Fr. Joseph Jacobson Photo by Chris Miller

Protestantism’s ‘fatal flaw’ draws Lutheran to Catholic Church

By  Chris Miller, Canadian Catholic News
  • April 11, 2014

EDMONTON - After almost 60 years as a Lutheran, Fr. Joseph Jacobson entered the Catholic Church.

Following his conversion, he prepared and privately published a 68-page volume titled A Gift of Love, The Joys and Treasures of a New Catholic. Its purpose is to give a serious account of why he became Catholic, and what he learned and experienced afterwards.

Whenever anyone wants to enter into a conversation about his conversion, he always requests that they first read A Gift of Love.

“It does wonders to enhance the quality of that conversation to our mutual benefit. It transforms into real sharing what might otherwise have been a mere butting of heads,” said Jacobson.

Born in Milwaukee in 1940, Jacobson is the son of a Lutheran pastor. He was ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1965 and got married the same year. He and his wife were blessed with two children.

After serving four parishes in Alberta and homeschooling in the early 1980s, in 1985 he was elected the first bishop of the Alberta Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

“Around 1990 some very tragic decisions began being made among Protestants,” said Jacobson. “Abortion is okay because we can justify it, and gay marriage is okay, and on and on it goes.”

He recognized that Protestantism is defective for not having a magisterium. The magisterium defines the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.

“Protestantism’s fatal flaw is the magisterium, and I say that with great sorrow because many individual Protestants have their own internal magisterium that’s pretty good,” said Jacobson.

“They have a way of regulating their faith by Scripture and the faith points of the Church they come from. They have a personal magisterium.”

It is a struggle in these God-denying times, he said, to be a faithful follower of Jesus and a member of God’s household. So he respects Protestants with their own personal magisterium because they stand up for something.

“But what Christ envisioned for His Church in terms of a magisterium no one else has except the Catholic Church, and that was my ‘Aha!’ moment,” he said, recognizing that Protestant churches seemed more influenced by the world’s prevalent trends than by God.

“When the spirit of the times can affect the Church more than the Spirit of God, anything is possible, and that’s where we (Lutherans) were at. I wanted us to be more focused on what Christ wants us to be, not what the world was pressing us to be,” Jacobson said.

More and more he struggled with his own theology.

“When the thing that is killing you is the thing you’re most proud of, what hope is there? Our people were most proud of being their own pope. They were most proud of being able to make their own decisions — and that’s what was killing them,” he said.

At age 58 and retired for four years, he realized that through his family life, his study and work, he had been drawn his entire life to the Catholic faith. He and his wife, Carolyn, were received into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2000. He was ordained a priest in 2007 and now serves as chancellor of the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan and parochial vicar of its cathedral parish.

(Western Catholic Reporter)

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