Sunday, 12 October 2014

Bob Brinsmead in the NYT

Bob Brinsmead was a huge influence in my own journey from sectarian Christianity to the place I am today. Bob, a former hardline Adventist, came to be a thorn in the side of his former denomination, advocating a radical "gospel plus nothing" theology and publishing an influential magazine, Verdict, that led many - including many outside Adventism - to abandon Sabbatarianism and rethink their concept of God.

That was a long time ago; Verdict ceased publication in the 1980s, and Bob moved on to other things. So it comes as a surprise to see his name appearing in the October 10 New York Times in a feature on Edward Fudge and "conditional immortality". Somewhere I still have a copy of the first edition of The Fire That Consumes, mentioned in the article.

The following statement currently appears on Bob's website.
Robert D. Brinsmead’s theological interest has inspired most of his books and papers. Bob will tell you that being a theologian doesn’t mean that one can pretend to have an extensive knowledge of God. After a lifetime of thinking in this field, he readily admits, “All that I know about God could be written on a postage stamp with a large piece of chalk.” He concurs with Alexander Pope’s poetic line, “Cease from God to scan / the proper study of mankind is man.” So Bob says that good theology is thinking about the mystery of human consciousness, the mystery of love, the nature of the human spirit, the ground of being, the quest for meaning, and the great story of the human exodus to freedom, to an ever improving human condition and a human potential that in the words of Freeman Dyson “is infinite in all directions.” His scholarly interest has covered history, apocalyptic, myth, and literary criticism in the age of science. He describes his thought as being spiritual rather than religious. Unlike some ideologues who start out with a paradigm (system of thought or worldview) and then spend the rest of their lives defending it like a patch of turf, Bob’s ideas have always been evolving and developing. He is more like a man on a journey who doesn’t have to defend any patch of turf.
Definitely quotable!


  1. He ditched Christian perfectionism to live as an agnostic on a tropical farm. What would Ellen(no fun)White say?

  2. It took decades for even top thinkers, like him and Desmond Ford, to deprogram themselves from SdA cult indoctrination!

  3. Gavin said: "Bob Brinsmead was a huge influence in my own journey from sectarian Christianity to the place I am today."

    If I may be so bold to say, his influence caused you to abandon your journey to Damascus. Since that time, you have been lost, confused and perplexed, as you wonder in a world of uncertainty and doubt. If you had continued on the road to Damascus, you would now be able to echo the words of the Chosen Vessel thus: "Philipians 3:8).

    1. Tom said: "his influence caused you to abandon your journey to Damascus"

      If I may be so bold, Tom, someone's got to tell you the news. You are not on a journey to Damascus. You are on a journey to the grave. You are not God's elect any more than the rest of us are, you do not have special knowledge and you are not on a special journey. It's time you got off your high horse and stopped being such a pompous ass. You were duped just like the rest of us. The sad part is you are still severely deluded.

  4. The road to Damascus doesn't take you to Armstrongism as a final destination. Unfortunately, the road sometimes detours through it.