Recent Questions

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Why did Jesus have to be a man/male?

Without offering explanation, the Bible calls one person of the Trinity “Father” and another “Son,” and speaks of the Father “begetting” the Son (Psalm 2:7; Hebrews 1:5). Along with the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are eternal—having no beginning and no end.

In the Old Testament, God delivered many prophecies about the promised Messiah, his Son. Those prophecies included masculine pronouns. It comes as no surprise, then, that the angel Gabriel informed both Joseph (Matthew 1:21-23) and Mary (Luke 1:31) that the child born to Mary would be a son.

What a blessing it is to be able to call Jesus our Brother (Hebrews 2:11-12).

I would like to get a biblical view of the book "Twisted Scripture" by Andrew Farley.

I am sorry, but I am not in a position to provide book reviews. Perhaps your pastor can be of assistance in offering feedback on the book or recommending a reliable review.

What Scripture is used to deny women's suffrage?

Elsewhere on this website you will find This We Believe: A Statement of Belief of the WELS. The “Church and Ministry” section addresses your question on the basis of Scripture: “We believe that women may participate in offices and activities of the public ministry except where that work involves authority over men (1 Timothy 2:11,12). This means that women may not serve as pastors nor participate in assemblies of the church in ways that exercise authority over men (1 Corinthians 11:3; 14:33-35).” One of those assemblies is the voters’ assembly.

Do keep in mind that the relationship between women and voters’ assemblies does not speak to women’s status in God’s sight. Scripture says to Christians: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

You may be interested in reading Male and Female in God’s World, a restatement of Scriptural Principles of Man and Woman Roles. The document will address your question in greater thoroughness than I can with this question and answer forum.

While I know WELS tends to remain silent on anything political, I am wondering if WELS has looked into the organization Black Lives Matter. Thank you for your time.

The silence on the synod’s part that you acknowledged is applicable to your question. We trust that the members of our church body are equipped to evaluate organizations of any kind to determine any involvement on their part.

Through the office of our church body’s president, WELS recently issued a statement addressing the unrest in our country. The statement included these thoughts: “We ask God’s forgiveness for our own lack of love and compassion for our neighbors and for taking for granted the peace and freedom that God has provided to us. We ask God to confirm in us the conviction that racism in any form is contrary to the Christian faith and inconsistent with the love that God expects us to have for all. We pray for a government and for institutions that strive to see to it that all people are treated with equality and justice.”

At its meeting in October, the Conference of Presidents will be discussing these issues and how they might be addressed in keeping with biblical principles and our mission. Your question will be part of that discussion.

What are your thoughts on the Guideposts books and pamphlets? Thinking of buying some. Thank you.

As Guideposts was founded by Norman Vincent Peale and its content can still be influenced by his beliefs and teachings, you will want to read any information very carefully. The content is ecumenical in nature and often goes beyond the teachings of the Bible. I would encourage you to check out the wide variety of trustworthy materials from Northwestern Publishing House.

What is the WELS stand on hiring organists from outside of the WELS and ELS to play for worship services?

When it comes to organists who serve at regular worship services or special worship services, our practice is that those individuals be of our faith and fellowship. Why is that? We want to follow what Scripture says about doctrinal unity and our participation in activities in which we express a common faith (Romans 16:17). We want to send a clear signal that all teachings of the Bible are important (Matthew 28:20). We want to work together with fellow Christians when there really is a common confession of faith (3 John 8).

I can refer you to the following information from Church Fellowship: Working Together for the Truth. It is available from Northwestern Publishing House.

“Church musicians are public representatives of the church, with a prominent public role. They, therefore, should be members of the congregation or its fellowship.”

“Scripture teaches us that only people who agree with the teachings of the church should lead its services. Wouldn’t it be strange if we invited someone who did not agree with our beliefs to speak a message from God’s Word to us? Isn’t it just as strange to invite such a person to sing a message from God’s Word or to remind us of such a message by playing the melodies that bring it to our minds? For this reason, our practice is that we do not permit people from outside our fellowship to serve as organists and soloists during services of our churches.” (Pages 127, 130)

Can God still do miracles like in the Bible?

Certainly. Consider what the following Bible verses teach. “Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (Genesis 18:13-14). “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you” (2 Chronicles 20:6). “Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13) “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

These are some of the verses in the Bible that give Christians reason to confess, “I believe in God the Father almighty.”

I've been in contact for some time now with a fellow Christian. He frequently uses phrases like "the Lord spoke to me" and "the Lord put this on my heart." He comes across like he believes he is receiving direct messages from God outside of Scripture. To me, this doesn't seem to gel with what we read in Hebrews 1:1-2 - "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe." I've always understood that passage to mean (and have been taught as such) that we shouldn't expect direct revelation from God anymore, and we should only look to Scripture for God's answers to questions we might have. What's the best way to respond to someone who insists on saying that "the Lord spoke to me" or "the Lord put this on my heart?"

God of course can do anything. He can communicate to us any way he wants. The Bible describes instances when God did speak directly to people, through others and in dreams. The fact that God communicated in these ways in the past does not guarantee that God will do so in the future. We have no promise of God communicating to us beyond Scripture.

Hebrews 1:1-2, as you indicated, teaches that we have God’s full communication to us in the pages of the Old and New Testament. There is no need to look elsewhere for communication from God.

If there is a “voice” from God inside us, it is the natural knowledge of his law and a conscience that is guided properly by Holy Scripture. If there is a “voice” from God inside us, it is the new self—that part of us that is “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24)—that desires to live life according to God’s will.

