Tag Archives: Graham Kendrick

Graham Kendrick – born 2 August 1950 (unfortunately)


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May 4, 2016 · 19:31

Shine on! Will happy-clappy Graham Kendrick wage spiritual warfare on Quentin Letts? (the Telegraph”)

By  October 12th, 2008

Graham Kendrick, composer of the most loathed of all happy-clappy hymns, “Shine Jesus Shine”, has been named by Quentin Letts in a new book as one of the 50 People Who B*ggered up Britain. I can hear cheers emanating from pews up and down the country.

But Quentin is an old friend of mine, and I want to tell him: be careful. Kendrick is not one of the useless, drippy mediocrities who have ruined Catholic music with their folk Masses. He is – and I’m not making this up – a leading practitioner of what he calls “spiritual warfare”, and he may well conclude that Letts’s attack is demonic.

Letts certainly pitches into Kendrick with devilish glee, describing him as “the nation’s preeminent churner-outer of evangelical bilge, king of the happy-clappy banalities … Pam Ayres without the humour”. And he adds: “The jazzy chorus of ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ is particular agony, accompanied, as it often is, by a couple of emotionally incontinent show-offs in the front pews raising their arms and swinging them from side to side.”

What will Kendrick make of that? I dread to think. For he is not just a hymn-writer, but a leading proponent of a scarily hard-edged theology of spiritual warfare in which the earth is crawling with demons. Or, as he once wrote: “Satan has the real estate of villages, towns and cities overshadowed by ruling spirits which work untiringly to bring about his malevolent will.”

Charismatics who belong to this school of thought believe in marching through Satan’s territory, cleansing it of spirits by, yes, singing Graham Kendrick hymns. Quentin, you have been warned. Don’t let them find out where you live…

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Tom & Graham

Our beloved organist (at St John’s Scottish Episcopal Church and the Crichton Memorial Church, both Dumfries), Tom Carrick, had a total dislike of modern “praise items”, with a special loathing of the hymns of Graham Kendrick.

When Tom died about four years ago, someone at St John’s sorted through his music and hymnaries that he’d left beside the church organ there.

In one of Tom’s hymn books, following the printed words of a hymn written by his bette noir, there was the credit, by “Graham Kendrick”, then the words, “born 1950”.  Against this, Tom had penned this brief comment, “What a pity!”


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When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

THE English poet John Betjeman once smilingly trounced a supercilious youngtelevision interviewer who was insisting that hymns were worthless doggerel. “Ah, I see what you mean,” the Poet Laureate said mildly, and quoted this:

His dying crimson like a robe
Spreads o’er his body on the Tree.
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

The young man was silenced.
The verse is from When I survey the wondrous cross by Isaac Watts, a hymn which expresses both profound emotion and complex theology in a form which only the ignorant or the truly pretentious would deny is art. I love it. The contemporary songwriter Graham Kendrick put his finger on the source of its power. “It is all about wonder,” he said, “wonder at the seemingly mad extremes of divine love that chooses a crucifixion to atone for evil and conquer death.”

No hymn captures so brilliantly and so movingly the timeless paradoxes of what happened on that Cross. Here we have an instrument of torture which is also in some extraordinary sense “wondrous”, the entire realm of nature constituting too small an offering in the face of such a sacrifice, the richest gain counting for nothing at all, a love being demonstrated which demands nothing less than everything.

Familiarity can shrivel these complex ideas into platitudes; in Isaac Watts’s hands they are reworked with deceptively simple freshness, yet with a scope which gives the hymn truly epic grandeur. This offer of “my soul, my life, my all” instigated something of a sea-change in Church worship. As a young man preparing to be a Dissenting minister among congregations who thought it frivolous to sing anything but psalms in church services, it took courage for Isaac Watts to produce hymns Which allowed the singer to address God directly, and personally.

But the trend caught on, and he wrote nearly 600 in the end, many of them among the most loved in the canon. This is surely the finest. I heard it sung recently by the Caernarvon Male Voice Choir to the glorious tune“Morte Christe”, which I had never encountered before. The blend of harmonies was spine-tinglingly beautiful, soaring to such a moving climax with the words, Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all – that there was barely a breath in Bangor Cathedral As the last note died away.

From Glorious Things: My Hymns for Life, by Sally Magnusson, published by Continuum Books, June 2004, £9.99.
Adapted by the author.


Theologian Matthew Arnold considered it to be “the greatest hymn in the English language.” Even Charles Wesley, another excellent hymnist and contemporary of Isaac Watts, said that he would exchange every song he had written if he could have only written this one.


see also  http://www.challies.com/articles/hymn-stories-when-i-survey-the-wondrous-cross-free-download

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