Yesterday I learned that Andree Farias of Christianity Today Online reviewed our latest CD, Psalms. It’s the second Sovereign Grace CD he’s reviewed. Last month he also reviewed Looked Upon, a project that my sons Devon and Jordan were involved in. While I don’t always agree with everything in the CT reviews, I appreciate that they give specific reasons and examples for what they like and dislike about a project.
Along with providing exposure, reviews also tell us something about what we’re doing right and what we can do better. Andree summarized the CD in these words:
Sounds like … melodic corporate worship that recalls Matt Redman, Charlie Hall, The Kry, and Vineyard UK.
At a glance … these songs based on the Psalms are effective rewrites for personal or corporate use, even if they’re not always as penetrating as the source text.
In his review, Andree takes the time to explain that Sovereign Grace isn’t another “worship-centric music compendium,” but a “network of churches that seeks to plant and support daughter congregations through specialized training, publications, and resources.” Glad he points that out. For us, music is a means to an end of building God-honoring, gospel-centered, Spirit-empowered churches. Anything that happens beyond that is a bonus.
He goes on to say that I can be “critical of the current state of modern worship” (which I can be), but then adds that we’re trying to alleviate the problem by writing songs that are theologically driven. He doesn’t mention that we also try to highlight others who are writing thoughtful, biblical, creative congregational worship songs (like Stuart Townend, Matt Redman, Keith and Kristyn Getty, etc.), and that expounding and celebrating the gospel is a theme found in many of our songs. But a reviewer can’t cover everything.
Overall, Andree writes, the songs are “pleasant, devotional, and Biblically sound. Psalms may not be an album of new songs that will be remembered for centuries to come, but it still preserves and recasts the beloved texts so fundamental to our faith.” Pleasant. Not the adjective I was hoping for, but better than unpleasant. And if some of the songs are remembered for more than five years, I’ll be happy.
I’m always interested in what people think of the music we produce. A few years ago we worked on a mission statement for Sovereign Grace Music and came up with this:
Sovereign Grace Music exists to serve the local church as an extension of Sovereign Grace Ministries. Our mission is to encourage the worship of God in spirit and truth through:
- developing a clear biblical theology of worship which will guide our understanding and practice of personal and corporate worship.
- writing and producing songs characterized by sound doctrine, gospel-centeredness, passion, and multi-generational appeal. Our aim is to benefit from the rich heritage of the past while utilizing the best musical ideas and technology of the present.
- educating and training local church musicians to fulfill their calling more effectively
Critics help us accomplish these goals. So my hat’s off to CT for giving us an opportunity to learn. And if you ever have any thoughts about our music, good or bad, please email me.