Love Divine – The Hymns of Charles Wesley, Updated (and win a free copy)

I think it was about 6 weeks ago that I received a copy of the CD, “Love Divine:The Songs of Charles Wesley for Today’s Generation,” which came out April 19. It’s a collection of Charles Wesley (1707-1788) hymns that have been set to music by John Hartley and Chris Eaton.

There are a lot of hymns albums being made these days. In fact, I’m working on a post now that highlights some of the ministries and individuals who are participating in rearranging, rewriting, or composing hymns. Very exciting to see more people realizing that the songs we use for praising God can’t be restricted to ones that are driven more by melody and beat than lyrical impact and depth.

But not all hymns albums are the same. Some are simply reworkings of well-known hymns that may or may not be worth recording one more time. Love Divine is not one of those albums.

A couple weeks later after I received it I was listening to the album in my car. This is what I was pleased to discover then and through repeated listenings:

  • Almost all the melodies (all of them new) seemed fresh, well crafted, and designed for congregational singing.
  • The songs seemed to be chosen for lyrical content rather than simply familiarity, which is not always the norm for hymns albums.
  • The production is centered in the modern rock genre, but has enough variety to make things interesting. In other words, it wasn’t dominated by wall-to-wall guitars.
  • For the most part the new melodies, additional choruses, and musical settings complemented the original lyrics.
  • While the vocalists are artists in their own right (Tim Hughes, Jason Roy, Leigh Nash, Aaron Keyes, Brenton Brown, and others), they keep the creative vocal licks to a minimum making it easier to adapt these hymns for congregations.
  • The gospel is all over this album, but the songs cover a wide variety of topics including the resurrection, Christ’s reign, Christ’s love for his people, prayer for sanctification, the return of Christ, Christ’s presence as we gather, God’s sovereignty, passion for Christ, and more.

If you know anything about Wesley, you know he was prolific, writing between 6000 and 8500 hymns, depending on your source. As you might guess, every one wasn’t a classic. But more than a few were. And John Hartley and Chris Eaton have done a masterful job introducing some of them to a new generation through new melodies, some new choruses, fresh arrangements and tasteful production.

A few of my favorites:

And Can it Be – I’ve never liked the common tune of this hymn, although it’s grown on me since we taught it at my home church. But it’s always sounded like a vocal exercise to me. I rewrote a version for GLAD years ago, but this version on Love Divine is simply stellar – singable, memorable melody that could be adapted to a number of musical styles.
Come,Thou Long Expected Jesus – Joyful, uptempo setting of a great hymn, with a new chorus.
Praise the Lord, Who Reigns Above – Another eminently singable melody in 6/8 with a fresh chorus.
Jesus, the Name High Over All – Oh, that we had more songs like this one, that extol the priceless worth of the name of Jesus. One of my favorite melodies on the album.
Love Divine – Hard to rewrite a classic, but Chris and John have given this hymn a more reflective, plaintive setting that accents our awareness of how far we fall short of God’s desire for our holiness.
Oh For a Heart to Praise My God – A simple song of consecration, asking God to do the work in our hearts only he can do.

Here’s a complete track listing:

•  I Know That My Redeemer Lives – Tim Hughes
•  Rejoice! The Lord Is King – John Ellis
•  And Can It Be – Jason Roy
•  Jesus, We Look to Thee – Kim Walker-Smith
•  Jesus, Lover of My Soul – Chris Eaton
•  Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus – Brian Johnson
•  Praise the Lord Who Reigns Above – Leigh Nash
•  Jesus, the Name High over All – Chris Quilala
•  O for a Thousand Tongues To Sing – Chris McClarney
•  Love Divine – Jenn Johnson
•  Christ the Lord Is Risen Today – Aaron Keyes
•  Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies – Mark Roach
•  Oh, For A Heart to Praise My God – Brenton Brown

Free Stuff and Ordering Info

You can get a free download of the MP3 and charts for I Know That My Redeemer Lives at this link. You’ll also be able to see some videos on the project, listen to some samples, and download the album.

You can purchase it from iTunes here, Amazon here, and download a pdf of all the charts for $10.99 here. Individual charts in every key are available for download here.

Oh, and Kingsway has generously given me 5 copies of Love Divine to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog by midnight, Thursday night. Tell me who one of your favorite hymn writers is. I’ll pick 5 winners at random and announce them on Friday morning.

And may God give us many more albums like this in the days to come filled with lyrically rich, biblically faithful hymns set to contemporary with melodies written to last beyond our lifetime.



214 Responses to Love Divine – The Hymns of Charles Wesley, Updated (and win a free copy)

  1. Leslie July 5, 2011 at 10:14 PM #

    Wesley is definitely one of my favorites. This CD would be extremely useful to me and my husband for both family devotions and when I lead worship for women’s ministries.

  2. Kyle July 5, 2011 at 10:17 PM #

    Isaac Watts!

  3. Rob Swanson July 5, 2011 at 10:19 PM #

    My favorite hymn writer is Fanny Crosby

  4. elohimito July 5, 2011 at 10:19 PM #

    I don’t know if I have a favorite writer; too many good ones.

    My favorite hymn is “The Love of God” by Fred­er­ick Leh­man though!

    But I do love Charles Wesley’s work.

  5. Daniel Odell July 5, 2011 at 10:20 PM #

    I don’t know if I’m too late for this (or even if I’m eligible, being on Australian time…) but my favourite hymn writer is Horatio Spafford, mostly for his writing of “It Is Well”. An absolutely awesome hymn – especially when you check out the historical context of it’s writing. I thought I’d share that whether I win the cd or not…

    Thanks for the review Bob.


  6. Nate Downey July 5, 2011 at 10:22 PM #

    I know it’s cliche, but I gotta go with Mr. Isaac Watts. Thanks for doing this giveaway Bob!

  7. Roxanne Nanney July 5, 2011 at 10:25 PM #

    Keith & Kristyn Getty are my favorite modern hymn writers. I think Charles Wesley and Fanny Crosby would make the top of my favorites list.

