The Quarterly Newsletter of Wittenberg Academy
The Ninety-Sixth Thesis
Chaplain's Corner- p. 8
For All Eternity
Rev. David M. Juhl
For Studies turn into Character
Missionary and Teacher of the Month -P. 17-18
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy- p. 20
Poetry- p. 21
A Dialogue- Anthem
A Point of Confession- p. 22
From Our Teachers p. 10-15
~For all Times
~ Education and Vocation in Christ
Luther entreated noblemen, councilmen, and parents to educate young people “for society and the Church.” In Luther’s day, not unlike our day, people had a very utilitarian view of education. Consider the musings of many parents in our day. They want their children to have a better job, a bigger house, more money, etc., etc., but when it comes to education the musing sounds something like this: “XYZ High School was good enough for me, it’s good enough for my kids.” We want bigger, better, and more in all of life, except education. This is not new. Luther lamented to his friend Menius, “Some are now saying: If my son learns enough to earn a penny, he is learned enough. Nowadays nobody wants to rear children for anything else than the knowledge and ability to make a living.” Misaligned priorities of well-meaning parents are nothing new.
What is our goal for our children? Are we concerned simply for their employability? Wittenberg Academy says all the time that we are equipping children to love God and serve their neighbor. Luther himself says in the Large Catechism under the Fourth Commandment, “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 educating our children, so that they may serve God and the world.” Is the sum of loving God and serving one’s neighbor simply employability? Certainly not! To emasculate education simply into job training is to rob our children of joy and satisfaction that comes with the whole of education. If we see as useful only those things that end in money, status, and fame, into what have we formed our children? The good and pious parent will certainly reject money, status, and fame as the goal of education, but what about relevant, practical, and fun? Where is the harm in that? Perhaps here, in our modern insensibility, we have shifted from employability to happiness as the end goal. Perhaps these are two sides of the same coin.
Philip Melanchthon once said, “…for studies turn into character.” Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says character is “The peculiar qualities, impressed by nature or habit on a person, which distinguish him from others; these constitute real character, and the qualities which he is supposed to possess, constitute his estimated character, or reputation. Hence we say, a character is not formed, when the person has not acquired stable and distinctive qualities.” Assuming truth from both Melanchthon and Webster, studies turn into stable distinctive qualities.
Notice that studies turning into stable distinctive qualities indicates nothing about job skills. Certainly stable distinctive qualities permeate everything, including employment, but they also permeate every way we love and serve our neighbor. It matters not whether one is a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, or a doctor, lawyer, or actuary as these things do not qualify one to be a husband, wife, father, mother, son, or daughter. Likewise, the very specialized skills required of butchers, bakers, candlesticks makers, etc. do not qualify one to be a husband, wife, father, mother, son, or daughter. Let us look at this another way. Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” We love using these verses to support “character education.” A look at the Greek shows us that this word character is bigger than just character, it is approved character; it is character proved through testing and trial. While studies might might produce character proved through testing and trial, Melanchthon was probably leaning more toward the Greek word for character in Hebrews 13:5 (τρόπος) that means way of life.
Studies turn into a way of life. Thus, not just what you study matters, but also how you study matters. What way of life do we want for our children? Most certainly we want for our children a life of whole-hearted perseverance and faithfulness (think Psalm 119:9-16). May God grant that our studies and the studies of our children turn into such a way of life.
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson serves as Wittenberg Academy's Head Teacher.
From the Head Teacher's Desk- p. 3
For Studies Turn into Character
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson
2019 Witttenberg Academy Family Retreat- P. 25
Candor for such a Time as This- p. 6
For all Ages
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.
Studies Turn Into Character
DIE Zeitschrift Von WALTHER
A magazine for our Grammar School families
for all Ages
A classical Lutheran education is certainly an education for all people. A classical education equips scholars with the knowledge of all things good, true, and beautiful. Though a classical education looks a little different at each stage of life, it remains pertinent and important throughout our entire life.
At the time of infancy, we learn the very basics of life. Babies loves discovering new things: the colors of teething rings, the taste of new foods, and the many sounds they can make. The very basic truths of God's creation are discovered at this stage in life. If we bite our fingers, it hurts. God has created us with nerves that protect us from harm. If we run too fast, we fall. There exists a gravitational pull on the earth. Gravity and the nervous system in all of their complicated detail are of course not understood at this time, but the very implications of them are indeed understood.
When we grow older, the learning looks a little different. During the adolescent years, we ask our parents, "Why?" We want to understand how things work in the world; we begin to recognize order in God's creation. There is a reason and an explanation for how everything works. Children are unsatisfied with the simple answer of, "I don't know." The explanations are still not completely understood, but they continue learning.
When they grow older, they thirst for deeper, more practical knowledge. How exactly does the nervous system work? What are the implications of gravity? How exactly can we calculate the acceleration rate of a falling object? We more deeply understand how these things apply to everyday life through equations, graphs, and syllogisms. We are building on the solid foundation that we established in the Grammar stage.
At last, we reach the Rhetoric stage. We are able to take that foundation that we have built along with our practice of practical knowledge, and apply it to real life. We can calculate the rate of a flying object and predict where it fell. We can not only assemble our own arguments, but dissemble other's as well. We think clearly and make rational, logical decisions based on facts. We understand the fact that human life begins at conception: not only because the Bible proclaims it to be so, but also because science itself proves it. We are now able to serve our neighbor in a capacity that we were unable to before. Maybe we do so in the vocation of scientist, doctor, mother, father, teacher, etc., these are all very high callings in which we use our knowledge on a daily basis.
Though the Rhetoric stage is the final building block of education, that does not mean we have completed our education and have learned everything that is to be learned. There is always more to be learned. We just now have all of the tools needed at our disposal to do so. May we always thirst for the knowledge that God has given us the ability to understand, and thank Him for the gift that is education.
Mrs. Lauren K. Mastin serves as Wittenberg Academy's Communications Director.
When we think of Classical Education, we think of learning what is good, what is true, and what is beautiful. The knowledge you learn inside the classroom prepares you to be whatever the Lord has in store for you in your earthly vocations. All things good, true, and beautiful are created and sustained by our heavenly Father in His providential care. We are stewards of what He gives us, from the land on which we live to the children we raise, even to all material goods that He gives us. What we learn in the classroom is an extension of what we learn when we hear and read God's Word: the Good, True, and Beautiful heritage given to Christ's Holy Church.
A Classical Lutheran education is centered in the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is Good, for His mercy endures forever. His death for our sins returns us to Paradise. All our debt is paid in the precious blood of Jesus. He is Good, for He gives us life in His resurrection from the dead. We laugh to scorn the gloomy grave, as the hymn says. He is Good, for He washes us in Baptism, feeds us in His Supper, forgives our sins in His Absolution, and proclaims peace between God and mankind in His preaching of Jesus Christ through ministers of the Gospel.
A Classical Lutheran education is centered in the Truth of Sacred Scripture. The Bible is the story of Abraham's family. God made three solemn promises to Abraham. He kept all of them in His time. God's people often forgot about His promises to them. They turned to other gods. They demanded an earthly king. They rebelled against their earthly king. They were taken into exile. They killed God's prophets. Through it all God maintained a remnant who trusted the promises made to them. The greatest promise God made to His people was to provide them a Savior from their sins. The promise was made specifically to the Jews, but was also for the Gentiles. This is the Truth we hear each week as we gather around altar, pulpit, and font. God's promises are put back in our ears so we believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him we may have life in His name.
A Classical Lutheran education in centered in the Beauty of our life here, and the life of the world to come. In Christ we live for our neighbor. What we learn shapes our life so we may not merely serve God, but also serve our family, our friends, even strangers and those outside the Christian faith. All that we say and do in our God-given callings in life is done to the greater glory of God. Your education prepares you for a love of learning and a desire for piety. The classroom is a seed-bed, a place where seeds sprout into sproutlets that grow into great and mighty plants. The classroom, especially the Classical Lutheran homeschool classroom, is the place where you hear and learn the stories of your family of faith from God's Word. You learn how to pray. You learn the Small Catechism. You memorize Bible verses. You even sing the faith in hymns. You take what you learn there into the church building each week. Then you take what you hear in the church building in the Divine Service home. The love for learning extends beyond mathematics and sentence diagramming into preparation to fall asleep in Jesus with a good conscience, clinging to the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
Good, true, and beautiful things abound in a Classical Lutheran education that prepares you not only for life this side of eternity, but especially the life of the world to come.
