Moral influence theory of atonement
The moral influence view of the atonement holds that the purpose and work of Jesus Christ was to bring positive moral change to humanity. This moral change came through the teachings and example of Jesus, the Christian movement he founded, and the inspiring effect of his martyrdom and resurrection. It is one of the oldest views of the atonement in Christian theology and a prevalent view for most of Christian history (see below -- History: Early church -- for references).However, the fact that the concept of God's redemptive love in Jesus was prevalent even among writers in the early church resulted in some scholars' claiming that the moral influence theory was universally taught in the second and third centuries. See, for example: the Epistle to Diognetus, The Shepherd of Hermas, and works by Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria Hippolytus of Rome, Origen, Irenaeus, and Arnobius. Some writers also taught other atonement models in conjunction with it, but Wallace and Rusk claim that the majority of Christian writers in the second and third centuries AD expressed only the moral influence view.