Brinsmead as the origin of New Calvinism


Adventists think that they are existing in a fishtank without any influence sideways to other denominations. Not so. The heresies of the Ford and Brinsmead era had side effects in Australia since the 1970’s and could be visibly seen since 2006 in Calvinism in Australia. Here is a blog written by Andrew Duncan about this phenomenon. It is cited as he wrote it.

“This is part of a larger document called The Gospel of New Calvinism which covers both the gospel and Biblical Counselling of new calvinism today.
New calvinism is a term loosely applied to a syncretistic belief system based upon the merging of Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) beliefs and traditional calvinist beliefs. It was a Seventh Day Adventist with calvinist leanings named Robert Brinsmead who was largely responsible for kick-starting what we call new calvinism today. Brinsmead led the Australian Forum (a think tank group of people to discuss calvinist SDA beliefs). In 1970 the Australian Forum commenced to spread its reformed or calvinist SDA views, and these views were taken up by Westminster Theological Seminary (USA).

Also, in 1970 Jay Adams of Westminster Seminary published “Competent to Counsel”, a document that would eventually lead to what we know today as the Biblical Counselling movement. But, the views of the Australian Forum were to also merge with the traditional calvinist views of Westminster Seminary to lead, firstly to Sonship Theology, which was then adapted and relabelled as new calvinism. The traditional calvinist views were to be transformed into the new calvinism of the Young, Restless and Reformed (YRR), a phrase apparently coined for new calvinists by Christianity Today in 2006.

So what are the distinctives of new calvinism? It is clear that Brinsmead (with his Australian Forum) and Jay Adams (with his new direction on counselling) both played a major part in this new calvinist belief system. New calvinism is a fusion, a merging together, of traditional calvinism and SDA beliefs. Take the traditional calvinist gospel of the unconditional election which taught that if you were one of God’s elect, you were guaranteed your salvation forever. But if you didn’t persevere in the works of righteousness, then you were not one of God’s elect and therefore you were not going to heaven, ever. That is, one major sinful strike and you’re out!

However, add the SDA gospel which taught that if you fell into sin, you could choose to repent, confess and renounce your sin. In this way God would provide regular sanctification so that you could be regularly justified. Thus, you add the SDA fusion of an ongoing justification based upon an ongoing sanctification (which resulted from your ongoing repentance, confession and renouncing of sin).
This is a major tenet taught by new calvinists today, that we need an ongoing or daily justification.
As we sin daily, so he justifies daily, and we must daily go to him for it.
(Justification Vs Self-justification, The Gospel Coalition National Conference 13/04/11)

Calvinists could now sin and regain their justification and still have a guarantee of salvation at the end. And, the SDAs gained from this a guarantee of salvation which their old gospel didn’t give them.
(For further reading, see
The New Calvinism Gospel post and The Gospel of New Calvinism.)

This new gospel of the new calvinists was a seller. That it wasn’t scripturally correct didn’t matter; when did being scripturally correct matter today in an age of such consumerism? (That is, you deliver the goods that the population wants, and they’ll beat a pathway to your door!) No longer did they have to, as calvinists, kick out those who sinned badly, and declaring them to be not of God’s elect. No, that was a thing of the past. Now, if a person could be convinced to repent, confess and renounce his sin, then he could remain in the church, for God would only have granted repentance to his elect. Losing members due to sinful behaviour had been a problem in the past. Not only did it lower the numbers in church (and, very importantly, the offering!) but it prevented the scandal of having sinful church members being the cause of others not coming to their church. But now even the sinners could stay (and play and pay!).

This was to form the basis of Sonship Theology, which taught that, as God’s children, Christians could sin, knowing that if they were of God’s elect, their God would always provide sufficient grace to reinstall them into fellowship. That is, if they were God’s elect, then they couldn’t do anything that would lose them their assurance of salvation.
If you can never be lost, then no sin you commit can ever change that fact. If you repented of your sin, then new calvinism taught that God had given repentance to you as a gift; thus that sin could not affect your salvation. Repentance was the evidence that God was demonstrating that his grace would overcome your sin. If you repented, it demonstrated that you were one of God’s elect. It was the lack of repentance that demonstrated that you couldn’t be one of God’s elect. Now the demonstration of your election had gone from living a puritan lifestyle to a willingness to be able to repent of and renounce any sin you committed!

But how do you administer such a loose belief system? If people may be permitted to sin, then repent, confess and renounce such sin in order to remain acceptable to their God (often for the sake of the church and its leaders!), then what’s to stop them from abusing this system? What’s to stop them from committing sin as and when they like, knowing that they’ll be still able to get up and continue running the race? What checks and balances are there in such a system? You don’t want to kick people out because a good business never kicks out its better customers. But you do need some form of control to prevent it turning into a sin free-for-all. You need “control”!

Enter Biblical Counselling! Over the centuries the catholic church has used the confessional to control its members. Originally known as nouthetic counselling, Biblical Counselling has now taken the place of the catholic confession. New calvinism theology required an ongoing repentance leading to ongoing justification, and Biblical Counselling would provide the practical means by which God’s “elect” would demonstrate their election by the repentance allegedly given to them as a gift from God.”


Source: Andrew Dunstone, (2018) Biblical Counseling as an Aid to Control the Church. Downloaded from