We are all baffled at the fact that this is such an issue when we've seen it go so smoothly in other churches. I think many people are afraid they are going to hurt my feelings or something since it is my uncle we are talking about. That is certainly not the case. It hurts me more that no one can give us a clear explanation than it would if someone would just say, "We don't believe you're uncle is a true man of God It really makes me no difference; I respect other denominations and their rules and beliefs.
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I just want to know why. The main reason we do not permit such exchange of ministers is because we are not in doctrinal agreement with other denominations, such as the Methodist Church. Thus, we cannot have any measure of confidence that a Methodist minister would preach and teach according to Lutheran doctrine. Furthermore, in our opinion, to have a Methodist minister co-officiate at an LCMS service is to give the public impression that the LCMS and the Methodist Church are in doctrinal agreement or that there are no significant doctrinal differences between us.
We do not want to mislead anyone on this score, so we refrain from participating in such joint, public worship. By none of this do we intend to say that your uncle, as a Methodist minister, is not a "man of God. However, we can say that, on a number of points, what the Methodist Church teaches is contrary to the Scriptures, and we do not want that erroneous teaching present in LCMS churches, nor do we want to give the impression that those doctrinal differences don't matter.
In the end, what is more important than what happens on your wedding day is your marriage and your future life together as Christians. Has she taken that course at your church? Where will you attend church once you are married? In which faith do you plan to raise your children?
These are all questions that seem unimportant when planning a wedding, but they are crucial to real life together, after the wedding day. It is definitely to your advantage to work on these things now, and your pastors are there to help you do just that. I've researched the opera in question and can't seem to find any questionable context. What is the church's reasoning for this decision? He's the one who has made the decision, and so your questions should first be addressed to him.
Having said that, let me try to provide a little background on Wagner's operas and the history behind the ban of his music from some Lutheran parishes. A hundred years ago or so prior to World War I , our Synod was still predominately German in language and culture. Wagner's operas were big then, and there were basically two mitigating factors against using his music:. Today, however, if you asked the average LCMS pew-sitter where that piece of music came from and what it means, he or she likely wouldn't have a clue.
Most would probably associate it with the children's jingle, "Here comes the bride, big, fat and wide! Having said all that, let me suggest that you not use Wagner's "Bridal March" anyway, for a few reasons. First of all, you want to have a happy wedding ceremony and get along with the pastor. Contrary to popular perception, weddings are not at the top of many pastors' "like to do list.
They frequently involve a number of parties who have their exclusive wants and concerns, stress is usually running high because of the preparations and the desire for "the perfect wedding," and as a result, the key players are often not disposed to working on things together and by consensus. It needs to be understood at the outset, however, that the pastor is in charge of what goes into the service. He should have final say on everything, but it should be in mutual consultation with the bride and groom.
You need to work together with him on all of the arrangements, and the "Wedding March" may not be "the hill to die on. Secondly, your marriage itself is infinitely more important than your wedding day. Married couples frequently link the success of their future marriage with the success of their wedding day. That's understandable, but realize that this is only one day of many, many days of holy matrimony to follow. And those days will count infinitely more than the first!
And finally, the weightiest reason not to use Wagner's "Bridal March," is that there is so much better music out there to be used at weddings than this vastly overused piece. If you want your wedding to be unique, pick something different from the standard bridal march. The organist should have a great selection from which to choose.
While divorce can be justified scripturally in certain situations adultery or desertion , it is always preferable for couples to forgive and work toward healing and strengthening their marriage. Because no two situations are alike, LCMS pastors deal on a case-by-case basis with members or potential members who are wrestling with the issue of past or present divorce.
The Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the LCMS has prepared a report called Divorce and Remarriage , which discusses the Bible passages and theological principles underlying the Synod's perspective on this issue. Homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments Lev. The Synod's Commission on Theology and Church Relations has prepared a report titled Human Sexuality: A Theological Perspective that discusses the issue of homosexuality on pages Another resource addressing the matter of same-sex relationships available online is the document Theological Implications of the ELCA Decisions.
There is additional information found in the Frequently Asked Questions on Homosexuality. This resolution reads as follows:. Whereas , Many voices in our society as well as in various church bodies are expressing the view today that homophile behavior is acceptable alternative lifestyle; and.
