In Christ Alone” shall remain true to biblical gospel

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!

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