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WELS Q&A
WELS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Search the Q&A archive to find answers from WELS seminary professors. Can't find your question in the archive? Submit your own.
Faith Related Q and A

» What does Proverbs 3:5 mean? Thanking you in advance.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). The verse instructs us to put all our trust in the Lord and not our own knowledge. The verse tells us not to be reliant on our strength and knowledge, but to trust in the Lord. Those instructions are true when it comes to the biggest issue of life: salvation. Those instructions are true when it comes to the everyday mysteries and challenges of life. We may not be able to figure out why things are or aren’t happening in life, but Christian faith says, “My God knows what is going on, he is in control and I trust him.” Proverbs 3:5 directs us to look less at ourselves and more to God—and to trust him completely.

» I am a WELS member serving on the church council and department of education for our elementary school (K thru 8). We have a parent/teacher organization (PTO) that thinks it is OK to elect a non-member as an officer in the PTO. Is this OK, or is it against our church fellowship doctrine?
You would do well to find out if your PTO has a constitution and bylaws, or other documents, which provide guidance and direction for the organization. Such documents will spell out the qualifications and responsibilities of the organization’s officers. Information from those sources will explain if and how non-members are able to serve in the capacity you inquired. As your pastor is the best local resource for your question, you will want to speak with him as well.

» In Leviticus God seems to be condoning slavery. Isn't slavery sinful?
Previous questions on this topic received a response like this: “Slavery was permitted in the Old Testament, but was carefully regulated (Leviticus 25:39-53, Exodus 21:2-11). Slaves were protected and had to be set free if injured (Exodus 21:26-27). Every fiftieth year (the year of Jubilee) Israelite slaves were to be set free (Leviticus 25:39-41). Stealing or kidnapping a person to enslave him or her was punishable by death (Deuteronomy 24:7, Exodus 21:16). “The New Testament also condemns kidnappers or slave traders (1 Timothy 1:10). Nevertheless the New Testament instructs slaves to submit to their masters, even the masters who were harsh (1 Peter 2:18ff, Ephesians 6:5-8). The Apostles did not attempt to overturn the structures of society by encouraging disobedience or rebellion. Paul returned the slave Onesimus to his Christian master Philemon. Onesimus had run away and subsequently become a Christian. Paul did not command Philemon to free him, but encouraged him to receive Onesimus as a brother (Philemon 8-21). “Christianity transcends social distinctions (Galatians 3:28). Free men are slaves to Christ and slaves are free in Christ– a person’s social position means nothing before God (1 Corinthians 7:20-24). Yet slaves were encouraged to gain their freedom if possible (1 Corinthians 7:21). Although the Bible never encourages the overthrow of social or political structures through disobedience or rebellion, wherever the gospel has taken firm root slavery has disappeared. When hearts are changed by the gospel message of forgiveness of sins and salvation in Christ, people put into practice Jesus’ words, ‘In everything, do to others you would have them do to you’ (Matthew 7:12).” History tells us that there were different ways in which people became slaves. Some were prisoners of war. Others suffered economic losses and willingly placed themselves into the service of others in exchange for the basic necessities of life. Still others, sadly, were bought and sold as property. While people might have entered slavery in different ways, the Bible’s message to everyone involved in it was to exercise Christian love. A recent article in Forward in Christ addressed the subject of slavery. This link will take you to it.