The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod's president is speaking out as many question presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's decision to leave the denomination. In his latest statement, he explains the church's disagreement with the Roman Catholic papacy and its biblical teachings.
While WELS disagrees with the pope's station in the church and Catholic teachings on salvation, it denies being bigoted toward Catholics. In fact, the WELS head holds that many Catholics are true believers.
The Rev. Mark G. Schroeder wrote in a commentary that he makes no apology for the church’s belief that the Roman Catholic papacy fits the biblical characteristics of the antichrist. Schroeder states that WELS draws its teachings solely from the scriptures.
"The papacy claim[s] to speak with an authority – even infallibility – that was equal to or surpassing the Word of God itself," he explains. "By doing so, it put[s] itself in a position of being 'anti' or 'in place of' Christ."
However, Schroeder says its denomination is not bigoted against Catholics.
The denomination, he contends, "hold[s] no animosity towards toward Christians of the Catholic faith." WELS, the third largest Lutheran denomination, respects people's right to hold different beliefs than its own.
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