Recent Questions

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Does God send signs to us in our daily lives (through coincidences, dreams, etc.) about specific decisions we should make, sins to avoid, etc.?

There are in narratives in the Bible that describe God communicating to people through dreams (for example, Matthew 1:20). Nowhere has God promised to communicate in the same manner today. The means through which God communicates to you and me is through his word, the Bible. There he tells us which sins to avoid and Continued.

What happens to people who do not believe in Christianity due to a lack of exposure? (For example, people who may live remotely, or people who are of a different religion and have never been exposed to Christianity.)

God reveals his existence by means of what we call the “natural knowledge of God.” Through creation (Psalm 19:1-4) and conscience (Romans 2:14-15), God makes it known that he exists. While people cannot bring themselves to saving faith, God’s purpose with this “natural knowledge” is that people would “seek him and perhaps reach out for Continued.

Can a WELS pastor date/marry a member of the church where he preaches?

There is no scriptural prohibition for our pastors to date or marry a woman who belongs to the congregation where he preaches. (That was actually my father and mother’s situation.) What both parties will want to recognize is the potential for awkwardness if the relationship does not lead to marriage.

I am having a hard time grappling with the healing stories in Scripture. Jesus and the apostles healed people physically, mentally, spiritually, in every way. There are numerous passages and we are expected to accept them at face value. We also read in John 16:24 and many other passages that we are to ask in Jesus' name and we will receive. My disabled adult son almost died three years ago from a severe heart infection. In fact, he was under hospice care for three weeks until he started to get better, without any real treatment. Many people were praying for him. People in our church were calling it a miracle. He was put on a minor heart failure drug and for several months evidently had no problems. Then we came to learn he had advanced kidney disease, and he requires catheterization four times a day, which severely limits his ability to travel or do anything in a "normal" way. He has had numerous urinary tract infections since then. His life has drastically changed, as has ours. My wife and I are getting on in years and are very fearful for his future. I feel like the "miracle" was a joke, as now, he is sicker and more disabled than he ever was before the heart problem. I've been praying for his physical healing, also for wisdom to know God's will for him. I am getting nothing. Can you help?

You are correct in noting that the healing miracles in the Bible are true; they did take place. Then, again, what we need to keep in mind is that all those people on the receiving end of God’s miraculous power experienced death (and those who were raised from the dead experienced death a second time). Continued.

On the mount of transfiguration did Moses and Elijah have glorified bodies? Elijah went to heaven without dying, but Moses died (Deuteronomy 34:5-6). Also in 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 we are told those who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes again. Can you please shed some light on this?

In his account of the transfiguration, the evangelist Luke tells us that Moses and Elijah “appeared in glorious splendor” (Luke 9:31). Those men appeared to Peter, James and John with bodies that reflected the heavenly glory they were enjoying. 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 does speak of Jesus’ resurrection and the resurrection of Christians. Verse 23 speaks Continued.

If I enjoy watching TV and movies that contain sinful ideas (sex scenes, drug and alcohol use, violence, etc.), am I also sinning? Should I be repenting for watching and being entertained by this?

Repentance is called for when we think of our natural sinful condition and when we sin in thought, word or deed. Repentance is called for when “entertainment” leads us to lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:28). What we read, watch and listen to does have a positive or negative effect on us. So, when it comes to Continued.

I have been WELS all of my life, raised, baptized, confirmed, and have been to many WELS churches and attending multiple schools. I have been taught so many times that faith alone saves. Why do we say faith alone if we also seem to say that faith and repentance saves? Is it faith alone? Or is it faith and repentance? And let's throw in baptism, too, while we are at it. Is it faith alone or not?

It is faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-6). It is helpful to keep in mind that the Bible uses “repentance” in a narrower and wider sense. When the Bible combines “repentance” and “faith” (for example, Acts 20:21), then “repentance” means “contrition, sorrow over sin.” That is the narrower sense of repentance. The wider sense of Continued.

The confessions speak of Mary as Semper Virgo (always-virgin) in the Smalcald Articles [24]. What defense do we have of this? Can I be a called worker if I don't agree with this portion of the Book of Concord?

Your question is one that numerous people over the years have asked. Below is a good response from an essay titled “Why Bible-Believing Lutherans Subscribe to the Book of Concord.” “…critics of the confessions often raise the charge that the confessions teach the perpetual virginity of Mary in Article I, IV of the Smalcald Articles. Continued.

I want to know when altar cloths change and to what color.

Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) offers a free, downloadable church year calendar that shows very clearly what colors are associated with the days and seasons of the church year. This link will take you to the section of NPH’s website where you can access the calendar. While the calendar mentioned above is for the 2018-19 church Continued.

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