Martin Luther’s most famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” contains a line that is confounding to the ears of most of us: “A bulwark never failing.”
It might be because I went to public school or grew up in an average middle-class home, but I have never used the word “bulwark” in normal conversation. It wasn’t until a few years ago when we were preparing to sing this great hymn in our Sunday services that I decided to look it up. Frankly, this was more out of a fear I might get asked what it meant and not have an answer than a genuine pursuit of a greater grasp of the English language.
In its simplest definition, a bulwark is a defensive wall. It is something that protects against attack and is, by nature, sturdy and strong. God is, by all means, our never failing wall of defense, sturdy and strong. This is a great source of confidence for the Christian and is, even more so, an encouragement for the vocational minister.
A Need to Re-Focus
We get so busy working, serving, and sacrificing for the church, we tend to only give ascent to this truth as a quick sermon point, a long-forgotten core value, or a buried section of our statement of faith.
Within the Western Church world, there has been a significant deconstruction effort over the past few years. Some of that is good –the church was rather cozy with power, business methods, and prestige. But like with most reformations, the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. So far, in fact, that if you asked the average congregant, even minister, lay or otherwise, about their basic ecclesiology, or what they believe the Church is, their answer would likely be lacking and out-of-line with what Christians have collectively recognized the Church to be over the last 2,000 years.
This is a win for Satan.
I truly feel deep dismay over the lack of love for the Church of Jesus Christ, the very bride of our Savior, the thing he died to redeem and the very thing he is coming back for. Our failure to preserve unity, speak well of, and value the Bride in both its organic and institutional functions is a grievous thing. We forget that the very gates of Hell will be stormed, not by the best Christian podcasters, bloggers, hot-take givers, or cynics, but by the Church of God in all her glory and beauty with the Bulwark of the risen Christ at our backs, the Spirit of God in our hearts, and the message of the Gospel in our mouths.
This is what we, as pastors, elders, and ministry leaders (both staff and volunteer), are called to lead, and Am I Called is here to help.
Am I Called exists to bolster the Bride of Christ, the Church, in our small way, by helping both current and aspiring pastors, ministers, and leaders build Her up in their service to their local church (1 Thess 5:11) by bringing you helpful and encouraging content to serve you in your calling to the local church.
We have a never-failing bulwark to our backs! Might we stand together in unity, encouraged and equipped to live, love, learn, and last in ministry for the glory of Jesus Christ and the good of his Church in all the world.