David French blogged about the Presbyterian Church USA removing the hymn “In Christ Alone” from its hymnal, because its authors refused a proposed change to the lyrics that did away with the notion of Christ’s death as satisfying God’s justice.
It isn’t often that I agree with French, but I do when he writes:
The importance of rejecting substitutionary atonement is tough to overstate, with ramifications across the full spectrum of spiritual, social, and cultural engagement.
Of course, he views this as a bad thing, while I think it is theologically a move in the right direction. He also suggests that penal substitution is orthodox rather than a relative novelty in the Christian tradition.
And of course, I find it amusing when theological conservatives suggest that theological liberalism is the cause of declining numbers in mainline churches – but then go on to emphasize that the truth is often unpopular, and the majority often wrong, when their own status as a minority viewpoint is under discussion.
Here’s the hymn in question, for those who may not have heard it: