New words for Amazing Grace

Oldtruth mentions that some have changed Amazing Grace’s lyrics from “saved a wretch like me” to “saved and strengthened me.” If you don’t believe it, check this out. In the words of one hymnal editor, the old lyrics are a blow to self-esteem (indeed!). Fighting on the right side for the wrong reasons, some of the liberals wanted to keep the original wording because it implies disapproval of slavery. That is, its author John Newton was a slave trafficker and the verse is about John Newton, not us. (Perhaps they will next change Romans 7:24 to “O wounded man that I am…”)

R.C. Sproul has observed that what amazes us is justice, not grace. We don’t understand how bad we are and how good God is. In The Holiness of God, Sproul talks about Luther’s debut as a cleric. All was going well until Luther suddenly froze at the altar. Unable to speak or go on, he returned to the table where his embarassed family sat. Luther was supposed to say the words “We offer unto thee, the living, the true, the eternal God.” But, he said:

At these words I was utterly stupified and terror-stricken. I thought to myself, “…Who am I, that I should lift up my eyes or raise my hands to the divine Majesty? The angels surround him. At his nod the earth trembles. And shall I, a miserable little pygmy, say ‘I want this, I ask for that?’ For I am dust and ashes and full of sin and I am speaking to the living, eternal and true God.


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