WELS confesses and teaches that for church bodies to express unity and fellowship there needs to be full agreement in doctrine. Such fellowship is practiced when members of each church body can commune in congregations of the other; when members gather together in joint worship and prayer; and when churches join together in carrying out mission work, schools, and other means of grace ministry. But where there is no unity in doctrine, there can be no practice of fellowship.
Yet there are times when church bodies and synods that have differences in doctrine can work together for a common cause. That is the case when the common cause does not involve gospel ministry, joint mission work, or worship. Working together in situations that do not involve the ministry as such has been called “cooperation in externals.” In other words, it’s cooperation in matters outside the realm of church work.
Want to read more? The full text of this article is available via subscription.
Author: Mark Schroeder
Volume 108, Number 7
Issue: July 2021