God not wrathful, Calvinists insist

The Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest Presbyterian group in the U.S., has dropped a popular new hymn, “In Christ Alone,” from a new hymnal because the songwriters refused to change a lyric referring to the wrath of God.

This may seem strange for a group of Calvinists, and indeed, the PCUSA insists the sticking point is over a different theological matter in the offending lyric, ““on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The committee in charge of the hymnal wanted to change that to “let’s spend some time together.”

No! Sorry, that was an Ed Sullivan reference. They wanted to change it to “…the love of God was magnified,” but claim their problem isn’t with “wrath,” but with “satisfied.”

The committee members say that plays into a theological notion developed by the medieval papist St. Anselm, which the Presbyterians reject: ““That lyric comes close to saying that God killed Jesus,” says a Presbyterian minister in Tennessee. “The cross is not an instrument of God’s wrath.”

But the hymn remains fine for the more conservative (more Calvinist?) Presbyterian Church in America, so you know where to go if you’ve got your heart set on singing about wrath.

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2 Responses to God not wrathful, Calvinists insist

  1. sharon says:

    Wait, there’s a PCUSA and a PCA? I thought only the Lutherans were split this way. I learn something new here every day!

  2. Linda LaPlante says:

    John 3:16-18, “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. The reason for Christ’s sacrifice was a fullfillment under the Old Testament Laws and Christ came to fullfill the law. Hebrews 9:22. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. *** Do people really believe that this is a satifaction of Gods Anger? I too was upset by the wording within the Song “In Christ Alone” God’s Anger was not satisfied, but His Love was Magnified, because he sent his only son … John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

    17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to CONDEM the world, but in order that the world might be SAVED through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. “Condemnation of sin is the punishment that satisfies Gods Anger over sin, In His Love, he has sent Christ as the atoning sacrifice, not to CONDEM the world, but in order to SAVE. If the author’s of the song do not understand this, I really feel sorry for them.