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Monday, September 6, 2010

Henry Solly on the "Punishment" of an Innocent

Henry Solly (1813-1903) was a Unitarian minister and a social reformer in England. He founded the Working Men's Club and Institute Union in London in 1862.

In 1861, he wrote a book entitled: The Doctrine of Atonement by the Son of God. In it he argued against the Penal Substitutionary Theory (PST) of the atonement. Regarding the "punishment" (I use quotation marks because it is logically impossible to punish an innocent)of Jesus, he writes:
But inasmuch as he was himself " without sin," those sufferings, of course, must not for an instant be viewed as penal or retributory. Strange, indeed, would it be, if we were to imagine that he who was absolutely without sin, the only being that ever walked this earth of whom that could be said, had been especially marked out as the object of punishment, or even permitted to endure punishment at all. Stranger still if we were to suppose that at the very moment when he was manifesting the holiest, divinest spirit of self-sacrificing love, he should have been selected by his Heavenly Father as a fitting object of penal suffering. To suppose such a shocking violation of the eternal laws concerning holiness, suffering, and sin, is to outrage the deepest and most solemn instincts of our moral nature, and pervert the essential meaning of words relating to the holiest and most awful subjects (p. 208).

1 comment:

  1. personally I view Anselm as one of the big 'wrong turns' that christianity took along the way.