to understand what I write (I think that’s important, and I’m quite sure you’ll agree!).
Finally, I know that you’ve already looked at the DDT Rating, so you already know
the conclusion: this is a great resource for everyone, regardless of doctrine and
denomination. Now, let us commence with the Review!
“Christian song is the overflow of the Christian heart. If our hearts are full, our
singing will be full.”
Kenneth Osbeck loves music; he loves hymnology; and he loves the Lord Jesus. Sounds
like the perfect guy to write this kind of a book! He’s taught music on the collegiate
level, and he’s ministered in the local church. To be quite frank: Mr. Osbeck is
an expert who knows his stuff.
This collection is exactly what it purports to be: the back stories of the hymns
we love so much. At nearly 300 pages, you’ll quickly figure out that the average
length of a hymn story is just about 3 pages. Long enough to learn the stories, yet
short enough to keep reading.
Many churches have left behind the Good ‘Ole Hymns of the Faith. Not Osbeck. For
those who love those grand ole’ hymns, this book will be a real treasure.
It Is Well with My Soul
O For a Thousand Tongues
How Great Thou Art
Onward Christian Soldiers
I Sing the Mighty Power of God
Just As I Am
O Worship the King
Holy, Holy, Holy
Silent Night! Holy Night! (Yes, there are several Christmas carols in this collection.)
and 92 others that are absolute classics. Some of the authors he writes about are
Fannie Crosby, John Newton, Charles Wesley, and dozens of others.
Osbeck may be a musician; but he writes like a good reporter, or a biographer - not
a historian. These aren’t a collection of boring facts strung together; they are
stories. They are good stories! And they are good stories told well. Here is an excerpt
from “It Is Well With My Soul,” by Horatio Spafford:
Some months prior to the Chicago Fire of 1871, Spafford had invested heavily in real
estate on the shore of Lake Michigan, and his holdings were wiped out by this disaster.
Just before this he had experienced the death of his son. Desiring a rest for his
wife and four daughters as well as wishing to join and assist Moody and Sankey in
one of their campaigns in Great Britain, Spafford planned a European trip for his
family in 1873. In November of that year, due to unexpected last minute business
developments, he had to remain in Chicago; but he sent his wife and four daughters
on ahead as scheduled on the S.S. Ville du Havre. He expected to follow in a few
days. On November 22 the ship was struck by the Lochearn, an English vessel, and
sank in twelve minutes. Several days later the survivors were finally landed at Cardiff,
Wales, and Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband, “Saved alone.” Shortly afterward Spafford
left by ship to join his bereaved wife. It is speculated that on the sea near the
area where it was thought his four daughters had drowned, Spafford penned this text
with words so significantly describing his own personal grief-“When sorrows like
sea billows roll...”
And just in case you missed it, he’s careful to insert the devotional/spiritual impact
for the modern day reader:
It is noteworthy, however, that Spafford does not dwell on the theme of life’s sorrows
and trials but focuses attention in the third stanza on the redemptive work of Christ
and in the fourth verse anticipates His glorious second coming. Humanly speaking,
it is amazing that one could experience such personal tragedies and sorrows as did
Horatio Spafford and still be able to say with such convincing clarity, “It is well
with my soul.”
Kind of puts the difficulties of our life in a little better perspective, doesn’t
I give this book a “Great Resource for Everyone Rating” - which is basically my top
rating for a book like this. It’s hard to imagine it being any better.
Click Here for information other titles in this series
This is one of the true Christian classics of devotional literature written in the
20th Century. If you’re familiar with the Grand ‘Ole Hymns of the Faith, then this
book is indispensable reading. It will stir your soul - and make you a better singer!