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:
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.
The importance of rejecting substitutionary atonement is tough to overstate, with ramifications across the full spectrum of spiritual, social, and cultural engagement.
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: