Tuesday, December 3, 2013
WHY I DON'T PLAY OR SING THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. - Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25
The Battle Hymn of the Republic was not written by a Christian and is not about the Second Coming of Christ. Some call it a hymn and it is found in many American hymnals but it is actually a 19th century political song. The lyrics were re-written by Julia Ward Howe using the music from the song "John Brown's Body" after she visited a Union Army camp in November 1861. Mrs. Howe, a Unitarian and an adherent of Transcendentalism, was paid five dollars when it was originally published in the Atlantic Monthly.
I, personally, feel that Unitarians had quite a lot to do with the initiation and vicious prosecution of the War. They are basically are a religious sect that does what is right in their own eyes, not believing in the Holy Trinity and rejecting the deity of Jesus. From Howe's distorted theological viewpoint, the propagandist song attempts to link the judgment of the wicked at the end of time (Revelation 19) with The War Between The States. However, the theology contained therein is not Biblical, nor does the song's history make it anything a Christian should lend their voice to.
In her lines, Howe arrogantly assumes that the Union Army was God's Army, dispensing His wrath on the Confederacy. Versions sung by some churches, and found in many church hymnals, leave out the third verse which specifically equates the Gospel with the Union Army's bayonets and swords and portrays them as crushing the serpent's head (the Confederacy).
Apart from the obvious ambiguity of saying that Christ was "born among the lilies," Howe's lyrics betray the fundamental rejection of the deity of Christ common to Unitarians. Christ died "to make men holy"; that is, He lived and died nobly, that we might follow His example. Yet it remains for man, in the course of government and social feats to "make them free" through the death associated with the War. Even changing "die" to "live", as some hymnals do, does not avoid the societal component of the "gospel" being presented.
This song has little to endear it to the Christian who takes seriously the Word of God and the orthodox doctrines derived from it.
- John Wayne Dobson