Questions on Social Issues

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In a society that stresses equality between men and women, why do most confessional Lutherans and other conservative churches choose to limit leadership and authority roles in congregations to men?

We do believe and teach that men and women enjoy equal status and importance before God. Both men and women were created in the perfect holiness of the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Although that was lost in the fall into sin when as both men and women we became equally sinful before God (Romans 3:23), Continued.

Why do some people say that homosexuality was not in God's plan for us, and that it’s a sin. I ask this question because there are a lot of individuals, men and women, who say that they've always been attracted to the same sex since they were kids. If it is a sin as some have preached and stated, why would God allow that to happen if he knew us before he came to be as he states in Jeremiah 1:5?

We say that homosexuality is not in God’s plan for us and that it is a sin because that is what the Bible says. Jeremiah 1:5 is about God knowing his plan to call Jeremiah as his prophet. It says nothing about God approving every one as they are. Sin has made people into something Continued.

Is it against God's plan for mothers to work outside the home? I am the mother of two children. I have been financially supporting our family since we have been married. My husband now has a pretty good job but makes about half of what I do. I always felt like God wanted me to stay home and take care of our children; however, I have never been able to do this. Is it okay for moms to work?

Neither you nor I will be able to find a Scripture passage that explicitly forbids mothers from working outside the home.  This is an area of Christian freedom and one in which a person’s conscience enters the picture as far as decision making is concerned. What I can do is list some questions for you Continued.

Is abortion a sin?

The Holy Scriptures clearly teach that the living, yet unborn, are persons in the sight of God (Job 10:9-11, Psalm 139:13, Psalm 51:5, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:41-44) and are under the protection of his commandment against murder (Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21, Genesis 9:6). Therefore, abortion is a sin unless it is medically necessary in order Continued.

I am looking towards Alcoholics Anonymous to help overcome a drinking problem. What is your opinion on AA? Would it be beneficial for a Christian to go to this group or not? Thank you

As a church body, we have concerns about the religious aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  In step number 2 of The Twelve Steps, there is acknowledgement of a “Power greater than ourselves.”  Participants in AA are free to define who or what that Power is. In step number 3 there is reference to “God as Continued.

Can homosexuals go to heaven and are practicing Christians supposed to love them?

A distinction needs to be made in answering your question.  “Homosexuals” can refer to Christians who struggle with temptation to engage in same-sex sins.  These individuals recognize the sinfulness of thoughts and actions that run contrary to God’s word that spells out that sexual relations are for men and women in marriage (Hebrews 13:4).  They Continued.

Is there a simple answer for why many "mainline" Christian denominations, including the largest Lutheran body in this country, either remain silent or now actually officially teach morality contrary to Scripture, e.g., abortion can be tolerated, homosexual marriage? Assuming congregation members are aware of and understand what's being taught, are they truly Christians? What about the leadership?

Much can be attributed to a denial of the authority of Scripture.  The clergy of the churches reflected in your question are trained in the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation.  That method rejects the verbal inspiration of the Bible and opens the door for people to say that the Bible contains mistakes, inaccuracies and contradictions.  Continued.

With all the changes of how people dress throughout history and more recently within the last 50 years of how women dress more like men, what is the view of men dressing like women? Is it OK for women to dress like men as it appears it is socially acceptable in society and when attending church? Is it OK for men to dress like women? Didn't the men and women in biblical times dress similarly? This question is in regard to cross dressing only without being involved in homosexual activities.

In Deuteronomy 22:5 God had instructed Old Testament Israel:  “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.”  The People’s Bible Commentary on Deuteronomy provides a good explanation of that command and a response to your question. “While this law might Continued.

In an age where homosexuality has gained acceptance among many, there is also more consideration for changing one's sex. What does the Bible say about such surgery and practices?

I would anticipate that in the future more will be written in our circles on this topic.  At the present time, I can refer you to a report that addresses your question and related questions.  The report is “Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria in Christian Perspective,” and was produced by the Commission on Theology Continued.

Gun ownership. To what extent might a believer in Christ defend himself against the physical threats to himself or his loved ones in this world today?

It is the “to what extent” phrase of your question that requires individual and conscientious application of biblical principles. Some Christians look to Matthew 5:39 and Romans 12:17 as absolute directives not to resist physical threats.  In their context though the verses advocate love toward others instead of seeking revenge. Others look to sections of Continued.

Is religious freedom vs. equality under the law as in the Kim Davis situation an issue whereby we must obey God rather than men, or is the believer subject to obey the law when elected to uphold the law?

The situation you are referencing is a good reminder of how challenging it can be when Christians live in two kingdoms:  the church and the state.  While God’s word guides life in the church, natural law and human reason are to guide life in the state.  Sometimes the state enacts laws that are contrary to Continued.

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