Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

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

About Answering Error Language & Interpretation Salvation Mechanics

Silly myths and irreverent visions

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

Unlike most of the exchanges I post here, this one is with a professing believer. The original thread is now inaccessible [2018-06-11], and I didn’t have the presence of mind to mirror it on, but I have reproduced it here:

Gavin In the bible the book of Acts in chapter 2 verse 17, God is speaking about how people like this woman will have visions. There is much uncertainty about what ‘vision’ actually is. This is why the Lord is showing thousands His glory in the heavens to bring light into the meaning of this word.

Unfortunately the video is no longer available on YouTube. Its title was “Life after Death- Died at party then met god!”

This woman’s testimony just trades in clichés. She could be reciting stock motifs from Hollywood movies. She sounds basically like a hippy throughout most of it. That makes it a lot less believable.

The main problem is that she says nothing distinctively Christian. Any “spiritual” person could assent to this. Indeed, it is anti-Christian because she continually implies that getting to heaven is simply a matter of living a good life. Being a good person. Earning your way. It is a feel-good, moralizing speech. Where is Jesus? Where is the necessity of faith? Where is the understanding that we are all under God’s judgment and cannot earn our salvation at all?

If a person has some kind of spiritual experience and it doesn’t lead them to testify to Jesus, then it seems safe to say it was not an experience from the Holy Spirit.

Given how seriously Jesus talks about blaspheming the Holy Spirit in Mark 3:29, I should think every Christian would be intensely careful about posting something like this and equating it to the prophetic visions mentioned in places like Acts 2. Doing so suggests a woeful lack of discernment and an alarming willingness to find questionable “revelations” outside Scripture, rather than submit to the revelation God has certainly given inside Scripture.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Gavin I agree with you to an extent, let me say she is still on a journey as are we all. If we isolated her encounter well it may not lead to Christ or it may, depending where your at.

Have you heard of Ian McCormick, Mary k Baxter, bill weise, choo thomas, etc. When i study what God is doing you start to see a pattern in these out of body or near death experiences.

I emphasized the words ‘vision’ and ‘all flesh’ since I sense there is a little confusion around what these mean. People think vision is like television and and all flesh is only christians.

Jesus is appearing to atheists and even muslims. With this young womans experience she will speak into many peoples lives who perhaps dont believe at all. This testimony of hers could move them off the fence a little to allow God to make His next move at the right time. I know when i was an atheist i didnt wake up one morning and say, I am going to be a Christian. It took time, years and much soul searching and being open to spiritual stuff. I even had my own experiences that opened my eyes betond the natural. As Christians who have been on a journey for a long time, we may forget this and how God works in mysterious ways.

In her testimony she mentions God, white light, out of the body her, whole life apear before her.

To be out of the body is to be present with the lord

God is light and in Him there is no darkness.

No sun or moon or stars in 3rd heaven only Gods light illuminates it.

Does this testimony bring glory to God or satan?

let me say she is still on a journey as are we all.

The problem with this is that it acts as a get-out-of-jail-free card for anyone, no matter how heretical or false their “vision” is. Without knowing how this woman’s journey ends, all we have to assess her vision is its content and its results. Its content is like a hodgepodge of Hollywood/Hallmark clichés, and its result is an anti-Christian moralistic spiritualism that denies the reality of sin and the necessity of faith.

I emphasized the words ‘vision’ and ‘all flesh’ since I sense there is a little confusion around what these mean. People think vision is like television and and all flesh is only christians.

The term “all flesh” is qualified against the context of Israel as God’s covenant people. The point is not that God will pour out his Spirit on unbelievers, but rather that he will pour out his Spirit in greater measure on his covenant people. [Addendum: this is explicit in the word “your”; Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:17-18.]

Have you heard of Ian McCormick, Mary k Baxter, bill weise, choo thomas, etc.

I haven’t looked into Mary K Baxter and the rest, but from what little I’ve read, they seem to be simply following in the footsteps of 19th century occult/spiritist mediumship, dressed up in Christianized language to appeal to a gullible American audience. Why would I look to them for spiritual information and guidance when I have the prophets and the apostles?

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

Jesus is appearing to atheists and even muslims.

