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“The Wrath Of God Was Satisfied?”: The Revd Bosco Peters

There is an important blog post and subsequent discussion on the website of The Revd Bosco Peters, which I urge you to go and read in full. Here is the first section. (I have inserted above a video of the song ‘In Christ alone’ – the words are at 1.31.)


The wrath of God

At our recent synod meeting, one of the songs was Stuart Townend and Keith Getty’s In Christ alone with the words:

“Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied”

Those words as understood by many (if not most) in that room are heresy. The understanding of those words by many (most) who enthusiastically sing this in services around the planet is heretical.

The understanding is that God (The Father) was angry at us in our sinfulness. And that God took out this rage on Christ instead of on us. And that this now enables God (The Father) to love us.

This understanding is heresy.

Our diocesan synodical singing of these words comes on the heels of a diocesan-wide study through Lent of a booklet The Praying Life, written by two of the top and most influential theologians in our diocese, Peter Carrell and Lynda Patterson. In this they wrote:

‘This cup’ particularly points to the cross as the place on which the wrath of God against sin was borne by Jesus as the final and full sacrifice for the sin of the world.

And Peter reinforces Lynda’s and his point on his blog:

If Jesus were not raised then we would not know whether God’s wrath was satisfied. That Jesus was raised demonstrated that God’s wrath was satisfied. The cup had been drained by Jesus.

The wrath-of-God-satisfied approach has been canonised as our diocesan soteriology (understanding of how we are saved).

Let me stress I am not saying Lynda and Peter are heretics. I am not taking (what is here called) a “Title D” process against them. Theologians have minds wired so that words for them can mean something quite different to what they appear to mean to the rest (majority) of us….

{You can read the rest of Bosco’s post – and the subsequent comments – here }

7 comments on this post:

r0dd0n said...


03 May 2013 07:02
JCF said...

Amor Vincit Omnia

03 May 2013 09:14
Lay Anglicana said...

The following is the exchange on Facebook, copied here to preserve it.

Keith Jillings and Jason Wagner like this.

Doug Wolfgram Chose are all words spoken by man. In fact, man who was trying to control other men. It is important to ask one’s self — is this quote or saying the word of God or the word of man?
23 hours ago

Andrew Bennison It’s a real shame because I love this hymn, and it’s hugely (probably excessively!) popular among the Christian circles I mix in at university. I’ve heard that some people sing “the love of God” instead – maybe I’ll start doing this, in order to ease my conscience!
22 hours ago

Laura Sykes The problem is that the tune is wonderful, and very catchy! Also the other verses are unobjectionable
22 hours ago

Andrew Bennison Yes exactly – choosing not to sing the hymn on account of our objection to these lines seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater somewhat!
22 hours ago

Laura Sykes I think we just need to agree on changing the words – substituting ‘love’ for ‘wrath’ pretty much does it. All hymnals, so far as I know, happily muck around with the originals. Like poor Bunyan and ‘he would valiant be’ – modern versions do not allow ‘hobgoblin nor foul fiend shall daunt my spirit’ Not to mention the terrific second verse of our national anthem ‘ O Lord, our God arise, scatter our enemies and make them fail’ – now excised as being too unkind to our enemies!
22 hours ago

Penelope Cowell Doe I’m sorry, I hate it. Cosmic child abuse.
22 hours ago

Andrew David Cain Don’t believe in substitutionary atonement. And what’s better – neither did the Church for more than a thousand years. Blame Anselm and the Reformers.
21 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 4

Wendy Dackson Three things I want to say. First, we believe what we sing more than we realize because it is reinforced by catchy tunes. So we need to be extra careful about choosing the texts for congregational singing. Second, don’t blame Anselm, and see my article…See More
18 hours ago Edited · Unlike · 4

Bosco Peters Thanks for all these thoughts! Christ is risen.
7 hours ago · Like · 1

Joyce Hackney As an adolescent I believed in penal substitution. It was so simple. Telling other people the punishment for their sins had already been taken and they were free was straightforward. Explaining what the alternative is is something I still find difficult. It all sounds so vague and waffley to those who can’t see the point of it otherwise.
5 hours ago · Like

Wendy Dackson
I can’t remember which church it was for, but during Lent I saw a tv advert for a church that was all about ‘I committed sin xyz, and Jesus died for my sin’. A God that requires the death of his son because someone boosted a pack of smokes is not a God I care to venerate.
5 hours ago via mobile · Edited · Unlike · 1

Bosco Peters I guess, Joyce, the gospel just isn’t able to be explained in the length of a tweet – otherwise why is the New Testament so long (let alone 4 gospels…) Here is one attempt:
the Big Story | Liturgy
Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spir…See more
4 hours ago · Like · Remove Preview

Scott Elliott Joyce, yes to everything you said. That’s one advantage to that view of the atonement: it’s a simple and straightforward business deal. Scott owes God $1 000. Jesus pays God $1000 000 000 000 000. Scott doesn’t owe God anymore.

If only it weren’t a load of hooey! If only the universe really wasn’t based on Capitalist principles! If only God ran things MY way!
2 hours ago ·

Joyce said...

Indeed, Bosco and Scott. However,when one considers Temple theology with its requirements of sacrifice and facilities for atonement it’s easy to see how Jesus’ words about Himself led to the concept of ‘He died in myplace’.In that light it’s a bit harsh to call it a heresy, it seems to me.

04 May 2013 13:41
04 May 2013 06:27

[…] the blogging: Mark Harris The Wrath of God (WOG), and a New Zealand theological debate. Laura Sykes “The Wrath Of God Was Satisfied?”: The Revd Bosco Peters June Butler “THE WRATH OF GOD WAS SATISFIED?” David Ould So much anger over the Wrath […]

05 May 2013 17:59

[…] blogosphere about wrath – God’s wrath, to be precise. You can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and in a number of posts […]

05 May 2013 20:59

[…] the blogging: Mark Harris The Wrath of God (WOG), and a New Zealand theological debate. Laura Sykes “The Wrath Of God Was Satisfied?”: The Revd Bosco Peters June Butler “THE WRATH OF GOD WAS SATISFIED?” David Ould So much anger over the Wrath of God […]

08 July 2013 00:59

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