Monday, August 5, 2013

WELS Resolution on Bible Translations

As requested by one of our Intrepid subscribers, we are posting below the resolution regarding Bible translations that was adopted at the 2013 convention of the WELS.  The original document can be found here.  The original resolution instructed NPH to choose from among the NIV2011, the ESV, or the HCSB.  That resolution (b) was amended to remove the limitation to those three translations, allowing NPH literally to choose from any and every translation, as "it deems best."

Floor Committee 21: Translation Evaluation Committee (TEC)

Subject: Option 2
Reference: Book of Reports and Memorials, pp. 69-78; 211-215 (memorials 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 29, 30)
Resolution No. 1

WHEREAS 1) we strive to follow the direction found in Ephesians 4:2-3, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" and in Philippians 1:27, "Stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel”; and

WHEREAS 2) the TEC evaluation of the "Review of the 102" noted that each of the three translations (NIV2011, ESV, HCSB) "has some generally recognized strengths" but also "some generally recognized weaknesses" (BORAM, p. 73); and

WHEREAS 3) the TEC concluded that “As a committee we are convinced that all the precious truths of our faith are clearly taught in all the translations we have considered” (BORAM, p. 77); and

WHEREAS 4) the TEC has produced a four-part Bible study for congregational use to help lay people become more familiar with translational issues; and

WHEREAS 5) it is apparent that no consensus has developed in the synod for the use of a single translation, as is evident from the memorials submitted to the synod from a broad sampling of the districts that dealt with the translation issue; and

WHEREAS 6) Northwestern Publishing House (NPH) will be able to use NIV84 for current published products and may be able to continue to use it for some future products; therefore be it

Resolved, a) that the synod in convention adopt the second option of the TEC report, that WELS does not adopt a single Bible translation for use in its publications at this time but use an eclectic approach; and be it further

Resolved, b) that we encourage NPH to choose whichever translation it deems best for a particular publication; and be it further

Resolved, c) that all the congregations in the WELS be encouraged to use the four-part Bible study that the TEC produced; and be it finally

Resolved, d) that we, as members of the WELS standing firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel, fix our hearts on this one unshakable truth: the Word of our God endures forever.

Pastor Joel Gaertner, chairman
Pastor Mark Gabb, secretary



Nicholas Leone said...

I cannot believe that WELS would even consider allowing the HCSB, a version produced by the Southern Baptist Convention and translated almost completely by Baptists. The HCSB even deliberately mistranslates Galatians 6:16 in order to support their false Dispensationalist teachings concerning Israel and the Church:

More on this issue here:

But if WELS will allow the NIV 2011, then I guess it is no surprise that the HCSB would be allowed as well.

For the record, I'm LCMS, so I'm an outside observer to all this. I'm not trying to put down WELS though. We in the LCMS have just as much of a problem with Enthusiasts in our own Synod.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Rydecki,

Thank you for posting this. I was unable to find it elsewhere.


Brett Meyer said...

I'm not quite sure why so many people are agitated over which Bible translation the WELS chooses to use.

Pastor Paul Rydecki was excommunicated from the WELS in 2012 for publicly teaching that men are justified, forgiven all sin, solely by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone. The WELS' synod president, COP, members of the TEC, Seminary faculty, College faculty, High School and Grade School faculties and the majority of called workers and clergy applauded his excommunication for teaching a Gospel that was officially labeled heresy. Many others condoned the action by silently watching it happen in the Lutheran church and continue to allow the excommunication to stand.

All of that was done at the time when the official Bible translation of the WELS, the NIV84, condemned such action and charge of heresy as contrary to Scripture, Christ, God the Father and the Holy Ghost.

This is also not the first time the WELS has excommunicated individuals from fellowship over teaching Scriptural justification solely by faith alone - the Kokomo families were excommunicated for the same doctrine years ago. The Krohn family was removed from fellowship when they refused to confess the WELS' gospel of Universal Objective Justification - God's forgiveness without faith.

