Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

Where a recovering ex-atheist skewers things with a sharp two-edged sword

The fruits of Two Kingdoms theology

What happens when you spend a generation insisting that God’s law is not part of God’s gospel, and that God’s gospel has nothing to do with politics—but then you still want to talk about righteousness and justice in society? You give up Moses in favor of Marx.

A brief theology of kink #2: the natural order of things

To discern the permissibility of a particular sex act, we need to first know what the features of sexuality are; what they tell us about God’s intentions for his creation; and whether that act defies those intentions. This is not as straightforward as you might think.

What is the kingdom of God? Introduction: a tale of two kingdoms

Why do the gospels represent the good news as being about the “kingdom of God”? What is this kingdom, and how does it relate to us today? In this series I trace the surprising biblical narrative of kingdom, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, starting by showing that John 3:16 is actually about God transforming man’s ruined kingdom into his own eternal one.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 10: the urgency of preaching Jesus as king of the western world

The results of the evangelical gospel are things like easy-believism, an inability to easily squash the lordship salvation controversy, moralistic therapeutic deism—and ultimately cultural relativism due to the privatization of religion. The New Testament’s cosmological gospel confronts these errors.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 9: the Great Commission as a directive to conquer

The evangelical moralistic gospel hopes less, demands less, and achieves less than the all-encompassing ambitions of the New Testament’s cosmological one. If Jesus really is ruling until he puts all his enemies under his feet, then he is creating a new nation out of all the old ones through the Great Commission—and this happens geometrically until there is nothing left for us to do.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 8: the gospel as a message of triumph

Whereas the apostles front-load the gospel with Jesus’ resurrection for worldwide kingship, evangelicals front-load it with his death for sin. Thus, whereas the New Testament’s gospel is a message about all-encompassing cosmic restoration through Jesus’ resurrection and enthronement, today’s gospel is a message about individual moral restoration through Jesus’ death and atonement.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 3: what happened in Eden

Adam was created as the first human member of the divine council. The serpent was a shining, serpentine being who didn’t like Adam being given dominion of the earth instead of someone higher up…like him.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 2: the divine council

Israel, like all ancient Near Eastern peoples, conceived of the world as being governed by a cosmic bureaucracy—a bureaucracy the Bible calls the divine council. Prophets were brought into this council when they were commissioned.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 1: representation and rulership

The kingdom of God and the kingdom of man started out as the same thing, and Adam’s representation of God is mimicked in the physical world’s representation of spiritual realities.

Is lack of healing a failing of the church to exercise authority for their king?

In response to a reader’s question, I suggest a moderate path between taking kingdom theology to humanistic extremes that presume upon God’s authority, and swinging so far the other way that we refuse to represent his authority at all.

How to improve God’s Big Picture

Vaughan Roberts’ God’s Big Picture is a video series worth watching. It rightly emphasizes kingdom as the backbone of the gospel narrative, but suffers from some typically Western blind spots that water down that narrative in unfortunate ways.

Presupposing freewill theism is the opposite of the Naked Bible method

Modern ideas about libertarian free will, conditioned by our culture and theological history, are completely foreign to the assumptions that ancient readers would have brought to the Bible.

Q&A: why should Christians attend church?

A reader asks on behalf of himself and his daughter. I briefly demonstrate that the Bible doesn’t just consider it normal to worship with other believers, but really a practice of such critical importance to our spiritual growth that avoiding it carries an expectation of furious judgment.

Q&A: how not to throw out the biblical baby with the blue pill bathwater?

A Christian reader asks for advice in grappling with unplugging from blue pill conditioning without losing his faith. I suggest that the answers primarily lie in understanding the creation mandate, the fall, and God’s providence. These are key differentiators between the theology of biblical sexuality, and the ideology of red pill sexuality.

Why a woman bearing the sword is an abomination to the Lord

Despite modern, feminist-conditioned sensibilities, carefully trained by modern, feminist media icons, there is strong evidence from both nature and Scripture that women in combat or enforcement roles are the sort of thing the Lord spits out of his mouth.

Works-righteousness: a square contractual peg in a round covenantal hole

In antiquity, the key distinction between contract and covenant was one of performance versus loyalty. This was widely understood and accepted; so how plausible is it that first century Judaism treated God’s covenant as a contract requiring performance, rather than as what it claimed to be—a covenant requiring personal fidelity?

Faith across time: is final justification unchristian?

Final justification does not add anything to the conditions of justification; nor does it entail that God grounds his verdict in our works rather than in his Son’s. On the contrary, final justification is on account of the very same faith that first joined us to Jesus and his vindication—and our works are a proper part of that faith.

Does 1 Corinthians 8:4–6 deny or affirm the existence of other gods?

This is commonly taken as an anchor point for proving that other gods do not exist—but in fact, it is saying the opposite.

Advice for women on International Women’s Day

This is directed especially to Christian women, since it is based on Scripture—but any woman, and indeed any man, will benefit from it.

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #4: predestination and foreknowledge

In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—in this instance, his comments in chapter 9 on how God foreknows without predestining.

Why think the rulers of 1 Corinthians 2:8 are gods?

In which I outline two significant reasons based on the language used, and what Paul is actually talking about.

How to better profit from personal Bible reading

Some thoughts and questions to ponder when seeking to apply the Bible to your own life in your personal devotions.

Prelapsarian predation, part 4: the curse

Were animals bitey before the Fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the fourth part of this series I assess what we can infer about death and predation from the curse.

Word studies are not exegesis

Or, don’t bother learning the original languages if you don’t yet know how communication works in even your native tongue.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 5: exegetical fumbles

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show the blunders and gymnastics required to so comprehensively misunderstand the obvious “hell passages”.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 3: Gehenna

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I correct their hasty assertions about how “Gehenna” is mistranslated, by examining its use in Second Temple sources.

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #3: perfection and freedom

In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—in this instance, his comments in chapter 8 on the nature of perfection, and genuine freedom.

What is being born of water in John 3:5?

Is it baptism, amniotic fluid, or is John tracing a trajectory of Old Testament allusion and physical metaphor?

Is Psalm 82 metaphorical?

TL;DR: no.

Is the divine council henotheistic?

There’s a rock and a hard place here for anyone who wants to use that term.

Water and spirit

An exchange demonstrating that it does not, and cannot, refer to baptism.

Is Yahweh made in man’s image?

If he is, why do nearly all (presumably man-made) religions line up against Christianity on many key doctrines?

On the atonement: introduction

In which I introduce the case I will forward for a particular redemption grounded in an unlimited satisfaction on the cross.

Understanding God’s desires

A response to my friend Jim regarding the sincerity of Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37. This follows on from my previous argument from divine purpose, in which I rebutted the view that God intends to save all people but is prevented by human free will. Here, I address the dual question of whether my view leads necessarily to confusion or doubt about God’s word, and further interact with Jim’s proposed counter-solution of human autonomy.

Catholic and Reformed views of God and Scripture: a correspondence

A response to an email from a Roman Catholic correspondent, critiquing his presentation of the doctrine of Scripture and the purposes of God.

Testimony

I was raised Roman Catholic, so until my teens I took it for granted that God existed. However, I was never given any solid biblical teaching, so my ideas about Christianity were colloquial at best, and for the large part just plain naive. In high school I had many non-Christian friends, and one quasi-New Age […]