It was 500 years ago today that Martin Luther was famously reported to have nailed his 95 Theses to the door of a Wittenberg church.
At the time, Luther only wanted to talk about his opposition to the sale of indulgences to absolve sin; he never thought his call for debate would lead to changing the religious and cultural history of the world.
But that was, of course, what happened – and Protestant Christianity was born.
And with it was born new songs of praise that helped the Reformers express the truths they believed in. One of the most famous of these was penned by Martin Luther himself – “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” which is sometimes called “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation.”
I want to share a contemporary arrangement of this hymn with you today as we think back to what happened on a day like today 500 years ago:
Here are the lyrics:
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.
You might also enjoy reading this piece from desiringGod.org, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God: Discovering the Power of Luther’s Original Lyrics” that explores this important hymn in greater depth.
Finally, I want to share with you a couple of other things I have written about Martin Luther this month. My first post explored “How Martin Luther Changed the World” and the second looked at “Three Things Martin Luther Teaches Us About Marriage.”