Paul D. Lindstrom

Nov 6, 1939 ~ May 22, 2002
 

The following article is taken from the Sunday, May 26, 2002 Daily Herald. It was written by Daily Herald staff writer Jon Davis.

Daily Herald
Paddock Publications Inc.
P.O. Box 280
Arlington Heights, IL 60006–0280

 

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.

 

Daily Herald

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.”

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