~* A MIGHTY FORTRESS *~
Words & Music by Martin Luther, 1483-1546
English Translation by Frederick H. Hedge, 1805-1890
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Psalm 46:1 & 2
October 31, 1517 is a very important day in history. This was the day when Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk and a professor of theology,
posted on the door of the Catherdral of Wittenberg, Germany his 95 Theses against the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. With this event, the
16th Century Protestant Reformation was formally born.
The Protestant Reformation movement was built on three main tenets:
* The re-establishment of the Scriptures as divine authority over all mankind
* Clarifying the means of salvation through faith in Christ's blood atonement alone
* The restoration of congregational singing
Not all churches that preach the Scripture--including the eternally important doctrine of blood atonement for sin--are Protestant, however. Although Luther
protested, he had been well-trained for a lifetime in Augustinian Catholic dogma, portions of which were carried over into those religions considered "Protestant".
"A Mighty Fortress" was written and composed by Martin Luther. The date of the hymn cannot be fixed with any certainty. It is generally believed to have been
written for the Diet of Spires in 1529 when the term "protestant" was first used. The hymn became the great rallying cry of the Reformation.
[This hymn is a favorite of my father's--John William Monck *_* I included the text in both German and English in the third of the series of books I wrote,
A Time of War.]
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 Godís 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: Godís truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever!
*For Today*: Deuteronomy 33:27; II Samuel 22:2; Psalm 46; Isaiah 26:4
Breathe a prayer of thanks to God for Christian men such as Martin Luther. Praise God on this Reformation Day for the Truth contained in this hymn.
Music url: The Cyber Hymnal
Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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