A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD
Suggested topics: assurance, Atonement, praise, testimony, worship
Suggested occasions: n/a
A mighty fortress is our God,
A tower of strength ne'er failing.
A helper mighty is our God,
O'er ills of life prevailing.
He overcometh all.
He saveth from the Fall.
His might and pow'r are great.
He all things did create.
And he shall reign for evermore.
2 And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
1 I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
"Based on Psalm 46, the hymn is a celebration of the sovereign power of God over all earthly and spiritual forces, and of the sure hope we have in him because of Christ. After its publication, it gained immense popularity throughout Reformed Europe.
'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.' -Louis Benson
The hymn became closely associated with Luther himself, as it embodied in its words and melody so much of the character of its author — bold, confident, defiant in the face of opposition. This association is symbolized in the monument to Luther at Wittenberg where the first line of the lyrics were engraved on the base.
There are at least 7 documented theories on the time and circumstances in which the hymn was written. 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. The evidence for this date is the printing history surrounding it (no copies beforehand, and a growing number of copies afterwards).
There is debate about where the tune came from. In times past, it was believed to have been borrowed by Luther, perhaps from an old Gregorian melody. More recently, however, scholars are inclined to believe that Luther wrote it himself."
LDS hymn number: 68
Text: Martin Luther, adapted
Music: Attr. to Martin Luther
Meter: 8 7 8 7 6 6 6 6 8
Tune: Ein' feste Burg
"Martin Luther was the son of a mining family of rural origin. He attended the Latin School in Mansfeld from 1488 onwards, continuing his schooling in Magdeburg and later in Eisenach. In 1501 Luther began his studies in Erfurt and intended to become a lawyer.
In 1505, however, he made a decision that changed the course of his life radically: he decided to enter the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. This decision shaped the rest of his life, and his search for a merciful God and His Will culminated in the development of the Reformation of the Church. Luther's negative personal experiences with the ecclesiastical means of grace resulted in not only increasing criticism of the deplorable state of affairs within the church but above all to a fundamental reconsideration of medieval theology.
His public criticism of the misuse of letters of indulgence in 1517 did not result in the desired discussion but led to the start of a court of inquisition culminating in Luther's excommunication after the Imperial Diet of Worms in 1521. Friedrich the Wise organized a 'kidnapping' to protect Martin Luther's life. Luther spent almost a year as Knight George on the Wartburg, where he translated the new testament into German.
Luther's most obvious break with his monk's vows ensued when he married the former nun Katharina von Bora in June 1525. The basic unit of the protestant parish house had been born. After the Peasants' War in 1525, which Luther had disapproved of, the Reformer promoted the development of the protestant territorial church through visitations and church policies.
He died in Eisleben, the town of his birth. By order of the Elector Luther was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg."