Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

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Excommunicated

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12 minutes to read Facing false charges in a judicial process that denied the presumption of innocence, the right to be fairly tried before being condemned, and the right to speak in my own defense, I was found guilty of slander, false teaching, and division, and excommunicated from Trinity Reformed Baptist Church.

…and have no part in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather even expose them.

On Saturday, August 29, I was excommunicated from Trinity Reformed Baptist Church (TRBC) in Hamilton, New Zealand. I believe it would be less than forthright of me not to openly acknowledge this, since it is a public declaration by my church about me. Therefore, I must make a public declaration about it. Moreover, I am conscience-bound to expose it. I have written this statement as a record to help anyone wishing to assess the validity of my excommunication; as a case study to instruct anyone potentially facing a similar situation in their own church; and as a testimony to warn anyone considering attending TRBC. This last purpose I take very seriously in view of the principle behind Ezekiel 33:6:

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned, and the sword come, and take any person from among them; he is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.

In any situation like this, there is a large amount of history. This statement will simply note the key steps of the excommunication procedure, so that you can assess its overall validity. A fuller outline of the backstory is included in my response to the charges brought against me. You can read this here:

My response to the false charges brought against me by Trinity Reformed Baptist Church

The following account represents my own opinion, and is an accurate and true summary of my experience to the best of my recollection. Please refer back to the fuller response above if you would like further detail about the history, or the nature of the charges.

October 2019

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. Leviticus 19:17

The precursor to the events of 2020 was a meeting that my wife and I called with our pastor, Ryan Vinten, to ask why he had been shunning us at church for months. He replied, in essence, that it was because I am a heretic, having previously disagreed with his antinomian view of the place of works in salvation. He made it clear that we should leave TRBC.

In response, hoping that reasoning together was still an option, I sought the opinion of two theologically-apt men in our church: our former pastor, and another man studying for his theology degree. I shared an explanation of my position, with quotes from well over a dozen of the greatest Reformers and post-Reformation theologians saying what I say. They agreed that I was orthodox.

I therefore told Ryan that we would not be leaving TRBC. I shared this document with him, and expressed my desire for someone to mediate between us on this matter. He never acknowledged this request, nor the quotes or arguments I had provided. (In the end, mediation was requested at least six times by myself and others, and ignored or rejected every time.)

February–March 2020

In early 2020, Dafydd Hughes, the pastor of Crosspoint Church in Palmerston North (a sister church to TRBC in the Fellowship of Reformed Baptist Churches NZ), censored my book, The Spine of Scripture. Dafydd had not read my book, nor spoken to me about it.

To protect my reputation as the ninth commandment requires, I asked Ryan to speak to Dafydd on my behalf. Instead, Ryan told me that there were still “serious and unresolved issues” to be dealt with on my side—both doctrinal and non-doctrinal—and asked to meet. I requested instead, as more appropriate, a written response to my written explanation of my views. He implied that he had not seen this document before, and then ignored it again. (He never has acknowledged it to me, as it straightforwardly proves that he has excommunicated someone from his supposedly Reformed church for holding to demonstrably Reformed doctrine.)

Ryan then told me, speaking on behalf of TRBC’s eldership—himself and Greg Kitt—that I was guilty of slander, false teaching, and division. They demanded that I either (1) close down my blogs (including It’s Good To Be A Man, which is not mine), and submit for mentoring; or (2) resign my membership at TRBC.

March–July 2020

Under counsel which I believed was naïve, but wanting to be submissive to the wisdom of older men and to demonstrate every charity toward Ryan, I renewed the process of trying to reason with him. When this failed, I then tried to walk through Matthew 18 with him. This was hampered by COVID-19 lockdown, and also by the fact that Ryan appeared to think that witnesses were anyone in a position of power in the church who would agree with him, rather than people who actually knew what was going on. We were therefore unable to agree to a meeting. He wanted me to come alone and face a panel of the elders and deacons—who had no first-hand knowledge of the situation—while claiming that my guilt was a foregone conclusion. I wanted to meet with qualified witnesses—including my partner at It’s Good To Be A Man, Michael Foster, who Ryan had also accused—while maintaining that the charges were mistaken.

At this time I also tried to proactively communicate with the deacons and point out the anti-biblical process Ryan was involving them in. This was met with silence. It became clear that Ryan was maneuvering the church to push me out. (He later told my wife and other witnesses that he had been planning to get rid of me for years, though he maintained a pretense of wanting to bring me to repentance until he had sufficiently primed the congregation.) He openly denied the presumption of innocence, recruited the deacons as pseudo-elders to support his cause (deacons have no authority over regular members at TRBC), and then preached a sermon on Matthew 18 that again denied the presumption of innocence—directly before announcing a church discipline meeting. This was just the last and most brazen of many times he abused the pulpit to steer the church, which again he later acknowledged without remorse to my wife.

First church discipline meeting

Does our law judge a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does? John 7:51

At the church discipline meeting, Ryan presented “evidence” to show that I was guilty of slander, division, and false teaching. I have embedded the PDF of this evidence at the beginning of my response document so you can examine it for yourself.

I had not been given the opportunity to know what this evidence would be in advance of the meeting, despite asking; much of it I had not seen before. However, since I was denied the right to respond to any of it in the meeting, this didn’t really matter. It ranged from cherry-picked quotes of tongue-in-cheek remarks I had made, spun to look like insults; to comments on gendered piety and sexuality, which sound shocking if you don’t know what I was talking about; to scathing remarks about key figures in the #ReformedDowngrade androgynist fifth column, like Todd Pruitt and R. Scott Clark. The crème de la crème was a quote about me being skeptical that there’s anything wrong with rough sex. Ryan earnestly and sincerely, in his best pastoral voice, presented this to the congregation in such a way as to suggest that I really like marital rape—neglecting to quote my very next paragraph where I strictly warn that causing harm in sex is absolutely impermissible. (No direct accusation was made, of course—like all spiritual abusers, Ryan is a master of grooming people and steering their assumptions using implication and tone; cf. Psalm 55:21.)

The meeting was firmly controlled by the men prosecuting me, and no allowance was given in the agenda for me to defend myself or to present my side of the story. (I was given a chance to ask questions at the end; with the meeting already running deep into lunch and everyone completely exhausted, this was a shrewd strategy to say they gave me a chance to speak, while effectively preventing it.) Attempts to discuss the evidence as it was presented were immediately shut down. The congregation was apparently expected to see the deluge of carefully-massaged quotes, be overwhelmed by it, and then vote me out immediately. Most of them saw nothing amiss with this. However, some people in the church who know me and were concerned about the situation raised repeated objections to the obvious railroad, and pushed for time to examine the evidence. The elders were therefore compelled—with clear reluctance—to defer voting to a second meeting.

Since they could not prevent me from talking to people in the meantime, they grudgingly granted a motion that I be allowed to send a written defense by email—but only to congregants who wanted to hear it. Again, no objection was raised by the congregation to people voting without hearing both sides of the story; this in itself will tell you much about the biblical literacy, the Berean spirit, and even the basic moral intuitions of members at this church.

The interim

You shall not spread a false report. Do not join your hand with the wicked to be a malicious witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil. You shall not testify in court to side with a multitude to pervert justice. Exodus 23:1–2

I compiled my response to the charges and sent it to everyone. I assume most church members did not read it, or otherwise did not care for the facts presented in it. Nearly no one discussed it with me, despite the efforts of myself and a minority of supporters to encourage them. My wife and I attempted to dialog with some of the deacons and their wives, since they had previously been close friends, but we were met with responses ranging from craven silence; to sentimental hand-wringing about how “hard” it all was (for them), with no recognition of the seriousness of Ryan’s scandalous conduct; to close-minded and cult-like hostility.

Another man in our church met with me to carefully examine me, and then contacted the elders privately with a very firm run-down of how weak their case was, how badly they were handling the situation, and what their specific and grievous sins were in this matter. This had no effect either.

The whole time, not a single person on the opposing side engaged with my defense.

Second church discipline meeting

If a malicious witness rises up against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before Yahweh, before the priests and the judges who shall be in those days; and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness is a false witness, and has testified falsely against his brother; then you shall do to him as he had thought to do to his brother. So you shall remove the evil from among you. Deuteronomy 19:16–19

The second meeting was held August 29, 2020, to deliberate the charges. As I understand it, no actual deliberation took place. I cannot testify first-hand, because, steered by the elders and deacons who obviously were afraid to face me directly, the congregation voted by a narrow margin to not permit my attendance. My wife therefore had to face the meeting alone and fight on my behalf. This was the most despicable and cowardly treatment of a woman I have ever witnessed first-hand, throwing her into a show-trial to fight futilely on her husband’s behalf against men who were callously set on manipulating a guilty verdict regardless of the facts, and congregants who were willfully ignorant and implacably self-righteous in their opinions. She returned from the meeting in tears, almost unable to believe what she had seen.

None of the evidence supposedly proving my guilt was examined during this meeting. It apparently did not occur to the congregation that this was necessary—and the elders and deacons certainly did not suggest it. Much time was spent discussing how poisonous I and my teachings were, with no concrete examples given. The meeting was again strictly controlled, so my wife was seldom allowed even to speak at all.

Having no apparent knowledge of the actual facts, a 77% majority then voted to excommunicate me. They needed 76%.

I was waiting in the adjacent building. No one even had the courage to tell me to my face.

