Faith Related Q and A

» Where/does the Bible say the name of the place where Lucifer landed when he was cast out of paradise?
Your reference to Lucifer might have Isaiah 14:12-15 in mind. 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 speak of God casting the devil and the other evil angels into hell. In his wisdom, God permits the devil and his forces to roam the earth (Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8). The time is coming when the devil and his angels will be confined to hell forever (Revelation 20:10).

» What does it mean to share in the sufferings of Christ? Paul and Silas in prison "counted worthy"? Can you recommend a book?
To share in the sufferings of Christ is to experience difficulties and troubles in this life because of a connection to Jesus Christ in faith (Romans 8:17). You can think of these sufferings as “crosses” (Luke 9:23). After the apostles received a flogging at the hands of the Sanhedrin and were released, they rejoiced “because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41). That reaction on the part of the apostles illustrates the reaction Christians can have when they suffer for their faith. By nature, we are not worthy of receiving any blessings from God. In his grace, God provides one blessing after another—even the honor of suffering in his name. Beyond books of the Bible like Acts and 2 Corinthians, you might benefit from reading The Theology of the Cross. It is available from Northwestern Publishing House.

» What is WELS' stand on donating to the red kettle Christmas for salvation? Is it OK for a WELS school to ask Salvation Army (SA) for names of families that we can provide for through school children's gifts? What if some of our school children already have received gifts from SA unbeknownst to our leaders, but those families never ask for help from our church.
Your question is one that people can ask at this time of the year. Here is part of a response to a similar question. The charitable work of the Salvation Army is linked with the mission of that church, which is driven by their false doctrine. That is important to keep in mind. The work they do is in line with the mission of their church. The Salvation Army is a self-described “holiness movement,” placing greater emphasis on the Christian’s life than on what God has done for people through Jesus Christ his Son. The Salvation Army rejects the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. 2 John 10-11 (“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.”) instructs us not to support those whose teachings are contrary to Scripture. That applies to the church in your question. That applies to any church that holds to false doctrine. While we can appreciate the tenacity of the bell ringers of that church at Christmas time, we recognize that providing financial support is support for their mission. We refrain from providing that support. There is no need to feel like a Scrooge by walking past the bell ringers. We can help meet the material needs of others (Isaiah 58:7; Galatians 6:10) through contributions to charitable agencies that are not tied to churches that hold to and teach false doctrine. We can give to our church body’s Christian Aid and Relief, for example. In gratitude for God’s blessings and in compassionate concern for the material and spiritual needs of others, Christians have reason for charitable giving at Christmas time and every season of the year. Yes, “Let us all be cheerful givers To the glory of your name” (Christian Worship 577:3). You would do well to encourage your church leadership to address your final questions.

» I was a WELS member while I attended different churches, prayed with people of many different denominations, took Communion at other churches, traveled throughout the United States as a speaker for Christian conferences, schools, and church events of different denominations. While I did struggle with guilt and shame for participating in those things at first, I continued to pray and ask God for wisdom and guidance. How is it possible that I felt so shameful and guilty while simply sharing the truth of the Gospel that I learned as a member of the WELS....and as I prayed and sought God in his Word I found that I was doing what was natural to me as a Christian man...to go and tell all the world. In my experience, I find how the WELS interacts with other denominations by not interacting with other denominations bogus and not beneficial to kingdom building here on earth.
I imagine you could have been feeling shame and guilt because you recognized you were going against biblical principles. Our consciences are designed to react to our actions (Romans 2:15). It is commendable that you want “to go and tell the world” about Jesus. At the same time, you want to do God says in his word. What God says is that Christians are not to practice church fellowship with people whose teachings are contrary to his word (Romans 16:17-18). No one benefits and God is not glorified if people gloss over doctrinal differences and pretend there is outward unity when there is not. On the other hand, there is benefit for people and God is glorified when the truths of his word are upheld. I wish you well.

» Hello! I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask, but I couldn't find another place. If my family has to leave the US for a year for work reasons, and the European country (British Isles) we go to does not have WELS, ELS, or CELC churches, is there still a chance that there might be a church/gathering we can go to that's in fellowship, or are those the only ones in fellowship? I know we'll be able to watch our home church's livestreaming, but we hoped to still be able to meet with other Christians, especially for Communion.
There is a WELS European civilian chaplain who serves military personnel and civilians in Germany, Italy, England and Switzerland. This link will take you to the appropriate section of WELS’ website, where you can obtain further information. You will notice that there are monthly worship services that take place in London, England. That area of the website also enables you to submit your contact information, should you move overseas. God’s blessings to you and your family!

