Sovereign Grace Music have been putting out theologically rich and well-crafted songs for years in service to the church and congregational singing. I remember the first CD I listened to was “Come Weary Saints”, and thinking at the time, “a whole album on suffering well? Wow!”
Grace Has Come is their latest album, which I’ve enjoyed listening to on repeat for 2 weeks now. Here’s a collection of thoughts:
- This is the second album based on a Bible book that I’ve come across this year (the other one being the Gospel Coalition’s one). I think this one gives a better overview of the main themes of the letter – I was able to finish the album thinking “yep, I got the main idea of Romans – grace has come to us through Christ”. Each song does well in unpacking or meditating on passages in Romans.
- I’ve noticed that SGM’s “sound” has evolved from their earlier albums. It’s hard to generalise (and I’ll probably get it wrong to some degree), but when you compare say their Psalms CD with “Grace Has Come”, they’ve definitely got more of an alternative, blues and indie influence to their style than before (e.g. the bluesy “Glory Awaits” with Hendrix-sounding guitar, the Enya-sounding “Our Only Hope Is You“). Maybe it’s because they’re now in Louisville, KY – or maybe they’ve changed their roster of singers and songwriters slightly (e.g. no Mark Altrogge songs, new songs by Neil and Kate deGraide)?
- Most congregationally accessible for me would be their title track “Grace and Peace” (though you’d perhaps find an alternative to the octave jump in the final vocals) and “The Gospel Was Promised“.
- The words are top-notch as usual – the songs that made me think and praise God in response the most would be “Judge of the Secrets” (oh Lord, You’ve conquered my soul, now be its defence!) and the brave “It’s Your Grace” which tries to tackle the hard truths of predestination and God’s sovereignty in evangelism and how it’s something to rejoice and gratefully worship, not draw swords over. Have a listen:
Slightly unrelated, but one day I hope SGM will put out an album of their most popular songs, but record them in a way that’s transferable to small music teams (Emu Music’s Songs for Little Rooms is a good example of this). As I listen through this album I’m sometimes made aware that some of these songs wouldn’t be realistic for our musicians to grapple with.
Overall though I really appreciate this latest contribution to contemporary worship. I heard someone once say that Christians general sing and write songs about what’s really important to the normal Christian life (when was the last time you heard a song about eschatology?) SGM certainly have been trying to broaden what we would praise God about in this album – his election, his righteousness, our justification, etc. So I’m grateful for that!
Note: Bob Kauflin has kindly offered all STAND conference attendees a discount off this album. Simply visit the Bandcamp page and enter the code standforthegospel for a 20% discount off the price. The code expires 31 August. You can also download one of the tracks, “Nothing In All The Earth” for free here.