In Christ Alone

(Not sure which forum to post in).

I love the hymn, “In Christ Alone.” I think it is a Protestant hymn because I have not seen it in any Catholic hymnals. In addition, I think that the theology of the last verse may not be consistent with Catholic teaching? I am going to be a new Catholic, and I want to understand what Catholic teaching IS on this matter. For reference, I will write what the last verse says:

“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 controls my destiny.
No power of hell no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand.
'Til He returns or calls me home, her ein the power of Christ I’ll stand.”

The words are not from the Bible (except maybe the third line). They seem to support “once saved always saved”

It certainly looks that way, and with a measure of Calvinism thrown in for good measure: “Jesus controls my destiny” sounds an awful lot like it’s skating on the thin ice of predestination.

Well, the line about “not being plucked out of His hand” is right out of Scripture.

It’s worth remembering that the Church’s rejection of OSAS does not mean that we can accidentally “lose” our salvation or that Satan can “snatch” us away from Jesus. It means that we still have free will, and we can choose to reject God. We can choose sin, even mortal sin. OSAS teaches that even if we were to do that, we’d still be saved. That’s what the Church rejects.

The “destiny” line does seem somewhat Calvinist. We know that God is in control of all of human history. We struggle to understand how it is possible for Him to be in control and know all of what is to come, while still giving us free will - and yet we believe this mystery.

In August 2013, the Religion News Service reported that the Presbyterians did not include this song in a new hymnal.

The original lyrics say that “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song wanted to substitute the words, “the love of God was magnified.” The songwriter refused to allow the change in the lyrics. The change had appeared in a Baptist hymnal, but without the songwriter’s permission.

Catholics and most “mainline” Protestants don’t see the death of Christ as “satisfying the wrath of God.” We emphasize the love of God, and we see the death of Christ as the love of God conquering sin and death.

It’s a lovely song, but I would think this and other parts cause doctrinal problems for Catholics. I wonder why OCP includes the song in its “Journeysongs” hymnal. Maybe I’m wrong, but it doesn’t sound very Catholic to me.

-Joe Offer-

10:26-28 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep **hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow **me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.

What the song doesn’t include is our part in the relationship with Our Lord — that we have to heed/hear what He says AND do it/follow Him. Only as long as we’re doing that can we be assured that we’re safely in His hand where no one can snatch/pluck us out.

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