Question of the Week: Dianne Wilkinson

The Kingdom Heirs’ new project, We Will Stand Our Ground, releases today. Dianne Wilkinson wrote or co-wrote ten of the twelve tracks. One of them is the title track, “We Will Stand Our Ground.” When I first heard the project, this song blew me away. So I decided to ask Miss Dianne if she’d be willing to share the story of the song with us.

Daniel: We Will Stand Our Ground” is one of the most timely and relevant songs you’ve written. Was it inspired by the general direction events are going, or by something specific?

Dianne: One Sunday morning, my dear brother (Rev. James Branscum) preached a sermon about the fundementals of our faith and the importance of preserving them. I began to think about a phrase we have used a lot in talking about this subject…”contending for the faith.” I recognized my thought process as one that was leading to writing a song. I found this passage that expressed my feelings so well, from Jude 1:3: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto, and exhort you that ye should earnestly CONTEND FOR THE FAITH which was once delivered unto the saints”. He goes on to describe ungodly men who were “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the ONLY LORD GOD and OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (capitals are mine).

That afternoon, all I could think about was how very true that is TODAY, with so many false religions in the world which are gaining in strength and numbers, and even getting converts from Christianity. We’ve always known that in the last days the Church would be under attack; but I don’t know that Christians where I live for instance, West Tennessee, ever thought we might actually have to be Christian SOLDIERS. But I think we do indeed have to be…because there are things worth holding on to at all cost. I wanted to write this as encouragement and as a clarion call to the people of God.

Daniel: Could you let us in on the writing process? How did the song take shape – did the chorus come first?

Dianne: As often happens with songs that are coming to me, the words and music came together, and in this case, the first verse came first. In the crafting process, I wanted to be sure and state clearly the things that WERE worth fighting for, and never compromising about…so they are in the chorus: The Book, the Blood, the Rugged Cross. I wanted the song to be able to speak to people everywhere who either believe in a false religion, or a false “gospel” such as Paul spoke about, which means any gospel besides GRACE. Yes, I’m a fundementalist…and I’m prepared to take the heat for that. The title of the song says what I feel the most passionate about these days relating to my faith: We Will Stand Our Ground. And as God told Elijah, He will always have a remnant of folks who WILL…even if it’s a small remnant in comparison to how many people there are in the world!

Daniel: Could you tell us about the song’s journey from when it left your pen through when it got cut? Any thoughts on the rendition?

Dianne: I had a stunning demo on the song, thanks to the good folks at Daywind, with the brilliant Tim Parton doing the music track and the incomparable Terry Franklin doing vocals. I sent it to one of the quartets with whom I have a huge track record, and they put it on hold, but passed on it. I was surprised, because as we writers say, it “sounded just like them.”

Later on, when the Kingdom Heirs were looking for songs, I almost didn’t send this one, because they just don’t do ballads. They make a few exceptions (my “When You Look at Me” was such an exception). But I felt the Lord was leading me to send it to Arthur, and he put it on hold. Later on when he notified me of final song selections, this song was on the list.

When Steve French talked to me about the songs, he said this one was on the list to record from the first time they heard it, because they felt it was a message the Church needed to hear. I was thrilled, because they sing to huge numbers of people every year, and I knew…as He always does…that God gets the right songs to the right groups. When I heard the final mix of the song with the beautiful orchestration, and the perfection of the vocals…just the whole performance…it was very moving to me, and I prayed right then that the Lord would use this song to encourage believers in these perilous times in which we live.

As to the way the Kingdom Heirs sing my songs, I am ALWAYS delighted with the finished recording, because I know how high their standards are when they get ready to go into the studio, and how hard they work to “get it right”. They’re great singers and musicians, and they have a genius at the creative helm in Arthur Rice as producer. As always, I have talked too long, Daniel…but that’s the risk you take when you ask a songwriter to talk about one of her songs! Thank you for the chance to allow me to talk about this one.

Daniel: Ah, thank YOU! It’s always an honor!