A Boy Like Me

“Stories like that make a boy grow bold; stories like that make a man walk straight.” –
Rich Mullins, “Boy Like Me”

It occurs to me, regularly and shockingly, that many who know what we do at the Free
Lutheran Bible College and Seminary (to say nothing of the vast majority of our local
community who know nothing of our existence or reason thereof), consider our mission
as something other than essential. I disagree, rather vehemently, and ask you to allow
my explanation.

I contend that “establishing students in the eternal and inerrant Word of God” is
essential. By “essential” I do not mean that this mission can only be accomplished on
our campus; indeed, claiming so develops an embarrassingly narrow view of God’s big
kingdom. Rather, our mission is “essential” because it is of the essence of life in Christ,
explaining God’s world through the lens of God’s word, encompassing creation out of
nothing, redemption from the fall, and calling to eternal life purchased at the cross and
delivered through the word of God.

What I have just described is essential; of the essence of life itself. It is a root-level
enterprise, radical, if you use the actual meaning of the word. You receive this training
as you read God’s word, as you worship together as a gathered congregation, and as
you receive God’s sacraments in faith. You are equipped for life in Christ as you live life
in Christ. Through His word, God creates and sustains faith in the human heart. He
does so in poetry, prose, proposition, and story. “Stories like that make a boy grow
bold; stories like that make a man walk straight.”

At the time of this writing I have a ten-year-old girl and an (almost) ten-year-old boy. I
am trying, every day, to teach them about life in Christ as a child of God and
missionary in this world. I look at their (relatively) innocent eyes and think somewhat
forebodingly of what lies ahead for them: an essential call down a path likely more
difficult than mine.

“We teach children about knights so they will have hope when they encounter
dragons,” said 20th century British author GK Chesterton, in my paraphrase. I’m trying
to teach my children to be men and women of God who stare adversity in the eye,
make difficult decisions, and follow through with humble tenacity. I want them to lead
where others have failed to go and most are slow to follow, then, when all has passed,
to look upon the gracious work of God in Christ, faithful and content in both success
and failure, needing no justification from self or fellow man. Christ, to them, is both
justification and defense.

“The greatest struggle in which we must engage is to keep the word and remain
steadfast in it. If this word is torn from a man’s heart, he is lost.” -Martin Luther

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