Ours is a culture in which values seem to be constantly changing. Invariably, the change is in the wrong direction. The traditional values that have served as the common bond in our culture are being condemned and rejected at an alarming pace.
For Christians, the values we hold dear are not simply traditional values. Rather, many of the values that we defend are biblical values. It is God himself who has determined what is right and wrong, what is pure and what is vulgar, what is true and what is satanic deception.
When we are convinced that the values we treasure are God’s values, then we can be much more committed to hold on to them in a rapidly changing culture. When it’s God’s truth we uphold, we can say, without apology, “We believe these truths because they are God’s truths.”
I’m thankful that our synod is one that, by God’s grace, boldly and joyfully stands on the values that God himself has established. This stand will not always be popular in today’s secular world—or even among some other Christians. But we don’t seek to be popular; we seek only to be faithful.
Ours is a synod that upholds the sanctity of marriage and recognizes that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman in a relationship of love and faithfulness. As the culture and laws have redefined marriage as something other than that, and while even Christian denominations are increasingly hesitant to uphold this truth, we take that stand boldly and without apology.
Ours is a synod that recognizes that God’s gift of sex is a blessing intended by him to be used within the bonds of marriage. We believe that the blessings that God intends to give through this gift are lost or spoiled when sexual relationships take place outside marriage. Upholding and defending marriage is not simply holding to traditional values; it’s holding to biblical values.
Ours is a synod that upholds and defends the sanctity of human life because it is life that God has created and that God alone has the right to end. Those who speak in favor of a woman’s “right to choose” conveniently ignore the fact that the choice does not involve the body of the woman alone. It very clearly is a choice that impacts—yes, ends—the life of another human being. We will continue to defend God’s exclusive right to give and take human life—not because it is a traditional value, but because it’s a biblical truth.
Our synod is often accused of clinging to an outmoded and out-of-touch view of the roles of men and women in the church. While many Christian denominations have changed their doctrine and proudly opened the door to the ordination of women, WELS has not done so. We have, with the help of God, maintained that God in his love and wisdom has clearly reserved the role of pastor and the exercise of authority in the church to men. We do that because of our desire to follow the guidelines that God himself has given us in his Word.
Our beliefs will seldom find approval in the culture in which we live. When the values that we defend are challenged or ridiculed, we need to remember not just what we are against but what we are for. Cherish those values. Defend them. Hold on to them. Not because those values are traditional, but because they are biblical.
Author: Mark Schroeder
Volume 108, Number 11
Issue: November 2021