"In Christ Alone" has been voted by the British public as the third most popular hymn of all time in a BBC Songs of Praise special, joining the ranks of beloved classics like "Abide With Me" and "Amazing Grace."
The nation's favorite hymns were voted for by tens of thousands of members of the public and revealed on U.K.’s Favourite Hymns hosted by Alex Jones at Leicester's De Montfort Hall over the weekend.
"In Christ Alone," co-written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend in 2000, was ranked just below "How Great Thou Art," which came second, and "Jerusalem," which came first. The popular worship song was the most modern hymn to be nominated and the highest to feature living writers.
Introducing "In Christ Alone," Jones commented, “'In Christ Alone' is a wonderful modern hymn. Written in 2000, this hymn has lyrics that continue to resonate with Christians throughout our country and indeed, the world.”
In a statement, Keith Getty said, “We are honored to be included in this illustrious list. The true story of 'In Christ Alone' is that I found an unpaid electricity bill in my office and on the back of it I had written a melody, and played it, and recorded it and then sent it to Stuart Townend — a couple of months later we had 'In Christ Alone' and the rest is history.”
“We hope you can know the heights of love and depths of peace that can only be found In Christ Alone,” he added.
The BBC One show included performances of each of the much-loved hymns from across the United Kingdom, including Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Isle of Man. The performance of "In Christ Alone" was set in Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast and performed by Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell.
Also featured on the list were "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind," "Abide With Me," "I Vow to Thee My Country," "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah/Redeemer," "Amazing Grace," "Be Still for the Presence of the Lord," and "I the Lord of Sea and Sky (Here I Am Lord)."
"In Christ Alone" is sung by more than 100 million people worldwide every year and was the number one most frequently-sung in U.K. churches for a record-setting nine consecutive years. It was also among the top 10 in the United States, Canada, and Australia for almost as long, according to the Christian licensing group CCLI.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Joni and Friends founder Joni Eareckson Tada said "In Christ Alone" is a “timeless hymn” that “showcases the great doctrines of the faith.”
“I don’t know that many lay Christians study orthodox theology,” Tada said. “We do Bible studies and become involved with Bible study fellowship, but there isn’t an urge among most lay Christians to study systematic theology, the great doctrines of the faith, the doctrine of Hell and Heaven, grace, sin, salvation.”
“These are all important foundational stones upon which our faith rests. So few people actually delve into those deep waters. But when we sing great hymns of the faith, we are learning great doctrine and we don't even know it.”
Don Carson, president and co-founder of The Gospel Coalition, told CP that "In Christ Alone" has resonated with both the traditional and contemporary worship camps due, in part, to its richness in Christian doctrine.
“There is an incredible amount of shallow worship music out there, but there are also good contributions to contemporary music today that will bear fruit and endure,” Carson said. “Shallow songs carry a flurry, but they die out pretty quickly. The best ones will be around a long time. 'In Christ Alone' will still be sung in a hundred years, while a lot of things we’re singing now won’t be."
“Part of the responsibility of church leaders is to try to choose the best ones and sing them repeatedly."