Calvinism is a belief in meticulious divine determinism over every thought, choice and event throughout human history–including your personal sins. Just think about the insidious implications of such a view. If a rapist or pedophile were to declare in a courtroom, “God caused me to do it!” we would denouce him as a liar or a lunatic. However when a Calvinist declares more a less the same thing behind their pulpit (substituting “caused” for “decreed” or “determined”), he is extolled as being biblical!
I cannot tell you how often I hear people retort, “That’s not what Calvinists believe! I’m a Calvinist and I don’t believe God predetermined all my sin!” My typical response is, “Well then welcome to Arminianism because you certainly can’t be a Calvinist.” Usually this is not received very well because they have already been indoctrinated and propagandized into believing that Arminianism is a man-centered, man-glorifying, anti-grace heresy. More often than not the people I speak of are novice Calvinists who have been hoodwinked into a high-Calvinist, Reformed theology by a Piper sermon that conveniently left out all the ugly, sinister implications and absurdities that accompany swallowing Calvinism in toto.
If you are a recent devotee of Calvinism I can only imagine that I have only precious seconds to prove the indisputable assertion that Calvinism-Reformed theology is founded on the tenet that God sovereignly predetermines (whether through hard determinism or compatibilism) every decision and choice humans make–including sin and evil.
Here are a list of quotes from leading, mainstream Calvinists over the years that speak of this inescapable fact (I offer follow-up comments to help clarify the remarks and to the best of my knowledge have taken no one out of context):
*All bold type and emphasis is mine*
Hence we maintain that, by his providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.
[The question must be asked—how are men held responsible for sinful choices that flow out of wills that are “governed as to move exactly in the course which God has destined?”]
Men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on anything but what he has previously decreed with himself, and brings to pass by his secret direction.
[In Calvinism God is the logical origin and thus author of every sinful thought or choice men make. How else to explain Calvinism’s teaching that all our decreed decisions and deliberations are initiated by the “secret instigation of God” that he infallibly “brings to pass by his secret direction?”]
The hand of God rules the interior affections no less than it superintends external actions; nor would God have effected by the hand of man what he decreed, unless he worked in their hearts to make them will before they acted.
[Calvinists are well-known for redefining free-will as being “free to act in accordance with our strongest desires.” However what they leave out is the pivotal point that God has also causally predetermined which desires act upon our wills. Here Calvin admits that for God to achieve a predestined, external action in a person, he must effectively “work in their hearts to make them will before they act.”]
The will of God is the chief and principal cause of all things.
[There is no getting around the logical implications of this. Whether a modern-day Calvinist admits it or not his theology is logically and necessarily undergirded by the premise that God’s will is the ultimate causal force behind every sinful choice and act of rebellion throughout human history.]
If God controls the purposes of men, and turns their thoughts and exertions to whatever purpose he pleases, men do not therefore cease to form plans and to engage in this or the other undertaking. We must not suppose that there is a violent compulsion, as if God dragged them against their will; but in a wonderful and inconceivable manner he regulates all the movements of men, so that they still have the exercise of their will.
[On the one hand Calvin wants to say that God’s will of decree regulates, turns and infallibly controls the thoughts and actions of every person. But on the other hand Calvin wants to preserve human accountability in making choices, so he asserts that God does not force his will of decree on anyone. How does God accomplish this? Calvin never tells us. Instead he appeals to unexplainable mystery seen in his cloaked phrase “wonderful and inconceivable manner he regulates all the movements of men…” This is theological gobbledegook in its highest form.]
The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should: why he deemed it meet, we know not… Man therefore falls, divine providence so ordaining but he falls by his own fault.
[As is obvious Calvin believed God did not just foresee the fall of man, he unconditionally decreed that man would fall. Again Calvin seeks to cover his theological rear from getting blindsided by appealing to an incomprehensible mystery (“we know not”) and then adding in the qualifier “but he falls by his own fault.” Herein lies Calvinism’s greatest conundrum concerning a compatibilist account of freedom. Compatibilist Calvinists say our choices are wholly determined and caused by our desires. Yet Adam and Eve did not have any sinful nature and thus no inherent desire to sin or rebel. So how and why did they choose to sin and rebel? Arminians do have an answer because we understand self-determination to be the ultimate and final explanation for choice and behavior—rather than compatibilist “free-will” which maintains that all “free” choices have their origin in God’s prior decree.]
How it was ordained by the foreknowledge and decree of God what man’s future was without God being implicated as associate in the fault as the author or approver of transgression, is clearly a secret so much excelling the insight of the human mind, that I am not ashamed to confess ignorance…. I daily so meditate on these mysteries of his judgments that curiosity to know anything more does not attract me.
