The popular hymn “In Christ Alone” won’t appear in the new hymnal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) because hymn writers Keith Getty and Stuart Townend refused to change the lyrics.
Mary Louise Bringle, who chairs the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Songs, writes in “The Christian Century” that some committee members objected to the line that says, “On that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.”
She says they asked Getty and Townend if the lyric could be changed to say “the love of God was magnified.”
The hymn writers wouldn’t allow it.
Getty has said they wrote “In Christ Alone” to tell “the whole gospel.”
Bringle writes that most committee members didn’t want the new Presbyterian hymnal to suggest that Jesus’ death on the cross was an atoning sacrifice that was needed “to assuage God’s anger” over sin.
Outstanding. I appreciate their holding firm even though it means loss of royalties and exposure. Hard choice and they put faith over other considerations. How does dc Talk put it? “Is this one for the people? Is this one for the Lord? Or do I simply serenade for things I must afford? You can jumble them together. My conflict still remains, holiness is calling In the midst of courting fame.”
I only recently became aware of the debate over “removal of wrath”, propitiation and expiation, and so on and so forth. I haven’t even grasped the scope of the positions, the terminologies, and I haven’t yet even begun to understand the arguments people put forth, but I am motivated to explore it. For now, I remain firm in belief that Christ died to satisfy our debt and remove God’s wrath from us.
First impressions are that this whole issue is going to end up in the box I’m keeping of doctrines that have led to the present-day church that creates false-converts and feels that the gospel needs to be given a facelift to make it more palatable… that has led to Word of Faith teaching, Prosperity Gospel, Sales Pitch Evangelism, and the Buddy Jesus. First impressions are only useful if they lead to refinement and second and third and eventually firm impressions.
I just don’t understand the mentality that struggles with the idea of an awesome God who is holy and thus capable of anger, wrath, punishment, correction, saying ‘no’, taking away privileges, and judging sin from obedience. What an awesome God, worthy of worship! It makes His love for us all the more fantastic and worthwhile and joy-provoking… He keeps reaching down to us and giving us chances to become obedient instead of writing us off as a bad job. The scope of this blows my mind… He created an entire universe for us. He created us. He created a garden and in order to give us true free-will, gave us only one instruction to which we must be obedient… and we did not, and thousands of years have now passed with example after example of His trying to redeem us and give us another chance to be obedient… If He were to tally the bill for all the redemptions of all the Gomers across all the years and put that quantity of silver and barley on the surface of the earth, I suspect we’d be nudging the moon out of orbit before the accounting even reached the birth of Christ.
Hooray, Living Waters has weighed in!