Questions on Witnessing

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How should our WELS congregations view active, non-WELS Christians within their communities (i.e. Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic, ELCA, etc)? I’ve discussed this question with several WELS pastors through the years. In regard to fellowship practices, it's been unanimous that the beliefs of such Christians are spiritually dangerous and we should guard ourselves against giving any suggestion of unity or support to their beliefs. However, in regard to evangelism practices, I've received differing viewpoints from pastors. Some view such Christians as evangelism prospects because what they believe is spiritually dangerous and may even have eternal consequences. Others see such Christians as children of God and heirs of eternal life, so they are not evangelism prospects for our WELS congregations. Some even say it would be “sheep stealing” to make such Christians evangelism prospects. How does WLS teach pastors to view non-WELS Christians in regard to evangelism practices? Should our congregations and pastors regard them as evangelism prospects, or simply “sheep of another pasture”?

While I am a graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), I do not teach there.  Since you were interested in knowing what Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary specifically teaches future pastors about evangelism practices with regard to “active, non-WELS Christians,” I asked for a response from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.  The following response is courtesy of Professor Daniel Continued.

Since we have no choice when it comes to becoming a Christian, i.e, we cannot choose to say "yes" to the Gospel, nor can we choose to believe even after the Gospel is presented to us, and God does all the work in conversion, then why do we evangelize since God decides who He will convert?

Your question touches on the subject of predestination (Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:2).  While God has revealed in the Bible that he has chosen his children from eternity, he has also revealed in the Bible that he brings the elect to faith through the gospel (John 3:5; Continued.

How should our WELS congregations view active, non-WELS Christians within their communities (i.e. Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Catholic, ELCA, etc)? I’ve discussed this question with several WELS pastors through the years. In regard to fellowship practices, it's been unanimous that the beliefs of such Christians are spiritually dangerous and we should guard ourselves against giving any suggestion of unity or support to their beliefs. However, in regard to evangelism practices, I've received differing viewpoints from pastors. Some view such Christians as evangelism prospects because what they believe is spiritually dangerous and may even have eternal consequences. Others see such Christians as children of God and heirs of eternal life, so they are not evangelism prospects for our WELS congregations. Some even say it would be “sheep stealing” to make such Christians evangelism prospects. How does WLS teach pastors to view non-WELS Christians in regard to evangelism practices? Should our congregations and pastors regard them as evangelism prospects, or simply “sheep of another pasture”?

While I am a graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), I do not teach there.  Since you were interested in knowing what Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary specifically teaches future pastors about evangelism practices with regard to “active, non-WELS Christians,” I asked for a response from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.  The following response is courtesy of Professor Daniel Continued.

Do you think that it may be wise for a Christians to read the Qur'an for educational purposes? Thank you.

It certainly can be educational to read the “primary sources” of other religions.  In this case, such educational reading of the Qur’an can help equip Christians in their witnessing to Muslims. If you are interested in a book that provides a brief overview of the Qur’an, accompanied by a biblical response of law and gospel, Continued.

How do I talk to a Muslim about Jesus?

Your brief, important question requires a lengthy response—and probably lengthier than appropriate for this forum. Probably the best help I can provide is directing you to a very useful book by the title of “Speaking the Truth in Love to Muslims.” There may be a copy in your church library. If not, the book and Continued.

Hi, I'm still a fairly new WELS member. I was wondering how to concisely explain what it means to be a WELS Lutheran to someone asking what the denomination is. I understand what we believe but I find it hard to quickly sum up. Thank you.

A concise explanation is going to vary from one person to another, and the information I want to pass along to you would probably not fit the definition of being concise. In addition, the explanation of what it means to be a WELS Lutheran would undoubtedly be more meaningful to people if you came up Continued.

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