Bethany Lutheran College President Norman S. Holte
1981 Synod Convention Essay
The liberal arts have a long tradition in the education of man, going back into the Roman and Greek period of history and, no doubt, even further. The Christians of the 4th and 5th centuries continued reluctantly to use the curriculum of the Romans, which consisted largely of the seven liberal arts: the trivium — grammar, rhetoric and logic; and the quadrivium — arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. The Christian writers of this period were well acquainted with the pagan literature of the Greeks and the Romans. Some wished to ban the study of such literature and others recommended their study. The trivium and quadrivium were largely adapted by the Christian church to serve its ends. In this process the liberal arts lost some of their vitality. This and the invasion of the “barbarians” and constant warfare led to a decline in learning and education generally during the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries. Nevertheless, the liberal arts survived and in some places were studied with diligence and with greatly renewed interest and vitality during the Renaissance period.
This revival of the liberal arts, especially the study of the classics, the pagan literature of the Greeks and Romans, helped make the Reformation possible. The basic purpose of the liberal arts, the “cultivation of the mind,” was restored. The study of Greek and Roman literature in the original languages brought a renewal of interest in grammar and in the accurate rendering of the meaning of the original texts. Luther and the Reformation certainly benefited from this revival of learning.
It is noteworthy that the Reformation had its birth in the universities and was led by a man whose education involved not only a study of the Scriptures and the church fathers but also of the liberal arts. We shall look later at his strong support for Christian liberal arts education.
During the Middle Ages the church was the institution largely responsible for the discovery, preserving, and dispensing of knowledge. It may have performed this task poorly at times, but, aside from the family, there was no other institution to perform this function. Thus Western civilization and Christianity became so intertwined that they were hardly distinguishable.
In America the same close relationship continued between church and college. Harvard was established in 1636 largely as the result of a gift by the, Rev. John Harvard “that tongues and arts might be taught and learning and piety maintained.” (Ellwood P. Cubberly, Public Education in The United States, Houghton-Mifflin Co., Cambridge, Mass., 1919, p. 16)
Through the 19th century American higher education remained dominated by church colleges. The historians, S. E. Morison and H. S. Commager, described the pre-Civil War education of these small institutions as follows: “Foreign visitors compared the institutions with Oxford, Cambridge and Göttingen, and laughed or sneered. But for an integrated education, one that cultivates manliness and makes gentlemen as well as scholars, one that disciplines the social affections and trains young men to faith in God, consideration for his fellow man, and respect for learning, America has never had the equal of her little hill-top colleges.” (Samuel Eliot Morison and Henry Steele Commager, The Growth of the American Republic, Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, 1950, p. 514)
In the 20th century higher education has become increasingly secularized. The percentage of college students attending private colleges has declined from 62% in 1900 to 21 % in 1980. It is projected that by 2000 this will be further reduced to 15% — a smaller slice of a shrinking pie, Less than 5% of high school graduates who are members of a Protestant or Catholic congregation and who go on to a college or university choose to attend an institution of their denomination. (Robert V. Schnabel, “Christian Higher Education at the Crossroads,” Part I, The Cresset, Valparaiso, Ind., Sept. 1980, Vol. XLIII, No.8.) The establishment and growth of public colleges and universities had started before the Revolutionary War but received tremendous impetus with the passage of the Morrill Act, 1862, the G.I. Bill after World War II, and, of course, the baby boom of the 1950’s and 60’s.
In addition to the growth of public institutions, many private institutions have become completely secularized, severing their church ties and serving only a secular purpose. Some retain their church connection in name only: their governing boards are chosen on the basis of the prestige and financial support they can offer the college; the faculties are chosen because of their academic credentials, and loyalty to the church’s confession is of secondary importance; and students represent a diversity of religious backgrounds. The religious beliefs of faculty and students are regarded as a private matter. No denomination or college has remained untouched by the unrelenting force of secular philosophies (Schnabel, Part I, p. 9.)
