Without a doubt, Sovereign Grace Music is one of my favorite Christian bands. Some worship songs have outright poor theology. Others overemphasize one aspect at the expense of others. Still others seem to favor producing an emotional response at the cost of rich lyrical content. These days, lyrically speaking, repetition is king, and simplicity goes hand in hand with it.
Save for the first, these characterizations are not necessarily poor. On the other hand, they are not really that great. Sovereign Grace Music strives to be different. Here are a couple of excerpts from their FAQ:
Every Sovereign Grace Music album seems to emphasize strong theological content. What has driven your decision to produce music like this?
God gave us singing as one way of expressing our love and devotion to Him. But it’s more than that. Singing enables us to learn, rehearse, remember, and respond to the truths of who God is and what He’s done, especially in sending Jesus Christ to redeem us. One of the primary reasons God commands us to sing to him is so that his Word might fill our hearts and our minds. Colossians 3:16 says it like this: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” While singing isn’t the only way we teach and admonish one another when we gather, it certainly is one of the ways God intends that to happen. It’s also clear from the Psalms that words are more critical in our praise of God than the music we use. Otherwise God would have given us an accompanying soundtrack. The emotional fire of our singing needs doctrinal fuel. That’s why theology is important in the songs we sing. (no, we didn’t copy and paste that from Worship Matters…)
What makes Sovereign Grace Music distinctive and what role (if any) do you endeavor to play in the world of evangelical worship?
We don’t consider our music “distinctive” in the sense that nobody else is doing what we’re doing. We’re happy to be one of an increasing number of individuals, churches, bands, and ministries that want to provide songs for the church characterized by theologically informed, Christ-exalting lyrics, singable melodies, and creative musical settings. Because our theological blend combines elements of Reformed and continuationist theology, our music seems to benefit both musically conservative churches wanting to broaden their musical styles as well as charismatic churches looking for a greater biblical depth in their songs.
This embodies, to me, the way I think worship should be done. We should produce an emotional response by the renewed knowledge of what Christ has done for us and how good God is, not by the the music alone. As SGM mentioned, Colossians 3:16 states that the word of Christ should dwell in us by means of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. SGM does a near unparalleled job of emphasizing the gospel and scripture truths in their worship songs, by which we can give due recognition and glory to God for who He is and what He has done. Their lyrical content is incredibly rich, and their music isn’t too shabby, either. I cannot recommend Sovereign Grace Music enough.