The Quarterly Newsletter of Wittenberg Academy
The Ninety-Sixth Thesis
Chaplain's Corner- p. 8
The Word They Still Shall Let Remain
Rev. David M. Juhl
Scholars' Spotlight - P. 32-33
Certainty In Uncertain Times
Timeless Essay- The Story of WA -P. 20-21
Missionary and Teacher of the Month -P. 24-25
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy- p. 26
Poetry- p. 27
A Dialogue- Anthem
A Point of Confession- p. 22
From Our Teachers p. 10-18
~Language is Sermonic
~ Why latin? Cur Lingua latina?
- Liturgy & Language
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
There is security in certainty. In this world, we are drawn to things that either are (or should be) certain (family, for example) or pretend to be certain (gangs substituting for the family), but either way, we crave certainty and the security it provides. Given the fallen world, the certainty of family, friends, and neighbors often disappoints. Our own certainty disappoints family, friends, and neighbors.
In spite of all this, certainty is good and so we encourage our children and ourselves to still seek after certainty and the security it provides. We study a triangle because the rules are always the same and the rules are simple. A triangle is certain. Yet, the rules help us understand much more complex situations than a triangle (Ethics, for example). The same is true for Latin. In Latin, the rules always apply. The rules of Latin help us understand situations that do not always stay the same (English, for example). The same is true with History. History does not change. It already happened and thus remains static. Yet, this study of History helps us understand that which does not stay static (the Present).
Order provides certainty. Lack of order is chaos. Chaos breeds doubt. Studying Geometry, Latin, and History, then, is bigger than learning content. In this uncertain, chaotic world, these studies train our minds to seek and know order and certainty. If our minds seek and know order and certainty, then our lives also will reflect such. A well-ordered home and a well-ordered Divine Service, for example, do not spring from chaos. Rules govern the day in both examples. The plates go in this cupboard, the vacuum goes in that closet, the Lord’s Prayer precedes the Words of Institution and the Benediction comes at the end. These rules provide order and they provide security. They protect us from the chaos that lurks within us and seeks to replace certainty and order with doubt and dissarray. We live simul justus et pecator. The good, true, and beautiful wars against the Old Adam who fights it with everything he has to remain lazy, prideful, and base. The Old Adam rejects Imagio Dei and good, true, and beautiful reflects Imagio Dei. We were created in the image of God. As such, we seek certainty and order. Either we fear, love, and trust God, the Author of order, or we fear, love, and trust all else, but nonetheless something we thought would provide certainty and security.
This longing for certainty is seen over and over in Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation:
….All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.
This is most certainly true.
… that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.
This is most certainly true.
….In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
This is most certainly true.
This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven, and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means “yes, yes, it shall be so.”
This world is not our home. Yet, while we toil this side of heaven, God gives us certainty and order in unexpected places like Geometry, Latin, and History. Most of all, however, He gives us certainty and security in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther once wrote:
The Word they still shall let remain
Nor any thanks have for it;
He's by our side upon the plain
With His good gifts and Spirit.
And take they our life,
Goods, fame, child, and wife,
Though these all be gone,
Our vict'ry has been won;
The Kingdom ours remaineth.
It seems perhaps Benjamin Franklin forgot the certainty of the Word. Thanks be to God that certainty supersedes the thoughts of Benjamin Franklin.
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson serves as Wittenberg Academy's Head Teacher.
From the Head Teacher's Desk- p. 3
Certainty in Uncertain Times
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson
2019 Witttenberg Academy Family Retreat- P. 31
Candor for such a Time as This- p. 6
Mrs. Lauren K. Mastin
In our previous edition of "DIE ZEITSCHRIFT VON WALTHER", several families that utilize our Grammar School Curriculum expounded on the ways that the Curriculum factors into their daily schedules.We also explored ways to continue learning throughout the summer, along with helpful links, information on starting a WALTHER Group, and some learning points: among other helpful information!
You may follow this link to view the last edition of Die Zeithschrift von WALTHER."
If you are interested in receiving "DIE ZEITSCHRIFT VON WALTHER," please subscribe through this link. These publications will resume in the fall.