We all know that the popularity of the liberal arts has declined. There has been increased emphasis on specialization in a specific discipline and on preparation for a career . It is important in view of these developments that we review the benefits of the education — a Christian, liberal arts education — that your synodical institution offers.
First, let us take a look at the college student of today. The following material is based on a number of studies done in the late 70’s, the findings of which are summarized in When Dreams and Heroes Died, by Arthur Levine. He gives us a vivid portrait of the college freshman of the late 70’s in comparison to the freshman of the 60’s. He depicts the male students of the 60’s as having long hair, a scraggly beard, carrying a Molotov cocktail in one hand and clenching the other above his head. His counterpart of 1979 struck the same pose—his hair was carefully styled, he carried a diploma, and in the clenched fist was a wad of dollar bills. This, of course, is a caricature, but it conveys an important fact — the values held by college students have changed. (Arthur Levine, When Dreams and Heroes Died, The Carnegie Foundation, Jossey-Bass, Inc., San Francisco, 1981, p. 1.)
Today’s college student was born after the idealism of “Camelot” had been shattered in Dallas. The “Great Society” and “the war on poverty” were fading into the background and the Viet Nam War was brought into the family room just as he was beginning to be a ware of the world beyond his immediate family. During his adolescence he witnessed in his home the assassination of several national leaders and youth heroes, he saw cities burned by rioters, a national political convention disrupted by rioting college students, students killed by national guardsmen, a president and vice-president resigning from office in disgrace, and cabinet officers tried in the courts for crimes. These events have had a negative effect on today’s students.
They have had a greater impact on this generation than would have been the case in another decade. The very institutions that should have had a positive influence and that should have developed optimism and trust were waning—the family, the church and the school. There is no need to give statistics on the increase in divorce and single parent families, inadequate discipline, assaults on teachers, rapes and attempted rapes, the decline in academic standards, grade inflation, homework cut in half and declining test scores. “At worst, schools force youngsters to contend with the terrors of the adult world at an earlier age than many did in the past. At best, the decline in academic standards requires of the young people less commitment to school and provided more time for unplanned activities—frequently television—in less sheltered environments.” (Levine, p. 16). Pre-schoolers spend more time in front of the TV than any age group, averaging from 20, to 54 hours a week. Television has largely displaced friend, babysitter, teacher and parent.
What do they watch? The college students of the 60’s in their early years watched “Father Knows Best,” “Leave it to Beaver,” and a number of spin-offs that portrayed an idealized family, having the normal everyday problems, solving them by democratic processes, always showing love and concern for each other. These were all gone by 1966. They were replaced by “All in the Family,” which changed the course of television programming. “It brought a harsh reality to the TV world… Its chief character, Archie Bunker, was anything but bland… he was uneducated, prejudiced, and blatantly outspoken… (Levine, p. 18). “All in the Family” launched a wave of new shows—“Maude,” portraying liberal upper middle class suburban life; “Bridget Loves Bernie,” about ethnic and religious intermarriage; “The Jeffersons,” social mobility and black racism; “One Day at a Time,” divorce and single parent family—and so it goes, on and on, culminating in “Soap” and “Dallas.” Violence has always been a part of the TV diet, but “Gunsmoke” and “Wyatt Earp” dealt with a romanticized past, while the “Streets of San Francisco” and “Kojak” deal with the present and could take place down the street.
To escape an inhospitable world, students, like much of the rest of the country, are turning inward. For many, the one remaining refuge is “me,” everyone concerned primarily about himself. Levine describes it as a lifeboat mentality: “Each student is alone in a boat in a terrible storm, far from the nearest harbor. Each boat is beginning to take on water. There is but one alternative: each student must single-mindedly bail. Conditions are so bad that no one has time to care for others who may also be foundering.” (Levine, p. 22)
The shelves of bookstores further demonstrate our obsession with “Meism,” or the culture of Narcissism. Titles such as “Looking Out for Number One,” “Winning Through Intimidation,” “Getting Your Share,” “Pulling Your Own Strings,” “How You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis,” etc., etc., testify to a ready market among college students and adults.