Indeed—and when he does, he always gives explicit instructions to them to find a Christian nearby, or to read a Bible! But where is Jesus in this woman’s experience? Where are the instructions? Faith is defined by doctrine, yet this woman’s “vision” is devoid of doctrine. 1 John 4:1 tells us to test the spirits. Well, testing has revealed this one to be defective. Why would you want to cling to false prophets and visions which don’t seem to be from the Holy Spirit?


He always gives explicit instructions to them to find a christian nearby or to read a bible.

Was this your experience Bnonn Tennant when you were out of your body and present with the Lord. Did He tell you this or is it your interpretation born from your world view….just asking. Do you believe experience alters our understanding of theology? (Pauls example)

Why would you think I have had an OOB? God does not promise OOBs to all Christians. He doesn’t even promise visions to all Christians. He doesn’t even promise visions to most Christians—and the visions he does give are not necessarily “out of the body”. A dream is not an OOB. Moreover, a vision is only one particular kind of prophecy. So given that Paul says to earnestly desire the higher gifts, because clearly most people do not receive them, it is simply bad math to imagine that any particular Christian should be receiving visions or even prophetic words. Most won’t.

In addition, not everyone who thinks they are receiving words from God actually are. Many are simply deceived. Some are receiving words from demons. As I mentioned, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. This is why it is so absolutely critical that we test the spirits and exercise extremely careful discernment, being very cautious in what we accept.

Moreover, when people do receive spiritual gifts from God, they are accommodated to their circumstances. Why send a prophetic word or a vision when someone already has the Bible? There needs to be some reason. There are millions of Christians in America. God can use any of them to evangelize a woman like this person in the original video you posted. So it’s prima facie implausible to think he would use a vision. It’s not that he can’t, but that he uses ordinary means in ordinary circumstances. He reserves personal confrontations with Jesus for those who are unable to hear the word preached, like Muslims in the Middle East.

By the same token, there’s no reason to expect a gift of healing when someone can go to a hospital and be healed. But gifts of healing are common where the gospel is spreading in majority countries without healthcare.

My comment about explicit instructions comes from what I have read about encounters between Muslims and Jesus. Every encounter I know of involves Jesus giving instructions to seek out another believer for teaching, or to get hold of a Bible for teaching.

God is extremely concerned with doctrine, because doctrine is how we know him. As Hebrews says, no one can draw near to God who does not first believe he exists. One has to know the attributes and character of God in order to worship him. A vague “power” who “loves” us is not Yahweh. It is a Hallmark parody of God.


‘God is extremely concerned with doctrine

was not paul an expert in doctrine and the word of God yet he went about killing Christians. Doctrine goes well with devotion, worship, relationship, not alone by itself.

Acts 2:17 is not for cessationists. God is still pouring out His Spirit and we are still in the last days. Dreams, visions and prophecy are the result, why? Because these platforms speak straight into the heart most times. To often our untransformed minds get in the way and try to do the maths. We need doctrine as you say I would be running with you on that. The reason we need what is prophecied in acts 2:17 is because God is speaking directly to us individually or corporately. ‘Why send a prophetic vision when we have a bible’ Are you saying we do not need to hear from God Himself? Paul says eagerly desire this prophetic gift because God Himself is speaking to us. We need now words and direction in our personal lives and as nations.

Most Christians dont have visions’ This could be true and the stumbling block here is simply Christians are not having visions because we are being told by unbelieving believers that they cant have them.

A dream is not an out of body experience but you can have a dream and it can lead into an out of body experience. This is not a theory but something I know from my own experince. I hope I dont offend you but I wasnt even a Christian when this happened. But shortly after I became one.

There are many types of prophecy, dreams, visions trances from mild impressions all the way up to going to the 3rd heaven and even hell.

was not paul an expert in doctrine

No, he denied that Jesus was God. That’s not expert doctrine. That’s false doctrine.

Acts 2:17 is not for cessationists.

I am not a cessationist. But I take seriously the warning that false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Jesus warned us about that beforehand. Not every gift is from the Holy Spirit, and being so eager to accept the supposed gifts of people you don’t know, rather than testing them, is a sign of great spiritual immaturity.

Are you saying we do not need to hear from God Himself?

Are you saying that when we read the Bible, are are not hearing from God himself?!

Christians are not having visions because we are being told by unbelieving believers that they cant have them.

That makes no sense whatsoever. Do you think God is unable to send a vision because an atheist said he couldn’t? How absurd.

There are many types of prophecy, dreams, visions trances

Indeed—and most of them are occult practices associated with demonic activity.


Most of them are occult practices

Thats not what acts 2:17 comes about when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person. Yes false prophets will arise but true prophets should trump what the devil is doing.

Then when the bride is fully awake from her slumber, Christ will come. (Alongside all other prophetic fulfillment)

Check out those previous prophets. The idea I believe is that God is waking up His bride by sending these people into the world. There will be tares amongst the wheat we know that. But it wont be just a doctrinal jugdement used as discernment but there will be a real need to know Jesus Himself as well-relationship. This is what paul lacked, relationship with Jesus and why it offended him that He said He was basically God.

You said occult practices with demonic activity. Do you see in the spirit, do you see demons. Have you driven them out. Have you studied demonology at all?

I do not “see in the Spirit”—whatever that means. I have not performed any exorcisms—hopefully I never will. I’d rather not tangle with demons. They are not to be trifled with. I am quite familiar with demonology as it is given in the Bible, and with accounts of demon possession and oppression.

None of this is responsive to the actual topic, however, which is that there is zero evidence for the video you posted being an authentic vision of God, and plenty of evidence for it being a deception.

Gavin Your right, this isnt resposive to the topic. It does however form a picture about what you believe and dont believe. Your comments have a similar flavour to many others in the movement. I always find it interesting how this movement claims to see yet you said you cannot see.

Anyway, thanks for the chat.I rest my case.

The seeing you are taking about sounds like self-delusion. Where in the Bible does God talk about Christians “seeing” things in this way?

Gavin Acts 2:17. Prophets are seers, dreams and vision is capacity to see in the spirit. Its there in black and white, how we interpret it will alter the scriptural aplication in our life. These are all manifested through the same Holy Spirit.

Where in the Bible is the phrase “see in the Spirit” used?

Gavin Jesus drove out a deaf and dumb spirit with the boy who had symptoms of epilepsy. There is no where a deaf and dumb spirit is mentioned in the old testament. So this example is where we need to see in the spirit in order to drive this particular demon out amongst thousands of other kinds. Demons did not cease to exist they are still around, more so even today. Put this together with john 14:12 and we have an opportunity to do what Jesus did. There are 12 strongman evil spirits that lead many divisions. Without the ability to see, how can anyone drive out something they dont know much about or cant see. This also comes into alignment with luke 4:18 freedom from captivity and restoration of sight to the spiritually blind. That little boy that was possessed by the demon was released from captivity.

Nothing you have just said is biblical. There are no 12 strongmen spirits in the Bible. It is pure human speculation. Your preoccupation with getting information about the spiritual realm from places other than God’s own word, and justifying it with rubbish exegesis, is no different in principle then Saul visiting the witch of Endor. You are not spiritually enlightened; you are spiritually blind. You need to repent of your foolishness and self-deception and your mishandling of the Word, and find some teachers who can disciple you in the milk of the faith, so you can one day move on to meat.

Gavin I like how you skipped over the deaf and dumb spirit part.

I skipped over it because it made no sense; I literally have no idea what you are trying to say. I didn’t want to call attention to it because I didn’t want to seem insulting, but since you bring it up, I wonder if even you understand the position you’re trying to articulate. I suspect the reason you cannot express your views clearly is that you have not thought about them clearly. You seem to just feel ideas are right or wrong rather than carefully working through them. You feel that the Bible must mean one thing rather than another, instead of carefully working out what it means based on the context and the words used. But that is a denial of your God-given reason, a denial of the nature of God as rational, and ultimately a denial of the objective meaning of Scripture. You can’t decide what God is saying based on how you feel about it. You figure it out based on what he is actually saying. Yahweh says, Come let us reason together—not “come let us feel together” or “come let us experience together”.

What does a demon that causes deafness and muteness have to do with seeing in the Spirit? What does it mean to see in the Spirit? Where in the Bible do you find “seeing in the Spirit”?

Don’t you see you are precisely one of the people Paul warned the Colossians about, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God? (Colossians 2:18-19)

Why are you defying his command to have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths; rather train yourself for godliness? (1 Timothy 4:7)

Training for godliness is not something that comes through visions or experiences; it comes from the Bible! All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be completely equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

You are denying the power of Scripture by chasing after foolish false prophets, multiplying words without knowledge. You need to stop listening to wolves, and place yourself under the discipleship of a faithful and spiritually mature Christian, who in turn is part of a faithful and Word-centered church.

