The resurrected Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17). The Master Teacher commands His student to instruct, care for and minister to the people of God. As a redeemed and called member of Christ’s faculty, Peter was from this point forward called to be a teacher of the Good News and proclaimer of faith in Jesus.
Calling and appointing the faculty of a Lutheran grade school, high school or university is a daunting and delightful task. One of my great joys as President of Concordia University, Nebraska is interviewing prospective faculty members. Learning about them as persons, professionals and children of God has been an amazing blessing to me. It is also a profound responsibility! Calling and appointing new faculty members and tasking them with the work of fulfilling the institution’s mission of “equipping students to learn, serve and lead in church and world” is a huge responsibility. In the calls and solemn appointments of faculty members, the Board of Regents and I recognize the guiding hand of God in setting aside and apart partners in ministry for the work of instructing, shaping and forming a new generation of learners.
This edition of Issues addresses Lutheran faculty: who they are, what their task is, how they ought to go about that task—and understand and conduct their task in the context of God’s Kingdom of the Right and the Kingdom of the Left. Martin Luther, in “An Appeal to the Ruling Class of German Nationality as to the Amelioration of the State of Christendom” wrote:
But I would not advise anyone to send his son to a place where the Holy Scriptures do not come first. Every institution, where the Word of God is not taught regularly, must fail. That is why we observe the kind of people who are now and will continue to be in the universities . . . I greatly fear that the universities are but wide-open gates leading to hell, as they are not diligent in training and impressing the Holy Scripture on the young students.
The task of the Lutheran educator, Lutheran faculty and Lutheran school is profound. It requires knowledge, wisdom and understanding of an academic discipline, pedagogy, technologies, and classroom management. And it most certainly requires faith in Jesus Christ, knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, and the ability to rightly divide and apply God’s Law and Gospel. To those ends, the task of being a Lutheran faculty member is an always-forming and always-formative task that necessitates oratio, meditation, and tentatio. May God be with, bless, guide and direct every Lutheran faculty.