(Second of two)
The claim that the existence of private religious schools—Catholic and/or Protestant—“encourages division and discourages cooperation” bears watching, as it may well bespeak an attitude that will impact our schools. It is significant in that it reveals an attitude toward Christianity that, while not new, is increasingly more strident.
We suspect that the President and his spokesman will deny that the intent was to attack religious schools or Christianity. We also expect that people will say that we are crying wolf.
When we warn against the insidiousness of evil and of the open attack upon Christianity and our faith in practice, we are not doubting the Lord’s faithfulness or His care for us. We know from Holy Scripture—and we are confident—that ultimately the Lord will prevail.
Nevertheless, we point out that our heavenly Father warns us to resist evil and to flee sin. After warning that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution, and that evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, St. Paul says by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, “But you continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of…” (2 Timothy 3:12-14). We are further instructed to hold fast to what we have so that no one takes our crown (Revelation 3:11). Clearly, those words are exhortations to be alert to the dangers around us!
Precisely because Christianity is being attacked on many fronts (from government edicts to church apostasy), our ears must not become deaf to hints of danger. When our public ministry and parochial schools are characterized as “divisive,” more is called for than a shrug of the shoulders.
When our religious educational program—from our Christian homes to our Sunday Schools to our Day Schools to Immanuel Lutheran High School and College—is maligned, it is a serious matter, particularly when done by those who have the power to do us harm. Our parochial schools are an integral part of our ministry as we seek to feed and nourish lambs of the Good Shepherd in the way of salvation. We hope all our parents know and appreciate the benefit of our Christian schools to their children.
Even as we encourage Christian parents to utilize our schools to help them build up their children on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, for the same reason we must be alert to—and resist with the Word of God and prayer and renewed commitment—every attempt by the world to undermine them.
In the past it was accepted that good homes were the backbone of society. If anyone doubts that fact, look what has happened to society as marriage and home life have deteriorated. Similarly, a sound educational system at home, school, and church is the backbone of the Church’s gospel ministry from generation to generation.
Surely that is one reason why Luther advised that children not be sent to schools where the Word of God is not taught. He said, “But where the Holy Scripture does not rule I certainly advise no one to send his child… I greatly fear that schools of higher learning are wide gates to hell if they do not diligently teach the Holy Scriptures and impress them on the young folk” (What Luther Says, Vol. I, p. 449).
Luther’s foremost concern was the eternal welfare of the children, but he also recognized the value of education in the Word for the here-and-now. “It is a serious and important matter, in which Christ and all the world are mightily concerned, that we help and assist our youth. By helping the youth we shall be helping ourselves and all men” (ibid., p. 442).
Christian parents will want to give serious consideration to using the parochial school of their congregation to assist them in the education of the children whom God has placed in their care. Individual congregations and the CLC in general should wholeheartedly support the establishment and support of our nurseries of Christ’s “little ones.” Again, Luther states, “Human reason teaches only the hand and the foot of a man; God alone teaches the heart” (ibid., p. 449).