I noticed a question on WELS Q&A with regard to the image of God being lost at the Fall of Man and restored in Christians. While I completely agree that the image of God referred to in Genesis 1:26 was lost in the fall and that man is now born dead in trespasses and sin with no righteousness of his own, I also see a different usage of the image of God used in Genesis 9:6, which I believe still sets humans apart from other life...one with intellect/will etc., though because of sin these are born without righteousness. I agree with Paul E. Kretzmann when he comments on this verse: "For in the image of God made He man: murder is a violation of the image of God in man, which the Lord intends to restore in all those that are renewed in faith, and which He wants all men to put on. In a wider sense, therefore, man bears even now the image of God, since he is a rational creature and has an immortal soul." Would I be allowed to hold to this view and still remain in fellowship with a WELS congregation as long as I recognized that some hold a different interpretation here and did not attempt to force my opinion on those who disagree? Thank you for your input.
The quotation you supplied illustrates a portion of an answer to a previous question on this subject: “While there are some Lutheran theologians who speak of people still being made, in a limited sense, in the image of God insofar as they have intellect and will, it is more consistent with Scripture to say that the image of God was lost through the fall into sin and is restored in Christians.”
The attitude you described—holding to an interpretation like this, while not forcing it on others—would not be a barrier to membership in one of our congregations. Your concern to avoid divisiveness (Titus 3:10) is commendable.