Questions on Christian Living

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I know that Jesus died for my sins, but I'm worried that I don't actually have the Holy Spirit? How do I know? Can you suggest some Scripture passages that would give me comfort when I am unsure?

From the information you provided with your question, I take it that you not only “know” that Jesus died for your sins but that the Holy Spirit has led you to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Knowledge of Jesus is one thing, but Spirit-worked faith is what brings into our lives all the Continued.

Is gambling always sinful? What about gambling as entertainment when safeguards are in place?

When asking your question you clarified that you do gamble but limit the frequency of the activity, limit the amount of money put at risk, and maintain fiscal responsibility in your giving to the Lord. You want to view gambling as an acceptable form of entertainment that offers at least relatively harmless excitement, but you Continued.

What is the WELS stance on joining Boy Scouts and why?

The Boy Scouts are among the most respected organizations in this country, and the skills, activities, and companionship which they offer could be a benefit to any child. Yet for more than 70 years the Wisconsin Synod has warned its members that their children should not participate in the Scouting program. Our basic objection to Continued.

Are WELS girls able to participate in the Girl Scout program as it currently stands as an organization? Please give doctrinal position. Thank you.

The Girl Scouts organization is not an option for WELS girls as long as the Girl Scouts’ Promise and Law are the foundation of the organization.  The website of the Girl Scouts currently states:  “Everything in Girl Scouting is based on the Girl Scout Promise and Law.  The Girl Scout Law includes many of the Continued.

I was recently diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder. My doctor says I have a chemical imbalance in my brain and prescribed anxiety drugs, but so far I have refused to take them. I feel that my faith is very weak for giving into these fears and anxieties. What does God say about the use of these drugs?

God’s Word does not speak directly to the topic of taking medication to alleviate anxiety. What it does do, however, is speak in terms of “principles” that guide in making such decisions about medication. Applicable principles would be to love God (Matthew 22:37-38) and to love others (Matthew 22:39). If your anxiety interferes with your Continued.

What happens on judgment day to a believer who constantly criticizes others, blames everyone else for his problems, and refuses to forgive others by always bringing up their past wrongdoing?

I cannot say definitively what will happen on the Last Day to this constantly critical person because I cannot look into his heart. He may be a weak or immature believer reminiscent of the Corinthians with their habitually bad behavior (see 1 Corinthians 1:11; 3:1-3). Or he may be an unbeliever whose profession of faith Continued.

What is considered justifiable anger? When sin is involved, is justifiable anger only reserved for positions in authority? Can you please give me Scripture to reference? For example, when a child is abused by their parent, is their anger justified?

The Bible does not label all anger as being sinful.  Jesus had justifiable or righteous anger when synagogue worshipers refused to answer his question whether or not it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath day by healing an individual (Mark 3:1-6) and when he cleansed the temple courts of money changers and merchandisers Continued.

Should we forgive others for all sins they may commit against us? If they show no remorse or repentance, are we still to offer our forgiveness?

The topic of forgiveness is prominent in Scripture. Thanks for highlighting this subject with your question. Forgive fully and unconditionally A number of passages indicate we are to forgive unconditionally, whether or not others express repentance, show remorse, or offer any apology. Please read these thoughtfully. Matthew 6:14,15 instructs us to forgive human beings with Continued.

Is is sinful to drink alcohol?

An appropriate starting place is to allow Scripture to determine whether drinking alcoholic beverages is a sin or if it is something neither commanded nor forbidden, that is, a matter of Christian freedom. This particular point is not difficult to determine. There is no prohibition in the Bible that declares drinking a sin in and Continued.

Jesus gave up EVERYTHING for us. Jesus also asked his disciples to give up EVERYTHING, even their families and they did. What does that mean for those that are "believers" that don't give EVERYTHING? Jesus himself said, for those that don't give EVERYTHING cannot be my disciple. I don't know a single WELS believer or anyone from any denomination that has done this.

I understand your question to be referencing Luke 14:33 – “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”  If that verse were simply isolated and pulled out of context, it would look like we all need to live ascetic lives in order to be Continued.

A middle-age unmarried man and woman recently moved into the neighborhood and expressed interest in joining our church. Would they be welcome to join a WELS congregation and allowed to receive Holy Communion? Thank you.

It would be good if you could put your pastor in contact with these individuals.  Your pastor will be able to talk with this man and woman about issues related to this situation of living together without the benefit of marriage (Matthew 18:6-7; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; Hebrews 13:4).  Where sin is confessed, he Continued.

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