Recent Questions

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What does the white stone in Revelation 2:17 mean?

It is a picturesque way of speaking of “justification.” To justify means “to declare ‘not guilty.’” Jurors in biblical days voted by putting a black stone (for guilty) or a white stone (for innocent/not guilty) in a receptacle. Revelation 2:17 puts in memorable style what the Bible says elsewhere, that God, the righteous Judge, has Continued.

Do FAQs on the site reflect the official teachings of the Wisconsin Synod? They are sometimes used by our detractors on social media sites, but should they be cited in defense as "official teachings"? On such issues as (salvation and suicide), isn't there diversity of opinion and teaching within the WELS pastorate?

Below the area where people submit questions on this website, there is this information: “The answers provided through this Q&A service are not to be construed as the official opinions, statements, or representations of WELS. Answers provided through this Q&A service are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to replace consultation with Continued.

Is skiing an acceptable hobby for a Christian? I heard someone say it is too dangerous for a Christian.

Unless we are talking about skiing blindfolded or taking other risks that might tempt God (Matthew 4:5-7), snow skiing or water skiing can be acceptable and enjoyable hobbies for a child of God. Certainly, for the novice, either sport can present dangers.

I stumbled across a discussion online where someone claimed that the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls contain a much shorter version of the story of David and Goliath, where Goliath is about three feet shorter and many details are omitted. Is this true, and if so, why?

Where the details differ is in the height of the giant. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) lists Goliath’s height as four and one-half cubits instead of six and one-half cubits. So you have a difference between a translation and a canonical writing. Height details aside, the biblical account is all Continued.

What is the WELS stance on women's role in society, i.e., should women supervise men in the workplace and what is the stance on gambling, i.e., lottery tickets?

Your first question requires a much longer response than is appropriate for this forum, so let me steer you to a couple of resources that can offer a thorough response and detailed explanation. This link will take you to a free resource titled “The God-Given Roles of Man and Woman in the Christian’s Everyday Life.” Continued.

Would it be proper for a concerned friend or relative to privately baptize a child whose parents, though raised in the Lutheran faith, have been negligent in doing so?

Our normal practice is not to baptize children without the consent of their parents, unless the child’s death is imminent. That practice recognizes that parents have primary responsibility for the spiritual care and upbringing of their children (Ephesians 6:4). I would encourage a conversation with the parents. If they were raised “in the Lutheran faith” Continued.

What teachings of the Assemblies of God churches do not agree with our teachings?

An answer to a previous, similar question pointed out these differences: 1) The Assemblies of God churches teach that faith is a condition of salvation rather than teaching that faith is the way God has chosen for us to receive salvation. The implication is that an unconverted, sinful human being must “decide” for Christ. WELS Continued.

In today's current climate, is it appropriate for a pastor and congregational leaders to be vocal supporters of the NRA, host trainings for current/potential gun owners on church property, and post signs stating that the church property is protected by armed security? Should we be portraying our church to our community as a "Pro-Gun Church" and isolating members/visitors that disagree politically? How can this be addressed without hurting anyone's feelings? Thanks!

These are matters that are best addressed at the congregational level. Your congregation might be in a rural setting where there is a long-established culture of hunting; it might be in an urban setting where there is a high crime rate. As churches and schools react to the shootings that have taken place across our Continued.

Why is sin being viewed differently at churches, even in WELS churches, in today's world? It is accepted. God plainly states sin is sin and he hates it. The whole idea of adiophora has become for many pastors and religious leaders an excuse to sin. The Bible may not say anything about gambling being wrong, but it is an abuse of God's money, given as a gift and God wants that money to be managed properly. To say it is okay to gamble for whatever reason is to say that God doesn't care how we use his gifts.

When it comes to adiaphora (those things that God has neither commanded nor forbidden), people might reach different, conscientious decisions on concluding whether something is right or wrong. The early Christians in Rome (diet and special days, Romans 14) and Corinth (meat sacrificed to idols, I Corinthians 8) illustrate that. The Bible does not specifically Continued.

Why and when did the clergy go from the black robe to the white robe and stoles? Years ago the pastor wore black, as it was a sign of humility. What is the thought process of this change?

Christian Worship: Manual, the companion book to Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal, has a helpful section of information (pages 95-104) that addresses your question. Here are some excerpts: “During the first four centuries after Christ, pastors did not have the custom of wearing special clothes for worship…The alb became the customary worship vestment only as Continued.

I have a co-worker who said you don't have to go to a church service to believe in God. I replied that believing in God, you would want to gather together with like -minded believers to worship. What passages could I use to reinforce my position?

You could use sections of Scripture like Psalm 84, Psalm 122:1 and Hebrews 10:23-25 to demonstrate that it is God’s will that his children gather together in his house for worship. We want to recognize that our sinful nature wants nothing to do with God or his word. Our sinful nature rebels at any opportunity Continued.

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