A New Song – Reformation Hymn

ben-white-165039_FotorAs you’re probably aware, 2017 marks the 500 year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of a church building in Wittenberg, Germany. While not seeking to separate from the Roman Catholic church, he called for substantive and specific changes in her practices and theology.

Luther was joined by many other Reformers whose teachings were eventually summarized in what we call the Five Solas, “sola” being a Latin word meaning “alone” or “only.”

Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone
Solus Christus: Christ alone
Sola Fide: faith alone
Sola Gratia: grace alone
Soli Deo Gloria: glory to God alone

These phrases carry such weight because they keep us from our sinful tendency to base our justification before God on something other than what God has done for us in Christ and revealed to us in his Word.

The Five Solas

Our final authority is Scripture alone, not amended or added to by tradition, opinion, or church councils.

The basis of our forgiveness before God is Christ alone, not saints, Mary, angels, or any other being. In his substitutionary sacrifice on the cross Jesus completely bore God’s righteous wrath against us. His payment was full, final, and effective.

Our justification before God is by faith alone. God declares us righteous in his eyes not because he sees righteousness in us but because we fully rest and trust in the work of Christ on the cross to pay for our sins and because we receive his perfect righteousness as a gift.

We are justified by grace alone, through God’s kind, gracious, and free initiative. He gives us what we don’t deserve and could never earn: forgiveness, transformation into Christ’s image, and adoption into his family.

All of this is accomplished for God’s glory alone. For eternity, praises will redound to the God whose wisdom, power, and love ordained that he would have a people from every tribe, language, and nation to share in his Triune joy forever.

A New Song

While we already have many songs and hymns that help us remember and celebrate these truths, it seems appropriate to mark this 500 year anniversary with new songs. David Ward wrote one a couple years ago called Glory Be to God Alone, and I’m sure there are probably others.

Which brings me to this post. Last year Chris Anderson, a pastor and hymn writer I had met once at Together for the Gospel, emailed me to ask if I wanted to work on a Reformation Hymn with him. Sounded like a great idea.

So for about 8 months we emailed back and forth, worked on a Google doc, and finally came up with a song. It’s intended to be a concise, musical summary of Reformation truths that we stand on, live by, and treasure. Here are the words:

We will trust God’s Word alone, where His perfect will is known;
Our traditions shift like sand while His Truth forever stands.

We will live by faith alone, clothed in merit not our own;
All we claim is Jesus Christ and His finished sacrifice.

Glory be, glory be to God alone
Through the church He redeemed and made His own.
He has freed us, He will keep us till we’re safely home
Glory be, glory be to God alone!

We are saved by grace alone—undeserved, yet freely shown;
No accomplishment on earth can achieve the second birth.

We will stand on Christ alone, the unyielding Cornerstone;
Nations rage and devils roar, still he reigns forevermore!

Here’s a quick demo I recorded with Zach Taylor, a member of my church and recent Southern Seminary graduate.


Of course this song can be sung any time, not just during the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation. I pray it’s an encouragement to you as you consider what a great salvation God has given us through his Son!

You can download the sheet music and MP3 below:

Reformation Hymn – MP3
Reformation Hymn – Lead Sheet – C
Reformation Hymn – Lead Sheet – D
Reformation Hymn – SATB – C
Reformation Hymn – SATB – D

 

36 Responses to A New Song – Reformation Hymn

  1. Janette crook February 22, 2017 at 7:28 PM #

    What a God inspired and uplifting song

  2. Stephen Shead February 23, 2017 at 3:57 AM #

    Hi Bob,

    I’m a pastor in Australia. Thank you so much to you and Chris Anderson for the song – I love it, and am planning to use it later this year in the church where I serve.

    But I also wanted to pass on a little request / musical gripe / feedback. I know you said the recording you did with Zach Taylor is only a quick demo, but in several places in both verses and chorus, the tune sung on that recording doesn’t agree with the sheet music. (I notice the same recording is on the ChurchWorksMedia website as well.)

    I would love it if you were able to fix that (soon!) – either re-record in line with the sheet music, or change the sheet music. It’s just that in the modern world, if the melody isn’t nailed down from the start, there will forever be people and churches singing it slightly differently from each other, and nobody really knows which tune is “right”.

    Anyway, thank you again for sharing this!
    Blessings,
    Stephen Shead
    Sydney, Australia

    • Bob Kauflin February 23, 2017 at 11:12 AM #

      Stephen, Thanks so much! My fault. The recording is right. New lead/hynm sheets have been uploaded here, and I’ll pass them on to Chris. Thanks for your encouraging words.

      • Stephen Shead February 23, 2017 at 3:55 PM #

        Thank you for such a prompt reply! And now … can I point out the inconsistencies that are still there in the chorus?? The “-ry” of the second “glo-ry” in lines 1 & 2, the “we’re” in line 3, and the “-ry”s for both “glo-rys” in the final line are all third jumps rather than passing notes (at least, that’s how they’re sung).

        • Bob Kauflin February 23, 2017 at 5:10 PM #

          That’s stylized singing. The chart is right. Thanks for being nit-picky!