Levine describes trends in society as moving in one of two directions. There are periods of “community ascendancy” when society is perceived as moving toward the community ideal, individual ties with community are strengthened, emphasis is placed on duty to others, and responsibility is a major concern. In other periods society moves toward “individual ascendancy.” In such a time individual ties with community are weakened, the individual is dominant, the emphasis is on “me.” It is hedonistic, emphasizing rights and taking rather than duty and responsibility. (Levine, p. 25.)
Today’s college students have grown up in an unmistakable period of individual ascendancy. Levine’s book goes on and describes how the values of today’s college students have been affected: Their main interest is in a career; they must have good grades and use almost any means to get them, in contrast to learning for the sake of acquiring knowledge. They must have fun, and alcohol has become the chief means of attaining this goal; sex is not promiscuous but casual—taken for granted and accepted; they are pessimistic about the future of the United States but optimistic about their own future. The “big me” is going to make it. The ship (Titanic) will sink, but I will lay my plans carefully to effect my own rescue.
It is a world where freedom of action seems pathetically limited and a time when situational ethics appears to make more sense than a philosophy of life. For nearly all college students (87%), life has dimensions that simply cannot be grasped rationally. To this Doonesbury offers the advice, “Go with the flow.” A philosophy of life does not seem particularly necessary or even very helpful in such a world. (Levine, p. 113)
The sources of these attitudes certainly go beyond television. They are complex and imbedded in the philosophies of life — secularism, materialsim and humanism — in which today’s freshmen have been unwittingly indoctrinated during their twelve years of elementary and secondary education.
There has always been a great diversity of beliefs in America, but until recently there has been a general moral consensus. During the fifties and the sixties the nation was strongly family oriented; there was general agreement about the undesirability of divorce, unmarried cohabitation, homosexuality, and other moral aberrations. Although there was constant and widespread violation of these norms, there was no inclination to defend the violations in theory. Family, church, school and the mass media tended to accept and promote this moral consensus. In the past twenty years a radical revolution has taken place. Our public schools and colleges, the media, and government agencies of all kinds profess at best a neutrality in regard to religion and moral standards. Often the traditional moral standards are openly attacked on the basis of the right of opposing standards to be heard and promoted. Along with this is the promotion of the individual’s right to fulfill every personal desire, regardless of the rights of others. “Meism” has become the dominating philosophy or non-philosophy of this decade.
On the basis of this portrait of the college student of 1980 and the growing secularism of education, let us take a look at the goals of Christian liberal arts education.
The study of the liberal arts has been defined as the cultivation of the mind. When the intellect has been properly trained, it will display its power according to the ability of the individual.
It will make itself felt in the good sense, sobriety of thought, reasonableness, candor, self-command, and steadiness of view which characterize it. In some it will have developed habits of business, power of influencing others, and sagacity. In others it will elicit the talent of philosophical speculation and lead the mind forward to eminence in this or that intellectual department. In all, it will be a faculty of entering with comparative ease into any subject of thought and taking up with aptitude any science or profession. (Cardinal John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, Rinehart Press, San Francisco, 1960, p.. XLTII—Lectures delivered)
… The first step in intellectual training is to impress upon a boy’s mind the idea of science, method, order, principle and system; of rule and exception, of richness and, harmony. (Newman, p. XLIV.)
Cardinal Newman in The Idea of a University urges that this training should begin with grammar and mathematics. Geography and the study of history, with emphasis on chronology and poetry, should follow. The student will develop “a habit of method, of starting from fixed points, of making his ground good as he goes, of distinguishing what he knows from what he does not know, and I conceive that he will be gradually initiated into the largest and truest philosophical views and will feel nothing but impatience and disgust at the random theories and imposing sophistries and dashing paradoxes, which carry away half-formed and superficial intellects.” (Newman, p. XLV.) Such development of the student’s intellect contributes to the student’s career, to his service to society, and to his understanding of true doctrine.
