The doctrine of the atonement is, however, one which is often lost sight of in our pulpits; men refuse to believe in the heinousness of sin, refuse to believe that the justice of a perfectly holy God requires full satisfaction for sin, and, by rationalistic arguments derived from degraded human reason, dwell only on the fatherhood and love of God to mankind. There are two rocks, Scylla and Charybdis, against either of which all Christian people may make shipwreck of their faith; they stand one at each end of the line of intellectual thought. The first is Formalism, the second Rationalism.
The former is the outcome of a kind of parasitic religion, handing over the conscience to the direction of another, and considering that the individual has no right to think for himself and examine the doctrines whether they be of God, or else thinking that a feeble acquiescence in certain dogmas and the performance of certain forms and ceremonies is all that is necessary.
The second phase is the result of revulsion of feeling from the other extreme, not only refusing to listen to the voice of the Church, the directions of the Bible, and the dictates of conscience, but setting up their personal puny and corrupt intellect as the supreme appeal—refusing to believe all that seems contrary to their individual ideas of justice or expediency. This latter is perhaps the more fearful error, as by it the finite utters the awful blasphemy of daring to dictate to the Infinite.
Charles Dent Hastings from 1886