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Wednesday Worship - October 28, 2015




Years ago I attended a Reformed Baptist Church.  Even though I had never heard of John Calvin or his teachings, as a new believer, the Holy Spirit revealed those same Reformed truths to me through His Word...

Every year on Reformation weekend, the last weekend in October, a nearby church hosts the Bolton Conference to celebrate the day that Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five theses to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg.  The conference would always close with everyone singing Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress is Our God.  The acoustics in the church where the conference was held, made for a Heavenly sound when all the voices in the sanctuary were lifted up singing the hymn known as the Battle Hymn of the Reformation...

Tim Challes writes,

"There are at least 7 documented theories on the time and circumstances in which the hymn was written.  Louis Benson concludes, along with several other historians, that the most likely story is that it was written in October 1527 as the plague was approaching."

Louis Benson also said,

"It was … the Marseillaise of the Reformation. It was sung at Augsburg during the Diet, and in all the churches of Saxony, often against the protest of the priest. It was sung in the streets; and, so heard, comforted the hearts of Melanchthon, Jonas, and Cruciger, as they entered Weimar, when banished from Wittenberg in 1547. It was sung by poor Protestant emigrants on their way into exile, and by martyrs at their death. It is woven into the web of the history of Reformation times, and it became the true national hymn of Protestant Germany." 

Richard Jumper writes from the perspective of a different theory behind the writing of this great hymn,

"Luther put his very life on the line for what he believed--and so did thousands of others! In the Netherlands alone, 50,000 people died because they took their stand with Martin Luther against the Pope and the Church of their day.

It is because of this persecution that Martin Luther penned the words to this hymn. Luther wrote this hymn in order to remind his followers that no matter how bleak the circumstances appeared, they were not to lose hope. The Biblical text that he used for inspiration to write is Psalm 46. Luther, being an Old Testament professor, was most likely aware of the history of this Psalm, and chose it because of its history."

All historians seem to be in agreement that the hymn is based on Psalm 46 in celebration of the Sovereign power of God over all earthly and spiritual forces, and of the certain hope we have in Christ.  It gained immense popularity throughout reformed Europe.

Regardless of the theory, A Mighty Fortress is Our God is known for ushering in the Protestant Reformation.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.


Enjoy!



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Comments

  1. Karen, I love this post...and that great hymn of our faith! I remember watching the funeral service for President Ronald Reagan on C-SPAN, where you really feel like your are in attendance with no interruptions, there were many great hymns played as part of that service, but I especially remember "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"...how we love to rest in the strength and sovereignty of our Heavenly Father. Thank you, again, for stopping by my blog with such warm and encouraging comments. Many blessings to you!

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    1. Hi Beth, Thank you!

      Thank you for sharing a memory of that great hymn. It is such a majestic hymn that always brings about chills.

      You are very welcome. :-)

      Blessings to you too!

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  2. Worshiping with you this morning. Love your music and your blog and background of how these great songs came about.

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    Replies
    1. Deborah, Welcome! Thank you so much.

      So glad you visited today. 😊

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  3. I love this hymn, Karen! I recall not only singing it at church, but also singing it with my high school a cappella choir!! Beautiful!!!

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    Replies
    1. Pam, Awe. Such sweet memories. Thank you for sharing!

      And thanks for visiting. :-)

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