Where I stand now

Men of evil do not understand justice, but seekers of Yahweh understand completely. Proverbs 28:5

Trinity Reformed Baptist Church has bound itself to antinomian and anti-patriarchal doctrine, and loosed itself from the Reformed tradition. In doing so, and especially in how it did so, in my view it has marked itself as a synagogue of Satan. If any man does not uphold the presumption of innocence and the right to be fairly tried before being condemned, he is worse than an unbeliever—for even godless secular courts recognize principles as basic as these (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:2–3). TRBC’s members neither know nor care for God’s law, and are apparently content to be led by liars, cowards, and hirelings. Paul’s description in 2 Timothy 3:2–7 is apt:

For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, railers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof: from these also turn away. For of these are they that creep into houses, and take captive silly women laden with sins, led away by divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

In short, Trinity Reformed Baptist is a spiritually abusive church. Each of its members who facilitated my excommunication treated the law of God with contempt—whether through apathy and ignorance, or intentional malice. But this law defines what it means to love God and neighbor (Mt. 22:40; Gal. 5:14; Rom. 13:10), and so by repeatedly rejecting it, falling in with the wicked to pervert justice, and bearing false witness against their neighbor—despite all pleas—they have repeatedly hated both God and my family (John 14:15). The phrase they used against me is ironically apropos for them: characteristic unrepentance. Although I have good reason to hope that some of them are regenerate, and therefore to long for restoration and reconciliation, in obedience to Scripture I must now turn away from them and regard them as unbelievers.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17; cf. Galatians 1:8–9; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; Titus 3:10; 2 John 10)

If you are looking for a church in Hamilton, New Zealand, I must strongly urge you to avoid Trinity Reformed Baptist, and sadly these men in particular:

  • Ryan Vinten (pastor)
  • Greg Kitt (elder)
  • Nelson Khor (deacon)
  • Scott Alison (deacon)
  • Philip Van Der Wel (deacon)
  • David Chang (deacon)
  • Sam Ward (deacon)
  • Neville Hablous (meeting chair)

In his grace, the Lord has given me peace about what has happened. I have encountered serpents like Ryan before, as well as the malakoi who enable them, so I had no illusions about what would transpire, and plenty of time to prepare. I am very grateful to the men and women who did support me, even when they disagreed with my views on patriarchy and polemics. At least five households besides my own have left TRBC because of this scandal. This includes the households of both Trinity’s former pastor, and one of their former deacons. These people have all exhibited a true spirit of catholicity, and I am certain the Lord shall reward them for their many troubles—not least of which included pursuing church discipline against Ryan and Greg in response to their abuse of me. That this was unprofitable due to the completely dysfunctional nature of the congregation sadly proves what a fruitless church Trinity now is.

I have also been grateful simply for the experience, inasmuch as it has taught me a great deal, and readied me for what I expect will be far more difficult struggles as the war for the West progresses. A soldier without combat experience is good for little. I am learning to count it genuine blessing to be refined in fire, and to have some small part in the sufferings of my spiritual forefathers—and of the Lord Jesus himself.

They shall put you out of the synagogues… Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. John 16:2; Matthew 5:11–12, 14–16

 95 comments

Toni

I’m sorry you had to go through that, and I praise God for sustaining and strengthening your faith through this trial.
I hope you will find a new church family soon.
I’ll pray for you, Brother.

Patrick

1. Sorry to hear all this Bnonn. Not that it’s much consolation, but I stand with you.

2. One of the ironies is someone who is a pastor (Ryan) but less theologically aware let alone astute than you are as a layperson. Nothing else seems to explain why Ryan is unable to grasp how the Reformed have always maintained genuine saving faith results in good works. That’s basic Reformed theology. At a minimum, Ryan needs to study or reacquaint himself with good Reformed systematic theologies (e.g. Turretin, Bavinck, Berkhof, Frame).

3. I suspect Ryan would have sought to excommunicate John Calvin given Calvin’s polemics.

4. It sounds like Trinity Reformed Baptist has let the prevailing left-leaning culture of New Zealand infect their theology.

5. That may also be related to why the church leadership is at odds with your confident masculinity.

6. The ultimatum about stopping your online work is ridiculous. Apologetics is crucial to the Christian faith, and apologetics is intertwined with evangelism, which itself receives a direct command from the Lord, viz. the great commission. If anything, local churches ought to support the work of their members who seek to engage in good apologetics online or elsewhere. Not seek to censor or silence them.

7. If nothing else, even if you were guilty (arguendo) of one or more of the charges leveled against you, the fact that the trial was such an unethical shambles should mean you deserve a re-trial under fair judges and fair terms.

8. Much more could be said, but I’m thankful for how you’ve conducted yourself through this. I trust you’ll emerge as gold refined in fire.

Frank Quijada

You are in good company, as church history will attest that the church has shunned men of whom this world was unworthy. God bless you, my friend. Praying.

Daniel Hines

I want to thank you for your ministry, and express deep sympathies undergoing this excommunication debacle. Your Notion notebook shows a true dedication to the church of Christ (it’s like your immortal soul depended on it or something…), which I’ve never seen from anyone on the receiving end of excommunication.

I can’t imagine the strain this is putting on you and your family. I pray God’s sustaining grace for you, and that He would reconcile you and your church.

And, as several have said, you’re in good company with faithful saints of old. Athanasius was exiled 5 times! Yet now his creeds are a test of orthodoxy.

Diana

I’m so sorry this mess has occurred. Sadly, it’s so common for the church to act like this. Thanks for sharing.

Sharkly

Bnonn,
Although we disagree on some points, and you may even consider some things I have said about you to be slanderous. I must say that I support you in standing up for your beliefs, and agree that churches these days act shamefully and ungodly towards those who battle against the world and its deceived culture.
You are better off outside of their harmful influence.

II Corinthians six:seventeen Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

“They demanded that I either (1) close down my blogs (including It’s Good To Be A Man, which is not mine), and submit for mentoring; or (2) resign my membership at Trinity.”

My gut tells me they were trying to muzzle you for fighting with Feminism while the “church” has decided to take a dive, and let the Feminists dictate their religion to them. That is where today’s cultural battle is being conceded by wicked hirelings.

Kerry Benge

Experience tells me there are always two sides to a story. Sadly, many Christians are willing to only hear one side and make a judgment as to the validity of what has happened based on that. Experience also tells me that anger and bitterness can cloud a person’s recollection of what took place. The worst possible light can be cast on a person’s words or actions, especially when it comes to church leadership. I wonder if underlying this is a lack of submitting to authority in the church? I have seen this anti-authoritarian attitude all too often in the church. In such a situation not only is there a lack of submission but also a lack of respect towards the leadership of the church. This is often the case.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Kerry, have you examined the document used against me? If so, did you not think the elders of TRBC twisted my words?

If you find the evidence I have provided lacking, why not contact elders@trbc.org.nz and get their side? You could ask them, for instance:

  • Did Ryan ever refute the quotes I provided which prove the Reformed pedigree of my views, or even acknowledge these quotes to me?
  • Was I furnished with all the evidence that would be brought against me in advance of the initial church discipline meeting?
  • Was I afforded the right to defend myself on equal footing with those bringing the case against me?
  • Was the congregation required to have heard both sides of the story before voting as per John 7:51?
  • Was I allowed to be present in the second meeting?
  • Were the charges and evidence against me examined and deliberated in the second meeting?
  • Was church discipline initiated against Ryan and Greg in response to my case, with multiple witnesses filing charges against them, including dishonesty, failure to perform the duties of the pastorate, evading responsibility, and lack of humility?
  • Have multiple families with long-standing memberships at TRBC, including the former pastor and his wife, resigned and left since my excommunication, citing the appalling handling of my case, and the completely dysfunctional state of TRBC, as major reasons why?

These are simple questions that you can use to test whether I am being truthful, or whether a just process was in fact followed.

My guess is you won’t even get an answer from Ryan. If you do, it will probably be extremely slippery. That itself should tell you all you need to know.

Kerry Benge

As I wrote, there are two sides to every story. At this point we have only heard the one side and it would be unwise for me to choose to side with you and declare a church the synagogue of Satan based on one sides version of what has taken place. I sense a lot of bitterness and anger in your words and ask is that the right attitude to have? I have spoken to Dafydd Hughes as he is my pastor. You insinuated in your use of the word “censorship” that he had publicly censored your book in the pulpit or at a bible study. That’s not the case. He disagrees with your book. He’s perfectly entitled to do so. But for you to perpetuate the myth that he’s going around publicly censoring your book based on second hand information is not wise. Did you ever ask dafydd if he has done what you accuse him of or did you just go with what you heard because you were angry and wanted to lash out?

Sharkly

@ Kerry Benge,

People like you are ignorant cowards! You claim their is another side to Bnonn’s testimony of what he has suffered while seeking to follow Christ, and yet while choosing to remain willfully ignorant of it, you reflexively accuse Bnonn of being untruthful. You arrogantly levy your evil surmisings against Bnonn without thought.

Furthermore you are biblically ignorant too. Christ, not the church, is the head of every man.(1 Corinthians 11:3)
Mark 10:44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
The “leaders” of the church are not to usurp headship over Christ’s bride, but they, the very Apostles spoken to, not husbands in particular, were told to be the servants of all the brethren, to serve Christ’s bride, not their own bride, who was created to be a helper for them. How much more should Bnonn have been better served by these petulant hirelings who usurped his legitimate God-given headship and plowed with his own wife, against him?

If Bnonn wasn’t angry about this wickedness corrupting the body of Christ, which happened against him, he wouldn’t be a true servant of Christ. It makes servants of Christ like me, angry, clear on the opposite end of the world. And why are you arguing about Bnonn’s emotions? You speak like one of the foolish women. “Kerry” is an androgynous name, so I ‘m not sure if you are.

But if you are a man, then man up, and don’t rail against a brother with your evil surmisings and emotional chatter in a way that makes me suspect you are likely just a foolish woman reviling men like Bnonn when she should be minding her own husband’s house, so that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Kerry Benge

Hello sharkly. I didn’t say that what he said was untruthful. I did say, as is often the case where two parties are involved, that there are two sides to what has taken place. It seems to me to be wise and prudent to hear both sides before coming to a conclusion as to any wrongs that may have taken place. Yes I understand that christ is head of the church not the other way round. I’m not sure how you concluded from what I wrote that I believe the church is the head? I’m not sure about the other cowardly stuff that you mentioned except to say that if I had the opportunity to meet people in person I would like wise say that I would not be able to condemn a church, as has been done, until I heard their version of events.

Kerry Benge

P. S sharkly. I’m a man not a woman. Kerry is a gender neutral name that can be used for either men or women.

Patrick

Kerry

1. I didn’t sense or detect any “bitterness” or “anger” in Bnonn’s words. Let alone that he “wanted to lash out”.

2. Suppose a couple get into an argument. One of them argues x is unreasonable and gives reasons why x is unreasonable. However, suppose instead of offering reasonable counter-arguments, the other person says: “you’re just angry and bitter and lashing out!” That wouldn’t be a reasoned response to the argument. Rather that would be an emotional response in lieu of a reasoned response. In fact, ironically, this kind of response would be an example of someone “lashing out” rather than attempting to use reason to persuade the other person. (And in a worse scenario it’s easy to imagine how it could even be attempting to gaslight the other person.)

3. However, suppose (arguendo) Bnonn is “bitter” and “angry” over this. Yet, even if he was “bitter” and “angry”, that doesn’t mean what he has said is untrue. After all, if a party is unfairly treated, it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise that they are “bitter” and “angry”. That’s to be expected. Yet, again, even if they were “bitter” and “angry”, it doesn’t mean they were not unfairly treated. Like you said, one needs to hear both sides. And that’s precisely what Bnonn has asked for, i.e., a fair hearing.

Kerry Benge

Perhaps if I use a biblical example to show what I mean by hearing from both sides before coming to a judgment. 1st Kings chapter 3 Solomon makes a prayer to God that he be given wisdom to rightly rule and judge the people of Israel. God honours that prayer. In the same chapter 2 women come to Solomon each claiming that the living son they had brought was theirs. What is interesting is that Solomon hears from both sides before making a dramatic judgment as to whose son it was. He didn’t just hear one side or took that side to be an accurate representation of the other side who had not yet spoken to him. He heard both sides and it was based upon that that he came to the right judgment. It seems to me to be a good example of giving due deligence to hear both sides to avoid coming to wrong conclusions.

Kerry Benge

Hello Patrick, I think that is where we disagree. I agree reasoned logic is a good approach. I used the words angry and lashed out because there is actually no evidence to back up the claim that dafydd Hughes publicly censored his book. It was an assertion based upon dafydd privately disagreeing with the book which he has his own reasons for doing. Rather than check that out with dafydd, it was thrown out in a public forum for all to see.. This is often reactionary, and comes from anger and bitterness. Rather than checking facts it’s easy to just go with where that bitterness takes us. It’s a serious thing to accuse a fellow Christian of doing wrong and we ought to be careful and slow before doing so.

Kerry Benge

P. S Patrick, I didn’t say what he said was untrue. I am simply saying that before I conclude any wrong has been done it’s prudent to hear from both sides rather than forming a conclusion based on one sides account. That seems to me to be incredibly reasonable and logical.

Patrick

Kerry

1. Yes, it’s (obviously) true people should hear both sides. I’m not sure why you’re assuming most people don’t want to hear both sides?

2. Of course, since this is Bnonn’s website, Bnonn is going to argue his side. Others can argue their side on their own websites or church website or whatever. That’s how people can hear “both sides”, right?

3. Yet, even though it’s his website, and Bnonn is under no obligation to argue “both sides”, Bnonn does for example cite the full texts of emails from the opposing side. So people can read the opposing side too. He’s not trying to hide anything, as far as I can tell.

4. Is there more public evidence from the opposing side that you can include so that people can hear both sides? So that people can have a fuller picture? For example, do you have links to the opposing side’s website? Otherwise I’m afraid I’m not sure what value your comments are adding other than the obvious “we should hear both sides”.

Patrick

Kerry

In addition, instead of you speaking on behalf of Dafydd Hughes, it would be better if Dafydd Hughes speaks for himself. Perhaps he can make his own case on Bnonn’s website or on his own website.

Kerry Benge

I base my conclusion that conclusions have been made without hearing from the other side based on the vast amount of agreement with one side when it comes to this. As far as I know trinity Church has not made a public statement. This means we are not hearing directly from those involved but from the account of what that side has said. The two are not the same. Dafydd is unlikely to respond himself. Firstly because the right place for him to do so would be in private, which ought to be where it was kept in the first place but was instead aired in this public forum. Secondly because he has far more pressing concerns such as pastoring a church and caring for his own family. I simply state that rather than going to dafydd, the assertion was made that he was publicly censoring his book. There is no evidence, and to be logical and reasoned we have to base our conclusions on evidence, to back up the claim that was made

Kerry Benge

Patrick, I’ve said my piece. Off to things more important. God bless

Patrick

Kerry

Thanks for the response. My reply:

1. The evidence exists. Bnonn has assembled a considerable amount of evidence.

2. I’m sure Bnonn can correct me if I’m mistaken, but if I recall Bnonn did initially approach the matter in private.

3. The Bible allows Christians to escalate the situation and even take it public if warranted (e.g. Mt 18:17).

4. There are good shepherds, but there are bad shepherds too. Bad shepherds should be called out. And church abuse exists.

5. If a Christian is unfairly treated by the church, let alone if there’s abuse in the church, then this should be pointed out. And yes, this should be pointed out in public if necessary. SO there’s nothing necessarily wrong with Bnonn making this a public issue.

6. I’m not sure what you’re basing “the vast amount of agreement with one side” on? Just the comments in this single post? If so, why do you think the comments in Bnonn’s post indicate that there’s a “vast amount of agreement with one side”?

7. You’ve been arguing we should hear both sides. I agree, and I took you at your word. Yet, when I asked you to point to evidence from the other side, you say there is none. Or at least that there’s been no public statement and that the pastor Dafydd Hughes is not going to make a public statement. Well, in that case, how is anyone supposed to “hear both sides”?

8. You say Dafydd has “far more pressing concerns such as pastoring a church and caring for his own family”. Of course, one could say the same about Bnonn. One could say Bnonn has “far more pressing concerns” such as working a job and “caring for his own family” too, but Bnonn made the time to say all this. However, I guess you’re now suggesting it’s not a “pressing” enough issue that Dafydd needs to make the time to respond (according to you, not Dafydd, because Dafydd himself hasn’t said anything here)? Either it’s an important enough issue for people to “hear both sides” or it’s not really that important that anyone needs to make the time to respond. I don’t get it. I mean I don’t follow your logic here.

Kerry Benge

Patrick this will be my last comment. As I have said the issue ought to have been kept private. But the accusation was made that dafyyd has publicly censored the book. I ask for evidence that this is the case. There is none.

I struggle to follow your reason. The bible says that if we have an issue with a brother we ought to take it to them privately first. That wasn’t done. Instead it was brought into the public where it is neither biblically right nor the best forum to address this. If I have an issue with a brother or sister I try to go to them and talk to them. What I don’t do is go behind their back and publicly accuse them. As I said I have heard from dafydd, and it’s a prime example that if I’d just taken bnonns account without seeking dafydds side I would have had a very different conclusion.

Patrick

Kerry

I responded to the “private” issue above, but I guess you didn’t read or otherwise missed my comment?

Patrick

Regarding the book censorship, I think it’d be better to directly from Bnonn and Dafydd (rather than you and I).

Also, the book censorship wasn’t the only issue in all this.

Kerry Benge

I agree it should have been addressed between dafydd and bnonn, not in a public blog forum.

Patrick

Sorry, Kerry, you’re twisting my words. That’s not how a Christian should behave. It’s arguing in bad faith. Ironic you’re behaving like this. In any case, I’ve already pointed out above why I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for Bnonn to speak publicly about this. Please re-read my comments. And my point about Bnonn and Dafydd isn’t that they shouldn’t speak publicly, but rather that it’d be better to hear from Bnonn and Dafydd about this rather than to hear from either you or me about this.

Kerry Benge

It’s not twisting words. It ought to have been discussed between dafydd and bnonn. Since bnonn made the accusation was made by bnonn the onus was on him to verify the accusation with dafydd. That would have been a good and loving way to have addressed it. Instead the accusation was made, no evidence was provided, and dafydd was made aware of it not through bnonn emailing him, or phoning him, or asking to see him. But here. Sad.

Patrick

Kerry

At the risk of stating the obvious, you’re not Dafydd Hughes. Yet you keep speaking on behalf of Dafydd Hughes. Why? Are you his representative?

You make a lot of claims about what did and did not go on behind the scenes. For example, you say “dafydd was made aware of it not through bnonn emailing him, or phoning him, or asking to see him”. How do know this? Are you Dafydd Hughes using a pseudonym?

In any case, if Dafydd believes he’s been wronged by Bnonn, then why doesn’t Dafydd speak to Bnonn directly? Why doesn’t Dafydd leave comments to Bnonn in this very post? Why are you the one who’s speaking on behalf of Dafydd?

Patrick

By the way, yes, you twisted my words, because I didn’t make these claims earlier. You imputed to me a position I don’t hold. I didn’t have a problem with either Dafydd or Bnonn making public statements. That should have been obvious.

Kerry Benge

The same could be said of you. Are you bnonns representative? Nope didn’t twist your words. I’m moving on this will definitely be the last post for me.

Kerry Benge

P. S I know what went on because I go to dafydds church and have spoken to him. I stated that a couple of times in previous posts. I did due deligence and sought out the other side of the story from the actual person. It’s a good approach.

Patrick

Sorry, Kerry, you’re wrong:

1. Remember you were the one who first said we should “hear both sides”? I’ve simply taken you at your word in my replies to you.

2. Re-read my comments to you. I’m the one who has been saying you should let Bnonn and Dafydd speak for themselves. Rather than you or I speaking on their behalf.

3. Yet you’re clearly defending Dafydd rather than letting Dafydd speak for himself. This shows your true motives or intentions. You don’t really want to “hear both sides”. You just want to defend Dafydd.

4. Speaking for myself, I haven’t been defending Bnonn in my replies to you. I’ve been saying Bnonn can defend himself. Just like Dafydd can (and should) defend himself. Not let you defend him. Yet here you are defending Dafydd, whereas I’ve been saying they should each speak for themselves.

