2014-05-09

The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts



In an age of simplistic and repetitive worship songs, the church must not forget Isaac Watts, “the Father of English Hymnody.” In this profile of the great hymn writer, Douglas Bond writes that Watts’ life and words can enrich the lives and worship of Christians today. 

Review
Who among us has not had heart and mind stirred by a Watts hymn? Here we learn the story behind the hymns. We learn of a Christ-centered life, a doxological life. And from that wellspring has come the hymns we love to sing. Watts' hymns are a gift for the church, and so is this biography by Douglas Bond. --Dr. Stephen J. Nichols, Professor at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School

We all know and love Joy to the World, Jesus Shall Reign, Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, O God, Our Help in Ages Past, and a host of his other compositions. And yet, most Christians know precious little about the author of these great hymn texts - the man history has dubbed as the Father of English Hymnody.

At least, until now. Thanks to the prolific and eloquent pen of Douglas Bond, we now have an insightful glimpse into the life, the faith, and the poetic wonder of this remarkable servant of the church: Isaac Watts. This delightful book needs to be put at the top of your must-read list. --Dr. George Grant, Pastor, East Parish Presbyterian Church

About the Author
Douglas Bond is the head of the English Department at Covenant High School in Tacoma, WA., where he teaches literature, writing, and history. He also lectures on literature and church history, and leads frequent historical study tours in Europe. He holds a graduate degree in English education from St. Martin's University and a preliminary certificate in theology from Moore Theological College in Australia.

Bond has written numerous works of fiction, many of them for young people, including the Crown & Covenant trilogy (focusing on a Covenanter family in Scotland) and the Faith & Freedom trilogy (following the same family to Revolutionary America).

His fictional works also include a novel about John Calvin, The Betrayal. Among his nonfiction titles are Stand Fast in the Way of Truth and Hold Fast in a Broken World. Bond and his wife, Cheryl, have four sons and two daughters. They live in Tacoma.

Because our entertainment culture has affected the music churches choose to sing, and often not for the better, remembering a hymn writer like Watts and the good he has done for the English-speaking church is very valuable. Bond says,