          • Stephen Shead February 23, 2017 at 5:44 PM #

            Oh … really? As in, he slides up to the E (recording pitch) from the D# to anticipate the following E? I simply hear it as C#-E-E – hence my concern, since I’m guessing many will hear it the same way and learn it from the recording. Is a stylized recording really the best way to get it out there as a teaching tool?

            I know I’m way more nit-picky than 99% of people, so apologies if I’m just getting annoying. But I really would love the saints all to be singing the same thing on this.

            And one final question, then I’ll leave it: In the last line of the chorus, the tune for first “Glory-be” is different than in the first two lines (passing note rather than jump). Is that intentional?

            After that, I’ll stop bugging you, and teach it from the chart :-)
            Grace and peace,
            Stephen.

          • Bob Kauflin February 23, 2017 at 11:02 PM #

            No problem, Stephen! People learn songs different ways, some by ear, some by note. We intended it to be the third jump in the first two glory be’s, but I’m totally fine with people sliding. And yes, the second to the last “glory be” is a walk up (3-4-5), and not a jump (3-5-5). Thanks for caring!

          • Stephen Shead February 23, 2017 at 11:20 PM #

            Now you’ve got me really confused :-( So in bar 26, in the D major chart, should “glo-ry” be B-C# as in the chart, or B-D as in the recording?

            Sorry for dragging this out!

          • Bob Kauflin February 24, 2017 at 6:24 AM #

            Sorry, I wasn’t clear which bar you were talking about. The last “glory be” is B-C#-D. The chart is right.

          • Stephen Shead February 24, 2017 at 6:57 AM #

            OK, thanks again. I think people will sing B-D-D because that’s what Zach sings (stylized?). But I’ll teach it as the chart has it.

            Thanks again for serving the saints with this song!

          • Bob Kauflin February 24, 2017 at 7:18 AM #

            Hey, I’m just happy if people sing it!

  3. Vickie Chasteen Ball February 23, 2017 at 7:51 AM #

    As usual, this is a wonderful hymn, so very singable for the church—and, more importantly, so very God-glorifying. Thank you for putting these songs in the mouth of the church to help us offer worthy praise.

  4. Rick Stordy February 23, 2017 at 11:09 AM #

    Hi Bob, I love this – sounds and looks great, and very helpful for our church which is about to start a series on the Five Solas. Is it possible to have a copy of your recording that can be downloaded so we can share this with our musicians and congregation?

    • Bob Kauflin February 23, 2017 at 11:34 AM #

      Rick, you can download it now.

      • Rick Stordy March 1, 2017 at 8:10 AM #

        Bob that’s so helpful. Thanks as ever.

      • Dennis Jeremica March 4, 2017 at 12:21 PM #

        Hi Bob, Next week we are starting the Solas as well, beginning with Scripture. Could you also send me the audio. Dennis Jeremica Email: dennisj59@gmail.com
        Redeemed Southbay Church (Torrance California). Loved the Sheppards Conference this week. Thank you for your ministry.

  5. Michael February 23, 2017 at 12:36 PM #

    Bob, I really like this new hymn. Thank you for it! We will be teaching it to our worship team soon. I would love one day if you wrote out the piano part you played to this. We have pianists who can play whatever is written, but are not comfortable playing by ear, so it would be a big help to them.

  6. Chris February 24, 2017 at 5:02 PM #

    Is it okay to create a lyric video for it for helping our congregation prepare for Sunday? We have found it very helpful for individuals and families.

    • Bob Kauflin February 24, 2017 at 7:52 PM #

      Great idea, Chris. Go for it.

      • Chris March 1, 2017 at 1:32 PM #

        Thank you! Appreciating your ministry at the Shepherds’ Conference.

  7. Jason February 27, 2017 at 2:40 PM #

    Bob, wonderful song! Excellent words! Biblical preaching through song, true worship.
    Look forward to seeing you, meeting you at Shepherd’s Conference. *just maybe you’ll lead us in this song!

    • Bob Kauflin February 28, 2017 at 3:03 AM #

      Thanks, Jason. If you’re there Thursday morning, you just might hear it.

      • Jason March 5, 2017 at 11:54 PM #

        Bob, great meeting you at Shepherds Conference. It was a rich blessing to worship our Lord together. Thanks for serving. And thanks again for the reformation hymn…

        **btw, my kids can’t believe I got a picture with “the” Bob Kauflin.

        In Him, Jason

  8. Chuck February 28, 2017 at 10:54 AM #

    Our worship team is starting to write new songs, it is great!

  9. Eric Glover March 2, 2017 at 2:14 PM #

    Hi, Bob.

    I trust this finds you well in the Lord!

    I simply want to submit a note of thanks to you and Chris Anderson for taking the time to write this biblical, important and helpful song, which points us to Christ and His finished work, while accurately elucidating the heart of the reformation in that regard. Also, I find it to be very singable and memorable! So, thank you!

    I am serving as the minister of music at First Baptist Church of Weymouth, MA and I fully plan to incorporate this song into our repertoire. I am looking forward to teaching this truth to our precious flock through the singing of this song, and ultimately directing their eyes to Christ and Christ alone. Praise God that it is not about us; it is truly all about Him. Glory be to God alone!

    Last, though I am not able to be there in person, I watched and participated in your leading of this song, as well as others, at the 2017 Shepherd’s Conference today via the live stream. Thank you for transparently pointing us to Christ by your gospel-centered teaching and leading us in singing biblical, God-honoring songs. You are an inspiration and encouragement.

    For the glory of our sovereign Lord,

    Eric

    • Bob Kauflin March 3, 2017 at 1:23 AM #

      Eric, thanks for taking the time to write these encouraging words and for faithfully serving your church!

  10. Japhet March 2, 2017 at 9:10 PM #

    It’s really a great song Bob! I’m planning to sing it in our church these next Sundays. I just want to ask a brief insight on the phrase “..through the church He redeemed and made His own” in light of the 5 Solas and the history of reformation. I just need a deeper conviction leading the song in all its details. Thank you Bob for your ministry. God bless!

    • Bob Kauflin March 3, 2017 at 1:28 AM #

      Thanks, Japhet. It’s drawn from Eph. 3:21: “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” and Gal. 4:5: “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” It’s not meant to be directly tied to the five solas, but is filling out the idea of the glory being God’s alone.

      • Japhet March 3, 2017 at 8:18 PM #

        Got it right! Thank you so much Bob! God- willing, hope to see you again in the Philippines. God bless.

      • Nick March 22, 2017 at 11:23 AM #

        I may not have enough biblical understand and or historical perspective but could you explain a little more of the “through the church” line…this is not meant to be critical. I just really love every other aspect of this song and want to explain this line as i’m sure some will wonder about it and i don’t want to just leave it un explained. thx!

        • Bob Kauflin March 22, 2017 at 4:45 PM #

          Thanks for asking, Nick. It’s from Paul’s prayer in Eph. 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

  11. Kitwe Church March 3, 2017 at 1:25 AM #

    Love this new hymn! We will be teaching it to our student body here at Central Africa Baptist College in Zambia. Hope to use it at our annual Leadership Conference later this year. Thanks to Chris and you for collaborating on this! – Phil Hunt

  12. Eric Graef March 9, 2017 at 3:13 PM #

    Hey Bob!

    Blessings in Christ to you. Love the new hymn. I’m already in the process of planning for this year’s Reformation Sunday and seeking resources to help celebrate well.

    Here is a modern hymn based on the five solas that I wrote a few years ago. As I write from a guitar, this recording is more of a modern song, but at its basic structure, it serves as a hymn format for sure. I even wrote with some “Thees” and “Thous”… not necessarily from intention, but I guess it just felt right when I wrote it.

    Anyways, I always wanted to hear what it would sound like as an SATB arrangement and so I had a more experienced musician from our church help me out to write some parts in.

    Here is the link to the song “For Thine All-Surpassing Glory” and if you’d ever like to see the hymn style version in SATB I’d be delighted to email you an attachment. Just not sure how to do that on this reply thread. https://ericgraef.bandcamp.com/track/for-thine-all-surpassing-glory

    Btw.. I attended the last Worship God conf in the West and I’m looking forward to when you guys will be able to make it back over here to CA!

    For Thine All Surpassing Glory

    In Thy Word alone is for me
    untold riches of Thy love
    *Yet the richest treasure from Thee
    comes through Jesus’ precious blood

    Grace alone saw our condition,
    restless sinners; reconciled
    not by might nor fond ambition.
    Grace has met what Thou required!

    True repentance Thou hast granted
    Saints, no longer stand condemned
    Faith to stand before Thee, righteous
    freely given to defend

    Object of all highest measure
    once forsaken and despised.
    Now Thy wrath and Thy good pleasure
    Christ alone has satisfied!

    For Thine all surpassing glory
    all has come to pass in time
    and from Thine eternal story
    making all things praise Divine! Amen.

    *(in the more recent hymn version, I changed this word to “and” instead of “yet” so as not to imply a false dichotomy against the two rich blessings of God’s Word and salvation through the blood of Christ. In fact, as taught by God’s Word and implied by sola Scriptura, it is only through hearing of the Word of God that faith to believe in Christ comes!)

    P.S. Zac Hicks also has an awesome and simple modern song based on the solas that you may have already heard before. https://zachicks.bandcamp.com/track/sola

  13. David & Maureen Mulready March 11, 2017 at 8:13 PM #

    A great new song! We want others to sing it!

  14. Kim Verdi March 15, 2017 at 3:40 PM #

    This is a fantastic song! Rich in theology – just the kind of lyrics we are looking for in our small local church in Brooklyn, NY – Sonship Ministries. Thank you! I don’t see it on iTunes – is that in the works? I want to attach it to the song sheet that I saved in OnSong, but I’m not able to dowload the song to my iPad. Thanks!

    • Bob Kauflin March 15, 2017 at 4:46 PM #

      Thanks, Kim. You’ll have to download the MP3 on your computer and then email it to yourself. Hope that helps!

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