The New Testament lays down the general principles of good government, but contains no code of laws for the punishment of offenders. Punishment proceeds on the principle that there is an eternal distinction between right and wrong, and that this distinction must be maintained for its own sake. It is not primarily intended for the reformation of criminals, nor for the purpose of deterring others from sin. These results may be gained, but crime in itself demands punishment. (see MURDER; THEFT.)
Endless, of the impenitent and unbelieving. The rejection of this doctrine "cuts the ground from under the gospel...blots out the attribute of retributive justice; transmutes sin into misfortune instead of guilt; turns all suffering into chastisement; converts the piacular work of Christ into moral influence...The attempt to retain the evangelical theology in connection with it is futile" (Shedd).