[Here again Calvin wants to insist that God is the causal determiner of every sinful transgression and yet absolve God of all responsibility and culpability in foreordaining those sins. How does God do this? Calvin has no idea and again appeals to inscrutable mystery. The obvious problem is Calvinism creates mysteries where none should exist. There is no mystery as to how we can be held responsible for all the sins God causally determines—because God has not causally determined all our sins. There is no mystery as to how God can be the willing determiner of all your sins and not be the author of them—because God has not determined your sins. Calvinism makes God out to be a moral monster equal to the devil himself and appeals to mystery in order to extricate God from looking like the devil! The mysteries of Calvinism are just that—mysteries that solely exist in their own theological construct and are alien to biblical truth.]
I have already shown clearly enough that God is the author of all those things which, according to these objectors [non-Calvinists] happen only by his inactive permission… No, when we cannot comprehend how God can will that to be done which he forbids us to do, let us call to mind our imbecility…”
[In defending his view of sovereignty against his objectors John Calvin concedes that logically it must mean God is the ultimate author of everything he ordains. Moreover he argues that simply saying that God gives “permission” is not sufficient. He later attempts to say that our minds are too finite and stupid (“imbecile”) to comprehend the mystery as to why God would ordain the very sins he forbids us to do.]
What we must prove is that single events are ordered by God and that every event comes from his intended will. Nothing happens by chance.”
[For Calvin and Calvinism in general “chance” is understood as being any choice of self-determination that lies outside what God has already unilaterally pre-chosen should occur. In other words God has chosen what each choice shall be and chance is defined as any event or choice that is free of God’s causal determinism of all choices before the world began. Whether it be the roll of the dice in monopoly, your decision on a menu, or whether or not to cheat on a test— in Calvinism the only thing God is “allowing” is his own choice to become realized.]
But where it is a matter of men’s counsels, wills, endeavours, and exertions, there is greater difficulty in seeing how the providence of God rules here too, so that nothing happens but by His assent and that men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it.
[Here Calvin states that God inspires everything men do. Thus God inspires every child molestation, every lie, every act of adultery and every suicide. Accordingly God does not simply allow men to abuse their freedom to do evil—he in fact inspires the very evil men do.]
Calvinist theologian James White, in a debate with Hank Hannegraaf and George Bryson, was asked, “When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” To which Mr. White replied… “Yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created it without a purpose… and God is responsible for the creation of despair… If He didn‟t [decree child rape] then that rape is an element of meaningless evil that has no purpose.”
[For a thorough refutation of White’s reasoning, click here.]
Scripture…teaches God’s sovereignty (providence, decree, etc.) and man’s responsibility. We usually call this “biblical compatibilism,” which we might summarize by saying that human beings freely chose what God foreordains.”
[Secondary causation, otherwise known as compatibilism, still results in causal determinism that precludes human responsibility in White’s theology. For in Calvinistic compatibilism God doesn’t just passively allow us to pick which bondage of sins our fallen desires “freely” pull us towards—he determines which desires we will have and which specific sins we will choose! In the end Calvinism can make no sense as to why God still treats people as moral agents who are responsible for the very same evil actions he causally determined and inwardly initiated for them to do.]
“God controls everything that is and everything that happens. There is not one thing that happens that he has not actively decreed – not even a single thought in the mind of man. Since this is true, it follows that God has decreed the existence of evil, he has not merely permitted it, as if anything can originate and happen apart from his will and power. Since we have shown that no creature can make completely independent decisions, evil could never have started without God’s active decree, and it cannot continue for one moment longer apart from God’s will. God decreed evil ultimately for his own glory, although it is not necessary to know or to state this reason to defend Christianity from the problem evil.”
“Those who see that it is impossible to altogether disassociate God from the origination and continuation of evil nevertheless try to distance God from evil by saying that God merely “permits” evil, and that he does not cause any of it. However, since Scripture itself states that God actively decrees everything, and that nothing can happen apart from his will and power, it makes no sense to say that he merely permits something – nothing happens by God’s mere permission.”
[In declaring that every thought of man, even man’s sinful thoughts, are actively decreed by God, and that nothing happens unless God actively determines it (and not just permits it), Vincent Cheung leaves no stone unturned as to the extent of God’s divine determination over all things. Moreover, like John Piper, Cheung holds to the absurd and despicable Calvinist idea that God has divinely determined all evil—for his own holy glory.]
“So when I say that everything that exists — including evil — is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly, I mean that, one way or the other, God sees to it that all things serve to glorify his Son.”
