This was never intended to be a polemical blog. My desire was to share what I was learning around the time I was saved. I was excited to share the truths of the gospel becuse I was freshly effected by them. However, there are times when a diamond can be placed against a black backdrop in order to see its facets more clearly.
Just recently the leaders of the PCUSA gathered to discuss the new hymnal they will be producing. One of the songs that came up during discussion was In Christ Alone. It had been their practice, during times of worship in song, to change the lyrics from"Til on that cross as Jesus died/ The wrath of God was satisfied" to "The love of God was magnified." This was due to PCUSA's rejection of Penal Substitutionary Atonement. Thus, when discussing its placement in the new hymnal, the leaders had to make the decision to either keep the author's original lyrics or remove it from the hymnal. They decided on the latter.
There is much that could be said about this but I'll stick to two thoughts:
1. What message do we have if it is void of the payment for sin?
What is the purpose of the cross at that point? Most likely it is a message of "Jesus was the perfect example of self-sacrafice. Go and do likewise." This may be A gospel - But it is not THE gospel.
2. Is the message that we sing and proclaim acceptable to those who reject the gospel?
I saw the hymn Lift High The Cross in a Catholic hymnal. It made me pay closer attention to lyrics. This past January, Andy Stanley preached at the inauguration service for President Obama. He taught from John 13 where Jesus washed His disciples feet. The point of this this section was Jesus preparing His disciples for His death. He told them "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me." Jesus was proclaiming the gospel here. Stanley had the perfect opportunity to do the same. Instead, he told President Obama to be a servant leader. At least the PCUSA is consistent.
As I said, my goal is not to be a hater, simply to exalt the beauty of the gospel. It certainly shines bright against the backdrop of moralism.
Photo credit: Eric Richardson