Rise Up, O Men of God!

A man of God rising upSome egalitarians remind me of parrots.  Their stock of phrases were taught to them by Betty Friedan and Kate Millet 30 or 40 years ago, and their constant repetition is getting pretty stale.  Never more so than when you find one of them railing against hymns that – by their lights – denigrate women.

Case in point:  this blog which complains bitterly about a hymn by William P Merrill entitled “Rise Up, O Men of God.”  For purposes of discussion, here are the offending lyrics:

1. Rise up, O men of God!  Have done with lesser things.
 Give heart and mind and soul and strength to serve the King of kings.

2. Rise up, O men of God!  The kingdom tarries long.
 Bring in the day of brotherhood and end the night of wrong.

3. Rise up, O men of God!  The church for you doth wait,
 her strength unequal to her task;  rise up, and make her great!

4. Lift high the cross of Christ!  Tread where his feet have trod.
 As brothers of the Son of Man,  rise up, O men of God!

Now, this hymn, like many from that era, plausibly takes sides in a controversy.  Merrill unashamedly sets forth a clear-sighted post-millennarianism in this hymn, an eschatological view that had considerable favor among the liberals of Merrill’s day, and still finds favor among some streams of orthodox Calvinism today.  Fault-finders will hail from amillennial or premillennial camps.  It’s a controversy about our route to the heavenly city.

As an inhabitant of the premillennial camp (yes, Anglicans can be, have been, and still are premillennialists; Dallas Seminary was founded by one of these, though the school today strives to ignore this), I’ll give Merrill a pass, for premillennialists ought to travel a very long way down the same road as postmillennialists.  They may find themselves together on that road for different reasons, but that should only invigorate their fellowship while they advance toward the New Jerusalem. 

However, the hymn is not controversial at all in its view of the sexes and their relationship to one another.  On that score, Merrill is locked arm in arm with Chesterton’s awful mob known as The Church, which has championed the Bible’s view on this matter for the previous 20 centuries.  The complaints lodged by the blogger above provide a fascinating study in the doctrinal myopia of modern egalitarians and the foolishness this condition inflicts upon its victims.

Her criticisms (yup, this blogger’s a woman), are three.   Let’s examine them in turn.

First of all, this hymn reeks of “this text doesn’t apply to me” when sung by the female half of the congregation.  Why?  “…  an unescapable [sic] fact of the English language is that it is changing. Women no longer consider themselves part of ‘men.’ ”

This kind of challenge sounded revolutionary and daring back in the Seventies (!), but now it just sounds whiney.  The use of the masculine in English to comprehend both male and female is as common as ever, except (perhaps) in some highly rarified departments of English, sociology, and women’s studies in the intolerant corridors of academe. 

No littering allowed!For what’s going on in the real world, consider the sign at the left, found in an international airport.  What does it mean?  As an ideograph, it informs people who may actually speak dozens of different languages about an airport policy.  By using pictures, the sign  communicates something like this:  “No Littering Permitted!” or “Do Not Litter!”  or the like.  The figure in the picture is the figure of a man, not a woman, but no one seeing the sign mistakes the sense of the male figure displayed.  He is not the “generic” man, so much as he is the “inclusive man.” 

Women must not litter!Consider, now, this hypothetical sign at the right.  How would people read this sign?  The only difference from the previous sign is the substitution of the “woman symbol” for the “man symbol.”  But, now the meaning communicated is different, perplexingly different:  “Women may not litter!”  or “No Littering by Women Permitted.”  And the befuddled onlooker would be wondering, “Why do men get to litter, but women don’t?” 

Paul Mankowski discusses these very signs and a great many similar features of the use of “man” and the “inclusive masculine” in his article “Jesus, Son of Mankind?” in the October, 2001 edition of Touchstone.  You may (and should) read the whole article by clicking here.  The point:  when feminists and religious egalitarians express this kind of complaint, they tell us far more about their own neuroses than they do about language or literature.  And, with respect to Merril’s hymn, they tell us nothing more than how consonant his hymn was with classical modes of expression, and how out of synch with their own culture his detractors are.