Certainty in Uncertain Times
DIE Zeitschrift Von WALTHER
A magazine for our Grammar School families
Language is a subject that all admit is important, but to varying degrees. Learning Latin declensions, phonics, and sentence diagrams may often seem tedious and pointless. At which point in our everyday lives will we need to diagram a sentence? How many times must we repeat the Latin endings a, ae, ae, am, a, ae, arum, is, as, is? However, like all subjects in the world of classical education, language is a tool. When we teach our children language; whether it be Hebrew or English grammar, we are equipping them with skills whose merits may or may not be obvious at all times. In classical education, we do not teach our children that good grades are the ultimate goal; we equip them for their vocations in life. The ability to communicate, and communicate well, is valuable in all walks of life. A pastor must have the ability to teach his people God's word and speak His promises to them. A mother must succinctly direct her children in public, or they may come to bodily harm. A businessman must authoritatively delegate tasks to his employees, or his business will not be an effective one. Language is a gift from God to serve our neighbors. Without proper communication, relationships become strained and broken.
Unfortunately we as a people have in large part overlooked the importance of language. In this age of texting and Twitter, acronyms have become the norm. This strains our relationships with our neighbors. It is difficult to communicate with those of other generations when we only know how to compose a Tweet or a short text message. This line of thinking also inhibits our ability to read the classics. Men like Shakespeare, Homer, and Virgil understood the power of language. They were able to capture the essence of love, betrayal, and faith in their writings. If we do not instruct our children in the importance of language, they will be unable to appreciate treasures such as these. Our goal at Wittenberg Academy is to prepare our students for this life and the next. Teaching our children to learn language and read the classics gives them the ability to communicate well with this generation and those saints that have come before us. What better tool could we give them?
Mrs. Lauren K. Mastin serves as Wittenberg Academy's Communications Director.
"The Word they still shall let remain / Nor any thanks have for it". If there's anything that is forgotten about the fallout of the Reformation, it is the power of the preached Word. That's one of the many emphases Martin Luther brought back to the forefront in the Christian Church. Let the Word do what the Word does. Let the righteousness of God in the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf be proclaimed. Let the bird fly, so to speak; the bird being the Holy Spirit.
The first words Jesus speaks in today's Gospel show us where the heart of the matter is among Christians. If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Let's take these clauses one at a time. There's a lot to think about in our Savior's words here.
If you abide in my word. "Abide" here can also be translated as "remain" or even "to continue to be present". Jesus abides in His Church in the preaching of His Word and in the giving of the gifts of Holy Baptism, Holy Communion, and Holy Absolution. Where you see and hear these holy gifts, you know God is at work among His people.
These holy gifts, however, are the first things that no longer receive priority in our lives. Don't think that shirking our Lord's gifts happens only when times are difficult. When everything goes just so for us, we also neglect the Lord's Word. What is more, we believe abiding in the Lord's Word means having to follow a strict set of rules that hampers our lifestyle.
Yes, we live as children of the Light and not as children of the darkness. Yes, we live in such a way as not to offend God and our neighbor in thought, word, and deed. Yet we are not able to live the way our heavenly Father demands we live. That is why God becomes man in Jesus Christ. God in flesh abides among us to forgive our sins and deliver us from death. That's the Word you hear each week from this pulpit. That's the Word you abide in at home, at work, or at play. Nevertheless, it is taken for granted as "not for me" or "too hard".
Worse yet, some may think it is "too easy". How dare God lets people get away with sin and just merely forgives them. Doesn't He realize that when a man has an affair with a woman and ruins a marriage that forgiveness just can't be enough? Doesn't He realize the damage that is done to people when a young child has leukemia, or bone cancer, or another disease, and dies in the springtime of their life? Doesn't he realize what His disciples, people like you and me, say and do to ruin the witness of Jesus Christ among those who do not believe His Word?
