Composer Judson W. Van DeVenter Writes I Surrender All [button color=”red” size=”small” link=”https://amredeemed.com/hymns/309-surrender/” target=”blank” ]I surrender All[/button]
Judson W. Van DeVenter (1855-1939) was raised in a Christian home. At age 17, he accepted Jesus as his Savior. He graduated university with a degree in art and was employed successfully as a teacher and administrator of high school art. He traveled extensively, visiting the various art galleries throughout Europe.
Van DeVenter also studied and taught music. He mastered 13 different instruments, sang and composed music. He was very involved in the music ministry of his Methodist Episcopal church and eventually found himself torn between his successful teaching career and his desire to be a part of an evangelistic team. This struggle within himself lasted for almost five years.
In 1896, Van DeVenter was conducting the music of a church event. It was during these meetings that he finally surrendered his desires completely to God — He made the decision to become a full-time evangelist. As he submitted completely to the will of his Lord, a song was born in his heart.
I Surrender All was put to music by Winfield S. Weeden (1847-1908 ), who published this and many other hymns in several volumes. Weeden so loved this song that the words I Surrender All were put on his tombstone.
The words and melody of I Surrender All have appeared in virtually every English hymnal, and are just as readily sung in churches that prefer contemporary music.