Embarrassment: Duane W.H. Arnold

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45 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    Well stated and agree. Even if we remove politics from this discussion (which is hard to accomplish because of how visible it is), we see things that are embarrassing. My faith journey also is rooted in Evangelicalism/the Lutheran church, and I have been guilty of throwing evangelicalism under the bus.

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    We’re embarrassed because we actually care…

  3. Kevin H says:

    Sharing in your embarrassment here.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Kevin H

    It hits all of us where we live…

  5. Dan from Georgia says:

    Absolutely true Duane! I actually didn’t realize that maybe it is because I care that I get embarrassed and angry.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    If it were otherwise, we would just laugh and walk on…

  7. Dread says:

    Honest question

    Are Evangelicals alone the source of your Christian embarrassment? So it seems from your constant writing about it? “Antipathy” is what I have reacted to over and again here.

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    No. As I said in the article, there is enough embarrassment to go around – evangelicals, mainline, Anglicans, Lutherans, etc. The evangelicals, however, have placed themselves way out in front in recent years…

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    “Are Evangelicals alone the source of your Christian embarrassment? So it seems from your constant writing about it?”

    ….And, BTW, of the over 300 articles I’ve published here, only 61 mention evangelicals, and mostly as an aside…

  10. Dread says:

    I love them and have not left them ….

    Jesus promised to never leave me and he keeps sending them

    So I think I will die with them …

    Hopefully in my sleep… like most of the church… and not in some fool’s errand like 1/6

  11. Steve says:

    Duane, what do you mean by evangelical movement. American evangelicalism is such a broad brush label that to be embarrassed for them is quite silly. It would be helpful to narrow down your embarrassment to a more understandable group to those you really care about.

  12. Duane Arnold says:


    Our choices have become more difficult, and one path does not fit all. I maintain friendships with evangelicals, friends who’ve embraced Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, the Anglican way and so many other paths…

  13. Duane Arnold says:


    A broad brush is needed because its a a broad movement that transcends any single denominational or associational identity.

  14. Steve says:

    Duane, I contend its not a movement at all. A movement has to have something that unites it and moves it forward. That’s what I am asking you to define. Evangelicalism does not appear to be a movement unless you can define what it is. I aggree it doesn’t follow denominational boundaries but it must have something unique or distinctive to be called a movement.

  15. Xenia says:

    I must confess I have a nostalgic affection for the Evangelicals. However, when I meet up with one of my old co-religionists, sadly, we have nothing to say to each other. They want to talk about political issues and their connection with the Rapture and I want to talk about the day’s Saint. Very little common ground, with one notable exception being my neighbor.

  16. Duane Arnold says:


    Consult the Pew Research Center which has tracked American and worldwide Evangelical identity and markers for a number of years…

  17. Steve says:

    Duane, this is what I found on wiki. Evangelicalism: A world-wide Protestant movement which maintains the belief that the essence of the gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ’s atonement.

    Would you call yourself an evangelical with this definition?

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    I could be wrong, but there seems less common ground these days…

  19. Duane Arnold says:


    Now that is a broad brush!!!! You could incorporate much of world Christianity under that definition!

  20. Steve says:

    Duane, exactly! That’s my point.

  21. Dread says:

    Evangelical faith is purely and simply the drive of the evangel to see the world won to Christ by any and all means. America has been the perfect soil for a movement that stresses personal faith… Individual rights and responsibilities has been the entrepreneurial soil of a faith driven by the desire to coalesce followers around the simple credo Jesus is Lord.

    The evangelicalism that is falling apart is that movement that came to be dominated by an inerrant bible, any moment rapture theology and the rewarding of human personality to ascend to the head of organizations.

    Rapture theology more than any other thing wedded evangelicals to politics. This is why this particular blog has had an enduring niche. The disappointed defrauded followers of that stuff and their children have fallen into cynicism and moral confusion. Idolatry and immorality are the twin thieves of innocence. They are the beasts that intimidate and deceive.

    Simplistic but true enough

  22. bob1 says:

    There probably are millions of Xns around the world who’d ID themselves as evangelical. It is a worldwide movement.

  23. Duane Arnold says:


    I agree with most, apart from the American emphasis… American exceptionalism does not extend to the gospel.

  24. Duane Arnold says:


    After almost eight years of living abroad, I agree.

  25. Dread says:


    Explain for me… how would we not see the spirit of the nation paired with the culture of the churches … seems to me they were founded in the same soil of evangelical fervor and enlightenment anthropology.

    When I read of the great awakening and of the founding fathers I see the same core. And the thread of nationalism in terms of new Jerusalem was inextricable … christian nationalism may have had a great flurry of revival with the moral majority but it is deeply embedded in the American psyche

  26. Duane Arnold says:


    Not avoiding, but having cocktails with my wife… but I will be delighted to answer in due time!

  27. Dread says:

    Enjoy the better offer and no hurry

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    “When I read of the great awakening and of the founding fathers I see the same core.”

    You see it because it was born out of the philosophy of John Locke and the experience of the English civil war, which provided the “myth” for our revolution, but not the pattern of government. It is separating the myth from the reality that is needed.

    On a side note, American evangelicalism has more to do with the Cane Ridge revival than with Whitfield and the great awakening.

  29. Duane Arnold says:

    BTW, in taking this view, I’m informed by Ahlstrom’s ‘A Religious History of the American People’…

  30. Duane Arnold says:

    On American Evangelicalism, a useful bibliography can be found here: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/resources-history-evangelicalism-america/

  31. Dread says:

    These are good and helpful answers.

    I need to think on them – especially that tightly packed Locke paragraph.

    It seems to me that all American revivalism is centered on the experience of Christ and the specific ministry of the Spirit in that matter. It also mostly seems to be focused upon converting the adherents. That is where we are seeing a change. Our unconverted members, specifically our children are choosing secular religions and activism over faith and mission.

    I see Cane Ridge as seminal to the Pentecostal/charismatic river and Finney as more formative to the Evangelical non-charismatic!

    Ahlstrom is so good. That list is mostly familiar to me. I was unaware of Wells more recent offerings. I want to delve into those titles.

  32. Duane Arnold says:

    “Our unconverted members, specifically our children are choosing secular religions and activism over faith and mission.”

    I think the alternative is old-fashioned materialism. In a post- Christian society, spirituality is pushed to the corner. Compared to the 1960s and 1970s, I’ve yet to see effective activism. That at least would provide some pushback to our material culture.

  33. Officerhoppy says:

    Many evangelicals are embarrassed by the actions of their evangelical brothers and sisters too

  34. Duane Arnold says:


    I know… I hear from them often.

  35. LInn says:


    This article seems to express a balanced position from an evangelical perspective. I am not ashamed that I have evangelical beliefs regarding the inerrancy of Scripture, but I am embarrassed about how many evangelicals express themselves. I’ve started describing myself more as a Christ follower than as an evangelical. The word “evangelical” itself brings up all kinds of visceral reactions from people.

    Flip side-many of my “woke” co-workers are almost as bad. Everything is an invitation to talk about oppressors, the oppressed, who our allies are, etc. I’ve chosen not to yell “fire” (see attached article). I work hard at engaging, acknowledging what is correct (yes, I do agree with 400 years of Black oppression and that their lives matter). If I don’t agree, I still try to find the points where I can comment (yes, it is hard to be a single mother. Have you considered that birth control information and means should be more available to people? At the same time, I’ll mention my own commitment of celibacy until marriage. ) It doesn’t always work, but every now and then, a thoughtful conversation will ensue. I don’t always get the same kind of response from a fellow evangelical when we discuss something controversial. So, I usually politely withdraw before the building burns down.

  36. Duane Arnold says:


    Good article!

  37. Officerhoppy says:

    Yeah. Good article.

  38. Steve says:

    Duane what is the myth our revolution and what pattern of government?

    “You see it because it was born out of the philosophy of John Locke and the experience of the English civil war, which provided the “myth” for our revolution, but not the pattern of government. It is separating the myth from the reality that is needed.”

  39. Dan from Georgia says:

    Officerhoppy and Duane,

    And that is exactly where I am at. I am an evangelical and probably will alway be, and I do care, so hell yes I wil be embarrassed. Like I care because we are family, not because I want to tear them a new one.

  40. Dan from Georgia says:

    My previous post was written because I am sick of being told that I have to apologize for how I feel and think about some things. And yes, I am fully aware of the fact that I too can be a part of the problem.

  41. Duane Arnold says:


    Many historians view the English Civil War as a continuation of the English reformation and therefore essentially a religious conflict. Even though in the American Revolution many of the revolutionaries harkened back to the English Civil War, it was really to the myth of the English Civil War rather than the reality. There are many good books to read on the subject.

    There is a mass of material on the political and religious radicalism unleashed during and after the English Civil War. Despite some criticism, C Hill, The World Turned Upside Down (1972) is still the classic account. Other broad studies include F Dow, Radicalism in the English Revolution (1985) and J McGregor & B Reay (eds), Radical Religion in the English Revolution (1984). Puritanism is reassessed by W Lamont, Puritanism and Historical Controversy (1996), J Spurr, English Puritanism (1998), and C Durston & J Eales (eds), The Culture of English Puritanism, 1560-1700 (1996).

    The American revolution, by contrast, tended to be a conservative revolution without the religious overtones. These were often Virginia planters who were Deists, even if they attended the local Anglican parish, or Unitarians from the New England colonies, even if they attended a Congregational or Presbyterian Church.

    I should add, a reading of Ahlstrom is helpful.

  42. Duane Arnold says:

    This book is also helpful in understanding this issue…

    Inventing a Christian America: The Myth of the Religious Founding
    Steven K. Green
    Oxford University Press

    “This book examines the evidence supporting claims that America’s founding principles are based in part on religion. These claims usually center on the Puritan background to republican government (e.g. the Mayflower Compact), assertions of divine providence directing the leaders and events of the American Revolution, and the religious beliefs of various Founders. The book demonstrates that the notion of a Christian origin for American government is one of the nation’s leading founding myths, one that was consciously created during the early nineteenth century as part of the drive to establish a national identity. In seeking to unify the nation and proclaim its unique status to the world, proponents created the myth of America’s religious origins out of a desire to sanctify the founding. Modern-day proponents of America’s religious foundations need to understand the purposeful origins of the narrative upon which they rely.”

  43. pstrmike says:

    Green’s work is only $9.99 on Kindle. Looks like an interesting read.

    If only I could spend all my time reading and writing. So many books, so little time……..

  44. Duane Arnold says:


    He’s in Oregon (I think Salem) … you might look him up…

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