Patrick

P. S I know what went on because I go to dafydds church and have spoken to him. I stated that a couple of times in previous posts. I did due deligence and sought out the other side of the story from the actual person. It’s a good approach.

So you’ve spoken with Bnonn in person to seek out “the other side of the story from the actual person” i.e. Bnonn? If so, good for you! And I trust Bnonn can verify that you’ve spoken with him and tried to seek out his side of the story in a fair and objective manner.

Kerry Benge

Usually when some one accuses them of something it’s up to the person making the accusation to provide evidence. None has been provided.

The other side of the story was aired in bnonns blog post when he wrote that dafydd had censured his book. He hasn’t.

Patrick

Kerry, you keep repeating the same claim ad nauseam. Yet, by your own words and standards, you should let Dafydd and Bnonn speak for themselves. If Dafydd is aggrieved, then why doesn’t Dafydd say something? Why do you keep speaking on Dafydd’s behalf? Surely you can’t be more aggrieved than Dafydd is!

Kerry Benge

You’re right. I’ve said what I wanted to. No point in repeating myself. Moving on.

Patrick

Kerry

The main problem isn’t in the repetition.

The main problem is what you’re saying about how Dafydd feels or what he believes is basically hearsay or secondhand information at this point.

No one knows if what you’re alleging is true or false. No one knows if Dafydd shares the sentiments that you say he has against Bnonn.

Perhaps Dafydd does feel wronged, but if he does, then he should be the one who shares these sentiments with Bnonn. Not you.

Imagine a boy and a girl are dating. They’re boyfriend and girlfriend. If the girl feels the boy has wronged her in some way, then she should speak with him about it. However, instead, suppose the girl’s best friend starts accusing the boyfriend of wrong his girlfriend. Yet, bystanders don’t know if the girlfriend truly believes the boyfriend wronged her or if it’s just her best friend acting crazy or something.

You’re like the girlfriend’s best friend. We don’t know if the girlfriend believes she’s been wronged by her boyfriend. All we can see is that her best friend thinks her friend has been wronged. What’s more, if the girlfriend has been wronged by her boyfriend, then why doesn’t the girlfriend simply speak to her boyfriend directly, rather than letting her best friend do all the talking? That’s the problem.

Sharkly

Kerry Benge said: “Yes I understand that christ is head of the church not the other way round. I’m not sure how you concluded from what I wrote that I believe the church is the head?”

Previously Kerry Benge had said: “I wonder if underlying this is a lack of submitting to authority in the church? I have seen this anti-authoritarian attitude all too often in the church. In such a situation not only is there a lack of submission but also a lack of respect towards the leadership of the church.”

It would seem that you are implying that Bnonn (ostensibly part of the Bride of Christ) should submit to and respect some interloping hirelings above his own convictions and loyalty to submitting to and respecting Christ as Bnonn believes he is doing. Acts 5:29

As Jesus told the Apostles themselves, in Mark 10:43-44 they were to serve Christ’s bride, not usurp authority over her. The men of the church are to be submitting to one another. Ephesians 5:21
It doesn’t sound like these hirelings were doing that, but on the contrary they threw Bnonn out for not submitting to them personally, and for more generally holding closer to the Bible and not submitting to this world’s Feminist dogmas as they do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to get Bnonn his spot back amongst those misleading hirelings. I’m just pointing out that Jesus Christ never gave them authority over Bnonn, and certainly not the tyrannical authority to separate Bnonn’s wife away from him for a private interrogation so that they could try to use her words against her own husband. Even in our secular courts a wife cannot be compelled to testify against her own husband.(stemming from our nation’s Christian heritage) I’m not sure how y’all do things down there, but around here, that’d be a real godless douchebag move to try to use a wife against her husband.

When the Philistines used Samson’s betrothed against him, then the Spirit of the Lord came upon God’s Nazarite judge mightily, so that he killed thirty of those uncircumcised Philistines to pay off the actions of the 30 men who pressured his betrothed to betray the secret of her husband. Judges 14:19 That is exactly what these uncircumcised-of-heart hirelings did, and they stand before a thrice-holy God far more guilty for doing their evil in the name of Christ, God’s Son. Bnonn is right to publicly expose their dark deeds: Ephesians 5:11

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Kerry, since you have identified yourself as a member of Crosspoint, I will take a moment to respond:

You insinuated in your use of the word “censorship” that he had publicly censored your book in the pulpit or at a bible study. That’s not the case.

No I didn’t. This is a good example of the kind of “evil suspicion” that the ninth commandment forbids (WLC 145).

I did not insinuate anything. I described what happened with the most brevity I could. It is your gloss to interpret censorship as necessarily public. You cannot make a man dishonest by dishonestly reading his words.

If you care to check my fuller narrative, you would see that I explicitly state the following:

…In February 2020, my friend Johann du Toit told me that Dafydd Hughes, pastor at our Palmerston North sister church, Crosspoint, had instructed him to stop sharing my book. Johann had lent it to a few people because he thought it was interesting.

Notice that I am quite clear that Dafydd spoke to Johann, not a group or a congregation. I also go on to explicitly explain how I approached this issue:

I was upset by this censorship, since no one had said anything to me about any concerns. It is a wicked thing to destroy a man’s reputation behind his back.

Out of respect for the pastoral office, I did not contact Dafydd directly, but instead emailed Ryan (copying in Greg) to ask if he was aware of this, and whether he would speak to Dafydd on my behalf. I naïvely thought that possibly, having had some time and distance to consider the evidence for my orthodoxy, Ryan might have come around.

Rather than agreeing to speak to Dafydd, he told me that despite not having said anything for months since I sent him my Reformed Pedigree document, there were still “serious and unresolved issues” with my doctrine. He asked to meet again. This started an email exchange which included the following highlights…

I am happy to share this initial email exchange with you, so you can examine for yourself what both I and Ryan said. Email me: bnonn@bnonn.com. For someone who is so concerned about the principle of getting both sides of a story, it is quite striking how little of my side you appear to have gotten.

He disagrees with your book. He’s perfectly entitled to do so.

Is he, if he has not read it? How can a man disagree with a book when he does not know what it contains? It is one thing to disagree with a doctrine that he knows I hold, but the last time I checked he had not read my book, and the doctrine he objects to is not one found in my book. (In fact, I have it on good authority that there is much in my book that he would be ironically quite interested in and open to.) Yet he was willing to tell a member of his congregation not to share it with anyone despite knowing nothing about its contents. Are you defending that?

Did you ever ask dafydd if he has done what you accuse him of or did you just go with what you heard because you were angry and wanted to lash out?

Again, countenancing evil suspicions is a violation of the ninth commandment. I received from my friend Johann first-hand testimony of what Dafydd had done, and this testimony was never contested by Dafydd, who was involved behind the scenes in my dispute with Ryan. I tried to reach out to Dafydd through Ryan in respect of their position as rulers in the church; Ryan shut it down, and Dafydd knew about that. What possible purpose could there then be in me pursuing the matter with Dafydd one-on-one? He has made his character known.

Btw, I am struck by your unwillingness to pass any judgment without hearing both sides of a dispute, yet you seem quite unconcerned at the documented fact that a sister church in the FRBCNZ was willing to excommunicate a member, and lost multiple other families, by actively preventing its congregation from hearing both sides of a dispute. Something that your own church was party to. I am neither impressed nor intimidated by men like you, who value optics over ethics, people over principles, and selectively adhere to cherry-picked portions of God’s law to maintain the illusion of righteousness while trampling it underfoot.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Also refer to section 2e in my response to the charges of false teaching, where I state the following:

 

Another FRBCNZ church as of 2019/2020 has a pastoral concern of it’s own connected directly to the sharing of your book:

  • “enormous concerns”
  • “you have those concerns we have those concerns too”

Like our elders, this other FRBCNZ pastor apparently doesn’t respect the right, assumed in Deuteronomy 19, of a man to face his accuser. He remains anonymous. However, I know that the church is Crosspoint in Palmerston North—so presumably this is either Dafydd Hughes or Ian Fuller. I know this because the present dispute started at the beginning of this year, when Dafydd instructed my friend Johann du Toit to stop sharing my book, The Spine of Scripture (see My history of trying to cooperate and reason with Ryan).

Johann tried to attend the meeting on July 18 as a witness, but was prevented by a vote of the elders and deacons, without the congregation’s knowledge or consent.

Dafydd never approached me with his “enormous concerns” about my book.

Ryan never approached me with these concerns either—even though the first thing I did when I published it was give him a copy so he would know what was in it (August 2019). As with the supposed slander on my blog, Ryan’s actions put the lie to his claims:

How can it be such a great pastoral concern for Johann to share my book at Crosspoint, yet simultaneously such a small concern that Ryan didn’t tell me not to share it at Trinity, and no one ever approached me about it?

No one has ever made the slightest effort to explain or refute the supposed errors of this book.

No one has ever even told me approximately where these errors are supposed to be.

In fact, as far as I know, neither Ryan nor Dafydd has even read the book. Yet they felt it acceptable to quietly censor it, representing me as a dangerous false teacher to people in a sister church. I am not precious about my reputation, but neither do I consider it worthless. The duties of the ninth commandment include “love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth” (WLC 144). Conversely, the sins forbidden by the ninth commandment include “all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors…especially in public judicature” (WLC 145). Hence I emailed Ryan in February to ask if he knew about this censorship, and whether he would speak to Dafydd at Crosspoint on my behalf. Instead of doing so, he spent the next several months making false accusations, and resisting my repeated efforts to get him to follow Matthew 18 if he really believed them, as outlined in My history of trying to cooperate and reason with Ryan. To this day, nothing has been done to redress the unbiblical behavior of Dafydd, and I have felt compelled to avoid contacting him directly until after the process of church discipline here at Trinity plays out.

Kerry Benge

I certainly won’t be recommending your book. You do not have a good standing in a local church which for me instantly puts your book on the do not read or recommend list. There are lots of books written by Christian men and women who do have a good standing in a local church. I will read and recommend those instead.

Patrick

Kerry

I certainly won’t be recommending your book. You do not have a good standing in a local church which for me instantly puts your book on the do not read or recommend list. There are lots of books written by Christian men and women who do have a good standing in a local church. I will read and recommend those instead.

1. Did you bother to read Bnonn’s replies to you? You’re not interacting with what he said. Evidently you’re not willing to engage the substance of his remarks. You’re arguing in bad faith. That’s not how a professing Christian ought to behave. You raised objections to Bnonn. He responded. Now you ought to respond to what Bnonn said or admit you were mistaken.

2. Kerry will not “read” nor “recommend” books by people who do not have “a good standing in a local church”. Kerry “instantly” puts such books on “the do not read or recommend list”. If this principle is applied consistently:

a. It immediately eliminates most of Western literature because most of Western literature was not written by Christians or Christians in “good standing in a local church”. Kerry would not read historical books like Churchill’s The Second World War, political documents like The Magna Carta, scientific works like Einstein on relativity, etc.

b. Kerry would not read Athanasius. Athanasius contra mundum. Athanasius was “excommunicated” from the church because the vast majority of churches had become Arian and Athanasius stood against the Arians. According to Kerry, we should not read Athanasius because Athanasius was not in “good standing” with the church for a period of his life.

c. The apostles themselves were not always in good standing with their local religious communities. Consider the apostle Paul being cast out of synagogues. Consider the apostles Peter and Paul at odds with one another in Galatians. Consider when churches like the Corinthians didn’t care to hear the apostle Paul. Consider King David exiled from his people. Consider when the Israelites wanted to oust Moses from leadership. Hence, according to Kerry, we shouldn’t read the parts of the Bible that were written by people who were not in “good standing” with their local “churches” or “synagogues” or religious communities.

d. The main problem is Kerry assumes the local church is in the right. But what about cases where the local church is in the wrong?

e. Ironically, Kerry’s position is so radical that it cuts against traditional Reformed theology. See arguments regarding God’s common grace toward the unregenerate, for example.

f. Is there a significant difference between Kerry’s “do not read or recommend list” and the Catholic church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum which prohibits Catholics from reading certain books?

Kerry Benge

1)clearly I was referring to Christian books not non Christian books

2)Athanasius was not excommunicated by the leadership of his own church

3) David’s context was not a local church.

4)I am not aware of any apostle being excommunicated from a Christian church.

5)I do assume the local church is right until shown otherwise. For me there is good reasons why excommunication took place which I choose to keep private.

6)of course God has common grace towards the unregenerate.

7) as for the Roman Catholic issue, I denounce roman Catholic theology.

Kerry Benge

Patrick all of the instances you raised were not in the context of the local church where excommunication/Church discipline has taken place by the leadership of the church. Jesus taught that a person who refuses to heed the discipline of the church is to be treated like a gentile and a tax collector. As such the only thing I can say is that Bnonn will repent of his sins, and turn back to Christ. Until then I follow Jesus words as to how to relate to someone who is under church discipline. As such I cannot possibly recommend his book.

Patrick

Kerry

1. No, sorry, it wasn’t clear. Sure, you’re adding clarification now – ex post facto. However, I can only respond to what you wrote in the past, not what you will write in the future.

2. Here’s the thing with the people I mentioned. They are examples or illustrations that a person can be right even if their community thinks they are wrong. Both the Bible and church history have many examples of this. I won’t repeat what I’ve already said.

3. I’ll move onto the fundamental question: what’s the standard by which we are to know who is in the right and who is in the wrong? I trust you’d agree it’s ultimately the Bible.

4. As such, what has Bnonn done biblically wrong in your view?

5. In other words, if you’re going to publicly state “there is good reasons why excommunication took place”, then you need to publicly give those “good reasons”.

6. You can’t just say “I choose to keep [these reasons] private”. Basically, you’re saying: “it was right for Bnonn’s church to kick out Bnonn, but I’m not going to tell you why I think so”. That’s arguing in bad faith. That’s extremely poor behavior, especially from a professing Christian.

7. Note “excommunication” isn’t a mere disagreement among believers. It’s not like a debate between credobaptism and paedobaptism, as significant as that debate is. Excommunication is far more serious.

8. What’s your main argument so far? That Bnonn’s church is right to excommunicate Bnonn because Bnonn’s church is right? That’s circular reasoning at best.

9. Yet, Bnonn has provided reams of evidence that show his church not exactly behaving right toward him. But again, you don’t interact with Bnonn’s evidence. You just cast asperions and slander Bnonn from the sidelines – or so it seems.

10. So yeah, it just seems like you’re attempting to slander Bnonn. And you’re certainly far away from your original position where you evidently pretended to want to hear “both sides”. You’re obviously entirely on one side. That would have been fine if you hadn’t originally pretended to be objective. And now, if you’re going to be on one side, and if you’re going to be so publicly vocal about how it was right for Bnonn to have been excommunicated, then you need to interact with Bnonn’s reasons and evidence which he has supplied for everyone to read.

Patrick

Kerry

Jesus taught that a person who refuses to heed the discipline of the church is to be treated like a gentile and a tax collector.

This is a huge point of contention. You can’t assume it’s true given all that Bnonn has argued. Again, you have to interact with what Bnonn has said.

Sharkly

1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

That’s not a misprint! There is no church that is head over any man or woman. Have the churches now put God’s word on their “do not read or recommend list”?

Kerry Benge, LOL Your ilk prefer to remain willfully ignorant and then push your same ignorance onto others. I haven’t read Bnonn’s book either, nor do I care to, but I wouldn’t tell others not to read something I have chosen to ignore, specifically because other ignoramuses who try to usurp some imagined authority over Bnonn are also choosing to remain ignorant of what is in Bnonn’s book. That’s just a church willfully compounding their own ignorance, in the name of Christ.
Perhaps if you read Bnonn’s book then you might be able to give people a legitimate reason not to read it, besides that your ignorance is blissful to you, or that somebody else who didn’t read it also doesn’t recommend it. The Apostle Peter taught us that all true believers are a royal priesthood. But somehow Dafydd Hughes is too exalted to serve Bnonn, like Christ commanded the Apostles (Mark 10:43-44) but instead he rules against Bnonn and his book based upon willful ignorance, and hearsay of evil surmisings? That kind of willful ignorance is how superstitions are spread, not how the truth abounds.
If Dafydd Hughes is qualified to Shepherd a flock, he should surely be able to give Bnonn sensible reasons for his words against Bnonn, based in knowledge, and not solely based upon ignorance and the evil surmisings of others. Otherwise he should give Bnonn an apology for speaking against him solely out of ignorance. These hirelings don’t serve the Bride of Christ, as Christ commanded them, instead they usurp over Crist’s Bride and interlope in the place of Christ, trying to spread their own seed of satanic Feminism.
Quite frankly my issue with Bnonn has been that he is still too much like them, and desiring to stay in their orbit. I think God has a better plan for Bnonn. I personally would encourage Bnonn to leave his past behind and follow where the Lord leads him.
Now I do believe that calling out wickedness within religious leadership and other people, was certainly a huge part of the ministry of Christ and the prophets that God sent, and that those who would refuse to call for repentance, but instead help hide sin are of the devil. So, I’m onboard that Bnonn is shining a light into their darkness. However at some point Bnonn will eventually need to let the dead bury their dead, and move on to serving those who are willing to hear his message, and like the Bereans test it by the scriptures.

Sharkly

kerry benge said: “For me there is good reasons why excommunication took place which I choose to keep private.”

LOL You keep it private because it would embarrass the wicked. Since when is sneaky backdoor excommunication and public cover-up the way of Truth?

Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Per my reading the church makes public that they no longer associate with the person and what sin they are excommunicating them for. It is to be a testimony before the world that the church won’t tolerate that sin.

I believe that the “church” has excommunicated Bnonn because they couldn’t control and silence him. They wanted to stop him from battling the unbiblical female supremacist ideology that is preached today in churches.
Bnonn said: Ryan then told me, speaking on behalf of trbc’s eldership—himself and Greg Kitt—that I was guilty of slander, false teaching, and division. They demanded that I either (1) close down my blogs (including It’s Good To Be A Man, which is not mine), and submit for mentoring; or (2) resign my membership at trbc.

The case against Bnonn remains a cover-up. LOL
The Feminists apparently got nothing on Bnonn! Just their own petty foolishness.
They are upset because Bnonn dared to challenge their goddesses and used the Bible to do it. Bnonn has stepped up to fight against the Feminist culture war on God-instituted family order, with the sword of God’s word, and these cowards don’t want Bnonn to anger the world, because they believe they have established, via newly invented Complementarian doctrines, a de facto ceasefire with this world’s atheist Marxist/Feminist axis. Bnonn is disturbing the peace and causing division between the world and the church. Oh my! Excommunicate him! We’ll come up with a reason later.

Kerry Benge

Hello sharkly. I choose not to read his book because of the reason I have already given. I choose to keep the reasons why he was excommunicated private because I value my friendships and that friendship entails keeping things confidential that were said in private. I’m not in the habit of sharing on the Internet things that were said under the assumption of trust and confidentiality. Instead I will allow what was said to me in private to remain private.

Kerry Benge

P. S Sharkly. As I have written in a previous post, I believe christ is head of the church. I have believed as long as I have been a Christian although my understanding of what that means has grown over the years.

I never said there was a cover up. You implied that from my words. I meant by what I said that certain things have been shared with me under the assumption that it was to be kept private. I choose to honour that. I will say though that the reasons he’s been excommunicated for me make sense. Of course you will disagree. My hope is that Bnonn will repent and reconciliation would take place. It would be wonderful if that happened.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Kerry, what you appear to be saying is that you know of private reasons that I was excommunicated that are different from the public ones.

This would certainly explain why the public evidence was never considered, and why no defense was entertained. One does not need to debate the public reasons for excommunication when they are merely a pretext.

But of course, it also further indicts the FRBCNZ as being rotten to the core, and corroborates my description of my trial as a kangaroo court. You appear to support the same method of judicature as was used against the Lord Jesus. That is as tragic as it is wicked.

