And Now For Some War-Like Hymns

And Now For Some War-Like Hymns August 28, 2012

I meant to post this around the same time as the Chick-Fil-A flap but never got around to it. This post is dedicated to all conservatives determined to make a virtue out of wimpiness in these culture wars. I’d like to refresh everyone’s memory with some hymns they may have forgotten about, and perhaps introduce you to some new ones. I humbly submit that if these lyrics don’t light your fire, your wood is soaking wet.
“Onward Christian Soldiers,” sung by Libera:

“Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus.” I like this rocking version by the Promise Keepers:

“Rise Up, O Men O God,” sung by the FSU & UF Men’s Glee Clubs:

“Lift High the Cross,” sung by the Ward Chancel Choir:

And finally one that I couldn’t find a good video for, but here are the lyrics to “The Fight Is On,” by Lelia Morris:
The fight is on, the trumpet sound is ringing out,
The cry “To arms!” is heard afar and near;
The Lord of hosts is marching on to victory,
The triumph of the Christ will soon appear.
The fight is on, O Christian soldier,
And face to face in stern array,
With armor gleaming, and colors streaming,
The right and wrong engage today!
The fight is on, but be not weary;
Be strong, and in His might hold fast;
If God be for us, His banner o’er us,
We’ll sing the victor’s song at last!
The fight is on, arouse, ye soldiers brave and true!
Jehovah leads, and vict’ry will assure;
Go buckle on the armor God has given you,
And in His strength unto the end endure.
The Lord is leading on to certain victory;
The bow of promise spans the eastern sky;
His glorious Name in every land shall honored be;
The morn will break, the dawn of peace is nigh.
Did I get all your favorites? Which war-like hymns are you fond of?
(You are also free to comment if this entire post gives you hives. Just do so at your own risk. :D)

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  • Riete

    Great songs indeed! It’s been quite a while since I heard these, so what a nice reminder again 🙂

  • I’m glad you enjoyed. 🙂

  • Lydia

    _Love_ war-like hymns. These are great. Esp. liked the men’s glee version of “Rise Up Oh Men of God.” Off the top of my head, a few more are
    “The Son of God Goes Forth to War”
    “Lead On Oh King Eternal”
    “Am I a Soldier of the Cross” (This one has a couple of kind of boring tunes. Someone shd. write a new tune for it.)
    “Conquering Now and Still to Conquer”
    And in case someone is groaning over “19th century hymns,” the third verse of “How Bright Appears the Morning Star” (Words by Philip Nicolai, 1500’s, music by Bach–Wie Shon Leuchtet Der Morgenstern) are pretty war-like:
    Rejoice, ye heavens; thou earth, reply;
    with praise ye sinners, fill the sky,
    for this his Incarnation.
    Incarnate God, put forth thy power,
    ride on, ride on, great Conqueror,
    till all know thy salvation.
    Amen, amen!
    Alleluia, alleluia!
    Praise be given
    evermore, by earth and heaven.

  • I thought of “Lead On O King Eternal,” except in some versions there’s a wimpy verse in the middle that kind of defeats the purpose of the rest of the hymn:
    Lead on, O King eternal,
    Till sin’s fierce war shall cease,
    And holiness shall whisper
    The sweet amen of peace.
    For not with swords’ loud clashing,
    Nor roll of stirring drums;
    With deeds of love and mercy
    The heav’nly kingdom comes.

  • Lydia

    I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that the author (whose name appears to have been Ernest W. Shurtleff, which I can’t even figure out how to pronounce) put that in there because he felt like he had to. 🙂 It appears to have been written for a graduation ceremony at a seminary. Maybe he thought the future pastors needed to be reminded about “deeds of love and mercy” or something. That verse really clashes with the other two verses. It’s as though he’s torn between just _using_ the war-like trope and undermining it. Maybe he suddenly got the heebie jeebies and thought someone would really believe he was preaching a new Crusade or something. Of course, the social gospel was getting pretty popular along about then, too. I shd. look up the history of Andover Seminary, which is where the graduation took place.

  • Or maybe he just convinced himself it would work by saying, “Well, but after all, Jesus IS the Prince of Peace, and ultimately there won’t be any more war and fighting when the world comes to an end, so technically it’s all true.”

  • Tim

    There’s also Sara Groves’s “When the Saints,” which is rather martial:

  • Great song, though a) not a hymn, and b) I can’t be certain, but despite the martial sound of the track, probably isn’t particularly intended as a battle cry for culture warriors specifically. I had in mind stuff with really obvious language about marching against evil and chopping off Orc-heads in the service of Christ the King. “When the Saints” is a big-picture look at Christian saints in general, some of whom were probably pacifists. Again, a great song, it’s just that the emphasis is heavier on “persecution” than “push-back.”

  • Like the horse among the trumpets, these hymns make me saith ha, ha

  • Sarah Sargent

    I know this is a very late comment and hope that you get it even so. This is a great list. Thank you. I just came home from a church service, during which we sang a very wimpy new version of “The Son of God goes forth to War” and it rather made my blood boil. I can’t stand the urge to ‘pacify’ these wonderful old hymns. Also, you might want to add “the Battle Hymn of the Republic” to your list.