In the Smalcald Articles, Martin Luther says, “…thank God, even a seven year old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.”
The Luther Academy exists out of love for the Church and to serve the Church. It is our goal in everything we do to help the Shepherd’s sheep hear, as clearly as possible, the voice of Him who alone brings hope to the fallen world in which we live. How do we accomplish this task? Once again Luther gives us direction, this time in his Large Catechism. “He (God) has a peculiar congregation in the world, which is the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God, which He reveals and preaches, (and through which) He illumines and enkindles hearts, that they understand, accept it, cling to it and persevere in it.”
The Luther Academy wants the church to hear the voice of her Shepherd and since His voice is heard wherever God’s Word is proclaimed, we have made it our task to declare that Word in its purity and truth as clearly and as frequently as we can. Today, as many focus on the issue of “church growth” the Luther Academy continues to focus on the only means of church growth recognized by the Holy Scriptures – the means of grace.
Thus we do not occupy ourselves with questions such as:
What are the felt needs of the people?
What do current cultural trends indicate that people want in their worship?
How does the church make itself attractive to a postmodern culture?
No, as Lutherans who believe that God effects the growth of the church only through His holy Gospel, we ask different questions:
How do we help the church to proclaim the Word faithfully in Lutheran congregations?
How do we help the church reach those who do not have or understand the Gospel?
How do we keep pure the proclamation of that Word which alone can give life?
We are convinced that the primary battles we must fight as members of the church militant are doctrinal. And we believe that precisely because these battles are doctrinal they are extremely important to the life and existence of the church because the church lives and grows only from the Word of God. Therefore, in all of our endeavors we give attention to the doctrine of the church as we hope and pray that we can act as a reliable compass to point people to that which is truly Lutheran and therefore truly evangelical and truly Christian.
i. The Book of Concord, Theodore Tappert, ed., (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959, p. 315.
ii . Tappert, p. 416.