Biblical Counselling & new calvinism today
Calvinism has remerged as Neo or New Calvinism in the past 20 or so years, most of it being after 2004 or thereabouts. Research shows a strong connection between “new calvinism” and Robert Brinsmead (a Reform Seventh Day Adventist involved with Australian Forum). This Australian Forum think tank (with Robert Brinsmead) and Jon Zens and staff – especially Professor Jay Adams – from Westminster Theological Seminary of USA) is also responsible for the development of the Biblical Counselling movement which we see very much in evidence in churches today. People such as Powlinson, Tripp and Lane took over the counselling movement from Adams because they considered he wasn’t sufficiently radical for their movement which ultimately has very little if anything to do with actual Biblical truth. Note tags used by new calvinist groups – The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel, 9Marks, etc.
A Presbyterian, Jay Adams, attached to Westminster Theological Seminary, reasoned early on that Christians using the Bible were competent to counsel each other in order to change lives. Though he considered himself a calvinist, he believed the new birth (of the Christian) to be a once-off event of justification, not an ongoing justification based on ongoing sanctification. He believed that Christians can change because they are new creations. They don’t require changed behaviour to be saved; rather, their salvation should result in a changed life. This introduced two views of the gospel, one new calvinist reformed, the other traditional calvinist (Jay Adams).
At Westminster, a counselling faculty was commenced, The Christian Counseling & Education Foundation, or CCEF. The two separate views co-existed side by side. Later, counselling accreditation of Biblical Counsellors was done by The Association of Nouthetic Counsellors, or NANC. Then a contemporary of Adams, Jack Miller, developed the Sonship Discipleship program, based upon the Reformed gospel recovery movement. This brought conflict between Miller and Adams. Adams wrote a book (1999) criticizing the program, claiming that it wasn’t according to the Reformed tradition.
Two other men, David Powlison and Paul David Tripp, joined up with Miller and developed the counselling model known as Theology of the Heart, leaning heavily on ongoing sanctification and justification. This commenced in 2003-2005 and was written up in a 2006 treatise.
Adams broke away from CCEF and NANC, starting The Institute of Nouthetic Studies (INS), but probably 90% of all church counselling is under the CCEF and NANC (which later became The Association of Certified Biblical Counsellors (ACBC). In Australia it is known as Biblical Counselling Australia.
This emerging of a new, more aggressive style of calvinism, which largely began at Westminster Seminary, was initially known as Sonship Theology, a theology that supposedly emphasised the sovereignty of God’s grace.
Sonship Theology is an attempt to elevate grace, the assurance of salvation we have in Jesus Christ, and the intention of God to preserve Christ’s sheep so that not one is ever lost.
The danger in such theology is, of course, that it appears to permit the children of God (the elect) to commit sin because it is impossible for them to commit such sin that would lose them their salvation. That is, God’s elect will be always be granted the necessary grace to be “forgiven” of any sin they may commit! Sonship theology may also be seen as a weapon against any attack of the enemy; by claiming to be children of God they may ward off the attacks of satan. Sonship theology can also be used to justify why the elect of God cannot be anything other than perfectly holy; even when they sin, they remain holy by the calvinist God’s grace! The calvinist God is so sovereign that nothing you do can be opposed to his will, even if you are one of his elect! Of course, this is clearly unscriptural.
MacArthur, as a new calvinist, clearly teaches that the elect of God no longer have a sin nature, apparently in accordance with this holiness by God’s grace doctrine. Yet, how does he explain the fact that even the elect of God can and do sin? Well, he explains that, even though the elect no longer have the old man sin nature, they still retain vestiges of that old sin nature!?!
The old man – the unregenerate person that was “in Adam” – is dead. …… Christians sin because of the vestiges of sinful flesh, not because they have the same old active sinful nature. Certainly we sin, but when we sin it is contrary to our nature, not because we have two dispositions – one sinful and one not.
(The Vanishing Conscience – MacArthur)
Why doesn’t MacArthur read Romans 7:13-24 – he might actually learn something!
Sonship theology was refined around 15 years ago to become what is now referred to as “new calvinism”. It has now been marketed very successfully and aggressively as evangelical and fundamentalist (neither of which is actually true!) and has gained wide acceptance among the traditional fundamentalist church communities who appear to have given up on testing all things as commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. This has resulted in many Biblical church groups slipping badly into the apostasy of the gospel-less cult of calvinism.
….. it would appear that the Australian Forum preceded Jack Miller’s Sonship Theology. The Australian Forum may, or may not be, the cradle of GS (Gospel Sanctification) theology. So far, we see a road; some parts wide and well paved, and other parts narrow, from the Forum Trio in Australia, to Michael Horton and others at Westminster (probably one being Edmund Clowney). Then to others at Westminster as well; namely, Jack Miller, and Tim Keller. From them, to David Powlison, Paul Tripp, and Timothy Lane. How Sonship then became Gospel Sanctification is sketchy, but should be easy to figure out in time. Let me further bolster this a little bit by quoting a pastor who graduated from Westminster with a MDiv:
“Sonship, as far as I understand it, arose from the ecclesiology of Edmund Clowney at Westminster Theological seminary, came to maturity in pastoral theology in the life and preaching of C. John Miller, rejuvenated Christian counseling at CCEF, entered the world of oversees missions through World Harvest Ministries, and finally made its home in both the city (through Tim Keller’s preaching at Redeemer in NYC) and in the country (through the personal testimony of change in Ray Cortese’s life and teaching as senior pastor at Seven Rivers in Lecanto, FL).
Professor Jay Adams taught at the Westminster Theological Seminary from 1963-1983. During this time the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF) was formed. Later on he was responsible for The Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC).
Early in Adams’ tenor at Westminster, a counseling wing of Westminster was established named, The Christian Counseling & Education Foundation, or CCEF. This was a biblical counseling think tank of sorts, and the academic counseling wing of Westminster as well. Its embodiment included proponents of both movements. Later, an accreditation organization was formed known as The Association of Nouthetic Counselors, or NANC. The purpose of the organization was to certify biblical counselors. This organization was also embodied with proponents of both movements.
From these foundations, the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) was formed. ACBC controls most “Biblical Counseling” ministries and counselors in churches today. This includes Biblical Counselling Australia which oversees training and counseling ministries in most Australian churches today. The two opposing views of counselling finally resulted in ACBC (with its emphasis upon new calvinist teachings) dominating church counselling ideologies today.
We have two notable Calvinists teaching at the same seminary representing two different Calvinist gospel camps, and teachers from both camps are participating in CCEF and NANC. This is where Jay Adams began to come under serious attack within Reformed ranks, mostly from two mentorees of Dr. Miller, David Powlison and Paul David Tripp. These two men are key figures because they were working hard to develop a counseling version of the Reformed resurgence gospel to answer Adams’ counseling construct that heavily emphasized learn and do. In fact, one of the mantra’s among Adams counselors was, “the power is in the doing.”
At any rate, the counseling construct developed by Powlison and Tripp while at Westminster is known as Theology of the Heart, and was heavily predicated on Miller’s deep repentance model that aligned well with Luther and Calvin’s ideology and practical application of gospel contemplationism. Their pilot program was operational from circa 2003 to 2005, and culminated in an impressive treatise in 2006 titled How People Change authored by Tripp and another former student of Powlison’s at Westminster.
The theology of the heart is a doctrine that believes that faith in God is based upon feelings and desires to be in union with God. It could be described as faith based on feelings, not facts. Experience rather than logic dictates what you believe. I feel I am close to God; therefore I am close to God! Your standing with God is then based upon your feelings at that moment. Many aspects of charismatic or pentecostal belief are based upon this kind of theology.
The heart is what integrates all aspects of the human personality. Theology of the heart is closely associated with affective mysticism that concentrates on human desire for union with God. Nov 25, 2011 (onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1554/full)
This “theology of the heart”, based upon Sonship Theology, was then instrumental in Powlison’s development of his “brand” of counselling which was to eventually be termed “biblical counselling”, rather than the previous “nouthetic counselling”.
This theology was developed through David Powlison’s Dynamics of Biblical Change which forms the basis of counseling curriculum at Westminster Seminary. The doctrine is based on Sonship Theology—Powlison specifically stated that as fact while giving a presentation at John Piper’s church. Powlison also stated that Gospel Sanctification (not the exact terminology he used) was the primary difference between his counseling philosophy and that of Jay Adams. In other words—a fundamental difference in how they interpret the gospel. See chapter 9 of “The Truth About New Calvinism.” How People Change, written by Paul David Tripp (an understudy of Powlison), is a treatise on Powlison’s Dynamics of Biblical Change, and practically a word for word recital of COGOUS.
In the tradition of New Calvinism’s takeover mentality, CCEF now controls almost all of the major counseling organizations, and the Biblical Counseling Coalition was recently organized to aid in that purpose.
By the way, COGOUS is an anacronym for the Centrality of the Objective Gospel Outside of US. This was similar to the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) gospel, where a person has to persevere in obedience to God’s laws to the end in order to be justified for salvation. However, while the SDA gospel laid emphasis upon man’s free-will responsibility to do the right works for salvation, the new calvinist gospel emphasized that it was their God who did all the ongoing works of justification required in a person for salvation. Sonship theology taught that if you were one of God’s elect, there was no sin that you could commit that could prevent you from being continually justified.
Calvinist belief had simply removed man’s freedom of will. Man was no longer responsible for his works-based justification. The fusion of SDA and calvinist beliefs had produced a calvinist SDA belief; that is, Seventh Day Adventism with the free-will of man removed. (Keep in mind that a major doctrine of calvinism is the lack of free will of man; their God is so sovereign that his will is the only will in the universe. No will other than the calvinist God’s will may exist in the universe.)
Responsibility for man’s justification was now from outside of him, that is, from God. New calvinism is simply calvinist Seventh Day Adventism!
Thus, it was the gospel applied by God from outside of our lives and responsibility. This new angle on the gospel left mankind with no responsibility at all for his own salvation!
But Brinsmead’s second theological frame (a tweaking of the first in regard to some eschatological issues, ie., when does the judgment occur in redemptive history?) settled the subjectivism issue as well as being found truly righteous at the judgment: the centrality of the objective gospel outside of us (COGOUS). This taught that we have NO righteousness in, and of ourselves for purposes of justification, and that all truth must be based on the gospel that is outside of us without regard to personal experience.
That is, the new calvinist gospel is that which determines your final destiny, whether heaven or hell. You do not have the right within yourself to determine that destiny; you have no free will to do so. It is the gospel outside of you! This is a major tenet of the calvinist doctrine: you do not choose God; God chooses you!
Genuine Christian theology teaches that all who sin are justified freely by Jesus on the cross, (Romans 3:24) and this is activated by faith which is the responsibility of the person (Romans 3:25-28). (Faith is man’s response to the promises and character of God.) Once your faith has activated your salvation, you are justified in the sight of God. It happens when you are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Your standing before God is seen as perfectly holy, an imputed holiness without which you could never come into His presence, let alone be acceptable in any way. Put simply, you have to be fully justified before you can come before holy God. However, while we may have imputed righteousness (= justification), the reality is that we are not fully holy in practice; thus while we are justified once at the cross of Jesus, we also need ongoing sanctification as per 1 John 1:9. Justification is once only, while sanctification is an ongoing process that continues until the day we die. This is the Biblical truth, and Jay Adams, though a calvinist, at least had this doctrine right. It was this difference which led to Adams being set aside in favour of the more radical new calvinist views which taught both sanctification and justification as ongoing until we die.
This new COGOUS doctrine now fused both sanctification with justification, producing a need to not only be sanctified regularly, but to be re-justified regularly as well.
Most evangelicals today speak of justification as a one-time act that takes place at the moment when saving faith is first exercised. This declaration is unique, unalterable, and unrepeatable.
I was surprised a year or two ago to find out that Luther and Calvin didn’t see it quite that way, or at least didn’t always express it that way. Rather, they acknowledged the necessity of thinking of justification as an ongoing and continual experience and perhaps a repeated occurrence.
The Gospel Coalition National Conference is a new calvinist organisation, so typically it preaches daily or ongoing justification. Here’s what they teach:
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)
…the New Calvinists teaching that confuses justification with sanctification makes justification progressive …
Todd Friel, another new calvinist, says that You must proclaim that good news (that is, the gospel) to yourself daily. (https://answersingenesis.org/gospel/salvation/knowing-youre-saved/)
Does this actually mean what it says, that if we are not justified each day, we might lose our salvation if we happened to die before being re-justified? Does this new calvinist teaching demonstrate that it is necessary for us to be completely justified at all times simply because we do not know when we might die! If we were to die not fully justified, then do we miss out on heaven, or do we go through a special time of punishment in order to be corrected (justified)? (Note the catholic purgatory.) This sounds very much like we’re heading back toward the Catholic confessional in order to maintain our salvation! That is, don’t die with unconfessed sin in your life! Don’t die not completely justified!
The catholics believe that if you die with unconfessed venial sin, then you will have to go to purgatory for a period of time to “pay” (that is, be punished) for those sins. Such “payment” is necessary for your final justification in order to eventually go to heaven.
According to Roman Catholicism, a venial sin is a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell as an unrepented mortal sin would. (Wikipedia)
Of course, if you died with more serious mortal sins on your account, then purgatory would never be enough “payment’ to get to heaven, so such people would go to hell without any option at all for heaven.
Catholics believe that they are required to confess their sins daily (or at least regularly) to a counsellor (or confessor priest) in order to be forgiven (that is, justified). And, they teach that a person must be given special final or last rites on his deathbed in order to assist with the prevention of dying with any sin on his account.
The last rites are meant to prepare the dying person’s soul for death, by providing absolution for sins by penance, sacramental grace and prayers for the relief of suffering through anointing, and the final administration of the Eucharist, known as “Viaticum”. (Wikipedia)
But, what if that person then lives for a few more years? Can he be given the last rites a second time?)
Calvinists, however, teach that it is the objective gospel outside of us that saved us and continues to save us (through the ongoing justification of the gospel). Thus if we are one of God’s chosen elect, then we cannot do anything that would deny us our entry to heaven, for this gospel of sanctification and justification is from outside of us (that is, it is God, not us, who regularly arranges for our ongoing sanctification and justification). The calvinist God would not permit his elect to commit such serious sin that would deny us entry to heaven. In fact, if we committed such sin, we could not be considered one of his elect! Serious backsliding, according to the calvinist, defines a person as not one of the elect at all! (I wonder how they view King David who committed adultery and then murder to cover up his adultery? Could he possibly not make heaven after all?)
The worrying truth is that new calvinism teaches the need for an ongoing or daily justification, noting what was previously quoted from the Gospel Coalition National Conference:
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)
So how is this Sonship Theology or new calvinism administered? How does a church arrange for an ongoing justification process based upon ongoing sanctification? After all, if new calvinism means an ongoing justification, that means an ongoing ministry to permit church members to be justified daily, or at least regularly. Like the catholic confessional, Biblical Counselling allows the new calvinist an avenue for ongoing justification based upon ongoing confession, repentance and renouncing of sins. Regular forgiveness of sins demonstrates your elect position with God. Lack of confession of sins may indicate a non-elect person!