Whereas , The Word of God clearly condemns homophile behavior in Lev. Whereas , The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in convention in stated: "That the Synod recognizes homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful"; and. However, this fact cannot be used by the homosexual as an excuse to justify homosexual behavior. As a sinful human being, the homosexual is accountable to God for homosexual thoughts, words and deeds. Whereas , The redeeming love of Christ, which rescues humanity from sin, death, and the power of Satan, is offered to all through repentance and faith in Christ, regardless of the natures of their sinfulness; and.
Whereas , It is necessary for the church to expose and resist the sexual idolatry of our society; therefore be it. Resolved , That The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, in convention, reaffirms the position it stated in , "That the Synod recognizes homophile behavior as intrinsically sinful"; and be it further. Resolved , That the President of the Synod direct the appropriate boards and commissions to develop a plan for ministry usable by congregations, campus ministries, institutions, and agencies in the Synod, for the purpose of providing biblical and Gospel-oriented ministry to persons troubled by being homophile in their sexual orientations and to their families; and be it finally.
For policy regarding homosexuality and service in public offices of the Synod, we refer you to guidelines adopted by the Council of Presidents for addressing instances of homosexuality in the lives of professional church workers, in which procedures are outlined for dealing with various cases. Are there any references to self-pleasurement in the Bible?
I was asked this question, and I did not know how to respond other than, "I know it cannot be right in God's eyes. Can you help? ANSWER: In its report on Human Sexuality , the Synod's Commission on Theology and Church Relations says the following regarding masturbation: To view our sexuality in the context of a personal relationship of mutual love and commitment in marriage helps us to evaluate the practice of masturbation. Quite clearly, chronic masturbation falls short of the Creator's intention — for our use of the gift of sexuality, namely, that our sexual drives should be oriented toward communion with another person in the mutual love and commitment of marriage.
By its very nature, masturbation separates sexual satisfaction from the giving and receiving of sexual intercourse in the marital union and is symptomatic of the tendency of human beings to turn in upon themselves for the satisfaction of their desires. In childhood, masturbation may often be a form of temporary experimentation. However, children of God are warned against the voluntary indulgence of sexual fantasies as endangering faith and spiritual life. Such inordinate desires are clearly called sin by our Lord Matt. As the child grows and matures, youthful lusts and fantasies 2 Tim.
For those who are troubled by guilt and who seek God's help in overcoming problems in this area, pastors and Christian counselors need to stand ready to offer Christ's forgiveness, remind them of the power of the Holy Spirit to help them lead "a chaste and decent life in word and deed," and hold before them the joys of remaining faithful to what God's Word teaches about His intention for the good gift of sexuality. ANSWER: The Synod does not have any published resources that we are aware of regarding the specific matter of older couples living together apart from marriage.
The closest thing, resource wise, is the pamphlet prepared by Dr. It makes reference to older couples very briefly in its discussion of why living together apart from marriage is immoral. This is as true for year-olds as it is for year-olds. While this is nothing official, here are a few thoughts. It still presents potential problems of perception, but one ought to acknowledge that such a circumstance is not the same as a couple that is simply avoiding legal marriage for the sake of financial gain.
This contradicts Christian teaching about godly living in several ways:. All this, of course, is so much Law, and the pastoral concern is never one which simply speaks the Law for its own sake. As you seek to minister, you are faced with the challenge of shepherding a dear child of God who is living amid one of many temptations in life. It seems to be very important to try to communicate several things in such situations. When He calls us to a higher life, He does so with compassion, forgiveness and the strength to sustain us in every way.
ANSWER: The LCMS believes that abortion is contrary to God's Word and "is not a moral option, except as a tragically unavoidable byproduct of medical procedures necessary to prevent the death of another human being, viz. ANSWER: At its convention, the Synod adopted a resolution in which it "reject[ed] without reservation as contrary to God's Word any technique or method of human cloning that results in the destruction of human embryos or the creation of human embryos for the purposes of fetal tissue research or organ harvesting or transplantation.
In the same resolution, the Synod asked its Commission on Theology and Church Relations CTCR to prepare a report "to help the church, on the basis of the Word of God, make informed ethical judgments concerning cloning and attendant issues.gronix.us/media/444/1520-ndr-radio-partnersuche.php
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Cremation is increasing in favor, in part because of space limitations in some cemeteries and because of health considerations. The primary reason for the increase in cremations is economic, however, since it avoids such costs as the purchase of coffins and cemetery plots and substantially lowers the expense of a funeral. Some Christians continue to oppose cremation, noting that cremation is never referred to positively in the Bible.
