Dr. Paul D. Lindstrom
(Nov 6, 1939 - May 22, 2002)
“Our present world is in a state of chaos and uncertainty. All is not well in our constitutional republic. The only adequate answer is in truly Christian education at home, in the church, and at school.”
Recognized as one of the pioneers of Christian home education, Dr. Paul Lindstrom, best known as “Pastor Paul,” served as Superintendent of Schools of the Christian Liberty Academy School System. Many knew him best as the former National Chairman of the Remember The Pueblo Committee and for his efforts to secure the release of missionaries, POWs, and MIAs in Southeast Asia.
After graduating from the University of Illinois and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Pastor Paul taught in the Chicago public schools. In 1967, he worked with Dr. Philip Crane (who later became a U.S. Congressman) in the development of Westminster Academy. Dr. Lindstrom founded the Christian Liberty Academy in 1968 and began to organize the Christian Liberty Academy School System in 1970. Continuing with his own studies, Rev. Lindstrom received his Doctor of Education degree in 1985, and his Doctor of Law degree in 1994. He has been honored by a Governor of Illinois, the Illinois House of Representatives, the Republic of Free China, and the Romanian-American National Congress.
Pastor Paul traveled extensively in the Middle East and authored the book Armageddon: The Middle East Muddle. Another book, Four Days in May... Storming the Gates of Hell, is a biblical defense of the pro-life movement. He also wrote articles which have appeared nationally. Paul Lindstrom was a frequent public speaker and a guest on many TV and radio programs throughout the nation. He also conducted his own “There’s No Place Like Home” daily radio program, broadcast nationwide.
Paul Lindstrom was a man who loved the Lord, loved his family, and loved the church. His desire was to see God’s kingdom work advance in his local community, in the country, and around the world. To this end he was a tireless worker throughout his years. He directed the establishment and growth of many ministry works over the years; among them the Church of Christian Liberty, missions works at home and abroad, Christian Liberty Academy, Christian Liberty Academy School System, Christian Liberty Press, efforts on behalf of the martyr church, and the fight for God-given and constitutionally protected liberties.
In all these things Paul Lindstrom was a man who understood and believed the answer to Heidelberg Catechism,
Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and death?
“That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.”
Church of Christian Liberty Elder and CLA Headmaster Phil Bennett says about Pastor Paul:
"An area of emphasis in Pastor Paul’s ministry related to perseverance was that of the proper use of one’s time. One would frequently hear him admonish himself as well as others to “buy up the time and use the opportunities.” He practiced what he preached. On many an occasion one mission was just being completed, when Paul would see another opportunity for further service. The result was often another 18–20 hour workday, but the results were rewarding. It was through this diligence that many new ministries were begun. Pastor Paul was faithful in the use of the time God granted him."
Church of Christian Liberty Elder and founding member Phil Roos says about Pastor Paul:
"A theme upon which Pastor Paul often spoke was that of keeping on, keeping on. Galatians 6:9 tells us “And be not weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Pastor set the example for us in abounding in the work of the Lord. He was untiring and unflinching in working to advance God’s Kingdom. Though God has given us all different and varying degrees of talent to use for Him; Pastor Paul’s admonition for us was, and is, “Keep on keeping on.”
The following are excerpts from a report prepared in 1990 for the 25th anniversary of the Church of Christian Liberty:
In the Bible we read, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6). The Lord has directed our paths these many years. As we begin the 26th year of the Church of Christian Liberty we rejoice in all that God has done for us. He has blessed in every way. He has made possible over the years that which many in 1965 said was impossible. What is impossible with men is possible with God. The Pilgrims in 1620 made a small effort, the influence of which has been felt around the world. So we trust that the effort we have made and will continue to make will be felt not only in Arlington Heights and its environs, but also in Illinois and America and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
On Tuesday evening, February 9, 1965, Pastor Paul Lindstrom was riding with Philip Roos. During the ride, Pastor Lindstrom shared with Phil the burden that was on his heart concerning the need for reaching those outside their congregation with the message of God’s truth—“the whole counsel of God.” How might this best be accomplished? Pastor Lindstrom suggested an afternoon program. Mr. Roos agreed. Together they prayed in the car, and a planning session was scheduled. The Sunday afternoon program, beginning on March 28, 1965, continued at Feehanville School in Mt. Prospect, Illinois for four months. On Sunday, July 25th, the Church of Christian Liberty began meeting at the West Park Field House in Des Plaines, Illinois. The time of the services was changed to the morning hours. Slowly but surely, the congregation began to grow as the Lord added to the church. Property was purchased in Prospect Heights in 1966, and church construction began in 1967. The first service in the new sanctuary was held in June of 1968. In the fall of 1968 the newly organized Christian Liberty Academy, meeting in the church basement, opened its doors to K–9th grade students. Three mobile classrooms were purchased in 1971, and construction began on an educational building in 1973. Construction was completed in 1975. Mission churches were opened in Milwaukee (1967), Rockford (1968), and St. Charles-Elburn (1972), as Pastor Paul and the Shermans traveled for years on Sunday afternoons to these locations. Schools were organized in Milwaukee and Elburn.
