A Word from the President

I believe that confessional Lutheranism is the best expression of Christianity on earth, evidenced by our soteriology and sacramentology. It is the true Church as established in the inerrant Holy Scripture.

Greetings to you all from Luther Classical College (LCC),

I consider it a great honor to have been called as president of LCC, and after prayerful consideration, I accepted the divine call with great joy. Even though the school has not yet launched its first semester, it has already proven itself to be a highly successful organization, under remarkable leadership and faithful staff. We want to thank our faithful readers for already joining us in our vision, as we prepare our institution to form Lutheran young people with the best that education has to offer and by cultivating Biblical virtues and Christian faith in each of their lives. The interest in our school and her bold and transparent mission—one that involves uniting Christian living, Christian thinking, and Christian worship in an educational context—is inspiring as we begin to make our mark on the American landscape.

Rev. Dr. Harold Ristau

Presidential Announcement

On December 23rd, 2023, supporters of Luther Classical College received an announcement that Rev. Dr. Ristau accepted the call to serve as the first President of LCC. The following brief bio is an excerpt from that announcement:

Dr. Ristau has served the Church faithfully for over 20 years. A native Canadian, Dr. Ristau earned his MDiv. at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (CLTS) in St. Catharines, ON in 2000. He holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Waterloo (1996) and a PhD in Religious Studies from McGill University (2007).

From serving as a parish pastor at an inner-city, multi-ethnic LCMS congregation in Montreal, including prison chaplaincy and ministry to refugees, and from the mission field with Chinese and Muslims in Canada to the mission field with Lutherans in Africa, Dr. Ristau has committed his life to proclaiming the gospel to the lost and using his unique gifts to serve the Church in challenging positions all over the globe.

In addition to his extensive service for Lutheran Church Canada (LC-C) and LC-MS ministries, Dr. Ristau also served honorably as a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces in both English and French Canada for eleven years with the Air Force, Infantry, and paratroopers. Deployed to the Middle East on several occasions, soldiering alongside the U.S. Army and functioning as a first responder and crisis intervener, Dr. Ristau has been honored by the Canadian government and Chief of National Defense with one of their highest commendations for his work in Afghanistan.

Called as a professor at CLTS in 2017, Dr. Ristau led accreditation and recruitment efforts for the seminary. Two years ago, CLTS temporarily deployed Dr. Ristau to Lutherans in Africa in Kenya as missionary and Academic Dean at the Lutheran School of Theology.

Dr. Ristau will begin his official duties at Luther Classical College in April 2024.

Presidential Questionnaire

Each candidate for the presidency of Luther Classical College filled out a presidential questionnaire. The LCC Board of Regents was so impressed with Dr. Ristau’s answers that we wanted to share with supporters and future students some portions which show the character and convictions of the man who will be leading this College:

My deep Confessional Lutheran convictions and principles, love of traditional liturgy and the Holy Sacraments, and my sincere desire to help instill this same love and Lutheran ethos in young people through classical education at a level of higher education, are passions that, if I were a parent sending my children to LCC, I would hope were shared by the president. I believe that LCC will become a lighthouse to the darkened Lutheran international landscape, but can only effectively be advanced by a president that has bold and solid beliefs. Accordingly, I find LCC’s Confession of Faith refreshing and inspiring in light of the state of Lutheran higher education in the USA and elsewhere today.

A lukewarm spiritual health is contagious, and so a president needs to be attentive to the preservation of a Christian life that is harmonized with true doctrine.

I believe that confessional Lutheranism is the best expression of Christianity on earth, evidenced by our soteriology and sacramentology. It is the true Church as established in the inerrant Holy Scripture. I often ask students in my Religious Bodies class to discuss the following statement: “Abraham and St. Paul were ‘Lutheran.’” Admittedly it is a strange question, but it prompts discussion on the meaning of the continuity of the Lutheran Church with the ancient one. Orthodox Lutheranism is not a new denomination, but belongs to the true Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Parents are living breathing examples of the faith, and the kinds of activities they participate in, games they play, movies they watch, music they listen to, are all part and parcel of that modeling of a God-pleasing and Christ-centered household. Only by instilling true doctrine and fostering an environment in which that is supported and enriched, can true love for the neighbor reign and Biblical virtues increase, fruits of the Spirit grow, and the ability to battle vices improve.

Classical education is increasingly important in this age of information as our children wrestle with how to navigate through digital minefields, forcing them to critically evaluate data and prodding them to decipher which questions are worth asking. Socialism is an increasing threat that ultimately uses Marxism as a weapon against children and young people. Classical education offers a powerful defense against these trends.

Classical education ought to be embraced by all Lutherans due to its longstanding tradition and the fact that Luther himself was a proponent. Respect for this heritage and for the Church Fathers should suffice in arguing that classical education is the ideal form of education (and ought not simply be treated as one “learning style” amongst a plethora of other equally valid ones) in the midst of the non-traditional and experimental educational methods and ideas that have poisoned the minds of our children and penetrated our schools today, even many parochial ones, sadly. Yet we need to restore this form of education at all levels. We Lutherans have failed in our compromises as clergy, citizens, and parents, however inadvertently, by allowing Christ’s precious redeemed children to be influenced by the subjectivist and humanist spirit of modernity. It is no surprise that the secular world despises classical education.
In terms of my role in the spiritual formation of students: the president acts as one of several mentors to the students and helps steer them in the correct direction as a spiritual guide, helping them in discerning and clarifying their vocation, while maintaining a professional relationship. The president is, after all, ultimately responsible for the academic and spiritual formation of students and the overall shape of the school. In addition, he should be praying for the students regularly and ensuring that the students are the raison d`être of the school. After all, their parents have entrusted them into our care and would expect nothing less than excellence in education and care.

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Rev. Dr. Harold Ristau

Rev. Dr. Harold Ristau has accepted the call to serve as the first president of LCC.

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Christian Culture is the magazine of Luther Classical College. Visit lutherclassical.org for more information about the college.

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