It could be that your friend recalls or thinks of Bible verses at times. When he does that, he refers to the Lord speaking to him or putting something on his heart. That “speaking” is the recollection and application of God’s word.

Your question is a good reminder that we do well to focus on God’s communication to us through the Bible—and our communication to him in prayer.

I‘m a single mom that divorced a few years ago. I did not want to divorce but really had no choice in the matter since my spouse had already decided to give up on our marriage, have an affair, and not follow through with marriage counseling with our pastor or therapist. It breaks my heart that I have to allow my children to be exposed to their dad living with his girlfriend, as well as witness negative habits (excessive drinking, angry outbursts w/cursing at the children at times, and not always taking the kids’ needs or feelings into consideration). I have my older children in Christian counseling but having a dad that continues to not be a positive Christian role model takes a toll on these kids. I’m struggling finding the right Bible passages to help my child cope with having a parent that isn’t necessarily being a Christian role model. I do encourage them to always look to God the Father for hope, unconditional love, and loyalty because He will never let them down and he will always be there for them. I just wish I had more knowledge of verses to use as a reference to find comfort in knowing that parents make mistakes but they can always look to the Lord for everlasting love.

The Fourth Commandment teaches that God has placed his representatives in the home (Ephesians 6:1-2), the church (Acts 20:28) and the government (Romans 13:1-4). With an eye on the past and the present, it is clear that not all representatives of God represent him faithfully. There are parents—as you indicate—who are not good role models for their children. There are churches that teach false doctrine. There are government officials who are corrupt and even antagonistic toward Christianity.

While not all those people might represent God faithfully, all those individuals are in positions of honor as God’s representatives. Their character and actions might not engender respect and honor but their positions do. That is why, for example, the Bible includes an instruction like this: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right…honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13-14, 17). The emperor who was in power when Peter wrote those words was Nero—cruel, Christian-hating Nero. By no means did Nero deserve respect or honor because of his sinful actions. On the other hand, Nero occupied a position of honor. He was in that position because of God’s allowance (Romans 13:1-7).

We can find similar situations with God’s representatives in the home. A parent might not be deserving of honor because of his or her words, attitudes or actions, but the parent fills an honorable position. For that reason, honor is to be given to that person. The attitude we have toward God’s representatives reflects on our attitude toward God. Certainly, if a parent is guilty of sin, rebuke is appropriate.

When it comes to Bible passages you can share with your children, Hebrews 12:7-11 teaches that God’s “parenting” skills are far superior to those of earthly parents. Psalm 27:10 and Jeremiah 49:15 explain that God’s love for people is constant and faithful, even if parental love is not. Isaiah 54:10 promises God’s firm, unshakeable love for his children.

Besides reminding your children to continue to pray for their dad, encourage them to be good Christian examples for him. When you and your children let the light of your faith shine (Matthew 5:16), others will see it. God can then be glorified and others may join you in your praise of God.

God bless you all.

I am not a believer. I don't have faith, yet I am seeking God. Does sincerity and willingness to be saved matter to God? What does Isaiah 55:1-6 mean? Does that mean I should hear the Word to be saved? What does seek the Lord mean? I must turn from my sins and believe in Jesus? If I plead, pray, read the Bible, or listen to sermons, is this self-righteousness, and if not, what does Isaiah 55:6 mean?

I will put some references to Bible verses in my response to you. I encourage you to look them up.

What matters to God is saving faith in Jesus Christ, his Son. Such faith is God’s gift to people (Ephesians 2:8). The Holy Spirit creates saving faith in people’s hearts through the gospel (Romans 10:17).

In Isaiah 55, God invites spiritually thirsty and hungry people to come to him and be satisfied with the news of full and free forgiveness through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. If people do follow through on that invitation, it is only because the Holy Spirit has worked in their hearts (1 Corinthians 12:3).

Isaiah 55:6 (“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”) underscores the urgency of attending to our spiritual needs. This life is the only time people have to be brought to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. That is why the Bible says, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Because we never know when this life will come to an end (Luke 12:13-21), the Bible urges people to tend to their spiritual needs now, today.

Self-righteousness is present when people point to their own works or efforts as supposedly being meritorious in God’s sight. The Bible condemns that attitude (Luke 18:9-14). It is definitely not self-righteous for you to “pray, read the Bible, or listen to sermons.” Those are godly and important activities.

Considering your circumstances, I believe the materials and resources on WhatAboutJesus would be of great value to you. (The website is maintained by individuals within our church body.) Do check it out. Also, you would benefit by speaking to one of our pastors. To find the closest WELS church to you, consider using this locator tool.

God bless you as you explore God’s word and read about God’s great love for you in Jesus, his Son. May God’s Spirit, through the word, fill your heart with Christian faith and confidence.

Why are Lutherans opposed to the Gospel hymn "I Come to the Garden Alone"?

I think you would agree that we want hymns in Lutheran hymnals to present biblical teachings. The hymn in question does not do that.

Stanzas of the hymn use images of nature to describe hearing the voice of the Son of God. The refrain states: “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am his own.”

The Bible teaches that God speaks to us through his word. It is through his word that he tells us we are his. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Biblically-accurate hymns describe God speaking to people through his word. “God is speaking by his Spirit, Speaking to the hearts of all, In the ageless Word expounding His own message for us all.” (Christian Worship 281:3) “Lord, open now my heart to hear, And through your Word to me draw near.” (Christian Worship 281:1).

Solid Christian hymns assist us to sing and make music to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).

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