» Did Jesus actually drink wine? I have heard many say that Jesus drank grape juice, because the Greek word for wine can mean grape juice.
The Greek word for wine that the inspired Bible writers used means “wine, fermented grape juice.” There is a Greek word for unfermented grape juice, but the Bible writers did not use that word. There is nothing sinful in the moderate use of alcoholic beverages such as wine. Jesus’ use of wine in his celebration of the Passover with his disciples—and the institution of the Lord’s Supper—illustrates that. The phrase that the Gospel writers use in their accounts of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (“fruit of the vine,” Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18) refers to wine. We know from history that the Passover celebration included wine. We also know that any grape juice made from the fall harvests would not have remained grape juice by the time of the Passover celebrations in spring.

» In the Nicene Creed what does "He will come again to judge the living and the dead" refer to? Since we are judged at the moment of death, I take this to mean: when Jesus returns, those that are still alive in a worldly sense will be judged on that day. The living and the dead is referring to the souls of those people. The living is one that is living in faith as a Christian, and the dead is one that is dead to sin.
In all three ecumenical creeds (Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian) Christians confess what Scripture teaches: “…Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead…” (2 Timothy 4:1). As you noted, when people die, judgment takes place (Hebrews 9:27). When Jesus returns visibly on the Last Day, he will make public what those judgments at death were, and he will pronounce judgment on those who are alive on the earth on that day (Matthew 25:31-46). With reference to whether people died before Jesus’ visible return on the Last Day or if they are alive on that day, Jesus will “judge the living and the dead.”

» Can Christians eat blood? I know the Old Testament ceremonial laws no longer need to be followed because Jesus came and fulfilled the law, and several places in the New Testament confirm that. But Acts 15:29 says we should abstain from eating blood. Given the context, this sounds like a command still applicable to post-resurrection Christians. But it doesn't seem to fit Christian freedom. Is it wrong to eat blood? (For example, coagulated blood is in some Chinese cuisine.) If so, why? Why does that apply when other rules about what we can eat were abolished?
The Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) addressed the question of whether or not Gentile converts needed to observe any Old Testament ceremonial laws to become members of the Christian Church. The Council affirmed that faith in Jesus Christ alone saves. At the same time the Council directed Gentile converts to abstain from items (“from blood” – Acts 15:29) that would have been offensive to Jewish Christians who were transitioning from Old Testament obligations to New Testament freedoms. It is clear from the immediate context of Acts 15 that the directive had limited application and is not binding on all Christians of all time. The wider context of Scripture—sections like Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8 and Colossians 2—speaks of the freedom Christians enjoy when it comes to diet. The Bible makes it clear that there are no New Testament ceremonial laws.

» My newborn granddaughter will be being baptized soon in a WELS church. The baby's father is WELS, but the rest of his family (parents and siblings) are Disciples of Christ. Will his family be welcome at the baptism? They are leery of coming, for fear of being ostracized.
They would most certainly be welcome! All are welcome to attend our worship services. While our closed communion practice addresses the matter of who can receive the sacrament, all people are welcome to hear the proclamation of God’s word by their attendance in our worship services. Congratulations to your family on the gift of life and new life from God.

» What is the significance of transferring my membership? I was baptized and confirmed WELS and have always attended a WELS church. I just move for my job quite a bit and have always left my membership at the church my parents still attend to this day. The WELS church I have been going to is trying to get me to transfer to their WELS church, but I don't see what the big deal is.
One of the blessings of a synod is that members can worship and commune in other churches of its fellowship. It sounds like you have been and are enjoying that blessing. Belonging to an individual congregation affords “all the rights and privileges” of membership, as you sometimes hear during the rite of Confirmation. Membership in a specific congregation presupposes that people will be utilizing those rights and privileges by primarily worshiping and communing in that congregation. In addition, when people join a specific congregation, they place themselves under the governance of that church and the spiritual oversight of the pastor. It can be challenging for a pastor to provide direct spiritual oversight, which also includes the possibility of church discipline, if people are not able to utilize their membership because of distance. For these reasons like these, pastors will often encourage members to align their church membership with their current location.

WELS Q&A are topics that are submitted to the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod website.  The articles here are an automatic feed from the wels.net Q&A website.  Even though we may not have generated this contect, we are in fellowship with the WELS and generally subscribe to the beliefs of the breatheryn in the synod generating these answers.

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! ~ Luke 24:5-6