Index To All Sections
You Are Here Part 1: An Introduction to John Calvin and his Doctrines of Grace
Part 2: Introduction to the acronym T.U.L.I.P - each letter standing for one of the five fundamental tenets of Calvinism.
2A. Total Inability
2B. Unconditional Election
2C. Limited Atonement
2D. Irresistible Grace
2E. Perseverance of The Saints
Part 3: When the Gospel Becomes a Lie
Part 4: God’s Sovereignty, Character and Will.
Part 5: Hypocrisy Unlimited
Part 6: Conclusion
Part 7: The Sins of Augustine. Early Church Theologians
On This Page
Introduction to Doctrines of Grace or Calvinism
A system of baffling theological complexities and contradictions piled one on top of the other.
Meet John Calvin
A 16th century influential French theologian who tried (successfully in many, many cases) to persuade people that two diametrically opposing and completely contradictory points view were both Gospel truth.
Since two propositions that contradict each other can not both be true, when faced with a logical impossibility one has the following choices... accept one or the other as true, or both as false.
The Institutes of the Christian Church Was Written by a Young Novice
No one can be sure whether Calvin was even converted when he wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. At best, he was a brand new convert writing it 3-6 short years after converting.
The writings of Augustine were the actual source of most of what is known as Calvinism today. However, what not many realize is his beliefs did not differ one iota from those of the Catholic Church. Surely the fact that he is considered a saint in the Catholic Church should tell you that he was Catholic to the core.
Calvin - Supremely Unfit To Be Called A Church Leader
John Calvin consistently used violence to subdue all who did not see eye to eye with him. For for all his supposed thorough study of the Scriptures he missed the verses in the 12th chapter of Romans which that says "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "vengeance is Mine, I will repay,
A "High View of Scripture?
If all Calvinism's incredibly convoluted doctrine is a very "high view" of Scripture, then it is no wonder that God chose to first proclaim his message of salvation to peasants tending their sheep
As the Catholic Church grew in power and authority many foundational and Biblical doctrines were replaced by tradition. The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century based on the four solas and shepherded by people like Martin Luther and Zwingli caused a schism within the church and resulted in it being divided into two groups - Catholics and Protestants.
Not many devotees seem to be aware that his idea of grace and faith alone differed from ours, and that several Catholic doctrines remained firmly entrenched in his belief system. And that is not all...
However, during this same period but after the Reformation was well underway, John Calvin - a French theologian introduced Doctrines of Grace, or Calvinism as it is commonly called. However, not everyone was in agreement with his teachings on divine predestination and election, and a movement led by reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius soon made its presence known. The opposition actually spurred Calvinists to codify or systematize the five points that summarized reformed doctrine. Note: The terms the terms reformed and Calvinism are usually used synonymously.
Calvinism is based on the belief that people are born so morally corrupt that it is impossible for them to repent of their sins, turn to God, or believe in Jesus - all of which they can only do if God sovereignly influences them and changes their wills by a grace that they cannot resist. In other words, God alone is responsible for every aspect of salvation that man can contribute absolutely nothing to. In fact, he has no choice in the matter at all.
Calvinists claim that this belief is based solely on key teachings in Scripture. As the Calvinist Corner says (Emphasis Added)
The system of Calvinism adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on Gods word. It focuses on God's sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual where he is then able and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation. 
Note: Regeneration means to give new life or energy to or to spiritually or morally reform
Some Calvinists take this concept to extremes. Edwin H. Palmer (1922-1980) a theologian and pastor who served as executive secretary on the team that prepared the NIV (New International Version) version of the Bible wrote,
"God is in back of everything. He decides and causes all things to happen that do happen... He has foreordained everything 'after the counsel of his will' (Ephesians 1:11): the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist - even sin." 
So many churches teach Calvinism, so many books and online articles are written about it that, to the average person exposed to this avalanche of skillful presentations, it may seem that Calvinism came straight from the mouths of the apostles and prophets themselves. But as the apostle Paul said
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15).
We cannot allow ourselves to be "tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14).
In fact, those who have not been wooed by man's seven syllable words and much speaking and are willing to read what the Bible itself has to say, will find otherwise.
Meet John Calvin
Calvinism is named after the 16th century (1509 – 1564) John Calvin, an influential French theologian during the Protestant Reformation who is believed to have converted from Roman Catholicism when he was quite young. Although Calvin's contemporary Martin Luther was said to be essentially in agreement, it was John Calvin who was the principal figure in the development and articulation of this doctrine. He was also its best known proponent held in very high regard by Calvinists. For example, David J. Engelsmaon claims that
"Calvin was the name of a man, a great servant of God" and "every professing Protestant could profitably read" his Institutes. 
(Considering David Engelsmaon's background, his opinion is not a surprise. He got his A.B. from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.. and studied under Herman Hoeksema. Th.M. from Calvin Theological Seminary also in Grand Rapids)
For other examples of the extent to which Calvin is idealized See The Conclusion
The late Loraine Boettner, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and a well known reformed theologian and author pointed out that Augustine
taught the essentials of the system a thousand years before Calvin was born, and the whole body of the leaders of the Reformation movement taught the same. But it was given to Calvin with his deep knowledge of Scripture, his keen intellect and systematizing genius, to set forth and defend these truths more clearly and ably than had ever been done before." 
And set them forth he did - in spades. Calvin's magnum opus was a massive and extremely philosophical account of Protestant doctrine called The Institutes of the Christian Church, which remains highly influential in the Western world and even today is widely read by theological students. This in spite of the fact that Calvin attempted (successfully in many cases) to persuade people that two diametrically opposing and completely contradictory points view were both Gospel truth. (Emphasis Added)
Moreover, though their perdition depends on the predestination of God, the cause and matter of it is in themselves... Man therefore falls, divine providence so ordaining, but he falls by his own fault. 
Damnation depends on a divine decree made at the beginning of time, yet man falls by his own fault? Any human with an ounce of logic and common sense in their make up will dismiss this position as being absurd, irrational, and a logical impossibility.
Logical impossibilities such as stating a thing can be and not be at the same time are both contradictory and absurd - Classic examples include a square circle and a married bachelor the absurdity of which is self evident..
Since two propositions that contradict each other can not both be true, when faced with a logical impossibility one has the following choices... accept one or the other as true, or both as false. Citing Jesus' words "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26) doesn't help in the slightest because omnipotence doesn't mean the ability to do absolutely anything, but the ability to do anything that is logically possible.
For instance, having created the human body, God knows exactly what it takes to make a cancerous tumor 'disappear'. He could, without breaking a sweat, cause a black hole to swallow up this earth and everything on it, but He cannot create a stone so heavy that even He cannot lift it. He can cause it to rain cats and dogs in the Sahara, but cannot cause it to rain and not rain at the same time.
I hope you see the difference. For more see What a Sovereign God Cannot Do
Jonathan Barlow says
Scripture presents a tension between God's sovereignty in salvation, and man's responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve. Both are true 
Of course Scripture does not try to "resolve the tension" because no such tension exists. It is a logical impossibility.
Calvin believed that God foreordains and initiates everything, i.e. He causes sin, then punishes the sinner. Although he admitted it was incomprehensible, Calvin called this travesty a "supreme standard of justice". (Emphasis added)
I say with Augustine, that the Lord has created those who, as he certainly foreknow, were to go to destruction, and he did so because he so willed. Why he willed it is not ours to ask, as we cannot comprehend, nor can it become us even to raise a controversy as to the justice of the divine will. Whenever we speak of it, we are speaking of the supreme standard of justice. But when justice clearly appears, why should we raise any question of injustice? Let us not, therefore, be ashamed to stop their mouths after the example of Paul. Whenever they presume to carp, let us begin to repeat: Who are ye, miserable men, that bring an accusation against God, and bring it because he does not adapt the greatness of his works to your meagre capacity? 
Calvin along with much of the modern church seem to have forgotten that the message of the Gospel is a very uncomplicated one that every human being is capable of understanding. We have done a good job of ignore the following warning (Emphasis Added)
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3 NASB)
Note: It is time to get very, very wary anytime something in Scripture is deemed to be "incomprehensible" because it usually turns out to be a man made doctrine so convoluted and contradictory that man himself cannot explain it.
Sadly, Calvin's reasoning did not follow the usual pattern, i.e. A leads to B leads to C and so on. Instead he worked in reverse.
Accepting Augustine's faulty theology, Calvin he began with the premise that the doctrine of election is true. This obviously meant it had to be based on God's will and pleasure. If it was based on His will and pleased Him, it had to be "good and perfectly just".
