The Essentials: Dr. Duane Arnold, PhD

You may also like...

46 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    Thank you for the recommendations, Duane!

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    You are very welcome. I think there are some you will enjoy…

  3. Michael says:

    This is something I’ve hoped to have happen here for a long time…thank you, Duane.

  4. Duane Arnold says:


    Thank you for hosting it! I hope it will be helpful.

  5. Michael says:

    I was thinking about this series last night.
    Genealogy studies have become so popular…people want to know their ancestry so that they might understand who they are and where they came from.
    It roots people in history and facilitates understanding of how they came to be who they are.
    This is our faith genealogy…and I think it every bit as important.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s our “theological DNA”. Scratch NT Wright and you find Michael Ramsey… scratch Michael Ramsey and you go to Newman and the Tractarians… Scratch Newman and on it goes to the English Reformation, Benedict of Nursia, Augustine, Athanasius and all the way back to Ignatius. Whether we realize it or not, whether we admit it or not, this is what makes us who we are…

  7. Michael says:


    The other thing I was thinking is that life…in terms of cultural and political issues…is never going to be as we once knew.

    Division is here to stay and will only get worse over the next few years.

    We have to find common roots with the Christian community if we’re going to find real spiritual and temporal community at all.

  8. Duane Arnold says:


    I think that is what Bob Webber thought when he wrote his book, “Common Roots”. When we go back, especially to the first few centuries, we can find “commonality” – an identity that goes beyond the self-identifying labels of the 16th – 20th centuries…

  9. Jean says:

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned, and one of the reasons I like the older theologians, is the Enlightenment. We are not even aware of how impacted we are by the Enlightenment. Therefore, you almost have to go before it to get free of it, at least in your study.

  10. Duane Arnold says:

    #9 Jean

    Yes, we’ve been taught that “reason” is superior to “mystery”… it changes the whole playing field…

  11. Michael says:

    I created a pdf of The Didache that is available by clicking the link in the article.

    Read ahead…

  12. John 20:29 says:

    hmmm… Dr. Duane’s thoughts on marriage are wise ones – usually, you do marry the family

    Michael, thank you for the link to the Didache (i have a copy hiding somewhere)… it neatly sums up the standards God has for His people, i think…

    “reason” and “mystery” are on equal footing in my not so humble opinion – the Church cannot rely on reason, but then neither can it assign those things that are not understood to mystery… at least, not without some soul searching, asking the question am i avoiding this or is it truly beyond the human mind’s capacity… and then, taking a cue from the Didache, am i praying for my teachers? are they teaching sound doctrines? sometimes a little prayerful reasoning is necessary… fainting worshippers and smoke coming from the balcony just may not be a move of God… no matter how much the guy up front waves his arms and gasps praise Jesus

  13. John 20:29 says:

    i guess i should have clarified that there are some doctrines that are the in category of mystery… i was thinking of the misuse of the term to cover things we may face on this journey that we either don’t want to deal with or are bogus 🙂

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    #13 Em

    Good distinction. My use of “mystery” is very much in the category of doctrine – the Trinity, the dual nature of Christ, the Eucharist, etc.

  15. Owen says:


    This article really makes me wish I had more time to read! I am intrigued….

    As for the mystery aspect, I’m glad the distinction was pointed out. I have talked with a couple co-workers who refuse to believe in anything that science cannot prove. IMHO that’s just pride, pure and simple.
    In the words of the song linked below, “give up on your pondering, and fall down on your knees.”

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    #15 Owen

    A number of these pieces are short – literally just a few pages, like the Didache or maybe and evening like Ignatius…

    Yes, I think the idea of “mystery” is a stumbling block for some and a relief to others.

  17. David H says:

    Duane, Thank you. You’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting for someone who wants to dig into Church history.

    These “primary sources” set the foundation for the faith.

    I grow weary of folks who almost run away if you try to get them to go back past the Reformation. I had an acquaintance say “Oh, I don’t need to go that far back I really don’t need to go back past Ryrie.” I thought, OK nothing like narrow revisionism. I find the anti-intellectualism among certain Christians profoundly dangerous.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    #17 David H

    I hope you enjoy the suggestions.

    Yes, it’s interesting that we will give credit to the work of the Holy Spirit in our own life and time, but ignore what God has done for two thousand years! It never ceases to amaze me…

  19. David H says:

    It is a travesty that Evangelicals disregard intellectual pursuits. Even as difficult as he is to read, Jonathan Edwards was quite an intellectual. It’s funny that despite their general leaning towards deism men like Jefferson, Franklin, Mason, and Madison had a sound understanding of theology, and philosophy.

    I’m so glad that my grad advisor emphased the value of political philosophy, even as he sarcastically claimed that it was useless (LOL). History is much more about defining the depth of knowledge, and wisdom, than dates and facts.

  20. Michael says:

    “History is much more about defining the depth of knowledge, and wisdom, than dates and facts.”

    That’s gold, David…

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    #19 David H

    Agree with Michael… gold.

  22. David H says:

    Michael and Duane, thank you.

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “…men like Jefferson, Franklin, Mason, and Madison had a sound understanding of theology, and philosophy.”

    I don’t think they had a sound understanding of theology (the study of god) but perhaps an understanding of the philosophy of religion.

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To the fathers – for those who do not want to take the fire hose approach of getting into the fathers – may I recommend “A Year with the Church Fathers: Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year.”

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    While I would encourage use of any edited volumes that help people approach the Fathers of the Church (including anthologies), I would say that reading pieces in their entirety provides context and the ability to follow a line of argument, which is especially important in the apologetic works.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    However, for the uninitiated that may be like having a newbie begin reading the Bible in Leviticus. Much of reading the fathers is in understanding the context and if it is not plainly stated, it could be problematic.

    The biggest misunderstanding in reading Luther is to assume he is writing like Calvin – just pretty much developing doctrine or systematics – where almost all of Luther is addressing a current problem, answering someone’s question or answering charges leveled against him.

    Reading the fathers can be quite the task 🙂

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    I’m sure you have much more and far superior experience in these matters…

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well, since you are going to take the snotty road – yes – as a non professional knowing what folks on a blog probably need to start slowly – yes.

    Hey, I just offered a simple alternative for daily reading.

  29. Duane Arnold says:

    As usual you misrepresent what is said and/or presented to draw attention to yourself. I did not list all the works in the Ante-Nicene Fathers. I presented a selection of easily read pieces with a certain didactic understanding behind what I presented.

    I welcome any material that assists people in approaching the Fathers, but – no – the anthology approach was not what I was presenting, for a very particular reason which I laid out above in my first reply.

    Of course, however, you are the font of knowledge who knows what people on the blog need. Of course…

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hey – so what do you think of those Colts?

  31. Michael says:

    I’m looking for ways to make this material as accessible as possible for people as we go through this series.

    We already made a pdf of The Didache available on site.

    I wish I’d been able to take a guided tour through the fathers with someone who had a doctorate in patristics…this will be anything but a fire hose approach.

    I’m very excited to be able to do this here…

  32. Xenia says:

    I did take a guided tour of the Fathers with someone with a doctorate in patristics and I am inclined to agree w/ MLD.

  33. Duane Arnold says:


    There are many approaches that can be taken. In my experience, while the anthology route has certain benefits – mainly devotional – over the course of four decades, I have found a documentary approach to be more helpful in the long run. Again, in my opinion, anything that exposes people to the wisdom of the ancient Church is of benefit.

  34. Jean says:

    If I was going to read an anthology of the Fathers, I would look for something from a church historian attempting to provide an objective look at a number of notable Fathers and what their particular contributions were. I imagine such textbooks exist.

    By contrast, a devotional piece written by and for Lutherans is going to give you the Lutheran sounding stuff plucked out of the vast works of many of the Fathers. It is almost like proof-texting the Fathers to show they line up with your doctrine.

    I think the Fathers are often more complex in their theology than what can be neatly fit into any particular tradition. Therefore, the devotional route may provide some pithy material and be really good and thought provoking, while still not really giving the reader any deep insight into the author.

  35. Duane Arnold says:

    #34 Jean

    There is, by the way, a very fine set that looks to particular extracts from the Fathers and then, in the index, breaks it down into doctrinal categories – “Faith of the Fathers”, William Jurgens. Worth it’s weight in gold…

  36. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I must say that the strength of the book I suggested is that it brings the person who is unfamiliar with the fathers into the church calendar at the same time – which helps take it from the academic to the useful.

  37. Duane Arnold says:


    Of course, I’m sure you’re right, as always…

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Are you that arrogant that you are telling me I cannot evaluate the strength or weakness for a book I read and recommend?.
    That clears up a big mystery – Carly Simon was singing about you.

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    “Are you that arrogant that you are telling me I cannot evaluate the strength or weakness for a book I read and recommend?.”

    Must be in another thread, as I did not say that…

    As for Carly, I think it was Warren Beatty…

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Must be in another thread, as I did not say that… ”

    Your 37 in reply to my 36 —

    Beatty has nothing on you in the vanity department.

  41. Duane Arnold says:


    I think you need to realize that being personally insulting and abusive does not make you “Martin Luther’s Disciple”… it just makes you insulting and abusive, no more, no less.

  42. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I made a book recommendation – you did the rest. Also, you were less than honest with your #39

    So what do you think of those Colts?

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    While we are recommending old stuff I think (note the personal preference) I think a familiarization with the Apocrypha would probably round out a student of the Bible more so than the fathers.
    Perhaps Apocrypha first and then the fathers.

  44. Duane Arnold says:

    That’s lovely and a good idea… although the article is on Church History.

  45. Michael says:

    I’m hoping and praying that this series actually comes about.
    For those who are not interested or want to pursue other topics, they can make ignore it or do other topics on their own blogs.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading