*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Wrath and love in a well-known atonement hymn

by
13 October 2010

iStock

From the Revd David Phypers

Sir, — Although I firmly believe that (in the words of Philip Bliss’s hymn) “In my place condemned he stood,” I, too, share Jeremy Davies’s hesitation in singing: “Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied” (Features, 24 September).

That single word “wrath” spoils an otherwise incomparable modern hymn, which stands in the great tradition of Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, Graham Kendrick, and Timothy Dudley-Smith. To be sure, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth” (Romans 1.18). But God did not so hate the world that he gave his only Son. Rather, he so loved the world.

So, at Bishop Tom Wright’s suggestion in The Cross and the Caricatures, I now sing: “Till on that cross as Jesus died, The love of God was satisfied.”

This not only enriches Stuart Townend’s hymn: it better expresses the scriptural doctrine of substitutionary atonement with which we must all grapple if we are to begin to understand the mystery of our Lord’s sacrificial self-offering for the sins of the world.

DAVID PHYPERS
15 Albert Road, Chaddesden
Derby DE21 6SL

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

27-28 September 2022
humbler church Bigger God conference
The HeartEdge Conference in Manchester includes the Theology Slam Live Final.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.