  8. Rachael July 5, 2011 at 10:27 PM #

    One of my favorite hymnwriters is definetly Isaac Watts. I can’t wait to check out this new cd, either. My golden retriever’s name is Charles Wesley.

  9. Julie July 5, 2011 at 10:32 PM #

    Isaac Watts, hands down. I love his passion and poetic style. He has it all: sound doctrine, heart for Christ, love of the church.

  10. Richard July 5, 2011 at 10:36 PM #

    My favourite hymn writer is William Cowper, his hymns are simply beautiful!

  11. Matt Ng July 5, 2011 at 10:41 PM #

    my favorite “traditional” hymn writer has got to be isaac watts! although modern day… ryan foglesong!

  12. Nigel E. July 5, 2011 at 10:45 PM #

    I’d love a chance to win. My favorite hymn writer is Isaac Watts!

  13. Chris in NM July 5, 2011 at 10:46 PM #

    I love Charles Wesley, but might like Isaac Watts even better.

  14. Tony Pursley July 5, 2011 at 10:49 PM #

    Thanks for the heads up concerning this album. This is especially helpful since Charles Wesley is one of my favorite hymn writers (along with Watts and Newton).

  15. Jeremy Lee July 5, 2011 at 10:50 PM #

    I don’t know if this counts, strictly speaking, but I’m partial to Stuart Townend

  16. Michael Compton July 5, 2011 at 10:50 PM #

    I agree with what you say about hymns, and I am a large fan of “And Can It Be” from Acapella Project (I) – thanks for that, Bob.

    I like Isaac Watts, but I think my favorite hymn writer is Henry Francis Lyte, esp for his “Abide with Me” (when set to Monk’s “Eventide”). That song is so beautiful.

    Melissa & I just returned from a choral festival in Rome, and we had the great pleasure of joining with 250 other voices on many songs, especially Stephen Paulus’ “Pilgrim’s Hymn.” A powerful marriage of music & message.

  17. Melissa July 5, 2011 at 10:54 PM #

    Fanny Crosby is truly inspirational.

  18. Billy Fourt July 5, 2011 at 10:56 PM #

    My favorite hymn writer is Isaac Watts. I’m a guitarist and I’m constantly drawn to the melody lines he writes which translate just as well to folk fingerstyle as the piano. Just used O God Our Help in Ages Past for July 3rd!

  19. Bethany July 5, 2011 at 10:58 PM #

    My favorites are Isaac Watts and Stuart Townend

  20. Samuel Dye July 5, 2011 at 11:09 PM #

    Thanks for the opportunity! Two of my favorite hymn writers are Martin Luther (A Might Fortress) and Steve and Vikki Cook (I will glory in my Redeemer).

  21. Beth July 5, 2011 at 11:22 PM #

    Charles Wes­ley!

  22. Albert July 5, 2011 at 11:24 PM #

    Have to say Fanny Crosby because of her unique story. She is anointed in all her writing.

  23. Katherine July 5, 2011 at 11:31 PM #

    my favorite hymn writer would be Augustus M. Toplady, the writer of “Rock of Ages” :D

  24. Daniel July 5, 2011 at 11:49 PM #

    My favorite hymn writers are the Gettys. In Christ Alone and Power of the Cross are two of my all time favorite worship songs

  25. Lisa July 5, 2011 at 11:50 PM #

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Bob. I look forward to listening.

    It’s hard not to say Watts, though I’ve noticed many hymns I like are by Bonar. Two of my favorites are by people who seem not to have been very prolific – John Elias and Ann Gilbert. I love it when unfamiliar texts are set to new tunes too, as you folks did so beautifully in Looked Upon.

  26. Andrew Wencl July 5, 2011 at 11:52 PM #

    He may not be my favorite, but one of my favorites, Immortal, Invisible, was written by Walter C. Smith.

  27. Mark D McKeen July 5, 2011 at 11:53 PM #

    I like John Newton. I’m always encouraged by his understanding of God’s grace.

  28. Matt July 6, 2011 at 12:09 AM #

    It’s hard to pick just one. Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Isaac Watts. They were certainly divinely inspired!

  29. Kevin July 6, 2011 at 12:17 AM #

    John Newton

  30. Daniel July 6, 2011 at 12:21 AM #

    Isaac Watts.
    John Newton is honorable mention; would be my fav if Watts wasn’t so unbeatably good!

  31. Lindele July 6, 2011 at 12:21 AM #

    If I have to choose just one, it’s probably William Cowper.

  32. andrea July 6, 2011 at 12:25 AM #

    love getteys/townend songs- unfortunately have not been exposed to a lot of hymns,so I’m not sure who most of the writers are this album sounds wonderful!

  33. Rick Dobrowolski July 6, 2011 at 12:28 AM #

    Fanny Crosby.

  34. Tom July 6, 2011 at 12:43 AM #

    I’d probably go with Isaac Watts. Although Wesley and Newton are a close second and third!

  35. Jeff uriarte July 6, 2011 at 12:48 AM #

    Isaac Watts. He is a gift.

  36. Chris Gambill July 6, 2011 at 12:48 AM #

    One of my favorites is a guy named Joachim Neander for the song ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’. A close second would be Robert Grant and William Gardiner for ‘O Worship the King’.

  37. Heidi July 6, 2011 at 12:50 AM #

    John Newton, Fanny Crosby & The Gettys!

  38. Steven Robertson July 6, 2011 at 12:54 AM #

    It’s hard to beat John Newton.

  39. Michael July 6, 2011 at 1:09 AM #

    William Cowper would be my favorite.

  40. Lou K. July 6, 2011 at 1:11 AM #

    So many wonderful hymn writers have already been suggested! I would have to say Charles Wesley, mostly because he wrote my favorite hymn of all time, “And Can It Be?” Although it’s a vocal aerobic exercise, it’s still so powerful! Thanks for this opportunity, Bob.