The proponents of a liberal arts education also argue that the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake is a positive good. Seeking the truth in whatever field—theology, medicine, history—is a worthy objective. Knowledge is organized into disciplines, with its own limits or boundaries, its special methods of inquiry, and its specific content. It must be thus organized, if there is to be orderly research carried on to discover truth. Such advancement of truth, when based on a correct view of man and of the universe, will always be for the benefit of mankind. Such study also benefits the individual. It imposes upon him discipline in the application of his abilities and discipline in limiting his studies to meaningful, orderly subject matter. His intellect, through his senses and with the use of reason, will grasp knowledge and develop ideas. This is a sufficient goal in itself. (Newman, pp. 75-93.)
Specialization is, of course, necessary for the furthering of research in a particular field and also for the advancement of individuals in their professions and careers. However, the purpose of such specialization is not to produce leaders nor to produce good citizens. Its sole purpose is to prepare people for a job or for a profession. Luther, with his high regard for civic government as being divinely instituted, emphasizes the need for a broad liberal arts education for those who are capable of learning. He is very critical of the common people who are concerned only with the bodily wants of their children, “What a fearful and unchristian course they are pursuing, and what a great and murderous injury they are inflicting, in the service of Satan, upon society.” (F. V. N. Painter, Luther on Education, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1889, p. 218.)
In both “Luther’s Letter to the Mayors and Aldermen of All the Cities of Germany On Behalf of Christian Education” and his “Sermon on the Duty of Sending Children to School” he again and again criticizes the German people for their lack of interest in learning, referring to them as brutes, blockheads and dunces. He admires the education of ancient Rome, saying, “They were masters not only of the choicest Latin and Greek but also of the liberal arts, as they are called, and immediately after this scholastic training they entered the army or held a position under government. Thus they became intelligent, wise, and excellent men, skilled in every art and rich inexperience, so that all bishops, priests and monks in Germany put together would not equal a Roman soldier. Consequently their country prospered.” (Painter, p. 181.)
The welfare, safety and power of a city, Luther believed, did not consist in its weapons and soldiers but in “able, learned, wise, upright, cultivated citizens who can secure, preserve, and utilize every treasure and advantage.” Although Luther saw a great need for the education of people entering the service of the government, he had a greater concern for the training of young people for the church. He regarded a faithful pastor as the “most precious treasure, no nobler thing on earth than a pious, faithful pastor or preacher.” (Painter, p. 224.) For it is through this office and word, that the kingdom of God is maintained in this world.
Luther therefore urges parents, the church and the government to provide education for their children. Of what should this education consist? First, a thorough study of the Scriptures and a study of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and German. Without a knowledge of the languages the Gospel would disappear, also preaching would become “sluggish and weak, and the people finally become weary and fall away. But a knowledge of the languages renders it lively and strong, and faith finds itself constantly renewed through rich and varied instruction.” (Painter, p. 192.) In addition, he recommends the study of literature of all kinds, history, music and poetry. All these he regards as valuable in developing people of wisdom; even people pursuing a trade, “for it will benefit them in governing their household;” also merchants, “for the merchant will not long remain a merchant if preaching and the administration of justice cease;” physicians and jurists also, for where would “they come from if the liberal” arts were not taught.” (Painter, pp. 262-263.)
Good libraries, he regarded as necessary to preserve all that has been written: the Scriptures, in the original language and in Latin, German and other languages; literature, in many languages—both Christian and heathen; books treating all the arts and sciences; and books on jurisprudence and medicine. History and chronicles should have a prominent place, for from the study of history students “learn to regulate their views and order their course of life in the fear of God, having become wise in judging what is to be sought and what avoided in this outward life and capable of advising and directing others.” (Painter, p. 197.)
Luther recognized that lay people do not all trust the educators and that they fear the exposure to heathen literature—
But you say, “How if it turns out badly, so that my son becomes a heretic or a villain?” For, as people say, “education means perversion.” Well you must run the risk; but your labor is not lost. God will consider your faithful service and will count it as successful. You must run the risk, as in other callings to which you wish to bring up your son. How was it with Abraham, whose son Ishmael did badly; with Isaac and his son Esau; with Adam and his son Cain? Ought Abraham for that reason to have neglected his son Isaac, Isaac his son Jacob, and Adam his son Abel? (Painter, p. 236.)
Luther urges parents “without anxiety, then, let your son study, and if he should have to beg bread for a time, you give our God material out of which He can make a lord. It will remain true that your son and mine, that is to say, the children of the common people, will rule the world, both in spiritual and secular stations as the Psalm testifies (Psalm 113).” (Painter, p. 261.)
It is obvious from this that Luther regarded the liberal arts as valuable in themselves. The development of the mind to think logically—“the cultivation of the mind”—was a worthy endeavor and would contribute to the secular welfare of man, aiding him in governing his family, in his trade or profession, in his work as a merchant, or as a scholar, jurist or any civic endeavor.
The cultivation of the mind, however, goes beyond the development of the intellect and the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. It includes the appreciation of the beauties of nature, the ability to appreciate and enjoy beautiful art, music and literature that man has produced with his God-given talents. But even more, it includes the development of the ability to create works of beauty that will further enhance and enrich society.
Try to view for a moment the rich heritage of western civilization that we have in our nation: the heritage of the Reformation, with its pure doctrine of the Gospel of Christ; the rich heritage of music, literature and art; the scientific development which is almost beyond our comprehension; our democratic system of government, of justice and of care for the less fortunate; and our educational system. Our heritage of western civilization provides the basis for the way we live, work, and raise our families; the “right” way of doing things, the customs, traditions and moral rules which govern our society. It forms a beautiful overarching structure for our society. Can you imagine, aside from Scripture, a more rewarding field of study? It is difficult to imagine that We can ignore the origin of all these benefits that we claim as ours and that we enjoy. Yet meism and existentialism consider only the present, looking at life and at civilization as though it were a novel with unnumbered pages that can be arranged in any order the reader wishes.
There is order in the development of civilization, a divine order; and therefore we believe with Luther that Christian education, a knowledge of the Scriptures, must be a part of every aspect of education. Luther preferred that:
Our youth be ignorant and dumb rather than that the universities and convents should remain as the only source of instruction open to them. For it is my earnest intention, prayer and desire that these schools of Satan be either destroyed or changed into Christian schools. (Painter, p. 175.)
You have a Christian college in which the confessional position of our church is understood and taught, a place where young people can test the theological propositions that they have learned at home and in their congregations. The first two years of college are a particularly vulnerable time for young people. They are, perhaps, leaving home for the first time and are being forced to think more seriously about the choice of their life’s work and of establishing their own home and family. They are confronted by a bewildering array of life styles, philosophies, and are themselves searching for new ideas. They desperately need to be exposed to an education which teaches Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life.
Bethany does this primarily through the religion courses. In December 1979, the Religion Division adopted a Statement of Purpose which was used as a guide to the study of the curriculum. The main points of the statement follow:
1. The purpose of the religion curriculum at Bethany Lutheran College is to enable the student to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by means of His Gospel, the power of God unto salvation; to assume a responsible Christian attitude toward the talents that God has given him and towards his obligation to develop and to use his talents for the glory of God and the welfare of his fellowmen. The curriculum seeks to do this through the study of various aspects of Christianity in an academic setting, realizing that this may be the, finest opportunity for the student to examine his faith on a mature basis.
2. The proselytizing of others to membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod is not the goal of the curriculum itself nor a guiding principle in its development. The courses are taught academically, but also pastorally, and the college is committed to the Lutheran doctrine that the Word of God itself works faith and commitment under God’s will. The college also follows the Lutheran principle that while reason does not judge matters revealed by God in His Word, growth in Christian knowledge implies the analytic and systematic study of Scripture.
