Posted by: rcottrill | February 20, 2010

Today in 1867 – Barney Warren Born

Barney Elliot Warren was converted in 1884 at revival meetings near Bangor, Michigan. Two years later he joined an evangelistic singing group as a bass singer. Warren also served as a Church of God pastor, producing song books and hymnals for the Gospel Trumpet Company. He is credited with writing some 7,000 songs, though few are used today.

One song that is still found in some books is Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory, based on I Pet. 1:8 (KJV), where the apostle speaks of the Lord Jesus, “whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Though the blessings of God are often beyond description, it’s in praising Him for what we are able to comprehend that our souls are strengthened and encouraged. That seems to be the meaning of Nehemiah’s words, when he told the people of Israel, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).

I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth ev’ry need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory,
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.

I have found that hope so bright and clear,
Living in the realm of grace;
Oh, the Saviour’s presence is so near,
I can see His smiling face.

(2) Today in 1953 – Frederick Lehman Died
Frederick Martin Lehman’s family came to America from Germany in 1868, settling in a one-room log cabin in Iowa. Lehman put his faith in Christ at the age of 11. He studied for the ministry at Northwestern College in Naperville, Illinois, and went on to pastor churches in Iowa, Indiana, and Missouri. But much of his ministry involved writing gospel songs. He produced hundreds of them, also compiling 5 song books. In 1911 he helped to found the Nazarene Publishing House.

His best known song is The Love of God (see Today in 1868), but consider some of the text for There’s No Disappointment in Heaven. Lehman was struggling with a letdown on a Monday morning, after what he describes as “a particularly disappointing Sunday” at the church he where he was then the pastor. He says, “Satan helped me count my disappointments!” But suddenly the Lord reminded him of the eternal prospect of the child of God. He says, “I saw beyond the disappointments in this vale of tears.” Taking up a pencil, he wrote:

There’s no disappointment in heaven,
No weariness, sorrow or pain;
No hearts that are bleeding and broken,
No song with a minor refrain.
The clouds of our earthly horizon
Will never appear in the sky,
For all will be sunshine and gladness,
With never a sob or a sigh.

I’m bound for that beautiful city,
My Lord has prepared for His own;
Where all the redeemed of all ages
Sing “Glory!” around the white throne;
Sometimes I grow homesick for heaven,
And the glories I there shall behold;
What a joy that will be when my Saviour I see,
In that beautiful city of gold.



  1. […] of her father’s songs, including There’s No Disappointment in Heaven (see second item under Today in 1867), and The Love of God (see Today in 1868). (In the latter hymn, “the guilty pair” is, […]

  2. Barny E Warren was a realative of mine as stated by my father. There was also a Book written about him titled The Chief Singer this hard cover book was very old and given to my grandmother Martha warren several years ago. The book was passed down through the years and finally lost in a fire. I have been trying to find another copy of it to no avail as I never got to finish reading it. If you have any information about it I would sure appreciate recieving it. Conrad C Warren

    • Interesting. Thanks for sharing your relationship with Barney Warren. As to the book you mentioned, I see its full title is TO the Chief Singer. (And I don’t know if the first name of the author, “Axchie” is a misprint for Archie–I rather think so.) It is available–one used, slightly damaged copy. But it’ll cost you…$120! And it seems there’s only one copy on the market. Depends on how badly you want to own it, I guess. Here’s the information:

      To the Chief Singer: A Brief Story of the Work and Influence of Barney E. Warren (Hardcover)
      by Axchie A. Bolitho
      Seller: booksandbooks_atoz
      In Stock. Ships from OH, United States. Expedited shipping available.
      International & domestic shipping rates and return policy.
      A very rare biography of the evangelist and writer of thousands of gospel songs, who died in Springfield, Ohio in 1951.

    • Conrad,

      I just found out that my 2x great grandfather was a partner of B. E. Warren. My grandfather’s name is Robison P. Gooding. Grandpa Robison was a traveling minister and had many of the tent revivals and Barney worked with him. If anyone has any info on Robison P. Gooding I’d love to hear it. Thanks!

      • Thanks for the interesting family connection. I hope you’re successful in finding out more about your relative.

      • Actually Barney was not my great grandfather. What I understand was that he was the son of George Warren who was the brother of my great grandfather thus making him my great grandfather’s nephew.
        Conrad Warren

  3. Barney Warren is one of my “heroes of the faith” as the term is used. Not only was he a brilliant songwriter and lyricist, he was a devoted pastor and follower of Jesus Christ. The church I attend in Springfield, OH was his home for many years. There are a number of people in our congregation who remember him well. One fellow tells a story of sitting in Warren’s home as a young boy and sitting on the piano bench while he wrote one of his thousands of songs.

