A Lutheran Liberal Arts Education

Part of what stands in the way of Classical Lutheran education is a different set of ideas about what education is. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to ask: What is education? Why do we do it? What is its purpose? These are big, broad, whole picture types of questions. And too often we simply jump into education without ever reflecting on what it is or why we do it.
What holds all of this together is, of course, the person of Jesus Christ. He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13). So the sort of education you’ll find at Concordia Academy is one centered on Christ, where He is the goal toward which we lead and draw our students and He is the form after which we seek to shape our students.

This Christ-centered education presupposes that man is created in the image of God; that in the fall this image is distorted, destroyed, and requires re-formation; that man is re-formed by God himself, entering into our humanity, joining Himself to us and drawing us into him; and that where we are going—our end, goal, and telos—is union with God in the person of Jesus Christ.

So how do we do that? How do we form, shape, and mold our children, leading them from their fallen image bearing life, into the very life of God in Christ? At Concordia Academy we believe that this is done by cultivating wisdom and virtue—what we might also call faith and love—and by nourishing their souls on what is true, good, and beautiful, by means of the seven liberal arts and the catechetical life of the church.
Why do we speak of the true, the good, and the beautiful? Well, for two reasons: one, because in Himself,

God is true: “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life” (John 14:6);
He is good: “I am the GOOD shepherd” (John 10:11);
and He is beautiful: “Behold, you are BEAUTIFUL, my beloved, truly delightful” (Song of Solomon 1:16).

And secondly, because His truth, goodness, and beauty have been instilled into His creation. Those who bear the image of God, also bear truth, goodness, and beauty.

Admittedly, with the fall these are all distorted. Nevertheless, the law has been written on our hearts. And because it was by our Lord’s word that all of creation came into being, St. Justin Martyr could say, “whatever is true is ours.”

Perhaps the greatest conflict of ideas over the last 75-100 years, has been whether or not there is such an objectivity to truth, goodness, and beauty. At Concordia Academy we say “yes!” But the progressive education that began with Dewey around the time of World War I, and has only gained momentum through our post-modern culture, issues a resounding “no.”

If we think that truth, goodness, and beauty find their fullness in Christ, then we can take whatever shares in that truth, goodness, and beauty and lead our children from the distortions of sin to their reality in Christ.

This ultimately is our goal. We want to educate our children and are convinced that this means bringing them to Jesus. This happens in the Church through the preaching of the Gospel and the giving out of our Lord’s gifts in the Sacraments. It happens at home as father and mother teach their children to pray and the beautiful stories of salvation in Scripture. And it happens in school, when we take what is true, good, and beautiful in this world—and the stories handed down—and teach our children that all of it reflects Christ for us.

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