As early as 1969, Pastor Paul was doing preparatory work for the establishment of a home based educational program. Anopportunity presented itself in the fall of 1970 with help requested for a 4th grade student in Chicago whose parents had removed him from the local public school. An experimental program was instituted, and Pastor Paul worked with a group of about 30 home schoolers for five years. The new program was “publicly” launched with a 1975 ad which resulted in the influx of several hundred students. Many families, charged with “violations” of state laws, were taken to court. Pastor Paul spent considerable time in those early days of home schooling providing families with legal counseling, and traveling around the country to appear as a witness in court on behalf of those brought to trial. This resulted in several significant victories based on first amendment protections.
With the growth of both CLA and CLASS, the decision was made in March, 1985, to bid on the closed Arlington High School building. God sovereignly granted success, and the Church of Christian Liberty took possession of the Arlington facilities on Labor Day weekend, 1985. The Church of Christian Liberty has sought to be faithful to its divine commission. Preaching and teaching the “whole counsel of God,” which has included the taking of biblical stands on controversial issues, has often resulted in “backdoor revivals.” Not liking the “heat,” many have left the “kitchen.” Our pastor, going all the way back to 1965, has been very outspoken about the humanist takeover of our key institutions. While many considered these areas to be off limits or were afraid to get involved, he has always been on the front lines and in the thick of the battle. By the grace of God he has been a man of faith and perseverance where it has been most needed.
We have sought to make our church an outreach of Christ’s sovereignty over this nation. As we move into the future with all of its opportunities and uncertainties, we experience the same feelings Joshua must have felt when the Lord told him, “Ye have not passed this way heretofore” (Joshua 3:4). But we can also claim by faith the promise God had already given him: “I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:5,6).
Legacy of church leader marked in success of home-schooling
While the Rev. Paul Lindstrom helped create a church and school from scratch and fought against abortion, the United Nations, North Korea’s 1968 seizure of the U.S.S. Pueblo and what he saw as the persecution of Christians in foreign lands, many who knew him say his true legacy lies at home. In the late 1960s and through the 1970s, Lindstrom was one of the first to fight for the right of parents to teach their children at home, helping to spark a movement that now involves about 2 million children throughout the United States. Both his son, Calvin, a teacher at Christian Liberty Academy, and Philip Roos, a Church of Christian Liberty elder from the church’s beginnings in 1965, said Lindstrom’s legacy is the growth and popularity of Christian education, especially home education.
“One of his great heart’s desires was to see children educated in a Christian setting, viewing every subject they studied from a Christian point of view,” Roos said. “There have been thousands and thousands of children across the land that have been educated in this manner.”
Lindstrom, 62, died Wednesday at his Prospect Heights home. He suffered from two types of cancer and primary sclerosing cholangitis—the same disease that killed Chicago Bears’ star Walter Payton. Lindstrom helped found the Church of Christian Liberty in 1965 and the Christian Liberty Academy in 1968. Within a few years, the academy began providing a home schooling curriculum for parents. Those involved with home schooling and those who study the movement say he was a pioneer who helped families by providing a curriculum and also encouragement when fighting legal battles with local authorities.
“Without Pastor Lindstrom and his ministry, I don’t think the home school movement would have gotten off the ground,” said Chris Klicka, senior counsel with the Home School Legal Defense Association, in Purcellville, Va. “I think they were that integral in providing the nuts and bolts curricula, and also the spirit to hold on.”
Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Ore., said Lindstrom’s significance lies in that he spoke out for home schooling at a time when all anyone knew were the institutional public and private schools that had always been there. He stood up and encouraged people to home school, even though local governments fought it, Ray said. “He was right on the beginning cusp of that whole thing,” Ray said. “For him to stand up against that and say, ‘We want this,’ was remarkable.”
Roger Erber, president of the Harvard-based Illinois Christian Home Educators, said people are able to enjoy home schooling freedoms under Illinois law today, not even knowing who the pioneers were, thanks to Lindstrom’s work. The Christian Liberty Academy was already active in the early 1980s, when his group began its activity, and “for many people, it was good just to know, even if you didn’t utilize his services, that someone had gone before; that you weren’t paving the road yourself,” Erber said.
Roxanne Smith said that knowledge helped tremendously in 1983, when her family declared they would educate their three sons at home in Cannon Township, Mich., near Grand Rapids. While she didn’t know Lindstrom personally, Smith said Christian Liberty Academy supplied both curricula and emotional support. “They also gave a lot of support and encouragement, that no matter what your legislators and educrats said, you could home school. It was a God-given right, and you could stand firm for that,” Smith said.
Klicka, who grew up attending a Christian Liberty Academy-affiliated school in Milwaukee, Wis., said Lindstrom faded into the background during the 1980s, as the home schooling movement grew and gained more legal legitimacy. But that, too, was important to the movement, he said. “With his passing, it’s sad and a great loss, but the home school movement won’t miss a beat because it’s become established,” Klicka said. “And that’s a real positive quality about Paul Lindstrom. ... He didn’t make himself irreplaceable.”
