You Shall Teach Them Diligently
Rev. Ryan J. Ogrodowicz
Feb. 8, 2023
An infant brought to Holy Baptism receives the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” speaks the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:12). Bearing this Name requires faith, which is nourished by the Word and Sacraments of God. Weekly God’s children gather at His altar in a place His Word is preached and the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is given for us Christians to eat and drink. This, of course, flows into Christian living. Word and Sacrament enliven and refresh us, but was never intended to displace daily Bible reading and prayer. On the frequency of hearing His Words God says:
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut.6:6-7).
Hands, eyes, doorposts, and gates make clear the seriousness of God’s command to never lose sight of His voice instructing us on pious living. God commands parents to teach their children “diligently.” The literal definition of this Hebrew word is “repeat, teach incisively.” Diligent teaching includes repetition and a concerted effort. Nothing is permitted to strip the doorposts and gates of God’s Holy Word. But visit a government school and look for the crucifix, even the bare cross. Look for Scripture passages in classrooms. Listen for a teacher to confess Christ. Sadly, the building is void and desolate of God’s voice, a spiritual wasteland scorched by the devil’s breath. God’s Holy Word that Christians are commanded to teach diligently, constantly, keeping it before our children all the time is absent, cast aside, forcefully excised from all aspects of education, thus making room for the unspeakable evils plaguing public education. Not everyone was ignorant of this.
Archibald Hodge, principal of Princeton Seminary once said in 1886, the year of his death:
“I am as sure as I am of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.”
Before Hodge was Luther, who also warned “I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.”
Luther’s counsel is timeless and something we should heed. The labor is hard, for government schools are always the easier option, and certainly a cheaper monetary investment. But this investment comes with tremendous risk. Little ones shouldn’t be compelled to navigate the minefields of deadly error while we expect them to remain in the faith unscathed. We can do better than this and begin by providing a place where Scripture is written on the doorposts and plastered to the gates, a place where repentance and faith in a Savior are preached, where justified sinners still follow God’s command, “You shall teach them diligently to your children.”
Rev. Ryan Ogrodowicz
Associate Pastor and Headmaster at Grace Lutheran Church & School
1212 West Jefferson | Brenham, Texas | 77833