Sonlight: Church News

Galesville Campus

Arcadia Campus

Welcome to

Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 1:7)

Take a closer look!  We offer: 

  • An honest message rooted in the ageless text of the Bible – God’s Word.
  • A helpful message that addresses our real life needs.
  • A caring ministry from a pastor who will know you by name and make house calls.
  • A genuine connection with people who are not perfect, but who are forgiven and grateful.
  • A unique opportunity to be a part of a growing Trempealeau County-wide congregation.
  • A world-wide ministry as a part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.


From Pastor Jon N. Cox

Hello! It is good to be able to greet all the visitors to the Bethel Lutheran Church website.  While we have this opportunity to "meet", it seems helpful to tell you a little about myself. 

Let me begin by directing you to the picture on the left.  This is a picture of my wife, Doreen, and I.  We have been married for 24 years.  How time flies!  God has certainly blessed us by giving us a life together.  In addition to our shared faith in Christ, God blessed us with five children who believe and confess that saving faith with us.  Our children range in age from 21 to 12. We have been in the area for almost three years now, living in the community of Galesville.  It is such a blessing to live in this area of the state; we love the scenery that God's has provided in the coulee region.

I grew up in the area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my mom and dad and four brothers.  God blessed me and enabled me to know the unconditional love of God through his Word and the example of my family. 

Having served as a pastor since 1992 in College Station, Texas and Fond du Lac, it is exciting now to be a servant among the people here at Bethel. I am always pleased to meet visitors and anyone interested in learning more about the Christian faith, our congregation, and the WELS.  Feel free to call me at (608) 582-9998 or call either church office.  The number in Arcadia is (608) 323-3270; in Galesville it is (608) 582-4329.


We are one congregation with two locations.

In Arcadia, Sunday worship is at 8:30 a.m.,
followed by Bible study and Sunday school at 10:00 a.m.

In Galesville, our Sunday worship time is 10:30 a.m. 
Bible study and Sunday school happen before worship at 9:00 a.m.
We also offer a Wednesday evening service at 6:00 p.m. in Galesville.

Faith Related Q and A

Jesus' brothers and sisters

Did Jesus have siblings, brothers and/or sisters? Joseph and Mary's biological children?


Scripture does not answer that precisely.  While the word translated as “brothers” can have the meaning of “cousins,” it is likely half-brothers and sisters (children of Joseph and Mary) are referenced in Matthew 12:46; 13:55-56; Mark 3:31, and Luke 8:19.  While the Bible teaches that Mary was a virgin who became pregnant with the Christchild through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38), there is nothing in Scripture to prohibit the idea of her having biological children with Joseph.

Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.


Is The Message an accurate representation of the Bible?

I have read some of The Message and it seems to be written in a form easy to understand. However, when I compare it to another translation, such as the NIV, I can see the relationships, but it doesn't seem to capture the essence of traditional Scripture. I have seen a lot dealing with a watered down version of the Bible and how that seems to be a common thing among some denominations. The Message is one man's interpretation of God's Word. My main question: is this a good book to read and does it accurately represent the Word of God or is it something to stay away from? It begs the question whether this book is in violation of Revelation 22 verses 18 and 19. I have talked with other WELS members about this and I get varying responses, but mostly are against this book. I would like to see what WELS has to say on this matter.


Do keep in mind that the following information is simply a personal assessment of The Message.  WELS does not have an official list of recommended Bible translations.

That being said, The Message is a paraphrase, not what would be understood as a translation.  While a translation can contain the biases of the translators, that is even more true of a paraphrase:  it is very easy for the person doing the paraphrasing to incorporate into the finished product ideas and shadings that reflect the person’s own faith.  When we understand that The Message is a paraphrase by a (now retired) Presbyterian pastor, we will be interested in seeing if historic Presbyterian doctrines find their way into his paraphrase.

And so, does his paraphrase indicate consistently that the Lord’s Supper is a holy meal in which Jesus’ body and blood are present in, with and under the bread and wine?  He renders 1 Corinthians 11:26-27 (“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”) this way:  “What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.  Anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Master irreverently is like part of the crowd that jeered and spit on him at his death. Is that the kind of “remembrance” you want to be part of?”  I do not see the real presence of the Lord’s body and blood in that paraphrase.

Again, thinking of historic Presbyterian doctrines, does his paraphrase indicate that people really can fall away from the faith?  Jesus’ explanation of the Parable of the Sower teaches:  “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.  They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away” (Luke 8:13).  The Message turns the truth of that verse into this:  “The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.”  “Enthusiasm?”  “Fad?”  Or faith?

Beyond these two items, here are a couple of other concerns.  Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches beautifully that salvation, including the gift of faith that joins us to Jesus and brings us salvation, is entirely God’s doing.  The Message says:  “Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. [My emphasis] It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role.”  Titus 3:5-6 “[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” becomes “He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.”  Time constraints prevent me from sharing more examples where this paraphrase falls short of reliable translations.

People using The Message will need to understand that it is a paraphrase—a retelling of what is in the original Bible languages from the viewpoint of the author.  If it is going to be used, it is safest to have a reliable translation alongside it.

Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.

WELS Streaming Videos

» September 2014 - 150 anniversary of Luther Prep

The year was 1864. Civil War fighting was at its peak, as Lincoln pressed to preserve the Union. At about the same time, WELS president Johannes Bading saw a need to preserve another institution: WELS. He realized that a key to our synod's future was to establish schools for training pastors and teachers. Today, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of that effort, by looking at one of our preparatory schools: Luther Prep.

Cast: WELS Streams

Tags: WELS, Streams and LPS

» August 2014 - Humanitarian Aid

One of the first steps in mission work is showing that we care. Demonstrating our love for others often opens the door to the gospel message. And in many places, the best way to show we care is to provide the basics that so many don't have: food, shelter, and water.

Cast: WELS Streams

Tags: WELS, Streams, humanitarian and aid

Forward in Christ

September 2014
Issue Date: 

Okay, we all know that God doesn't literally hold our hands. But what a great way to picture the support, love, direction, comfort, and safety that God gives us every day. Read more about what Pastor Eric Hartzell says about God's hand-holding.

Then see that hand-holding up close as you enter the world of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

read more