Hello. I was born, raised, and confirmed in an AALC church. After moving, I have been attending my local WELS church. I genuinely enjoy the services, however, I fail to see any differences in beliefs between my old church and this church. What are the core differences? Additionally, I have struggled understanding the view of the WELS church on Communion. As somebody who views the Bible as truth, and knows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and their Lord and Savior, it pains me to watch those who share the same beliefs with me receive Communion, while I cannot. Can you guide me to where the Bible teaches that anyone should attempt to dictate who comes to the Lord's table?
The history of the American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) began when twelve congregations of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) did not participate in the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Those congregations formed the American Association of Lutheran Churches in 1988. In 2007, the AALC entered into altar and pulpit fellowship with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS).
WELS and the former ALC did not agree in areas like biblical interpretation, church fellowship, and church and ministry—just to name a few. Those same items are barriers to fellowship between WELS and the AALC. In addition, since the AALC is in fellowship with LCMS (and WELS is not), WELS cannot be in fellowship with the AALC.
Because the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is an expression of oneness in faith (1 Corinthians 10:17), our pastors seek to present a genuine picture of unity in faith through the biblical practice of closed communion. That practice also has the purpose of ensuring, as far as humanly possible, that those receiving the sacrament will do so to their benefit and not their harm (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
I encourage you to speak to the pastor of the WELS church you are attending. He can explain the means through which church membership can be established, making available the reception of the Lord’s Supper. God bless you.