In early 2018 the Conference of Presidents (COP) decided to produce a restatement of Scriptural Principles of Man and Woman Roles, the WELS doctrinal statement adopted in 1993. The decision to produce a restatement was not meant to question or debate the doctrine, nor was it merely a reaction to any specific challenge to the doctrine. The COP viewed a restatement as an opportunity for congregations and called workers to restudy and reapply this important doctrine.
The COP commissioned a study committee to begin the work of producing a restatement. Professor Rich Gurgel and President Earle Treptow of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wis., and Rev. Bart Brauer, Emmanuel, Phoenix, Ariz., agreed to serve on the study committee, with Marilyn Miller, chair of the WELS Women’s Ministry Committee, serving in an advisory capacity to give input and feedback.
The study committee began its work in August 2018. The committee first studied together the biblical passages that teach about the relationship of male and female. The committee also reviewed the 1993 doctrinal statement and the numerous documents from the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s that led up to the 1993 statement. As it began to prepare the statement, the committee sought input from the doctrine committee of the COP, the faculty of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, and other district leaders to help state as clearly as possible this biblical teaching.
The restatement on the doctrine of man and woman is now available. The restatement seeks to help called workers and laypeople revisit the beauty of God’s design for male and female and seek anew to put that design into practice in their homes, their churches, and their callings in the world. The restatement also gives clear testimony that WELS is still committed to the biblical doctrine that the synod resolved to uphold in 1993. An accompanying Bible study is also available online.
The COP desires that congregations go through the Bible study together and that pastors use the Bible study in their circuits and conferences. So that we all share a clear confession and maintain a spirit of unity, the COP is seeking feedback and input from called workers and laypeople as they view the restatement and use the Bible study in preparation for district conventions in June 2020. This comment box will allow individuals and groups to provide direct feedback to the COP through the spring of 2020. Each district will also provide a summary report of the discussions that take place at the district conventions. After the COP has considered the feedback and the discussions at district conventions, the COP plans to present a restatement on the doctrine of man and woman to the synod convention for adoption in the summer of 2021.
May the time invested in studying the Word reopen all our eyes to the beauty of what God has made and lead us all to greater joy in serving our Savior together!
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder
Read the restatement of Scriptural Principles of Man and Woman Roles online.