The sneaky preacher

“Jesus is tenderly calling.” Those of us who have been in church for most of our lives remember the last few minutes on Sunday morning where the invitation to follow Christ and place our membership in that church fellowship begins with a song. 

Many evangelists ended their sermons to the tune of “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” and eyes filled with tears, many of us made our way to the altar where we accepted Christ as our gentle Savior.

We sang “All the Way My Savior Leads Me” and made professions of faith, committed to the mission field, and young men answered the call to preach.

Were we influenced by the message of the preacher, or the traveling evangelist?  Or did the words of the song enter our hearts and brought us to accepting that Savior or the call to further service?

Fanny Crosby wrote these songs and you can tell by her name that she was a woman.  She wrote 1,000 or more songs, and used over 200 names because her publishers thought people would not want only songs by Fanny Crosby.

This was brought to my attention last week when one of our steering team members said he once told the congregation that he was in that they wouldn’t let a woman preach, or speak behind the pulpit, but they sang with gusto songs written by Fanny Crosby.  These were gospel songs, telling the gospel, and bringing people to a commitment to follow Christ.  What difference did it make that they were sung?  The words were the message and the words were written by a woman. We have ‘walked the aisles’ to her words.

“Jesus is waiting; O come to him now, waiting today, waiting today; come with thou sins; at his feet lowly bow; Come, and no longer delay.”

Sometimes I wonder if the Bibles sold today have Matthew 23 in invisible ink. Don’t we see our hypocrisy?  Can’t we see that preaching is simply giving the words of Christ to those who will hear? How can we turn them away?  Jesus is calling today! 

Fanny Crosby was a sneaky preacher.

Will you pray with me for the day to come quickly that women will not have to resort to turning the gospel into a tune before her words can be spoken behind a pulpit?

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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9 Responses to The sneaky preacher

  1. kbonikowsky says:

    I love her songs: He hideth my soul, blessed assurance, praise him! Jesus our blessed redeemer, redeemed how I love to proclaim it!, tell me the story of Jesus, to God be the glory!

    Now I’m gonna have to pull out my hymn CDs and sing all day! Thanks for the reminder this great author was female.


  2. Mara says:


    Sneaky is one of our words we use in our house and this is why:

    Yeah, I know it has little to do with your post, but it still makes me laugh.
    And when I read the title, all I can think is… “You sneaky preacher!”


  3. Marg says:

    Shirley, I’ve been thinking about Fanny Crosby this week too. Her songs are full of doctrine and devotion; and her influence has been, and remains, huge. People still remember her words precisely; because she set her words to music. By way of contrast: Who remembers, with the same degree of recall and precision, what certain male preachers have taught ?

    And I fully take your point about whether it was Fanny’s song or the evangelists message that made people respond to Jesus.

    Sort of on the same subject: I personally know two elderly people with advanced dementia who could still sing hymns to the glory of God on their deathbed, because the hymns were so ingrained in their minds and heart.

    We need new Fanny Crosbys who can write contemporary hymns instilled with sound doctrine and deep devotion that bring people closer to Jesus.


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