Gavin Firstly from what you mentioned about deafness and muteness in relation to that demon. Read the scripture again. The deamon has nothing to do with deafness and muteness in the human boy that was being afflicted. The boy had seizures and was thrown to the ground, symptoms manifesting much like epilepsy and the like. My correlation point was trying to emphasise that this demon was not mentioned in the old testament. So all those witnesses with their bibles open that day back then, how were they to check it with scripture. If that was one demon amongst millions, and they didnt go away after the disciples died out, that means they are still around today. Perhaps there are people you even know who are demon possesed or oppressed.

Your theological excuses seem to imply that you do not have to lift one finger to help them be delivered because of some belief you have.

Most ailments (not all) are demonic by nature.

The deamon has nothing to do with deafness and muteness in the human boy that was being afflicted.

False. Mark 9:17 specifically says he has a spirit that makes him mute. Jesus later refers to it as not merely a spirit of muteness, but also deafness. Thus we discover the spirit also made him deaf.

So all those witnesses with their bibles open that day back then, how were they to check it with scripture.

You’re misunderstanding my point. I don’t deny that demons possess people and we must assess that on a case by case basis. What I deny is that we require extra revelation from self-appointed prophets who have taught you to deny that Scripture is completely sufficient to thoroughly equip and train you as a Christian.

If that was one demon amongst millions, and they didnt go away after the disciples died out, that means they are still around today.

How do you know there are millions? Why think that? Does the Bible give us a number for how many demons there are? Where did you get this information?

Perhaps there are people you even know who are demon possesed or oppressed.

The thing about demon possession is that it’s not just like an illness. I suspect if you saw a genuine case, you would crap your pants and be quickly disabused of whatever foolishness you’ve been taught.

Your theological excuses seem to imply that you do not have to lift one finger to help them be delivered because of some belief you have.

You’re calling sound scriptural teaching “theological excuses”. You are denying the Word of God. The way we deliver people from evil is by evangelism—not spiritual rituals which are indistinguishable from pagan religions and occult practices.

And if there is a genuine case of demon possession, we deal with that by the Word of God and prayer. Not by occult practices, and not by requiring special expertise from self-appointed prophets.

Most ailments (not all) are demonic by nature.

How do you know this? In the Bible, most of the people who come to Jesus for healing are simply sick. They are not possessed. They are not oppressed. The text says nothing whatever about demons. When demons actually are involved, everyone knows it. Demons aren’t shy. They aren’t coy. If they are possessing someone, they want others to see their power. They’re not basically germs; they’re basically extremely evil disembodied people with telekinetic powers.

You’re caught up in a fantasy where you’re a hero in a cosmic war. And because it’s pure fiction, you can safely continue to engage in your grand battles without fear of actual danger. I’m sure that’s much more exciting than being a common servant whose humble duty it is to read and understand the same things that Christians have been reading and understanding for 2,000 years. But that doesn’t make it any less a fantasy.


Jonathan Gavin. Screaming some decree into the wilds of the internet does not achieve anything other then to show that your conviction does not rely on knowledge gained from Christ’s teachings in the Bible, but instead shows that you’re answer to any difficult issues is to act like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

This isn’t the first time that instead of admitting your faults, lack of knowledge, or mistakes you have instead fallen back to such loud proclamations.

In all honesty there are only one type of religious leaders who act like this, and it wasn’t Jesus – cult leaders such as Jim Jones acted like this all the time.

I’m not saying you are wrong, but what I an saying is that your appearance based on your actions in a repeated way, gives the appearance of a cult leader who can never be wrong rather then a Christian disciple who admits their faults and mistakes.

Gavin I read over our conversations and come to the conclusion that i do not need to provide an extensive theological answer that I intended on giving because you alrwady have perfect theology and all the answers. What i have learnt from a number of years in ministry and moving with the person of the Holy Spirit to see healing, deliverance and salvation take place is that ‘experience’ alters our understanding of theology. I know the scriptures and the scriptures point me to the person of Jesus. Its great being in a relationship with Him as He teaches me how to walk better in faith, in His anointing power and presnce that actually is the main part of healing and deliverance and having the ability to see in the spirit throught dreams visions prophecy and words of knowledge. Romans 15:17 Paul talks about the ‘fullness’ of the gospel, signs and wonders being an integral part of it. Its not experience vs doctrine, it both word and deed!!

