Thomas A. Thomas, Dean

Empire State Baptist Seminary


     One of the most important aspects of public worship is the singing of hymns to the praise and glory of our God. As the apostle puts it, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19). However, unfortunately many of the hymns in most hymnbooks fall far short of that goal. They are much too often man centered and experience centered rather than God centered. Sometimes the lyrics are shallow and superficial. Often the theology is very Arminian and unbiblical.


     I would like to direct your attention to a book which I believe will be of tremendous help in the devotional life of every Christian. It is the hymnbook entitled, "Songs Of Grace", which is different, and with which I am very impressed. Pastor Donald S. Fortner of Grace Baptist Church, Danville, Ky. has written 135 new hymns to familiar tunes which almost every Christian knows. Here are God honoring, God glorifying hymns stressing the great doctrines of our Lord's sovereign saving grace toward sinners. I've been thrilled as I've read them. This is just what our people need. These hymns will teach them such great Biblical truths as the total depravity of man, God's unconditional election of certain sinners to be objects of His sovereign saving grace, Christ's particular and accomplished redemption of His elect, the irresistible grace of God in drawing His elect to Himself, and the eternal perseverance of the saints. In addition, there are hymns of worship and praise to our God, and exhortation to His people to live for Him.


     The music is not in this hymnbook. That would be a help if it were. But at the bottom of each page the name of the familiar hymn is listed according to the tune to which this hymn can be sung. There is also a metrical index showing other adaptable tunes to which each hymn can be sung.


     I believe every church could profit immensely spiritually by singing these great hymns by Pastor Don Fortner, hymns that glorify our God and are true to His Word. And that should be central in all our musical worship. I have been blessed in reading them. God's people will be blessed in singing them. Why not order a copy and see for yourself? This wonderful little hymnbook, "Songs Of Grace," is published by Backus Book Publishers of Rochester, New York. I would recommend it highly.


NOTE: This review, though unsolicited is much appreciated. It appeared in the winter 1989 edition of Empire State Baptist Seminary News Update. Mr. Thomas is Dean and Acting President of the Seminary. Songs of Grace may be purchased from our book room.