An April “Warrior Thought”
This Warrior thought represents the fifth of seven monthly articles intended to celebrate within our Warrior Family the blessings we have in Christian middle and secondary education. As a reminder, in each of these publications, I will reference statements from the LCMS Office of National Mission-School Ministry explaining “Why Lutheran Schools.” I will then share excerpts from a document titled “Why Lutheran High?” created by a sister school written to debunk some of the most common hurdles preventing a family from choosing a Christian education for their child.
The following statement comes from the LCMSOffice of National Mission - School Ministry – “Why Lutheran Schools:”
To Provide a Safe, Caring Place for Children: Unfortunately, in many communities children are not safe. Lutheran schools provide places where children don't have to worry about being attacked verbally or physically. Loving teachers and other staff members daily demonstrate Christ's love for them and their love for children.
As parents we want our children to be safe. Our Warrior staff serves families in the name of Christ. This means we can care for students in a different way. As a team, we are unified in loving students in a way that Christ modeled for us in scripture.
Very recently I attended the funeral for the parent of two recent alumni. This woman was a product of Lutheran secondary education. She died at age 57, before anyone was ready for her to be called home to heaven. God knew it was time. He invited her home. She had a deep and firm faith-foundation, part of which was in place because of the Christ-centered education she received.
She loved her family, and as a mom she loved and cared for her children. Christian education was a priority in their home. I sat next to three fellow staff members during the funeral. Our hearts hurt for this family. Serving in a ministry where God’s gift of grace is at the core causes each of us to take our job very seriously. There are eternal consequences for these young people. It means we love deeper, in a manner only possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I am so thankful to be able to place my three girls in an environment where I know each and every team member has heaven as the ultimate goal. I know they are loved in an everlasting love - extended by God, through Christ, by way of servant-oriented teachers and staff. Our Lutheran schools aren’t perfect. Sometimes fellow students are unkind. Sometimes staff makes mistakes. But I have confidence knowing the greater good my children receive more than outweighs a bump in the road along the way.
Our friends at Wolf River Lutheran High School respond to a question they often hear from families in the excerpt from their publication below:
Doesn’t a Christian high school shelter students from the real world? Shouldn’t teens experience the real world found in public high schools?
The “sheltering concern” regarding Christian education makes two erroneous assumptions about the spiritual nature of the world in which we live:
1. Teenagers need to experience (or be around) sin to know how to avoid it.
2. A Christian high school is somehow without sin (or does not have as much sin) as a public high school.
Let’s start with the first assumption. Scripturally speaking, the Bible does not teach that you should surround yourself with sin 35-50 hours a week and then you’ll know how to avoid it. In fact, the Bible makes a clear case for avoiding temptation and evil influences. One need not experience or observe sin to know that it is wrong. As Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthian 15, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" In Proverbs 15, King Solomon states, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
What are proponents of the “real world experience” hoping to accomplish? At best, it could mean subjecting teenagers to unnecessary peer pressure. At worst, teenagers may ultimately be in an environment that will not respect (and possibly denigrate) their Christian faith. The overriding humanistic philosophies of mainstream academia – Darwinism, moral relativism, secular humanism, etc. – WILL have an effect on the development of a teenager’s outlook. It is hard to see the logic in subjecting adolescents to unnecessary pressure to abandon the Christian truths that have been instilled in them from Baptism. At a time when teens are most vulnerable to influence, is it really wise to surround them with an increase in non-Christian influences?
As for the second assumption, does enrolling a teenager in a Christian high school mean that they won’t have to deal with temptations and other tests of their faith? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Put simply, Christian high schools, including Wolf River Lutheran High School, can have the same problems as any public high school. Anyone who has worked in or attended a Christian school can verify that fact. All of the same issues that arise in other high schools – bullying, drinking, sex, and drugs – can occur in a Christian high school too. So what, then, is the value of a Christian secondary education?
The best benefit lies in the approach to sin – a careful balance of Law and Gospel. Wolf River Lutheran High School students experience temptations like their public schools counterparts – but we use different weapons!
Because Jesus Christ conquered sin on the cross, our spiritual arsenal includes:
What is “real world” anyway?
- Reliance upon Word and sacrament
- Clear delineation of Biblically defined right and wrong
- Teachers and staff who provide Scriptural Christian advice
- A supportive environment of fellow believers that promotes growth in Christ
- An atmosphere that exalts obedience to God’s Word
- Forgiveness given freely
- Appropriate consequences assigned when actions call for it
- Recognition of each student as a dearly loved child of God
At Wolf River Lutheran High School, our students face real challenges, real expectations, real accountability, and real problems. There is no doubt that our students are in the real world every single day. However, as we are reminded in John 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but…you are not of the world…I chose you out of the world…” Therefore, our Lutheran trained teachers stress the importance of not succumbing to the world’s expectations. In short, we encourage our students to be IN the world, but not OF it (Romans 12:2).
This is an argument for choosing public schools that I hear a lot. I would like to affirm two points. First, we know we are far from perfect at Lincoln Lutheran. Mistakes are made. We are sinful people. However, we get to work through mistakes and issues using a common ground as Christians, balancing Law and Gospel. This is not the case in public schools.
Second, society is winning the battle for the attention of our children. Just probe with your children about some of the hot topics in the media. Scripture provides us with absolute truth about right and wrong. Movies, blogs, opinion pages, advertisements and popular music bombard youth with messages attacking any notion of absolute truth, doing everything they can to convince the consumer we have the right to choose “anything” in life – and that no one should tell us we are wrong.
The sheer magnitude of these messages should be affirmation enough to place our students in a daily environment that teaches them to think critically with a Christian Worldview. We are training up Warriors to be a light in an ever darkening world. They need as much training as we can give them. Thanks be to God we have the Gospel message to reaffirm in our children to take out into our community.
God’s blessings on these final weeks of school. I am thankful for the opportunity we have at Lincoln Lutheran to love students in Christ!
Because of Him,
Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS