In the 1662 BCP service of the Lord's Supper, it says that on the cross Christ made a "full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world". The same point is reinforced in the Thirty-nine Articles:
So for Anglicans, Christ's death can certainly be seen as a 'satisfaction for sin'. But what (or who) is 'satisfied', and can we say it was 'God's wrath'? Once again, the articles come to our help:
The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone.
Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation.According to this Article, then, in "every person born into this world [the flesh] deserveth God's wrath" because that flesh is the "fault and corruption of the Nature of ... man" - which may properly be called 'sin'.
Now at this point there are always those who want to chip in and say the Articles are no longer applicable or appropriate. But the point is that they, with the Prayer Book itself, are a summary of Anglican beliefs certainly as they once stood and, for some of us, as they still stand. (And remember, all Anglican clergy have to assent to the Articles and the Prayer Book.)
So, for those who are having trouble keeping up, sin (which affects us all) deserves God's wrath. But on the cross Jesus made a 'full satisfaction' for sin. And, as the Articles again tell us:
The Son, which is the Word of the Father ... truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us ... (II. Of the Word orSon of God, which was made very Man)The point not to miss here is the comment about the cross reconciling the Father to us. Without the cross, then, we are not reconciled to the Father, neither is He reconciled to us. Rather, as Scripture says and the Articles affirm, we are by nature objects of wrath (Eph 2:3)
Thanks to the cross, we are no longer objects of wrath (on this we are all surely agreed), but if the cross is a 'satisfaction for sin', and sin is the reason for God's wrath against us, then surely God's wrath is one of the things for which the cross 'makes satisfaction'.
That being the case, surely the only criticisms of Townend's words, as far as Anglicans are concerned, have to rest on the fact that he was working with the stylistic constraints of rhyming 'died' with 'satisfied'. Perhaps Anglican purists would have preferred he had taken a leaf out of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' song book and found an alternative to rhyme with 'satisfaction', but he didn't. Maybe next week. Meanwhile, I suggest Anglicans need to be a bit clearer what exactly the fuss is about.
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