  41. Drew Scott July 6, 2011 at 1:12 AM #

    One of my favorites is Horatius Bonar. If he’s new to you, find Perimeter Church Atlanta’s arrangement of “I Lay My Sins on Jesus. ” Also, “Not What My Hands Have Done” (igracemusic) and “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (the traditional tune is still great)

  42. James July 6, 2011 at 1:14 AM #

    Isaac Watts, William Cowper, John Newton, Martin Luther…how can one choose one?

  43. Jeff Fuller July 6, 2011 at 1:18 AM #

    William P. Mackay

  44. Andrew July 6, 2011 at 1:23 AM #

    Love Cowper and Bonar. Oh, and Newton. And Watts!

  45. Nicole McLernon July 6, 2011 at 1:37 AM #

    I love Keith and Kristyn Getty as far as modern hymn writers go.

    I’m gonna go with Charles Wesley for my favorite old school author of hymns. Mostly because of “And Can It Be”. I grew up singing the GLAD version and then when we moved to MA, a large number of the members, who grew up in traditional churches, asked that we learn/re-learn the original version. I absolutely fell in love with the imagery of the lyrics (imprisoned spirit, chains falling off, rising and following Jesus) and the melody lends itself so well to awesome harmonies.

  46. David Weischedel July 6, 2011 at 1:47 AM #

    Charles Wesley.. duh!!

  47. Mike July 6, 2011 at 1:50 AM #

    Fanny Crosby. Such incredible visual imagery for a blind hymn writer!

  48. Bryan Adams July 6, 2011 at 1:50 AM #

    I agree with many of the comments … many of the “old guys” wrote great hymns. I really like some of the “new guys” too, especially Stuart Townend and Keith & Kristen Getty.

  49. Mattie July 6, 2011 at 1:52 AM #

    One of my favorites is Elvina Hall. She wrote the words for Jesus Paid It All, which is not coincidentally one of my favorite hymns!

  50. Dave Helmuth July 6, 2011 at 1:55 AM #

    Not because of the number of hymns, but just because my favorite hymn is written by him…Elisha Albright Hoffman.

    The hymn, “Lord, I am Fondly, Earnestly Longing,” is one my parents sang on the way to the meeting in which they were first baptized with the Holy Spirit. They had served a 3 year term as missionaries in Costa Rica, in which they had felt they were complete failures. They considered themselves unfit for missionary service and were desperate for a touch from God.

    So they headed to this meeting, singing this hymn, and BAM…the rest is history. [they went back to Costa Rica and served well for 15 years…followed by more church planting in Texas]

    You can get a chord chart for the song here:

  51. Leanne July 6, 2011 at 2:00 AM #

    I love Katherina von Schlegel’s setting of Psalm 46, “Be Still My Soul” and Christian Gellert’s “Jesus Lives and So Shall I”. Some hymn writers are not that prolific. But the beauty of their few offerings make up for the small volume.

  52. Marissa Skipper July 6, 2011 at 2:01 AM #

    Isaac Watts

  53. Jeff July 6, 2011 at 2:03 AM #

    Augustus Toplady

  54. Brian Franklin July 6, 2011 at 2:08 AM #

    Gotta love Isaac Watts and both Wesleys. I’ll love the Wesleys even more if I win this album!

  55. Tim Sharpe July 6, 2011 at 2:12 AM #

    Anne Steele or William Cowper are my faves. This CD sounds very intriguing.

  56. Tracie Aldridge July 6, 2011 at 2:12 AM #

    Pick ONE favorite? Looks like it’s not a requirement to limit to one, thankfully. Isaac Watts, for sure, John Newton, William Cowper, Charles Wesley, William Gadsby…

  57. Lane Wood July 6, 2011 at 2:14 AM #

    Isaac Watts is awesome!

  58. Ryan July 6, 2011 at 2:16 AM #

    I like Keith and Kristen Getty!

  59. Brian Dare July 6, 2011 at 2:23 AM #

    Charles Wesley is my favorite hymn writer, and more broadly speaking, my favorite song writer of all time. I loved the opportunity to go to where he lived and see in person the organ he wrote many of his songs on.

  60. Steve July 6, 2011 at 2:32 AM #

    There have been other hymn remakes in the recent past which have also been good (ie:Hymns, Ancient and Modern), as well as artists like Chris Tomlin and Paul Baloche re-making the odd hymn on varoius past albums. Most of us who are not that old but who grew up in the church can’t stand the staleness of the original arrangements, so these make the hymns somewhat fresh and new, but frankly, most older folks will not like singing anything but the original arrangements. I still prefer the creativity of today’s worship artists creating completely new songs to sing for the church. Regardless of when a song is written, it takes a real gift & skill to write something that will stand the test of time. We are blessed today to have some very gifted song-writers, creating new music for the church.

  61. Arthur July 6, 2011 at 2:37 AM #

    For modern, I’m partial to Gaither.

  62. Robert Freitag July 6, 2011 at 2:41 AM #

    My favirout hymn writer… well I can go past my favirout hymn “Be Thou My Vision” originally written by Dallan Forgaill in the 6th century, then translated by Mary Byrne in 1905 and Eleanor Hull in 1912.

    This song captures the Christian life. A prayer asking God to be our all in all.

  63. Robert Freitag July 6, 2011 at 2:42 AM #

    favourite* (dyslexia)

  64. David July 6, 2011 at 2:55 AM #

    Fanny Crosby is by far my favorite hymn writer, although I am also intrigued some of the more recent ones. Most notably in recent years are some hymns by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross” are wonderful.

    Yet the fact that Fanny Crosby was blind and wrote so many hymns declaring the glory and majesty of our Lord is an inspiration to me. “To God Be the Glory” and “Blessed Assurance” sum up the reason why I am involved in leading worship: to praise God continually because He is worthy of nothing less!!

    Though I don’t know her quote verbatim, her statement saying that she is blessed to be blind because the first face she will see is that of her savior, is inspiring to me.

