Becoming What We Worship: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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18 Responses

  1. Linn says:


    “It is not Christ plus______________.” Thank you for a very thoughtful piece. I find it interesting that we are not learning from the recent past (the 50s-70s) when many Protestant churches fell by the wayside because of their devotion to different causes. That’s what my church was like growing up. I learned all about pop psychology, different religious systems, women’s lib, who to vote for (Democrat for the working class) and march in the streets, but Jesus was strangely absent. He was presented as sort of a papa hippie figure that we could relate to based on our common humanity, not his divine nature. Now we can meet him on a different, more conservative platform (I am being sarcastic, of course). As the old song goes, “Just Give Me Jesus.”

    The church I grew up in no longer exists. Everyone moved away or dropped out. I don’t think most of them ever learned who Jesus really was, apart from that hippie dude we tried to relate to.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks. Today’s evangelicals could learn from that recent past, but I don’t hold out much hope.

  3. Linn says:


    I agree. We are not very historically driven unless it fits our current interpretation of events.
    The pastor of my church made a comment yesterday that churches should never embrace the cause of social justice. At the same time, my church runs a tutoring program for underprivileged kids, is active in the pro-life movement, and a polling place for every election in our neighborhood. I don’t think he sees the conflict inherent in his statement. Social justice is not necessarily “liberal.”

  4. Duane Arnold says:


    People use “tags” not knowing what they mean…

  5. Jeff Thompson says:

    I rejoice anytime I see the truth about the Church stated plainly and rightly! The Church was created BY Jesus, exists FOR Jesus, and her eternal destiny is to serve as the BRIDE of Jesus. Everything else is secondary and/or a byproduct of us fulfilling our intended purpose as the Church. I still encounter many shocked Christians when I point out that the Church does not exist for non-believers, it exists for Jesus.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks. I think in many quarters what it means to be Church has been forgotten…

  7. Josh Hamrick says:

    Would certainly answer my question as to why Christians don’t look like the Jesus we see in the Gospels.

  8. Michael says:

    I think the besetting sin of humanity is idolatry…and when we make what is truly idolatry into dogma, the church becomes something other than what God intends.

    Success and nationalism are the idols before us today…

  9. Em says:

    Michael @ 10:12
    Be setting sin? Amen
    Sadly people make up what pleases them, JWs and Mormons and Buddhism, etc. prove this theory….
    Now I WILL learn to just lurk ( I hope)! ! !

  10. Duane Arnold says:


    Michael and I have had the discussion for years… “When does church cease to be church?”

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    “Success and nationalism are the idols before us today…”

    And when Jesus is placed along side the idols, he becomes ‘one among many gods’… almost a dictionary definition of paganism…

  12. Josh Hamrick says:

    I think things like nationalism are obvious and need to be dealt with swiftly. However, I think we all may be more complicit in not keeping the main focus on the life, works, and words of Jesus.

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    The issues of politics and nationalism have been a part of evangelicalism for over a generation. I have my doubts as to how quickly it can be dealt with, assuming there is actually the willingness to do so…

  14. Josh Hamrick says:

    That is true.

  15. Officerhoppy says:

    I think, too, that a distinction needs to be made between worship and evangelism. What is the purpose of the church—worship or evangelism? Seems we’ve made it more about evangelism than worship. I tend to think the focus needs to be on worship and let evangelism happen, primarily, outside the church. Again I said, “primarily” not “exclusively”.

    Just my $.02

  16. bob1 says:

    Very well done, Duane.

    Your idea of “enlightened traditionalism” brought to mind the late John Stott. Though from a different part of your church, he talked about Christians being “radical conservatives” — keeping the Faith that’s been handed to us, and tossing out cultural religion and anything else that would keep us away from following Christ.

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    I believe worship (in the broad terms I indicated) is primary, with evangelism being the outgrowth…

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks. When I was a university chaplain, John Stott was part of our seminar series. Always admired his work on the Sermon on the Mount as counter cultural Christianity…

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