An extract from a Washington Post story by Alan Cooperman on May 12, 2007, Evangelical Leader Returns To Catholicism - Move Reflects Narrowing Gap Between Denominations:
The president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), an association of 4,300 Protestant theologians, resigned this month because he has joined the Roman Catholic Church.
The May 5 announcement by Francis J. Beckwith, a tenured associate professor at Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Tex., has left colleagues gasping for breath and commentators grasping for analogies... Beckwith, 46, said in a telephone interview that he had expected some repercussions in academic circles but was stunned by the public response. He said strangers have called him at home to berate him, and that his Internet server was overwhelmed by 2,000 e-mails a day to his personal Web site, which in the past seldom generated more than 90 a day.
...Beckwith is not the first, or even the most prominent, evangelical to switch to Catholicism in recent years. Others include Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), theologian Scott Hahn and the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the journal First Things. On the other side of the equation, the Catholic Church has been losing droves of ordinary worshipers to the Pentecostal form of evangelicalism, particularly in Latin America.
Beckwith said his decision reflects how dramatically the divisions between evangelicals and Catholics have narrowed in recent decades, as they have stood shoulder to shoulder on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and school vouchers. The stormy reaction, however, is a reminder of the gaps that remain, particularly on such theological questions as whether to baptize infants and how human beings gain "justification," or righteousness in the eyes of God.
(See also Beckwith's story in his own words and the 500 comments on his blog.)