Tag Archive | Martin Luther

Lyrics: Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott/C’est Un Rempart Que Notre Dieu/A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Martin Luther)

Red Eminence webThe seventh song appearing in His Red Eminence is well-known by Protestants around the world, though perhaps never heard before in FRENCH.  Watch for “C’est Un Rempart Que Notre Dieu” in chapter twelve, “Partings and Testaments” as Anne Rochefeuille receives some bad news.

 

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott/C’est Un Rempart Que Notre Dieu/A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

 

German 

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott,

ein gute Wehr und Waffen.

Er hilft uns frei aus aller Not,

die uns jetzt hat betroffen.

Der alt böse Feind

mit Ernst er’s jetzt meint,

groß Macht und viel List

sein grausam Rüstung ist,

auf Erd ist nicht seins gleichen.

 

Mit unsrer Macht ist nichts getan,

wir sind gar bald verloren;

es streit’ für uns der rechte Mann,

den Gott hat selbst erkoren.

Fragst du, wer der ist?

Er heißt Jesus Christ,

der Herr Zebaoth,

und ist kein andrer Gott,

das Feld muss er behalten.

 

Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär

und wollt uns gar verschlingen,

so fürchten wir uns nicht so sehr,

es soll uns doch gelingen.

Der Fürst dieser Welt,

wie sau’r er sich stellt,

tut er uns doch nicht;

das macht, er ist gericht’:

ein Wörtlein kann ihn fällen.

 

Das Wort sie sollen lassen stahn

und kein’ Dank dazu haben;

er ist bei uns wohl auf dem Plan

mit seinem Geist und Gaben.

Nehmen sie den Leib,[7]

Gut, Ehr, Kind und Weib:

lass fahren dahin,

sie haben’s kein’ Gewinn,

das Reich muss uns doch bleiben.

 

French

C’est un rempart que notre Dieu,
Une invincible armure,
Un défenseur victorieux,
Une aide prompte et sûre.
L’Ennemi, contre nous,
Redouble de courroux:
Vaine colère!
Que pourrait l’Adversaire?
L’Eternel détourne ses coups.

 

Seuls, nous bronchons à chaque pas
Quand l’Ennemi nous presse.
Mais un héros pour nous combat
Et nous soutient sans cesse.
Quel est ce défenseur?
C’est toi, divin Sauveur,
Dieu des armées!
Tes tribus opprimées
Connaissent leur liberateur.

 

Que les démons, forgeant des fers,
Menacent ton Eglise,
Ta Sion brave les enfers,
Sur le rocher assise.
Constant dans son effort,
En vain, avec la mort,
Satan conspire.
Pour briser son empire,
Il suffit d’un mot du Dieu fort.

 

Dis-le, ce mot victorieux
Dans toutes nos détresses,
Et donne-nous, du haut des cieux,
Ta force et ta sagesse.
Qu’on nous ôte nos biens,
Qu’on serre nos liens,
Que nous importe!
Ta grâce est la plus forte,
Et ton royaume est pour les tiens.

 

English

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 his 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 is 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 for ever.

From Martin Luther’s Sola Scriptura to Modern Biblical Literalism

May 17th, 2012

Politicians swear by it. Conservative Christians insist upon it. It has fueled debates on evolution verses creationism in public schools, civil rights legislation (everything from slavery to racial equality to gay marriage and beyond), and shaped archaeological expeditions to the Middle East. It is Biblical Literalism, the belief that the Bible is the literal and infallible “word of God” that must be read and interpreted as absolutely and literally true-down to every single word.

Biblical literalism is not confined to Christianity. It is also a common position in both Islam and Judaism, both of whom also use, to one extent or another, Biblical texts as part of their theologies. In 2011, Stephen Tomkins of the UK’s “The Guardian” tackled the question of how and why Biblical literalism is so prevalent in our culture in his article “How Biblical Literalism Took Root,” explaining the roots of the Biblical Literalist movement with the Protestant Reformation and its anti-papist viewpoint.

In 1521 Martin Luther was called upon to answer for his previous writings against papal abuses of power at the Diet of Worms, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me.” (http://www.luther.de/en/worms.html) This doctrine of Sola Scriptura (only the Bible), does not actually dictate how the Bible is to be read, interpreted, and applied; it only dictates that the Bible alone is authoritative. Contrary to later Protestant tradition, Luther’s position was that scripture plus reason-not the rulings of the church-should guide a Christian’s life. This focus on reason precludes a truly literal reading of the Bible, particularly as science and technology revises earlier understandings of Nature.

In the centuries after Luther, the Bible came to be perceived as so infallible that every word can and should be taken literally. Modern Biblical literalism was born!

Yet perhaps the modern version is not as productive as we all thought. Perhaps it is time to return to Luther’s intended sola scriptura-scripture alone (as opposed to focusing on outside interpreters)-but viewed through the lens of reason-not blind literalism.