Salvation Not Purchased

Urantia Book readers may want to know about my new book, Salvation Not Purchased: Overcoming the Ransom Idea to Rediscover the Original Gospel Teaching (Cascade Books, 2020).

About thirty years ago, I noticed that The Urantia Book gets very passionate whenever it confronts the Christian atonement doctrine. The narrators of the book point out that certain “seraphim are instrumental in supplanting the atonement idea with the concept of divine attunement as a philosophy of mortal survival” (Paper 39:5.6, page 437.5). Consequently, I made a decision to study and write about the development of atonement thinking.

I earned a Ph.D. in Pauline Theology from the University of Durham and am now a pastor in the United Church of Christ. I have written several academic books on atonement. Salvation Not Purchased is a shorter version and is directed at Christian pastors and laypersons.

Using the Bible, I show how the blood-purchase idea is out of step with Jesus’ teaching about how God’s love reaches the pure in heart without any sacrificial payment. I look into Paul’s use of atonement metaphors and how later writers took his metaphors literally, creating a doctrine about God being paid off. I write, “The teachings of Jesus go right against the notion that there would be no salvation until he had spilled his blood. God does not need to be paid or persuaded.” (page 4).

I have created a website for the book:


Stephen Finlan, Ph.D.
Pastor at The First Church of West Bridgewater

“Stephen Finlan offers a lucid and thorough critique of the view that ‘Christ died for our sins’ is a central tenet of Christianity. . . A provocative and illuminating read for pastors and lay Christians alike.”

—HAROLD W. ATTRIDGE, Yale Divinity School