I am also stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am supposed to repent and be reconciled. But since the public reasons for my excommunication are not the real reasons, and since you will not divulge the private reasons, I actually have no idea what I am supposed to repent of. Perhaps you could email me privately to enlighten me.

If not, I am at least grateful that there is now public corroboration here, from within the FRBCNZ, that the process of church discipline used against me was a sham, and that abusive gaslighting and manipulation tactics of this nature are considered right and legitimate in your churches.

Kerry Benge

That’s not what I said at all. I said there are private discussions I had that will remain private.

Kerry Benge

Bnonn, it is sad that you are unwilling to admit fault and repent. Jesus said I am to treat you like a gentile or tax collector. As such i do call you to repent and turn to christ for forgiveness so that reconciliation can take place. If you do there is certainly forgiveness. Until then you remain outside the church. That is a sad place to be. My hope is that God will work upon your conscience to help you be restored to fellowship in trinity baptist Church.

Patrick

Kerry

What specific excommunicable sin(s) are you accusing Bnonn of? What specific evidence do you have to support your accusation?

Or are you just making unsubstantiated accusations? Isn’t that more akin to what Satan does?

Sharkly

Bnonn says: “Kerry, what you appear to be saying is that you know of private reasons that I was excommunicated that are different from the public ones.”

BOOM! Mic-drop! Whoop! There it is.

Kerry weasels: “That’s not what I said at all. I said there are private discussions I had that will remain private.”

Kerry previously had said: “For me there is good reasons why excommunication took place which I choose to keep private.”

The clear implication in that written statement is that the public reasons are not the “good reasosns”, which Kerry Benge will keep private, as to why Bnonn was truly excommunicated.

Rest assured, they wanted to shut down Bnonn’s Blogs, and discredit his book, and silence him. And that is exactly why they asked Bnonn to shut down the blogs, and asked others not to read his writings, and are still insinuating that Bnonn has done some unspeakable evil.

Let me break it down for y’all:
Bnonn you blasphemed against their idolatrous woman-worship. But the Bible doesn’t support their Feminist woman-worship, so at the end of the day they throw out accusations of “slander, false teaching, and division” for sharing your upsetting Anti-Feminist Biblical beliefs that push women back towards their rightful places, and divide the precious wheat from the useless chaff. They like giving women the worth-ship to be served above God.(Adam’s original sin) When you point out that women are weaker vessels and really aren’t equal to men, but are justifiably to be in subjection to men in everything, to them that is “slander, false teaching, and division”.
They would have to be very sorely pressed before they would ever admit that they’re Feminists and you are being excommunicated because you’re not.

But, if you ever trace this contention all the way back to its very root, there you’ll find an upset and vindictive Feminist, most likely a female. Probably one who was somewhat sexually attracted to you, whom you rightly snubbed. After being scorned, she has gone on to flip reality on its head and make you out to be a vile pursuer, and whisper it to others, who can’t ever speak of it because they know she has no concrete proof. But in their minds women are goddesses who men are to hearken to and believe. Nor can they admit that they’re fools who believe all women either. LOL So they’re sort of stuck operating via wives-tales and gossip behind your back, in homage to the image of their goddess.

Sharkly

Bnonn, Kerry can’t tell you simply what to repent of because that would show the public reasons for the excommunication to have been a public ruse. If they were to be honest they would simply say:
“Quit promoting the Father’s holy patriarchy and return to Feminism.”

They don’t like that the Godhead is a patriarchy, a Father turning over power to His Son. And they don’t like that some of us want God’s holy patriarchal kingdom to come, wanting God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Their lord and master has wanted the man to hearken unto the voice of his wife from the very beginning. All they mainly want is for you to quit teaching that “it’s good to be a man” and get back to serving “Smokey the Magnificent”.

Kerry Benge

Sharky I never said the private reasons were different from the public ones. That’s twisting my words
which I don’t appreciate. The private conversations helped to understand what the public reasons were.

Sharkly

Their goal is to pervert God’s order given in 1 Corinthians 11:3. They want women, just like Eve, to usurp and direct their husbands into doing other things than what God has directed the man to do, which was to have dominion over all the earth and all the creatures of the earth, including the woman whom God gave to the man to serve him. They invert God’s gender roles in God’s hierarchy and even interject themselves above a man too.
Did they not meet together with your wife, to decide about you, in a meeting that you were not allowed to attend? That is them usurping you and dragging your own wife into participating in their mutiny against God’s holy hierarchy.

You need to just stay out of that apostate mess, Bnonn. They can’t bind anything in heaven, any more than they can raise the dead here on earth. God’s Holy Spirit doesn’t obey them. They don’t even obey God. The church quickly became corrupted after Christ left.

The Catholic church is the great whore of Rome, and the Mother of Harlots. All the Orthodox and Protestant churches are her whoring daughter churches, born from her. The “body of Christ” is corrupted, just like when Christ took in his body the sins of the world on the cross.(1 Peter 2:24)

Now pay attention: The “Bride of Christ” is not the “Body of Christ”. Christ does not marry his own body. Christ is the “Last Adam”, and like the first Adam, his body is put to sleep and a small remnant or rib is separated out unto the Father and made into the Last Adam’s bride. Even now I believe the Father is separating that small remnant out from the corrupt “sleeping/dead” body, those whom He will purify and make into the “Bride of Christ”. So the “Bride of Christ” was once part of the “Body of Christ”, but now she is being separated out, to worship God everywhere, in Spirit and in Truth, not only in their building certain times of the week. John 4:23-24 If you are truly a part of that remnant, Bnonn, then further unity with the “dead body” just continues to defile you.
2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Right now, within the body of Christ, there is a great “falling away” occurring that was spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and consequently the world is also far less restrained by these lawless churches, resulting in great apostasy and rebellion against God’s ways. But you, Bnonn, are to take God’s hierarchy that your church has intentionally made crooked by interjecting themselves, and usurping and ruling over you in conjunction with “the woman”, and you now have the opportunity to come out from among them and to help make straight the way of the Lord. Don’t return to that vomit. Press on with returning many others towards God’s straight way and God’s righteousness. Daniel 12:2-3

Sharkly

I worship in Spirit and in Truth. Click on my name if you want to participate in a fellowship I host for other believers. You might be sharpened, or be able to sharpen others. I just put up a new post a few moments ago.

Alistair

Kerry, normally I’d not contribute to a discussion like this, but it does concern me because Bnonn is involved in a growing ministry with an international reach.

For that reason alone, Trinity Baptist Church needs to warn the Christian public who might come into contact with Bnonn tht he is excommunicated and unfit to teach. They must provide a specific charge or charges and clearly outline what Bnonn needs to repent of in order to be restored, restoration being the hoped for outcome of church discipline.

If they refuse to do so, you, Kerry, need to go to those you had private conversations with and ask for permission to give the reasons for his excommunication, or you should withdraw your comments.

Thank you, however, for confirming that Bnonn has been excommunicated. We know Bnonn’s side of the story, and without hearing anything else, what can we do but continue to treat him as a brother at the expense of Trinity Baptist Church’s reputation?

Kerry Benge

Alistair, his influence in Christian circles is very small. For instance very few people at the reformed baptist church I attend have read his book netherlone heard of it. If he was more influential, I agree a public warning might be helpful. But as he isn’t he’s not a huge concern in modern Christianity. Its unlikely that trinity baptist Church will publicly declare the charges they brought. Not because there are none that are legitimate. But because Church discipline ought not be a public spectacle but be kept within the privacy of the local church for the sake of confidentiality. The only reason I will retract the statements I have made is if Bnonn will repent. When that happens I will retract the words I wrote.

Sharkly

Kerry Benge says: “But because Church discipline ought not be a public spectacle but be kept within the privacy of the local church for the sake of confidentiality.”

You’re exactly wrong. The final stage of church discipline, which includes the excommunication, is to be a public denunciation of the sin, not a church cover-up operation. This only shows that the church does not operate in the light, openly and above board, but prefers to hide sins within its membership.

“… his influence in Christian circles is very small.”
LOL I live in America, and I’ve read a lot of Bnonn’s stuff, however I can’t recall hearing of either of your churches influence before. However, your misguided putdown isn’t the point. We are not to change how we judge people based upon their influence. In the link I provide below 14 of the 15 verses (excepting the Lamentations reference) make clear that we are not to be respecters of persons in judgement.
https://classic.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=respect+person&qs_version=KJV

The longer Bnonn’s critics dodge and deflect and call for Bnonn’s repentance from some nebulous SJW-inspired misdeeds of offending others, the more solidly convinced I become that Bnonn is only guilty of triggering their Feminist butt-hurt by showing that God is truly the Father of holy patriarchy, not of family-destroying Feminism.

Asking Bnonn to take down his blogs sounds like the church is trying to silence his far reaching influence, even while you try to claim his reach is so small that the church somehow doesn’t need to operate in the open. There are things I might Biblically criticize Bnonn for, but so far I’ve not heard any criticism from his church be substantiated, except that he isn’t submitting to and serving the “chiefest” of them, when the scripture instead commands them to be serving Bnonn. I don’t think Bnonn and his family were well served by his former churches leaders. IMHO Those hirelings need to repent to Bnonn, of their faithlessness against he and his family. But ultimately Bnonn belongs directly under Christ’s headship, not theirs, so the separation is divinely providential.

Alistair

Kerry, I think you’ll find he is better known in circles outside your own.

Regardless, excommunication is public. It is not private. Privacy is part of the biblical process leading up to excommunication. If the Church was not divided into a million sections, perhaps more privacy could be afforded those involved. As it is, there are so many divisions a public statement is required.

I don’t expect it to happen.

As for your contribution, how does asserting the need for repentance without detail respect privacy. Better to say nothing at all. But I guess that’s up to you and your conscience.

Patrick

1. Kerry’s main problem is that he asks Bnonn to repent, but he doesn’t say what Bnonn should repent of. So Kerry’s criticism of Bnonn doesn’t really amount to anything. I guess it’s just sour grapes or something for Kerry.

