To proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "true truth," and to disciple and encourage people to grow in faith and participate in influencing their culture.
In an August 6, 2013 article by Bob Smietana of USA Today,
which was published on the website of Religion News Service, the PC(USA)
committee for selecting songs for a new hymnal, rejected the hymn In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend and
Keith Getty. The reason for the rejection was that the authors would not change
a phrase about the wrath of God. The original lyrics read, “on that cross, as
Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The committee of the mainline liberal
Presbyterian Church asked to change those words to “on that cross, as Jesus
died, the love of God was satisfied.”
Townend and Getty refused to allow the change because they
believed the full gospel must be presented. Mary Louise Bringle, a religion
professor at Brevard College in North Carolina and chair of the hymnal
committee, didn’t agree with the “Satisfaction Theory” of the gospel. She said
the issue wasn’t about the wrath of God, for other hymns mention that. She had
a problem with the word “satisfied,” a term used by the medieval theologian
Anselm, who argued that sins were an offense to a holy God, and without someone
satisfying God’s wrath, then entrance to heaven was unattainable.
Romans 5:8-9 says, “but God shows his
love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since,
therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be
saved by him from the wrath of God.” Most people are familiar with verse
8, which talks about the love of God. This is what Peter Abelard, the French
medieval philosopher, concentrated on in proposing his Moral Influence Theory
of the Atonement. Contrary to Anselm, Abelard believed the atonement of Christ
was not to satisfy God’s justice and wrath, but to influence man toward moral
improvement. It was the love of God that put Christ on the cross to soften
man’s heart and lead him toward repentance.
Bringle is in the camp of Abelard and neglects verse 9 of
Romans 5, which is explicit in saying that the death of Christ saved us from
the wrath of God. In other words, “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of
God was satisfied.” Not only are Bringle and others on her committee trying to
change the words of Townend and Getty, they are neglecting Scripture and manipulating
the very words of the Gospel. The 15-member committee rejected Anselm’s view,
adopted Abelard’s theory, and voted 9-6 to drop the hymn. Not only did they
drop the hymn, they dropped the gospel.
Proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Christ in the context of relationship, to confront the Church to return to "truetruth,"andtodiscipleandencouragepeopletogrowinfaithandparticipateininfluencingtheirculture.