Supporting other churches

What is WELS' stand on donating to the red kettle Christmas for salvation? Is it OK for a WELS school to ask Salvation Army (SA) for names of families that we can provide for through school children's gifts? What if some of our school children already have received gifts from SA unbeknownst to our leaders, but those families never ask for help from our church.

Your question is one that people can ask at this time of the year. Here is part of a response to a similar question.

The charitable work of the Salvation Army is linked with the mission of that church, which is driven by their false doctrine. That is important to keep in mind. The work they do is in line with the mission of their church.

The Salvation Army is a self-described “holiness movement,” placing greater emphasis on the Christian’s life than on what God has done for people through Jesus Christ his Son. The Salvation Army rejects the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

2 John 10-11 (“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”) instructs us not to support those whose teachings are contrary to Scripture. That applies to the church in your question. That applies to any church that holds to false doctrine. While we can appreciate the tenacity of the bell ringers of that church at Christmas time, we recognize that providing financial support is support for their mission. We refrain from providing that support.

There is no need to feel like a Scrooge by walking past the bell ringers. We can help meet the material needs of others (Isaiah 58:7; Galatians 6:10) through contributions to charitable agencies that are not tied to churches that hold to and teach false doctrine. We can give to our church body’s Christian Aid and Relief, for example.

In gratitude for God’s blessings and in compassionate concern for the material and spiritual needs of others, Christians have reason for charitable giving at Christmas time and every season of the year. Yes, “Let us all be cheerful givers To the glory of your name” (Christian Worship 577:3).

You would do well to encourage your church leadership to address your final questions.