Jesus calls us His disciples, yet we make quite a mess of what we believe and confess as His disciples. Think for a moment that Jesus left His Church, His people called out of the world into His marvelous light, in the hands of sinners like you and me. He didn't set up perfect angels to proclaim His Word and enforce His just decrees. He didn't reincarnate Moses to stand before us with two tablets of stone and demand we do just as they say or we get our just desserts. He hands over the goods that Jesus wins for us in His triumph over sin, the devil, and even death itself through the hands and mouths of sinners. Disciples follow their Master. Disciples learn from their Master. Disciples then teach others about their Master so others see their Master's work on their behalf. That's what it means to abide in His Word.
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Let's take these two phrases together. Think about a time when someone, whether it was a pastor, a Sunday School teacher, a parent, a family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger, spoke the Good News of Jesus Christ to you. Didn't it feel like a wave of fresh air blowing over you? Maybe it was a nice warm bath of Gospel goodness spoken directly to you in a sermon, in a hymn, or perhaps in a conversation where comforting words all of a sudden rushed through you.
That moment is a moment of truth. Someone spoke it to you. Those spoken words set you free. Martin Luther had so many of those moments. They usually were when he studied Scripture and saw that God was no longer angry at him because of sin. God was pleased with him in Jesus Christ. As the Father said to Christ at His baptism and at His transfiguration, so it was said to Martin Luther in his baptism, when he heard preaching, when he received absolution, even in his darkest days when his life was at risk: This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.
Your heavenly Father said those same words to you in your baptism. He says them to you every time you engage His Word, whether here in the Divine Service or at home as you read Scripture, or even through a friend speaking a word of consolation or encouragement to you. Two weeks ago our District President stood in this pulpit and spoke words of forgiveness and encouragement to us. It was good for me to sit and listen to them because I don't often sit and listen to preaching. When someone, somewhere, anywhere, consoles you with the Good News of Jesus Christ, you have heard the truth that has set you free.
You are no longer a slave to sin. Your chains are broken by the cross of Jesus Christ. There will be sorrow, anguish, heartbreak, even anger and betrayal this side of Paradise. It will seem as if God has gone silent. It will seem as if even your best friend has left you for dead. It will seem as if even your church family no longer cares about you. We are sinners, all of us. We fall short of the standard demanded by God: perfection. Jesus hears. Jesus knows. Jesus loves. Jesus forgives. Jesus has mercy on you. Jesus sets you free. Jesus raises the dead. Jesus does you good, and never evil, all the days of your life.
This Good News will have its way with you. His grace covers you in a warm blanket of love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness. His love goes in your ears, in your mouth, and all over you to forgive, to bring life, and to save you from the wrath to come. This is the joy Martin Luther believed even in his darkest hour. This is the joy proclaimed by countless Christians through time. This is the joy that is yours because the Living Word, Jesus Christ, said so: If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. + DMJ
Rev. David M. Juhl serves as Chaplain of Wittenberg Academy. Additionally, his vocations include husband of Rebecca, father of five children, and pastor of Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church in Momence, Illinois.
The Word They Still
Shall Let Remain
In the beginning was the word. The Word transformed chaos to cosmos; introduced order. For the Christian, then, it follows that language is a vehicle of order. For the classically educated Christian, a moment's reflection on the nature of grammar should affirm the truth of such an observation. Language also shapes sensus communis because, to quote Richard M. Weaver, "names are indexes to essences." So, Weaver taught, by studying the prevailing "god terms and devil terms" in a given society, one can infer what is most highly regarded and valued in that society. That process of valuation holds significant implications for the classical educator, because the well-ordered soul loves the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Catechesis, of course, plays a central role in all this. We pray constantly for the Lord to grant us a peaceable and orderly life because, without good order and peace, noise drowns out learning; chaos generates ugliness, which smudges and distorts the lessons of beauty.
Richard M. Weaver was in the habit of pondering just such dilemmas, albeit in a less advanced state of cultural decay. Still, his insights presage the postmodern dilemma. I have written extensively about Weaver's Visions of Order: the Cultural Crisis of our Time. I recommend it, and, given the opening paragraph, one would expect that what follows would draw heavily from it. But I am committed elsewhere. About the time he died, Weaver was preparing to publish Language is Sermonic. Given the theme of this edition of The Ninety-Sixth Thesis, let us briefly consider what Weaver teaches about being a "doctor of culture": Of diagnosing societal ills and suggesting a cure. Weaver's diagnosis entailed a critique of a project that was "on the march" in his day: General Semantics. We will learn a great deal about language along the way.
Of his critique, Weaver wrote to a friend, "General Semantics is an attempt to exalt pure dialectic at the expense of traditional rhetoric and . . . this is one of the things eating away at the fibre of our society." I love the simplicity with which Weaver identifies the root problem at which he aims. So, what did the General Semanticists teach? And what does Weaver mean by "pure dialectic at the expense of traditional rhetoric"? And what cure did he propose? His critique of the General Semanticists (whose leading scholar was S. I. Hayakawa) teaches much about the nature of language but is also instructive for those of us who would work toward the restoration of civil society--for the life of the world--in terms of how one might engage today those whose positions and activities "eat away at the fibre of our society."
The chapter from which the work derives its name, “Language is Sermonic,” was initially a lecture, “on a torrid day in July” 1962, at the University of Oklahoma. Here is what he had to say about the decline in status of traditional rhetoric:
When one recalls that a century ago rhetoric was regarded as the most important humanistic discipline taught in our colleges . . . he is forced to see that a great shift of valuation has taken place. In those days, in the not-so-distant Nineteenth Century, to be a professor of rhetoric, one had to be somebody. This was a teaching task that was thought to call for ample and varied resources, and it was recognized as addressing itself to the most important of all ends, the persuading of human beings to adopt right attitudes and act in response to them.
Does it really matter that rhetoric's standing in the academy has waned? Insofar as rhetoric contributes to human excellence, a decline in rhetoric, for Weaver, means a decline in humanity, in civility, in goodness. (The reader will recall "men without chests," also from C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man.)
Weaver's critique of the General Semanticists spans three essays: "Language is Sermonic," “The Cultural Role of Rhetoric,” and “The Phaedrus and the Nature of Rhetoric.” In the series, he deftly fleshes out those primary truths that constitute the nexus within which rhetorical arts flourish. “They are, in summation, that man is not nor ever can be nor ever should be a depersonalized thinking machine. His feeling is the activity in him most closely related to what used to be called his soul. To appeal to his feeling therefore is . . . a way to honor him, by recognizing him in the fullness of his being.”
Language is sermonic because it is a vehicle of valuation. To strip it, as was the Semanticists' aim, of its abstract and evaluative aspects, because of the way language shapes our image of ourselves, will, as Weaver wrote, produce a "denatured speech to suit a denatured man." Weaver predicts that the General Semanticists' project would lead to, "an alteration of man’s image of man." In other words, as the status of man, "created in God's image," declines in his own eyes, the need for and importance of rhetorical arts suffer the decline so characteristic of our time. So his ultimate criterion is not the status of rhetorical arts, but rather, the preservation of a proper image of man. Moving forward, as we take aim at those schools of thought whose positions "eat away at the fibre of our society," we should emulate Weaver's modus operandi.
Dr. James Tallmon serves as the Rhetoric instructor for Wittenberg Academy. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife.
Language is Sermonic
Registration is Open
for the 2018-19 Academic Year!
Students are welcome to pursue a Wittenberg Academy Diploma or take classes à la carte.
If you are interested in reading Dr. Weaver's essay, here is a link to the writing "Language is Sermonic" on Dr. Tallmon's blog.
1. Latin for Latin’s Sake
Latin is the language of Western culture and learning. For example, while we think of the Lutheran Reformation as a German affair, more than half of the great writings of the Reformation period are in Latin. Not only the histories of Rome, but also Isaac Newton’s great works of science, the Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror, and the Magna Carta, were written in Latin. Even the Constitution of the United States takes the language of Latin for granted in the realm of law (habeas corpus; ex post facto). At the college level students of these disciplines are greatly helped by being able to read Latin well, indeed programs at the graduate level will require it: European history; theology; philosophy; law.
2. Latin as Mental Workout
Studying any language aids students in developing a wide range of mental faculties: memory, synthesis of ideas, approaching a problem from different perspectives, deriving one idea from another, etc.
