Penal substitution (sometimes, esp. in older writings, called forensic theory) is a theory of the atonement within Christian theology, developed with the Reformed tradition. It argues that Christ, by his own sacrificial choice, was punished (penalized) in the place of sinners (substitution), thus satisfying the demands of justice so God can justly forgive the sins. It is thus a specific understanding of substitutionary atonement, where the substitutionary nature of Jesus' death is understood in the sense of a substitutionary punishment.
Penal substitution derives from the idea that divine forgiveness must satisfy divine justice, that is, that God is not willing or able to simply forgive sin without first requiring a satisfaction for it. It states that God gave himself in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer the death, punishment and curse due to fallen humanity as the penalty for our sin.
Important theological concepts about penal substitution depend on the doctrine of the Trinity. Those who believe that Jesus was himself God, in line with the doctrine of the Trinity, believe that God took the punishment upon himself rather than putting it on someone else. In other words, the doctrine of union with Christ affirms that by taking the punishment upon himself Jesus fulfills the demands of justice not for an unrelated third party but for those identified with him. If, in the penal substitution understanding of the atonement, the death of Christ deals with sin and injustice, his resurrection is the renewal and restoration of righteousness. Key biblical references upon which penal substitution is based include:
It is debated if the Church Fathers subscribed to this doctrine, including Justin Martyr c. 100-165, Eusebius of Caesarea c. 275-339, Athanasius c. 300-373 and Augustine of Hippo 354-430 (see Early Church, below). Although penal substitution is often associated with Anselm of Canterbury, he predates its formal development within later Reform theology. It is therefore doubted even among Reform theologians whether his 'satisfaction' theory is strictly equivalent.
While penal substitution shares themes present in many other theories of the atonement, penal substitution is a distinctively Protestant understanding of the atonement that differs from both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox understandings of the atonement. Many trace its origin to Calvin, but it was more concretely formulated by the Reformed theologian Charles Hodge. Traditionally a belief in penal substitution is often regarded as a hallmark of the evangelical faith and is included as an article of faith by many (but not all) evangelical organizations today.
Advocates of penal substitution argue that the concept is both biblically based and rooted in the historical traditions of the Christian Church (although others say that the theory was developed later, in the Reformation period). Critics, however, argue that the theory of penal substitution is solely a later development, only forming part of orthodox Christian thought during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th-century, being advocated by Martin Luther and Calvin.
It has traditionally been compared with the so-called classic theory, that Christ's death represents the cosmic defeat of the devil to whom a ransom had to be paid (or the rescue of humanity from the power of sin and death), a view popularised by Gustaf Aulén; and secondly with the notion that the cross had its effect on human beings, by setting forth a supreme example of godliness or by blazing a trail which we must follow or by involving mankind in his redemptive obedience, the so-called subjective or exemplary theory associated with Peter Abelard and Hastings Rashdall.
On the other hand, those teaching an interpretation of the Cross consistent with penal substitution reject such a characterization of their beliefs. Their theory teaches that Christ's cosmic defeat of the devil was accomplished because Jesus suffered the penalty for mankind's sins. Under this view, the nature of Satan's authority over humanity comes from mankind's problem of sin, but by Jesus' cross, the guilt of sin before God is paid for and erased, the devil has no more power over the person saved. (Romans 3:25)
In scholarly literature it has been generally recognised for some time that the penal substitution theory was not taught in the Early Church. The ransom theory of atonement in conjunction with the moral influence view was nearly universally accepted in this early period. Christian theologians, particularly from the fourth century AD onward, began to hold a variety of other atonement ideas in addition to this view, particularly the Ransom theory of atonement. Controversy around atonement doctrine in the early centuries centred on Athanasius' promotion of a mystical view in which Christ had brought salvation through the incarnation itself, by combining both God and humanity in one flesh. This view of atonement required that Jesus be fully divine and fully human simultaneously, and Athanasius became embroiled in controversies on the Trinity and Christology as a result.