New calvinism requires Biblical Counsellors to be an essential part of church ministry. Biblical Counsellors are in an ideal position to hear “confessions” of “sinners” within the church. If new calvinism teaches the need for daily justification, this will automatically lead into the need for regular confession in order for counselling for ongoing justification. Therefore, Biblical Counsellors in a new calvinist church (that is, teaching the doctrines of MacArthur, Piper, etc) will surely focus on the need for church members to “confess” regularly in order to be justified regularly. In fact, while new calvinism is the theory behind the theology, Biblical Counselling is the practice of that new calvinism. Biblical Counselling is new calvinism in action!
So how is this new calvinist Biblical Counselling any different to the catholic confessional? If one needs to be justified regularly (that is, a progressive justification), then the Biblical Counsellor is little different to the father confessor of the catholic church. Both belief systems teach ongoing justification and sanctification; both focus on the need to continually confess sin in order to be continually justified. Clearly this is just another evidence that calvinism never really separated from the catholic church in the Reformation, and that today the new calvinists are attempting to bring the church back to catholic teachings and government.
The catholic confessional is a means of control of the church members, because what you know about a person can assist you to manipulate him more easily, even extending to blackmail in some cases. Biblical Counselling can likewise be used as a means of control of church members, especially in new calvinist churches such as C J Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries (which has also been extensively exposed as having child abuse problems within its ranks with alleged evidences of cover-up by church leaders – see https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/02/14/the-sex-abuse-scandal-that-devastated-a-suburban-megachurch-sovereign-grace-ministries/).
This new calvinist church ministry has also allegedly attempted to use blackmail to force members to “toe the line” by threatening to reveal information gained through so-called Biblical Counselling! For example, see Transcript of Phone Conversation between C.J., Doris and Larry Tomczak on October 3, 1997 [pp. 10-11]
(C.J. = C J Mahaney, formerly president of Sovereign Grace Ministries, an organisation of a number of “new calvinist” churches.)
C.J. “Doctrine is an unacceptable reason for leaving P.D.I.”
Larry “C.J., I‘m not in sync with any of the T.U.L.I.P., so whether you agree or not, doctrine is one of the major reasons I believe it is God‘s will to leave P.D.I. and it does need to be included in any statement put forth.”
C.J. “If you do that, then it will be necessary for us to give a more detailed explanation of your sins.”
Larry “Justin‘s name has been floated out there when there‘s statements like revealing more details about my sin.‘ What are you getting at?”
C.J. “Justin‘s name isn‘t just ‘floated out there‘ – I‘m stating it!”
Larry “C.J. how can you do that after you encouraged Justin to confess everything; get it all out. Then when he did, you reassured him – ‘You have my word, it will never leave this room. Even our wives won‘t be told.‘ I repeatedly reassured him: ‘C.J. is a man of his word. You needn‘t worry.‘ Now you‘re talking of publically sharing the sins of his youth?!”
C.J. “My statement was made in the context of that evening. If I knew then what you were going to do, I would have re-evaluated what I communicated.”
Doris “C.J., are you aware that you are blackmailing Larry? You‘ll make no mention of Justin‘s sins, which he confessed and was forgiven of months ago, if Larry agrees with your statement, but you feel you have to warn the folks and go national with Justin‘s sins if Larry pushes the doctrinal button? C.J., you are blackmailing Larry to say what you want!”
“Shame on you, C.J.! As a man of God and a father, shame on you! This will send shock waves throughout the teens in P.D.I. and make many pastors‘ teens vow, ‘I‘ll never confess my secret sins to C.J. or any of the team, seeing that they‘ll go public with my sins if my dad doesn‘t toe the line.‘”
“C.J., you will reap whatever judgment you make on Justin. You have a young son coming up.”
“Another reason for my personally wanting to leave P.D.I. and never come back is this ungodly tactic of resorting to blackmail and intimidation of people!”
C.J. “I can‘t speak for the team, but I want them to witness this. We‘ll arrange a conference call next week with the team.”
Doris “I want Justin to be part of that call. It‘s his life that‘s at stake.”
There are many examples of new calvinist churches using the claimed authority of the pastor and the church to dictate discipline to their members according to the needs of the church, not the members!