3. The principle behind the curriculum of the Religion Division is Confessional Lutheran theology, which understands the historic, ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran Confessions to be the correct understanding of the Holy Scriptures and historic Christianity. These Scriptures are the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Because the Lutheran Church most highly values the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments, as the center of Christian life and worship are especially emphasized.
4. It is expected that through the study of religion in the classroom the student will become familiar with Scripture and the Confessions as well as other theological literature of the church, so that he can more effectively witness to the faith and function as a responsible and knowledgeable member of his church. It is also expected that he will become familiar with the methods and resources for good biblical study so that he can apply those resources to his private devotional life and his life in the Christian congregation.
5. The scope of the curriculum is noted under the two main headings of theology. It is understood, of course, that this terminology would not necessarily be a part of the course descriptions. They are used here, however, for the purpose of clearly delineating the intent and nature of the curriculum. These headings are: 1) Exegetical, the study of a single passage or book of the Bible, relating the unified testimony of Scripture to the particular passage; and 2) Doctrinal-Confessional, dealing with categories established by Scripture and the Confessions of the church and relating that testimony to the category or topic under consideration. To these main headings ought also be added 3) Historical and 4) Practical Theology. All of the courses, in whatever discipline of theology, are taught biblically and doctrinally.
Every student is required to take a course in religion each semester they are in attendance. The courses are so arranged that although there is considerable choice in the selection of courses, they will all receive considerable emphasis on the doctrines of the Lutheran church and an in-depth study of portions of Scripture. These four courses in religion form the core of each student’s education at Bethany. From the students’ study of religion flow certain basic Christian beliefs. Some of these are:
That God created the earth and all living things and sustains it by His almighty power;
That there is a natural order in creation. This natural order is divinely created and is a self-existing system of natural laws which are rational, and man, by use of his intellect, can learn about them and understand them. However, man is limited and can never have perfect knowledge;
That man was created in the image of God, and that he fell from grace and is dead in trespasses and sin;
That God in His love sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to atone for our sins. This personal Savior suffered, died and rose from the dead, and on the basis of His merits God has justified the world;
That God gave us the means, His Word and Sacraments, through which He bestows His salvation on His elect.
These basic principles permeate the liberal arts at Bethany. No science can rule out the creation, or man’s origin, or his nature. No study of man, be it psychology, sociology, or economics, can disregard man’s origin or his fallen state as a sinner. Neither can a course in government ignore the fact that all institutions of government are divinely instituted and that the powers of government are derived from natural law. No student of literature or philosophy can rightly interpret either Christian or heathen writer, for literature and philosophy almost always deal with the nature of man, his emotions and attitudes.
Thus the basic principles of Christianity—of Confessional Lutheranism—provide a platform or a basis for all of the student’s thinking and actions. All logical, analytical thought, as emphasized previously, must have a definite, fixed point from which to start. These Christian principles are that fixed point. These are the absolute truths, the fixed moral standards, the way of life that is pleasing to God. There is a world view, a Christian philosophy, that is available to the college youth of the 1980’s and for every generation. With such a basis for their education, they can say with Paul, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8.) These Christian principles form the undergirding, the support, for the superstructure of Western civilization.
Stephen Vincent Benet, viewing the difficult depression years, the rise of dictators, and the loss of freedom, wrote of certain words that were dear to him: liberty, equality, fraternity, right, justice, and self-evident truths—
“I am merely saying — what if these words pass?
What if they pass and are gone and are no more,
Eviscerated, blotted out of the world?
They were bought with a belief and passion, at great cost.
They were bought with the bitter and anonymous blood
Of farmers, teachers, shoemakers and fools
Who broke the old rule and the pride of kings.
It took a long time to buy these words.
It took a long time to buy them, and much pain.
It took the blood, not of anonymous, faceless people, but of the very son of God to buy our salvation. Let us not permit this truth to pass away. “The good news of our justification before God in Christ is the chief doctrine and heart and essence of the Word of God. The forgiveness of sins by grace through faith in our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, is our mightiest incentive for educating for eternity.” (Luther Vangen, “Educating for Eternity,” Synod Report, 1966, p. 23.) The primary goal of Bethany’s entire program—the curriculum, chapel services, extra-curricular actvities and dormitory living—must always be eternal life.
