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Question & Answer
Faith Related Q and A

» How come WELS pastors don't teach about the book of Revelation? I keep hearing we are currently living during "end times" and that it is near, but they don't expand on the teaching of the book. If I'm living it, I want to learn more about it and it is too complex to understand on my own.
The book of Revelation is a subject of WELS teaching and preaching. It is not a book of the Bible that we ignore. If your church has not offered a Bible study on the book of Revelation in some time, do talk to your pastor about that. If you would like to read what some WELS pastors have written about Revelation, this link will provide you with plenty of good reading material. In addition, this link will show you what materials on Revelation are available from Northwestern Publishing House.

» I asked Satan for material possessions of this world. Will he give them to me?
Negotiating with Satan is a losing proposition. Any worldly gain is meaningless if it means spending eternity with him in hell. “Resist the devil” (James 4:7) is the Bible’s instruction on our interaction with Satan. If you are seeking something for life, go to God in prayer. He answers prayer with our best interests in mind. Recognize that Satan seeks only to devour and kill (1 Peter 5:8). Resist him with the armor God provides (Ephesians 6:10-17).

» I am a follower of Jesus Christ and am at odds as to what I should do. My granddaughter is living with a guy and they need things for the apartment. I have been asked if I would help her. I Know this is a sin and so does she. We were all raised in and believe the word of God. My question is how to show the love of Christ. I don't want her to think I am here to judge her. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Praying you are able to answer my question.
What can be helpful in your situation is that you and your granddaughter are in agreement on how you both view her situation. Your dilemma is trying to determine how to give your granddaughter consistent messages of God’s love for her, your love for her and God’s will for holy living (1 Thessalonians 4:7). One course of action would be for you to explain to your granddaughter that you, in good conscience, cannot assist her in her situation. This would be applicable if you believed you would be guilty of sinning against your conscience (Romans 14:23) by assisting her financially. You could affirm your love for your granddaughter but explain the reasons for not assisting her. One of the challenges with this course of action is trying to keep the lines of communication open with your granddaughter in the future. Another course of action might be to provide assistance of some kind that does not go towards the maintenance of her shared apartment. Could there be a way that you express to your granddaughter your thoughts on the living arrangement and also provide assistance of some kind only for her? The limited information I have prevents me from going any further with this possibility. You can certainly point your granddaughter to Jesus’ words of “seeking first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) and the Lord’s promise of taking care of the needs of people who do put him first in life. Sometimes people get involved in live-in situations for financial reasons and budgetary concerns. With Matthew 6:33 in mind, I like to remind people that God has his own math system for taking care of his people’s needs. Finally, if your granddaughter is a member of a church, her pastor needs to become involved in the situation. This can alleviate some stress in your life. God bless you with wisdom, love and strength!

» Are there courses that can be taken to prepare one to do ministry in assisted living homes?
“Geriatric and Care Facility Ministry” is an online course offered through the WELS Chaplain Certificate Program. Course delivery is through Martin Luther College. This is the course description: “A team-oriented approach to ministry for people who are aging or residents in care facilities. Provides both knowledge and skills for congregation members to provide spiritual care for homebound and institutionalized.” This link will show you when the course is scheduled to be offered in the future.

» Is the pastor considered a member of the church and does he have voting rights at a congregational meeting?
A pastor is a member of the congregation to which he has been called. A church’s constitution and bylaws spell out if a pastor has voting rights—at various meetings of the congregation—or if his status is advisory.

» I have a few questions. It appears we do not affirm the Chalcedonian Creed. Is this because of the Mother of God part? Do we affirm Theotokos? I am sure we would in light of Mary being the Mother of Jesus incarnate and only blessed by God but in no other way special in terms of sinful human nature. Finally, in the Athanasian Creed I love it all except this part: "And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting." We are so strong in our confessions in justification through Christ alone, so how can we say that? I understand it says in Matthew, "Those who have done good will rise to live, but those who have practiced evil will rise to be condemned." (EHV) But that is only because of faith in Christ.
We recognize that the Council of Chalcedon (481 A.D.) formulated helpful statements on the person of Jesus Christ. We accept the term Theotokos (“the one who bore God”), since the child born to Mary was Jesus, the Son of God (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31-35; 2:11). The phrase from the Athanasian Creed you cited reflects the language of Scripture regarding God’s judgment of humanity (Matthew 16:27; John 5:28-29; Romans 2:6-10; 2 Corinthians 5:10). God certainly judges what is in the heart. It is faith in Jesus Christ alone that saves, and it is unbelief that condemns (Mark 16:16). Salvation is entirely God’s doing; we do not contribute to our salvation in any way (Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:11; Ephesians 2:8-9). Scripture explains that saving faith and condemning unbelief manifest themselves in people’s lives. And so on the last day, the Lord will point out the good works that Christians have done and the sins that unbelievers have committed (Matthew 25:31-46). Those good works of Christians were not the payment for their salvation; the good works were the evidence of Spirit-worked saving faith in Jesus who paid the penalty for their sins. The sins of unbelievers will be singled out because they rejected the only means of forgiveness for their sins. We could think of the sentence in the Athanasian Creed (“Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into eternal fire.”) this way: “Those who believed in Jesus as their Savior—and saving faith always produces visible fruit—will enter eternal life, but those who rejected Jesus—such people cannot perform good works, nor do they enjoy forgiveness of sins—will go into eternal fire.” Your question illustrates the helpfulness of providing explanatory comments when using the Athanasian Creed in our worship services.

