A New Era: Dr. Duane W.H. Arnold PhD

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27 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Very good Duane. Things left undone is a very interesting approach to a vision for a future.

  2. em ... again says:

    there is an interesting phrase: “the tide of history”…
    it does seem that we all ride that tide, whether we want to or not

  3. Steve Wright says:

    In our ever more connected world, loneliness is endemic. We see it among young and old alike. A sense of community and of belonging is desired (and sometimes feared) by many. Perhaps we need to insure that church is no longer a “spectator” experience.
    —————————————————————-
    I question how desired it is…or maybe the fear overrides the desire…

    We have been attempting many things to encourage community, fellowship, developing friendships within our church and in many ways, there just is little interest. We continue to offer the water to the horse, so to speak, but we can’t make it drink.

    I think more and more people are content with simply worshiping on Sunday morning because they ARE so connected – even if internet relationships are inferior to face to face in many ways. (One could argue often they are superior to, depending on the situation).

    We speak of being “busy” today, but if we put a stopwatch to an average week’s worth of internet usage (and I am not talking in areas of expediting the demands of life, like online shopping or bill paying) – I wonder what the tally would be?

    If someone spends 3 hours engaged in doctrinal and social/political discussions online, are they really itching to get to the midweek Bible study to have some interaction with God’s people?

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    #1 Jean
    Many thanks…

  5. Steve Wright says:

    Additionally, I would submit that the confrontation between Christian theology and enlightenment ideals is a battle that is over. Society at large has made its choice and they did not choose Christian theology. If we continue fighting this non-existent battle, the only result will be the further alienation of rising generations as the Church shouts into the wind and wonders why it is not heard.
    ———————————————————————————–
    Well, slavery was certainly promoted by some of the enlightenment thinkers, as well as opposed, no different than Christian thought on the issue where it had its proponents and opponents. Yet, many in the Church did fight to see its elimination, along with those outside the Church. Because it was the right thing to do.

    Fast forward to many of the issues of the day. If there is a right and a wrong in God’s eyes on an issue, then the fight is the thing. It matters not if we are outnumbered. Perhaps, over time, and it may take time, the right will win out over the wrong.

    For example, more and more young people are becoming uncomfortable with abortion on demand. This is less the result of some spiritual revival and more the result of the consequences of the policy over 50 years coupled with improvements in technology. Since some of us believe abortion is the taking of human life, the shedding of innocent blood and one of the most vile sins in the eyes of God, then the fight is the thing. Maybe we help save one life in the womb…maybe two…maybe a third.

    Many other damaging social issues are relatively new in their acceptance and promulgation. I expect there to be rich opportunities for the Church to speak the truth in love, especially once they have a similar multi-decade track record and are found wanting….to make a difference in one life, or two, no matter what the Supreme Court may enshrine or the politicians put in their party platforms.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    #3 Steve
    I agree with certain of your observations. I think, however, many online relationships also reduce us, at least to some extent, into spectators as well. Friendships can even be formed, but there is not real engagement as you say, “face to face”. You do well to provide opportunities. So much currently has reduced us to not merely spectators, but even worse, passive spectators. Not saying I have the answers, but I still see the need.

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    #5 Yes, there are issues of right and wrong, some clear cut, others not so much. Yes we can speak to issues of justice, life, etc., but on the whole (and this is simply my opinion) I believe that our engagement in “culture wars” has been detrimental…

  8. Steve Wright says:

    I certainly agree with your #6. And it is more than just online relationships.

    Going out to the movies used to be an experience because of the fact you were seeing something with others. Not alone, watching your hi-def big screen and netflix selection in the comfort of your own house.

    Live sporting events another example. Now the sports leagues have juggled their schedules so that there are games on TV just about every night of the week. It used to be unheard of for college to play football on Friday nights (competing with high school football).

    I noticed over the weekend in the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney. I distinctly remember in high school how much I loved the 2nd round weekend games because there would be 3 televised games in a row. Unheard of! I looked at the schedule and they staggered the starts of the same number of games so that you could pretty much watch six complete games of the 8 being played.

    Our lives have dramatically changed.

  9. Michael says:

    Duane,

    How great is the need for “the church” to maintain a unique identity in the world.

    So much of what we do is colored by nationality and politics…how do we regain a unique identity that belongs to us and is a marker of identity?

    Is that possible or even important?

  10. Steve Wright says:

    I believe that our engagement in “culture wars” has been detrimental…
    ———————————————–
    In my opinion, if the Church had surrendered on abortion just because of the Roe decision, we would not be seeing the shift today. Those years in the wilderness were not in vain.

    As to other aspects of the culture wars, the problem is there is an enemy not satisfied until he is totally victorious. It is not about convincing others any longer, but about us being able to stay true to God simply in our own lives.

    Freedom of religion, a foundational pillar of our nation by Enlightenment and Christian thinker alike, has devolved into little more than freedom of worship – with brothers and sisters in Christ being hunted down and driven to personal destruction for their own convictions when expressed outside the Sunday hour – not for fighting the convictions of others.

    Do we stand with our brothers in the battle, or not?