See New calvinist church counselling, discipline and control for further examples of heavy-handed new calvinist counselling and discipline. For further on Sovereign Grace Ministries excesses of discipline and control, read Sovereign Grace Ministries survivors’ stories at www.sgmsurvivors.com/the-stories/
Of course, it may be that new calvinist churches are required to have heavy-handed discipline and control, their knowledge of little (or otherwise) dark secrets, their skeletons in the closet, in order to work properly. Wayne Grudem (a new calvinist with a D.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and general editor of the ESV Study Bible) seems to think so!
In 2002, Wayne Grudem, a theology professor at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, said “What I see is outward evidence of God’s favor. That’s at the heart of the success of this church… I know of churches around the United States who are looking to Sovereign Grace Ministries as an example of the way churches ought to work.“
(https://self.gutenberg.org/articles/eng/Sovereign_Grace_Ministries) (Underlining mine.)
In particular, proponents of Biblical Counselling such as Paul Tripp teach that counsellors are necessary to inform Christians that they are infected with a disease called “identity amnesia” and that a Biblical Counsellor is necessary to assist them to be made healthy again.
There is a plague that has infected the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a sad disease, it’s left us weakened, and broken and discouraged, and afraid. It’s almost no sooner than you come to faith in Jesus Christ than you get infected. And it robs you of your spiritual vitality; it robs you of your joy; it robs you of the rest that Jesus died that you would have. It reduces you to timidity, and doubt, and worry, and dark addictions of all kinds. It somehow, someway gets us all. It’s a communicable disease that’s ravaging the Church of Jesus Christ. The problem is that most people who have it, don’t know they have it. They actually live with the delusion that they are healthy and okay, when everything in their life points to the fact that they are sick.’ (In other words, this sad disease of the Church can only be diagnosed by Christian counsellors trained in psychology). ‘It’s a terrible disease; it’s one that needs to be eradicated. What is it you ask? It’s identity amnesia. We have forgotten who we are. And in forgetting who we are we frantically look for identity in thousands of places where it will never be found, places where you were never meant to look for identity. You probably do it so instinctively; you probably do it so frequently, you probably do it so naturally, you don’t actually know you are doing it. You’re so used to carrying the burden that you don’t know you are carrying the burden anymore. Your spiritual back has hurt you so long you’ve forgotten you’re in pain. (https://www.bibleleaguetrust.org/beware-of-paul-tripp/)
Therefore, so-called “Biblical” Counselling today is nothing more than thinly-disguised control (blackmail) of the church. It is the application of new calvinism into the lives of the church members. In particular, it seeks to control that group of Christians who have traditionally been the closest to Biblical teachings, the fundamentalist Christians. By calling itself “Biblical”, it seeks to hide the fact that it is far from Biblical, and while counselling should be assisting in the spiritual health and growth of Christians, “Biblical Counselling” is actually a means by which people can be used or controlled, rather than be helped. It is based upon the false teachings of new calvinism which strives to assert that it is the only belief system that is acceptable to God, if Al Mohler is to be believed.
Al Mohler: ‘Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism, or you’re going to have to invent some label for what is basically going to be the same thing, there just are not options out there, and that’s something that frustrates some people, but when I’m asked about the New Calvinism—where else are they going to go, who else is going to answer the questions, where else are they going to find the resources they going to need and where else are they going to connect. This is a generation that understands, they want to say the same thing that Paul said, they want to stand with the apostles, they want to stand with old dead people, and they know that they are going to have to, if they are going to preach and teach the truth.
