Stanza two of the song, “O Church, Arise,” begins by saying, “Our call to war, to love the captive soul, But to rage against the captor.” Are these words that churches should sing?
Peter warns about speaking evil against “dignities”: “Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord” (2 Pet. 2:10-11). Jude seconds Peter by declaring,
Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves (Jude 8-10).
This inspired teaching does not support the Church’s singing that its call is “to rage against the captor.”
Even if these words might have been intended to be a poetic way of saying that Christians should abhor all that is evil and do all that they can do righteously to oppose evil and the work of Satan in the world, these words are still problematic because many will likely understand them to be taken at face value in the sense of angry outbursts against Satan.
Churches, therefore, should not sing Stanza 2 of O Church, Arise as it is originally worded. Those who desire to sing the otherwise generally rich lyrics of this song should substitute some other scripturally appropriate phrase (e.g., “to stand against the captor”; cf. Eph. 6:11) in place of these seriously problematic words (“to rage against the captor”).
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