[Piper is coming under increasing pressure to detract his view that God ordained every sinful choice humans make for the sake of achieving greater radiance of glory. The view suffers in that it implies that God was not fully glorified before sin and now needs sin to make his glory “shine more brightly.” Even other Calvinists have been uneasy with Piper’s theology on this issue because it presents a God who has a need—sin—to achieve something righteous—glory. Notice also that Piper attempts to do damage control by shrouding his true beliefs behind the innocuous phrase “God sees to it that all things serve to glorify his Son.” What Piper really means is “God eternally conceived and causally determines every evil for the good purpose of glorifying his Son.” We are left wondering if perhaps Piper does not want to be this blunt and honest with his readers because he is afraid many will not have the “stomach” to handle such brutal truths. Unfortunately Piper is very reticent to be theologically honest and forthcoming in his popular sermons—especially with young people who are considering Calvinism. He will often borrow an Arminian framework of God not “preventing” evil and “permitting sin” to explain how God foreordains every event of evil without being the author of such evils. In saying this Piper is being wholly inconsistent with his own theology and is therefore being theologically inconsistent and dishonest (misleading) with his laymen listeners and readers.]
“God is able without blameworthy ‘tempting’ to see to it that a person does what God ordains for him to do even if it involves evil.”
[Piper has yet to be able to articulate a philosophically sound and coherent account of how our Holy God decrees the desires, motives and intentions of every man’s evil choices; renders it certain that they carry out those specifically decreed evils—yet all the while escapes the charge that he “tempts men” to do evil. Piper’s position is essentially that God does not actually tempt men to sin because that would make him morally culpable for sin. Instead Piper theorizes God only decrees all of our sin; sovereignly inclines all of our wills to commit that decreed sin—yet somehow remains morally un-culpable because he doesn’t tempt us to sin. What? This position would almost be worthy of humor given its irrationality if it wasn’t so tragic that Piper has managed to convince multitudes of others to think the same absurdity.]
God… orders and controls all things, human actions among them…He [also] holds every man responsible for the choices he makes and the courses of action he pursues… Man is a responsible moral agent, though he is also divinely controlled; man is divinely controlled, though he is also a responsible moral agent. To our finite minds, of course, the thing is inexplicable.
[Notice again how Calvinists are quick to find refuge in “unexplainable mystery” whenever they are pressed on explaining the logic of their convictions. If one drops the premise that all human desire and choice is rooted in God’s irresistible eternal decree then the mystery of how humans can be responsible for their actions disappears.]
R.C. Sproul Jr.
God wills all things that come to pass…God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that God created sin.”
[This Calvinist theologian unashamedly takes Calvinism to its logical conclusion. That other Calvinists hold to the same view but don’t speak so openly and plainly to their masses is a cause for concern.]
“All things that happen in all the world at any time and in all history–whether inorganic matter, vegetation, animal, man or angels (both good and evil ones)– come to pass because God ordained them. Even sin– the fall of the devil from heaven, the fall of Adam, and every evil thought, word, and deed in all of history… Foreordination means God’s sovereign plan, whereby He decides all that is to happen in the entire universe. Nothing in this world happens by chance. God is in back of everything. He decides and causes all things to happen that do happen. He is not sitting on the sidelines wondering and perhaps fearing what is going to happen next. No, He has foreordained everything ‘after the counsel of his will’ (Eph. 1:11): the moving of a finger, the beating of a heart, the laughter of a girl, the mistake of a typist – even sin…Although sin and unbelief are contrary to what God commands…God has included them in his sovereign decree (ordained them, caused them to certainly come to pass).
[To concede, as Palmer does, that God unilaterally and unconditionally ordained “every evil thought” undermines the typical Calvinist defense (via Edwards and Piper) that human choice can be determined by God and yet humans can still be held morally responsible for the choices they make because freedom of the will is simply thinking upon and doing what we think and desire to do– and left to ourselves we will always desire evil. But if our evil thoughts and desires are themselves determined by God, as Palmer admits, the Calvinist argument is rendered meaningless. The mere fact that so many intelligent and sincere followers of God believe God unilaterally and unconditionally ordained “every evil thought” and “decides and causes…even [their] sin” is truly troubling and worrisome in that the view offers no sound reason as to why–in the end– God’s grace is not a license to sin. One can only speculate as to how many lives have been shipwrecked on the rocks of this extreme view of God’s sovereignty that provides every person a valid reason to absolve themselves of all guilt—for who can resist an irresistible decree of God to sin?]
“Sin is one of the ‘whatsoevers’ that have ‘come to pass’, all of which are ‘ordained’…Nothing comes to pass contrary to His decree. Nothing happens by chance. Even moral evil, which He abhors and forbids, occurs by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God… man’s inability to explain how God can make things certain, but not compulsory… is no reason to deny that [God] can do it or that he has done it.”
[Here we are told that God foreordains the very evils he hates and abhors. Again the theology of Calvinism makes God indistinguishable from the activity of the devil! In fact Calvinism must logically affirm that every demon is meticulously controlled by God insofar as he has decreed every one of their acts of temptation and evil.]
God by his providence permitted some of the angels willfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation…ordering that, and all their sins, to his glory.
