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.