Sunday, November 9, 2008

Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word

November 9th is set apart to commemorate the great orthodox Lutheran theologian, Martin Chemnitz, sometimes known as "the second Martin."  It has been said, "If the second Martin had not come, the first Martin would not have stood."  The writings of Martin Chemnitz helped rescue Lutheran theology, which after Luther was being undermined by both Calvinism and Roman Catholicism.  Under the tutelage of Phillip Melanchthon, Chemnitz accepted and defended Lutheran teaching, by both his lecturing and by his writings.  One of his best known books, Loci Theologici, was a commentary on Melanchthon's theology.  In it, Chemnitz strongly defends the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  In other writings, Chemnitz defended Luther's teaching on the Lord's Supper and the church's ancient teaching that Jesus is both man and God.  Another important work by Martin Chemnitz was his Examination of the Council of Trent.  At Trent, the Roman Catholics restated and clarified their doctrines.  Chemnitz replied to their claims with four volumes which were a strong Protestant answer to Roman Catholic claims.  For Lutherans, Chemnitz' most important contribution was his part in drafting the Formula of Concord.   This was an orthodox restatement of the Lutheran faith that was acceptable to different Lutheran factions.  Due in large part to his efforts, the Formula of Concord was adopted by the Lutherans of Saxony and Swabia.

Martin Luther's hymn,  "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word" seems like an appropriate commentary on the life of " the second Martin."

1.  Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word;
     Curb those who by deceit or sword
          Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son
          And bring to naught all He has done.

2.  Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow'r make known,
     For You are Lord of lords alone;
          Defend Your holy Church that we
          May sing Your praise eternally.

3.  O Comforter of priceless worth,
     Send peace and unity on earth;
          Support us in our final strife
          And lead us out of death to life.


Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

Pr. Starke, I enjoy your site.

I seem to remember that the original hymn had a reference to curbing the Turk and papist sword, or something to that effect.

Were those threats still around during the time of the Second Martin?


Orianna Laun said...

In addition to describing the time periods of both Martins, this hymn is pertinent to our times as well: we still need God to keep us firm against those who would wrest the kingdom from Christ by deceit and sword.

amelithpastor said...


You're right...the original stanza one, line two is:
Und steur des Papsts and Türken Mord,
And curb the Turks' and papists' sword
Curb those who by deceit or sword

The Roman threat was certainly still exerting its influence in Chemnitz' time and I bet the Turks were still around at that time as well. As you state, Orianna, both still exert an influence (by deceit and sword) in our world today, many centuries later. Lord, have mercy!