Questions on Other Religions

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What is the difference between confessional Lutheran beliefs and the beliefs of Baptists?

We can only answer your question in a general way. There are between thirty and forty different kinds of Baptists in the United States alone, so they do not all believe and teach precisely the same things. But they have general traits that can be mentioned here. In most Baptist doctrinal statements there are portions Continued.

I would like to know the differences between what the Presbyterians believe and what Lutherans believe.

Just as all churches that bear the name “Lutheran” do not teach the same as other “Lutherans,” so not all churches that bear the name “Presbyterian” teach exactly the same. We can, however, speak of what Presbyterians believed historically and compare it with what confessional Lutherans believe. Historically, as strict Calvinists, Presbyterians taught that from eternity God Continued.

In what ways are Lutherans different from United Methodists?

There are many differences between the United Methodists and Lutherans. I will note some of the most basic. Following the father of Methodism, John Wesley, United Methodist theology is basically Arminian. The United Methodists teach that unconverted people have free will in spiritual matters or the ability to accept or reject God’s offer of salvation. Continued.

What are the big difference between Lutheran and Mormon beliefs?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the official name for Mormonism. Their television commercials are very appealing and family oriented, but Mormonism cannot be considered a Christian denomination. The Latter Day Saints deny the scriptural doctrine of the Trinity. They teach that there are many gods and human beings can become Continued.

What are the beliefs (briefly) of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and how do their beliefs compare to the teachings of WELS?

In the SDA statement of “Fundamental Beliefs” (http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.htm), you’ll find many fine things with which we would agree completely. Here are some of the SDA distinctives that we find troubling, however: Perhaps the “trademark” SDA emphasis–the teaching that, at Creation, God established Saturday as a mandatory day of rest for his people of all time Continued.

Was Peter the first Pope? Please explain WELS' take on the Catholics' assertion that he is. Thank you!

There is no biblical or historical basis for the claim that Peter was the first pope.  While the Roman Catholic Church might like to use Matthew 16:18 to support their belief that Peter was the first pope, those words say nothing of the sort. We actually find a play on words in Matthew 16:18.  Peter’s Continued.

I was raised a Presbyterian. Yet, about 22 years ago, I got involved with Mary Baker Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and Christian Science. I want to know if Christian Science is OK or not.The practitioners are all are very God-respectful, go to church and are very devoted.

Christian Science is not OK.  Be aware that its teachings are not Christian or biblical.  Consider some of the following false teachings found in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (and the pages where the information can be found): There is a denial of the Trinity.  “Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune Continued.

I am seeing Coexist t-shirts and bumper stickers. (These are bumper stickers that spell out the word “coexist” using symbols from various religions including Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Wicca, and Christianity – all in an effort to promote religious tolerance.) As a Christian, how should I react to this symbolism, and how can I witness to someone who displays this?

The popular and often-used “coexist” symbol merits our attention, appraisal, and thoughtful response. The symbol itself was originally a plea for religious tolerance, and today the focus has been somewhat broadened. The symbol is normally used to promote the idea that different religions, value systems, ways of life, and points of view should exist harmoniously Continued.

How is WELS different from other Lutheran Synods such as the MO-Synod and ELCA in doctrine (e.g. virgin birth, resurrection, baptism, marriage, errors in the Scripture, the Lord's Supper, Second Coming) and in practice (communion, pulpit fellowship, women pastors, congregational leadership, gay pastors, Boy Scouts, lodge membership)? Is there an available source where notable differences among these three Lutheran church bodies are addressed?

good resource I can recommend to you is a publication by Northwestern Publishing House (NPH):  WELS and Other Lutherans.   The book should answer the questions you have.  Another good resource from NPH is What’s Going on Among the Lutherans?  Finally, the online Essay File of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary has numerous papers that can address your Continued.

Why are the Muslims becoming so strong not only around the world, but also in America? That is an evil "so-called" religion. They are taking over more and more of our United States, and I wonder why God doesn't stop them. Thank you for your information, and God's blessings.

These factors are generally put forth as explanations for the growth of Islam in the United States:  a higher birth rate among Muslims and the immigration of Muslims to America.  Growth also takes place through intermarriage with Muslims. Early in its history Islam appealed to people because of its simplistic faith.  While Christians were debating Continued.

What is our position on Christian Science teachings?

The teachings of Christian Science are not Christian or biblical.  Consider some of the following false teachings found in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (and the pages where the information can be found), written by Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy: There is a denial of the Trinity.  “Life, Truth, and Love Continued.

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