As someone who is considering converting to the Catholic church, I've been reading any number of books on Catholocism and have become a regular watcher of EWTN's The Journey Home. Earlier this week I watched the Journey Home show with Francis Beckwith and listened with great interest as he detailed his journey back to the church of his boyhood. I was so intrigued and captivated by his ability to so clearly articulate his reasoning that I immediately went to Amazon and ordered his book RETURN TO ROME: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic. I was not disappointed.
Beckwith not only provides the story of spiritual journey from boyhoode to the pinnacle of his Protestant career as President of the Evangelical Theological Society but also provides the logical progression of his thought as he finally undertook a careful examinmation of his Protestant beliefs against Catholic teachings. In the end he realized that returning to the Catholic church was his only choice and he did it with grace, humility, and love. Beckwith clearly is in debt to his Protestant years and the spiritual knowledge he gained and it is only with love and respect that he explains how he finally had no other choice but to fully embrace the Catholic teachings. For him it was not an either/or position. Rather it was a matter of coming into a an even greater understanding of what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be able to fully receive the sacraments provided by the Catholic church.
I'll admit I found the first 75 or 80 pages a bit slow but once Beckwith gets to the really important stages where he examines the differences and the likenesses of the Evangical teachings to the Catholic Church that the book really takes off. From then on my pencil worked as fast as my eyes swept down the pages taking in all he had to say. If you're considering the Catholic church or if you're just curious about the process one man underwent on his journey to becoming Catholic, you're bound to enjoy this book. Another interesting tidbit about Beckwith is that he is still part of the faculty at Baylor University. Catholic or Protestant, Beckwith will give you something to think about.