A few weeks ago I noticed a free offer on Challies Dot Com for a CD, the stipulation being that the recipient was required to do a review and post it on their blogsite. This particular CD was advertised as for children. Naturally with 6 children I am interested in finding godly music for my young ones.
Now I must plead some ignorance here as to the background of the Sovereign Grace Church movement. I had understood them to be of a Reformed background and therefore assumed them to be fairly conservative in their approach to music and doctrine. So when I received the CD and began listening, I was a bit surprised at the 'heavy' sound of some of the songs, especially since they were targeting a young audience.
But to be fair and try to bring an objective look at this Album, I will divide the CD into a few different sections and examine them separately.
As the back cover states, "How do kids learn about God's greatness? One excellent way is to sing songs that express God's character and nature in words that kids understand". I think that has been fairly well accomplished in these songs. The words reflect the issues children think about such as, who is God? Does He love me? How does God relate to this world and us as people? Will He forgive me when I sin?
Of course the gospel's message of Christ's propitiatory sacrifice is presented through his incarnation, suffering, and death to take our place on the cross. Many of the songs contain an element of the blood washing us from our sins, enabling us to stand in God's presence.
So overall, the songs are well written, and constructed in a way to impart some fundamental truths of scripture set to catchy melodies.
Presentation and Vocals
I was actually quite impressed with the overall quality of the presentation as most Churches do not have the talent and ability to release similar CD's. But then I guess this is the compilation of several Churches working together under the common ministry of Sovereign Grace.
The vocalists did very well and although I had a hard time guessing the ages, I would say there were a few soloists that were not much into their teens. Of course, children have a natural excitement and energy that flows out through the songs.
This is the part where I get into the controversial. While it is true that there are many different 'tastes' in music, I cannot but think that there are some elements of the way an instrument is played that accentuate the fleshly nature of our fallen self. What do I mean? Well it is fairly obvious that romantic music is designed to create a certain 'mood' in the listener. Other music such as heavy metal causes the listener to feel intensely powerful and invincible. Much, if not all of our modern day Rock scene is wrapped around a sense of anti-establishment, anti-authoritarianism, and 'do it my own way' thinking. This is the mentality these songs create in the minds and hearts of the listeners. So I was a bit saddened, to say the least, to hear the 'heavy' current in a number of these 'childrens' songs.
While the overall presentation of this CD was quite professional, and the words were well written and scripturally relevant, I doubt I will be letting my children listen to the songs as a whole. There are a couple of songs that I believe may become 'classics' in worship circles, and most certainly were they arranged more modestly in the musical approach, I would definitely enjoy presenting them. Also, I think the age group of this CD would fall more in the early to middle teen range rather than as young as 7.
Hear for Yourself
Of course, please don't just take my word for it. Here is a link to their website where you can listen to short snippets of these songs and actually download the lyrics and music.Sovereign Grace Ministries