Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stuart Townend to hymn butchers: Your changes are not authorized

Well, it would appear that the Archbishop of Canterbury's rank cowardice in the face of the prevailing winds of the zeitgeist is not the only problem plaguing the Mother Church these days. Cranmer's Curate reports on liberal efforts to deface a theologically rich contemporary hymn.
Liberal Anglicans do not like the reference to the wrath of God being satisfied in the hymn 'In Christ Alone', so what do they do? Censor it.

The Copyright version of Stuart Townend and Keith Getty's classic hymn says:
In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
In the unauthorised version in use in liberal Anglican circles, the sixth line of this verse reads: 'The love of God was exemplified.'

As tends to be the case with revisionist changes, this one does violence to the spiritual context and diminishes the wonder of God's saving love. Liberal Anglicans want their merely exemplary view of the atonement to be sung but the line following the sixth - 'For every sin on Him was laid' - flatly contradicts their attempt to airbrush our culpable and hell-deserving sin out of the death of the Lord Jesus.

In response to an enquiry as to whether the authors had authorised the change, a spokeswoman for Mr Townend told Cranmer's Curate that:
Although all copyright/permission enquiries are handled by Stuart's publishers, you are right in thinking that permission would not be granted to change the words to any of Stuart's songs. However, I'm also aware that an unofficial, edited lyric of the hymn has been circling for some time, and some are unaware that it is unapproved. So it may well be that (one Anglican diocese where the liberal version has been used at official services) are not aware that they're breaking copyright by using it.
A similar controversy erupted here in the states last year when the committee developing a new hymnal for the Presbyterian Church (USA) wanted to alter the "offending" lyric to "the love of God was magnified." Townend refused to allow the change and the song was thus excluded from the hymnal.

The fact that liberals -- be they Anglican, Presbyterian, or what have you -- are offended by the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement is itself offensive, and quite indicative of how far they have strayed from the truth of the Gospel. Not only are they placing their souls in peril, they are depriving themselves of some truly uplifting music. It is no wonder they always seem so grumpy.