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.
for all Eternity
We Christians in contemporary western civilization fancy ourselves pretty successful at being in the world but not of it. We believe, because we distance ourselves from moral subjectivity and the idol worship of the god of tolerance, that we are not susceptible to the pitfalls of this modern world. To the annoyance of the progress-hungry moderns, we are that grandpa who tells everyone who will listen what life was like in the illusive “good old days”. We preach a blind nostalgia for the faithfulness of the early Church or the Church of the Reformation and Scholasticism— but gloss over the uglier bits like martyrdom, caesars, or the plague.
Classical education does not leave room for any intellectual snobbery. While moderns believe we outgrow ideas and progress discredits what came before, the temptation of the Christian is to cling to only what affirms his beliefs. But it is naive and self-centered to think that because we are the Christians surrounded by moderns that we are the only Christians who have been surrounded by infectious ideology. We are called to be stewards of this world just as much as Adam, Paul, or Martin Luther were— warts, trees, donkeys, popes, and all. The problem is that modern Christians often don’t see themselves as responsible for the warts.
C.S. Lewis, champion of the faith in a modern world, in his introduction to Athanasius’ On the Incarnation wrote, “Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes.” And the only remedy is that “We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the Old Books.” Lewis was a firm believer, like Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine before him, that education was primarily a social institution— equipping the student with the right sentiments, and discovering Truth amidst the distractions of fashionable ideas. The question is not if our cultural landscape is any better or worse than theirs— the question is whether or not we, drenched in modernity, can find Truth. Answer that question with another— how did the monk Luther find that Truth which sparked the Reformation?
Ad fontes, the “return to the source” and the battle cry of classical education, is a timeless concept. No matter where we stand in history, pre-cross, post-cross, pre-Reformation, post-Reformation— how the world denies Truth changes, but Truth itself does not shift. By the blood of Christ, we stand with those who came before us regardless of what’s headed toward us.The enemy may change, but our armor remains the same. Luther’s “by grace, through faith” moment came from the ultimate Source. Even while he was immersed in the manipulative culture of the 1517 version of the prosperity gospel, Luther’s answer came in clear through a Book that transcended his own cultural moment. The Answer, whether it’s being taught today or 500 years ago, is the same.
While Luther’s ad fontes moment was Scriptural, we classical educators apply the same theory to the books written by the minds and worldviews that came before us— even if we don’t agree with everything in them. Lewis continues, “People were no cleverer than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes.” Plato’s Republic, a work drenched in it’s own time, can tell us something about our own modern blind spots concerning government, justice, or even education. From the times of Herodotus to Arius to Nietzsche to Hawking, history is an ever-shifting power struggle of ideas, and modernity is one cultural moment of that struggle. We can only start to take the modern goggles off is by recognizing that we have them on in the first place. Reading the Old Books is the simultaneously dangerous and profoundly hopeful action of taking the goggles off and instead, seeing the world by the lense of Truth.
Miss Emilyann Pool serves as a Grammar and writing instructor for Wittenberg Academy. She currently resides in Clinton, Iowa.
For All Times
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Education and vocation have always been in accord with one another. A student goes to school to learn grammar in order to communicate efficiently with his neighbor. Pupils learn mathematics to develop their brain so that they may think logically. Every subject in school has a purpose for furthering the student’s ability to serve his neighbor; however, today’s society has lost sight of the relationship between education and vocation, and by doing so have lost the beautiful and true picture of the Christian life.
Ephesians 4:1-3 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” In our vocations as Christians, it is our calling to uphold the bond of peace by serving and loving our neighbors. But how are we to do this?
Our vocations and the way we go about fulfilling them in our everyday lives has to do with the tools we have been given. Solomon, for example, prayed for wisdom from God and utilized this wisdom in his vocation as ruler. 1 Kings 3:28 says, “All of Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.” The tools that we are given in our education significantly affect our vocational lives as Christians.
Grammar equips the student with the means to converse with his neighbor, but also to read and compose literature.