Wrapping up this complaint, the egalitarian blogger complains “… this hymn never really means to address women. So do we really need to use a hymn that excludes (over) half the congregation?”

But, hymns do not need to address everyone.  Many of them address only God.  Others, like Merril’s, address subsets of the Church, in this case men.  As a hymn, this one fits well within the mouths of all Christian women, who by this hymn call on men, whose allegiance is to God, to  … well, to rise up and to accomplish a variety of tasks that belong to them to do. 

And, this brings us to the second complaint:

“[The Church’s] strength unequal to her task/rise up and make her great” simply isn’t true. The Holy Spirit’s power makes the imperfect Church equal to whatever task God calls us to do. It is not the strength of the male half of the church that will make the church great, it is the strength of the Lord Jesus himself.”

Well, … uh … of course.  But that’s not what’s at issue here.  Merril, following Scripture, understands that Christ has laid on the shoulders of men in the Church the task of guarding the deposit of faith, teaching it faithfully as Christ’s under-shepherds, and defending it against interlopers who deny it.  Merril isn’t calling upon the men of God because their masculine strength is equal to the task.  Rather, he is calling upon those whom Christ has appointed as under-shepherds, to act as shepherds are supposed to act when the flock is threatened. 

Of course, egalitarians hotly deny that this charge is laid solely on the men.  That’s why they insist that women be made elders, pastors, priests, bishops, and so forth.  It’s not a question of who can do what, for women can and do teach, pastor, and evangelize.  In the catholic communions (Romans, Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, and those like them) women may even baptize in exigent circumstances, though in more ordinary situations this sacrament is administered by the Church’s officers.

Nevertheless, Merrill, following the Church which has followed Apostolic teaching received from the Lord, understands that if the Church is to advance in her mission, she shall do so only insofar as those whom Christ has charged with her leadership fulfill their destiny.  For this they were created and those who qualify take up the offices in Christ’s household which Christ appointed for  … well, for men of God.

Finally, the egalitarian faults Merril for this:  “… this hymn reinforces the church’s historical error of thinking that men can more fully conform to the image of Christ than women can. … Women obviously cannot be ‘brothers of the Son of Man.’ ”

What lies beneath this complaint is nothing other than vexation at the incarnation of the eternal Son of God as a human male.  Because of that fact of our faith, it is inescapable that men have a capacity to resemble Christ in ways that women do not.  Christ is the Bridegroom, never the bride.  He is our brother, never our sister.  He is our King, never our queen.  He is the Son of God, never the daughter of God.  God is Christ’s Father, never Christ’s mother. 

When the egalitarian protests that the Church errs by thinking in these terms, we learn from this that it is the egalitarian who knows neither the Scripture, nor the power of God – a power which stamps the human race with a shape, actually two shapes (male and female) which in their relationship to one another mimic the most fundamental relationships of all, that between God and His creation, between Christ and His Church. 

And, this is why the Bible, and the Church, and William P. Merril sing “Rise up, O Men of God!”  The entire hymn is rooted in the Bible’s ancient sexual polarity, which itself springs from God’s very good design at the beginning of all things, and which moves to the glory of the wedding of the Lamb and His bride at the end of all things. 

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26 Comments

Filed under Egalitarianism, Feminism

26 responses to “Rise Up, O Men of God!

  1. Well put.

    What do you think this verse means: “As brothers of the Son of Man”? How is he our brother?

  2. How is [Christ] our brother, such that a line of the hymn refers to “men of God” as “brothers of the Son of Man?”

    I hope you won’t mind my paraphrasing your question. If this isn’t substantially the question you intended, try again.

    “Son of man” is a term used as early as the Torah and Job (which may predate the Exodus as to its literary origin) to signify “human” (cf. Num. 23:19 and Job 25:6 and 35:8). It is used four times in this sense in Psalms (8:4, 80:17, 144:3, 146:3) and thrice in Isaiah 51:12, 46:2, and in Jeremiah (49:33, 50:40, 51:43).

    Ezekiel’s prophecy is riddled with the phrase as it is a common way in which the LORD addresses Ezekiel when delivering oracles for him to proclaim (e.g. Ezek. 2:6 et passim).

    Daniel’s prophecy (7:13, 8:17) uses the term of once in the sense of “a human,” as Daniel is addressed with this term by an angel (8:17), and once to refer to “one like a son of man” (7:13) to whom earthly dominion is granted by God.

    In all these occurrances, the term denotes “human” in the sense of a lineal descendant of Adam, or anyone born of woman. The sheer number of instances of this term in Ezekiel is presumptive evidence that Jesus applied the term to himself to emphasize his humanity and his dependence upon the Father for the completion of the work His Father sent Him to do.

    As a Messianic title, “son of man” points to Jesus’ human nature, to emphasize its authenticity alongside his divinity. As his human nature derives from his mother Mary (see a recent blog on the image of God), he is a brother to any son or daughter of Adam in the merest sense of a shared humanity.

    However, as any lexicon will show, the term “brother” may point to a number of characteristics or qualities shared in common between those who are said to be brothers. In Merrill’s hymn, however, something more than mere humanity is surely in view. I would urge that Merrill’s hymn points to the following features which are shared between Jesus (the Son of Man) and those men of God whom the hymn addresses:

    1. a common humanity
    2. a common filial relationship to God the Father
    3. a common sex (i.e. those addressed by the hymn and Jesus are all males)

    No one gets very excited about the first two points; but, feminists, particularly religious feminists, get quite exercised by the third point, expounded in the blog above.

  3. “The use of the masculine in English to comprehend both male and female is as common as ever, except (perhaps) in some highly rarified departments…”

    Bill, this is simply false. It is not as common as ever. And while I don’t have some of the problems as the poster you quote, I do agree with her that the women of the congregation know that this hymn does not include them. I sang it as a child over 50 years ago and I knew it then too.

  4. Singing Owl,

    Bill this is simply false. It is not as common as ever..

    I’ve pondered a few days on whether to respond to this; and, if so, how. It seems to require of me a ticklish judgment. Are you delusional? Blind? Deliberately provocative? Myopic?

    Yes, I can hear you saying, “Um…how about ‘I’m right?’ ”

    I’ll take your comment as satisfactory evidence that you actually believe what you confess here. Still, you are wrong. “As common as ever” is a fair assessment of the linguistic situation, even accounting for the levers of cultural power being in the hands of fiercely aggressive feminists and seminaries largely in the hands of deconstructionist egalitarians.

    On reflection, your challenge here deserves more engagement than I can provide at the moment (domestic, pastoral, and professional responsibilities are making prior claims at the moment). And, the challenge and response merit more exposure than an excursus in a comment.

    So, Lord willing, I’ll move this discussion into a separate blog, early next week. When I do so, I’ll post an update to this comment, directing others who happen upon this discussion to its expansion elsewhere.

  5. UPDATE

    As I indicated in the reply above to Singing Owl, I have posted a discussion related to the commanality of the inclusive masculine in modern English. It is found in a blog entitled “A Case of the Vapors,” and it may be found by clicking here.

  6. I am surprised that no one mentioned that this hymn was written for a men’s group. It was not intended to be inclusive, and of course it doesn’t sound as though it were.
    I realize that this discussion is long past, but I felt I had to mention this for the sake of others like me who wandered past.

  7. Tim

    I apologize for coming to the fray so late, but to help answer Dave Austin’s initial question:

    The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him…For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brothers.
    -Romans 8:16-17, 29

    So there we are called fellow heirs with Christ, and then later he is called the “first-born among many brothers”, which clearly makes those who are in Christ His brothers.

    I hope that helps.

  8. Kamilla

    Tim’s new comment brought this thread again to my attention and with it, this comment by Singing Owl, “I do agree with her that the women of the congregation know that this hymn does not include them. I sang it as a child over 50 years ago and I knew it then too.”

    To which I respond: Good night nurse! Does everything have to be about YOU? I enjoy this hymn, it brightens my heart to think of encouraging godly men (yes, males only) to join the battle. Do we women (yes, females) really need to elbow our way into everything?

    Kamilla

    • Well said, Kamilla! I love what you wrote! “do we women (yes, females) really need to ‘elbow our way’ into everything?”

      That, my friend, is absolutely ‘spot on!’ Bravo! Two thumbs up and three cheers!

      RISE UP, O MEN OF GOD!!! 😀

      … and all of you prickly, thin-skinned, gender-bender, PC “inclusivites,”please, kindly … ~shut up~ … and get over yourselves.

      Life’s too short to mope, whine and make stupid, idiotic arguments e.g. such as the efforts expended in recent yearts to change bibles/hymns to please a more “gender friendly” “inclusive” readership. Excuse me, but that is as stupid as stupid gets!

      I suppose they want to change the “Our Father” to “Our Creator” or “Our Clestial Parental Unit” (oops, can’t say “parental” because it’s too ‘authoritarian’ sounding! My bad!) Please all you hyper-sensitive radical feminists w/ your panties in a constant wad, do yourselves a favor and the rest of society – just ‘get over your prideful selves already! LIGHTEN UP. Men and women are ‘different!’ Even TIME magazine admitted it some years ago! Jesus founded HIS Church on PETER, not Mary Magdalene or even His Mom, our Blessed Mother didn’t even become a priest or raise a stink about the 12 being only men!! Shutty the pie holes, will ya?

      And as you do, or even if you don’t and we have to put up with your yammering, clamoring ‘gongy voices’ until the end of time, may OUR FATHER, bless and keep all of us and make HIS face to shine upon us, and may we humble ourselves, so that HIS SON, Our LORD, Jesus, can transform us by His grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and by giving us HIMSELF in the Blessed Eucharist which is HIS body, HIS blood, HIS soul and HIS divinity. In the name of the FATHER, the SON and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

      Hail Mary, Full of Grace, (NOT full of pride) pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

    • Jeff Cummings

      Amen

      A what appears to be behind a lot of this feminism and egala-what-cha-ma-call-it is: (drumroll please)

      Envy
      Jealousy
      Pride

      By the Bible I read, God , who created us, gave a certain role to the male (headship, leader), and a beautiful role to the woman (Titus 2:4and 5). The role of raising up children for the Kingdom of God, taking care of the husband and her home. But thanks to Feminism’s work that role has been made to look disgusting and repulsive. So someone wants someone else’s perceived goodies. When these roles are disobeyed, havoc results (just take a good look around at American soceity and the state of our youth. America is ib big trouble, big trouble. So apparently big brain feminism which has ruled for 40-50 years had failed. Miserably.

      There are many examples of this havoc in the Word of God

      Adam/Eve
      Abraham/Sarah (yes thankyou fro the muslim destruction for 1500 years
      David/Michal (A failed attempt for David stayed faithful)
      Jezebel/Ahab (any coincidence her priests were castrated, possible a
      result of being antimale amd jealous of the males position)

      Than go take a gander over Isaiah Chapter 3

  9. T.W

    Kamilla, I couldn’t ahve said it better. As I was searching the web on this song and this site came up. Yes, some females DO feel they need to elbow their way into everything. Same goes for some men. I wish people would take the great hymn just for what it says. A call for men to get off their dead hind ends and stand up for that which is right. Nothing says women can’t do the same thing.

    Thanks for the simple sanity of your post. God Bless you.

    TW

    • And “Amen” or is it “Awomen?” or “Aperson?” Anyway, thank you TW for your comment, too! You’re “spot on” also! Peace of Christ.

  10. Peter

    I am grateful to this site and the comments on this Hymn. I am particularly thankful for the correct words as I will be using this Hymn as a “call to arms” on sunday evening 15th June 2008. Up till now the only set of words I had was the “inclusive”, politicaly correct version and somehow mans(womans?) dabbling robs this great hymn of its power. People singing who are familiar with the hymn are distracted by the “fiddling” by the politicaly correct lobby. Leave our hymns alone please!!