In light of these facts, and the acceptance of them, (indicated by the resulting deafening silence) why are some agitated when the same individuals, who excommunicated Christ's faithful servant for teaching and confessing the Gospel according to Scripture, have manipulated the acceptance of a new age translation of the Bible?

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Brett, I agree that, even if the WELS had chosen the best Bible translation available, the elephant in the room would still remain. The synod has officially and overwhelmingly condemned the Gospel, and not a single member of synod (i.e., pastors, male teachers and congregations) is even objecting to it. That is a much larger problem than the choice of translation. I suppose that the tolerance of, and even love for, the NIV2011 is simply further evidence of the synod's doctrinal decline.

Brett Meyer said...

It's arguable that the Synod-wide acceptance of labeling Christ's Gospel as heresy and the wholly false gospel of Universal Justification as God's gospel proclaimation is more significant than a 'decline' but rather a 'destination'. It is in fact the same declaration of heresy upon Christ's Gospel that the Roman Catholic Church of the Antichrist has pronounced for centuries.

A Synod, church or person can go to no greater depths of doctrinal depravity then to declare as heresy Scriptures chief and central doctrine of one Justification solely by the gracious gift of faith in Christ alone. Rejection of the Gospel is separation from Christ and since there is no depth of the rejection of Christ which signifies greater separation - the rejection of Christ's Gospel is a destination and not a journey or decline. All other false doctrine and practice that eminates from that rejection is simply fruit of UOJ's unbelief and rejection of God's revealed Word.

I believe how a person responds to a denomination which has reached such a doctrinal destination as opposed to one that is in doctrinal decline should be significantly more decisive.

The overwhelming acceptance of UOJ as Christ's gospel, and at the expense of Christ's true Gospel, is a great falling away from the Truth.

Joe Krohn said...

I had a conversation with my pastor about this once. He was not a fan of the Beck Bible which was supposed to be THE English Lutheran modern Bible. Yes, all the translations have problems, we agreed; even the trusty KJV. But on the flip side of the argument is testament to the Holy Ghost that there are orthodox congregations and pastors that remain faithful to the Word in spite of bad translations.

Anonymous said...


I don't think "so many" people are agitated by what Bible translation the WELS chooses to use. I think way too few people are agitated, or even concerned. If there is a great number out there who are opposed to the 2011 NIV but silent, they are neither agitated or concerned or more would be heard from them. God's Word is being changed in plain view, but I suspect more of a fuss would be heard if internet connectivity was lost for just an hour!

In the few decades of my life, all in the WELS, I've seen good pastors in this synod teach and preach that we don't change God's Word. These men recognized that an agenda of gender neutrality applied in a Bible translation was and is changing God's Word. I even know of some pastors who once preached and taught that very thing, and now, a few short years later, they seem to have forgotten what they themselves taught.

You pointed out that the problems under discussion did not happen overnight; that they have been going on for some time. I agree with you, but I think that never have they been in the forefront, for all to see, as they were in this convention on this topic. Change in the synod is accelerating. And perhaps, if some will take the time to contact synod leaders, as Pastor Spencer suggested, they can point out to these leaders that now, on their watch, the change is past the point of becoming institutionalized. It has progressed to the next stage and is now being openly "celebrated". We are told by leaders to rejoice in all the forms of God's Word we have available to us? No matter whether they blatantly contradict each other? This is a reason to rejoice? That God would say one thing in one translation, and something different in another? Does this sound like God to anyone? But this is what synod leaders are asking their lay people to celebrate, and it is happening on their watch.


Rev. Rob Lawson said...

Pastor Rydecki,
"The Synod has officially and overwhelmingly condemned the Gospel." This rhetoric is way beyond the pale of credibility. We accuse the Roman papacy of condemning the Gospel. We don't, however, even accuse the Reformed and Arminian sects of condemning the Gospel. Are we, now, to understand that you put the WELS in the same category as the very Antichrist?

There are a number of things for which the WELS is rightly criticized. "Condemning the Gospel" is not one of them. With this accusation you have raised the rhetoric to the level of the blatantly inflammatory. This is the kind of speech that puts guys in the category of "worthy to be ignored."

I admonish you to reconsider your words and retract them.

Rev. Rob Lawson, ACLC Superintendent

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

Dear Pastor Lawson,

You say that I have "raised the rhetoric to the level of the blatantly inflammatory."

I never said anything about the WELS condemning the Gospel until the WELS came in and publicly and officially condemned the Gospel as heresy.

I ask you, then, who raised the rhetoric to that level? Do you not think it was blatantly inflammatory for a district presidium of the WELS to step into a congregation and brand a pastor as a "heretic" and "false teacher" for proclaiming that sinners are justified only by faith in Christ, not because faith is a good or worthy work, but as faith lays hold of Christ, the Righteous One? Do you not think it was blatantly inflammatory for this presidium to then stand by its condemnation and suspend this pastor?

What have they done, then, but condemn the Gospel?

Believe me, it brings me no pleasure to say such things, and I wish it weren't true. But failing to call a spade a spade helps no one.

Rev. Rob Lawson said...

Pastor Rydecki,
It is quite evident that the WELS publically, officially, and overwhelmingly affirms the Gospel—that we are saved by the merits of Christ, received by faith alone. You claim that you were called a heretic and a false teacher because you taught that sinners are justified by faith in Christ, etc. Yet every verifiable thing we have seen is that you were not removed for teaching the subjective aspect of Justification, which WELS also affirms, but for rejecting the objective aspect, which WELS understands to be the basis of the Gospel.
Rev. Rob Lawson

Rev. Paul A. Rydecki said...

I have consistently upheld every Biblical "objective aspect" of justification. I outlined them in a recent essay that I presented. It can be found here:

Brett Meyer said...

The Lutheran synod's and the Seventh Day Adventist's common confession of the doctrine of Universal Objective Justification (UOJ) teaches that faith is a work of man. By that confession they claim that if Scripture teaches that man is justified solely by faith in Christ alone then faith becomes a meritorious work of man and is synergism. Therefore they praise UOJ for eliminating any synergism on the part of man because it teaches the whole unbelieving world was justified before and without faith.

What would the WELS' response be to the charge that their chief doctrine of UOJ teaches synergistic Salvation?

According to UOJ, as the WELS, LCMS and ELS confesses it, faith is a work of man and by it receive salvation when they believe that they were forgiven by God through Christ's atonement (Modern Lutheran theologians are split as to whether the whole unbelieving world was forgiven when Christ said it was finished, when Christ died on the cross or when He rose from the grave). Faith remains a meritorious work through consistent application of the doctrinal tenets of UOJ. As has been pointed out clearly for years - there is not one tenet of UOJ that is faithful to Scripture or the Lutheran Confessions. It requires an ecclectic mix of the world's religions to translate a Bible that can support it.

Rev. Rob Lawson said...

What are you talking about? This is nonsense!

Brett Meyer said...

Rev. Lawson, isn't it true that the doctrine of UOJ as taught in the Lutheran Synods rejects justification solely by faith alone because it would make faith a meritorious work - synergism?

Rev. Rob Lawson said...

Innuendo, half-truths and lies! It is not possible to carry on a fruitful discussion with someone like you. I'm done.

Brett Meyer said...

The LCMS has leaned heavily upon Herman Amberg Preus (his confession of UOJ is quite similar to Siegbert W. Becker’s) and his diatribe against Professor August Weenaas' confession of one Justification solely by Faith Alone (JBFA) in favor of Universal Justification without faith (UOJ). H.A. Preus confirms my assertion:

“On the other hand he must preach "another gospel" in which the right faith, as a hand, does not merely grasp the righteousness already gained and bestowed, but obtains a deserving character as a work of a good nature.”
“I will readily believe that Professor Weenaas has not comprehended the whole range of his teaching. Likewise that he himself has not drawn all these consequences from his doctrine. However, logic is an inexorable adversary and these consequences follow by logical necessity from the meaning he gives faith, not as a plain and simple hand which only grasps what is already at hand and is given, but as a work, a condition which works on God's heart and calls forth something which was not there before, love, the conferring of grace and justification.”

WELS’ Mark Zarling confirms my assertion:
”The other extreme is to stress subjective justification without understanding the objective reality. This error leads to synergism in one form or the other. Stressing faith as the cause of justification makes it a meritorious work. We have then destroyed the sola gratia of the Gospel, and cause men to look within themselves for the assurance of salvation. Put very simply, justification is misunderstood if we misapply Law and Gospel.” Page 8

Those familiar with the eternal conflict between UOJ and JBFA will agree that UOJ teaches faith is a work of man by their contention that faith becomes synergistic if by faith alone man is forgiven. Carrying that confession through UOJ’s teaching that their faith is required to be saved eternally and the doctrine of UOJ establishes man’s work of believing being required for eternal salvation. UOJ teaches synergistic salvation in order for men to receive the benefit of Christ’s righteousness bestowed upon them while they were alive to sin, dead in sins and under God’s wrath and condemnation.

Steve Finnell said...


Here listed are non-Scriptural reasons to reject water baptism.

1. Do not be baptism because it is an act of obedience and obedience is not essential to be saved.
2. Do not be baptized because the thief on the cross was not baptized and he was saved.
3. Do not be baptized because it is essential to join a denominational church, however, you can get into heaven without being baptized in water.
4. Do not be baptized because baptism is a work of the law of Moses, and works cannot saved.
5. Do not be baptized because being baptized by someone is working your way to heaven.
6. Do not be baptized because your preacher said it was not essential in order to have sins forgiven.
7. Do not be baptized because your creed book says you are saved the very minute you believe.
8. Do not be baptized because certain men claim that Mark 16:16 should not be included in the Bible.
9. Do not be baptized because some Bible commentaries state that men are baptized because they have already been saved.
10. Do not be baptized because all of your friends and church members believe that baptism is not essential to the forgiveness of sins.
11. Do not be baptized because it is simply a testimony faith, but is not necessary to be saved.
12. Do not be baptized because God was not smart enough to have Acts 2:38 translated correctly. Baptized for the forgiveness of sins is wrong. It should be because your sins have already been forgiven. Do not be baptized because the Bible cannot be trusted.

If baptism is not essential to salvation why would you want to get wet?


1. Be baptized so your sin can be forgiven. (Acts 2:38)

2. Be baptized so your sins can be washed away. (Acts 22:16)

3. Be baptized so your trespasses can be forgiven. (Colossians 2:12-13)

4. Be baptized in order to be saved. (Mark 16:16)

5. Be baptized so you can walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

6. Be baptized so you can be freed from sin. (Romans 6:7)

7. Be baptized so you can be saved. (1 Peter 3:31)

8. Be baptized so you can have a clear conscience toward God. (1 Peter 3:21)

9. Be baptized so you can be sanctified and cleansed. (Ephesians 5:26)

10 Be baptized so you can be holy and without blemish. (Ephesian 5:27)

11. Be baptized so you can put on Christ. (Galatians 3:27)

12. Be baptized so you can enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

13 Be baptized to you can be saved and added to the Lord's church.(Acts 2:40-41) (Acts 2:47)

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Bill said...

Pastor Lawson, if objective justification is necessary as the basis for the gospel as you affirm then this objective justification can not be universal. Because only those that have faith are justified, and the promises of the gospel are for "whosoever believes" John 3:16. Pastor Rydecki is correct in defining justification by faith as the sole form of justification the bible teaches. With regard to the gospel promises and benefits, they are not univesal, all promises and benefits of the gospel pertain to believers only. Universal objective justification is not biblical, it appears as some sort of neo universalism. John 3:3 teaches that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven, and it is only those that are born again that are justified. There is no universal form of justification taught in scripture, whether objective or subjective, justification is not universal but it pertains to those that have come or will come to faith in Christ.

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