I love the fact that people I have prayed for and that I have commanded healing and commanded spirits to leave in Jesus name, that they now walk in freedom from whatever it was that was holding them captive.

I do not have to convince you or anyone but I endevour to only do what I see the Father doing!

Many blessings to you in your journey, may you continue being saved and be filled with the dunimous power of the Holy Spirit continually as you worship the King of Kings, Lord of Lords…..Y’shua!!!

Gavin, you just attributed the teaching of the Bible, the Word of God, to a “religious spirit”—a demon—and tried to drive it out of this thread.

This after you began the thread by approvingly posting a testimony of a religious experience that has led a woman away from Jesus and into moralistic spiritualism that denies the curse of sin, the power of the cross, and justification by faith.

What more can I say? Paul was certainly correct that there will be a time when they will not put up with sound teaching, but in accordance with their own desires, they will accumulate for themselves teachers, because they have an insatiable curiosity, and they will turn away from the hearing of the truth, but will turn to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

As for me, I will take his advice to avoid foolish and uninformed controversies, because you know that they produce quarrels. And the slave of the Lord must not quarrel, but be kind toward everyone, skillful in teaching, tolerant, correcting those who are opposed with gentleness, seeing whether perhaps God may grant them repentance to a knowledge of the truth, and they will come to their senses again and escape from the trap of the devil, being held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-36)

Since God has not granted you repentance to a knowledge of the truth, and since you have not come to your senses, but have instead wormed your way deeper into the trap of the devil—even to try to drive out the Word as a demon—I will say goodbye.


Ripken Holt

On a slightly related note, you mentioned “God is extremely concerned with doctrine, because doctrine is how we know him.” Do you think you could flesh that out in its own post? It seems to me that your blog makes the implicit assumption that sound theology is vitally important, but you’ve never actually written a post to show why that assumption is true.
I have recently had discussions (or debates) with extremely liberal professing Christians who have actually said that they don’t even see why Christians should care about theology as long as we are showing people Christ’s wuv. The idiocy of that statement is just so obvious to me that I have found myself struggling to fit it into words.
The couple of reasons I can think of are: 1. what we do is based on what we believe (or, doctrine is practical), even saying we should just love people like Christ loves is based on a particular Christology and theology of love. However, I struggle to apply this argument to more advanced theological topics that don’t seem to affect our day to day lives as much.
2. The authors of the Bible were extremely concerned with good doctrine (e.g. the book of Jude was basically a war cry against false teachers, 1st John talks a lot about doctrinal tests to see if you are is saved, and Paul spends the first 11 chapters of Romans talking theology), but again, I struggle to show why this makes any theological topics outside of Soteriology (making sure professing Christians are actually believers) important. One of the topics that has come up multiple times is what’s the big deal about the Calvinism v. Arminianism debate if both sides profess salvation by grace alone through faith alone. (Yeah I know that Arminianism contradicts itself when it attempts to make that claim but that’s besides the point.)
3. The Bible commands us to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict (Titus 1:9). That should be all the reason we need, right?
4. Our ultimate purpose is to glorify God and it seems to me that having a good understanding of who He is is kind of important to fulfilling that purpose.
To me, these seem like sufficient reasons, but I am not elocutionary and you have such a way with words, it would be a great help to me if you could tackle this topic. Thanks.

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

That is a great question. I’ll add it to my list. But I warn you, my list is long…

It strikes me as I’ve been reading through the letters to Timothy lately that most of the instruction Paul gives to a young pastor is:

Take care of the sheep. “Take care” of the wolves. Do both by teaching sound doctrine.

Andrew Duncanson

Hi Bnonn!

So do you believe that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a false attributation regarding the work of the Spirit? You seem to suggest so. If that is what you meant, then I agree with you. I thought your view was more or less Kellers, unless I am misunderstanding his perspective (also)?

Dominic Bnonn Tennant

I think Keller’s interpretation is plausible in itself, but I’m not sure it does the best justice to the text. Either way, it’s clearly no small thing to attribute to the Spirit the work of demons, or to demons the work of the Spirit.