Logic is one of the most useful tools that equip the Christian to defend the faith and fulfill his vocation as a member of the church militant. When we learn the tools of logical thought, we can discern fallacies and recognize the truth.
Rhetoric, when used correctly, argues for the truth to the glory of God. When we are given this tool, we make use of it not only because it is a highly efficient way of arguing, but because it is the Christian’s way of conversing and arguing for the truth while still loving and respecting his neighbor. Richard Weaver wrote in his work Language is Sermonic that, “Rhetoric speaks to man in his whole being and out of his whole past and with reference to values which only a human being can intuit.” This way of speaking to our neighbor in the defense of the faith is a true embodiment of “explaining everything in the kindest way.”
1 Corinthians 7:17-24 says, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” Our education strengthens our abilities to fulfill our vocations in our everyday lives and in our future vocations. These tools we learn in our education prepare us to fulfill our vocations and live the Christian life that Jesus has called us to live. But there is one hindrance that makes these things useless; that is sin. We are poor miserable sinners and cannot do any of these things on our own. Thankfully, we have a merciful and loving God who has saved us from our hopelessness and sinfulness by sending His Son to die for us on the cross. God grants His children the gift of knowledge and wisdom as He did to Solomon. It is through the mercy of our God that we are able to serve and love our neighbors with the tools given to us through our education, and it is to the glory of God that we should utilize these gifts.
From these truths we get the picture of the true Christian life and of a perfectly fulfilled vocation, that is, Jesus coming into the world, preaching to us, teaching us, healing us, forgiving us, serving us, and finally sacrificing Himself for us so that we might be saved from our sin. This picture of Jesus hanging on the cross, shedding His blood, allowing His body to be bruised and cut, this is the beautiful picture of love and mercy. This is the beautiful picture of vocation.
Education still today has great influence over people’s ability to effectively fulfill their vocations, but the true fulfillment of vocation has been given to us in the beautiful picture of Jesus’ death for us. Therefore, let us strive to serve our neighbor in all that we say and do, not for the glory of ourselves, but for the glory of God and for the service of our neighbor. +GAR
Miss Grace Reps is a 2018 Wittenberg Academy graduate.
This essay received first place in the 2018 Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education essay contest.
“Education and Vocation in Christian Life”
A Wittenberg Academy Senior Paper
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.
Mrs. Minte Irmer— Progymnasmata Writing Course
A Statement from Our
Board of Directors
Teacher of the Month
Mrs. Irmer grew up reading and writing. She received her B.A. in English from Hillsdale College, where she also studied art history and classical education. Though she was raised in the Midwest, she now lives in South Carolina with her husband, Mitchell, who serves as an officer in the United States Navy. Mrs. Irmer is thrilled to work with Wittenberg Academy because she and her students can pursue beauty in reading and writing while learning and growing alongside other Lutherans. She loves to travel the world and have adventures, but she also loves to cozy up at home with her hedgehog and a good book.
The Clausing family lives in Nairobi, Kenya, where Rev. Jonathan Clausing serves with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as a theological educator in the east Africa region. Rev. Clausing assists churches in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya in providing training for their church workers. Their three oldest children utilize Wittenberg Academy courses. You can read more on their website if you are intrested in learning more about their mission field.
Registration is Open
for the 2018-19 Academic Year!
Missionary Family of the Month
Students are welcome to pursue a Wittenberg Academy Diploma or take classes à la carte.
the Clausing Family
By George Herbert
Alas, poor Death! Where is thy glory?
Where is thy famous force, thy ancient sting?
Alas, poor mortal, void of story!
Go spell and read how I have killed thy King.
Poor Death! And who was hurt thereby?
Thy curse being laid on Him makes thee accurst.
Let losers talk, yet thou shalt die;
These arms shall crush thee.
Spare not, do thy worst.
I shall be one day better than before;
Thou so much worse, that thou shalt be no more.
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy
Recent and upcoming travels
Higher Things Northfield July 3-6 , 2018
Higher Things Carbondale July 10-13, 2018
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL
CCLE Conference July 17-19, 2018
Faith Lutheran Church & School Plano, TX
Higher Things Lawrence July 24-27, 2018
The University of Kansas
Bugenhagen Conference July 30-August 1, 2018
St. John's Lutheran Church & School
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.
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