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Faith Related Q and A

» Is it sinful to drink undiluted wine? A Baptist is telling me that it is sinful to drink wine that is not diluted with at least three parts water to one part wine. He claims all wine was diluted in biblical times. This seems strange since Isaiah 1:22 seems to speak of diluted wine in a negative sense.
Wine was often diluted in biblical times because water was not abundant in some places or of the best quality. While Christians today can certainly follow an Old Testament custom or practice if they like, it is not sinful if they do not. There are no New Testament ceremonial laws. It is not sinful to drink undiluted wine. You are correct in nothing the negative sense of diluted wine in Isaiah 1:22. That verse uses figurative language to describe the spiritual unfaithfulness of the people of Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day.

» My son has been struggling at our WELS school for a few years. His teacher is good. He just doesn't fit in. We are trying to decide if we should send him to public school instead. I am worried that making this choice will hurt him, as I am a faithful believer in the benefits of a Christian education. However, he is so unhappy. Our pastor isn't very approachable, and the teacher/principal has tried and is a good guy, but it just isn't working for my son. Any advice?
I am sorry, but I would really need answers to quite a few questions before I might be able to pass along any meaningful, practical advice. Questions like: How old is your son? How long has he been a student in the WELS school? In what way(s) does your son feel like he does not fit in? How long has he had that feeling? When did it begin? Are there times or situations when he feels out of place more than others? Besides conversations with your teacher and pastor, what other actions have you taken to help your son fit in? How will changing schools make it possible for your son to fit in there? Because those questions are unanswered for me, let me pass along some important, practical advice a wise Christian gave my wife and me years ago when we were raising our children. He said, “You have only chance to raise your children.” It was an obvious observation then and now, but sometimes we can be oblivious to the obvious. That man’s words reminded me to make the most of every opportunity in raising my children—especially to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Certainly, parents have the primary responsibility of raising their children. That includes having them baptized and instructed in God’s word. It is a blessing indeed when Christian parents can receive assistance in their spiritual responsibilities through a congregation’s school. Your words recognize that. It goes without saying that not all Christian parents are in a position to benefit from that kind of assistance: there may not be such a school nearby. This is why I would encourage you to explore all options of keeping your son enrolled in your congregation’s school. You can bring up your son “in the training and instruction of the Lord” apart from that school, but you can receive so much help in carrying out your responsibilities with that school in your life. One final thought – if you are not able to speak about this with your pastor, have you considered Christian counseling from other sources? Christian Family Solutions, an agency within WELS, offers video counseling from the privacy of your home. “Parenting and family issues” is one of the issues they address. This link will take you to the appropriate part of their website. God bless you and your son!

» What does WELS say about baptism?
“We believe that also through the Sacrament of Baptism the Holy Spirit applies the gospel to sinners, giving them new life (Titus 3:5) and cleansing them from all sin (Acts 2:38). The Lord points to the blessing of Baptism when he promises, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). We believe that the blessing of Baptism is meant for all people (Matthew 28:19), including infants. Infants are born sinful (John 3:6) and therefore need to be born again, that is, to be brought to faith, through Baptism (John 3:5). “We reject the view that babies should not be baptized and that they cannot believe in Christ (Luke 18:15-17). We reject the view that baptism must be by immersion.” Those statements are from This We Believe: A Statement of Belief of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. This link will take you to those statements in context.