Recent Questions

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Why did Jesus have to suffer such an horrendous death to forgive us our sins if it was he who forgave us our sins to begin with, assuming he is God? Why didn’t he just forgive us?

Jesus is God. Our Catechism teaches us that Jesus has divine names (Luke 2:11), he has divine attributes (John 1:2), he is responsible for divine works (cf. his many miracles) and he is to be given divine honor (John 5:22-23). God explains in the Bible that he is a just and loving God. His justice Continued.

What are the differences between the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod? And, as a follow-up, is it true that Lutherans from different synods cannot take Communion in a Wisconsin Synod church?

The main differences fall in the categories of church and ministry, the application of fellowship principles and the roles of men and women. There are many essays on the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Essay File that provide a history of the relationship between the two synods. This link will take you to those essays. You might Continued.

Is it the will of God that the Jews would reject Jesus Christ in order for the gentiles to have salvation? Will the Jews go to hell for rejecting Christ?

God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). God wants “everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). It is people who reject God (Matthew 23:37). The apostle Paul explained that the Jews’ rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ resulted in the expansion Continued.

What is "heaven"?

While Bible writers use “heavens” to refer to the sky and the earth’s surrounding atmosphere (Genesis 1:1; Revelation 21:1), the Bible ordinarily speaks of heaven as that place where God reveals himself in all his glory and where his children can see him face-to-face.

I have noticed that some Catholic families utilize a "holy water font" (i.e. a hanging vessel on the wall near the front door containing holy water to bless oneself with upon entering the home) in their homes. I am wondering if this is something Martin Luther did, and if the current leadership of the WELS church has any opinions about it. The concept of it seems appealing to me but I also don't want to be taking part in anything that is not biblical. I'd like some direction on this; thank you!

Water can certainly remind Christians of the waters of baptism, but the Roman Catholic Church’s understanding and usage of “holy water” goes far beyond that. The Roman Catholic Church considers holy water to be a “sacramental.” That church’s Catechism defines sacramentals as “sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly Continued.

In one of the creeds I remember saying in school and church that Jesus, after he died, descended into hell. Could you please reference some Bible verses so I can understand this better?

In the Apostles’ Creed we confess about Jesus: “He descended into hell.” The scriptural basis for Jesus’ descent into hell is 1 Peter 3:18-20: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. Continued.

What are your thoughts on the book called “Two Books Against the Papacy” written by Nicolas Hunnius and Balthasar Meisner? I noticed that Northwestern Publishing House or Concordia Publishing House didn’t have this book. Is there a theological reason to this?

I am sorry, but this question and answer forum does not have the capability of providing book reviews. I cannot speak for Concordia Publishing House, but Northwestern Publishing House has a review process that involves individuals who read books from other publishers and then pass along recommendations on whether or not such books can be Continued.

I am a conservative Episcopalian in an ever-liberal leaning church. I recently attended a WELS service and was deeply impressed by the pastor and my familiarity with the service. If I decided to change my affiliation (after 78 years), what would be the necessary steps? What would be the major (intellectual) changes I would have to make? Thank you for your attention and anticipated response.

You will want to talk to the pastor of the WELS church you visited. He will explain the route to membership. A very common route is attending a Bible Information Class. The class will offer an explanation of the Bible’s main teachings. Upon completion of the class, you would be given the opportunity to acknowledge Continued.

How can I best explain to a friend the difference between the Old Testament laws that no longer apply to us ( like women covering their heads) and those that still apply, which address questions like women voting, or helping lead worship. She equates all of these. How can I best direct her in God's Word for better understanding?

The “Light for our path” column in the May 2014 issue of Forward in Christ addressed a question very similar to yours: “Old Testament laws are often quoted on Facebook as still being applicable. I would like to let people know from the Bible that this is not correct. Where can I start?” The beginning Continued.

Who determines how often we have Communion at church? Pastor or congregation?

You may have congregational documents (Constitution and Bylaws) that spell out details like these. It could be that the pastor and the Board of Elders propose a schedule and then report to the Church Council and/or Voters Assembly for ratification or to pass along that information. Congregational members might be surveyed to indicate their preferences Continued.

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