Monday, May 11, 2015

Message from Keith de Laet, Sixth Grade Teacher

Martin Luther

We closed out last week's lesson in world history with a look at Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.  Our students learned, and many of you will recall, that Martin Luther had a problem with the idea that human sin  could be forgiven through the payment of a fee, and then his idea expanded into his belief that humans have no authority to forgive sin at all.  For Luther, Christ alone forgives sin and we receive Christ's forgiveness only through faith.  The death of Jesus provides our forgiveness and we receive that forgiveness by faith.

This idea that we are saved by God's grace alone and that we receive it through faith alone is central to the belief of many Christians today.  I believe, however, that this simple explanation of salvation through faith may weaken the definition of faith, and thereby the power and effect that it has on those who place their faith in Christ.  While "Faith" may be a simple word to understand, to Luther it was anything but simple in effect.  Luther stated that,

"Faith, however, is a divine work in us.  It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God (John 1:1); it kills the old Adam and makes altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Ghost.  Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith; and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly.  It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises; it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them.  He who does not these works is a faithless man.  He gropes and looks about after faith and good works, and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are, though he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works."   Martin Luther - Introduction to the Commentary on Romans.

To Luther, "Faith" is more than a statement of belief in Christ.  It is a force so powerful that it changes one's entire view of the world and our role in it.  It connects us to Christ in a way that changes our thoughts, values, beliefs, and actions.  It resets our priorities moving away from a self-centered life and toward a life focused on thoughts and ways of God himself.  For most people, these changes do not happen all at once, but they do happen as we walk with Christ and deepen our relationship with him.

I also believe that this is the true, defining, value of a Christian education.  While there are other benefits to be sure; smaller classes, greater parent input, and countless others, it is the life changing encounter with Jesus that cannot be replicated in other, traditional, methods of education.  Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in this very important decision!

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