Thursday, May 25, 2006
Guest Blogger: Frank Marron (Lutheran)
From time to time I’d like to have some other voices take the helm. If you'd like to be involved- feel free to send me a testimony or a short essay at Tertiumquid@msn.com.
I have greatly appreciated the writing and comments of Frank Marron. Frank has been stopping by this blog from the beginning, and I also dialoged with him on a Lutheran discussion board last year. His comments are always insightful and provocative. He has sent me a few articles that I plan on posting in the next few days.
Below is a short biography he gave on this blog earlier this week:
I was born and raised in a loving and devout Roman Catholic family. Today I am a communicant member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. As I reflect back on my life I recall many obstacles I encountered in leaving Roman Catholicism. In general these impediments were unfounded fear of the unknown: I knew that Protestants believed in Christ but somehow lacked the “fullness” or more complete revelations of Christian faith. I looked upon the many and various facets of Roman Catholicism, such as the heavy emphasis upon the long traditions of the church, reverence for past saints, the beautiful liturgical services, etc….
The break with Roman Catholicism started when my young wife and I requested our youngest child be baptized. The young priest insulted us unknowingly by saying that members of his congregation would have to testify that we were not degenerates! To a young couple this was a total insult. Eventually we attended a Lutheran Church and began reading the bible. Over time the Word of God began to change our perspectives and thoughts – from looking outward at the church to looking inward at our sin and need for a Savior. Through the Word of God we became Christocentric rather than church-centered.
It took time for my personal viewpoints on the virgin Mary to change. For the longest time I simply could not come to believe that Mary, although special in view of her child-the Christ, was similar to all human beings-a sinner in need of the Savior. Eventually my views on Mary changed and were also conformed by the Word of God to that of Christ-centered theological beliefs. But it took time.
Looking back over the years, I liken this change to a person who has been deprogrammed from a cult. My initial reactions were those of tremendous animosity at having been deceived for so many years. Eventually my attitude mellowed and now I look at my Roman Catholic family and friends as fellow Christians, but carrying heavy baggage with them in the form of false teachings and myths and legends.
As a Lutheran, I consider myself catholic, in the historic sense of that word. All the beautiful liturgy and history of the church is part of my inheritance. As my Lutheran Confessions state, I am a member of the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints. Although the similarities with Roman Catholicism exist, such as vestments, liturgies, infant baptism, the True Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, confession and absolution, the differences are striking. I am not a Protestant in the normal sense of the word. I am a Lutheran, an Evangelical Catholic. As Martin Luther and his fellow Reformers of the 16th century believed, we have retained the beautiful traditions and practices of the historic Christian Church and have eliminated only those contrary to Holy Scripture. We did not “throw out the baby with the bath water”.
Although the Roman Catholic Church has the Gospel and sacraments, the incorporation of many unscriptural practices and beliefs has often clouded the Word ofGod, resulting in a confusion between Law and Gospel. From my Lutheran perspective, the failure to properly distinguish between Law and Gospel is the primary reason for disagreements between Christians in general, resulting in a weakening of assurance.