Behind the Hymn: Blessed Redeemer
Harry Dixon Loes, was a popular music teacher at the Moody Bible Institute for almost three decades in the early 20th Century.
One day he was listening to a sermon on Christ’s atonement, titled “Blessed Redeemer”. Mr. Loes was inspired by the sermon to compose a tune.
He then sent the melody and title to his friend, Avis Christiansen, and asked her to provide the text.
The hymns was first published in the 1920 hymnal Songs of Redemption.
Avis Christiansen wrote hundreds of gospel hymns text and became an important hymn writer of the 20th Century. She was encouraged by her grandmother and wrote her first poem at the age of ten. She would go on to write “with zeal for the Lord”.
Avis Christiansen was reminded of the talent one Sunday morning while listening to the music of Mr. Loes at a worship service. She recommitted her faith and talents to the Lord and began writing hymns.
Her pastor, Rev. H. A. Ironside, wrote the following as a forward to her first poetry book, “Avis B. Christiansen is the gifted author of many of our sweetest gospel songs. By means of these, her name is known around the world, for many of the delightful lyrics have been translated into various languages. She is a modest, retiring person whom few got to know beyond the circle of her immediate family and friends. With a very keen apprehension of spiritual realities and a clear understanding of the great truths revealed in the Word of God, her hymns and poems are eminently Scriptural and soul-uplifting.”
Avis Christiansen met Harry Loes at Moody Institute. Her husband, Ernest Christiansen, served as Vice President of Investments at Moody Bible Institute. Harry Loes was a student at Moody and later became a member of the faculty of the Bible Institute.
Avis Christiansen died on January 14, 1985, having written hundreds of hymns. Her friend, Harry Loes, died twenty years earlier in 1965, having written fifteen hundred gospel songs and hymns and composing tunes for more than three thousand songs.