There is no spiritual neutral

By Richard Bolland
Special to The PREVIEW

One of the foolish things that I sometimes hear people say about religion goes something like this: “I don’t want to decide for my children which faith they should have so I’ll just let them grow up and then they can make their own decision.”

It is foolish because there is no spiritually “neutral” place in which their children can grow up.

From a Christian perspective, there is no better way to place the eternal destiny of our own children in eternal peril than to leave them uneducated in a spiritually hostile world. God’s Word, the Bible, said it rightly in Proverbs 22:6 (ESV), “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Likewise, St. Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, ESV).

In 1838, the first of five ships set sail from Bremen, Germany, for the United States. These ships carried spiritual refugees from Saxony in Germany. King Frederich Wilhelm III of Prussa had set much of Germany on a course of persecution of orthodox Lutherans there. Property was confiscated; Lutheran pastors who dared to conduct worship in accord with Lutheran historic liturgies were imprisoned; Lutheran baptisms were declared invalid; and illegal, clandestine gatherings of Lutherans worshipped in the woods and in barns to avoid discovery by the state.

Finally, to live in harmony with their faith, about 700 Lutherans abandoned home, nation, occupations and extended family to be able to live and raise their children as Lutherans in the New World. After a harrowing journey they finally settled in Perry County, Mo. Through discussions with other groups of orthodox Lutherans, they founded what would become The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) in 1847. That church body now numbers about 2.1 million in the U.S.

It was simply unthinkable for this group of Lutheran settlers to turn their children over to a secular government to educate their children and, thus, it has long been a hallmark of Missouri Synod Lutheran congregations to establish Lutheran schools in many of the now 6,600 congregations in the U.S.

Even here in Pagosa Springs, Our Savior Lutheran Church & School retains the heritage of educating their children and others in the Christian/Lutheran faith.

It takes sacrifice to build a school, find teachers, provide high educational standards that parents (Lutheran and non-Lutheran) are willing to pay for twice (once with their tax dollars for public education and again with tuition for the Lutheran school). Yet, the heritage of those Saxon immigrants continues in our own community.

Why go to all the expense, sacrifice, and trouble? Because scripture insists that our children should be raised in the faith, learn to see the world and their studies through the prism of that faith, and spend eternity with God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What could possibly be more important than that?

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This story was posted on August 3, 2017.