Keith Getty and The Power of the Cross

Have you heard of Keith Getty? Probably not. Have you heard of the song “In Christ Alone?” Probably! Keith Getty wrote the lyrics to this song, which was then picked up by Stuart Townend and given the timeless melody which brings such power to the story of our salvation. Keith and his wife Kristyn’s “About” page has a few words about the song (emphasis mine):

The simple folk melody and storytelling lyrical style of “In Christ Alone” has given rise to its universal appeal, Keith & Kristyn believe.  “My main conviction with melody is the same as that of Stravinsky, Bernstein, Gershwin, Burt Bacharach and The Beatles, which is looking at folk music melody in its simplest form,” Keith says. “The simplicity of the melody helps make it more accessible, and I believe melody is so fundamental to human culture and psyche.”

Of equal importance to the formula of the modern hymn is the story. “I love storytelling in songs and I think people love stories,” Keith shares.  “People will sing theology forever if the song takes them on a journey, and with ‘In Christ Alone,’ I wanted to write a song that would tell the whole story of the life of Christ, almost like a modern creed.”

How true it is that we will sing theology all day if the song takes us on a journey. I love singing this song because it sums up everything that I believe as a Christian. It simultaneously reminds me of what I believe as well as how I should behave.

I recently discovered another Keith Getty/Stuart Townend song that has all the great characteristics of “In Christ Alone.” It’s called “The Power of the Cross.” This is such a good song. How come I never heard it until a few weeks ago? It was written in 2005! I’m excited that God has called Keith and Kristyn to write modern hymns for a new generation of Christians:

While conveying the message of the cross is at the heart of Keith & Kristyn’s ministry as modern-day hymn writers, they also place a high priority on being ambassadors for their music in the Church.  The couple is in the midst of a two-year stay in the United States to introduce their songs in churches around the country, in hopes of leaving behind a repertoire of 21st century hymns that will be embraced for years to come.

As a worship leader, the way I find new songs to sing at church is first to find songs with catchy, powerful melodies. Then I read their lyrics. If it’s fluff, it gets tossed. Hillsong sticks with a lot of us because the music is just top-notch (well, most of it). But there are a lot of songs with really good lyrics that don’t stick with us at first because the music isn’t as memorable. I’m willing to give them a serious look because I know that songs that sound good with a full band often sound very different with an acoustic guitar. The awesome thing about “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross” is that they sound very good in either situation.

Enough of me. Youtube!

Stuart Townend playing the song in the US in 2005

Keith on piano and Kristyn on vocals


“The Power of the Cross”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev’ry bitter thought,
Ev’ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the vict’ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow’r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Billy on April 3, 2009 at 10:56 PM

    no way, i was just listening to the T4G cd and came across this song and have been trying to tell others about it!

    encouraged, hope you’re well brother!

  2. Posted by Rachel Kline on September 12, 2009 at 4:56 AM

    I am listening to this song right now and tried to google search the lyrics, and your blog was the first thing I found at the top of my search. That was kinda cool :-) I love the Gettys!

  3. Posted by MikeB on October 3, 2009 at 4:35 AM

    It is my understanding that Keith Getty wrote the melody to “In Christ Alone” and Stuart Townend wrote the words…not like you have it above

  4. I am Brother Richard Marubi from Kenya ,
    i am married, i thank God to have blessed me with 3 children,
    i am saved and i love Jesus as my personal savior and Lord,
    it is with a grateful heart that i thank God for you and the good work you are doing which is quite evident from your website,
    i am therefore impressed and the Lord has spoken to me to continue and contact you for more information,
    i am leading a small church family comprising of 21 members, i am praying that we work together as we exalt high His blessed and precious name! praise God! Amen.
    Remain blessed as i wait to hear from you soon.
    Brother Richard

  5. Posted by Rinsit Vashum on March 26, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    Such a phenomenal song about the Cross. Some lines such as ‘ Oh to see my pain written in the wounds.. Bearing the awesome weight of sin… Oh to see my name written in the wounds.. We stand forgiven at the Cross… ‘ Really appreciate the depth of the songwriter. And I just fell in love with the melody too. To me this is the best song for the Easter. God bless Keith much as the song touched my heart, I pray that it’ll do the same to millions across the world.
    With love and regards
    Rinsit Vashum
    From Nagalim

  6. We are from Texas. About 11 years ago, our son Matthew moved to the UK to work in Duane White’s ministry. He met so many wonderful people there in the UK. They worked closely with Stuart Bell’s church. And, through the Grapevine Worship music, I became familiar with the music of Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty. What amazing words and music! They literally knock me to my knees! Especially “The Power of the Cross”. WOW! You can just feel the Holy Spirit wrapping you in His love!
    People all over the world are searching for equality… there is only ONE place to find equality for all. The cross. It IS the equalizer of mankind. All must come to it. All must bow to it. All are reborn through it.
    God bless you and your ministry!
    Sharon Berry

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