Subscribe now

Saints of Zion

By R. C. Sproul
April 2018 | Review by Stuart Fisher

Book Review

I approached this review with some trepidation as it is unfamiliar territory for me. This was further compounded by the recent death of R. C. Sproul, a mighty servant of God who has now gone to his eternal reward.

The lyrics are mostly by R. C. Sproul and have been set to music by Jeff Lippencott. This is their second compilation of songs and shows them to be gifted men in their respective roles. Their aim is, in the words of Sproul, ‘helping the church offer worship that is true, good and beautiful’.

Lippencott, an Emmy-nominated composer, has written several TV and film scores. Musically, his work is lavish and magisterial. It is very choral and richly orchestrated, more in the style of the classic oratorio. Sproul’s choice of words is excellent, expressing the theology of the Bible accurately, but with a poetic touch — a rare gift!

While a recognisable style permeates the CD, there is also variety in the 15 songs. Some rise to the epic grandeur of a film score, while others are more reflective and flow with lyrical beauty. They range from quieter psalms, through the Gospels and letters, to the more dramatic expressions of Hebrews 11 and Revelation 21. There is a glorious Christological hymn and an interesting reflection on the Ascension.

The liner notes contain lyrics and background information. It is styled in a rather quaint way, with Gothic script titles. This might limit its marketability to a younger audience.

It would be hard to imagine this collection being used in a congregational format. It is far better performed and listened to with a highly accomplished orchestra and choral ensemble. I suspect that this form of worship would be more easily performed in the USA, with its bigger church orchestras and congregations than the UK.

This work will ideally appeal to Christians with a Reformed background and interest in classical music, but anyone outside that market would be pleasantly surprised by the depth, quality and glory of the work.

Perhaps best enjoyed privately, these songs would certainly aid devotion. To glean the most, you would need the liner notes at hand to follow the lyrics as the chorus, on occasions, is almost drowned by the orchestra. I enjoyed listening to songs in small amounts, choosing songs to match the mood.

Stuart Fisher

Bournemouth

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Christian and Technology
John V. Fesko

Even the most hardened Luddite will find himself using a satnav, mobile phone, or email on occasion. But John Fesko urges us not to reach for the latest gadget without thinking carefully about how it might shape our minds, relationships,…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Christ Victorious: Selected Writings of Hugh Martin
Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1822–1885) was one of those 19th century Scottish theologians whose published works have stood the test of time. With good reason, for his works are consistently sound, reverent, edifying, and challenging to mind and heart. This is a…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…