Scholars vary widely regarding how much they are willing to see precursors to penal substitution in the writings of some of the Early Church fathers. There is general agreement that no writer in the Early Church taught penal substitution as their primary theory of atonement. Yet some writers appear to reference some of the ideas of penal substitution as an afterthought or as an aside. The ransom theory of atonement, which became popular during the fourth century AD, is a substitutionary theory of atonement, just as penal substitution is. It can therefore be difficult to distinguish intended references to the ransom view by Early Church writers from real penal substitutionary ideas. Patristics scholar J. N. D. Kelly is one of the scholars most willing to see precursors to penal substitution in the Early Church writings, and points to a variety of passages which "pictur[e] Christ as substituting himself for sinful men, shouldering the penalty which justice required them to pay, and reconciling them to God by his sacrificial death."  Scholar J. S. Romanides, however, disagrees with Kelly's reading of these passages. Instead, he argues that they, like the Orthodox Church of today, understood humankind as separating themselves from God and placing themselves under the power of sin and death. The work of Christ is viewed, he says, not as a satisfaction of God's wrath or the satisfaction of justice which God was bound to by necessity, but as the work of rescuing us from death and its power. He argues that the notion of penal substitution was never contemplated until Augustine, and was never accepted in any form in the East. Further and similarly to Romanides, Derek Flood argues (through the example of Justin Martyr, Augustine and Athanasius) that the Early Church never held an atonement theory of penal substitution but, rather, a restorative substitutionary model of the atonement, and that penal substitution was not truly developed until Calvin. Gustaf Aulén, in his classic Christus Victor, argues that the ransom theory was the dominant understanding of the atonement for over a thousand years and that the penal substitution theory came only after Anselm.
To take patristic examples from among the Latin Fathers, Augustine of Hippo writes that "by His [Jesus'] death, the one most true sacrifice offered on our behalf, He purged abolished and extinguished ... whatever guilt we had." This is one of several strands of thought: he expounds the mediating work of Christ, his act of ransoming humankind and also the exemplary aspect of Christ's work. As with his Eastern predecessors, such as Justin Martyr (c. 100-165) and Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 329-390), the imagery of sacrifice, ransom, expiation, and reconciliation all appear in his writings—all of these, however, are themes embraced by other atonement models and are not necessarily indicative of penal substitutionary atonement. Gregory of Nazianzus, for example, explicitly denied that Christ died as a payment to God (or to the devil), preferring to say that God accepted Christ's work as a way to rescue humanity, rather than a way to placate God's wrath or purchase forgiveness from God. Augustine's main belief regarding the atonement was not penal substitutionary but, like Gregory's, the classic, or ransom, theory. Irenaeus is another example of an Early Church Father who uses phrases that could be misread as referring to penal substitution, but these phrases 'mainly describe the problem; they do not provide the content of the recapitulation idea'.
The dominant strain in the soteriological writings of the Greek Fathers, such as Athanasius of Alexandria, was the so-called "physical" theory that Christ, by becoming man, restored the divine image in us; but blended with this is the conviction that his death was necessary to release us from the curse of sin, and that he offered himself in sacrifice for us. For Athanasius, however, Christ's substitution is not a payment to God, but rather a fulfillment of the conditions which are necessary to remove death and corruption from humanity; those conditions, he asserts, exist as consequences from sin.
It was not until St. Anselm's famous work Cur Deus Homo (1098) that attention was focused on the theology of redemption with the aim of providing more exact definitions (though there is disagreement as to how influential penal conceptions were in the first five centuries). Anselm held that to sin is for man "not to render his due to God." Comparing what was due to God and what was due to the feudal Lord, he argued that what was due to God was honour. "'Honour' comprises the whole complex of service and worship which the whole creation, animate and inanimate, in heaven and earth, owes to the Creator. The honour of God is injured by the withdrawal of man's service which he is due to offer." This failure constitutes a debt, weight or doom, for which man must make satisfaction, but which lies beyond his competence; only if a new man can be found who by perfect obedience can satisfy God's honour and by some work of supererogation can provide the means of paying the existing debt of his fellows, can God's original purpose be fulfilled. So Christ not only lives a sinless life, which is again his due, but also is willing to endure death for the sake of love. Thus, Anselm's view can best be understood from medieval feudalistic conceptions of authority, of sanctions and of reparation. Anselmian satisfaction contrasts with penal substitution in that Anselm sees the satisfaction (i.e. restitution) as an alternative to punishment, "The honour taken away must be repaid, or punishment must follow" (bk 1 ch 8), whereas penal substitution views the punishment as the means of satisfaction.
