Square Pegs, Round Holes and Decoder Rings: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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31 Responses

  1. Alan says:


    Imagine the self-deceit of thinking English Separatists fled the state churches of Europe to create a national religion in the new land?

    That is actually the babble of some quasi-historical Christian leaders.

  2. Michael says:

    I don’t know how anyone who has passed a high school history class can believe some of the hokum spread on this issue…

  3. LInn says:

    There is truth that people fleeing religious persecution came to the Americas. Others came to spread their religion (that would be the Catholics to Latin America/Canada). Others came as adventurers looking for new opportunities. Some, like Africans, were brought against their will. The colonizing of the Americas is a long and complex story, but it’s not just a Christian one. I was the first Christian in about three generations on one side of my family. They just weren’t church people, and in the large city they were in, no one bothered them. It just boggles my mind what some people believe about our country.

  4. Alan says:

    Biblically we have a pretty clear two pronged resistance to nationalism (frankly both Christian and Zionist). The Triumphal Entry narrative is clear on the matter as is the book of Hebrews especially 12-13. The theology of the kingdom alone destroys geo-political limitations.

    But the connections are compelling for simple minded assessments. And we humans love literalistic clarity.

  5. UnCCed says:

    One benefit, probably the only, to the pandemic, is I no longer suffer from the pride our time/society/church period is better than any other, like when I learned how both sides of the US civil war were convinced God was on their side.
    Now I know many people decided long ago their god, and Jesus is simply their condiment they sprinkle on to salve what’s left of their conscience.
    The reality is we’re all just as deluded as any other time in history.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    For those that are interested in the American part of this topic, I highly recommend Sidney Ahlstrom’s ‘A Religious History of the American People’. At a little over 1200 pages, it takes a bit of work! When I taught graduate classes on Christianity in America, students would groan over it being the text book for the course. By the time the semester was over, they loved it!

  7. filbertz says:

    The ignorance regarding the broader movements in business/industry, academia, science/medicine/technology, law & justice, etc. on the religious communities is egregious as well. Clearly dispensationalism (as well as most other systematic theologies) emerged from Modernism and the push to classify all topics/subjects into an organized whole. In a post-modern world, most don’t hold up well to the forces at play.

  8. Duane Arnold says:


    People make careers (and money) out of designing new “decoder rings”… which don’t really work.

  9. Linn says:

    The other issue I see with the old “Christian” narrative is it doesn’t take into account the other narratives that make up U.S. history. For example, the state of California, where I have spent most of life, has never been only white. I grew up among African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Pacific Islanders in the 60s/70s.
    Some of my friends’ families had been in California much longer thanmine. The Current “Christian” narrative is Clorox white, and no one really wants to admit to it. for the record, I am white.

  10. Jeff says:

    Chuck Missler used to tell the story of how he would respond when he received the frequent question, “Where is America in Bible prophecy?” He would reply, “In Isaiah 5:20 – ‘Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil…'”

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    Illustrative… and universal…

  12. Em says:

    Am i wrong then in applying O.T. examples of God dealing with nations to present day nations?
    Egypt, Babylon etc…..

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    While they may be illustrative in a very broad sense, I don’t consider them examples in a specific sense…

  14. Em says:

    The Eternal Kingdom is the only kingdom relevant to God today, or…..?

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ll go so far as to say, there is no “favored nation” status…

  16. Em says:

    Dr. Duane @1:53
    Seems reasonnable….. Still. 😇
    Do we assume that God does not, during the Church age, bring any discipline on godless societies? ? ?

  17. Michael says:


    Can you show me the godly society that was the exception?

  18. Randy Davis says:

    From the beginning many pastors preached that divine Providence was behind the founding of the nation. It was prominent before the first great awakening. Many of the political leaders felt the same way. I can barely remember my name much less the details of this period or recite a bibliography but there is a whole genre of historical literature for this period. It was of particular interest to what was called the Chicago school of American religious history. Not that they defined it but certainly studied it

    The idea of divine Providence was thought to be a founding factor in establishing the nation and was prominent among both Christians and Deists. But it was not so much as a Christian nation but a theistic idea. A city set on a hill, errand into the wildernesses, metaphors denoted the divine nature of the new nation. I doubt that theonomy is what they had in mind but the idea has lingered and has been subject to a lot of differing interpretations, including the theonomists who want to make the square peg fit the round whole.

    The Bible affirms that God causes nations to rise and fall. But outside of Israel, there is no warrant to think that the most favored status applies to any other nation including the US.

  19. Xenia says:

    It’s interesting to note that many Russian Christians believe that the prophecies of the Bible refer to Russia, in a way that many American Christians believe they apply to the US.

  20. Duane Arnold says:



  21. Duane Arnold says:


    The issue of nationalism is not limited to America. ‘Jerusalem’ is a favorite hymn… the theology is cringe-worthy.

  22. Alan says:

    There is a good bit of evidence that the flood of evangelical conversion in South Korea after WWII was fueled by their own version of nationalism.

  23. Em says:

    This has been a great set of comments to r ead and ponder today….
    Michael asked if i knew a “godly” society… hmmmm – i ‘ve known Godly church fellowships, but a godly society? hmmm

  24. Muff Potter says:

    Jeff – 25 aug @ 1:26 pm
    Missler made handsome bank as an ear tickler extraordinaire.
    His target audience were those who wanted to be told what’s what, rather than do their own digging and critical thinking process to arrive at their own conclusions.
    A kind of Indiana Jones for fundagelicals.

  25. Muff Potter says:

    So long as the corner-to-corner diagonal of the square peg is less than or equal to the diameter of the hole, it’s entirely possible for the square peg to go in.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    … But not a very good or attractive fit!😁

  27. bob1 says:

    I’m shocked, shocked.

    Liberty University announces campus-wide quarantine amid COVID-19 surge


  28. Duane Arnold says:


    Wonders will never cease…

  29. Em says:

    Giving Missler his due. He graduated from Annapolis, UCLA and was very accomplished in various fields of technology before he devoted himself to Bible study and teaching.
    I am not asserting that gave him theological credibility, however, i can’t see him as a “huckster,” either. .. A friend of ours knew him before his years as a Bible teacher – saw him as an honest, conscientious man.

  30. Muff Potter says:

    You’re right Em.
    I was too harsh.

  31. CM says:

    Though Missler seriously jumped the shark with all that Y2K hysteria (in which he profited (not prophet) immensely). Then there is his plagiarism in a number of his end-times books. Then finally all his aliens and the end-times….

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