2. Speaking as an American from California, I think Bnonn is influential. Obviously he has an international reach! And the good thing about online ministries is that they always exist – at least as long as the internet is around! So they’ll keep having an influence into the future.

Kerry Benge

As I wrote there is not much following for Bnonn either within or outside nz. Consider how many people follow his blog for instance. The numbers are tiny. Influence determines what action a church ought to take. Small influence=little to no action. Any how, time to move on to other things, this is my last entry here. Time to focus on reading God’s infallible word, fellowship in the local church, and as the new year fast approaches looking back at another year where God has shown his faithfulness :-)

Kerry Benge

P. S when I refer to action a church ought to take I mean when it comes to publicly naming a person who has been excommunicated not the excommunication itself as one concerns a person’s influence inside a particular church the other a person’s influence with Christianity as a whole.

Sharkly, I do not take your words very seriously. You do not attend a local church, have called all protestant churches spiritual whores. Your theology is pretty extreme and not terribly biblical. I do hope that God will reveal to you your need to be in a local church as that is where we grow in our love for one another and partake of the preaching of the word and the sacraments that point us to Christ.

Patrick

Kerry

As I wrote there is not much following for Bnonn either within or outside nz. Consider how many people follow his blog for instance. The numbers are tiny.

1. How does Kerry know how much or how little “influence” Bnonn has? Does Kerry have access to Bnonn’s stats?

2. Kerry confuses or conflates “following” with “influence”. The number of followers doesn’t necessarily indicate the size of one’s influence. One can have a small number of followers, but still be a big influence. How many disciples followed Jesus? Not many. Yet look at the influence of the early church despite being small in number of followers. Of course, they later acquired many more followers, but that wasn’t so at the beginning.

3. Nevertheless I do think Bnonn likely does have a much larger following than Kerry believes. If I recall, Bnonn has thousands of followers on Twitter, for example. Likewise, Bnonn is partners in crime (so to speak) with Michael Foster who has a huge following in the US (e.g. last I checked @thisisfoster had well over 10K followers on Twitter). In any case, many people who know about Michael know about Bnonn as well and vice versa.

4. Regarding not having a following “within” NZ. Is that really saying all that much? Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kiwi brethren, but how many people are in New Zealand anyway? Isn’t it just a few million? Isn’t the entire population of NZ less than a single major city in the US, the UK, or many European nations? And of these, how many are evangelical or Reformed Christians? According to Wiki, there are approximately 15,000 or so “Evangelical, Born Again, and Fundamentalist” Christians in New Zealand (2013). Suppose it’s around 16,000 or so in 2020. That’s not really all that many evangelical and related Christians in all of NZ.

5. However, if Kerry wants to argue that one can have a small population but be a big influence, then why couldn’t the same be said about Bnonn, even if (arguendo) he has a small following? Again, the quantity of people following a person doesn’t necessarily indicate the influence the person has.

Influence determines what action a church ought to take. Small influence=little to no action.

1. Why should a church care less about speaking out on sin if the person who has committed the sin is “less influential” (but presumably more about speaking out on sin if the person is “more influential”)? Is Kerry a consequentialist or utilitarian in his biblical ethics?

2. And why is a professing Christian like Kerry so obsessed with “influence” anyway? From a Christian perspective, God can cause even a little influence to grow into a lot of influence. From a Christian perspective, we can be thankful even if we influence only one person. For example, consider the little known people who “influenced” greater “influencers” like Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and John Piper. They may not be known to history, but if it hadn’t been for their influence, then we may never had had a Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, or Piper.

Any how, time to move on to other things, this is my last entry here. Time to focus on reading God’s infallible word, fellowship in the local church, and as the new year fast approaches looking back at another year where God has shown his faithfulness :-)

Well, Kerry, you act like you are a faithful Christian. But one thing that’s not faithful Christian behavior is accusing someone of something vague, demanding they repent, but when they ask you (as Bnonn has) what they need to repent of, you don’t tell them specifically what you’re accusing them of let alone what they need to repent of. That’s really poor behavior that a Christian shouldn’t be engaging in. Yet here you are, engaging in this behavior, Kerry. Sorry but I think you ought to do a bit more self-examination about your own walk as a professing Christian. For example, consider Matthew 7:3-5.

Kerry Benge

Patrick, I was replying to Alistair who wrote, “Bnonn is involved in a growing ministry with an international reach. For that reason alone, Trinity Baptist Church needs to warn the Christian public who might come into contact with Bnonn tht he is excommunicated and unfit to teach.” I was responding to the need for trinity to warn other churches and offered a reason for why they haven’t. I’m not obsessed with his following. I do know that compared to say John macarthur, or RC Sproul his following is small. I understand the difference between following and influence but thanks for the info. If you love sharkly please contact him and correct some of his wayward theology, it may carry more weight if it comes from one of you guys. Anyhow moving on, much blessings :-)

Patrick

Kerry

I don’t see how this significantly changes what I said?

Also, you are still not dealing with the most pertinent issue: What specifically are you asking Bnonn to repent of? Otherwise, you’re just making vague and evidently unfounded accusations. As I said above, you’re not behaving like a Christian ought to behave.

Kerry Benge

P. S I’m not a faithful Christian. There are times when I sin and that is, anything but faithful. Thankfully God is faithful and my salvation does not depend on my faithfulness but on his.

I have not stated why I believe Bnonn was excommunicated because, as I wrote, that was shared to me confidentially. As such it would lack integrity to divulge what was said publically except to say that I believe the reasons were legitimate. I understand you want me to publically say what the reasons were but that will lead to me being asked “how, do I know that” and “who told you that.” As these conversations were private they will remain private. Any how I am definitely moving on now as there are more, edifying things that are pressing on me. God bless, and happy new year :-)

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

I’m not really interested in talking myself up, or pretending to be a big deal. Kerry is right that my blog receives a relatively small following. Yet tiny as it is, about 36,000 people visited it in 2019. And my main ministry is not this blog (which is vestigial), but It’s Good To Be A Man with Michael Foster. 36,000 people would be a lousy month for us in terms of total reach. And Patrick is right. Influence is far more than following. Michael is speaking at a conference with Voddie Baucham in January. Voddie is a Reformed Baptist.

It doesn’t take a genius to come up with any number of ways that TRBC’s actions become widely known in the larger Reformed community within the next few years. The TRBC elders and deacons expressly cited my influence as a factor in an email to the church’s membership on August 21, 2020:

Suppose the story becomes widely known. What will people find when they try to do their due diligence? Extensive documentation of how Ryan Vinten and his posse lied about me and abused my family, refused to follow a just and biblical process of church discipline, lost multiple families over it, and then someone from a sister church came and continued the exact same kind of abuse in the comments of the very post in which it was documented.

What will they not find? A demonstration from TRBC of my supposed heresy, a fair representation and assessment of the views and behavior I was supposedly excommunicated for, or even any kind of public statement to explain their public actions at all.

Patrick

Kerry

P. S I’m not a faithful Christian. There are times when I sin and that is, anything but faithful. Thankfully God is faithful and my salvation does not depend on my faithfulness but on his.

Well, sorry, but I never said you’re a faithful Christian. I said you should behave like a faithful Christian because sadly you do not.

I have not stated why I believe Bnonn was excommunicated because, as I wrote, that was shared to me confidentially. As such it would lack integrity to divulge what was said publically except to say that I believe the reasons were legitimate. I understand you want me to publically say what the reasons were but that will lead to me being asked “how, do I know that” and “who told you that.” As these conversations were private they will remain private. Any how I am definitely moving on now as there are more, edifying things that are pressing on me. God bless, and happy new year :-)

1. Right, but as people have pointed out to you, if you’re going to make an accusation against Bnonn in public, but not back it up with evidence, then it’s a hollow accusation.

2. What’s more, the fact that you make accusations without evidence is more telling about you rather than anyone else. It unfortunately makes you come across quite badly, not the person you’re making accusations against (Bnonn).

3. Imagine Adam calls Brian a liar. Brian asks where’s the evidence that I’m a liar? Adam replies that the evidence is confidential or private! I’m not going to say anything else! I’m done here! Well, that just makes Adam look bad, not Brian.

4. In other words, you would have been better off not saying anything at all.

5. And again, your behavior is not how a Christian ought to behave.

Patrick I’m moving on…….

Right, how many times have you said you’re moving on in this thread? If you want to move on, then move on. If you don’t, then don’t. Why announce you’re moving on (multiple times), but then you don’t actually move on? Anyway, just be decisive. Pick one or the other. You don’t need to make an announcement about it. Just do it or don’t do it. You waver too much.

Kerry Benge

Patrick you’re right no need to say I’m moving on just do it. Great advice :-)

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Btw, I have heard from multiple people in other supposedly conservative, Reformed, evangelical churches who have suffered through exactly the same form of spiritual abuse (gaslighting, manipulation, deceit, ostracization, refusal to deal with evidence, etc). Reading their stories is like deja vu.

Both I and others are actively working on projects to document and expose this kind of thing, in order to prepare men for having to deal with it. I have already been asked for my story by pastors at two other churches in Hamilton. And I will be telling it in a “survival guide” that we have planned to be published through It’s Good To Be A Man. Moreover, there are third party “centralized” efforts underway to document abuse in churches, which I am not at liberty to explain further. So this is certainly not going away. I am highly motivated to expose and drive out the rotten men who are corrupting and devouring Western churches. Unlike them, I am willing and able to stand before men, name names, and present facts. I don’t need to rely on womanly whispernets and cancel culture.

Sharkly

Kerry Benge says: “Any how, time to move on to other things, this is my last entry here.”
You’ve said that before.
Kerry Benge previously said: “I’m moving on this will definitely be the last post for me.”
It is not necessary for you to say things to try to shut down conversation, especially when you then go back on your own words. It just costs you credibility. That also still seems a lot like feminine behavior too. But I’m still trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Kerry Benge says: “If you love Sharkly please contact him and correct some of his wayward theology …”
Where’s your love bro?
Kerry Benge says: “Thankfully God is faithful and my salvation does not depend on my faithfulness but on his.”
Does God say your salvation isn’t dependent on your faith? I’m just asking for a friend who’d prefer to go live a faithless life.