3. Latin as Vocabulary and Grammar Builder
From dictionary.com: “About 80 percent of the entries in any English dictionary are borrowed, mainly from Latin. Over 60 percent of all English words have Greek or Latin roots. In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, the figure rises to over 90 percent.” In addition the learning of the grammar of one’s own language is greatly improved by simultaneously learning a second language.
4. Latin Expands Opportunities to Learn Modern Languages
Which language should an elementary school choose to teach to its students? Spanish because of our proximity to Mexico? French because it is spoken on four continents? German because it is the most commonly spoken language in the EU? Select one of those languages at the elementary level and you end up pushing all the students in the same direction; one door is opened, but the others are closed. Latin is the only language that actually increases opportunities to learn all of those languages – it sets up students to move forward with confidence in whatever modern language(s) they choose.
Latin is the parent language from which many European languages are descended (the Romance Languages):
Latin: Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem; Creatorem coeli et terrae.
Italian: Credo in Dio, Padre onnipotente, Creatore del cielo e della terra.
Spanish: Creo en Dios, Padre todopoderoso, creador del Cielo y de la Tierra.
French: Je crois en Dieu, le Père tout-puissant, créateur du ciel et de la terre.
Latin shares an inflected grammatical system with the second largest group of European languages (the Germanic Languages):
The languages of the Slavic countries, Greece, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan also share much with Latin (the Indo-European Languages):
Latin: mater, pes, est, qui, mortuus
Farsi: maader, paa, ast, ki, mordeh
(English: mother, foot, is, who, dead)
Even with the non-European languages, Latin prepares the student to navigate the grammatical concepts needed for any language. For example, Wikipedia explains the Chinese verbal system in this way:
The language almost entirely lacks inflection, so that words typically have only one grammatical form. Categories such as number (singular or plural) and verb tense are frequently not expressed by any grammatical means, although there are several particles that serve to express verbal aspect and, to some extent, mood.
Latin students begin learning about person, number, case, tense, mood, prepositions, particles, voice, and aspect from the first day of class!
Pastor Heath Curtis serves as Latin instructor for Wittenberg Academy.
This article was originally printed in the Easter 2014 edition of The Ninety-Sixth Thesis.
Why Latin? Cur Lingua Latina?
Liturgy & Language
How would one respond when greeted by their pastor in the Divine Service with the phrase: “the Lord be with you”? Though our hymnbook has two different responses which make for hesitation on the part of the congregation (“and with thy spirit” vs. “and also with you”—thereby showing the importance of following Luther’s catechetical wisdom, given in his preface to the Small Catechism, to stick with one version or translation), nevertheless a crucial concurrence between liturgy and language is noted, namely the element of anticipation. The comparison between liturgy and language is apt, if for no other reason than that many a Christian child has grown in their understanding of language and of the faith simultaneously in their repetitious memorization and ongoing participation in the liturgy from their earliest years. The ability to use language well and to be at home in the liturgy call forth an anticipatory mindset that is necessary for continued growth in both of these inter-connected realms. This article will briefly examine the history and use of the liturgy’s Preface and Proper Preface as a way to show forth a number of realities true of both language and the liturgy in their ability to form a mindset of anticipation.
A preface of any work in general is designed to anticipate fuller content to follow. A good preface (from the Latin meaning “to do before”) will incite an anticipatory eagerness in the hearer or reader and thereby lead them into (from the Latin “introductio”) the material that is about to arrive. A parent knows their child is gaining skill when that young reader can anticipate what will be said or written or happen next. One key marker for teachers to evaluate their students in any realm of knowledge is the ability the learner achieves in anticipating what is barely visible, audible, or present. The Preface in the Divine Service comes at the very beginning of the Service of the Sacrament, though its first lines were anticipated in the Salutation spoken immediately before the Collect in the Service of the Word (and as found at the head of this article). The key note that is sounded in the remaining lines of the Preface has to do with thanksgiving, which leads us to realize that we are about to be given a gift (for which we can return thanks to God).
The Proper Preface does a wonderful job of picking up the theme of each season (or Sunday or festival) of the Church Year, as well as amplifying the note of thanksgiving from the Preface into cascading peals of theology that tell us (much) more about Who God (the Giver) is and what He has done (and is about to give as a gift). Upon reaching the conclusion of the Proper Preface we breathe in in anticipation as we ready ourselves to sing out the Sanctus, devoutly pray our Lord’s Prayer, and reverently rejoice in listening to our Lord’s testament that gives what He says.
