132. (vii) IT IS A FUNDAMENTAL ERROR ON THE PART OF THE CHURCH TO BELIEVE THAT THE PASSION ON THE CROSS WAS THE REAL ACT OF REDEMPTION. THAT ERROR, TOGETHER WITH THE ERRONEOUS BELIEF IN THREE DIVINE PERSONS EXISTING FROM ETERNITY, HAS SO PERVERTED THE WHOLE CHURCH THAT THERE IS NO REMAINDER OF SPIRITUALITY LEFT IN IT.
Is there any subject which does more to fill and pack the books of orthodox theology to-day, or any that is taught and driven home more zealously in colleges, and is more often preached and ranted about in pulpits, than the belief that God the Father in His anger with the human race not only drove it away from Him, but actually placed it under the ban of universal damnation, thus excommunicating it; but because He is gracious, He persuaded or impelled His own Son to come down and take upon Himself the sentence of damnation, so as to appease His Father's anger; and it is only in this way that He is able to look upon man with any favour? They add that this too was accomplished by means of the Son, for instance, in order to take upon Himself the damnation of the human race, by allowing Himself to be flogged by the Jews, have His face spat upon, and then be crucified as accursed in the sight of God (Deut. 21:23). The Father was propitiated when this had been done, and through His love for His Son revoked the damnation, but only for those for whom the Son interceded, so that He became in perpetuity a Mediator with His Father.
 These and similar phrases ring through our churches to-day, re-echoing from the walls like the echoes in woodlands and filling the ears of all listeners. But is there anyone, whose reasoning faculty is enlightened and made whole by the reading of the Word, who cannot see that God* is mercy and clemency itself, since He is love itself and good itself, and these qualities are His essence? And that it is therefore a contradiction to say that mercy itself or good itself could look upon man in anger, and pass sentence of damnation on him, and still remain what He is in His Divine essence? Such actions can hardly be attributed to an upright person, but rather to a wicked one; nor to an angel of heaven, but rather to a spirit from hell. So it is an unspeakable crime to attribute such acts to God.
 But if one enquires the reason, it is this: people have taken the passion on the cross to be the real act of redemption. From that source these errors have flowed, just as one mistake produces a whole series, or as a jar of vinegar can only yield vinegar, or a disordered mind nothing but madness. The one deduction leads to other theories of the same type, for they lie hidden in the deduction, and come forth one after another. From the belief that the passion on the cross was the redeeming act, yet more scandalous and ignoble ideas about God can emerge and be extracted, until, as Isaiah says:
The priest and the prophet go astray through strong drink. They stumble in judgment, all the tables are covered with vomit brought up. Isa. 28:7, 8.
* The Latin text here inserts qui 'who', apparently in error.