Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 3:11

During an especially heated period of theological controversy in England in 1866 when liberalism threatened to destroy the Bible-based doctrines of the church, this hymn was written by Pastor Samuel Stone. He was a strong supporter of the conservative faith and refused to compromise in any way the critical attacks on doctrinal soundness.

It was Stone's desire to write a hymn that would reaffirm the Lordship of Christ as the foundation of the church. To combat the skeptical liberal scholarship, Samuel Stone wrote twelve hymn texts based on the biblical truths of sound, church doctrine.

Described as the poor man's pastor, Samuel Stone demonstrated his firm belief in the church as the instrument of Christ for meeting the needs of people. He spent much time ministering to the poor and underprivileged people in London's east end. It was said that "he created a beautiful place of worship for the humble folk and made it a center of light in dark places."

This is what the local church was meant to be--a spiritual hospital for hurting humanity to find love and help in the Word of God, never an exclusive private club for self-righteous souls to "mingle" and have their ears tickled. Called out from the world by God for Himself, the church consists of people who meet regularly for worship, inspiration, instruction, and fellowship. After that, Christ our Head sends His own back into the world to represent Him and to model His love for all mankind.

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From Heav'n He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

She is from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the Earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against or foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on Earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.

O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On High may dwell with Thee:
There, past the border mountains,
Where in sweet vales the Bride
With Thee by living fountains
Forever shall abide!

*For Today*: Matthew 16:15-18; I Corinthians 3:11; Colossians 1:18

Give thanks to God for your local church as well as for fellow-believers of the church around the world. Affirm your conviction in Christ as the head of the church as you carry this musical truth.

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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