Both language and the liturgy are vehicles that anticipate and bring something more: namely, truth and grace. Language is the setting for truth and the good, while the liturgy is the setting for the Word and the Sacraments. Both language and liturgy are to be handled with care, whereby we are ever students and learners. Those who are most nearly masters in language and liturgy depart from the “rules” only after having so internalized them that when they choose to return back to rule-guided speech it sounds “just right” in a fuller sense that is nowhere near ordinary, even though such use could also be and become ordinary. The “rule” has been left in order to be returned to, pondered anew, and re-employed in a profound way.
Luther, who was a genuine master of (or better said: in) language and liturgy, removed the Proper Preface from his Latin Form of the Mass—1523, and even removed the short Preface dialogue from the German Mass--1526. Why? He was departing from the “rule” of the medieval Mass which undermined truth and grace by taking Christ’s testament and turning it into our sacrifice. In the liturgy Luther wanted to highlight and come as directly as possible to the words of Christ. Luther left the “rule” behind, pondered it anew, and re-employed a reformatory rule of the Christian’s sacrifice of thanksgiving upon receiving God’s grace in the preached Gospel and administered Supper.
The Lutheran church orders that followed in Luther’s wake called for “appropriate Proper Prefaces without further specification (Lutheran Worship: History and Practice, p. 421).” According to Lutheran Worship: History and Practice the Proper Prefaces currently used in our hymnbook find their origin either in the Latin church prior to the Reformation (Christmas, Passiontide, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Holy Trinity, Apostles and Evangelists, and the weekday prefaces) or in Lutheran composition over the centuries and more recently (Advent [TLH was the first American Lutheran hymnal to have an Advent Proper Preface], Epiphany, Lent, and All Saints [this last Preface was composed specifically for Lutheran Worship—1982]). Language and liturgy are important realities that inform one another and that form us to anticipate God’s grace and truth, receiving these gifts through Word and Sacrament (regularly set within the liturgy) in faith.
Pastor Matthew Johnson serves as the Charmain of the Board of Directors for Wittenberg Academy.
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Ol’ Man River. The Big Muddy. It has been written about and sung about. But have you ever thought of the Mississippi River as a birthplace of Lutheran schools? When future LC-MS-ers, including C.F.W. Walther, floated up the Mississippi, one of the first things they did upon disembarking was rent a two-story house, part of which was used for a school. Thus, one could say, the Mississippi River saw the birth of the first Missouri Synod Lutheran school.
Fast forward to Memorial Day Weekend 2011. Location: Great River Bluffs State Park. Justin and I were hiking with our boys and discussing future plans for our family. Should I continue with my PhD? Should I continue teaching at a local community college? Our deepest desire was for me to be able to spend more time as wife and mom. But, I had all this education under my belt and I love to teach- surely there was something I could do that allowed me to stay at home but still teach!
Justin had recently read an article about how online education allows students to learn from the best teachers available due to the fact that geography and time are not barriers in an online environment. We tossed a lot of ideas around (if you don’t come up with some bad ideas, you’re not thinking hard enough, right?). The idea that excited us the most was starting an online Classical Lutheran high school that could serve homeschool families, small Lutheran K-8 schools desiring to be K-12 schools, and perhaps even public school students desiring to bolster their education with Classical Lutheran high school classes.
Thus, on the bluffs of Great River Bluffs State Park, overlooking the Mississippi River, Wittenberg Academy, the first completely online Classical Lutheran high school, was born.
Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” The fact that less than a year after God gave us the idea for Wittenberg Academy we have an amazing board of directors and faculty assembled from all over the country, we have our online learning management software ready to go, we have a website, we have been in contact with folks around the world who are interested in partnering with Wittenberg Academy to educate their children, and we are on the cusp of opening our online registration is completely evidence of God’s mighty hand at work.
In essence, the story of WA is the story of God at work in His people. We pray God continues to bless the work He has given us to do as we prepare to partner with families in the task of educating their children.