    I am a recently appointed worship leader in my church fighting an uphill battle about the importance and RELEVANCE of hymns in modern worship. I would definitely appreciate this CD!

  65. Aaron D. July 6, 2011 at 2:57 AM #

    Henry Francis Lyte – ‘Abide with Me’ …one of my favorite hymns to my Savior

  66. jan July 6, 2011 at 3:02 AM #

    I like John Rutter (although I disagree with some of his theology), but he usually rewrites the music for some of my favorite hymns; however, for a “true” hymnwriter, I like Isaac Watts.

  67. Ben Miller July 6, 2011 at 3:04 AM #

    Charles Wesley is definitely one of my favorites. I doubt the random number generator will care though ;).

    I also love the Getty’s hymns, though they are modern hymn writers.

  68. Aaron Sellars July 6, 2011 at 3:07 AM #

    definitely Isaac Watts

  69. Katherine July 6, 2011 at 3:09 AM #

    We sing selected hymns by Charles Wesley during our church’s Sunday worship, one of our favorite hymn writers. This CD would certainly open our ears and hearts to other listings we’ve never sang before.

  70. Patrick Kim July 6, 2011 at 3:12 AM #

    I’ve very much enjoyed Henry Lyte who wrote “Jesus I My Cross Have Taken”.

    I don’t really have many favorite hymn writers; I have many favorite hymns. :-)

  71. Bentley July 6, 2011 at 3:16 AM #

    What a great album! Thanks for highlighting this. I have enjoyed many hymns written by Isaac Watts. Thanks!

  72. Brence Minor July 6, 2011 at 3:20 AM #

    Out of the older hymns, I don’t think I have a favorite writer. However, my favorite modern hymn writers are Keith and Kristyn Getty.

  73. Will Pershing July 6, 2011 at 4:03 AM #

    I have two:

    1) Charles Wesley- His words speak heaps into my heart and push m e into praise.

    2) I found a hymn text by John Donne that when my heart is hard has never failed to push me into repentance quicker than anything.

  74. Rich C July 6, 2011 at 4:23 AM #

    Isaac Watts has given us so many. Sojourn’s version of Let Your Blood Plead For Me is becoming on of my favorite worship songs. Stuart Townend is becoming another favorite hymn writer.

  75. Jonathan July 6, 2011 at 4:36 AM #

    My favorite contemporary hymnwriters would definitely be Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend. It’s more difficult to identify my favourites among the older hymnwriters, but William Cowper, John Newton, and Martin Luther would definitely be among them.

  76. Jon Perdido July 6, 2011 at 4:43 AM #

    Martin Luther!

  77. Malachi T July 6, 2011 at 4:51 AM #

    Gotta go Watts

  78. Katie D. July 6, 2011 at 5:17 AM #

    Wesley is my favorite traditional hymnwriter, and the Getty’s are my favorite newer writers.

  79. Liz Gordon July 6, 2011 at 5:31 AM #

    William Cowper

  80. Brett Overstreet July 6, 2011 at 5:48 AM #

    Martin Luther and Horatio Spafford (It is Well is one of the richest hymns).

  81. Justin Schuoler July 6, 2011 at 5:58 AM #

    Robert Robinson has to be one of the most real that I have known. Even though he didn’t pen as many hymns, he is most popular for writing “Come Thou Fount,” my personal favorite. It could be argued that this hymn was actually a prophecy of his life, being “prone to wander” from the Lord. How true that is in our lives that we must continue to fight our flesh and choose to willingly surrender our lives to Christ on a daily basis!

  82. Terrance July 6, 2011 at 7:21 AM #

    William Cowper is one of my favorite hymn writers. Maybe because he was plunged in and out of depression and psychosis, his hymns are tainted with an unique flavor. The hope of the Gospel shines out so brightly in the mist of that mental darkness!

    Take “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s vein…” Such grotesque yet intriguing imagery coupled with “And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains” is sheer poetry.

    Or who can sum up Habakkuk better than,
    “Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
    Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
    Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
    For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.”

    And where doubts looms, Cowpers’ word reminds:
    “Blind unbelief is sure to err
    And scan His work in vain;
    God is His own interpreter,
    And He will make it plain.”

  83. Phill Sacre July 6, 2011 at 7:38 AM #

    One of my favourite Wesley hymns is ‘Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending’. We sang that at church recently and everyone loved it!

    In terms of my favourite hymnwriters, Henry F. Lyte has become one of late. He wrote “Jesus, I My Cross have Taken” which of course is fantastic. But he also wrote “Abide with Me” and “Praise My Soul, The King of Heaven”. That’s a fine pedigree of hymns, even if they are small in number!

    Incidentally I don’t know whether I am eligible for the competition, being in the UK, but I will have to look out that album either way.

  84. Mark Ballantine July 6, 2011 at 7:58 AM #

    Thanks for that great review. I’d have to say Isaac Watts, but also cause it’s such a great question I’m going to throw in the unknown Irish saint who first penned Be Thou my Vision in the ancient language and also the Getty’s are writing some great stuff. Thanks be to God! O for a heart and tongue to praise Him!

  85. Chadwick July 6, 2011 at 8:32 AM #

    Favorite hymn writer: Augustus Toplady

  86. Richard Jensen July 6, 2011 at 8:41 AM #

    We really need more modern hymn writers – so much of what’s produced today is theology-lite. Is it only Townend and the Gettys doing this?

  87. Jason D. July 6, 2011 at 9:26 AM #

    Gadsby… love his hymns!!!

  88. danny July 6, 2011 at 11:02 AM #

    Charles Wesley is probably my favorite, though there are some others that come pretty close (Cowper, Watts, the Gettys).

  89. Bruce July 6, 2011 at 11:32 AM #

    The name Cardiphonia was inspired by John Newton, who is certainly my favorite hymn writer.

    wow. would love to get a free version of this CD!

  90. Harold Simmons July 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM #

    It would have to be the Wesley’s and John Newton

  91. Aaron July 6, 2011 at 11:53 AM #

    Fanny J. Crosby, too! I love ‘To God be the Glory’!!

  92. Janet Henderson July 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM #

    It’s difficult to pick a favourite becuse there are so many wonderful ones to chose from. But the Gettys are favourites of mine for current hymn writers and John Newton from the past writers. I love ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds’ in particular.

  93. Jonathan July 6, 2011 at 12:18 PM #

    So many good writers… this one has the best name: Horatius Bonar.

  94. Chris Coppenbarger July 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM #

    Isaac Watts is one of my favorites.

  95. Art Sauer July 6, 2011 at 12:38 PM #

    I love Fanny Crosby. Her hymns have become even more popular and people don’t even know it? Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and others are rewriting her hymns into popular more contemporary worship songs. I think the biggest thing i love about Fanny Crosby is not only her hymns but her story and testimony. She was blinded at an early age and still wrote the most descriptive words. My favorite line is “When I open my eyes the first person I will see is Jesus.”

  96. Kim G July 6, 2011 at 12:49 PM #

    My favorite hymn writers are Charles Wesley and Horatius Bonar. Both have such God- and Gospel-centered lyrics that I can’t choose between them.

    My favorite hymn music are ancient tunes, like Irish (“Be Thou My Vision”), Latin (“O Come O Come Emmanuel”), and German (“Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”).

  97. David July 6, 2011 at 12:52 PM #

    Hard to choose…but I’d probably have to go with Charles Wesley for “traditional” hymns and Stuart Townend and the Gettys for “modern” hymns!

  98. Zach Sprowls July 6, 2011 at 12:52 PM #

    Horatius Bonar, because he wrote my favorite hymn text of all time – “Not What My Hands Have Done” – that helped me understand and cherish the gospel in a fresh, new way in college.

  99. Andrew McCormick July 6, 2011 at 12:56 PM #

    I really like “How Firm a Foundation” by John Rippon. Wesley is definitely good too.

  100. Brian July 6, 2011 at 1:03 PM #

    Martin Luther.

  101. Tim July 6, 2011 at 1:06 PM #

    It’s a real toss up between Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts.

  102. Diana C. July 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM #

    Pass me not, O Gentle Savior
    Blessed Assurance and
    Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross –
    three of Fanny Crosby’s hymns that have ministered to me over the years – have withstood the test of time and the migrations of musical styles. The depth and maturity of her words create images that communicate an understanding of Jesus that is dificult to duplicate. I LOVE when artists today take the lyrics and make the melodies fresh and new (eg. Casting Crowns’ Glorious Day), but there’s just something about the simple, foundational hymns that are absolutely beautiful.
    Thanks for letting me share my heart – as an “interim” worship leader it is a challenge to blend the contemporary with the traditional, but these songs are well worth keeping around in ANY form!!!

  103. Grace July 6, 2011 at 1:28 PM #

    William Cowper. Thank you!

  104. Dave Cook July 6, 2011 at 1:33 PM #

    Isaac Watts. A pastor remembered as a hymn writer.

  105. Rod Gomez July 6, 2011 at 1:40 PM #

    Keith and Kristyn Getty! Do they count? lol.

  106. Wesley Hileman July 6, 2011 at 1:45 PM #

    I like the Wesley’s. Wonder why?

  107. Jocelyn St. Hilaire July 6, 2011 at 1:47 PM #

    While I love the hymns of Isaac Watts, my absolute favorite hymn is “It is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford & Phillip Bliss.

  108. Paul July 6, 2011 at 1:52 PM #

    Robert Robinson! ‘Come Thou Fount’ is spectacular.

  109. Brandon Godwin July 6, 2011 at 2:12 PM #

    Augustus Toplady is a favorite, for “Rock of Ages” and “A Debtor to Mercy” texts, but also because he was a theologian at heart.

    Older hymnwriters like Toplady set a great precedent for songwriters first being good theologians before seeking to provide singable tunes and great lyrics for the Church.

  110. Michael G. July 6, 2011 at 2:19 PM #

    I really enjoy Fanny Crosby hymns as well as Isaac Watts. Some GOOD STUFF!!!

  111. Gary Brumley July 6, 2011 at 2:23 PM #

    I would have to say that Charles Wesley is among my favorite. I’ve written new music to several of his hymns which are being sung by local church body, including: Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending; Depth of Mercy; and his Advent text, Glory Be to God on High. These are all tremendously powerful texts.

  112. NAVEEN G July 6, 2011 at 2:28 PM #

    Fanny Crosby – To God Be The Glory and Blessed Assurance

  113. Chris Smith July 6, 2011 at 2:36 PM #

    Isaac Watts, one of my favorites of his happens to be a Christmas song – “Joy to the World”

  114. Jay July 6, 2011 at 2:38 PM #

    I love the hymns of Frances Havergal – particularly “Like A River Glorious”.

  115. yankeegospelgirl July 6, 2011 at 2:38 PM #

    Charles Wesley.

    Bit of honesty here: The album sounds okay, but I think it would be a shame if the old tunes fell out of use. I like them better in most cases.

  116. Chad July 6, 2011 at 2:42 PM #

    The modern music and arrangements of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

  117. Frank Taylor July 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM #

    No doubt, Charles Wesley… and love the way Indelible Grace has re-worked some of them….

  118. Randy July 6, 2011 at 2:57 PM #

    Isaac Watts has recently become a new favorite.

  119. Davis Evans July 6, 2011 at 3:00 PM #

    William Cowper. A creative soul, shepherded by John Newton, who wrestled greatly on this earth with despair.

  120. Luke Miller July 6, 2011 at 3:06 PM #

    Definitely Wesley. “And Can It Be” is by far my favorite hymn. Can’t wait to hear the new version.

