Question & Answer
Faith Related Q and A

» My husband died about 16 months ago at the age of 82. He had a twin sister who only lived two days. She was baptized. When his soul got to heaven, could he meet the soul of his twin sister? Would she still be a baby? At the time of the resurrection, will she be resurrected as a two-day-old baby? In answer to a similar question a number of years ago in a Bible class, the WELS pastor indicated the possibility of a baby who dies being in heaven as a healthy young adult and a person who dies at an advanced age being in heaven as in their prime of life years. Thank you.
Such a reunion that you asked about will certainly take place. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes the Lord gathering together those Christians who died and those Christians who are alive on the earth at the time of his visible return on the Last Day. When the Lord gathers together his Church, this truth remains: “And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). The Bible does not address the subject of resurrected bodies of Christians as to their appearance in earthly age. The Bible does teach this: “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). What was said in that Bible class is certainly possible with a God who can do all things. While we may presently lack answers to some of our specific questions about heaven, the Bible gives us enough information that we can “encourage one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). And so, receive my encouragement to continue looking forward to the time when God’s people will enjoy a perfect and glorious life with God—forever.

» Can a person be saved if they believe Satan is their scapegoat? Seventh Day Adventists teach this. They are careful to say that Satan is in no way a sin-bearer, but their prophet Ellen White wrote about this in The Great Controversy (Chapter 18, The Sanctuary). If a person reads Ellen White and believes Satan bears the final penalty for their sin, are they believing in a false Jesus who didn't complete their atonement?
That is a conclusion one might make, but that is a conclusion Seventh-day Adventists reject. They state: “Satan makes no atonement for our sins. But Satan will ultimately have to bear the retributive punishment for his responsibility in the sins of all men, both righteous and wicked. Seventh-day Adventists, therefore, repudiate in toto [their emphasis] any idea, suggestion, or implication that Satan is in any sense or degree our sin bearer. That thought is abhorrent to us, and appallingly sacrilegious. Such a concept is a dreadful disparagement of the efficacy of Christ and His salvation, and vitiates the whole glorious provision of salvation solely through our Savior.” (Questions on Doctrine, page 400). Without question, Seventh-day Adventist teaching fails to see the scapegoat on the great Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) typifying the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ. The larger problem is that Seventh-day Adventism fails to distinguish clearly between law and gospel. Ellen White, one of that church’s early leaders that you cited, wrote: “In the Law is embodied the same principle as in the Gospel.” The message of the law and the message of the gospel are in fact opposites. The law reveals our sin and our need for a Savior; the gospel shows us our Savior, Jesus. Jesus’ loud cry on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), reveals that the Lord successfully completed his soul-saving mission. His triumphant resurrection from the dead guarantees it (Romans 4:25).

» Are we to literally take the account of Eve eating a piece of fruit as the reason mankind deserves to die and suffer in hell? Thanks.
The genre of Genesis 3 is narrative. The content of the chapter records historical events. There is nothing in the chapter that suggests any content is to be understood symbolically or figuratively. When it comes to Adam and Eve’s sin, what is more important than the content of God’s command is the command itself.  What I mean is this:  God could have commanded Adam and Eve not to do something else, and their violation of that other command would have amounted to sin. “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Transgression, another word for sin, means to step across a forbidden line. Martin Luther addressed your question with these words: “To reason it seems very ridiculous that any one fruit should be so deadly as to destroy the whole human race in infinite succession, and destroy it, moreover, with eternal death. But this power of destruction did not lie in the fruit. To be sure, Adam sank his teeth into the fruit; but in reality he sank them into a thorn, which was the prohibition of God and disobedience to God. This is the real cause of the evil, to wit, that Adam sins against God, whose command he ignores. He follows Satan. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was a good tree, bearing the choicest fruits, but because the prohibition of God is joined to it and man does not heed the prohibition, it turns into the deadliest of all poisons.” (What Luther Says, Volume III, Page 1290)

» Can the devil still use somebody who has already proclaimed Christ?
Can the devil tempt a Christian? Certainly (1 Peter 5:8). Can the devil use a Christian to tempt someone else? Certainly. There is an ally of Satan inside each Christian; it is the sinful nature (Romans 7:15-25). These are reasons why the Bible instructs us to “resist the devil” (James 4:7). Thanks be to God that Jesus Christ successfully completed his mission of conquering the devil (1 John 3:8) and that he equips us to be successful in our daily skirmishes with the devil (Ephesians 6:10-17).

» I'm wondering if WELS is fine with having acupuncture done. I understand that hypnosis is not something that a person should do but I'm also wondering about acupuncture. I can't find it in the question section. Thank you.
You are correct. There have been no previous questions on the subject of acupuncture. But thank you for checking first. It looks like little has been written on the subject in our circles. That literature contains cautions about New Age thinking that the practitioner could try to share with the person receiving treatment. While I am not in a position to endorse fully this assessment of acupuncture, the information illustrates how a confessional Lutheran church body views the practice.

