Now Why This Fear – Video from WorshipGod11

One of my favorite songs from our most recent album, The Gathering,  is Now Why This Fear. Doug Plank adapted the words from the hymn “Now When This Fear and Unbelief” by Augustus Toplady. Toplady (1740-1778) was a strong, if sometimes contentious, defender of Calvinism. More importantly, he tirelessly preached the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work for our sins. This hymn, like Rock of Ages, encourages believers to rest completely in the finished work of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. It’s the news that never grows old.

I asked Doug Plank to share a few thoughts on the how he came to update Toplady’s hymn.

“From Whence this fear and unbelief?”, Augustus Toplady’s wonderful old hymn (written in 1772) came to my attention in 2008 while perusing Spurgeon’s “Our Own Hymn-Book” (a great collection of hymns, by the way). I recall going through Spurgeon’s collection for inspiration when it jumped out at me. Toplady’s lyrics brilliantly expressed the confidence we ought to have because of Jesus’ sacrifice and they were screaming to be put to new music. My sense was to make the hymn to be a worshipful and meditative feel, with a chorus that would rise in thanking Jesus for the incredible grace spoken of in the verses. The verse melody came first, and after tinkering a bit, the chorus emerged, repeating Jesus’ name, which is always a good idea. My first version kept the archaic language, but with the input of Bob and others, it seemed clear that (no offense to Toplady) a lyrical refresh was needed as well. I didn’t end up featuring the third verse of Toplady’s original, likely due to making the song too long, but the lyrics are certainly worth singing:

If thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine;
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.

I wrote this updated version for no other reason than to take what seemed to be an old hymn worthy to be heard again. At this past WorshipGod conference as it was being introduced, I was deeply stirred by the thought of one day meeting and thanking Augustus face to face. Between “Rock of Ages” and “From Whence”, he has served my soul with Christ–exalting lyrics. I feel very honored to have linked arms with him in the recasting of his work to a new generation.

Guitar chart in A. Guitar chart in B.
Lead sheet in A. Lead sheet in B.

Now Why This Fear

Verse 1
Now why this fear and unbelief?
Has not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for us?
And will the righteous Judge of men,
Condemn me for that debt of sin,
Now cancelled at the cross?

Jesus, all my trust
Is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us
Through Your great love!

Verse 2
Complete atonement You have made,
And by Your death completely  paid
The debt Your people owed
No wrath remains for us to face
We’re sheltered by Your saving grace,
And sprinkled with Your blood.

Verse 3
Be still, my soul, and know this peace
The merits of your Great High Priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood,
Don’t fear your banishment from God
Since Jesus sets you free

How sweet the sound of saving grace
How sweet the sound of saving grace
Christ died for me
Music and alt. and additional words by Doug Plank, original verses by Augustus Toplady (1772).
© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

12 Responses to Now Why This Fear – Video from WorshipGod11

  1. Nathan December 21, 2011 at 1:35 AM #

    It is hard to pick a favorite from the album but this one is in my top three. It moves me every time I try to sing it. I couldn’t even sing it at the conference as God used the lyrics to remind (overwhelm) me of his infinite grace toward us. Praise God for the gift of music as a means to glorify Him and the cross of Christ!

  2. Carmello December 21, 2011 at 2:21 AM #

    Definitely, definitely, definitely my favorite from this album. I even spent countless car rides spinning Bob’s piano-only version prior to WorshipGod11! (And I still do!)

    I well up with overwhelming gratitude to God every time I sing “How sweet the sound of saving grace! How sweet the sound of saving grace! Christ died for me!”

  3. Jonathan December 22, 2011 at 4:13 AM #

    I downloaded this album a few weeks ago, but had not listened intently to this track yet. This song supplies a feast for the soul, having Scripture embedded in every line. I cannot get through this song without giving thanks to my Savior.

  4. Sandra January 8, 2012 at 7:20 PM #

    Wow! What an amazing uplifting song. So inspiring! And Doug Plank what an anointed voice you have. God bless you.

  5. Rick Owen January 27, 2015 at 5:17 PM #

    Very nice. Thanks for your work in putting this song together. This is one of Toplady’s best hymns in my opinion. I did a similar rewrite in 1989 with a different style that included all the original words with only one or two small changes.

  6. Laurie Duffy October 6, 2015 at 4:18 PM #

    So sad to see this hymn revised. Verse 3 is entirely omitted. It is a lovely verse and quite dramatic:
    “f thou hast my discharge procured,
    And freely in my room endured
    The whole of wrath divine,
    Payment God cannot twice demand—
    First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
    And then again at mine.”
    I understand people do not speak in thee and thou anymore but most high school students (and above) have read some Shakespeare and other similar works. We know that there is such a thing as older literature and church documents (confessions, liturgy, hymns) from other times. Now we can make up new songs for this generation. Nobody says we have to sing the old pieces of we don’t want to. Still, when singing them, I think it is fair to the author and audience to sing them as they are written or not sing them at all.

    • Bob Kauflin October 6, 2015 at 4:54 PM #

      Laurie, thanks for your comment. I appreciate what you’re saying and am sensitive as well to rewrites of hymns leaving important verses out. Verse 3 is a wonderful verse, but I don’t think the hymn loses its essence or meaning by omitting it. In any case, we often have to find the balance between honoring those who have gone before us and communicating what they’ve done in a way that people will be able to receive it. I don’t expect the people in my congregation to sing in Shakespeare’s tongue when we gather! If we commit to never singing something other than the way it was written, we’d be praising God in Hebrew and Aramaic. Word choices are part of the translation process, even in hymn rewrites. Please pray we and others will make wise decisions in this area, so that more people can benefit from the rich writings of the past.

  7. princesspaulawaula January 30, 2016 at 4:58 PM #

    I was reading J I Packer’s Knowing God and he ended chapter 18 with a stanza of a hymn unfamiliar to me. I googled and found this site and have been so blessed by the merging of timeless lyrics with modern music. Love it! I will listen over and over to learn it by heart. Thanks!!

    • Bob Kauflin January 30, 2016 at 6:24 PM #

      Thanks so much! Glad our music is serving you!


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