[Notice how Shedd, like Piper and Edwards, adopts a philosophy of absurd incoherence in attempting to use the language of “permission” to explain the fall and activity of demons, while simultaneously asserting a reality of divine determinism to explain the fall and activity of demons. If a teacher arranges an exam whereby she renders certain that all her students fail, it is meaningless to then assert she “permitted” them to fail. And again we find another Calvinist telling us that God determines all sin “to his glory.” Webb should have said “to his shame.” Only a Calvinist possesses the strange ingenuity to attribute sin to God’s glory and in so doing divest glory of all that qualifies it as such.
Gordan H. Clark:
I wish very frankly and pointedly to assert that if a man gets drunk and shoots his family, it was the will of God that he should do it…” He goes on to assert, “Let it be unequivocally said that this view certainly makes God the cause of sin. God is the sole ultimate cause of everything. There is absolutely nothing independent of him. He alone is the eternal being. He alone is omnipotent. He alone is sovereign. Some people who do not wish to extend God’s power over evil things, and particularly over moral evils…The Bible therefore explicitly teaches that God creates sin.
[Unlike many of his Calvinist brethren who opted to shield themselves behind “mystery” as to how God can be the pre-determiner of sin without being the ultimate cause or author of sin, Clarke was not ashamed or too timid to admit the logical conclusion of Calvinist dogma—that being that God is the determinative cause of sin. He makes no attempt to lessen or soften Calvinism’s extreme view of God’s sovereignty to make it more palatable or agreeable but readily admits that God’s sovereignty, as logically seen through the lens of Calvinism, results in a God who determines, orders and causes the evil acts of all people. Why? Because “He alone is sovereign.” It is Calvinism egregious view of God’s sovereignty that is its foremost error and gives us little reason not to toss it in the rubbish heap of theology gone to seed.]
“Plainly it was God’s will that sin should enter this world, otherwise it would not have entered, for nothing happens except what God has eternally decreed. Moreover, there was more than a simple permission, for God only permits things that fulfill his purpose.”
[Here Pink, the well-known Calvinist theologian, insists that sin entered this world as a result of what “God has eternally decreed” and that permitting is more or less a formality of means to bring into reality what he purposed unconditionally. When a Calvinists says, “God permitted the sin of X to occur” he is really saying, “God fulfilled the decree of X to occur.”]
“The Reformed [Calvinists] agree that God knows what would happen under all conditions, but they reject the notion that this knowledge is ever ultimately based on man’s autonomous decisions. Human decisions, they argue, are themselves the effects of God’s eternal decrees.”
[Here Frame admits that God’s knowledge of every human decision (i.e. sin) is ultimately not a result of knowing what humans autonomously choose. In Calvinism there is no “autonomy” of the will. We are more like the glove that fits on a hand. The glove moves but ultimately only in response to the movement of the hand. Our wills are thus God’s instruments to affect his decrees. In this sense Frame would have us understand that God knows all human decisions because he has decreed each decision. Our illusion of free will is merely a trick of the mind because we are constrained to time. The fact is, according to Frame, every choice we make is merely the effects in time of what God eternally decreed.]
Mark Talbot and John Piper:
“God brings about all things in accordance with his will. It isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those that love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects… This includes God’s having even brought about the Nazi’s brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child.” 
The above quote, which was edited and approved by John Piper for inclusion in his book “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God”, is so morally repugnant, evil and contrary to the majesty and glory of God, the mere fact that any Christian leader could affirm it only goes to show how deeply entrenched Calvinism is in demonic deception. 1500 years ago at the Council of Orange, the Church had little tolerance for such blasphemous departures from the nature of God’s goodness and holiness, saying, “We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema.” (Council of Orange 529AD)
Conclusion: Calvinism makes much of the will of man being in bondage to sin, but it turns out this is only a formality in man’s experience–it is ultimately irrelevant. In Calvinism, man’s will is in bondage to God’s decretive will. Moreover this bondage is throughout one’s life! A Calvinist would be mistaken to think regenerated, saved persons somehow escape the “bondage of the will” they formerly incurred while in sin. That would be a conclusion that does not give Calvinism its full due. In order for a Calvinist to extoll God as sovereign it must be conceded that every sin, even sins made by Christians who are in Christ, is a sin that God decreed for them to make. Becoming saved changes this not one bit. There is ultimately no true freedom of the will to be gained in being a new creature in Christ—your sins are still determined just like they were before!
The result of such an extreme view of sovereignty is quite frightfully appalling. God tells us to put to death the deeds of our flesh and to walk in holiness, yet every time we give in to the flesh God’s meticulous predeterminism ultimately lies behind it all—such that we could not have chosen against God’s decree. Far from being removed from sin, Calvinism results in God being the conceptual author and primary cause of all sin!
At its core historical, scholarly Arminianism has principally been motivated by an unceasing passion to protect and defend the holy and righteous character of God from the horrific implications of Calvinist theology.