So within a certain denominational church in these parts a group of ‘experts’ working on a new hymnal have decided NOT TO INCLUDE a particularly beautiful hymn entitled IN CHRIST alone. The reason they give is that line of the lyrics speaks about Christ dying to satisfy the ‘wrath’ of God. They don’t like that kind of theology.
They indicated that there might be ways the wrath of God is satisfied but not by the cross of Christ, not by Christ’s death.
Well, that’s their opinion and they are entitled to it but why not place a hymn in the book that gives an expression that many Christians believe is Biblical.
John Calvin in his Institutes of Christian Religion writes:
“Therefore, [God] loved us even when we practiced enmity toward him and committed wickedness. Thus in a marvelous and divine way he loved us even when he hated us. For he hated us for what we were that he had not made; yet because our wickedness had not entirely consumed his handiwork, he knew how, at the same time, to hate in each one of us what we had made, and to love what he had made.”
Can we not understand the wrath of God and the love of God can exist together and that God gave his own Son so that the justice of his wrath would be satisfied in his loving act through the cross?
― H. Richard Niebuhr in his book The Kingdom of God in America commented on liberal Christian theology getting to the point where the result would be:
“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”
It seems that a significant portion of the aforementioned denomination would rather believe in the Christ who came to show us love by his birth and his teachings and suffering in life for justice but not the Christ who was sent by God (God in the flesh) to satisfy divine justice for the forgiveness of sin. It is a slippery slope the end of which ends in a full humanistic picture of Jesus as a nice guy, who taught good morals and then died. Happens to lots of nice people.
I for one would rather know the God revealed in the Bible say in Romans 5:
…8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.…
Think of yourself for a human example….when you have wrath (severe punishing anger) against someone how do you get justice? If you forgive them it will cost you yourself. You will have to die to yourself. Something of you dies (like your ego) in order to make things right. Try it out. You will see.
No, I am part of the aforementioned denomination and find their grievous error of omission to be so like much of what is wrong with such a liberal ‘enlightened’ theology. Give me a break and let some of us who hold to more evangelical, reformed, traditional theology and reading of the Scripture have some of our views expressed in a hymnal that must have a few other songs that express different views.
Keith Getty and Stuart Townend wrote the hymn. Give it a listen if you haven’t already. Even if it is not in the aforementioned hymnal it will be a classic.
It seems that THE CROSS OF CHRIST IS STILL A STUMBLING BLOCK.