In order to better understand the historical situation in which Anselm developed his argument one must recall that medieval common law developed out of Germanic tribal law, in which one finds the principle of the wergild, i.e., the value which a man's life had determined by his social standing within a tribal community. Thus if a man killed a slave, he owed the owner of the slave the amount of money he had paid for the slave or would have to pay to buy another slave of equal worth. If a man killed another free man he forfeited his own life, unless the slain man's family or tribe agreed to accept some amount of money or goods equal to the value of the slain free man's life within his own tribal group. Again, a man's honour is conceived of in terms of his social standing within his own tribal group. Thus, a slave has no honour since he is owned by another, but a free man's social standing is equal to that of another free man within his tribal group, but is subordinate to that of his tribal king. A free man will, therefore, defend his own honour with his life, or forfeit it (i.e., his social standing within his tribal group) and any affront to his honor by another free man must be repaid by the other man's forfeiting of his own life. Hence the custom of fighting duels. One who committed an affront to another man's honour or would not defend his own affronted honour would be regarded as a coward and suffer outlawry, i.e., he would lose his own social value and standing within his tribe and anyone could kill him without fear of retaliation from the man's tribal group. Thus, since God is infinite, his honour is infinite and any affront to his honour requires from humanity an infinite satisfaction. Furthermore, as humanity's Creator, God is humanity's Master and humanity has nothing of its own with which to compensate for this affront to his honour. God, nevertheless, must require something of equal value to his divine honour, otherwise God would forfeit his own essential dignity as God. Anselm resolves the dilemma thus created by maintaining that since Christ is both God and man he can act as humanity's champion, (i.e., as a man he is a member of humanity—again, conceived of in tribal terms, i.e., Christ is member of the human tribe, with all the standing and social responsibilities inherent in such membership) he can pay the infinite wergild that humanity owes for the slighted divine honour, for while the life he forfeits to pay this wergild on humanity's behalf is a human life, it is the human life of his divine person & thus has the infinite value proper to his divine person. At the same time, Christ is also God and thus his divine person and his human life, as the human life of his divine person, has infinite value. Thus he offers his human life (with its nevertheless infinite value as the human life of his divine person) as the wergild humanity owes his divine Master for his humanity's affront to his divine honour as God. At the same time, Christ as God acts as the champion of the infinite dignity of his own divine honour as God and Master of humanity by accepting as God the infinite value of the wergild of his own human life as the human life of his own divine person as the proper and only sufficient wergild due to his own divine honour. One might thus interpret Anselm's understanding of the Cross in terms of a duel fought between Christ's identification with humanity as a man and his divine honour as God in which the claims of both his human and divine natures are met, vindicated and thus reconciled.
Broadly speaking, Martin Luther followed Anselm, thus remaining mainly in the "Latin" model identified by Gustaf Aulén. He held, however, that Christ's atoning work encompassed both his active and passive obedience to the law;: as the perfectly innocent God-man, he fulfilled the law perfectly during his life AND he, in his death on the cross, bore the eternal punishment that all men deserved for their breaking the law. Unlike Anselm, Luther thus combines both satisfaction and punishment. Furthermore, Luther rejected the fundamentally legalistic character of Anselm's paradigm in terms of an understanding of the Cross in the more personal terms of an actual conflict between the wrath of God at the sinner and the love of God for the same sinner. For Luther this conflict was real, personal, dynamic and not merely forensic or analogical. If Anselm conceived of the Cross in terms a forensic duel between Christ's identification with humanity and the infinite value and majesty of his divine person, Luther perceived the Cross as a new Götterdammerung, a dramatic, definitive struggle between the divine attributes of God's implacable righteousness against the sinful humanity and inscrutable identification with this same helpless humanity which gave birth to a New Creation, whose undeniable reality could only be glimpsed through faith and whose invincible power worked only through love. One cannot understand the unique character or force of Luther's and the Lutheran understanding of the Cross apart from this dramatic character which is not readily translated into or expressed through the more rational philosophical categories of dogmatic theology, even when these categories are those of Lutheran Orthodoxy itself.