Kerry Benge says: “Time to focus on reading God’s infallible word…
I’ll say! You need to learn it if you’re going to contend with others over the faith.
Kerry Benge said: “Your theology is pretty extreme and not terribly biblical.”
Well, I’ll take it as a good sign that you think my theology is extreme, and if you’d like to share your “Biblical” correction of it you are welcome to do so over at my site, but I won’t hold my breath. LOL
Just like with your baseless accusations against Bnonn, you’ve got nothing!

I can tell from the things you say that you have read your Bible very little. Nor am I inclined to be convinced by claims to the contrary. You speak as though plopping your bottom on a pew each Sunday and snacking on “communion”, spiritually does something for you, but I’m failing to see your knowledge of the Bible, or of God, or of the state of the church. How old are you? You deal in undisclosable hearsay like a pro, but deal in God’s word like an infant. Should I reckon you’re the typical product of those who lead you? Or would that be an evil surmising against them? LOL

While you now reduce our contention down to name calling, you fail to have ever backed up your contentions against Bnonn.

Jay

“I have not stated why I believe Bnonn was excommunicated because, as I wrote, that was shared to me confidentially. As such it would lack integrity to divulge what was said publically except to say that I believe the reasons were legitimate.”

If you can’t justify your public accusation you should have remained quiet.

FWIW I’m planning on buying Michael and Bnonn’s book for every dude I know.

Patrick

People like Kerry Benge should take into consideration a recent article from The Gospel Coalition titled “Standing Up to Bully Pastors” (Michael Kruger).

After all, the very fact that verses like 1 Tim 3:3 and 1 Pet 5:3 exist implies that some pastors do “bully” and “domineer” over their congregations.

TL

Hello from the USA, I am so sorry this happened to you and your family. I have not heard a sermon from the pulpit that could be construed as anti-feminist since I was a kid. So your writing helped solidify for me personally what I knew the Bible plainly said- that women need to cover the head out of deference to God’s chosen order of creation. My husband comes from a denomination that still covers, but for us now, its awful to be the only one in our current church to cover; hearing that Scripture clearly calls for it helps give me backbone. Thank you. I think that what is needed in the church today is widespread repentence because we all think we are wiser, more benevolent, etc than God Himself. Blessings to you and your family.

Douglas Singer

I have nothing to say about the personal side of the dispute between you and your former church. But your view on faith and the role of works in salvation is indeed unorthodox and you quote the reformed theologians to twist their statements as if they supported your own ideas, which they do not. I do not offer an opinion on whether your church was correct in excommunicating you but I urge you to reconsider your views.

Douglas Singer

You are missing something very obvious. Ask any Christian from Luther’s time until now how one is saved, and you will find universal disagreement with your views except among fringe groups and heretics. If you can’t see a jumbo jet, don’t congratulate yourself on being unable to draw people into argument about the skin tone of the pilot.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Douglas, you are presumably a relatively normally-functioning man, so you must realize how I am going to weight the unsubstantiated accusations of a stranger on the internet compared to the reasoned arguments of theologically trained men whose testimonies I know.

So what are you doing here?

MK

Hi Bnonn,

Long time reader. I have much appreciated your analysis on many topics (though sometimes annoyed by the length of time between posts!). I find your reasoning sharp, stimulating, and similar to the late Steve Hays.

But as a fellow general-equity, 1689er, your church experience is becoming all too common. Not only in the Reformed Baptist circles, but also in the Presbyterian ones. (I’m in the United States.)

It’s disappointing that so many churches require yes-men on the elder board as opposed to actual iron sharpening iron. So whereas I might disagree with you on your position on Owen (hypothetically), why can we not have a rigorous discussion or debate on it and both “be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith?” All within the bounds of our confession?

As to your “works-righteousness”: your pastors are sadly ill-informed. When I was in seminary _10 years ago_, this was a hot-topic; people like Schreiner and Piper were advocating similarly to your position. Primarily because they were being forced exegetically! So let’s have those exegetical discussions. Let’s not let our confessions become stagnant, frozen documents that do not require expansion, explanation, or exposition.

We need new confessional expansion on the nature of sex and gender.
We need new confessional expansion on the nature of presuppositionalism in engaging the world.
We need new confessional expansion on the meaning of “general equity”.

I’ll tell you this, Bnonn, if New Zealand won’t have you, Texas will.

Cheers.

P.S. When is that Head Coverings Part #2 coming out?!

Samuel Vink

Jeepers, I hadn’t read this, I didn’t know it was here. Well, I am now subscribed, so hopefully I won’t miss things like this!

Some men in the church quite obviously to me just want to distance themselves as far away as they can from people whom they think will give them bad PR.
I respect your serious treatment of the whole situation, and your considered reactions. While coming from a rather different ecclesiastical viewpoint wherein I only believe those in episcopal succession are valid judges in the church, I admire your treatment of these individuals under the view that they are legitimate judges.

This prompts me to getting around to recording (probably just for myself for the mean time) my own experiences with judgment from elders.
My experience was a much more generous one and more short than yours. While I believe the elders in my case were making their judgments in the absence of full self-confidence in the validity of their own criticisms, and thus their judgments being too hasty and so, we see negligence of proper duty, they were at least very much of the courtesy to reason with me about my views and to actually read at least some of my argumentation that I had sent.

You and I had both raised a similar objection, (though I’m not sure with whom I raised it, elders or congregants), I appealed to the historicity of my views and the hypocrisy of censoring mine whilst celebrating those who held the same in the past. Martin Luther, a figure admired in that church, shared my soteriological views on baptism. Most astounding to me, was the defence of Catholic victims of persecution overseas.

Certainly, I was also accused of ‘division’. Though, unlike you it seems, I *did* share and argue among the members of the church. Nowadays, I have adopted the behaviour that you seemed to express then. Not because I think it is wrong to argue in a church, but because I think a gradual re-entrance of our views into the church will be more effective. I may very well be wrong.
But, you seemed to be saying that it was divisive to talk about your ministries etc within the same church? Why would you argue that? Did the disciples not go to existing synagogues to spread their new revelations?

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Thanks Samuel.

I don’t think it is divisive to talk about “alternative” doctrine in a church; rather, I was concerned to avoid the appearance of divisiveness because I was playing on an unequal field, where I felt compelled to respect my eldership, but they did not feel similarly about me, and indeed were very pleased to establish a culture of uniformity in the church.

I would distinguish between scenarios where you are merely attending a church, and where you are a member; and where the issues you disagree over are fairly benign, and where they are more serious; and where you are being needlessly argumentative, and they are being needlessly obstinate (although both can be true).

For instance, I recently started attending a dispensational, somewhat Arminian church. I don’t think it is divisive to talk about my views on eschatology and soteriology with other church members, but I think it would be divisive to actively try debating them, because I would be making it my job to disrupt an established church’s respectable creed, which undermines the teaching authority of the eldership. The right thing to do there is to gracefully acknowledge the difference and leave it at that.

If that church allowed me to become a member (which it does not, because of my disagreements), then I would feel somewhat more free as a member to debate these issues, but I would still be concerned primarily about the unity of the church in toto rather than on these particular issues. That is what I was primarily concerned about at Trinity; something like the divine council is very interesting, and worth knowing, so I would talk about it with members who were interested. But it is not the kind of thing that is worth causing trouble over. So I tried to tread lightly.

However, there does come a point where treading lightly is really just treading on eggshells; no longer an act of grace, but an act of cowardice. That happens when either or both of these conditions is true:

  1. Members of an opposing view are incapable of extending similar grace to you;
  2. A difference of view rises to the level of primary doctrine.

Both of these were very much the case at Trinity. Indeed, I suspect that Ryan focused so heavily on the sexuality stuff because he knew he would be in real trouble if his antinomianism became recognized as such. A church that has woken up to the law is a church that won’t tolerate a pastor like him; but alternatively, a church dull to the law is a great place to be if you’re a smooth-talking Pharisee like he is. The kind of people attracted to a church like that are the kind of people who can be stirred up into a mob, where they will engage in the most vile and ungodly behavior while simultaneously congratulating themselves on their difficult but necessary defense of what is right and true. Once that happens, pointing it out only makes them lynch you faster.

Samuel Vink

Okay, I think I’m getting the picture of what you’re presenting. It seems to me like you’re suggesting that debating members in the church head-on is a kind of assuming the teaching authority of the others that exists. I guess I can understand that.

Having thought through this a bit more now, I think that what you’re allowed to do by the pastor is what you’re allowed to do. If I were in charge of a church, and someone started getting on a soapbox and blabbing on about how they disagree with ‘doctrine x’ then I wouldn’t make them leave, I’d arrange a debate. So then when I’ve arranged the debate, with my congregants attending, it would not be wrong at all for the person to speak to the whole assembly, would it?

What I’m suggesting is that the authority is not in the speaking, but in the control of who’s speaking. Assuming authority would be for us as congregants to start to act as though we had that control and say who can speak and who can’t. That would be despicable. Breaking the established rules of when and how you can speak would be disrespecting the authority. Problem comes however, in that the lines aren’t often delineated by those in authority until it’s too late.

When I was told to stop taking communion, I always thought, and would defend even, that the elders of the church were justified in making their decision to bar me from communion and tell me to stop talking about certain things (assuming they sincerely viewed the doctrinal matter in the way that they did). I was indeed a nuisance going around arguing with everyone so their reaction made sense.

So I don’t think debating with other church members is wrong, but that it’s gainless if the pastor isn’t fond of it because practically speaking, he can kick you out.

Hopefully what I’ve said makes sense, and I may have ended up saying something similar to what you’ve already said, I’m not sure. The churchese of ‘divisiveness’ and ‘teaching authority’ can be a little difficult to read for me.