We should, of course, always be striving to make sure the songs we sing are theologically sound. And although some of the senior saints I know give an automatic pass to any song of sufficient age, the great hymns of the faith should also be examined for their theology. Some of them are pretty bad (I’m looking at you, “In The Garden”).
So I’m thankful for Hymn-Theology: I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found, a recent post by Bridget Willard. She examines the theology of an old standard that is beloved by many, and is definitely one of the greatest songs of our faith. Bridget writes about “Amazing Grace”:
I’m not sure why I waited this long to cover this song in the Hymn-Theology series, perhaps because the lyrics resonate with my testimony. 2013 marks my twenty-first year as a Christian and it is hard to believe that God has brought me so far from what was my statistical fate.
I’m not sure why, but I think it’s great that Bridget waited to write about a song so close to her heart. Sometimes it’s hard to express what we feel about those things for which we have the strongest feelings. At any rate, after her introduction Bridget goes on to discuss the song and its theology:
The first stanza of Amazing Grace says it is a sweet sound that saved an undeserving person like myself. Often we want to be deserving. This is a race without an end. It is impossible for us to earn salvation. That is why it is defined as grace.
In fact it is the recognition of our sinful state that causes us to love him even more and that act is pleasing to God.
There are plenty of scripture references to back up what she says about the song. And not that it was ever in doubt, but “Amazing Grace” holds its own.
By the way, my daughter Grace gets really tired of people telling her she’s “amazing.”