Calvin appropriated Anselm's ideas but changed the terminology to that of the criminal law with which he was familiar—he was trained as a lawyer—reinterpreted in the light of Biblical teaching on the law. Man is guilty before God's judgement and the only appropriate punishment is eternal death. The Son of God has become man and has stood in man's place to bear the immeasurable weight of wrath—the curse, and the condemnation of a righteous God. He was "made a substitute and a surety in the place of transgressors and even submitted as a criminal, to sustain and suffer all the punishment which would have been inflicted on them."
John Wesley the founder of Methodism also held strongly to the penal substitution theory of the atonement, as did the majority of early Methodists including the first great Methodist systematic theologian Richard Watson. Kenneth J. Collins in his book "The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace" writes, "for Wesley, Christ makes compensation and satisfies the justice of God precisely by standing in the place of sinful humanity, by being reckoned among its numbers, and in the end by bearing the penalty, the very wages of sin." This is perhaps made the most clear in Wesley's writing entitled "The Doctrine of Original Sin". In this treatise Wesley writes, "Our sins were the procuring cause of all his sufferings. His sufferings were the penal effects of our sins. 'The chastisement of our peace,' the punishment necessary to procure it, 'was' laid 'on him,' freely submitting thereto: 'And by his stripes' (a part of his sufferings again put for the whole) 'we are healed'; pardon, sanctification, and final salvation, are all purchased and bestowed upon us. Every chastisement is for some fault. That laid on Christ was not for his own, but ours; and was needful to reconcile an offended Lawgiver, and offering guilty creatures, to each other. So 'the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all'; that is, the punishment due to our iniquity."
The work of the Reformers, including Zwingli and Philip Melanchthon, was hugely influential. It took away from religion the requirement of works as the means of justification, whether corporal or spiritual, of the need for penances, belief in purgatory, indeed the whole medieval penitential system; and it did so by emphasizing the finality of Christ's work.
Ever since the doctrine of penal substitution received full expression in the Reformation period, it has been the subject of continual criticism on biblical, moral and logical grounds. A number of 21st-century works provide recent critiques. The first extensive criticism of the penal substitutionary view came during the Reformation period from within the Anabaptist movement, from the pen of Faustus Socinus. He argued that penal substitution was "irrational, incoherent, immoral and impossible." His objections were as follows:
Socinus thought that Jesus was not himself God and that he had not come in the flesh to intentionally die for humanity. Socinus argued against the Trinity. It thus follows as a natural consequence that it would be unjust to punish Jesus for the sins of others. Similarly, his argument that a temporary death of one would not be sufficient to pay for all mankind's sins also flows from his premise that Jesus was only an ordinary man.
Calvin's general framework, coinciding as it did with a rising respect for law, considered as a bulwark against the ferments of war, revolution and civil insurrection, remained normative for Reformed Christians for the next three centuries. Moreover, if Socinus spoke from the point of view of the radical reformers, there were also Catholics for whom the once and for all nature of Christ's redeeming work was in danger of weakening the doctrine of sanctification and the spiritual life of the believer and his or her appropriation of the divine mystery through the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist.
Further, with the development of notions of inalienable personal responsibility in law, the idea of "penal" substitution has become less easy to maintain. In modern law, the punishment of the innocent and the acquittal of the guilty is regarded as the perfect example of injustice. F. W. Dillistone stated that "no strictly penal theology of the atonement can be expected to carry conviction in the world of the twentieth century."
Among the problems identified is that the word "penal" implies an association with law, but the relationship between theological ideas and social institutions such as the law changes. The contemporary argument as to the relationship of human rights to positive law is a modern extension of this.
Secondly, ideas of justice and punishment are not the same in Jewish law, imperial Roman law, sixteenth-century European law and modern common law. Thus, for instance, "satisfaction" and "merit" are understandable within the context of Roman law, but sit less easily within either Old or New Testament conceptions. Likewise, when the word "penal" is used, it raises as many questions about the different theories of punishment, past and present.
