On Wednesday, Sept. 30, we’re releasing the newest Sovereign Grace Music album, Sooner Count the Stars: Worshiping the Triune God.
We’ve been thinking about producing an album focused on the Trinity for some time. I have to admit, the depth of the topic has made it a bit daunting.
But in one sense, every album of congregational songs should be Trinitarian, expressing praise to the God Who has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son, and Spirit. As theologian Herman Bavinck said in The Doctrine of God, “In the confession of the Trinity throbs the heart of the Christian religion. Every error results from, or upon deeper reflection, may be traced to a view of this doctrine.” Get the Trinity wrong and you get Christianity wrong. That reality (plus the fact that I recently led two conferences called TRIUNE), persuaded me we should go ahead with it.
But we wanted to avoid having a bunch of songs that sounded like musical systematic theology. Accurate but clunky. The Trinity is not a puzzle to be solved but a relationship to enjoy. Our aim was to write songs that helped us not only think rightly about God, but to love Him more.
So at the Sovereign Grace songwriters retreat last January, I asked Mike Reeves from the UK to join us on Skype for a session. I had been affected by his book, Delighting in the Trinity and thought he could speak to us about writing Trinitarian songs that would not only bring theological clarity, but move people’s hearts. My notes from that time include these words of wisdom:
Bad Trinitarian songwriting is trying to insert Father, Son, and Spirit where you can. If you just wedge in the word without those words doing anything, you’ll reinforce the idea that the Trinity is irrelevant…To be truly Trinitarian you have to be Christ-centered…You don’t need to say everything in every song…Don’t simply dump down bare facts. Show people the beauty and glory of this God.
So that’s what we tried to do: show people the beauty and glory of God. Seven months later we ended up with Sooner Count the Stars and I’m pretty excited about the result.
The title and opening track (see the video below) reminds us that we could “sooner count the stars than number all Your ways,” and contains the line, “Though I only know in part, that part exceeds all praise.” There will always be mystery in our relationship with God (Is. 40:18; Rom. 11:33-36), and the doctrine of the Trinity makes that abundantly clear. But that doesn’t keep us from worshiping God as He has revealed Himself to us.
The songs on the album incorporate Trinitarian thought in different ways. Some emphasize the unity of God while others have Father/Son/Spirit/God verses. One is a hymn to the Lamb of God. Two songs are prayers to God’s Spirit. One song highlights the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit in proclaiming the gospel. Another expresses a humble desire to cling to Christ even as He clings to us. Still another reflects a holy awe that the triune God has saved us.
In other words, we tried to write songs that reflect the way the New Testament talks about God. At times all three persons are referenced (Mt. 28:19; Heb. 9:14), at other times two (2 Thess. 2:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:11), sometimes just one (1 Jn. 3:1; Acts 7:59; 1 Cor. 2:4), and often the Bible speaks simply (profoundly?) of God (Rom. 11:33). And Christ and his substitutionary sacrifice on the cross are always central.
Like our last album, Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song, this project was produced by Neil DeGraide, a good friend and part of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. His rich musical textures, creative instrumentation, and fresh arrangements make for a number of special moments on the album. Most of the musicians are from Sovereign Grace, assisted by a few musical friends from Louisville.
Here are a couple preview videos. Enjoy!