341

We've Come This Far by Faith

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

In a manner similar to many of the Old Testament lament psalms, this text affirms God's saving power in the past; God's compassion and providential care for his people throughout history give us hope for the future. Thus the text becomes a marker or milestone on life's journey: "we've come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord" (1 Sam. 7:12, 'Thus far has the Lord helped us"). With confidence in the Lord's help we can go forward and face "burdens . . . misery and strife."

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song includes a plea and a prayer seeking God’s leading and care. Those who seek this leading can know that the Holy Spirit always aims to provide just such care for the believer. He not only renews our hearts, but also “leads us into truth, and helps us to pray, stands by us in our need, and makes our obedience fresh and vibrant” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 29).

341

We've Come This Far by Faith

Tune Information

Name
WE'VE COME THIS FAR
Key
F Major
Meter
Irregualr

Recordings

341

We've Come This Far by Faith

Hymn Story/Background

In a manner similar to many of the Old Testament lament psalms, this text affirms God's saving power in the past; God's compassion and providential care for his people throughout history give us hope for the future. Thus the text becomes a marker or milestone on life's journey: "we've come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord" (1 Sam. 7:12, “Thus far has the Lord helped us”). With confidence in the Lord's help we can go forward and face "burdens . . . misery and strife."
 
Goodson’s gospel song was included in the African American hymnal Lift Every Voice and Sing (1981). The printed score of gospel songs only conveys a guideline to actual performance; improvisation is the operative word! The congrega­tion should sing the refrain (framed by "We've come this far by faith") aided by a choir who could improvise a harmony part. A soloist could sing the stanza ("Don't be discouraged. . .") with additional improvisation in the melody line and accompani­ment. Try accompanying with piano, guitars, and percussion instruments. Don't rush!
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

James Abbington, currently Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, GA, was previously a professor of music in the Department of Fine Arts at Morgan State University. Prior to his tenure in Baltimore he was Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC (1998–2003). He is also the Executive Editor of the African American Church Music Series published by GIA Publications, Inc. of Chicago and has served as co-director of the annual Hampton University Ministers’ and Musicians’ Conference since 2000.
 
Dr. Abbington is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, as well as a member of the Grants Advisory Board for the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, funded by the Lily Endowment.
 
Dr. Abbington is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and was a student of the late Dr. Wendell P. Whalum and Dr. Joyce Finch Johnson. He earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees in Church Music and Organ from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he was a student of Marilyn Mason.
 
Dr. Abbington served as Minister of Music and Church Organist of the Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit from 1983–1996. He was National Director of Music for the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. from 1990–1994 and National Music Director for the NAACP from 1988–1992.
 
He is the author of Let Mt. Zion Rejoice! Music in the African American Church (Judson Press), Readings in African American Church Music and Worship (GIA Publications, Inc.), co-author of Waiting to Go! African American Church Worship Resources from Advent through Pentecost (GIA), and Going to Wait! African American Church Worship Resources between Pentecost and Advent (GIA); he edited Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker’s Spirits that Dwell in Deep Woods: The Prayer and Praise Hymns of the Black Religious Experience (GIA), is an associate editor of the best-selling African American Heritage Hymnal (GIA) and compiled and edited New Wine In Old Wineskins: A Contemporary Congregational Song Supplement (GIA).
— GIA Publications, Inc. (http://www.giamusic.com)

Author and Composer Information

Albert A. Goodson (b. Los Angeles, CA, 1933) wrote both text and tune in 1956 for the Radio Choir of the Fellowship Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, where he served as minister of music. The hymn was published as a gospel anthem by Manna Music III 1963. Goodson received his education at the University of California in Los Angeles and served Baptist churches in the Los Angeles area as well as the Fellowship Baptist Church in Chicago. As organist and pianist, he toured with Mahalia Jackson and has been a prominent figure in the development of African American gospel music.
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.
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