Dreams of Empire: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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41 Responses

  1. LInn says:

    My understanding of Russian history is that the relationship between the tsar and the church is one of the things that doomed the standing government when Lenin launched his revolution. It’s interesting that Putin would think that this relationship is worth cultivating. It makes me think that he will not need to be re-elected into office ever again. He willbe the new “tsar.” Whether or not he can establish a dynasty remains to be seen.

  2. Michael says:

    Dreams of empire require enemies of empire that must be conquered…and the result is always anti-Christ in nature…

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    If this conflict continues, it will almost have to result in a major schism of the Orthodox church, right?

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    There is already a “minor schism” but it is likely to to become deeper and, perhaps, more permanent…

  5. Michael says:

    Christ’s kingdom operates on polar opposite values of human kingdoms…and is not of much interest to those who want to manifest political power…

  6. Michael says:

    I wonder how long it will take for all the current teachings extolling American Christendom to bear the fruit of civil war…because the first enemy to be defeated will have to be the neighbor…

  7. Michael says:

    Now…there are theological considerations here.

    Was Jesus saying thatHis kingdom was only “spiritual”…or was he saying that His kingdom does not have its origins here?

  8. Dread says:

    The kingdom of God is not spiritual rather it is “in the Spirit.” Only Pentecost allowed the rule of God to be transformed from stone to flesh. I think Michael has something with regard to the kingdom not originating here or being ‘of the stuff’ of our kingdoms.

    But eschatology is the issue of the kingdom. Is the kingdom present and increasing in the Holy Spirit? Is the kingdom a future reign as per at least three schools of thought with a futuristic Jesus monarchy? Is the kingdom as the post millennials tell us …the increase of his government?

    We endlessly debate and by not talking over our own conceptual assumptions about kingdom we often talk past one another.

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    The kingdom is Incarnational…. it takes flesh in us.

  10. Michael says:

    It is hard to parse these things.
    I do not see evidence that the kingdom of God is growing…but I do believe it’s here in some fashion and will come in it’s fullness.
    It is Incarnational…but some day the Incarnate One will come…

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    The Kingdom is Jesus.

  13. Dread says:

    Concerning empire … there is lots to notice as well. Apparently, massive christian expansion and some form of nationalism can go hand in hand. It is demonstrable that South Korea’s fast church expansion came during a spate of powerful nationalism in post WWII and the Korean War. Zionism is definitionally nationalism and is, I think the mother of our brand of nationalism and they both blossomed together in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most Christian zionists have strong American nationalist tendencies and the era of church growth in evangelical churches was rather overtly nationalistic.

    Post Cold War Russian nationalism and the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox church are feeding one another as noted already… and the Orthodox church reasserted its hegemony over all other Christian expression in the last 20 years. I am sure more examples are available.

    There is something of a kinship of these nationalistic and religious impulses.

  14. Michael says:

    Dread,

    It precedes all that even to the Reformation…when the German and Swiss city-states combined the two…
    It never ends well…

  15. Em says:

    Michael @8:50
    AMEN ! ! !

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    …And his reign over us.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    I am reminded of the Holy Roman Empire, which was neither “holy” nor “Roman”, nor in the end, an “empire”…. A reminder not to confuse the City of Man with the City of God.

  18. Josh the Baptist says:

    Probably a good explanation for how we end up with a Christless Christianity.

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    Most certainly true. Schweitzer might have been right when he said that Christ comes among us as one unknown…

  20. Linn says:

    Dread,
    The Spanish conquest of Latin America was done in the name of God and the Catholic Church, although there was also a lot of land and gold involved. The conquistadores really thought that they were doing God’s work as they took over native lands and forced them to convert to Christianity. People were “converted” during mass baptisms where priests sprinkled holy water on large crowds of people who didn’t even understand Spanish. It’s known as the Leyenda Negra (Black Legend) in Spanish-speaking countries.

    What happened in many indigenous communities was syncretism-actual pagan practices being incorporated into Catholic rituals. Day of the Dead (Días de los Muertos) is one such example. Aztec and Mayan cultures welcomed back their departed during their fall harvest festivals. It fit in well with the whole idea of All Saints Day, and syncretistic holiday was born.