  11. Thanks for stopping by, Peter. I’m pleased to know the original words are going to find expression in this era of feminist history!

    If the hymn should happen to resonate in ways worth reporting, we’d love to hear a report from you.

    Blessings,

    Fr. B

    • Grace

      It amuses me that I am resending this post. Twice before I have attempted to send it, and each time it seems to be deleted before it is read. Hmm, arent blogs suposed to be avenues of free speach?

      Oh well.

      I didn’t save a copy of the last post I sent, and I have to admit that it was a bit offensive because I was so disgusted by all of your sexist conservitive attitudes. I will be saving this one, on the condition that I will not use it to express my anger. This will allow me to send it as many times as I need to make someone read it. I have several complaints, and a plee, so I will try to keep myself polite enough for you to hear me out.

      So, now to the bulk of my complaint: I strongly dissagree with Mr. Bill’s assertion that we are in an era of femenist history. We aren’t. This era is when many attitudes of society regarding the subjugation of women are slowly being released. Honestly, many of these attitudes are still present in lesser forms. They create glass ceilings and make it harder for women in some countries, especially in the developing world to get the education they need.

      These attitudes are certainly present in academia, because the fact that there is a feild of “women’s studies” is rediculous. As if you could study the impact of all women on the entire course of history in one department! Yes, I know that in some places women’s studies are about more specific things, but in many places they are not. The fact that there is still a division shows inequality is still rampant, and this is not the sort that gives women the leg up!

      Unfortunately, one area where the attitudes about women’s subjugation are most rampant is the church. This has a terribly negative effect. I am a sexually empowered teenage femenist, but for the first 14 years of my life I was a dutiful member of the church’s congregation, and a faithful believer in Christ and His healing power. Eventually though, I began to feel left out.

      For me, there was a great sense of comunity in the church, with the minister, and with God. After a while though, the perpetual weight of the masculine Godhead began to wear on me. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Brothers of christ. The sons or Man. I grew breasts and I felt that my issues simply did not relate to me. Then I got my period. It was severe, and I reached out, as I had durring every illness, for the healing of Christ. But what had a man, or a male god, to do with my blood and illness? Since then, I have lost my faith, and my trust in a god who wasn’t there when I needed him.

      I know that many people who read this will say “well, that is just her” but it isn’t, that’s the thing. I attend a public school and every year more of the faithful in my class have doubts, preticularly the women. The church needs us. Without a congregation how can it survive? How long befor the bible becomes a book of myths?

      On a different note, Kamilla says “Do we women (yes, females) really need to elbow our way into everything?”. To which I respond: we don’t have to, but yes we always should be able to. We are the equals of men, so we should not be shut out.

      Now my plee. As the church has been a great force of ill, in the degredation of women, so it could be a force of good. I don’t know what the church’s official oppinion on climate change is, but I urge every one who looks at this post to look at the Prince’s Rainforest Project. Even if you don’t believe in climate change, surely it is wrong for men to kill God’s creatures? I am begging you to tell your congregations, and to colectively write to your local Government. Try to enact political change, and prove to the world that the church still has a purpose, that it can do good.

      Grace

      • Grace,

        I am sure Fr. Bill will have a response in due course, in the mean time I hope he won’t mind if I offer a word or two. And I must warn him here that there will be a bit of girl-talk in my response.

        I must gently suggest that it isn’t the church which has subjugated women, it is the world that has done this through the lies that it is a good thing to be “sexually empowered”. I would guess that since you seem to be saying you are sexually active that you are taking birth control pills. Let’s set aside the moral considerations of fornication (sexual activity outside of marriage) and just look at the health risks. Every sexual partner you have puts you at risk of a whole host of diseases – some of them fatal, others simply incurable, yet others lead to cancers and future infertility. At best you are putting your future ability to have babies at risk — at worst, you will die an early death.

