Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

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

Does diachronic faith undermine perseverance and regeneration?

A reader asks whether adopting a Federal Vision-like perspective on faith and justification can stop there. Must it not logically lead us to deny the perseverance of the saints, and in turn the Reformed understanding of regeneration? I explain why I think this is broadly mistaken.

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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?

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Was Jesus an alpha male? Part 2: command

To properly understand intersexual dynamics, we need to ground them in human nature—which is fundamentally the image of God. This image consists in two related elements which are both encompassed by the term command.

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Was Jesus an alpha male? Part 1: a trick question

Christians should not be forcing their view of authentic masculinity into a simplistic dichotomy based on evolutionary psychology—no matter how central that is to the conceptual nexus of the manosphere. God’s design for men is exemplified in Jesus; not in natural selection.

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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.

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Does God need the divine council?

Many people object that since God doesn’t need anyone to help him rule in the heavenly places, therefore there is no divine council. This objection is puzzling, since it is easily repurposed to “prove” that there are also no earthly rulers either.

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Women: the cause of, and solution to, all of society’s problems

Glenn Stanton represents a broad stream of thought about gender relations and marriage within evangelicalism. Unfortunately, that stream of thought is flagrantly incoherent, shamelessly unscriptural, and because it ultimately amounts to gyneolatry, actually produces the precise social decline that it laments.

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Against “Against Intellectual Property”

In which I find N. Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property generally wanting, due to the skewed nature of his libertarian ethical presuppositions, and the problem he has in grounding any kinds of rights whatsoever.

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Thorny problems with the serpent being a talking snake

This surprisingly common YEC interpretation of Genesis 3 is problematic for at least seven reasons.

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The gospel is inherently political

The fact that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world does not imply that it is not on this world.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Evangelical complementarian leaders mostly just teaching feminism

The Gospel Coalition tries to teach complementarianism by rebranding feminism, and I demur.

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Vicarious atonement and gift-giving

Western intuitions about vicarious atonement are overly selective given other vicarious mechanisms we take for granted.

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What should we make of supernatural events in other religions?

We should welcome them as potential proof of Christianity.

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Are most women less perceptive than 6 year old children?

A question for Douglas Wilson, who seems to think the majority of women who procure abortions are hoodwinked, and have no real idea of what they’re doing.

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What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 7: the early church

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I demonstrate how they must cite cherry-picked evidence from the most absurdly unqualified sources to make the case that eternal punishment wasn’t part of early church doctrine.

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What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 6: argument from statistics

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I briefly demolish their “statistical argument” that if hell were in the Bible, it would appear more often.

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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”.

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What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 4: is hell eternal or age-long?

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show that if you believe hell’s duration should be translated as “age-long” rather than “eternal”, you not only mangle basic language, but eviscerate the gospel and spiral into heresy on the nature of God himself.

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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.

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What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 2: the nature of hell

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I illustrate their fundamental misunderstanding of the traditional doctrine of hell.

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What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 1: hell and the gospel

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I question how their view of hell can square with a gospel that preaches eternal life.

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A simple argument that John 6 is not referring to the Eucharist

I mean, of course it’s not—but try convincing a Catholic of that.

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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.

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Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #2: who is ha’satan?

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 Satan.

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Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #1: filters and mosaics

In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—starting with his idea that viewing the Bible as a mosaic means throwing out our “filters”.

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Abortion and the Holocaust

An informative exchange with an indignant pro-aborter.

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Love is love

Even in the secular world, not all love is good—and in Christianity, love of evil entails hatred of God.

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Fisking the chieftain of the atheist village

An exchange with an atheist whose confidence is inversely proportional to his competence on the topics of sex, ethics and evolution.

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Humiliating head coverings

Daniel B Wallace thinks we should abide by the principle rather than the practice. I wonder why we can’t do both.

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New atheism & child psychology

Why do new atheists form beliefs, and argue for them, in the same way as my four year old son?

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This is what we’re up against

A real-life demonstration of how the wolves have formed a protective circle around the pulpit to prevent the sheep getting near, while they tear all the offensive pages out of the Bible.

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Silly myths and irreverent visions

An exchange in which I resist being led away by a professing believer whose sensuous mind is puffed up without reason…

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Animal poop

Take it from me—I have chickens.

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Thorny problems with Molinism #4: the internal contradiction between CCFs & PAP

Molinism tries to eat its cake, and still have it too, by incorporating both CCFs and PAP. But if counterfactuals of creaturely freedom are true, then the principle of alternate possibility is necessarily false, and vice versa.

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Thorny problems with Molinism #3: the theological grounding objection

Molinism removes the metaphysical machinery that underwrites God’s knowledge of free actions (i.e., his knowing what he will cause), but does not replace it with anything. Thus, middle knowledge is a just-so story; an assertion we are supposed to accept “because reasons.” Only…there are no reasons.

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Thorny problems with Molinism #2: the demonstrable falsehood of its governing intuition

The Molinist’s governing intuition is that people can’t be responsible for choices which (i) do not ultimately originate in their own wills or (ii) where they could not have done otherwise. This intuition is flatly contradicted by Jesus in John 6:44; so Molinism should be rejected as false.

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Thorny problems with Molinism #1: doing theology backwards

Molinism as a system begins with human intuitions about responsibility, and then reads these back into God’s word; rather than beginning with God’s word, and conforming our intuitions to it. In this regard it is no different than any other man-made religion.

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What is love? Part 1: how to find the right answer

What does it mean that God is love, that he loves us, and that we are to love him? In part 1, I explain how we should approach this question, and why.

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TROPE: a useful mnemonic for apologists

If you have trouble remembering (or sticking to) the most important issues when witnessing, this may help.

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Skeptics and the Dunning-Kruger effect

“…people are unaware of their incompetence, innocent of their ignorance. Where they lack skill or knowledge, they greatly overestimate their expertise and talent, thinking they are doing just fine when, in fact, they are doing quite poorly.”

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Was Jesus a guru? (Part 3)

What if his message got lost in transmission?

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Was Jesus a guru? (Part 2)

Is there not some hubris in thinking that, when reading a translation of a text, you have picked up on something which two millennia’s worth of its most adept students failed to notice in the original languages?

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Was Jesus a guru? (Part 1)

Some people think so, and they quote Jesus himself in support of the idea.

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Did all great religious figures share the same mystical experience?

The only way to know for sure is to ask them…

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Thorny problems with karma #6: free will

If karma decides how we should act toward other people based on their karmic debt, how can our actions really be free?

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Thorny problems with karma #5: the sustainability paradox

Even assuming karma can get started in the first place, how does it keep going while still letting off enough steam to allow everyone to eventually escape?

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