  21. Missionary J says:

    Nostalgia, to often focuses chiefly on the positive things at the discount of the negatives, which at many times negated and outweighed what is viewed as the ‘positive’. It is a dangerous lie that sees us ignoring the bad things that happened and we all know what can happen when history is forgotten or ignored.

  22. Dread says:

    Michael @11:28

    “it never ends well” I agree that every expression of faith in government has ultimately come to a beastly outcome… (Re 13) but ‘ends’ is a strange term… what happens is Christianity reshapes itself into whatever new government expression is at hand. Silly generalizations get made like the canard about persecution — frankly it seems that whatever gets persecuted eventual ascends to become the persecutor.

    Meanwhile … what is it about your current affiliation that you find attractive per church/state? It hardly has its own unvarnished beauty. I refer to Anglicanism. And … it is simply a tepid state religion in its motherland with impotent evangel.

    Populist Christianity … runs wild, grows wild, becomes oppressive in its own ways… and grows cold and dead.

    It seems to me we are all searching for vibrant kingdom theology of the sort that was birthed in the Spirit but … it must be expressed … it must be taught

    Augustine must be updated and modified… Duane… there’s a project…

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    Like Augustine, we have all become neo-Platonists. Our adherence is to the Platonic ideal of Anglicanism, evangelicalism, the charismatic movement, etc., even when we do not see the reality of that ideal among us. Our hope is that the reality of that ideal exists, even if we do not see it or experience it in our own lives…

  24. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Well said…we also have to keep that ideal alive until some choose to implement it…

  25. Michael says:

    Dread,

    As Duane said, it’s the ideal of Anglicanism with it’s profound liturgy and worship, its theological openness and its commitment to Incarnation theology that holds me.
    I could not care less about its relationship to any government.

  26. Dread says:

    Duane

    Write something divorcing the platonism — I agree but as we see Orthodoxy is not immune despite its rejection of the philosophical foundations …

    But what remains? Deconstruction is easy. What can we establish?

    Are we to be separatist?

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    I think we actually know what Church looks like (see the series I did on ‘Finding Church’). The problem is that it is counter-cultural and apolitical…

    As to being ‘separatist’, I think that is just the reality given our current culture…

    https://www.phoenixpreacher.com/finding-church/

  28. LInn says:

    Dread,

    My personal conviction is that the church needs to be much more about being the church (feeding the flock, evangelizing the lost, works of mercy, etc) then it needs to be about building a kingdom on earth. Every time the church does that (the most recent being the the last presidency), the whole process comes back to bite it in the butt.

  29. Dread says:

    Linn

    At no point have I advocated kingdom building by the body politic. I do advocate Kingdom expansion via proclamation and demonstration Of Christ. But we are ‘on earth’ and pray for His kingdom as ‘in heaven’ a rule of Christ by his almighty love.

  30. pstrmike says:

    Speaking of Empire, Walter Brueggemann’s take……

    https://sojo.net/articles/walter-brueggemann-jesus-acted-out-alternative-empire

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    pstrmike

    Very good link…

  32. Nathan Priddis says:

    The argument about the nature of the Kingdom is where I feel like an orphan. I Actualy wonder sometimes if my ideas are unique to me. I believe it to be this:

    The Kingdom of God is divided into two separate, and detached Worlds. Heaven (plural) above, the Universe below. (Universe/Cosmos/Earth are normally interchangeable names)

    Heaven has revolted against God in the matter of God’s administration of his Kingdom.The Satan, the Anointed Cherub, has openly condemned God, with the support of the Sons of God in agreement. Taken together, Father, Son, Spirit and Sons of God, constitute The God Head. The God Head is at war with itself.

    These same Sons of God where appointed as Princes over mankind, in mankind’s original divisions. The Satan was involved in the original creation of our lower World. He is the God of this World, and is involved with the daily oversight of all matter, and the all mankind. This collective authority can not be revoked. They can only be killed and replaced, which God will attempt to do.

    The Satan likewise will attempt the destruction of the opposing Three, and at a later point, mankind. He is assembling the resources to strike at God. Overlooked in the second summary of the Creationism, was the mention of two host, or armies. This has not been mentally grasped at it implications.

    That is the basis for all subsequent history as I see it.

  33. Duane Arnold says:

    Without addressing each point, this reminds me of second century Gnosticism combined with a Manichee cosmology… Just sayin’…

  34. JD says:

    Nailed it, apparently.

  35. Nathan Priddis says:

    Well Duane, I actualy can’t recall what Manichee Cosmology was. I’ve scimmed through accounts and had a general idea of it feeling like recycled good/bad spirits with a Jewish influence. Jewish Mysticism comes to mind. There does appear to be quite the resurgence of Common Era Mysticism along with Chaldean and Canaanite concepts today. Micheal Heiser comes to mind, but also Charasmatics appear to be adopting a mystical Cosmology.

    I would say my concept a a Two World reality is the opposite of Gnosticism. It specifically rejects secret acquired knowledge. It does however assume technology would increase in latter history. Prior to the beginning of the 1900’s, no doctrine incorporated actual workings or mechanics of our World. In my personal childhood, science was rejected.

    I am comfortable with discovery overuling doctrine, if doctrine is found to be false. I also understand the difficulty in letting doctrine drop away. I think here of the Heliocentric Model. I believe it was a crime, or such to promote it over the orthodox Geo-Centric understanding. I don’t believe the Vatican formally dropped its stance till the 1800’s.

    In this example, its not that the Scriptures where wrong, only the interpretation.

  36. Duane Arnold says:

    With respect, I’ll stick with my analysis above…

  37. Michael says:

    Nathan,

    I can assure you that this view is unique to you.

  38. Nathan Priddis says:

    I feel special today.

  39. Dread says:

    “Taken together, Father, Son, Spirit and Sons of God, constitute The God Head. The God Head is at war with itself.” ???

    “The Satan was involved in the original creation of our lower World. He is the God of this World, and is involved with the daily oversight of all matter, and the all mankind. This collective authority can not be revoked. They can only be killed and replaced, which God will attempt to do.” ???

    Priddis — I don’t see this stuff in Heiser though he does have some novel views —and cannot think that you intended to say the Godhead is at war with itself?

    Like that theologian, Lucy, “You got some ‘splainin’ to do.

  40. Dread says:

    Nathan,

    I searched the books of Heiser in my library and find a great interest in the Godhead, I did not find an instance of it referring to anything other than the persons of the Trinity. Perhaps you have something I have not seen. That would interest me in that Heiser has had a good bit of my interest and that would seem to be a heterodox option…. or worse as Duane points out.

  41. Nathan Priddis says:

    BD. What details Heiser holds to regarding items such as Trinity, or Godhead, I don’t know. I’ve never even read his books. What I can speak to are the substantial hours of video content online. Michael Heiser describing, in his own words, his ideas.

    My view of Heiser is this: We both have a type of Fundamentalism in our backgrounds. We both noticed gaps in traditions big enough to drive a truck through. These gaps are centered on the text saying things, that can’t be answered by doctrine.

    There are some initial areas where we agree. First to mind are concepts like Elohim/Sons of God, a rebellion and hat he calls The Divine Council. This last item would basically be a synonym for Godhead by any other name.

    In summary, I feel we have very divergent concepts. The devils in the details so to speak. I am opposed to his reliance on certain ancient sources, and he appears opposed to my placing importance on the underlying physics of our Universe. This is a gigantic difference.

    He has mentioned “astro-theology.” I don’t know what that means. I accept what Genesis says regarding the stars being for signs, etc. I associate mention of the Signs with MANY portions of text. An easy one is Romans1.

    Ironically, Rom 1:20 is the only use of Godhead. This is the source of my personal use btw.

    Hetrodox? Hmm. Well I asked Duane quite some time ago regarding Augustine’s views on the Signs. I think Duane answered to the effect Augustine rejected anything associated with Manichee.
    I recall him associating anything astrological with idolatry.

    I would guess both Heiser and I would have been put to death in any era after circa 400AD. Likely even closer to Nicea. But it doesn’t really matter. Daniel was told ….”many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Both are terrifying thoughts with nothing to do with esoteric blather.

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