MORE THAN A BIT MIFFED GOD

From ABC2 NEWS:

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."

Of course, the irony (or should that be tragedy) is that the teachings of Jesus Christ would indicate that if God was to get angry it would be with sanctimonious, legalistic bad news bringers like the writers of paganistic hymns such as "In Christ Alone."

Comments

MORE THAN A BIT MIFFED GOD — 10 Comments

  1. You may be interested to know the same thing happened with the new Methodist Hymn Book. They also asked the authors if they could change the same line. They got the same answer. So, what did they do?

    Well, they had a good look at it and published several reasons they thought it was against Methodist doctrine. (In Methodism the hymns are supposed to reflect Methodist doctrine.) Then they concluded that although it was not doctrinally correct they would include it anyway because so many people like it.

    Personally I think people like the tune, which is a difficult tune to forget once you’re reminded of it. The truth is our churches will be divided every time some misguided preacher chooses it between those who will sing it and those who will not.

    In 1986 they did the same thing with the National Anthem for Hymns and Psalms. Since then I’ve never heard of any Methodist Church singing the national anthem. It’s probably too much to hope history will repeat itself.

  2. You may be interested to know the same thing happened with the new Methodist Hymn Book. They also asked the authors if they could change the same line. They got the same answer. So, what did they do?

    Well, they had a good look at it and published several reasons they thought it was against Methodist doctrine. (In Methodism the hymns are supposed to reflect Methodist doctrine.) Then they concluded that although it was not doctrinally correct they would include it anyway because so many people like it.

    Personally I think people like the tune, which is a difficult tune to forget once you’re reminded of it. The truth is our churches will be divided every time some misguided preacher chooses it between those who will sing it and those who will not.

    In 1986 they did the same thing with the National Anthem for Hymns and Psalms. Since then I’ve never heard of any Methodist Church singing the national anthem. It’s probably too much to hope history will repeat itself.

  3. Tells you everything you need to know about the theological ignorance of people who can’t differentiate wrath from anger.

    They’ll probably replace it with Graham Kendrick…

  4. Well, if it’s a theological error, it’s a theological error that’s deep in the DNA of bog-standard Anglicanism. ‘Who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world…’

    • I disagree, Tim. I see no reason why atonement theology requires a wrathful God. “Wrath” is “vindictive anger.” A judge being vindictive and wrathful in an English court of law would be regarded as acting improperly.

    • My point is simply that the idea of wrath and satisfaction has been deeply embedded in the Prayer Book. I think of the words of the confession: ‘…provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation upon us’. It’s not just ‘those goddamned Calvinists’. It’s ‘our goddamned Calvinists’ – Thomas Cranmer et al. Cranmer would have wholeheartedly agreed with the idea that the wrath of God was satisfied by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

  5. Wrath isn’t explicitly mentioned there (in the Canon) although it is pretty much an underlying assumption. it does reflect the theological concerns and emphasis at the time of composition. But the Calvinist position was much modified later by John McLeod Campbell and therefore it doesn’t have to be read quite as stringently as the hard core insist.