Mohler also doesn’t like the idea that if people don’t like the church they are attending, they might just decide to go elsewhere to a more acceptable church. We have no right to disagree with how the church is run. He says We have no right to leave a church over preferences about music, personal taste, or even programming that does not meet expectations. (Should I Stay or Should I Go – Mohler)
So, if I don’t like the rock band out the front with its scraggy, long-haired, torn-jeans members, often with T-shirts having impious slogans, then I should just put up with it? Get real, Al! You cannot dictate to your congregation that they must not have a choice in such matters. Clearly Al Mohler believes that leaving the “true” church (he appears to re-define “true” as “new calvinist”) is not an option. Does he also believe that people will be lost if they leave his church, that is, they become anathema according to the Catholic church teachings? One thing is abundantly clear: that this is very much to do with controlling people in churches, and such control is the hallmark of the work of satan.
It is Westminster Theological Seminary which is credited with having more influence on the development of new calvinism and Biblical Counselling than any other organisation or educational facility.Both new calvinism (initially Sonship Theology) and Biblical Counselling developed at Westminster at the same time; they are merely two sides of the same belief system, one theoretical, the other practical. On the Gospel Coalition website, John Piper, a prominent new calvinist, is quoted as saying, “There would be no New Calvinism without Westminster Seminary.” (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-reasons-why-the-new-calvinism-is-worth-supporting/) although on Piper’s own website he says, “There would be no New Calvinism without this school (that is, Westminster Seminary) and its lineage.” (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-new-calvinism-and-the-new-community)
Traditional calvinism is demonstrated by the puritan lifestyles of its elect; new calvinism is demonstrated by the demonstration of ongoing repentance of its elect.
So, if new calvinism is a false doctrine, then this not only condemns Westminster Seminary which had such a large influence on its development, but it also condemns Biblical Counselling because it is based upon the same false doctrines. Biblical Counselling is new calvinism in action! If you accept Biblical Counselling as truly Biblical, then you are also by default accepting that new calvinism is also truly Biblical. However, as new calvinism should be rejected as truly non-biblical, then so-called Biblical Counselling is also truly non-biblical and must likewise be rejected. The two either stand or fall together.
One more word of caution: Be very careful what you might say to a Biblical Counsellor! A Biblical Counsellor may decide to notify the church of your “problem” and the church may then call for church discipline to be applied to you with or without your approval. Such disciplinary action may involve naming you and your “sin” publicly in front of the church body, a naming and shaming event.
I have come across a situation where a church publicly announced the “sin” of a Christian person (being a member of that church) marrying a non-Christian, or a church member openly being told to disassociate himself from his non-Christian (as defined by the church!) family. This is heavy-handed action at the very least, and unnecessary. Surely such things can be dealt with more privately? I would recommend that people should be very careful before they get counselling at such churches; they might just get more than they bargained for. This is nothing more than straight out control, and such control just continues to emphasise the satanic basis of such church programs.
(Just note how C J Mahaney allegedly attempted to control his church using knowledge gained through counselling sessions. https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/has-god-foreordained-an-alleged-child-sex-abuse-cover-up-in-sovereign-grace-ministrieschurches-is-that-why-cj-mahaney-is-so-sacred/)
True churches seek to build up in the faith, while those who seek to use counselling knowledge for control are destroying in the faith.
Hosea 4:6 – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
For further reading, I suggest the following article online.
In conclusion, when looking for a suitable church to attend, try to avoid those who advertise Biblical Counselling, as it is all too often a euphemism for overly strict discipline and control of its members. Church discipline is certainly a necessary part of a Christian’s life; all of us must be accountable to someone somewhere for our actions. But when counselling is used for the purposes of establishing authority, rather than helping the person, it becomes a controlling whip in the hands of the church. Control without compassion is a dictatorship.
Matthew 12:20-21 – 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
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The Heresy of Calvinism Refuted Part 1
The Heresy of Calvinism Refuted Part 2
Favourite Calvinist Defence Tactics
The Foreknowledge of Sovereign God
Does the Calvinist God have a Dual Personality?
Calvinist Jealousy of Israel and the Church
The Oxymorons of Calvinist Doctrine
The Calvinist God created most of Mankind for torment in Hell
New calvinist church counselling, discipline and control
To Calvinist heretics & heresies page
Hoppers Crossing Christian Church homepage