Songwriting: The Holy Spirit Doesn’t Write Bad Songs

J.D. Sumner was known for making sarcastic remarks when someone brought a bad song to him and said that God gave it to them (“Well, I’ve seen God write better,” or something along those lines). This was brought to mind by a recent post by pastor and songwriter Mark Altrogge, The Holy Spirit Doesn’t Write Bad Songs. He makes the same point, albeit with less sarcasm, and adds enough interesting observations to make it worth the read.


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11 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I believe J.D.’s comment was more along the lines of ” Well you aught to give it back to Him “

    • I think J.D. made multiple comments along those general lines over the years.

  2. If you can remember the melody AND want to remember it, that’s a good sign.

    If the words rhyme and don’t have any grammatical errors, that’s a good sign too.

    If they don’t resort to embarrassing cliches or general contemp-speak, this is very, very good.

    If an experienced songwriter tells you it has potential, better and better.

    And finally… if you end up with something good, DO NOT OVER-PRODUCE. I repeat, DO NOT OVER-PRODUCE. The best-crafted songs of mice and men can be ruined with a wall of sound.

    • I love Robert Burns.

      (Those were good comments, too.)

      • Me too, and thank you. πŸ˜€

  3. “Some hey words but cannae write,
    An some would write that want it!
    But a few hey words an’ they can write,
    An so the Laird be thankit”

    Apologies to Rabbie B.

    • LOL! πŸ˜†

      (WordPress, I will destroy you some day. Just you wait…)

  4. I heard Mark lowry say once That lots of people proclaim that God gave them a song and , after hearing it you realize he gave it to them because he didn’t want it .

    • Yeah. Like Simon Cowell when he asked a girl where her voice came from, and she said it came from God… then after the audition he said, “Does he have a returns policy?” Poor girl. πŸ™ But I think we can definitely adapt that for a bad song!

  5. Have you ever noticed that God seems to get a lot of blame for many things that He probably has nothing to do with?? It just seems to sound good!! I’m convinced He has absolutely NOTHING to do with most of the “human stupidities” we blame on Him!!

    This is a soapbox subject that my close friends and I have. Some people think they’ll just say God inspired something they said or some great idea that they had so they won’t look like such an idiot when it all crashes!! I’m glad He’s a big Guy and can handle all the shift in taking responsibility for someone else’s failures.

  6. Very FUNNY post!

    Rick