Manual Onward Christian Soldiers

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In approaching the parish church, the children were preparing to engage in religious study, giving them the ability to struggle against sin and wickedness in the world.

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This is, however, inaccurate; the Church Militant was the body of Christians still living on earth, waging a spiritual war against evil. They were distinct from the Church Triumphant Christians, angels, archangels, and company in heaven and, in Catholic theology, the Church Penitent Christians in Purgatory.

The text appears to have largely transcended this meaning, such that many people understand it from a place of such polemic that any further discussion becomes largely irrelevant. The restoration of the hymn resulted from a course of healthy debate over the use of military imagery, recognizing its biblical and early Christian origins as well as its changing perception after the horror of modern warfare during Korea, Vietnam, and the First and Second World Wars.

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The final decision of the hymnal committee marked a willingness to enact the will of the church, even to the disagreement of editors and theologians. At worst, it may be dangerous in perpetuating the acceptability of religious warfare — metaphorical or otherwise. Looper argued in part that hymns with military metaphors were acceptable because the New Testament itself is full of such metaphors. He repeatedly chose military metaphors to make important points regarding Christian living," wrote Looper.

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Looper also argued that military metaphors are also important because "Christians need to be reminded that they are part of something bigger, the advanced guard of a kingdom that is coming but has not yet been established. The Christian life is not a walk in the park with the savior but a mission for the king.

Onward Christian Soldiers

It calls for alertness, determination, cooperation, endurance, and strength," he continued. Nor are they today.


The song has been sung at many funerals, including at the funeral of American president Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National Cathedral, Washington, D. An attempt was made in the s to strip "Onward, Christian Soldiers" from the United Methodist Hymnal and the Episcopal Hymnal due to perceived militarism. Outrage among church-goers caused both committees to back down. In some modern Anglican hymn books, it is replaced with Onward, Christian Pilgrims set to the same tune.

Largely because of its association with missionaries of various types, the song is sung in a number of movies and television programmes.

Onward, Christian Soldiers

The film, Stanley and Livingstone , depicts Dr. David Livingstone played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke spiritedly leading a choir of African people in this anthem. The piece appears in several other films, including Major Barbara , Mrs. Onward Christian Soldiers is the title of a album and song by the British anarcho-punk band Icons of Filth.

Onward Christian soldiers

In Christopher Webber 's play Dr Sullivan and Mr Gilbert , the hymn is used with new words about Sullivan's rise to fame, and the artistic compromises that entailed. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. June 20,

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