It is true that early Christians rejected cremation and preferred burial because Jesus Himself was buried and because Greek philosophy looked down on the physical creation and thought that only souls, not bodies, survived death. The Christian burial of bodies was viewed as a way to proclaim the belief that our bodies will be raised from the dead. Mueller and George Kraus offer this perspective:. In itself, the practice has no theological significance and may be used in good conscience. However, this is a matter of Christian freedom, and no Christian who chooses to have a loved one cremated rather than buried should be led to think that such a decision is sinful or in opposition to the Word of God.
Whereas, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod affirms the sanctity of human life and recognizes the reality of human suffering; and. Whereas, Any attempt to legalize assisted suicide is an affront to the Lord, who gives life, and opens the door for abuse and future legislation that would deny the freedom of many; and. Whereas, Suffering and depression are also opportunities for helping, healing, encouragement, and hope through the Gospel; and. Whereas, We respect the individual's right to refuse treatment or to forbid life-support systems by a prior directive and to be allowed to die; therefore be it.
Resolved, That The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in convention express its objection to medical personnel having any part in actively inducing death, even at the patient's request or at the request of the family; and be it further. Resolved, That the Gospel be applied to situations of suffering and depression as opportunities to help, heal, encourage, and provide hope; and be it finally. Resolved, That the Synod speak out against any attempt to legalize physician-assisted suicide and encourage its pastors and people to do the same.
Is there any help on this issue in the Bible? The Bible has nothing specific to say regarding this issue. Therefore, it is a matter of Christian freedom and personal or family discretion. Whereas, We accept and believe that our Lord Jesus came to give life and to give it abundantly John ; and. Whereas, Through advances in medical science we are aware that at the time of death some of our organs can be transplanted to alleviate pain and suffering of afflicted human beings see Gal.
Whereas, Our Heavenly Father has created us so that we can adequately and safely live with one kidney and can express our love and relive the unnecessary prolonged suffering of our relative; and. Whereas, We have an opportunity to help others out of love for Christ, through the donation of organs; therefore be it. Resolved, That our pastors, teachers, and Directors of Christian Education be encouraged to inform the members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod of the opportunity to sign a Universal Donor Card which is to authorize the use of our needed organs at the time of death in order to relieve the suffering of individuals requiring organ transplants ; and be it further.
Resolved, That the program committees of pastors and teachers conferences be encouraged to include "organ and tissue transplants" as a topic on their agendas; and be it finally. Resolved, That the Board of Social Ministry and World Relief seek ways to implement this program so that the entire Synod may join in this opportunity to express Christian concern. Does the LCMS believe that the person is condemned to hell since after suicide there is no way to ask for forgiveness? ANSWER: The Synod does not have an official position regarding the eternal state of individuals who have committed suicide, though theologians of the Synod have commented from time to time on pastoral questions that often arise in such cases.
Since the spiritual condition of an individual upon death is known only to God, our theologians have proceeded cautiously in making judgments in this regard. Sohn, for example, has stated:. It is impossible for us to plumb the depths of gloom into which even Christian people may sink and irresponsibly lay unholy hands upon themselves. Perhaps the Lord will not hold them responsible, but we do not know. My reason is that they do not wish to kill themselves but are overcome by the power of the devil. Luther goes on, however, to express concern that this statement not be misunderstood or misused in a way that would downplay the danger and seriousness of this sin in the minds of people Luther's Works , American Edition, Vol.
With regard to burial services for those who have committed suicide, here again the Synod has no "official position," but entrusts to its pastors the responsibility of making caring and responsible decisions after weighing all of the relevant factors in each individual circumstance. In the book Pastoral Theology ed. Before consenting to officiate at the funeral of a suicide victim, the pastor will want to make a full inquiry — not so much for a reason to avoid the question of officiating as to find a reason even if weak to accept the opportunity. Other important factors that need to be evaluated by the pastor along with the congregation's elders are the following:.
As in the previous discussion, the service benefits the living and is part of the congregation's witness. Death is especially difficult for the bereaved of the suicide of a loved one. Usually the family feels a tremendous burden of guilt that an excessively judgmental pastor only exacerbates by refusing to officiate. No one can determine with certainty the faith or lack of it in another person.