        Aside from sexually transmitted diseases, the risks of taking birth control pills/hormonal contraception are many – including the serious risk of sudden death due to blood clots. Before you began taking the pills, did your health care provider warn you that, if you carry a certain genetic mutation your risk of developing blood clots increases exponentially? But you won’t know if you have this problem until you develop the blood clots – and even if they don’t kill you, they are horribly painful (making the worst menstrual cramps seem like nothing). You will be hospitalized and put on dangerous medication because the risk of dying from the clot is worse than the risks of taking the medication. When you are finally released from the hospital, you will continue to take a similar medication at home for months, possibly years. It will change what you can eat and what medicines you can take for your cramps. You will also have to stop taking the pill for birth control.

        You may think I am being unfairly alarming or that I don’t know what I am talking about. I promise you neither is the case – these are the things I do for a living, study health risks and perform blood testing, etc.

        Kamilla

        P.S. Grace, did you know it was the Christian church that stopped the Romans from exposing baby girls so they would die? The Christians took in these baby girls and adopted them. The Church was actually the first pro-woman organization in the world.

  12. Steve

    This is really a very excellent post — superbly-written and cogently-argued.

    You, of course, will have to forgive my commenting so late in the game, but one of the great advantages of blogs is that with the web you can stumble on to good exchanges in places you may not have expected or even know about.
    Thanks for defending a great, old hymn and for defending it so well. Well done!

  13. Peter

    I didn’t realise the gender issue was such a hot subject! I have recently had to correct my own church worship leader for changing the word “son” in a modern song to “child” , and a visiting speaker was about to use the phrase”mankind” but corrected himself and used the phrase”humankind”! We recently had a visiting speaker reading from the scriptures and where the text(NIV) said “brothers” his Bible had changed it to “people”.I believe it is some kind of spirit of the world trying to influence the church of God. I have heard no complaints from any congregation members on the grounds of gender inclusive language( male or female), so I can only think that this issue is something “the world”has problems with.I am in Britain. Is it like this in the U.S? Is it a fairly recent thing or am I just a little late getting on to it?

  14. Peter,

    You really should get out more!

    I’m not sure where to begin. Evangelicals in America as far back as 1987 (21 years ago!) formed the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood to oppose and engage the very thing you’re talking about. Of course, Christians for Biblical Equality is the other side’s advocacy group.

    The controversy has enveloped most of evangelical institutions in Ameria — publishing houses, seminaries, mission boards.

    Indeed, from this side of the pond, it’s been an obvious point of contention in the UK, at least within the C of E, with ordination of women as deacons, then priests, then bishops. Is your Christian ministry so far beyond that sphere that you do not even notice it in your own country?

    At any rate, evangelicalism in America is on the cutting edge today of moving beyond sexual heterodoxy in its anthropology into full-fledged apostacy, in which the egalitarian errors in anthropology work their way through theology proper, particularly the incarnation, the Trinity, and the economy of salvation (e.g. Romans 5).

    It would appear the chaps you’ve corrected are well tuned into the modern cultural currents coursing through the Church. Ask them why they wish to do the things you corrected. Their answers might surprise you.

  15. Well! I was going to write an article challenging folks in the recovery community to “Rise Up O Men of God.” I had even thought of entitling it as “Rise Up O Men (and Women) of God.” Then I thought I would look up the history of this verse and song. Instead, I plugged into this erudite discussion of gender, etc. The problem for hundreds of thousands of Christians in the recovery movement is that they often stand by silently while being condemned for mentioning God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and religion in 12 Step Fellowship meetings. In fact, the intimidation often makes them wonder if they are alone in trusting in God for recovery. The answer, of course, is that Christians in the recovery arena are not alone. They need to “rise up” and stand by their own belief and experience–that God heals. Alas, rather than becoming embroiled in a collateral controversy over whether “O Men of God” is politically, historically, gramatically, and appropriately correct, I’ll leave the article and the title alone for now and hope someone gets the point. It’s Rise Up. And I really believe that was what the lyrics were intended to convey–whether to a men’s group, to a gender-neutral church, or to a Bible-conscious convocation. God Bless, Dick B.

