Peace if possible; truth at all costs.

Last Saturday, I had the joy of speaking to the graduation of the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS).

Tiffany Deierlein’s valedictory speech was so impressive, I asked her for permission to post it on our blog.

I know you’ll be as impressed as I was.


Tiffany Deierlein, High School Graduation Speech

“Friede wenn möglich, Wahrheit auf jeden Fall.”
Peace if possible; truth at all costs.
-Martin Luther

In John 18:37 Jesus declares, “I came that I might testify to the truth.” Likewise, He sends forth his children to proclaim the truth to the ends of the earth. We stand here today solely because of His grace, and we go forth from here in the fear of the Lord to rekindle the Reformation, to proclaim the via, veritas, vita–the way, the truth, and the life. We go forth in the shadow of the Almighty, to reform the culture and reclaim civilization. And we do not go alone.

Our parents gave us life, and then they taught us–trained us–how to sacrifice that life so that it would fulfill its highest, indeed, its only purpose, and that is to glorify the Most High God. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” I doubt any of us realize what our parents have done on our behalf to sharpen us so that when we leave here today as high school graduates we may leave as men and women of honor, of purity, of humility, and of faith. “Education,” William Butler Yeats said, “is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” We will never be fully ready, and we will certainly never be worthy, but because of our parents’ faithful training we are well-equipped to go forth, and to take the fire they lit within us and to spread it to the ends of the earth.

We go not as spectators, but as reformers.  The battle that raged in Eden draws us in, and the Victor calls us forth to claim His victory. The travelers to Zion in Psalm 84 went, it says in verse seven, from “strength to strength.” We have no strength of our own. Yet we, also, go from strength to strength as we march to Zion because, as we read in II Chronicles, “The battle is not yours, but God’s.” Therefore, we must constantly look to the source of our strength. At times we will not be able to see what lies on the other side of the Jordan; but it is not so much a yearly or a daily calling we have been given as much as one we fulfill each second. We may be yet blind to God’s sovereign will for our lives ten years ahead–even ten days ahead–but we know His will for this moment–and that is obedience. We must live a life of constant surrender to the Lordship of Christ, where we rely entirely on Christ moment by moment, sacrificing ourselves and acknowledging our utter helplessness, that in all things Christ will be preeminent.

Yet at the same time, we do not live for the moment. Each moment is lived deliberately, with our supreme vision before our eyes. Where we set our eyes is where we will go; hence it is all important that we grasp a vision. And what our vision is will dictate each moment of our lives–what we do, how we do, why we do it, for whom we do it. It is a vision that requires absolute surrender to Jesus Christ. It is a vision such that, if we forsake it, we will lose our own souls. But brothers and sisters, if by God’s grace we embrace it and its calling of self-denial and faith in Christ, we will go forth in the strength of the Lord, and our God will use us in mighty ways to advance His Kingdom.

It is a vision of victory, of dominion, of truth, of more than a simple existence, but life abundant. Above all, it is a vision of Jesus Christ and Him glorified. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” We go forth to penetrate the forces of darkness and subdue the culture, establishing the Kingdom of Life. We go forth to wage cultural warfare to reclaim what was lost at the Fall–for the glory of the Almighty God and the exaltation of the name of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Oran Smith

Former President & CEO


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