Recently the Presbyterian Church (USA) decided to drop the song “In Christ Alone” (written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty) from their hymnbook.
They had requested to make a change in the following line
on that cross,
as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied
replace the 3rd line with: the love of God was magnified
So, instead of wrath satisfied, there’s love magnified. The authors refused to grant permission for the change, so the PCUSA dropped the hymn. (I learned the song in the UK, so I have to sing “Wrath” with a British accent, long “a”.)
I’m interested, but torn. I’ve attended PCUSA churches in N. CA (Menlo Park), W. Philly (Woodland) and S. CA (Glendale) for a combined 14 years (all of these churches are Evangelical). I feel committed to the denomination (although I don’t currently a PCUSA church).
But I’ve invested heavily in the stock of divine wrath. After writing God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the OT Angry, Sexist and Racist? I became the got to guy on the topic of divine wrath. I wrote on “Wrath” for the IV Dictionary of the OT Prophets.
I gave several sermons on the topic of divine anger (based on ch. 2 of God Behaving Badly).
In a collection of essays entitled Holy War in the Bible I wrote the article “Wrath and Compassion as Motivations for Divine Warfare.”
Even my golf clubs say “WRATH” on them (see “The Wrath of Dave” on this topic).
To the attacks from some that this was a “liberal” attempt to remove the concept of wrath from their hymnal, the PCUSA responded that there’s still plenty of Divine Wrath in the 800 or so remaining hymns. Here’s the PCUSA side of the story.
Wrath or love? Both. I believe that on the cross the love of God was magnified, and the wrath of God was satisfied. But I wouldn’t change the song. I like it as is. Jesus prayed that the cup of wrath would be removed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36). It was eventually removed, after satisfaction had taken place.
What do you think? Wrath or Love? Would you change the song? Leave the church?