Hymn of the Month

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER, 2020


In Christ Alone

(Click Title to Listen)

by Stuart Townend, Keith Getty


In Christ Alone 

In Christ alone my hope is found;

He is my light, my strength, my song.

This cornerstone, this solid ground,

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My comforter, my all in all—

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

 

In Christ alone Who took on flesh,

Fullness 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;

Our ev'ry sin on Him was laid—

Here in the death of Christ I live.

 

There in the ground His body lay,

Light of the world by darkness slain;

Then bursting forth in glorious day,

Up from the grave He rose again!

And as He stands in victory,

Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;

For I am His and He is mine—

Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

 

No guilt in life, no fear in death—

This is the power of Christ in me;

From life's first cry to final breath,

Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand;

Till He returns or calls me home—

Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.


                                                               

THE STORY BEHIND THE HYMN


"In Christ Alone" is the first song resulting from the collaboration by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, well-known songwriters of Christian hymns and contemporary worship music world-wide. Written in 2001, the music was composed by Getty with the original lyrics by Townend.


In a 2018 interview, Townend recounts his introduction to Keith Getty by a mutual friend at a conference they were attending:


“Nothing particularly eventful happened but Keith said he’d send me a CD with some of his song ideas.  As soon as I heard the first song – which was just him on the piano, playing the melody in the right hand – I thought there was something quite profound about it. I phoned Keith, we talked and subsequently agreed ‘this is a song about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and what that means for us.’

“That’s the power of this song – it points to what Christ went though and how it changes everything. We get to stand before Him not because of our great faith or because of doing well as a Christian, but purely and simply because of what He has done.”


In an interview with Worship Leader Magazine, Keith Getty recalls the struggle at one point in his life “. . .to understand and fully embrace my faith amid an unbelieving, universalist, and multi-religious culture. It was a journey to believe in the uniqueness of Christ, the Scriptures and the gospel story. By the time I came through this, my faith was stronger, and I really wanted to write songs for the Church that brought the full, rich, life-giving story of the gospel into believers’ hearts and minds.


“What we sing is so fundamental in the formation of a believer’s heart and mind as it also shapes our imagination and memory. The congregations in front of us each Sunday are in need of this gospel story to sustain them throughout the week. We must feed them on the truths of the gospel. Our congregations today are exposed to every religion and philosophy through media and the Internet in a greater way than ever before, so we must have something of substance to say in our worship that reminds us why Christ’s story is so unique and so utterly essential.”


As a case in point, a theological controversy arose over this song in 2012 when the Presbyterian Church (USA) requested permission to use an alternative lyric in their hymnal, changing the phrase, "Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied", from "wrath of God was satisfied" to "the love of God was magnified.” This request sparked a theological discussion in the church centered on the subject of atonement and the doctrine of propitiation.


Getty and Townend denied permission for the change with Getty quoted as saying, “The main thread of what we see revealed throughout the Old and New Testament is the need for man to be made right with God. The provided path toward reconciliation came through Christ's predetermined and perfect sacrifice on the cross, satisfying God's wrath once and for all.”


On his web site, “The Berean Test: Analyzing Lyrics in Jesus’ Name,” Vince Wright succinctly summarizes the message of this hymn:

“This song epitomizes praise and worship, replete with:

  1. Attributes of God.  He is the source of our light, strength, song, and peace.  He is the chief cornerstone, love, and sovereign over creation.  Nothing can separate us from Him!
  2. Actions of God.  He destroys darkness, doubts, and fear in us, comforts, and demonstrates His love through payment of our sins.  The last, of course, is the Gospel message, front and center.
  3. Our response of eternal praise to Christ’s actions.”

For an excellent Biblical analysis of this song, visit https://www.thebereantest.com/keith-and-kristyn-getty-in-christ-alone.

 

Compiled and edited  from excerpts of personal interviews with Stuart Townend by Oladosu Taiwo (July 12, 2018 Post Reporter, Oladosu Taiwo) and Keith Getty by Dennis C. Cook (Dennis C. CookSeptember 15, 2010, Worship Leader Magazine)

                                                                                                                       


We are commanded to, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16). Accordingly, we incorporate hymns into our regular Sunday morning worship at Pacific Hope Church. We firmly believe in equipping God's people with the knowledge of His Word through sound teaching in our classes, Bible studies, and even in our Sunday morning worship. Our worship will always be with the purpose of exalting the Lord to His proper place; it is never man-centered or seeking to create an emotional experience.