If Calvin had reasoned the other way, he would have begun with the true premise that God is "good and perfectly just" (More about this is the chapter entitled Sovereignty and Character). The logical assumption would then be that everything He does is is in keeping with His nature... and that does not lead to Calvinism which makes God into a totally illogical, unfair and completely unsound Being.
Perhaps as Dr. Hooker said,
"...the endless commentaries Calvin wrote may have been intended to explain scriptural writings but, in reality, they were arguments for his own theology, or what he believed were the basic tenets of Christianity. All the central principles of Calvinism are contained within these commentaries, which are "less an explanation of the Bible than a piece by piece construction of his theological, social, and political philosophy". 
Although there are no dearth of people willing and able to rain down the accolades, one cannot escape from the fact that...
The Institutes of the Christian Church Was Written by a Young Novice
Much has been made of Calvin's supposed conversion experience. However nowhere in his voluminous writings does Calvin make more than a passing reference to this experience, therefore one cannot be certain if the "conversion" he fleetingly refers to was even the New Birth.
Most biographers of Calvin can be divided into two groups .. some of them believe that it occurred during the early period of his studies at University in Paris. Secondly, others argue that it took place at a much later stage. Hence a precise date could vary from 1528 to 1539". (Emphasis Added) 
In other words, no one is sure whether Calvin was even converted when he wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. At best, he wrote it 3-6 short years after converting i.e. he was a brand new convert. However, like Luther, there is ample evidence that Calvin never entirely separated himself from Catholicism. He apparently considered himself a Christian from the time he was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic church. In his words... (Emphasis Added)
We ought to consider that at whatever time we are baptized, we are washed and purified once for the whole of life. Wherefore, as often as we fall, we must recall the remembrance of our baptism, and thus fortify our minds, so as to feel certain and secure of the remission of sins. For though, when once administered, it seems to have passed, it is not abolished by subsequent sins. For the purity of Christ was therein offered to us, always is in force, and is not destroyed by any stain: it wipes and washes away all our defilements. .
One has to wonder whether he believed he was one of the "elect" because of this baptism. Be that as it may, what is truly damning is that Calvin was supposedly converted when he had Michael Servetus killed in 1553. So it is more than feasible to wonder if his "conversion" was nothing more than a realization that there were indeed problems with Catholicism.
While there is little doubt that Calvin was determined that Scripture be his sole authority, and that he was convinced that what he taught was true to God's word, how can anyone believe that even an unusually bright convert can, in such a short time, became mature enough in the Christian faith to write tomes on some of the deepest subjects in all Christianity. A miniscule amount of common sense would have one agreeing with Dave Hunt who said...
"Unquestionably, his Institutes could not possibly have come from a deep and fully developed evangelical understanding of Scripture. Instead, they came from the energetic enthusiasm of a recent law graduate and fervent student of philosophy and religion, a young genius devoted to Augustine and a newly adopted cause. … He sought with his brilliant legal mind to make up for what he lacked in spiritual maturity" 
And he, apparently never changed much of what he first wrote.
The first edition (of Institutes of the Christian Religion) contained in brief outline all the essential elements of his system, and, considering the youthfulness of the author, was a marvel of intellectual precocity. It was later enlarged to five times the size of the original and published in French, but never did he make any radical departure from any of the doctrines set forth in the first edition. 
Although he had scarcely begun to walk with the Lord when he wrote it, The Institutes has remained important to Protestant theology for almost five centuries. Tim Perrine, CCEL Staff Writer says it is,
That's odd! For some strange reason I was under the impression that we already had a book that instructed us how to achieve salvation. (Emphasis added)
... from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 NASB)
Jeremiah: And yes, I am fully aware that the prophet Jeremiah was also a young man. However, Jeremiah was painfully aware of this to the point he brought it up to the Father who told him, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. (Jeremiah 1:7 NASB). The Lord also also stretched out His hand and touched Jeremiah's mouth, saying
"Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. "See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To pluck up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant....(Jeremiah 1: 9-10)
Many leading Calvinists agree that the writings of Augustine were the actual source of most of what is known as Calvinism today. Although Augustine was Catholic to the core and wrong about any number of issues (See The Sins of Augustine) , John Calvin referred to him as "holy man" and "holy father" and accepted Augustine's fabrications in toto with disastrous and widespread consequences.
As theopedia.com says
Sometimes Calvinism is referred to by other names such as "Augustinianism" because Calvin followed Augustine (A.D. 354–430) in many areas of predestination and the sovereignty of God." and although the doctrine of "total depravity is commonly associated with John Calvin, this theological viewpoint is based on the theology of Augustine" 
Certainly, in his Institutes Calvin quotes Augustine some 400 times, describing him as "the best and most faithful witness of all antiquity. Note the following examples drawn from the 11 positive references to Augustine in one chapter of Volume III. (All emphasis added)
For Augustine, rightly expounding this passage, says that where power is united to endurance, God does not permit, but rules
I at least hold with Augustine that when God makes sheep out of wolves, he forms them again by the powerful influence of grace, that their hardness may thus be subdued, and that he does not convert the obstinate, because he does not exert that more powerful grace, a grace which he has at command, if he were disposed to use it (August. de Prædest. Sanct., Lib. 1, c. 2).
I say with Augustine, that the Lord has created those who, as he certainly foreknew, were to go to destruction, and he did so because he so willed. Why he willed it is not ours to ask, as we cannot comprehend, nor can it become us even to raise a controversy as to the justice of the divine will. Whenever we speak of it, we are speaking of the supreme standard of justice.
If your mind is troubled, decline not to embrace the counsel of Augustine,
This question, like others, is skillfully explained by Augustine 
There are 19 references to Augustine in Chapter 5 of Book 2. 
Apparently, apart from Augustine, the first 1500 years of church history was filled with ignoramuses who, in spite of their deep devotion to the Word of God, never managed to figure out that predestination was a basic tenet of the Bible. Somehow this foundational and critical doctrine managed to elude the grasp and understanding of men like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Gaul, Clement of Alexandria and countless others. See Early Christian Theologians on THIS Page
It took one and a half centuries before Calvin and the Reformers came along and 'discovered', then fully developed, this doctrine that until then had only been endorsed by Augustine, who was wrong about almost everything else he believed and taught
(Note: This is almost an identical situation to that of the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture, which was not believed by anyone in the church until about two hundred years ago. (See The Rapture)
So who was Augustine?
Augustine, the bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430 AD, was a prolific writer, skilled preacher and rhetorician. His importance in the Catholic Church cannot be overstated. He was canonized by popular recognition and recognized as a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1303. In fact, Philip Schaff, Protestant theologian and a historian of the Christian church, called Augustine the "principal theological creator of the Latin-Catholic system [17 a]. Time Magazine says "Augustine more than any other writer defined Roman Catholic teaching on the Trinity, conditions for waging a "just war" and the "original sin" of Adam and Eve that corrupts all humanity". They went on to quote ...
St. Jerome, the translator of the Latin Bible who wrote approvingly, "Catholics revere you and accept you as the second founder of the ancient faith, and -- which is a mark of greater fame -- all the heretics hate you."
Pope John Paul II, in an anniversary pronouncement, terms Augustine the "common father of our Christian civilization." (This was the 1600th anniversary of Augustine's conversion)
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican's doctrinal overseer, says that through Augustine "I learned to believe, to know faith and to love the church." [17 b]
That's quite a who's who of the Catholic world. In view of the endorsements an examination of some of Augustine's beliefs and teachings should not really bring any surprises. For example Augustine believed that salvation is not to be found outside of a 'pure' Catholic church that, due to apostolic succession, was the supreme teaching authority.
He also believed that the Catholic Church can forgive sins and that tradition is on par with the authority of the Scriptures. Furthermore he believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, to say nothing of purgatory and praying for the departed. (For Details See The Sins of Augustine).
In view of the fact that Augustine's belief system was so skewed on the major points of doctrine listed in the linked article, it seems to me that we should be eyeing with deep suspicion anything that he wrote. Yet Calvin was in almost complete agreement with Augustine, saying (All Emphasis Added)
In a word, Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fulness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings. But that I may not, on the present occasion, be too prolix, I will be content with three or four instances of his testimony, from which it will be manifest that he does not differ from me one pin's point. And it would be more manifest still, could the whole line of his confession be adduced, how fully and solidly he agrees with me in every particular. 
And some Evangelical Protestants consider him
"to be in the tradition of the Apostle Paul as the theological fountainhead of the Reformation teaching on salvation and grace". 
What exactly is wrong with us?
Anyway, what this unholy alliance hatched was what eventually came to be known under the acronym... TULIP. But more about that later. Another point that needs emphasizing is that...
Calvin - Supremely Unfit To Be Called A Church Leader
David J. Engelsmaon also wrote,
"in the cogency of his logical analysis he possessed a weapon which made him terrible to his enemies". 
Unfortunately there were a few other things slightly more threatening than "logical analysis" that made Calvin "terrible to his enemies".
The Historical Record
When Calvin was invited to Geneva to build the new Reformed church, he attempted to impose such a strict moral code on the people that they saw his reforms as another version of the papacy. In April 1537, at Calvin's instigation, city officials were commanded to go from house to house to ensure that the inhabitants subscribed to his Confession of Faith. Many who opposed him were either imprisoned, flogged, banished, or put to death. The story of Michael Servetus is probably the best known, although far from the only example of Calvin's ruthlessness.
In about 1553, Calvin "asked the councils of Geneva to arrest Michael Servetus that he considered a heretic, since Servetus criticised the doctrine of the Trinity, opposed infant baptism and rejected the doctrine of Original Sin. Calvin brought charges against him, carried on the debate to prove that his heresy was threatening the Church of Christ, and approved of the verdict to put him to death (although he urged beheading instead of burning at the stake)". 
Yet note what Calvin himself said about "ecclesiastical discipline", some six years after he had Servetus killed...(Emphasis Added)
First, the object in view is to prevent the occurrence of scandals, and when they arise, to remove them. In the use two things are to be considered: first, that this spiritual power be altogether distinct from the power of the sword; secondly, that it be not administered at the will of one individual, but by a lawful consistory (1 Cor. 5:4). Both were observed in the purer times of the Church. For holy bishops did not exercise their power by fine, imprisonment, or other civil penalties, but as became them, employed the word of God only. For the severest punishment of the Church, and, as it were, her last thunderbolt, is excommunication, which is not used unless in necessity. This, moreover, requires neither violence nor physical force, but is contented with the might of the word. 
In an end note to the above comment, The Christian Classics Ethereal Library which carries Calvin's entire Institutes online says
"It is truly unfortunate that these sound sentiments were not heeded by Calvin himself" and "Calvin even wrote a small book defending the death sentence upon Servetus". 
And we hang on to is man's every word! Exactly how skewed can we get?
The end note to chapter 11 of Institutes goes on to say
Today there is a monument on Champel, the hill upon which Servetus perished in the flames. It was erected on the 350th anniversary of the execution, by followers of Calvin. The inscription reads: As reverent and grateful sons of Calvin, our great Reformer, repudiating his mistake, which was the mistake of his age, and according to the true principles of the Reformation and the Gospel, holding fast to freedom of conscience, we erect this monument of reconciliation on this 27th of October 1903. 
News flash. We can elect monuments to all the victims of Calvin's bloodthirsty policies until the cows come home. It wont change the basic fact that for all John Calvin's supposed thorough study of the Scriptures he missed the entire 12th chapter of Romans
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the lord. "but if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." (Romans 12:18-20 NASB)
Calvin's Cruelty - Exaggerated or Understated?
Modern defenders often claim that the charges against Calvin are highly exaggerated ... made by those that "hate" him. (we must have some peculiar affinity for the word hate, since we so freely apply it to anyone who disagrees with or points out a problem with another person's beliefs). In this regard I found an article on biblestudying.net especially interesting. Unfortunately they no longer carry this article on their site. But it once said they...
"wanted to present an accurate picture of his (Calvin's) character as reflected by his activities", and "assemble only those events that can easily be found in the historical record". (Emphasis Added)
With this in mind they chose a biography of Calvin written by Bernard Cottret described on Amazon as "more historian than theologian" who "brings a useful objectivity to this study". (All Emphasis Added). In their words,
As we have researched Calvinism, we have come across a lot of character assassination on the internet. Much of these articles have no citation and they seem to leave in doubt the Objectivity of their authors. It is difficult to separate the facts of John Calvin's life from the fiction written by those who dislike him. The tone of some of these articles clearly indicates the intent of their authors to malign John Calvin based on almost any hint of excessive behavior.
Such approaches to the life of Calvin left a bad impression in our minds. We wanted to present an accurate picture of his character as reflected by his activities. For this purpose, we wanted to assemble only those events that can easily be found in the historical record. And for this reason, we selected an author whose book seems in many ways to portray his own admiration for John Calvin on some levels. The book we chose was Calvin: A Biography, by Bernard Cottret, published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company Grand Rapids, Michigan, copyright 2000.
They went on to say that Cottret's refusal to paint Calvin in negative terms actually makes his book a "perfect selection" for their article (Emphasis Added)
".... It is precisely Cottret's favorable portrayal of Calvin that gives credit to the reality of the no less than 38 executions recorded in his book (despite Cottret's careful downplaying)... Make no mistake, history clearly records that Calvin both directly and indirectly had both men and women jailed, tortured, and executed. He not only approved of such practices, but instigated them" .
This is a partial list of the sins of Calvin taken from Cottret's biography
"9. (page 180) February 1545 - "Freckles" Dunant dies under torture without admitting to the crime of spreading the plague. His body was then dragged to the middle of town and burned.
10. (page 180) 1545 - Following the incident with Dunant, several more men and women were apprehended including a barber and a hospital supervisor who had "made a pact with the devil."
11. (page 180) March 7, 1545 - Two women executed by burning at the stake (presumably for the crime of sorcery, i.e. spreading the plague). CALVIN INTERCEDED apparently to have them executed sooner rather than later after additional time in prison. The Council followed his directive happily and urged the executioner to "be more diligent in cutting off the hands of malefactors."
12. (page 180) 1545 - more executions, tortures carefully watched to prevent death. Most of the tortured refused to confess. Means of death varied a little to include decapitation. All under the crime of spreading the plague. Some committed suicide in their cells to avoid torture, afterward the rest were handcuffed. One woman then threw herself through a window.
13. (page 208) 1545 - CALVIN HAD the magistrates seize Belot, an Anabaptist (against infant baptism) for stating that the Old Testament was abolished by the New. Belot was chained and tortured.
14. (page 180) May 16, 1545 - The last execution concerning the plague outbreak, bringing the total dead to 7 men and 24 women. A letter from CALVIN attests to 15 of these women being burned at the stake. CALVIN'S only concern was that the plague had not come to his house.
16. (page 190) July 1546 - Jacques Gruet was accused of writing a poster against Calvin. He was arrested and tortured until he admitted to the crime. He was then executed. 
It seems painfully obvious that John Calvin was a hard and inflexible man, who used violence and torture to subdue all who did not see eye to eye with him. As I understand it, there is not one mention of God's love for the lost in all volumes of his Institutes. So the possibility that John Calvin created a god in his own image has to be taken very seriously.
The Bible is Very Specific About The Character of Church Leaders
Defenders of Calvin say
"every age must be judged according to its prevailing law; and Calvin cannot be fairly accused of any greater offence than that with which we may be charged for punishing certain crimes with death." 
And that is absolute codswallop.
The crimes that carry the death penalty are violent ones that virtually always involve the taking of life. We do not prescribe the death penalty for those that disagree with our religious views or that we consider heretics.
Besides which, while it may be true that a person's theories can not always be evaluated based upon their character, their character is the only basis by which we determine whether or not they are qualified to hold the position of Christian teacher and leader. We do not judge leaders of the church according to "prevailing law" but according to the Word of God that lists the characteristics that a leader in the Christian community is required to have.
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. (1 Timothy 3:1-3 NASB)
For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, (Titus 1:7-8 NASB)
Calvin was far, far worse that a brawler or striker. The man that so many in the modern Church treat with reverent respect was a torturer and an executioner ... which means that according to Scripture, he was completely unfit to be called a Church leader.
Note Calvin had much in common with Martin Luther
Martin Luther's refusal to bow down to the dictates of the Catholic Church let the genie out of the bottle. His reforms helped empower peasants, gave rise to Protestantism as we know it and even, in the long run, contributed to democracy and changed the course of Western civilization. On the other hand, not many Martin Luther devotees seem to be aware that his idea of grace and faith alone differed from ours, and that several Catholic doctrines remained firmly entrenched in his belief system. And that is not all. All too many Christians tend to gloss over the fact that Luther slandered everyone he disagreed with. He made strident and offensive verbal attacks against both the papacy and the Anabaptists, while his violent polemics against the Jews are appalling examples of extreme anti-Semitism.
A "High View of Scripture?
Calvinist scholars resort to complex and intricate distinctions between electing grace and common grace, and the various "wills' of God including, but perhaps not limited to perceptive will, preferential or desiderative will, permissive will, decreed will etc. See Chapter on God's Sovereignity and Character
If all this gobbledygook is a very "high view" of Scripture, then it is no wonder that God first proclaimed his message of salvation to peasants tending their sheep. Once the highly 'educated' got a hold of the extremely straightforward and uncomplicated message of salvation, they turned it into a highly philosophical ideology well infused by preconceived ideas, assumptions and presumptions. The resulting concoction bearing little resemblance to the original message.
And Calvinist philosophy very often contradicts itself. For example, in an August 2016 interview conducted by Shawn Lazar about believers doubting their salvation, David J. Engelsma says (Emphasis added)
... would exhort someone who was lacked assurance in this way. I would be very patient. I would take care not to be harsh and condemnatory. I would tell them what the gospel itself says: believe on Jesus Christ, know Him as the Savior from sin, put your faith in Him for your righteousness with God, and you will have certainty of salvation. God Himself promises (and He cannot lie) that everyone who believe on Jesus Christ is saved, will be saved, and will never be lost, and we have no reason to doubt Him whatsoever. 
I have no doubt I would be dismissed as too dumb to comprehend these elaborate arguments. However, Calvinism so tests the bounds of common sense and logic, that I doubt anyone really does. In fact, I have often wondered if the angels who delivered the message are even now scratching their heads in perplexity wondering if this was the same 'glad tidings' they were sent to announce.
 The Five Points of Calvinism. http://calvinistcorner.com/tulip
 The Five Points of Calvinism. Baker Books; 3 edition (April 1, 2010). Pg. 30
 David J. Engelsmaon. A Defense of Calvinism as the Gospel. http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_31.html
 Loraine Boettner. The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination.
 John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge, Chapter 23. Refutation Of The Calumnies By Which This Doctrine Is Always Unjustly Assailed. http://www.reformed.org/master/index.html?mainframe=/books/institutes/
 An Introduction to TULIP by Jonathan Barlow. https://reformed.org/calvinism/tulip-an-introduction-by-jonathan-barlow/
 John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge, Chapter 23. Refutation Of The Calumnies By Which This Doctrine Is Always Unjustly Assailed. Page 2230 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxiv.html
 Richard Hooker, General Education faculty member. Washington State University, http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/REFORM/CALVIN.HTM. Link is no longer active
 H.B. Lee. Calvin's Sudden Conversion (Subita Conversion) And Its Historical Meaning.
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983. Vol. IV. Chapter 15. - Of Baptism. Pg. 2514. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.vi.xvi.html
 Dave Hunt. What Love Is This?... Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God.” (2002 and 2004, Loyal Publishing), Pgs. 38, 39, 40
 Loraine Boettner. The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination.
 Tim Perrine. CCEL Staff Writer. Book Information. Institutes of the Christian Religion http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.html
 Calvinism. http://www.theopedia.com/Calvinism
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983. Vol. III. Chapter 23... Refutation Of The Calumnies By Which This Doctrine Is Always Unjustly Assailed. Pgs. 2226-2238.
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983, vol. II, Chapter 5. The Arguments Usually Alleged In Support Of Free Will Refuted.Pg. 273. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.iv.vi.html
[17 A] History of the Christian Church, Volume III: CHAPTER V. The Influence of St. Augustin upon Posterity, and his Relation to Catholicism and Protestantism. https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc3.iii.xiii.xx.html
[17 B] Religion: The Second Founder of the Faith. By Richard N. Ostling; Daniela Simpson/Rome, with other bureaus. Sep. 29, 1986 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,962430,00.html
 John Calvin, "A Treatise on the Eternal Predestination of God". Calvin’s Calvinism. Page 38.
http://www.reformed.org/documents/calvin/calvin_predest_2.html#A TREATISE#A TREATISE
 Augustine of Hippo. From Theopedia. http://www.theopedia.com/Augustine
 David J. Engelsmaon. A Defense of Calvinism as the Gospel. http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_31.html
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983. Vol. IV. Chapter 11. Of The Jurisdiction Of The Church, And The Abuses Of It, As Exemplified In The Papacy. Pgs. 2229-2230.
 John Calvin: His Life in Geneva. http://www.biblestudying.net/johncalvin.html
 Calvin: A Biography, by Bernard Cottret, published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company Grand Rapids, Michigan, copyright 20
 William Wileman. Calvin and Servetus. © 2003 Banner of Truth. http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?457
 The Current Crisis in Assurance: An Interview with Prof. David J. Engelsma. August 8, 2016 by Shawn Lazar