Quantcast

«

»

Aug 21 2013

God can’t get no satisfaction

Those who have never been really involved in religion sometimes do not realize how intense discussions can be about what seems (to outsiders) like trivial matters over the meaning of words. A recent example is the controversy over the decision of the Presbyterian church to reject a popular new hymn for inclusion in its official hymnal because the song’s authors objected to a change in the wording.

The committee putting together a new hymnal for the Presbyterian Church (USA) dropped the popular hymn “In Christ Alone” because the song’s authors refused to change a phrase about the wrath of God.

The original lyrics say that “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song wanted to substitute the words, “the love of God was magnified.”

People thought that the problem was with the word ‘wrath’ which seemed to denote a vengeful god but the real problem was with the word ‘satisfied’.

That term was used by the medieval theologian Anselm, who argued that sins offended God’s honor, and someone had to die in order to satisfy his honor.

The 15-member committee rejected Anselm’s view and voted 9-6 to drop the hymn.

The Rev. Chris Joiner of First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tenn., agrees with that move. He said some of his church members are fans of the song and will be disappointed that it was dropped. But the words of the song don’t work, he said.

“That lyric comes close to saying that God killed Jesus,” he said. “The cross is not an instrument of God’s wrath.”

But the Rev. Scott Sauls, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, disagrees. He said the word “satisfied” means that Jesus paid the whole price for sins.

“There’s no more work to be done,” said Sauls, whose congregation is part of the more conservative Presbyterian Church in America. “It is finished.”

There once was a time when I too would have been engrossed by such theological questions. Thank goodness I don’t waste time on such things anymore.

7 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    How did the Big End/Little End controversey ever get resolved?

  2. 2
    JonP

    “That lyric comes close to saying that God killed Jesus,”

    They seem so close to realizing how absurd the whole concept of the Jesus crucifixion sounds.

  3. 3
    Reginald Selkirk

    If Mr. Omnipotent is not responsible for killing his Son/Self, then who is? When you are the Be-all and End-all, it looks tacky to blame stuff on your subordinates.

  4. 4
    MNb

    “Thank goodness …”
    Though I never have been really involved with religion I can empathize. No way I can understand this utter waste of time.

  5. 5
    Leo Buzalsky

    Yet so far away…

  6. 6
    sailor1031

    “That lyric comes close to saying that God killed Jesus,” he said. “The cross is not an instrument of God’s wrath.”

    But that is the entire point of christianity. That yeshue, as doG’s son, had to die for everyone’s sins because that was the only thing that could appease the vengeful doG. If these guys don’t get that then they are not christians.

  7. 7
    Margaret

    “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.”

    So if they are rejecting this concise summary of the Christian bible, does that mean that they will reject the bible next?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>