School Philosophy / Our Faith

2323 E. 12th St. ∙ The Dalles, Oregon
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  • 2323 E. 12th St. The Dalles, OR 97058
  • Columbia Lutheran School
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A Faith Confessed

We believe the faith confessed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, as well as the collection of Lutheran confessions known as the 1580 Book of Concord. These confessions require absolute integrity to the teaching of Holy Scripture, the Bible. We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word, and is the only source and norm for all Christian teaching. Our national church body, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, has provided a concise statement including contemporary issues of morality and faith. Please read it on the ELS web site.


One biblical teaching joins together all the others, since it expresses the central truth that God reveals in His Word. We call that teaching Justification. It states that even though man can only disobey God and deserves only His punishment, God declares us to be righteous in His sight on account of the suffering and death of Jesus in place of every sinner. We receive this justification when we believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and it provides our certainty of eternal life.

We teach everything in the light of Justification, which centers every lesson upon Jesus Christ.

Law and Gospel

For students to receive the full benefits of Jesus Christ, every teacher must be trained and committed to correctly applying two key teachings. True Christian faith depends upon (1) the work of God through His Law, and (2) the Gospel message of forgiveness through Christ.

God’s moral Law is summarized in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), the two Great Commandments (Matthew 22:37–39), and in many other moral directives throughout the Bible. Sinful man is unable to keep it perfectly.

The message of the Gospel is summarized in John 3:16. It conveys forgiveness to sinners. Everyone who repents needs to hear it.

The Law can only condemn; if taught alone, it brings despair or hypocrisy. The Gospel only forgives, so that without the Law, stubborn sinners would ignore it. We seek to “rightly divide the Word of Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) in everything we teach and in every act of discipline, so that our students will continue to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus Christ.

The Christian Worldview

A person’s worldview is how he understands the world, how he distinguishes between what is most important and what is least important, how he views his own place in the world and his relationship to other people. The Christian worldview is based upon what God has revealed in holy scripture. At the center are the teachings of Law and Gospel, together with Justification by grace alone through faith. The Bible reveals the origin of all things, and how human beings fit into the order of Creation. It shows the origin of evil in the world. Most importantly, it reveals how God has now reconciled fallen mankind to Himself through the incarnation of God’s Son.


When a parent has a child, God has established a vocation, or calling, for that parent with a certain authority and set of responsibilities. Each child also has a vocation toward his parents. The same can be said for relationships between employers and employees, between teachers and students, for judges, legislators, policemen, soldiers, ministers, church members, and any other occupation where people may interact in ways that do not transgress God’s commandments.

The Christian worldview takes in all of those things under the doctrine of vocation. One doesn’t need to be a minister of the Gospel to serve God every day. Each Christian who fulfills his vocation in faith is responding to the love of God in Christ, and demonstrating that love toward his neighbors. In this way, God blesses the world through His Church, and provides lines of communication for the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. In this way, every Christian may consider himself to be a servant not only to his neighbor, but also to God.

The doctrine of vocation is one way that the Christian worldview pervades every subject taught in a classical Lutheran school. Every subject, every kind of knowledge about Creation, and every God-pleasing application of that knowledge glorifies God and benefits the world around us.

The Two Kingdoms

Christians are already citizens of heaven (1 Peter 9–10), yet we live as citizens of our earthly nation, too (1 Peter 2:17, Romans 13:1–2). The heavenly kingdom extends into this world as the Christian Church, which remains hidden to our eyes, because its members are only those who trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, God is in control of both kingdoms, but He rules them differently. The kingdom of the right, the Church, is ruled by the Gospel. Its citizens are assured through God’s forgiveness that they have eternal life. The kingdom of the left, which includes all earthly powers, is ruled through the Law. Usually, it is found in the conscience of man, which has been affected by mankind’s fall into sin (Romans 2:15). Christians can better inform this natural law by their knowledge of the revealed Word of God.

The purpose of education at Columbia Lutheran School is to provide the instruction required for children to live as outstanding citizens of both kingdoms. They should learn to be excellent citizens and members of their earthly civil society, while also superb citizens of the everlasting kingdom of Jesus Christ. This is accomplished by a thorough knowledge of history and the liberal arts, grounded in the biblical worldview, and also training in the art of applying that knowledge to the circumstances of life on Earth.

Page last modified July 18, 2015, at 08:47 AM by PastorJacobsen.
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