  16. Grace

    My dear Kamilla

    I must beg to differ. When I say sexually empowered I do not mean sexually active. I am greatful for your concern and warnings (I will take them to heart). I am not terribly worried about moral risks of fornication, but I am very wary of unwanted pregnancy.

    Any way, what I meant when I said sexually empowered I meant that feel that I am no longer concerned by the harmfull doctrines that regulate our sex to so large an extent.

    Post script: You said that the christianity was the first pro-women organization in the world, but I have two issues with this. The first is that in early christianity the population was very small, and taking in female babies would help to remedy that. I doubt that kindness was thier only motivation (though, I agree it was a kingly one). I do not believe that this one act is enough to absolve the religion of the millenia of oppression that followed however.

    Also, in much of the pagan Europe (before the spread of Chrisianity) a female godess was worshiped as the earth mother, and the line of descent was through the woman. It was believed that it was impossible to be certain of the paternity of a child, as monogamy was less strictly enforced. In such a culture girls were valued very highly, because only they could continue the family line or recieve significant inheritance. Surely this is pro-women?

  17. Grace,

    With all the gentleness I can muster – you’ve been fed a load of smelly brown stuff about history. The myth of a pagan matriarchal pre-Christianity in Europe is just that, a myth. Men have ruled in *every* society and culture known to have existed.

    As for the taking in of exposed infant girls being a *small* act? Well, I can only say it was no mere act of kindness. It was an act of sacrifice by a persecuted minority that pursued Christian charity regardless of the costs. Nor was this the only act of kindness by the new Church. They also stayed behind during plagues and nursed the sick at great risk and cost to themselves. You can find accounts from Roman sources that testify to this marvel.

    If you are going to reject Christianity’s “harmful” doctrines then at least reject the truth – not some feminist lies about what Christianity teaches.

    Kamilla

    • Kamilla, at the risk of sounding like Anne of Green Gables, (a story/movie I do love as did my Mom when she was a girl) I do believe we are “kindred spirits!” 🙂 Please visit my blog sometime. I’ll hop over to yours when I get the chance, too. You mince no words. Your comments are most poignant and pithy and I love that! Your last line above is genius! I think it’s the same for people who reject the Catholic Church. They don’t reject the Church b/c of the truth about Her, but b/c of lies and horrible misinformation they’ve heard all their lives.

      God bless.

  18. Josh

    I’m researching this hymn during a series on hymns and the scriptural basis for them- it’s interesting the theological problems with man hymns. However, this one is theologically sound, despite what misinterpretations of the written words may be present in this article- because to take this hymn for what it is, we have to know what was behind the authoring of it.
    In my church’s hymnal, the hymn is retitled “Rise Up, O Church of God”. This is good- because it is important for the women in our church to understand that they’re role is equal. In fact, the problem comes in to our church with not how the women’s role in sharing the gospel is equal, but how our services and ministries are carried out primarily because of women. William Merrill was already experiencing this even at the time of writing this. The church needs a strong influence of men. The author wrote it with that in mind.
    When I preached this, I preached it as “Rise Up, O Church of God” but then revealed that that is not how it was written or why it was written. After all, we are called to share the gospel, and it is a tough battle at that- we need men to fight this battle, not just women. Note: Not in every church do women work more than men and not in every church do men work more than women- but in some churches, they work together, and God accomplishes great things through them.

    • Anne C. Marsh

      And Josh, my own Evangelical Lutheran Church in America calls it “Rise up, O Saints of God” — thereby (I suppose) offending only those of us who aren’t so saintly.

  19. Fr. Bill & Camilla,
    I have enjoyed and been encouraged greatly to read the thread of this blog. It is a wonderful feeling to know that there are people like you who are steeped in knowledge as well as common sense and articulate so well arguments against far left liberal attitudes that unfortunately have found a home in some seminaries and are becoming entrenched in policies (for example insisting on “inclusive” language regardless of context).
    Keep up the good work and may God bless you richly.
    Dilip Abayasekara

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