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    #9 Michael
    It is imperative for the Church to maintain a unique identity. I think it is accomplished by corporate worship and by teaching. I think part of the problem becomes when we turn worship into merely “good feelings” in a “nightclub atmosphere” (dim the lights, stage setting etc.) we destroy part of that identity. Likewise, when teaching is reduced to “how to feel better about yourself” we do the same. The Church is, or should be, unique. Moreover, like it or not, we are grounded in history…

  12. Duane Arnold says:

    #10
    Not so much “Freedom of Religion” as “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” We are free in the marketplace of ideas to put forward or views without the expectation that we will be favored over others. Which, of course, we already are owing to tax advantages, etc.

    As to “our brothers in battle”, I really do not see the situation you describe in the US at present.

  13. Steve Wright says:

    The Church is, or should be, unique.
    ————————————
    Agreed. And today it is certainly a minority view to believe that homosexual intercourse is sinful in the eyes of God. Unique indeed.I speak of the act itself. Forget marriage discussions, employment practices etc. Just the simple two men or two women together is wrong. Period.

    Now, one might say to keep that teaching in the Church, but live and let live in society and not fight the related battles on the issue. And I tend to agree for the most part. No thinking Christian is looking to bring back laws against homosexual behavior.

    However, where we are now in these culture wars is that if your church teaches that such is sinful, then anyone who is a member of your church will face the persecution accordingly. Look at the DIY TV couple with that show as one recent example.

    And look at how in a relatively few short years we have watched the goalposts move now to the whole transgender and all sorts of variant “identities” and the pushing of this agenda in all aspects of our society even into elementary schools and the smallest of children.

  14. Steve Wright says:

    As to “our brothers in battle”, I really do not see the situation you describe in the US at present.
    ————————————————–
    Then you need to get out more…with all due respect.

    And yes, I know the 1st Amendment’s wording. NO LAW prohibiting the free exercise of my religion.

    Surely you do not think God only cares about us one hour a week. Surely you do not think that my free exercise of religion does not include my workplace. My school. My home. That it only applies to my church and the sermon.

    We see example after example of Christians being persecuted for their beliefs when they are exercised outside the Sunday hour – and as any student of American history SHOULD know, in ways that are truly unprecedented, whether in the halls of Congress or the judicial court house. Whether in the academic world, or the business world.

    I’m done now. I shake my head in amazement at the apathy…

  15. Duane Arnold says:

    #13
    If it were up to me, clergy in the US would cease being functionaries of the State with regard to marriage. Let everyone who wishes the legal protection, tax advantages, etc., go to the courthouse. When it comes to Christian marriage, however, and the blessing of a union, let them come to the Church and the Church can choose (or not) to bless their union.

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    #14
    With due respect, I see some inconveniences… I do not see persecution, especially in comparison with my friends in Egypt, Pakistan, India, etc.

  17. Jamry says:

    Well, we have to start somewhere toward those three specific goals at the end of the article… here is my best digital contribution towards that exact end…

    http://teagardenpillowtalk.com/

  18. Michael says:

    “I think if we begin to look for that which is “undone” in this time of history; if we look for the “broken places” in society and apply an incarnational approach to our theology in addressing them, we could be amazed at the result.”

    This is where my heart is…I confess to being utterly apathetic in terms of gay rights and that battle, but I couldn’t care more about finding those broken places and applying the the love and presence of Christ to them.

    The early church turned the world upside down by doing likewise…

  19. JoelG says:

    A great example of of looking for the “broken places” and applying the incarnational approach is El Pastor (under the page links on the side). What an inspiration!

    I don’t think any of us have to look that hard to find “broken places”.

  20. Michael says:

    “Moreover, like it or not, we are grounded in history…”

    That is a hard sell these days…which boggles the mind.

  21. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    “El Pastor” is a great example of this…thank you!

    We have these broken places all around us…

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    #20 Michael

    Yes, it’s a hard sell. In society at large as well was in the Church we have a tendency to be “ahistorical”, i.e. not against history, but rather, simply many ignoring it altogether. So, every generation we try to reinvent the wheel. Soon the wheel becomes unrecognizable…

  23. Steve says:

    Since there are different versions of history in the text books, I’m wondering if that has anything to do with the church becoming “ahistorical”. How do you know what to believe when we are in a culture of alternative facts and fake news?

  24. Michael says:

    Steve,

    The church has left behind incredible amounts of written documents from every era of it’s history…

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    Steve

    I agree with Michael but will add this – I think there is also a good bit of what one can only call “willful ignorance” involved…

  26. Steve says:

    I agree with Michael and Duane. I’m kind of talking about history in general that is under attack which makes church history an easy target for skeptics.

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    Steve (and Michael)
    Following the thread on “Shack” concerning baptism is a perfect example of “ahistorical” thinking. One can profess confusion over the particulars of baptism (infant, adult, immersion, etc.) from the NT documents, but to come to the conclusion that baptism is a “work” or even perhaps “optional”, one has to willingly ignore over 2000 years of Christian history and practice, including textual, narrative and archeological evidence. So much today is rooted only in the “contemporary”. I might add, the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper was normative in the Church for 1600 years and extended through the Reformation period, yet it is seen as an “optional extra” for many today…

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