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Matt Redman Discusses His Epic ‘How Great Thou Art’ Collaboration

Photo by Michael Maasen on Unsplash

Matt Redman Discusses His Epic ‘How Great Thou Art’ Collaboration

By Movieguide® Contributor

Matt Redman recently released a new version of “How Great Thou Art” for the hymn’s 75th anniversary and explained why he believes so many Christians love the song.

“You go around churches, different streams, and expressions of church—you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t find some kind of connection to this hymn,” Redman told CBN, noting that much of the song’s popularity came when it was included on Billy Graham’s tours.

“I think it might be because it has this beautiful story, starts with creation, gets the cross, but we get our chance to say what we think about those things,” he continued. “I think some of the best hymns, they’re like a classroom and a chapel—they…educate us, inspire us, bring something to mind, and then they give us a chance to respond to that, say what we think about that.”

While “How Great Thou Art” cannot normally be adapted because it’s still protected by copyright, the Stuart Hine Trust, which holds the song’s rights, approached Redman to create a new rendition to celebrate the hymn’s 75th anniversary. The result was a collaboration between 16 Christian artists and a new verse updated for today.

“We tried to tie into the old verse structure, but with a melodic lift and words saying, ‘Hey, we can’t avoid that we live in a broken, warring world, and we have to face that, but we’re also going to sing with hope,’” Redman told Billboard.

“Worship isn’t meant to have an escapist mentality, where we can ignore what’s going on around us in this fragile, fallen world,” he added. “Instead, we can engage with these things, pray for them and acknowledge God’s ultimate kingdom rule and reign in the midst of them.”

Alongside Redman, the new rendition features Mitch Wong, Chris Tomlin, Hillary Scott, Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, Naomi Raine, Blessing Offor, Jon Reddick, TAYA, Brian and Jenn Johnson, Matt Maher, Pat Barrett, Benjamin William Hastings, and Ryan Ellis.

Movieguide® previously reported:

“How Great Thou Art” has ranked as one of the most popular hymns around the world for decades, only rivaled in reach by “Amazing Grace.” While many old hymns are often adapted and reworked by new artists, the rights to “How Great Thou Art” are held by the Stuart Hine Trust, and the hymn isn’t part of the public domain. For this reason, the song has had few renditions beyond its original lyrics.

“Normally, you can’t adapt this hymn,” Redman told Billboard. “There is a pattern with old hymns, if they are in the public domain, of adapting them, adding a chorus, reworking them. But with ‘How Great Thou Art,’ the Stuart Hine Trust is still the publisher and normally they would deny anyone who tried to mess with it.”

“I was quite surprised when they approached and said, ‘Would you like to write a new section?’” he continued.

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Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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