    There is an old church of God Campmeeting site just outside of town where OH Rt 4 and US Rt 40 divide. Warren had a cottage on those campgrounds for years. Several years ago it was taken down and reassembled in Anderson, IN. Unfortunately, outside the church of God, there are pretty much only 2 known songs of his. In the church of God his songs are treasured favorites and are sung often. If you don’t know much about Barney Warren, his music is well worth looking into. Beautiful harmony and lyrics.

    Conrad, if you are still looking for the book, I may be able to help you out. If you go to and leave a message under the “Contact Us” section I’ll reply back. I have a copy of the book (paperback) but I may know where you can still get copies of it.

    BTW… first time I’ve been to this site. I just “accidentally discovered” it. Great site!

    • Thanks for the personal reminiscences about Barney Warren, and for your encouraging comment about my blog. Drop by any time! 🙂

      I have an extensive library of books on hymn history, but I do not have the one you refer to. I’ll drop by the website and see if I can get a copy. Thanks for that information too. God bless.

  4. My husband and I had started loving hymns ever since I started reading the stories behind the songs or reading about the blessed life of the different composers.
    We are overseeing a small church here in Laguna, Philippines and we make sure that on top of the contemporary songs that are so popular now, we are instilling in your youth music ministry the love of hymns. it is our way of getting in touch with our earlier brethrens so that no one will forget. In our mission work in Europe, we also share our love for our classic Christian hymns and we make sure that before we sing those hymns,we inform them of the story behind the songs. I am glad to know that your site is another place we can learn more about these songs.

    God bless you!
    Willy and Criselle Young from the Philippines

    • Thank you so much for your kind comments. I hope that other worship leaders will read about what you’re doing and determine to do likewise. Our rich heritage of hymns goes back a long way. I had our folks at Bible Study last week sing “Shepherd of Eager Youth.” It’s a fine hymn, and I pointed out that it was written around the year AD 200–just a century after the death of the Apostle John. When we sing it, we unite in spirit with Christians down through the centuries. Further, our traditional hymns and gospel songs often have more doctrinal depth than the contemporary choruses. Let’s use the best of those, but not forget twenty centuries of hymnody! God bless you in your ministry for Him.

  5. […] Lehman wrote hundreds of gospel songs. (For another of these, see the second item under Today in 1867.) His best known selection is the 1917 hymn The Love of God, for which his daughter Claudia wrote […]

  6. Thank you for your wonderful write up on my Great Grandfather Barney E.. Warren. You picked one of my favorite songs as well. I know you cannot write down all his well known songs but I have picked a few more that are really well known in the Church of God. Victory, Beautiful, Child of God, It Is Truly Wonderful, Power in the Blood, Waves of Devotion, Kingdom of Peace, Joy Unspeakable, All In Jesus, What a Mighty God, His Yoke is Easy, The Bond of Perfectness, In the Hollow of His Mighty Hand are just a few of the thousands of songs he wrote the music and the words to.

    He also wrote the music to many of D.S. Warner songs wile he was a member of his traveling evangelistic group from 1886 to about 1891. Barney was an incredible song writer as you know. Most of the words to his songs were inspired from words or verses in the Bible. My Grandmother Nellie Warren Monteith was Barney and Nanny Warren’s only daughter. I have ended up with her collection of old family pictures and her hand written family history. I noticed that another writer was related to Barney as well. That is highly possible because he came from a family of ten children. I have lost track of his brothers and sisters family who lived in Michigan in the 1890 – 1930 and ?

    I ended up with most of my grandmother’s collection of family pictures and her own life story. I have all this information and pictures on a Word document that I can share with other family members. The old Barney Warren cabin in Springfield was moved and restored and it resides on the campus of Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana in 2006. It serves as the Historical Center for the Church of God. If you go there you will find a bronze plaque on the front of the cabin with Barney’s picture. Inside you will also find a large picture of the family taken on the steps of the cabin in 1917. Also I have a copy of the book written about Barney- To the Chief Singer by Axchie A. Bolitho. No that is not a misspell. It is written all the cover and on the inside of the book as well.

    God Bless you and all you are doing,

    Gary Monteith

    • How delightful! Thank you very much. It happens now and then that a reader of the blog is related to a particular hymn writer, or has some family history with him or her. It’s always great to get this personal perspective. God bless, and thanks again.

    • Gary,

      Barney E Warren was my Great Great Grandfather. His son was Francis Earl was the father of my Grandmother Frances Ester Warren. I would love to see some of those photos.

      • Jennifer,
        It was nice to hear from you. If you E-mail me I would be glad to contact you and send you some pictures electronically of the family. I also have an historical document that I have written on the Warren side of our family. You will be surprised at how many old pictures I have. I also have a narrative story behind most of the pictures. You see when I grew up I spent lots of days with my Grandmother Nellie Warren Monteith and I have her hand written family history about her father Barney.
        I have also some pictures of you Great Great Grandfather Earl who was a avid coon hunter as well.
        Gary Montieth


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