» Hello. I was born, raised, and confirmed in an AALC church. After moving, I have been attending my local WELS church. I genuinely enjoy the services, however, I fail to see any differences in beliefs between my old church and this church. What are the core differences? Additionally, I have struggled understanding the view of the WELS church on Communion. As somebody who views the Bible as truth, and knows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and their Lord and Savior, it pains me to watch those who share the same beliefs with me receive Communion, while I cannot. Can you guide me to where the Bible teaches that anyone should attempt to dictate who comes to the Lord's table?
The history of the American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) began when twelve congregations of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) did not participate in the formation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Those congregations formed the American Association of Lutheran Churches in 1988. In 2007, the AALC entered into altar and pulpit fellowship with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). WELS and the former ALC did not agree in areas like biblical interpretation, church fellowship, and church and ministry—just to name a few. Those same items are barriers to fellowship between WELS and the AALC. In addition, since the AALC is in fellowship with LCMS (and WELS is not), WELS cannot be in fellowship with the AALC. Because the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is an expression of oneness in faith (1 Corinthians 10:17), our pastors seek to present a genuine picture of unity in faith through the biblical practice of closed communion. That practice also has the purpose of ensuring, as far as humanly possible, that those receiving the sacrament will do so to their benefit and not their harm (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). I encourage you to speak to the pastor of the WELS church you are attending. He can explain the means through which church membership can be established, making available the reception of the Lord’s Supper. God bless you.

» Why is it that Christians are so quick to condemn playing video games that contain violence like Call of Duty, yet are so honoring and supportive of Christians serving in the military? I understand that the Augsburg Confession states that Christians can be soldiers, and I agree with this. I just don't get why if serving as a solider is not sinful and an honorable thing, why would it be a sin to play a video game like Call of Duty where you pretend to be a solider?
God’s fifth commandment has the purpose of protecting life and prohibiting murder. God has that concern for a person’s life because when earthly life comes to an end, so does that person’s time of grace (Isaiah 55:6; Hebrews 9:27). In the Bible, God explains that only he (Deuteronomy 32:39) or his representatives (Romans 13:4) have the right to end a person’s life. If soldiers, in defense of their country and in service to God’s representatives in government (Romans 13:1-4) take the life of another person, that is not a sinful act. In the case of some video games, virtual killing is presented as entertainment. Each Christian will have to determine the appropriateness of being involved in those games. What games like those can certainly do is desensitize people to violent loss of human life and to devalue human life. Recognizing that the images and sounds that reach our minds can affect us, it is no surprise that the Bible gives this instruction: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). It would be helpful for Christians of all ages to ask themselves if the entertainment they are engaged in passes the “Philippians test.”

» My question concerns women serving in the church. The WELS model constitution cites Acts 6:1-6 as the scriptural support for choosing church officers and board/committee members. Verse 6:3 reads "Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom." Is Paul endorsing the women's participation in a role of leadership by helping choose the deacons? If so, why doesn't that apply to women's roles in the church of today? Also, they are to choose men. Does being a man fall under the phrase "with like qualifications?" I doubt the people who wrote the model constitution ever envisioned the issue of women serving would be the issue it has become, which leads me to my next question. It is perhaps best suited for the Synod parliamentarian. I believe the authors' intent in the sections concerning councils and boards etc. was to limit the positions to men. How does Synod interpret the model constitution concerning this matter? I realize the COP is working on new model constitutions addressing women's proper role concerning service in the church. I look forward to reading the Bible study they are putting together for approval at next summer's Synod convention. However, I would appreciate clarification concerning the document currently in use. Thanks!
The current WELS Model Constitution simply references Acts 6:1-6 without including the text. The verse you cited and quoted does illustrate how some Bible translations like the New International Version moved from a translation of “brothers” (1984 edition) to “brothers and sisters” (2011 edition). The significance of Acts 6:3-5 is that the apostles delegated the selection of the seven men to the congregation in Jerusalem. As with any congregational matter, the church would have addressed this situation with the roles of men and women in mind. For an answer to how the Synod interprets “the model constitution regarding this matter,” I would refer you to the “In the Church” section of the “Man and Woman Roles” doctrinal statement. This link will take you to that statement. Finally, do be aware that the Conference of Presidents is not “working on new model constitutions addressing women’s proper role concerning service in the church.” What the Conference of Presidents is working on is an updated statement and accompanying Bible study on the roles of men and women. The October 15, 2019 Together newsletter provided information on those materials.

» My friend who is a Christian has been using sage. I always thought sage and dream catchers were bad. Should we use those and should I tell her if not?
What I do not know is how your friend might be using sage. If the usage involves superstitious practices like you mentioned, then it is certainly appropriate for you to speak to her. As Christians, we look to God for our safety and strength (Psalm 46:1).