Recent Questions

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According to the Bible, which individuals were taken directly to heaven?

The Bible tells us that Enoch (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) entered God’s presence in heaven without experiencing physical death.

Some churches do not baptize infants, but they dedicate them. Where do they get the idea to dedicate children instead of baptizing children?

The practice of those churches stems from their false doctrines. Some churches might dedicate children and not baptize them because they reject what the Bible teaches about original sin. The Bible teaches that we are sinful from the moment our life begins (Psalm 51:5; John 3:6; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3). Some churches might dedicate children Continued.

Doing a google search for the Greek word baptize, I get the word "baptizo" or "to immerse." Is this the correct translation?

In the last centuries of the Old Testament era, the Greek word “baptizo” did mean to “immerse.” By the time the New Testament was written, that word described the application of water that included immersing, washing and pouring. This illustrates how the etymology and initial usage of a word is one thing, but current usage Continued.

When my niece was 3 or 4 years old, my grandma was really sick and on hospice. My niece had never met her, but while we were on our way to see my grandma, my niece told her dad that grandma had died and she was happy now. She says that my grandma came to visit her. I know that the dead don't come to visit after death, but is it possible that my grandma came to see her before she went to heaven?

God, of course, can do anything. While God miraculously relocated Philip after he baptized the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:39-40), we do not look for or demand that God act in similar ways today. Having been very young once ourselves, you and I both know that it can be challenging at times for a young child Continued.

Is there any reason that I should not choose cremation?

There is nothing in the Bible that prohibits cremation. It lies in the area of Christian freedom. There was a time when some voices in the Christian church cautioned against cremation. In a day and age when some unbelievers utilized cremation as a way to defy God (“Let’s see if this supposed God can put Continued.

I am a practicing WELS member and would like thank all those who take time to answer so many interesting and challenging questions on this website. I follow the Q&As closely and have grown in my faith as a result. Considering this, can you tell me if all questions are posted and answered, or do you exclude some that may be inappropriate given your audience? Also, is there a team of people that answer questions or is it limited to one or two?

It is encouraging to read that you are finding value in the questions and answers section of the synod’s website! All questioners receive a response via email, and the great, great majority of questions submitted are also published on the website. A question and answer does not appear on the website if the questioner makes Continued.

You hear the word "evangelical" thrown around in the media as a generic word for a conservative Protestant. What does it mean that the WELS is evangelical?

The following excerpts from a column in the April 2007 Forward in Christ address your question nicely. “Some of our congregations retain the name ‘Evangelical.’ They put Ev. as part of their name. Perhaps many people have no knowledge that Ev. is short for evangelical. Because it’s a long word, sign makers find it hard Continued.

Is there any insight into what happens to a baby that is miscarried or stillborn? Are there specific references in the Bible that lead to your answer?

The Bible does not specifically address your question. The Bible teaches that people are conceived and born with a sinful nature (Psalm 51:5; John 3:6). The Bible teaches that faith in Jesus saves, while unbelief condemns (Mark 16:16). The Bible teaches that God works faith through his gospel (Romans 10:17). Since the Bible does not Continued.

I'm curious to know why the definition for "sorcery" changes in Galations and the book of Revelation. In these two books it is a Greek word, pharmakeia. In the other books of the Bible, throughout the NT and OT, it's a Hebrew word meaning witchcraft. Why does this change? In the Book of Revelation it states how all the nations will be deceived by the sorcery (Greek) of men (18:23). Can you please offer some insight into this?

The Greek word pharmakeia has the idea of “the administering of drugs; poisoning.” The word then came to be associated with “sorcery, magic and the magic arts.” The word occurs only three times in the New Testament: Galatians 5:20; Revelation 9:21 and Revelation 18:23. The New International Version (2011) translates the word as “witchcraft” in Continued.

I was wondering about raffles, tag sales and other type events in the church. I was raised in the conservative Lutheran church and our churches were always self- supporting, which I still favor. What is WELS' view on this? Is it just an opinion of man all of these years that giving come from the church rather than sales to the public to help support them?

There is no synodical policy on the activities mentioned in your question. Differing local circumstances can lead to different practices. What I can do is pass along some observations from personal ministry experiences. What congregations will want to keep in mind is the impression given by such sales. Congregational fundraising in the community can reinforce Continued.

I'm just curious as to the average reimbursement that organists may be getting for playing for a service. Our congregation is in the process of possibly modifying our policy in this area. We currently pay the organist/pianist $30 per service. Thank you.

I do not believe I will be able to help you much with your congregation’s assessment and planning. It has been years since WELS last surveyed congregations regarding the honoraria they provide their organists. A number I can reference is what the Synodical Council recently approved for reimbursing congregations when their “personnel need to be Continued.

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