“The Church’s One Foundation”

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is His new Creation by water and the Word.
From heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.

Jesus creates His Church with water and the Word.  Jesus gives His life to her with His Body and Blood.

Elect from ev’ry nation yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation: one Lord, one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses, partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses, with every grace endued.

From all nations, for reasons we cannot comprehend, He has chosen men to be His own.  There is one Church, one Body of Christ, there is no true division.

The Church shall never perish!  Her dear Lord to defend,
to guide, sustain, and cherish, is with her to the end.
Though there be those that hate her, false sons within her pale,
against both foe and traitor she ever shall prevail.

The picture in this post is of a visible church building.  It is something we can see.  It is a mere symbol.  The true Church is recognized only by her faith.  The one universal Church does not consist of earthly buildings, but of His people.  Within the visible church, there will always be false sons and traitors.  (Acts 20:29-31).

Though with a scornful wonder men see her sore oppressed,
by schism rent asunder, by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping; their cry goes up, “How long?”
and soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song.

Heresies and schisms cause the saints distress.  This is because they know that true doctrine is the Word of God, and the Word of God is their very life.  Therefore, they hold on to the healthy doctrine for their very lives.  Unionism and toleration of unhealthy doctrine is a mark of a false son and a traitor, not a saint.

Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation of peace forevermore,
till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest
and the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.

— “The Church’s One Foundation,” Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, 486:1-5.

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2 thoughts on ““The Church’s One Foundation”

  1. Thanks for your observations on this great hymn. The traditional tune was written by a grandson of hymn writer Charles Wesley. To learn a bit more about him, you can check out my morning’s blog on Wordwise Hymns.

  2. This hymn is one of the great statements of faith for the universal Christian Church.
    May it never pass from our range of Christian worship, here on earth, as some other great hymns seem to have done.
    The tune that we associate with this hymn, Aurelia, was originally written by S. S. Wesley for the hymn “Jerusalem the Golden”, another great and wonderful statement of Christian faith.
    I think that the two tunes now associated with these two great hymns are very apt. May this remain so for all time.
    I believe that these great statements of Christian faith will remain for ever!

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