Thirdly, in Calvin's work, and subsequently, there is an interplay between legal and cultic language. Words such as "curse", "expiation", "propitiation", "wrath", and "sacrifice" appear together with sixteenth-century legal language. "The framework is legal, the process is cultic. Removal of legal sanctions is equated with freedom of access in worship." Calvin contends that it was necessary for Jesus to suffer through a judicial process and to be condemned as a criminal (even though the process was flawed and Pilate washed his hands of the condemnation), but tying this to the need for sacrifice "proved to be a dead weight upon the thinking and imagining of Reformed Christendom." according to Dillstone.
Next, the two words "expiation" and "propitiation" present problems. It has been argued that the former, which means to purge away, needs to be distinguished from the latter, which means to appease a person, and that it is propitiation which presents the problem for those who are critical of the idea of penal substitution. Karl Barth (and later Jürgen Moltmann) argued in Church Dogmatics IV/1  that propitiation and expiation are false categories when applied to the triune God: If God forgives us in and through Christ ("Christ pays our debt"), then the cost has been borne by God in, as, and through Christ. For God to propitiate himself is expiation; because expiation is always self-propitiation as it means the forgiver paying the debt (here, the price of the sin) at his own expense. Hence Dietrich Bonhoeffer says grace is free, but is not cheap.
Additionally, a view of human salvation which defines it in terms of once-and-for-all acquittal has to deal with its relationship to subsequent actions and the lives of those not born at the time of the Paschal Mystery.
Some, like Karl Barth, simply criticized the concept of satisfaction of God's wrath for being unscriptural.
Proponents of penal substitution contend that critics overlook the repeated declarations of Jesus that he intended to die on the cross, and that his death was the very purpose for which he was born on the Earth (John 12:27). It is irrelevant, they argue, whether it might be unjust to punish an innocent bystander involuntarily, since the actual proposition is one of Jesus offering voluntarily to die on behalf of others, like a soldier throwing himself on a hand grenade to save his fellow soldiers. Jesus himself taught that "greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13) and repeatedly announced that he was intentionally going to Jerusalem, knowing that he was heading to his death (Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22).
Jesus' identity as himself being God is also central to penal substitution. Those who do not believe that Jesus was God visiting the Earth in human form necessarily conclude that God chose a bystander named Jesus to suffer for others. However, those who believe that Jesus was actually God (John 14:7-9; 10:30-33) conclude that God—against whom mankind had sinned—came to accept the penalty upon himself. Thus, they see no injustice in God's choosing to come to Earth in order to take humanity's sin upon himself. However, the replies in these two paragraphs do not directly answer the objection that guilt is inherently non-transferable, whether the victim seeks to have it transferred or not. While they show that Jesus was not in the position of being punished involuntarily, they do not show that it is possible or just to punish a willing innocent victim in place of the guilty. J. I. Packer admits that proponents do not know how this could be possible but choose to believe it anyway.
Some of the Ante-Nicene Fathers seem quite clear that a curse for sin was placed on Christ. Hilary of Poitiers writes, "Thus He offered Himself to the death of the accursed that He might break the curse of the Law, offering Himself voluntarily a victim to God the Father, in order that by means of a voluntary victim the curse which attended the discontinuance of the regular victim might be removed."
Eusebius says, "And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down upon Himself the appointed curse, being made a curse for us."
Augustine of Hippo wrote, "He submitted as man, and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death. And as He died in the flesh which He took in bearing our punishment, so also, while ever blessed in His own righteousness, He was cursed for our offenses, in the death which He suffered in bearing our punishment."
Some critics of penal substitution would say that the above quotes indicate that Jesus did take upon himself the curse of the law, not as a penalty substitution, but as a willingness to suffer for and with sinful humanity even though He did not really deserve it.
The Reformers claimed over and over to be recovering the truth of the Gospel from both the New Testament and the earliest Christian fathers. They generally believed doctrinal errors were introduced by the later fathers of the Middle Ages.
