Mark G. Schroeder
Long before soldiers are sent into battle, they undergo rigorous and thorough training. They train to improve their physical strength and endurance and to instill discipline and a sense of teamwork. They learn to use their weapons with skill and confidence. They train and train again, so that when the time comes, the skills they have learned will be used instantly and instinctively, without thought or hesitation.
No general would send his troops into battle without giving them thorough training. And every solider recognizes that training is one of the most important factors to achieve success for himself, for his fellow soldiers, and for his country.
Another important factor for a soldier’s success in battle is the support he receives from “back home.” It’s the letters and phone calls; prayers; and encouragement of friends, family, and fellow citizens that remind soldiers why they are fighting and help soldiers to devote themselves fully to their mission.
It’s August, and throughout our country young men and women are preparing to head into battle. For some, it will be their third or fourth tour of duty. For others, it will be their first taste of combat. The battle will have extremely high stakes for them and for the people they represent. And the enemy they face will be fierce, committed, and unrelenting.
But this battle will not take place in faraway deserts or jungles. Instead, many of our young people will be heading into the hostile territory on the campuses of secular colleges and universities. The dangers will come in the ideas, instruction, and pressures they will encounter in classrooms and dormitories. They will encounter furious assaults on their faith, their values, and their very souls.
Atheist professors will try to teach them that there is no such thing as absolute truth—much less biblical truth. Science, despite its changing conclusions, will be elevated to godlike status, and anyone who believes that God created the universe in six days will be mocked. Faculty and fellow students will vigorously defend the killing of unborn children and promote a distorted view of God-given sexual identity. Our young people will be accused of being bigots when they express their beliefs; they will be branded as naïve when they confess their faith. They will be ostracized from their social circle when they refrain from sexual immorality and the abuse of alcohol and drugs. The attacks against faithful Christian students will be relentless and furious. They will stop only when that Christian student gives in, goes along, or remains silent.
God knows the importance of training for such battles. God says we are responsible to show our children “the way they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). “Bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). I’m confident that WELS parents who are sending their children off to college have made good use of those 18 years of training time. Because you have trained them in God’s Word and taught them to know their Savior, you have equipped them to withstand the most furious attacks.
So send them out with confidence and trust that God will give them the strength to hold on to their faith and confess their Savior without hesitation. And keep up that support from the home front. Encourage them to be faithful in worship. Help them connect with a WELS Campus Ministry or campus pastor. Remind them who they are and whom they serve. And pray for them. Protected by God’s strength and armed with his powerful Word, it’s a battle that they will win.
Want to help college students in the battle? Register them with WELS Campus Ministry at wels.net/campus-ministry for free helpful materials, including Forward in Christ magazine and Meditations.
Mark Schroeder is president of WELS.
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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 105, Number 8
Issue: August 2018
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