This article was originally run in the March 2012 edition of the Ninety-Sixth Thesis.
Timeless Essay- "The Story of WA"
At Wittenberg Academy, we pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful because we value those things which endure. In keeping with this philosophy, we highly recommend that students use printed books and readings as much as possible. Our instructors supply information so that families may purchase necessary books or print off copies of readings. At the same time, we recognize the financial sacrifices that many families already make to provide an excellent education for their children. For this reason, we also offer options for using web or other electronic copies of readings, most of which are available free of charge. Since the choice to use print, electronic, or combined means for readings will not limit a student’s participation in classes, each family may utilize the option deemed best-suited for them.
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Missionary Family of the Month
Mr. Jonathan Mayer~Art
James grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and received a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati. After graduation, he completed a graduate program in Helsinki, Finland. While there, he assisted at an orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia which ultimately lead him to attend Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Upon graduation, he received a call to Burkina Faso and Togo in West Africa where he was tasked with planting Lutheran Churches. In 2009 he accepted a call to work with Dr. Anssi Simojoki and Lutherans In Africa. After Dr. Simojoki retired, James became the director of Lutherans In Africa.
Tiina grew up in Mikkeli, Finland and studied education at the University of Jyväskylä. Tiina met James while studying abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece and has been by his side ever since. They have six children; Maggie, Tristan, Sarai, Sofi, Jonas, and Matthew.
the May Family
Teacher of the Month
Mr. Mayer was born and raised near Omaha Nebraska. He enjoyed drawing from a young age, and went on to recieve his BA in studio art from Bethany Lutheran college, where he took a special interest in painting and art history. He began working as an illustrator after graduation, and obtained an illustration MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. He returned to Nebraska, teaching art history and fundamentals as an adjunct at Concordia in Seward. He now works as a liturgical artist under the pseudonym Scapegoat Studio, where he helps to beautify Lutheran churches. He lives in Winona, Minnesota with his wife, Emily, and their four children, and enjoys teaching them good hymnody.
By George Herbert
The merry World did on a day
With his train-bands and mates agree
To meet together where I lay,
And all in sport to jeer at me.
First Beauty crept into a rose,
Which when I pluck'd not, "Sir," said she,
"Tell me, I pray, whose hands are those?"
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.
Then Money came, and chinking still,
"What tune is this, poor man?" said he;
"I heard in music you had skill:"
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.
Then came brave Glory puffing by
In silks that whistled, who but he?
He scarce allow'd me half an eye:
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.
Then came quick Wit and Conversation,
And he would needs a comfort be,
And, to be short, make an oration:
But Thou shalt answer, Lord, for me.
Yet when the hour of Thy design
To answer these fine things shall come,
Speak not at large, say, I am Thine;
And then they have their answer home.
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy
Recent and upcoming travels
MNSD Fall Pastor's Conference October 8-9, 2-18
Verizon Wireless Center
Rural and Small Town Mission Conference November 8-9, 2018
Hilton Kansas City Airport Hotel Kansas City, MO
A point of confession
2018-19 Academic Year Dates
Michaelmas term: September 4, 2018- November 21, 2018
Christmas term: November 26, 2018 - March 1, 2019
(Thanksgiving Break November 22 - 25, Christmas Break December 22 - January 6)
Easter term: March 4, 2019 - May 24, 2019
(Easter Break April 18-22)
Trinity term: June 3, 2019 - August 23, 2019
(No class Independence Day - July 4)
"For if we wish to have excellent and able persons both for civil and Church leadership. we must spare no diligence, time, or cost in teaching and education our children, so that they may serve God and the world. We must not think only about how we may amass money and possessions for them. God can indeed support and make them rich without us, as He daily does. But for this purpose He has given us children and issued ths command: we should train and govern them according to His will. Otherwise, He would have no purpose for a father and a mother.Therefore, let everyone know that it is his duty, on peril of losing the divine favor, to bring up his children in the fear and knowledge of God above all things (Proverbs 1:7). And if the children are talented, have them learn and study something. Then they ma be hired for whatever need there is."