  121. Philip Davis July 6, 2011 at 3:12 PM #

    I really like Philip Bliss and John Newton

  122. Bethany July 6, 2011 at 3:44 PM #

    For modern hymnody, I love the Gettys and Stuart Townend. For older hymnody, I love Augustus Toplady. An obscure favorite is Francis Blackmer.

  123. Ian Martin July 6, 2011 at 3:46 PM #

    The hymn writer that has most affected me is Horatio Spafford, because of the deepness of his love for the Lord amidst so much sorrow and grief.

    What father could pen those words apart from Christ? Not one could.

    There are many hymns and hymn writers that I love and cherish, but not one affects me quite like this example.

  124. Dan S. July 6, 2011 at 3:53 PM #

    Lately, I’ve enjoyed Henry Lyte (Abide with Me). But I’ve always been drawn to Fanny Crosby.

  125. Dale Argot July 6, 2011 at 3:53 PM #

    My favorite traditional hymn writer would have to be Charles Wesley and in the modern era it would have to be Keith and Kristyn Getty.

  126. Crystal July 6, 2011 at 4:02 PM #

    John Newton hands down. :D

  127. Wes Reed July 6, 2011 at 4:02 PM #

    Either Isaac Watts or Charles Wesley, I’d have to see them go head to head in inflatable sumo costumes to make the final decision.

  128. Faye D July 6, 2011 at 4:14 PM #

    I love Annie Johnson Flint and “He Giveth More Grace.” Life is full of struggles and trials as Annie knew all too well. She was crippled with arthritis and often bedridden. Yet she wrote of the beauty of God’s blessing of abundant grace in the darkest of times. She shows how deeply God’s love is for us. Maybe this song especially means so much to me because I suffer from several chronic illnesses, Rheumatoid Arthritis being one, have a prodigal child, and suffered damage to our home following the 2008 flooding in the Midwest. Hearing her story and then singing the words of perserverance and complete surrender to God, I can hear the assuring words from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – My grace is sufficient for you.

  129. Eric July 6, 2011 at 4:19 PM #

    I’m not all that familiar with hymn writers but only for Indelible Grace to help introduce me to some great writers and texts. I would say that Isaac Watts has great hymns that I love to sing!

  130. Josh July 6, 2011 at 4:49 PM #

    Watts and Wesley’s

  131. David July 6, 2011 at 4:59 PM #

    I would have to say Jaroslav J. Vajda for texts and Carl Schalk for tunes. They made a great team.

  132. Bruce July 6, 2011 at 5:00 PM #

    Mine would probably be Watts, Wesley, or Newton.

  133. Catherine July 6, 2011 at 5:24 PM #

    Fanny Crosby, followed closely by Charles Wesley.
    but my all time favorite hymn is “It Is Well” Horatio Spafford.

  134. Alfred July 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM #

    Fanny Crosby or Horatio Spafford – I think their life stories are very inspirational.

  135. Darren July 6, 2011 at 5:39 PM #

    Definitely Isaac Watts. Although Charles Wesley is great too.

  136. Tom July 6, 2011 at 5:42 PM #

    The Gettys!

  137. Tara July 6, 2011 at 5:43 PM #

    I love Charles Wesley…but also adore Fanny crosby and Isaac Watts:) THank you for this giveaway!

  138. Sandy July 6, 2011 at 5:49 PM #

    I choose Isaac Watts because of a story (unverified by me) that I heard about how he started writing hymns. He was a teen who attended church but found the music boring. He complained to his father, and the father told him to write his own hymns. Can’t imagine how he got around the church politics of his day, but the story went that for two solid years his church sang Isaac’s hymns every Sunday. Didn’t see this story at wikipedica, but here is a link for anyone who wants to know a little something about him:

  139. Tim Schoap July 6, 2011 at 5:57 PM #

    Robert Lowry!

  140. Geoff July 6, 2011 at 5:58 PM #

    This is a tough choice, though I’ll take Isaac Watts for “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed?”

  141. Steve McCauley July 6, 2011 at 5:59 PM #

    This prompted me to revisit some of the hymns of various writers from long ago. I had a great time just reading the lyrics and getting the sense of how deep a love they had for our Lord.
    Like many, I’m sure, it is difficult to choose just one, but I’ll have to say that Watts has to be my favorite, however, Wesley and Crosby are very close.
    Thanks for prompting this special time for me.

  142. Donnie Poindexter July 6, 2011 at 6:14 PM #

    I have many favorite hymn writers. I think my favorite one (at least right now) is William Cowper!

  143. Mark Koiro July 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM #

    I have to concur with many others – Isaac Watts was an incredible hymn writer – and definitely my favorite!

  144. Rich Sevilla July 6, 2011 at 7:16 PM #

    Don’t mean to be redundant, but I’m sticking with Watts as well.

  145. Zak Adams July 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM #

    I really like John Newton. “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” is a favorite.

  146. Grant July 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM #

    My favorite’s are John Newton and Charles Wesley.

  147. Dan Lyle July 6, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

    Fanny, Fanny, Fanny! Because only a blind women could see such wonderful things… “Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels descending bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.”

  148. bachismyhero July 6, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

    Favorite hymnwriter is a toss-up for me. I’d have to go with John Newton or William Walsham How.

  149. Jeff Scott July 6, 2011 at 7:54 PM #

    My favorite hymn is “It is Well with my Soul” by Horatio Spafford

    It is a powerful hymn especially after the tragic events that happened in his life.

  150. Brad Franklin July 6, 2011 at 8:07 PM #

    William Cowper! Thanks Bob!

  151. Beth Sprowls July 6, 2011 at 8:08 PM #

    Anne Steele is one of my favorites. “Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul” was written shortly after the drowning of her fiance the day before their wedding. It is obvious through the song that she clings to God’s sovereignty amid unimaginable sorrow.

  152. Jon Bolin July 6, 2011 at 8:14 PM #

    Robert Robinson

  153. James Weiberg July 6, 2011 at 8:30 PM #

    I love hymns!!! Not that I’m trying to suck up, but my favorite complilation of hymns is Upward … I love the arrangements. I like a lot of the red mountian music stuff too. They have redone many hymns by William Gadsby among others ….

