issued a statement that we considered to be honest and balanced. We wanted to respect Professor Beckwith, a brother in Christ, while lamenting his loss to our society and to Protestantism more generally.
If the doctrine of justification doesn't matter in the ETS then why not just admit it? It almost seems a smoke screen to say that he should have stepped down, but he's still our brother in Christ as the Gospel wasn't affected.
p.s. I am only using Beckwith as a real life example not meaning to single him out.