» I have always had this question and have grown up WELS and taught in the educational system. Why did the first man and woman God make sin?
God made Adam and Eve with the ability and freedom not to sin or to sin. Being all-knowing, God certainly knew that Satan and other angels would rebel against him, and that Adam and Eve would disobey his command. Being all-powerful, God certainly could have prevented both those falls into sin. The Bible does not provide an answer as to why God allowed sin to enter the world. What we do know from the Bible is this: not only did God know that sin was going to enter his creation, but he formulated a plan to rescue sinners. That plan involved the sacrifice of his Son (1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). In eternity, God also graciously chose people to be members of his family (Ephesians 1:11-14). The Bible makes it clear that people are responsible for sin (James 1:13-15). God is not guilty of any wrongdoing (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 6:3). The Bible teaches that Eve was “deceived” by Satan (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam followed the actions of Eve (Genesis 3:6). When it comes to the “why” questions of life and the Bible, I turn to Romans 11:33-36: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?’ For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” Those words tell me that while I live on this earth, I cannot expect to understand God’s ways and thoughts fully. Like you, I look forward to the time when my knowledge of God and his ways and thoughts is much different than it is now (1 Corinthians 13:12).

» I was a WELS Lutheran. (Now, I attend a Missouri Synod church.) One thing that I still feel I need a better understanding, and was part of the reason I felt called to leave the synod, is praying with family. Why does WELS feel it is incorrect for me to say a table prayer or the Lord's prayer with my Christian brothers and sisters? Thanks in advance for helping me understand your perspective.
It would be beneficial for you to read a thorough explanation of what the Bible teaches regarding fellowship, including prayer fellowship. Church Fellowship, available from Northwestern Publishing House, provides such an explanation. Here is an excerpt: “The New Testament does not treat prayer fellowship separately from other forms of fellowship. Prayer as an act of fellowship is simply treated as one element among many others. The early Christians ‘devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ (Acts 2:42). There is, therefore, nothing in Scripture to suggest that prayer should be treated any differently from any other expression of fellowship. Since God-pleasing prayer always flows from faith, every prayer is an expression of faith and therefore an act of worship” (pages 48 and 49).

» I’m a little confused as to where Jesus went when he died. In the Apostles' Creed it says he “descended into hell. The third day he rose again....” Where in the Bible do I find that Jesus descended into hell? On the cross Jesus said to the thief that day he would be with him in paradise, which seems like Jesus would be in heaven right away. Thanks so much for helping clear this up for me.
When death takes place, a person’s body and soul separate (Ecclesiastes 12:7). When Jesus died on Good Friday, his body remained on earth, while his soul went to heaven (Luke 23:46). The same was true for the repentant thief on the cross (Luke 23:43). Resurrection is the reuniting of body and soul. Early on Easter Sunday morning, Jesus’ body and soul were reunited in the tomb. Jesus descended into hell to proclaim victory over sin, Satan and death. Then, he appeared to his followers on earth as their risen Savior. 1 Peter 3:18-20 teaches Jesus’ descent into hell. Many see Colossians 2:15 as describing the triumphant nature of Jesus’ descent into hell.

» God didn't think too much of man to make him out of a pile of dirt. Eve must not have had much of a brain; she didn't know snakes cannot talk.
There is no question here for me to answer, but your statements need a response. The creation of Adam shows God’s special care for human beings. Rather than focusing on the material God used to create Adam, keep in mind how unique Adam’s creation was compared to everything else. Rather than speaking a word to bring about Adam’s existence (as God did in creating everything else), God “formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). That special action speaks volumes about what God thought of man. God made Adam and Eve to manage his creation (Genesis 1:28). God made Adam and Eve in his image (Genesis 1:27). That meant they were holy, they had perfect knowledge of God’s will, and their wills were entirely in line with God’s will. God’s desire was that Adam and Eve enjoy his love forever. When sin threatened to separate them from his love forever, God promised a Savior (Genesis 3:15). In time, he sent his Son to be their Savior. All this says that God cared deeply for the people he made—the crown of his creation. Created in the image of God, Eve, like Adam, was highly intelligent. When it comes to Eve listening to a serpent (Satan), the Bible simply says that Eve was “deceived” (1 Timothy 2:13). The Bible is God’s message to people. It is inspired and inerrant. God’s desire is that we regard his word as “holy and gladly hear and learn it” (Martin Luther’s Explanation to the Third Commandment). I encourage you to read Psalm 119 to be reminded about that attitude toward God’s word.

» When a father dies suddenly, leaving behind a wife and three daughters, all with college education and a long history of participation within the church and being confirmed in the church, is it common for the pastor and then the rest of the church to completely abandon them? Is it because as women they don't have any power/vote in the church that they are basically useless?
One can see pain and hurt in your words. I extend my sympathy to you in your loss. More than that, I want to remind you of the daily meaning Easter has for Christians like you. Because Jesus lives, those who believe in him have life eternal, even though they experience physical death (John 11:25-26; 14:19). May God always be a refuge and strength for you and your family. I, of course, do not have any information that might explain the reaction of others to your loss. Unfortunately, when death takes place, sometimes people—even Christians—do not know what to say. And so, rather than risk saying something wrong, they say nothing. That is not helpful, as your words indicate. Sometimes the best and the most Christians can do initially for a fellow Christian who has experienced the death of a loved one is simply to listen. In addition, they can point grieving Christians to the comfort of God’s word. The reaction of others to your loss certainly does not change your status with God. As a child of God, God’s love for you began in eternity (Ephesians 1:4). His love brought you into his family (1 John 3:1). His love means you will enjoy a perfect and glorious eternity (Psalm 23:6). God bless you and your family.

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28