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Word of the Year

Merriam Webster just crowned authentic the 2023 Word of the Year. They chose authentic because it was, what else, authentic. Basically, the word means real, genuine, true, and concepts like that. Writers, speakers, chefs, musicians, and artists apply authentic to individuals and things they create, perform, or think.

Authentic also struggles with authenticity. Hucksters and sleazy salespeople use it to mask high prices with a face of dignity. The whole realm of AI has catapulted authentic into questioning of AI’sability to destabilize the authenticity and trustworthiness of “truth.”

Educators and students have a long-standing dependency on truthfulness in teaching and learning. That’s true for politicians too—the ones who don’t mess with or molest the truth. AI intentionally or unintentionally challenges truth when used to cheat or lie.

Is it your responsibility to deal with problems of authenticity? Over centuries of teaching—going back to creation—true teachers have held to demanding the highest standards. False teachers, misleaders, and others who have something to gain from lying have bruised the word’s purity. So indeed, you who teach in Lutheran schools have an obligation to being authentic in your teaching.

There was a time when this obligation was easier to address. Teachers with authentic theological training had an easier time spotting not only the outright lies of false religion but also the flaws in ideas that taught various degrees of authenticity on biblical Christianity. Not all things taught or tolerated in Christian schools are authentically biblical. Administrators and teachers in Lutheran schools must have sufficient training in authentic Lutheran thought. Therefore, your faith must be firmly founded on the Bible. No matter what you teach or who you teach.

Your job as a teacher in a Lutheran school is always under threat, so your work gets harder all the time. Eve had to contend only with the false teaching of—what an obvious choice—a snake. Then Adam had only to contend with one who exerted peer and marital pressures to make decisions about the authenticity of their teaching and learning. Who were they to trust? Why? How did they need to deal with the dilemma?

The situation worsened. Throughout history, we witness and, at times, participate in the cycle of sins—old, new, revised, “improved,” rolling along and over not only society and culture “out there” but also in our own faculties, students, and parents.

Authentic is a fine selection for its honorable quality and high standard. The problem with which we deal is whose authenticity is authentic. Despite growing and stubborn claims to the contrary, the Bible is THE ONLY authentic authority on salvation and godly life. All other claims of authenticity are fake, contrived by needy individuals, demonic deceivers, power seekers, and other theological terrorists seeking their own pleasures and stomping on others with their vanity and ego. That will never change, but Scripture also has yet to reveal a treasury of God’s wisdom and powers yet hidden from human discovery.

And there you are, in the middle of it all, trying to align your instruction with biblical perspectives. What’s more, you try to live aligned with God’s Law—and even more difficult sometimes—His wonderful (AUTHENTIC) Gospel.

So again, what can you do? Always teach from a Christian worldview, which guides your thinking and teaching with questions such as­—

  • Where did we come from?
  • Who are we?
  • What has gone wrong?
  • What is the solution to making things better?
  • Visit websites such as What’s a Christian Worldview? (Del Tackett for Focus on the Family) and Google Lutheran Christian Worldview for more extensive information.
  • How can I apply the answers to the questions above to what I am teaching?

Foremost: pray. Teach authentic Christian education, which requires constant study, lavish and continual applications of the Gospel, and…well, singing Jesus Love Me once each day would help too.

Oh, and always remember the Word of every year.

Ed Grube is LEA’s Director of Communications, having served 27 years as a Lutheran school principal and 23 years in national Lutheran ministries.

1 Comment

  1. Keith Wilharm on December 19, 2023 at 5:30 pm

    Ed, I’ve always known you to be a man of great words, prolific, and I dare say, authentic! Thanks for this.

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