Rev. Sanborn Responses to Attacks On Unitarians


In Card to the Constituion Rev. Moore Sanborn Critizies His Doctrines.
Declares He Preaches 17th Century Notions.
States That His Doctrines Are Unprovable, and That Nearly All Christians Have Given Up Belief in Hell of Fire and Torment

Rev. Moore Sanborn, pastor of the Unitarian church of this city, has sent in a communication to The Constitution, in which he declares that Dr. Torrey is preaching “seventeenth century notion” about God, Christ and “getting religion.” In his card he declares that the doctrines Dr. Torrey preaches are “unprovable” and that men will always differ concerning them.

He declares that Dr. Torrey imagines that he carries salvation, and its only terms upon which delivered, along with’ him like any other cargo of merchandise.

Referring to Dr. Torrey’s sermons of hell and his position on eternal punishment he declares that Dr. Torrey “apparently loves the smell of burning brimstone and the sound of cries of eternal torment.”

The Unitarian idea of God, he declares, makes God “infinitely greater, mightier and more loving, than Dr. Torrey Preaches Him to be.”

In a startling manner he declares that nearly all Christians have given up belief in a hell of fire and torment, as it has witchcraft and demoniac possession. He declares that after Dr. Torrey goes the people of Atlanta will go on in the even tenor of their way living normal Christian lives.

A representative of The Constitution called upon Mr. Sanborn shortly after Dr. Torrey had made his statements about the Unitarian belief. but Mr. Sanborn. declined to make any statement. preferring to say only that If Dr. Torrey had done or was doing any good in Atlanta he did not wish to be in the attitude of opposing anything that was for the betterment or uplift of Atlanta. even in a small degree. As to Dr. Torrey’s utterances in regard to no Unitarian being a mighty man of prayer, Mr. Sanborn said that he did not feel there was need for answering Dr. Torrey on that point, as he did not think any sensible person believed any such statement.

Card of Mr. Sanborn

The card is as follows:

“Editor Constitution – In your paper today you say. ‘It will be remembered that Rev. Dr. Wilmer and Rev. Moore Sanborn have both given out severe attacks on the position of Dr. Torrey in regard to the relation existing between character and salvation.”

“Dr. Wilmer is abundantly able to speak for himself, but I wish to deny that I have ever given out a severe attack’ on such a subject.  When Dr. Torrey, without a particle of provocation, began to assail Unitarians. immediately after his  arrival in Atlanta. I gave out an interview setting forth clearly the true Unitarian position. “Men will always differ about matters unprovable, and no threats of hell will make them think alike.

“Confident that God is Infinitely greater mightier, and more loving than. Dr. Torrey preaches Him to be. and believing in heaven as the terminal for all humanity, I. cannot get sufficiently perturbed over the occasional preaching of seventeenth century notions about God, and Jesus, and ‘getting religion,’ to attack it.

“After the gentleman who seems to imagine ,that he carries salvation, and its only terms, along with him like a cargo of merchandise, and who apparently loves the smell of burning brimstone and the sound of cries of eternal torment, so much as to cling to them when nearly all Christendom has given them up; as it has witchcraft. and demoniac possession, has spoken his final word about hell to those who like that sort of preaching, because that’s the sort of preaching they like, the people of Atlanta will continue to live normal Christian lives es they have in the past.

“Not a thousand Torreys can sweep back the sea of investigation and acceptance of the broadest and best truth, nor true. thinking about the soul and Its problems back into the old channels of
‘yesterdays gray gloom.'”


The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)  Mon, May 28, 1906  Page 1
Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Newspaper Article, Unitarian Church of Atlanta

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