Monday, April 21, 2008

Are any good hymns still being written?

I'd have to say yes. Not many, perhaps; but yes.

The song linked above was sung on Wednesday at the T4G conference. I'm glad to be able to find the lyrics; it was immensely moving at the time to me, but something (on which I may write more, later) distracted me from full enjoyment.

If this is a copyright violation, someone please tell me; but here are the first two verses:
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.
You can get an idea of the tune here. Thank God for those who can put the precious truths of the Gospel to music. Al Mohler made the point in his talk that some who are trying to destroy the truth of penal substitutionary atonement lament that, even if it is banished from the pulpits, when Christians assemble, they'll still sing about it.


Writing and Living said...

That's one of my favorites, too. We sang it at church a couple of weeks ago and I came home and posted the lyrics.

Another one I like is In Christ Alone. The entire Gospel message is in the lyrics.

Both songs, by the way, were written by Stuart Townsend.

My husband's favorite song from t4g was "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand." He said hearing that many men sing it was very moving.

RodeoClown said...

We had this song at our wedding, along with 'Shout to the Lord' and 'Amazing Love'.

Amazing love is another one of those awesome hymns that just sounds better with a couple of thousand people singing.

If you don't know it, go find it :)

JackW said...

Actually, In Christ Alone was co-written by Townsend and Keith Getty. The Gettys write great hymns and are based out of Parkside Church right now.

CA RN to Honduras Missionary said...

Played this song in chapel last trimester - seemed to have the same effect on me and the students at school as a whole. Managed to find the sheet music for both this one and In Christ Alone. I love to play it.

David Wolfe said...

Dan: Stuart Townsend's version of "How Deep" can be found on Itunes, under the album "See What a Morning." You are right, what an amazing God-glorifying song!

Trinian said...

I am very fortunate to have a Worship Pastor who deeply loves the music of Townend and Getty. Their hymns are a beautiful addition to our normal service, as well as our choir's songs.
You should really check out more - it's almost all that good.

One of my favorites so far:

Trinian said...

(sorry for a double post)
Along the lines of "penal substitutionary atonement", I would especially suggest The Power of the Cross.

chris said...

As long as you give credit where it is due, I don't think it's a violation of the copyright. If you sang it, then recorded it, and then sold it without giving the original artist any credit (or money), then you'd be in trouble...

You know, one "chorus" I think is pretty bang-on is the song, "Blessed Be Your Name," in which the artist sounds a lot like Job; I'll praise God when things are going perfectly, and I'll praise him when they're not even close. I wish that such things were not so rare.

Stan McCullars said...

R C Sproul has written a couple of good ones we sing occasionally at his church.

Stefan said...

Re Writing & Living and Jackw's comments, In Christ Alone sounds and reads like a classic hymn. I was gobsmacked to learn it was just written in 2001.

I don't know what the Newsboys' version sounds like, so here's a link to the original version.

Our church tends away from the old hymns, but once every couple of weeks, we sing Come Thou Fount (1758), which is a beautiful song of praise and pretty good for a Methodist hymn (just kidding!). And our conference last week on biblical preaching started and ended with My Savior's Love (1905), which was sung with such gusto—especially when we were singing en masse without instrumentation—that we blew the decibel meter in the chapel.

Gilbert said...

I went to a Men's retreat this weekend and heard many of these songs/hymns. It was great!

Yep, God still has people making great songs/hymns. You just have to know where to look.

Laura said...

ARGH!! I'm so upset I didn't get to see you at T4G, now that we agree on... well, still not much, but the essentials, yeah? And maybe a couple more things now... lol.

Can I put in a plug for my church's music? Our latest album (our last two albums, really) is made up of mostly original modern hymns, and our next project is setting those amazing Isaac Watts lyrics to new melodies.

candyinsierras said...

Stuart Townend is one of my favorite song writers at the moment. If you can get your hands on the double cd, Event Hymns, and Event Hymns II, that song you mentioned, and many more, are on the cd's, all taped live, with Robin Marks thrown into the mix too. My favorite cd's by far!

The Doulos said...

Yep, gotta agree on this song. One of my favorites, we do it regularly in worship at HPEFC. And for me, singing "In Christ Alone" was the worship high-point of T4G.

Glad I got to meet you and chat for a moment at BoB, Dan.

Connie said...

We've been singing this in our church for a number of years. It wasn't until recently that I realized it is not one of the 'old' buried gems, but a 'new' hymn. It has become VERY special to many of us and has been easily commited to memory. Looking forward to MORE of this quality!

Stefan said...

Oh my goodness! It just occurred to me that we sing this song How Deep the Father's Love for Us in our weekly prayer meeting. (It took a while to register.)

Just like In Christ Alone, the melody is timeless, and the lyrics are solidly Gospel-centered.

Carlo said...

I don't know if anyone has heard of Stacey Krejci, but I first learned of (him or her) when I was perusing the Barnabas Fund website. You can hear a beautiful instrumental of Be Thou My Vision at

At one time s/he did have a website of where you could download some of the music for free. There is a wonderfully sung female vocal of one of the songs that I was able to download.

Carlo said...

Oh, yeah, now I remember, when you click on the link that I gave there is a direct link from that link to the website where you can download the songs for free from his website. Just click on the Stacey Krejci [link] right next to the copyright symbol.

Libbie said...

I knew you'd love this hymn. I first sang it at an Easter march of Witness when I was about 18 years old, and I honestly thought thought it was an old hymn at the time.

Adrian Warnock recently interviewed Stuart Townend on his blog, you might want to have a listen.

grey_pumpkin said...

Kevin Hartnett, a member of sovereign Grace Ministries has written a number of hymns with Bob Kauflin and others.

Check em out

RonK said...


You are right, this is a truly wonderful song that puts the substitutionary death of Christ in focus as well as showing God, the Father's loving initiation, planning and provision in atonement. He also has written a magnificent song called "Beautiful Savior" which I love.

As mentioned earlier, it is written by Stuart Townend who serves in an evangelical Anglican congregation in Brighton, England. He works several times a year writing with Keith and Kristyn Getty who he co-writes with. They are producing some of the most blessed modern hymns that highlight many other treasured orthodox Christian Doctrines. (They have written on communion, the cross, the kingdom, the consummation, resurrection, the lordship of Christ, God's promises, scripture, missions, and the church, to name some) I have written about several at my blog if anyone would like my suggestions. At my church we sing about 15 of their songs regularly.

If you would like more information you can go to:

Available there is all the music these three have written together. You can hear clips as well. I would recommend their In Christ Alone CD, and their live cd with Stuart leading his congregation. The Getty's even have written WONDERFUL doctrinal songs for Children that are based on scripture. They are foundational to my children's ministry. It's invigorating and edifying every time I listen.

If you would like to hear Stuart Townend and the Getty's lecture on the need for doctrinal songwriting and their personal goals for writing hymns, you can go to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Institute of Christian Worship website where they have lectured several times. We love their music at Southern. Click on "PAST LECTURES" and they're listed by name.