  154. John Gardner July 6, 2011 at 8:48 PM #

    My all-time favorite is Isaac Watts, but Stuart Townend and Keith Getty are at the top of my list as well!

  155. Robert Wood July 6, 2011 at 9:13 PM #

    I have to go with Isaac Watts, but recently one of my favorite hymns is Rescue the Perishing by Fanny Crosby. My guitar teacher, John Standefer did a really nice arrangement of it that I’ve been listening to over and over.

  156. Jonny Weaver July 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM #

    Isaac Watts – Spent years studying and learning about the Lord before he ever started writing songs for other people to sing.

  157. Adam Gray July 6, 2011 at 10:04 PM #

    John Stockton has always been a favorite!

  158. Rick July 6, 2011 at 10:20 PM #

    John Newton

  159. Vic July 6, 2011 at 11:00 PM #

    Cowper’s over-represented in my top 10, but I’ve gotta go with Watts for breadth and depth.

  160. Tim Pickard July 6, 2011 at 11:17 PM #

    Augustus Toplady

  161. Luke Mundy July 7, 2011 at 12:04 AM #

    What beautiful arrangements! I didn’t grown up singing many hymns, so I’m not incredibly familiar with different authors, but Wesleyian hymns have grown on me since I’ve started listening to the Sojourn albums.

  162. Emma Waller July 7, 2011 at 12:17 AM #

    “I stand amazed” by Charles H. Gabriel is one of my favourite hymns. Thank you for the giveaway, Bob!

  163. Jonathan Biddle July 7, 2011 at 12:21 AM #

    Just one writer?? So many to choose from…

    I’d probably have to go with Wesley though…So many of his songs reflect my heart’s cry.

  164. Aaron July 7, 2011 at 12:59 AM #

    Robert Robinson!

  165. Andrew K July 7, 2011 at 1:21 AM #

    Too many choices …
    Isaac Watts.
    I think!

  166. Brian July 7, 2011 at 1:30 AM #

    Philip P. Bliss (“Hallelujah, What a Savior”, “I Will Sing of My Redeemer”)

  167. Deb Entsminger July 7, 2011 at 2:13 AM #

    Henry Van Dyke (“Joyful, Joyful we adore Thee”)

  168. Jason July 7, 2011 at 2:18 AM #

    William Cowper

  169. Melissa July 7, 2011 at 2:25 AM #

    Fanny Crosby

  170. Matt Henslee July 7, 2011 at 2:27 AM #

    Augustus Toplady

  171. Baylie Wintle July 7, 2011 at 2:46 AM #

    Wow, this is hard!
    Isaac Watts and John Newton are hard to beat, but my favorite is Johann Franck. He wrote the beautiful hymn “Jesus Priceless Treasure.”

  172. Dan July 7, 2011 at 3:45 AM #

    Wow, hard to choose one. Obviously the Gettys are a current favorite, but right now I’ve really enjoyed the hymns of William Cowper.

  173. Gray Ewing July 7, 2011 at 4:00 AM #

    Augustus Toplady. Not everything he wrote was a hit (just like all of us). But there are some real gems in Gadsby’s Hymnal

  174. Janice July 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM #

    So many through the years and I appreciate most of the ones others have mentioned but Horatius Bonar, the Scottish songwriter is right up in my top 2 or 3, probably second is Charles Wesley and than Issac Watts.

  175. Murray Richards July 7, 2011 at 4:35 AM #

    My favourite hymn writers are Keith & Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend. They have written some great modern hymns over the last decade.

  176. Paul Hayes July 7, 2011 at 5:03 AM #

    I love Isaac Watts-can’t get enough Wattage!

  177. Steve July 7, 2011 at 5:38 AM #

    A lot of Watts fans here. I’ll go with that. The more Watts, the brighter… ah ha ha! :)

  178. Deborah Y July 7, 2011 at 8:34 AM #

    Isaac Watts!

  179. Daniel E. July 7, 2011 at 12:32 PM #

    I must say that William Cowper is a favorite of mine.

  180. John C July 7, 2011 at 1:16 PM #

    I love taking the theology and lyrics of the great hymn writers and re-crafting them into a modern setting. Sounds like a great project.

  181. Ryan C July 7, 2011 at 1:50 PM #

    Currently, my favorite is Fanny Crosby. I enjoy learning the stories behind the songs.

  182. kevin July 7, 2011 at 3:02 PM #

    Isaac Watts

  183. Christopher July 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM #

    I’m a Charles Wesley fan. “And Can It Be” is probably my favorite hymn.

  184. Rob July 7, 2011 at 3:59 PM #

    John Newton’s, “The Lord Will Provide.”

  185. Jacob Brooks July 7, 2011 at 5:43 PM #

    The Getty’s are my favorite modern hymn writers but Horatio Spafford and Fanny Crosby would make the top of my favorites list!

  186. jim weidner July 7, 2011 at 5:43 PM #

    Stuart Townend.

  187. Phil Gibson July 7, 2011 at 6:15 PM #

    A M Toplady.

    Apart from “Rock of Ages”, his Hymn, “A debtor to mercy alone” literally changed my life. I was a missionary – saved, serving God but just coming into a greater revelation of the grace of God. I used a hymn book every day in my devotions (as recommended by Tozer) and came across this hymn. The words, “The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
    My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.” shook me to the core – how could he say that?! I felt the terrors of the law! I felt the terrors of God! (I was saved though) but then I understood what he meant. I literally prayed this verse through for a few days, wrestling with it & thinking on it. I picked up a copy of “Redemption accomplished & applied” by Murray and the penny dropped – JUSTIFIED! Not just, “just as if I’d never sinned” but also “just as if I’d perfectly kept the law” Wow! Love that hymn & thank God for the man who wrote it! N.B – I’ve still never sung that hymn in church!!

