Much of John Goodwin's theological output can be viewed as a backlash against the “orthodox” doctrine of God. That God, as Goodwin conceived him, was too eager to command the “impossible” and too inclined to “delight” in the punishment of the noncompliant. During the early 1650s, Goodwin turned to the pagans in order to articulate the gracious countenance of a wise and equitable deity. In the process, he went close to canceling the operational distinction between grace and nature. For nature, according to Goodwin, preached unlettered sermons about “atonement.” And because, as Paul declared in Romans, the blessings of creation render the sins of creatures inexcusable, it is only because they willfully repudiate the deity's gracious overtures that pagans deprive themselves of excuse. The doctrine, as Goodwin presented it, horrified his many opponents. It seemed to them that Goodwin had lodged in the “free will” of rational creatures the power to attain salvation. He put himself on a collision course with the magisterial masters—Bucer, Vermigli, Calvin, Pareus, and others—whose lead he professed, in many respects, to follow. There is reason to suspect that Goodwin had been particularly indebted to Arminius, Episcopius, and Corvinus.