The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod


The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) is the national church body with whom we are affiliated. The LCMS has over 2.3 million baptized members in 6200 congregations. Served by more than 9000 pastors, the LCMS has active mission work in nearly ninety countries around the globe.


The LCMS has a historic commitment to education. In 1847 when the LCMS was founded, it started with a total of twelve churches—but nineteen schools!


Congregations of the LCMS administer the largest Protestant school system in the United States, and the synod has launched hundreds of Lutheran schools around the world. First Lutheran Classical School is one of 945 Lutheran elementary schools in the United States serving 107,000 students. In addition, the synod operates two seminaries, ten colleges and universities, and more than 2300 early childhood centers and preschools.


German theologian and Christian reformer Martin Luther was also a leader in educational reform. In his 1520 treatise “To the Christian Nobility” he laid out a lengthy list of reforms he proposed to the German states.


I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God’s Word becomes corrupt…I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell.     (Luther’s Works, American Edition (AE), vol. 44, p. 207)


In his 1524 treatise, “To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools,” Luther went on to praise “classical” education in the pedagogical tradition adapted from the ancient Greeks and Romans centuries before.


But if children were instructed and trained in schools, or wherever learned and well-trained schoolmasters and schoolmistresses were available to teach the languages, the other arts, and history, they would then hear of the doings and sayings of the entire world,  and how things went with various cities, kingdoms, princes, men, and women. Thus, they could in a short time set before themselves as in a mirror the character, life, counsels, and purposes—successful and unsuccessful—of the whole world from the beginning; on the basis of which they could then draw the proper inferences and in the fear of God take their own place in the stream of human events. In addition, they could gain from history the knowledge and understanding of what to seek and what to avoid in this outward life, and be able to advise and direct others accordingly…


For my part, if I had children and could manage it, I would have them study not only languages and history, but also singing and music together with the whole of mathematics  [i.e. the quadrivium; arithmetic, music, geometry, astronomy]. For what is all this but mere child’s play? The ancient Greeks trained their children in these disciplines; yet they grew up to be people of wondrous ability, subsequently fit for everything. How I regret now that I did not read more poets and historians, and that no one taught me them! (Luther’s Works, AE, vol. 45, pp. 368-370)


Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German monk, priest, theologian and leader of the Protestant Reformation.