Recent Questions

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I know that every doctrine in the Bible is important because all come from God. My question is, what doctrines must a person believe to be considered Christian? (For example, there will be Catholics in heaven who died trusting in Christ as their Savior, while there will not be Mormons in heaven since their doctrines involving Christ are not scriptural.) Is there a "key doctrine list" somewhere?

The apostle Paul’s answer to the jailer of Philippi’s question highlights a doctrine that is absolutely essential for salvation: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior—justification through faith alone, by grace alone—is necessary for salvation. Saving Christian faith recognizes Jesus Christ as the Son Continued.

What does the Bible teach about tattoos? A friend quoted Leviticus 19:28. Said the Nazi's used this as a reason to tattoo Jews since it was forbidden by God. Thus, Christians should not get tattoos. I said it was part of the Levitical laws pertaining to the Israelites and does not apply to New Testament Christians. The person was stunned that parts of the Bible no longer apply to us; felt strongly that all of Scripture applies to us.

As it turns out, the March 2017 “Light for our path” column in Forward in Christ will address a very similar question. So as not to provide a spoiler, I will pass along a brief response in this forum. You are correct in noting that the instruction in Leviticus no longer applies to New Testament Continued.

The lectionaries used in Lutheran churches don’t cover the whole Bible, not even the New Testament. Doesn't this contradict the instruction to preach God’s whole counsel if so many Bible passages are never preached on?

If Lutheran Churches follow the ILCW three-year lectionary series, they will offer readings from 57 of the Bible’s 66 books. That is a good amount of variety. Of course, when pastors preach on one of the readings, they will very likely refer to or quote other sections of Scripture. That means that worshipers will be Continued.

Should I feel guilty or let leaders of my current congregation make me feel guilty if I want to move away and be closer to my adult children? There is a WELS church where I am moving to, so why do I get the feeling from others that I am doing something wrong?

There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be closer to your children, so there is no need for you to feel guilty about leaving your current congregation and transferring to another one of our churches. In addition, there is no reason for others to put you on a guilt trip about relocating. If others Continued.

Is Time of Grace WELS or parasynodical?

It is a parasynodical organization. That terminology describes organizations and ministries that do not receive funding from WELS’ ministry financial plan (budget) but are in doctrinal fellowship with WELS. It is listed in the “Church-Related and Charitable Organizations” section of the WELS Yearbook.

I've read the archived answers to WELS opposition to Scouting. Are there any new findings or factual changes in Scouting that make our past opposition no longer applicable? Can a student be confirmed into the church if he/she is a member of the Scouts?

I am not aware of any changes in Scouting that have removed reasons for our concern. The oath of doing one’s duty to God—however God is defined—remains. In fact, recently-updated Scouting requirements place even more emphasis on the oath. The FAQ available through this link explains that emphasis. The Scouting oath is a first commandment Continued.

Is Canon in D appropriate music for a WELS wedding ?

It is safe to say that over the years musicians have played Canon in D at many weddings in WELS churches. (It was even the processional when my wife and I were married.) If you or someone you know has plans for marriage in one of our churches, a conversation with one of our pastors Continued.

Was Luke a follower of Jesus, because he is not listed as one of the twelve apostles?

We have little information about Luke. You are correct in noting that he is not listed as one of the twelve apostles. Luke himself explains that he was not an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 1:2). At some point, God brought Luke to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Luke accompanied the apostle Paul on his Continued.

A friend says he doesn't and can't believe in God. His reasoning is a paradox - "If God created everything in the world, and he is only good, where did 'evil' come from and the fallen angels, i.e. Satan? God must have created 'evil', or, God doesn't exist." I must say his argument is compelling for a weak believer or an unbeliever. In fact, I've seen others accept his argument and reject God's word.

The Bible tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). “In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11). At the end of the sixth day of creation, God pronounced everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31). All Continued.

RE: Today's Online Devotion 12-28-17 Once again, I am puzzled, confused, and troubled when reading Romans 13: 1-5. In particular the words, "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong." History is littered with governments and leaders who abused the innocent or otherwise are peaceably going about their business doing what is right, and the peoples rising up to throw off the yoke of oppression. Certainly our own United States nation was formed from a rebellion against established authority. Yet, on the Sunday near the 4th of July, I don't hear sermons or prayers condemning the actions of our forefathers, but rather, (rightfully) giving thanks for our country and government. It seems like we are preaching and teaching out of both sides of our mouths. While we certainly acknowledge our governmental leaders, past and present, are sinful and flawed human beings capable of error and mistakes, I think in general we say our country has always tried to do "good" in the general sense, given the particulars of any given point in time. I would like to think Paul was qualifying the type of government God wants us to obey. If we were to read the morning news and find out that the people of North Korea were rising up in an attempt to overthrow the regime, would we pray for the rebellion to be quashed, or would we rather see it as God's hand at work? I think the latter. I would welcome your response. Thanks!

Rather than with only a celebratory attitude, there is reason to look back at the formation of our country with some concern. Was the Revolution justified? There was not agreement among Christians—then or now. Not all the actions of the colonists can be lumped together into a category of “right” or “wrong.” There was mob Continued.

Would you please explain 1 Corinthians 15:29? "If the dead are not raised at all why are people baptized for them?" I believe the dead in Christ will be raised when Jesus returns, but I don't understand the "baptizing of the dead" part. Thank you.

If you were to read the commentary on this verse in The People’s Bible (1 Corinthians, pages 149-150), you would find this: “Our first impression is that early Christians practiced vicarious baptism; one person could be baptized for another and thus could transfer his salvation to another. But the Bible clearly teaches that each person Continued.

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