The following article is taken from the front page of the Thursday, May 23, 2002 Daily Herald. It was written by Daily Herald staff writer Jon Davis with contributions by staff writers Matt Arado and Amy McLaughlin.
Paddock Publications Inc.
P.O. Box 280
Arlington Heights, IL 60006–0280
Christian Liberty Founder Dies
The Rev. Paul Lindstrom, founder of the Christian Liberty Academy and a pioneer of the Christian home schooling movement, died Wednesday at his Prospect Heights home, just five months after learning he was afflicted with cancer and the same disease that killed Walter Payton.
Lindstrom was the driving force behind the Arlington Heights-based Church of Christian Liberty, whose missionaries work world-wide, and its academy, which hosts more than 900 students and provides home schooling materials to thousands more across the nation.
Under his tutelage, the 34-year-old Christian Liberty Academy grew from 50 students to more than 900, and from one Northwest suburban locale to include branch schools in Sudan, and Cape Town, South Africa. But Lindstrom, 62, also courted controversy, from his “Remember the Pueblo Committee” in 1968—when North Korea captured a Navy surveillance ship, the U.S.S. Pueblo, in international waters and held the crew captive for 11 months—to last year’s call for a national boycott of Chinese-made goods after a U.S. Navy surveillance plane was held by Chinese authorities after a mid-air collision with a Chinese interceptor jet.
“It is time to recognize Communist China as our enemy,” he wrote at the time. “The Chinese leadership is no friend of the U.S.A. It is another ‘evil empire’ which must be firmly resisted.”
Lindstrom also worked in the 1970s and ’80s, and opposed the United Nations, which he once called “a multimillion dollar rip-off.” In 1996, Lindstrom fought plans to place an abortion clinic in Arlington Heights, and in 1999, after the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, he called on parents to pull their children out of public schools, while simultaneously arguing for metal detectors and security guards to be placed in those same schools.
“He always was a man who, when he saw a struggle that needed a champion, became a fighter,” said Mark Beuligmann, a church elder and director of the academy’s CLASS home study program.
Joseph Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro Life Action League, praised Lindstrom as a deeply caring and holy man. The two worked together periodically on projects related to the abortion issue, including a three-hour video that aired on television.
“He had a knack for saying things that would stick with you for a long time,” Scheidler said. “All of a sudden the insight and wisdom of his words would hit you.”
Lindstrom was born on Nov. 6, 1939, in Park Ridge, and graduated from Maine Township High School in 1957. He attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in history in 1961. That same year he married his wife, Florence.
Lindstrom is survived by his wife; four children, Karla McHugh, 38, of Palatine, Kim Rapp, 37, of Algonquin, Peter Lindstrom, 32, of Arlington Heights, and Calvin Lindstrom, 28, of Prospect Heights; a sister, Carolyn Buchanan, and 16 grandchildren.
Lindstrom came to the ministry about midway through his studies at the U of I, Calvin Lindstrom said. “One night he was going through the course catalog, and trying to figure out what to do next, and just sort of felt God’s leading him to that area,” Calvin Lindstrom said.
Lindstrom helped found the Church of Christian Liberty in March 1965, in the former Feehanville School in Mount Prospect. The church moved to Des Plaines shortly thereafter. Two years later, the church bought property and built a church at 203 E. Camp McDonald Road in Prospect Heights. The academy began there in 1968. Both church and academy moved to the old Arlington High School building at 502 W. Euclid Ave. in Arlington Heights, after the high school closed its doors in 1984.
Lindstrom preached his final sermon there on May 5. His last message was encouragement to be faithful to the word of God, and to never compromise, Calvin Lindstrom said. “Individually, it was just to continue on and be faithful to our work,”his son said. “We’re saddened, but hopeful he’s in a much better place.”
Philip Bennett, headmaster of Christian Liberty Academy, and a friend of Lindstrom since their college days, agreed. “We’re all very sad, but we trust very strongly that it is the Lord’s will, and that He is sovereign in this. From his wife and children to the elders here, we receive it with sorrow, but rejoice that he is in a better place,” Bennett said.
The first inkling that something was wrong with Lindstrom’s health came in November, when he went to a Palatine health clinic to check a throat burn and discomfort in his esophagus. A blood test, which found unnaturally high levels of liver enzymes, and a subsequent CAT scan taken in January at Northwest Community Hospital showed primary sclerosing cholangitis—the same auto-immune disease that killed Chicago Bear’s star Walter Payton.
The disorder strikes just three in 100,000 people and causes the body’s immune system to mistakenly attack its own tissues. The result is liver failure. Closer examination then revealed the cancers. He went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for a second opinion earlier this month, but exams there confirmed the earlier findings.
The cancer prevented him from being on the liver transplant list or undergoing surgery, and doctors gave him six months to get his affairs in order. Earlier this year, Lindstrom went to Mexico in pursuit of alternative treatments for the cancers.
“He wanted to be more than a local pastor. He wanted to have an influence on things,” former Prospect Heights Alderman Tom Shirley said. “I think it’s going to be awfully hard to find someone to come in and fill his shoes.”