Recent Questions

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Will a WELS pastor marry, in a WELS church, a WELS member and a person who belongs to a different Christian church?

Yes, our pastors can officiate at weddings in the scenario you described. Our pastors would especially look forward to offering pre-marital counseling to the individuals planning to be married, involving them in discussions on, among other topics, the challenges that their different church affiliations can bring to their marriage. If you have more specific questions, Continued.

In the Old Testament it doesn't seem clear to me that there is a heaven and hell as distinctly referred to in the New Testament. The Old Testament refers to the dead going down to the pit and it is described almost as a place of nothingness or non-life. It also doesn't seem like heaven is the clear goal as it does in the New Testament. Can you share some insight on this please?

You are observing correctly that, with regard to hell, the Old Testament writers used words that could mean “the grave,” “the condition of being dead” and “hell.” The immediate context determines how the words are best translated. Old Testament writers clearly taught that people who rejected the only true God and the Messiah he promised Continued.

My relative has asked me to officiate their wedding, which I am really excited about doing for them. However, becoming certified to officiate a wedding has made me nervous as all I've seen are some online free options that don't seem to align with WELS. Does WELS offer anything to certify someone to officiate a wedding without being a pastor? Or would it be considered that I agree with all of the denomination's practices if I became certified through them?

WELS does not offer certification to enable individuals to officiate at weddings. Since governments regulate marriage, governments also stipulate who can—as agents of the government—officiate at weddings. Regulations vary from state to state. Ordination is not always a requirement. You will want to find out the requirements of the state in which you live. Your Continued.

How do I submit a song for the hymnal? (If you are still looking.) Thanks.

Submissions are still being received at this time. It is anticipated that submissions will no longer be received sometime this summer or early fall. This link will take you to the WELS Hymnal Project web site. Once there, look for the “Public Submissions” option. Be sure to look at the top of the home page Continued.

2 Peter speaks about the new heaven and new earth. What does that mean exactly? I understand that the earth will be destroyed, but a new heaven too?

What will be helpful is understanding that “heaven” can also be translated as “sky.” Cf. Genesis 1:1. It might be beneficial to read a column in Forward in Christ that addressed a question like yours. This link will take you to that column. Your question about the future is an encouragement for us to look Continued.

In the new heaven and new earth, who lives where?

Your question is referencing Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; and Revelation 21:1. The Bible tells us that God is preparing a wonderful, perfect eternity for us, but does not get into specifics like your question is seeking. The most important part of our eternity is that we will spend it with God. He guarantees Continued.

Why do some pastors get a call so frequently? They get a call, turn it down, and then get another one like 4-6 months later? Seems to be too frequent.

From a human perspective, pastors might receive calls frequently for a number of related reasons. They might be known for their God-given gifts and their faithfulness in using them. They might be blessed with a good reputation in the church. They might offer more visible service to the church at-large, so that others—beyond the members Continued.

Could you please provide me with some insight or explanation on Revelation 4:1-11? Thank you!

While there are many details in Revelation chapter four—some of which are easier to understand than others—the overall meaning is that the apostle John was describing a vision of heaven that God granted him. In the vision, John witnessed the majesty of God in heaven. He saw the faithful people of God standing in the Continued.

I was talking to someone who said they go to the Jesus Church. He said that people in other churches are not baptized because the Bible says we need to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and he gave me these verses from the Bible: Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48, Acts 19:5, Romans 6:3, and Galatians 3:27. I know that Jesus said to baptize in the name of the Father, Son , and Holy Spirit. How can I explain these verses to him?

As you noted, Jesus instructed his followers to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Those are the words you will hear at Baptisms today. The passages cited in your question do not tell us that the disciples baptized with different wording, substituting “in Continued.

I was baptized and confirmed in the ELCA. I have recently become engaged to my fiancee, and she is WELS. She graduated from Martin Luther College and is now a called synod worker. I have heard from many that she is "at risk" for dating and getting engaged to someone who is not WELS and could lose her job. Is this true? I don't want her to lose her job because of me, but I am also "stuck in my ways."

If your fiancée were a student at Martin Luther College (MLC), her engagement to you would delay any assignment until the fellowship situation was resolved. That is the practice, in Christian freedom, that our church body has adopted. We have no general policy regarding single graduates from MLC who become engaged and marry while serving Continued.

Is there a WELS review of the novel "The Shack"?

We do not generally provide reviews of books or movies. It is possible that a WELS pastor has written a review of the book. Your pastor may be aware of such a resource.

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