People have been heard to say even at the funeral a church member, "If the pastor only knew On the other hand, when the deceased's ongoing life and the circumstances of his death manifest an absence of faith in Christ, the pastor cannot conduct a Christian burial service which offers the comfort of the hope of salvation for the one who has died. What and how much will the pastor say in his sermon? Would the pastor have to explain away or excuse his participation in the funeral? How clearly can he point to the incarnate Lord who invites all to cast their burdens upon Him? The pastor, with the congregational elders, will need a mutually-drafted general policy, based on sound theological principles, to govern the funeral for a victim of suicide — a policy that still will have to be applied to each situation.
As the pastor wrestles with any difficult case, he will find it especially helpful to consult with fellow pastors. The Bible presents death as a tragic "reality of life" in a fallen world, and children like adults need to know and understand this. The prospect and reality of death, of course, can be frightening, sad and painful for children as well as for adults.
Therefore secondly children also need the reassurance of the Gospel message, communicated in clear and simple language that they can understand. They need to know that Jesus himself experienced death on the cross to win victory for us over sin, death and the devil Rom. He rose triumphantly on Easter morning, and by His resurrection has defeated death forever 1 Corinthians All those who trust in Jesus, who are baptized into his death and resurrection, will live forever with him in heaven, where there is no more pain, suffering or death Rev. When Jesus comes again, we will be re-united with our Christian loved ones and with all believers to enjoy life in heaven forever with our loving, living Savior John By the power of God's Spirit working through Word and Sacrament, children, too, can cling with strong and simple faith to the precious promises God gives us regarding Christ's victory over sin and death John ; John ; John , etc.
Sharing, memorizing and discussing these promises and singing about them in treasured Easter hymns and songs are wonderful ways of helping children deal with the death of a family member or with more general concerns about death. Must we accept literally the creation account that points in the direction of a relatively young earth, given the amount of scientific evidence that concludes the earth's age to be in the billions of years?
Nor is it the Synod's position that everything in the Bible is to be understood "literally. There is nothing in the Bible itself to suggest that the creation account is not meant to be taken literally. The Synod has affirmed the belief, therefore, based on Scripture's account of creation in the book of Genesis and other clear passages of Scripture, that "God by the almighty power of His Word created all things in six days by a series of creative acts," that "Adam and Eve were real, historical human beings, the first two people in the world," and that "we must confess what St.
Paul says in Rom. The Synod has also, therefore, stated that it rejects "all those world views, philosophical theories, exegetical interpretations and other hypotheses which pervert these biblical teachings and thus obscure the Gospel" Synodical Resolution At the same time, the Synod firmly believes there can be no actual contradiction between genuine scientific truth and the Bible.
When it comes to the issue of the age of the earth, several possibilities exist for "harmonizing" Biblical teachings with scientific studies e. Numerous books are available that discuss these issues in more detail. Will he? Do I tell him that even though God created all the animals, too, people are the only ones that go to heaven? John Brug gives the following helpful response to the question, "Will there be animals in heaven?
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Since animals do not have immortal souls, we might think the answer is no. Several facts, however, make one hesitant to be satisfied with a simple "no. Our eternal home is a new earth Is.
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This may be figurative language, but one other passage suggests animals might be in our eternal home. In this present, sin-cursed world, we inflict suffering on animals, and they inflict suffering on us. At Christ's coming, when this world is freed from the effects of sin, animals, too, will be freed from suffering.
That text also says the creation will be "brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. That might mean there may be plants and animals in the new earth as there were in the first earth. If there are animals on the new earth, they will be good creatures of God as the animals of the first earth were. Since our transfer to Louisiana, I had been attending a Methodist church because there is no Lutheran church in this area.
A lay leader has been telling us that the story of Jonah is a fictional story, not true. What does the Lutheran church teach with respect to this and other stories in the Old Testament? ANSWER: It is true that there are different kinds of literature in the Scriptures including such things as poetry, wisdom literature, historical narrative, apocalyptic literature and perhaps others. However, unless there is some reason not to, the words of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament are to be taken literally. With respect to the matter of Jonah, there is no indication in the text that the account is not to be taken literally.
In fact, it would seem that our Lord, Jesus, took it literally as he spoke of his death and resurrection. He pointed out that as Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man would be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. While I see no reason for or indication of the fact that the account regarding Jonah as well as many other accounts of incidents in the Old Testament are not to be taken literally, it is perhaps best to concentrate on the purpose of the recording of these accounts.
In the case of Jonah, it is clear God was intending to point out that He is a God of grace and mercy who will forgive and spare those who turn to Him and that He is the Lord and Deliverer not only of the Jews but also of the Gentiles. Each translation must be judged by its faithfulness to the original texts Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek in which Scripture was originally written, and by its helpfulness in communicating what the Bible actually says in language that people today of various cultures, languages and dialects can understand.