~ The Large Catechism, Part I: The Fourth Commandment, 172-174
from Kloria Publishing
These publications are available for order on
Wittenberg Academy's 3rd Annual Family Retreat
We look forward to next year's retreat on April 25-27, 2019 with speaker Dr. Thomas Korcok. We hope you can join us!
Click Here to Register
Click Here for More Information
Wittenberg Academy held their 3rd Annual Family Retreat on April 26-28, 2018. Many good conversations were had and memories made. Our plenary speaker, Mr. Aaron Wolf, spoke on natural law. Many families were able to make connections with other homeschool families and exchange thoughts and ideas.
"It is true that we cannot know everything because there are limits to what has been revealed. As well there are limits to our human capacity to understand. We rarely get even close to that point, but it should be our goal to absorb as much knowledge of the Bible and of God as is possible. If Hall is correct in his assessment and an entire generation of young Lutherans learned how to read the classics, it would be amazing. We would know how to have real. challenging theological conversations, we could understand our beliefs instead of following our elders (for the most part) blindly. That generation would then go on to raise their children in the knowledge and we would continue to expand our comprehension of the scriptures." ~ 2017 PI scholar
Our Paideia I scholars read this article each year and then have a discussion on the classroom forum. Below are some of the comments from our scholars over the years.
"In regards to the church militanat, I believe that if we were all schooled like the church fathers, that the whole church militant would be able to be united, strong, and firm on what we believe, teach , and confess." ~ 2017 PI scholar
"In Jesus' day, the people did not have access to the scriptures, but they knew the Bible because they had memorized it from their fathers. If we were to learn to learn the classics and the Bible like that, we would have an amazing knowledge of our faith and the world around us, allowing us to easily defend our faith when the time came. It is easier to argue for something you understand to the best of your ability." ~ 2016 PI scholar
"Most people that I have met over the years could not defend the Christian Faith if they wanted to. This is simply because they do not spend the time reading the Bible and other historical sources to try and understand Christianity. This does not make them bad people, I am not saying that, but it leaves entire generations without the knowledge that is necessary to defend the faith and when hard times come to keep the love and trust in Christ Jesus... In the end I think that reading the classics will help prepare us for the times when we need Christ the most and I hope everyone will continue to read them." ~ 2016 PI scholar
"Reading works such as the Iliad really make you think and force you to discover what it is talking about rather than serving it to you on a silver platter. From reading these classics, we gain a better appreciation for real literature and stimulate our minds." `~ 2016 PI scholar
"If an entire generation was trained in the classical way, the effect would be quite positive, especially in the way it involves the church. Hearing, reading, reciting- these are all things that delevop our thinking-- and all factors that make us critical thinkers. Not only might we have a better understanding of the things that we are hearing, but we would also learn to figure right from wrong. Deciphering what is good and what is not using the truths in the Bible is important in and outside a church setting. Critical thinking is necessary in recognizing and avoiding false teachings, rather than just nodding our heads at everything we hear and accepting those false teachings blankly." ~ 2018 PI scholar
"A whole generation of Lutherans being taught to read properly would be an enormous blessing to everyone, not just individual congragations or church bodies. Congregations would benefit greatly, because if a whole generation had been taught this way., they would likely teah their children, who would teach their children, and so on. The effect would ripple through the whole church body, in fact, all of Christianity, until the culture once again dragged itself into the church. But to take this question one step further, what if our whole generation, not just the Lutheran part of it, was taught to read properly? We might not have to deal with as much postmodernism, and even might be able to debate with people who actually know what they believe, and not who they want to bash." ~2016 PI scholar
"If our generation was schooled in the classics like the Church Fathers, we would definitely have a new way of seeing, hearing, and reading the Scriptures. We would also be able to converse about the Bible in a new way... It is good to possess knowledge, but knowledge cannot save anyone from sin, eternal death, and the devil. Only Jesus through His death on the cross and the Holy Spirit, through faith can save us and others from sin, death, and the power of the devil." ~2017 PI scholar
"If even a small majority of young Lutherans delved in the classics, we'd all have a much better understanding of the Bible. I also think communication among all of us would be easier since we'd basically be on the same page and have the same mindset." ~ 2017 PI scholar
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