The Scriptures place responsibility for Christian education and for preserving the truth directly on the parents. Psalm 78:5.6, “For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children;” and also in Deuteronomy 27 :7, “Ask thy father, and He will show thee; thy elders and they will tell thee.”
Luther takes this responsibility so seriously that he says, “In my judgment there is no other outward offense that in the sight of God so heavily burdens the world, and deserves such heavy chastisement, as the neglect to educate children.” He goes on:
In my youth this proverb was current in the schools: “It is no less a sin to neglect a pupil than to do violence to a woman.” It was used to frighten teachers. But how much lighter is this wrong against a woman (which is a bodily sin and may be atoned for), than to neglect and dishonor immortal souls, when such a sin is not recognized and can never be atoned for? O eternal woe to the world! Children are born daily and grow up among us, and there are none, alas! who feel an interest in them. (Painter, p. 178.)
He goes on and applies Matt. 18:6,7 also to the convents and cathedral schools which “are nothing but destroyers of children.” “But whoso offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences, for it must needs be that offences come. But woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.” Today cannot the same words be applied to our public educational institutions generally? And does not the responsibility of parents extend beyond confirmation to elementary, secondary and college education? It surely must, and we must heed the words of the Great Commission, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded.”
As stated previously, you do have a Christian college. You do have a committed faculty and staff that teaches students to know the Holy Scriptures, “which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15.) The young people of our Synod should be here, at Bethany. The June 8,1981, issue of Time, in an article on Christian schools, quotes a Pentecostal pastor as saying, “Can you imagine the children of Israel coming out of Egypt, camping on the desert, and the mothers packing lunches every day and sending their kids back to Egypt for school?”
It will be a real challenge during the 80’s to provide education for both temporal and spiritual needs. The words of Paul to the Philippians apply to us also: “Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil. 4:9.)
O blest the parents who give heed
Unto their children’s foremost need,
And weary not of care or cost:
To them and heaven shall none be lost. Hymnary 234
1. Baepler, Richard, et al. The Quest for a Viable Saga, Association of Lutheran College Faculties, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, 1977.
2. Boyer, Ernest, and Arthur Levin, A Quest for Common Learning, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Washington, D.C., 1981.
3. Carlson, Edgar M., The Future of Church-Related Colleges, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, 1977.
4. Cubberly, Ellwood P., Public Education in the United States, Houghton-Mifflin Co., Cambridge, 1919.
5. Hutchins, Robert M., The Learning Society, Frederick O. Praeger, New York, 1968.
6. Jensen, Robert W., ed., “The Liberal Arts,” Dialog, Vol. 19, Spring, 1980.
7. Levine, Arthur, When Dreams and Heroes Died, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1980.
8. Morison, Samuel Elliot, and Henry Steele Commager, Growth of the American Republic, Vol. I, Oxford University Press, New York, 1950.
9. Newman, John Henry, The Idea of a University, Rinehart Press, San Francisco, 1960.
10. Painter, F. V. N., Luther on Education, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1889.
11. Sagen, H. Bradley, ed., Liberal Education, Vol. 66, No. 2, Association of American Colleges, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 1980.
12. Schnabel, Robert V., “Christian Higher Education at the Crossroads,” The Cresset, Part I, Vol. XLIII, No. 8, Sept., 1980; Part II, Vol. XLIV, No. 2, Dec., 1980; Part III, Vol. XLIV, No. 5, March, 1981; Part IV, Vol. XLIV, No. 7, May, 1981.
13. Solberg, Richard W., and Merton P. Strommen, How Church-Related are our Church-Related Colleges?, Board of Publications, Lutheran Church in America, New York, 1980.
14. Vangen, Luther, “Education for Eternity,” Synod Report, 1966.