J. I. Packer states that language must be used in a stretched sense. God is not a sixteenth-century monarch, he says, and divine government is not the same as earthly government. He states that Christians should regard all truth of God as an "apprehended mystery," and always hold that God is greater than our formularies. He holds, nonetheless, that penal substitution can be described as a model in a way comparable to how physics uses the term. He defines the term model, in a theological sense, as "explanatory constructs formed to help us know, understand, and deal with God, the ultimate reality." He states that the "mystery of God is more than any one model, even the best, can express." He states that "all the knowledge we can have of the atonement is of a mystery which we can only think and speak by means of models." To Packer, the biblical models are presented as being inspired by God and given to us as "knowledge of the mystery of the cross." The theologian Stephen Sykes has interpreted Packer's account of penal substitution as being presented as a metaphor.
Theologians who advocate penal substitution are keen to define the doctrine carefully, rather than, as Packer says; "the primary question is, not the rationality or morality of God but the remission of one's sins." He suggests that it be seen not as a mechanical explanation (how it works) but rather than kerygmatically (what it means to us). Denney contends that the atonement should not be seen forensically (though as Packer says, Denney avoided the term "penal" in any case). What matters in Packer's view is that "Jesus Christ our Lord, moved by a love that was determined to do everything necessary to save us, endured and exhausted the destructive divine judgment for which we were otherwise inescapably destined, and so won us forgiveness, adoption and glory." However, John Stott critiques loveless caricatures of the cross as "a sacrifice to appease an angry God, or ... a legal transaction in which an innocent victim was made to pay the penalty for the crimes of others" as being "neither the Christianity of the Bible in general nor of Paul in particular." Furthermore, "It is doubtful if anybody has ever believed such a crude construction."
The Bible includes, not merely the story of the Paschal mystery in the Gospels, but also the sources of ideas of the atonement. The Fathers often worked upon biblical quotations, from both Testaments, describing Christ's saving work, sometimes adding one to another from different places in Scripture. Calvin made special appeal to the Suffering Servant passage in Isaiah 53 and to 1 Peter 3:18-22 with its reference to the "Harrowing of Hell"—the release of the spirits of those who had died before Christ. From the former, he singled out "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed." Both are set, by Calvin within the context of Pilate's court of judgment to which, according to Dillistone, they do not properly belong; nevertheless, the image of "one who has borne the stripes and the chastisement which should, by strict desert have fallen" upon others, within the divine purpose, is, on all sides agreed to be an essential element in the story.
On the basis of Romans 3:23-26 it has been argued that there are, in fact, different models of penal substitution in which ideas of justification work together with redemption and sacrifice (expiation). Thus: "For all alike have sinned and are deprived of the divine glory and all are justified by God's free grace alone through his act of redemption in the person of Christ Jesus. For God designed him to be the means of expiating sin by his death, effective through faith. God meant by this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had overlooked the sins of the past, showing that he is himself just and also justified anyone who puts his faith in Jesus."
Recently controversy has arisen over a statement made by Steve Chalke that "The cross isn't a form of cosmic child abuse—A vengeful Father punishing his Son for an offense he has not even committed." This sparked a debate in the UK among evangelicals which is cataloged in the book The Atonement Debate: Papers from the London Symposium on the Theology of Atonement (Zondervan, 2008).
The debate has largely been conducted in evangelical circles, though the dismissal of the doctrine of penal substitution on moral grounds by Jeffrey John, an Anglo-Catholic priest and Dean of St Albans, in a broadcast talk during Holy Week 2007 has drawn fire in his direction.
In his book Mere Christianity C. S. Lewis mentions that before becoming a Christian, the doctrine of penal substitution had seemed extremely unethical to him, and that while he had since found it to be less so, he nonetheless indicated a preference for a position closer to that of Athanasius, in which Christ's death is seen as enabling us to die to sin by our participation, and not as a satisfaction or payment to justice as such. He also stated, however, that in his view no explanation of the atonement is as relevant as the fact of the atonement. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in his fantasy fiction series, The Chronicles of Narnia, depicts the king Aslan surrendering himself to Jadis the White Witch as a substitute for the life of Edmund Pevensie, which appears to illustrate a ransom or Christus Victor approach to the atonement.
George MacDonald, a universalist Christian theologian who was a great influence on Lewis, wrote against the idea that God was unable or unwilling to forgive humans without a substitutionary punishment in his Unspoken Sermons, and stated that he found the idea to be completely unjust.