Jeffrey Gibbs titled All Those Translations! Again he states in the Large Catechism , "If you cannot feel the need, therefore, at least believe the Scriptures. They will not lie to you, and they know your flesh better than you yourself do" LC V, Luther's view on this question is summarized by the Lutheran Cyclopedia as follows: "Scripture remained [Luther's] sole authority. Though many things in the Bible puzzled and amazed him, he admitted no error in its original MSS.
At the same time he emphasized the human part in its writing. The Lutheran position on the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures was first developed by the Lutheran dogmaticians theologians of the 17th century. For a review of this teaching and its roots following the period of the Reformation see Robert Preus, The Inspiration of Scripture in the Concordia Heritage Series Edinburgh, , See also "F.
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The connection between the antichrist and pope are unclear to me. Do you believe the pope is the only enemy? The New Testament predicts that the church throughout its history will witness many antichrists Matt. All false teachers who teach contrary to Christ's Word are opponents of Christ and, insofar as they do so, are anti-Christ. However, the Scriptures also teach that there is one climactic "Anti-Christ" Dan.
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Concerning the historical identity of the Antichrist, we affirm the Lutheran Confessions' identification of the Antichrist with the office of the papacy whose official claims continue to correspond to the Scriptural marks listed above. It is important, however, that we observe the distinction which the Lutheran Confessors made between the office of the pope papacy and the individual men who fill that office. The latter could be Christians themselves. We do not presume to judge any person's heart.
Also, we acknowledge the possibility that the historical form of the Antichrist could change. Of course, in that case another identified by these marks would rise. To the extent that the papacy continues to claim as official dogma the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent which expressly anathematizes, for instance, the doctrine "that justifying faith is nothing else than trust in divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that trust alone by which we are justified," the judgment of the Lutheran Confessional writings that the papacy is the Antichrist holds.
At the same time, of course, we must recognize the possibility, under God's guidance, that contemporary discussions and statements e. Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue statement on "Justification by Faith" could lead to a revision of the Roman Catholic position regarding Tridentine dogma. Engaging the Church in the work of witness and mercy across the globe in our life together. Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective. Learn more. Email us. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO The scene inside the main sanctuary of the Full Gospel Church is impressive. There are seats for about 15, worshippers.
Giant video screens carry simultaneous translations of parts of the service in Chinese, Japanese and English. Audio headsets are available with translations from the original Korean into numerous other languages. The choir has about vocalists decked out in white robes and backed up by a full orchestra. The music is provided by a professional choir and a full orchestra.
At certain times during the service, people in the pews close their eyes, raise up their hands and even speak in tongues, creating a real revival atmosphere. People at Full Gospel Church say they are able to feel the Holy Spirit present during services, and some say they can speak in tongues. It touched my soul. The message from the pulpit would sound familiar to a lot of Christian evangelicals in the US. It all started with simple worship services for just a few people at a time, gathered under a tent.
He earned a reputation as a healer. Indeed, two people I spoke with at the church tell me they were healed from illnesses. Cho also preached a Korean version of the prosperity gospel, which taught that leading a prayerful lifestyle will bring rewards not only in terms of health, but in wealth. Yong-gi Cho converted to Christianity as a teenager soon after the Korean War. He says faith in Jesus saved him from malnutrition and illness. It might not be apparent at one of the packed Sunday morning services at Full Gospel Church, but the influence of Pastor Cho and other Korean evangelicals is not what it once was in South Korea.
About 30 percent of the population belongs to the Christian faith, with about one-quarter of those being Catholic and three-quarters Protestant.
But Kim says there is a crisis in South Korean evangelism, with many people deciding to leave the more established Protestant churches to join smaller ones. He says some people worry about growth of Protestant churches in South Korea, but not him. He believes that the power prayer will help churches continue to grow. There is a new generation of Christian leaders, Kim adds, trying to come up with different ways to attract disaffected believers. These are places that double as coffee shops and a places of worship. The leadership at Yoido Full Gospel Church says its congregation is still seeing robust growth.
Lee describes himself as a fourth-generation Korean Christian. And Lee says he is not particularly worried about the future growth potential of the Christian faith. During a recent sermon, Pastor Lee prays for North Korea, which can only survive if people there believe in Jesus. Ushers outside of a recent Sunday service at Yoido Full Gospel Church bow as worshippers begin to leave the church.
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