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By Robert G. Ingersol

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The Socinians were attacked for their refusal to accept that Christ had atoned for men’s sins and for refusing to see him as a divine redeemer figure. Indeed, for most Protestants the Socinians were deeply blasphemous in their objections to the divinity of Christ. Protestants complained that rather than gratefully acknowledge the work of Christ in saving fallen humanity, the Socinians preferred to pin their hopes of heaven on their own efforts. In so doing they rode roughshod over the Protestant scheme of salvation, proving themselves even worse than the Catholics.

39 This enabled him to distance natural law from the more perfect law of Christ, without entirely devaluing natural, social life as Socinus had threatened to do. On the Socinian side, it was felt that Grotius’ critique of the master demanded a response. The obvious candidate to provide one was Johann Crell, once one of the brightest students at Altdorf and now Rector of the Socinians’ own Academy. Crell’s skills in ethics and jurisprudence had impressed the Altdorf authorities enough for them to offer him the valuable post of ‘Inspector of Alumni’; now he could put those skills to work in the service of the Socinian cause.

106–7 where Grotius describes pacifism as an extreme position. 38 It would be wrong to extrapolate from this that Grotius was in any sense a Socinian, but we have seen that the notion that Christ had brought new laws was commonly associated with Socinianism. Protestant theologians set up a sharp contrast between the conventional position that the natural law was perfect and the Socinians’ claim that Christians should follow instead the new law of Christ. What Grotius did, however, was to posit a middle position.

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