  188. Carol S. July 7, 2011 at 6:22 PM #

    While I hate picking a favorite of anything, I love how William Cowper was used by God to write many gospel-centered, hope-saturated hymns in the midst of his own nearly constant struggles with despair. I wonder how many devastated souls have taken courage from “God Moves in a Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform”. Soli Deo Gloria!

  189. Josh Tuttle July 7, 2011 at 6:23 PM #

    Must I choose just one??

    Going with John Newton (today) …

  190. Sarah July 7, 2011 at 6:50 PM #

    What a great question! Isaac Watts and John Newton are both favourites of mine. I am so thankful for the interest in hymns lately, and that they are being re-worked. Love it!

  191. Emily Riley July 7, 2011 at 6:58 PM #

    my favorite is William Cowper. Love his story, his struggle and the depth of emotion in his hymns. I would love to see more of the Olney Hymns revived for modern use!

  192. Caitlin Lieder July 7, 2011 at 7:58 PM #

    Isaac Watts and Martin Luther (who wrote my fav hymn!)

  193. Buddy Eades July 7, 2011 at 8:42 PM #

    My favorite hymn writer – William Cowper

  194. Buddy Eades July 7, 2011 at 8:43 PM #

    My favorite hymn writer – William Cowper – as he is real and honest at the same time biblical and God centered

  195. Adam July 7, 2011 at 8:50 PM #

    Bump for good music

  196. Kevin Baird July 7, 2011 at 8:52 PM #

    Wow, one fave is hard for us a cappella Church of Christers to choose; but here we go: John Newton: “The Look” still moves me today. BTW, one of the best settings by Kauflin (not to be sucking up, I just happen to like this take!)

  197. Zach Rice July 7, 2011 at 9:40 PM #

    Getty & Townend

  198. Carol July 7, 2011 at 9:45 PM #

    My favorite hymn is “Be Thou My Vision” so there is no known author. I do really like Keith Getty & Stuart Townend’s contemporary hymns. (Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum temporally)

  199. Steve Yeon July 7, 2011 at 10:10 PM #

    Robert Robinson

  200. Rebecca Hutchings July 7, 2011 at 11:39 PM #

    I love many of the old hymn writers. One of my favorite hymns is “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper. Thanks for asking.

  201. Kirsten July 8, 2011 at 3:27 AM #

    Favorites are hard to pick… but you just asked for “one of,” so here you are:

    Charitie Bancroft wrote my favorite hymn, “Before the Throne of God Above,” incidentally also set to new music. Awesome text, and it just goes to show how a forgotten hymn can be revived through new music.

    By the way, thanks for your blog. As a Bible college music major hoping to lead worship vocationally some day, I always appreciate your insights, as they give me great food for thought. I’ve used your posts as resources many a time, and I know that I can always come here and find practical suggestions in answer to questions.

  202. Dustin Rouse July 8, 2011 at 3:46 AM #

    Isaac Watts

  203. Justin Harig July 8, 2011 at 4:14 AM #

    It is a three way tie right now for who my favorite hymn writer is. Isaac Watts, John Newton and Anne Steele. But there are so many it’s probably more than a three way tie but I’ll leave it at that for this outlet and purpose.

  204. Wagner Floriani July 8, 2011 at 4:58 AM #

    I love the Wesley hymns for their memorable and rich truths that are conveyed so clearly! Isaac Watts and John Newton are close seconds :) it’s hard to pick 1 favorite

  205. Vanessa July 11, 2011 at 12:33 PM #

    I like Isaac Watts! :)

  206. Sherree August 18, 2011 at 3:22 AM #

    I love hymns period. Not enough of them being sung in churches today. I am interested in hearing the rewrites of old songs, but I have to say that not all the rewrites I hear do I like. Some of the newer stuff just doesn’t fit the words. Hymnbooks had a variety of types of music in them. Music today all sounds so much the same and puts too much emphasis on the MUSIC…and not the words. Would be nice to hear the piano playing all four parts AND hearing the words without all the “extras”.

  207. Nancy October 30, 2011 at 5:32 PM #

    So great to hear about this refreshing new arrangements of one of the greatest hymn writers. Of course I am partial because I am a United Methodist. I have been to Charles Wesley’s house in England. He is one of the great ones, but I too love hymns and as many of you have stated they just aren’t sung with fervor as they used to be. Besides Wesley, Fanny Crosby would probably be my second choice.

  208. organo gold June 25, 2013 at 2:43 AM #

    I got it from iTunes all songs are nice but my favorite is Love Divine by jenn Johnson..

  209. tsharrelson August 18, 2015 at 9:17 AM #

    Hey Bob! So I’m trying to click on several links to listen to the music and download the charts, but all of them are either broken or taking me to a different link. Could you provide me a way to sample and buy the music as well as a link to buy the pdfs?

    • Bob Kauflin August 18, 2015 at 11:15 AM #

      Tim, I wish I could help, but it seems like they’ve changed all the links. The only place I could find it was on iTunes and Amazon. Sorry about that!


  1. Love Divine – The Hymns of Charles Wesley | Cardiphonia - July 6, 2011

    […] thankful for Bob Kauflin’s post over at Worship Matters reminding me of this great album that was released this spring from the UK […]

  2. Combing the Net – 7/6/2011 « Honey and Locusts - July 6, 2011

    […] Love Divine — Bob Kauflin points out a new album that sets hymn texts of Charles Wesley to new music. It looks great! I’ll be getting a copy for sure. Kauflin is giving away a few copies as well. […]

  3. Cafe hopping (7/8) | Counterpoint Cafe - July 8, 2011

    […] Charles Wesley Modern Hymns: A group of musicians have put out Love Divine, a collection of modern takes on Charles Wesley hymns. You can sample it online. Bob Kauflin also has a helpful review. […]

  4. TUESDAY REVIEW: LOVE DIVINE « toddwright - August 2, 2011

    […] really liked Bob’s review, which you can read here, and I’ll try not to copy all the same stuff he said! Let’s take it […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes