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So my question is about churches (or more specifically the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church) which bar all forms of fellowship (to include prayer) unless all points of doctrine are agreed upon. For example, two Lutherans, one from WELS and one from LCMS, have similar very doctrines. The LCMS Lutheran believes in limited fellowship, but will pray with non LCMS Lutherans. The WELS Lutheran will not pray with the LCMS Lutheran however.

This makes me wonder: How is it possible to help someone grow in the faith when you cannot even pray with a person until you agree on all points of doctrine? How can they even learn all points of expected doctrine without having a community they are in fellowship with?

Do they make an exception when someone is growing in the faith? Do they not bring people to worship services until they're ready to be baptised - and agree to believe all points of doctrine? (So do they discourage parishioners from bringing friends to church?)

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Being born into it is one way to enter the church and may be the easiest way. :) –  Anonymous Oct 13 '13 at 1:42
    
Well, I know they do proselytize. (At the very least, they have a website.) I'm just not certain of their exact method to stay consistent with doctrine - or if there's an exception (and reasoning for it). –  Paul Oct 14 '13 at 8:23
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

From the WELS website:

If anyone is willing to sit down and talk with us, we'd be happy to explain what we mean and what statements of the Bible are involved...If we find that the other people are ignorant or unaware of the errors in their churches, we would never avoid or refuse to encourage them or possibly even worship with them on occasion.

It looks like they are willing to talk to and worship with people who don't agree with them. It's just that fellowship has to be on their terms and not on the terms of the person from outside the church.

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In the WELS statements "Fellowship" means cooperating and working together as Christians. Their doctrinal statement means they will only cooperate (including as you say, praying with) Christians who completely agree with them. It does not mean that they cannot eat, work, play hockey or discuss theology with those that disagree with them - including Christians of differing view and atheists.

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