DATE: April 15, 2019
TEXT: 1 Peter 3:15-16 – ESV - but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
In 1541, when Suleiman was laying siege to Vienna, the rulers of Germany called for the people to offer up petitions and prayers for deliverance. In response to that plea, Luther wrote the hymn, “Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word….
In the hymnbook it reads
“Lord, keep us steadfast in The Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the kingdom from thy son
and set at naught all he hath done.’
It’s a beautiful hymn. But that’s not what Luther wrote, Not at first, not at the beginning
What Luther REALLY wrote was this:
Lord keep us in thy word and work,
restrain the murderous pope and Turk.”
Who fain would tear from off thy throne
Christ Jesus, Thy beloved Son.
You won’t find that version in any of our hymnals. That’s because the second version, the one without THE MURDEROUS POPES AND TURKS is doctrinal and more easily sung by more people in more situations and more circumstances. AND, since the second version of the hymn remains solidly doctrinal, it becomes the preferred version. That is making a good change.
But the Chinese government, in a desire to slow the growth of the faith and influence the doctrine’ of what believers hold to be true, are also trying to make changes…
And their changes are not going to be ones which are doctrinally solid. Among the things the Communists are proposing would be: to incorporate Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings into the Bible and edit worship songs to include Chinese characteristic.
And what is the response of church leaders to this possible persecution? Hundreds have signed a fourfold statement of beliefs By God’s grace may believers around the world join them in standing fast to these proposals:
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, keep us steadfast in The Word; Curb those who fain by craft and sword Would wrest the kingdom from thy son and set at naught all h hath done.’ In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion was inspired by various articles, amongst which is the one written by LEAH MARIEANN KLETT on October 3, 2018 for the Gospel Herald . Those who wish may check out this link which was, at the time of writing, fully active: https://www.gospelherald.com/articles/71865/20181003/china-rewrite-bible-include-buddhist-teachings-infuse-worship-songs-chinese.htm
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html