Holy Innocents: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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76 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    As good as the article is, this was not a battle of human affairs. This was one of Satan’s many all out efforts to cut off the messianic line.
    The players on Herod’s side were used as Satan’s pawns.

  2. Linn says:

    Herod’s acts are still cruel and ruthless, although it was obviously a demonic scheme to cut off the Messianic line. However, it still doesn’t excuse Herod’s actions in a human sense, any more than Judas’ betrayal of Jesus can be excused, nor the actions of Pilate in allowing Jesus to be crucified. Human actions are often tied in with Satan’s schemes to thwart God’s plans regarding His ultimate plan of redemption for both mankind and the earth. When I look at the examples from Scripture, it causes me to question my own actions and activities in the light of how God wants me to act within His kingdom..

  3. Duane Arnold says:


    I agree… Good insight.

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, I agree that Herod is judged by his own acts.
    I had made a comment on Open Blogging on the Innocents right before your article was posted. My theme was Satan attempting to cut off the messianic line.
    I just updated my comments for your article.

  5. Michael says:

    I think studying the Bible well means being able to draw out all the layers of meaning and application in a text.
    This article is surely an application of the text to our current situation.

  6. Jean says:

    Herod could not pinpoint the specific baby, Jesus, so he killed all the babies in Bethlehem. In his mind, the others were collateral damage. They were a necessary sacrifice to serve the greater good, which was to preserve Herod in power.

  7. Duane Arnold says:


    As I was thinking about this article, I was amazed to find so many of the reformers used Herod as the archetype of a “wicked ruler” …

  8. Duane Arnold says:


    Yes, I think the demonic part of this was Herod’s reckless disregard and contempt for life if it served his desired end, which was to retain power and position…

  9. Jean says:


    Notice also how the king, who was legitimately charged with enforcing the kingdom’s laws, saw himself as exempt from the law? It’s almost as if he could pardon himself of any infraction.

  10. Michael says:


    Reading Calvin again? 🙂

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    Damn! Caught again!!! Actually it was doing a bit of research on the Geneva Bible…

  12. Duane Arnold says:


    A Roman historian recorded the quip that it was better to be Herod’s pig than Herod’s son – the son could be killed, but, as a Jewish ruler, not the pig…

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But then again we could put God at the center of this. Jesus had to perform all things – God needed to get Jesus into Egypt so he could fulfill the Hoses 11 prophecy.
    A threat was needed to get Joseph and Mary on the move – enter Her or.
    But how would Herod even know what was happening in Bethlehem? Enter the wise men.

    But how would the wise men, probably from Persia know anything about a new born king to Israel?
    Enter Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity, orchestrated by God etc, etc, etc.

    In this case, everyone is a pawn of God.

  14. Michael says:


    That’s true, but not the application we’re discussing on this thread.

  15. Em says:

    Pawns? No, no, no ! ! !
    Yes, God is omniscient but free will – our responses – bring us into justification OR condemnation. Yes, i know there is more, but… 🙏

  16. Mike E. says:

    Very interesting, the parallels of human authority and power to be held onto, even at the cost of innocent lives. As I read this article this morning, I was babysitting my 1 1/2 y/o grandson and it struck me: he would’ve been one murdered. Terrifying. Also, your point, Duane, about there being nearly no historical record of this crime. Do you think Herod understood the concept of “fake news,” and knew how to manipulate the sources of information? There is nothing new under the sun.

  17. JimmieT says:

    Jean @9:33 How is Biden’s and Kamala’s platform on abortion ie. the collateral damage of killing babies any different from Herod?

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Mike E.

    To quote… “Herod’s despotic rule has been demonstrated by many of his security measures aimed at suppressing the contempt his people, especially Jews, had towards him. For instance, it has been suggested that Herod used secret police to monitor and report the feelings of the general populace toward him. He sought to prohibit protests, and had opponents removed by force.”

  19. Mike E. says:

    Duane…principalities and powers that rule human kingdoms and nations have not changed in their lust to kill. That’s what drives them…the urge to steal, kill, and destroy. They understand human nature much better than humans do.

  20. JimmieT says:

    Thinking not a whole lot of difference- both from a desire of political gain?

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    Mike E.

    I think Augustine was right. The best one can judge in the City of Man is on the basis of character and justice…

  22. Jean says:


    The two are nothing alike.

    I haven’t read the Biden position, but I understand that he supports the current law of the land, not acting lawlessly. He supports a woman’s right to privacy over her own healthcare, not killing the children of other women. He does not advocate killing anyone, whereas Herod did just that.

  23. Em says:

    Biden understand something that holds no payoff to him? 😳

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In this case, “the privacy over her own healthcare” absolutely = the killing of another human person.

  25. Bride of Christ says:

    Sadly, it isn’t always that ‘black and white’, MLD. My first pregnancy, one my husband and I planned, turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. The fertilized egg had attached inside of my fallopian tube instead of inside my womb. They thought I was miscarriyng, but the bleeding band the horrible pain never let up. Thanksgiving day I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to repair the ruptured fallopian tube and remove the fertilized egg ( our hoped for child-to-be). I had so much internal bleeding that blood transfusions were needed. Was that an abortion? I honestly don’t know. I do know that the fertilized egg growing outside my uterus was slowly killing me, and it would have ended my life without the medical intervention needed to save my life. I went on to have two normal pregnancies and two children after the doctors saved my life that Thanksgiving Day. Not always black and white, MLD, and women’s lives matter to God, also.

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Bride, I didn’t say it was black & white – hence my opening phrase “in this case”

  27. Duane Arnold says:

    Bride of Christ

    On a pastoral level I have dealt wth similar situations… it is not always black and white as you say, Ignorance and prejudice always raise an ugly head… Know that many here care for you and stand with you in prayer…

  28. Em says:

    Bride of Christ, you had nothing volitional to do with the ectopic pregnancy and YOU bear no guilt Bring that sorrowful memory to the Throne room of our Father in Jesus name and know He sorrows with you…
    I thank God for healing your body through skillful doctors and for your two subsequent successful deliveries of your precious children… I know you do also

  29. Xenia says:

    Bride, it was most certainly not an abortion because if both you and the child could have been saved, you and the doctors would have done so. You did not go to the emergency room to kill your child; you went with every hope in the world to save him. Your motives were pure. Please take Em’s advice and be freed from any lingering feelings of guilt because you have nothing at all to feel guilty about.

    Love, Xenia

  30. Mike E. says:

    I concur with the compassion for BOC, but I’m not sure she’s being completely heard. Correct me please, BOC, if I’m wrong, but what I hear her saying is that the entire abortion issue is not so black/white in terms of women’s lives and health, both mental and physical. This is what I struggle with with the whole abortion issue. I completely accept God’s Word and understand that terminating a human life is a very serious issue in the sight of God. However, I also see in the Word God’s love and care for each human soul. This includes women who may find themselves in situations beyond their control at times. These situations can be very complicated. That’s why I struggle with making laws that might put women in these situations in even worse situations. It also bothers me that mostly men are the ones making the laws and when will they make one that affect’s men’s health? Like…how about a law making vasectomies very difficult to get? Or requiring them? You see what I’m getting at.

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    Mike E.

    I believe you are right and, indeed, it is not the black and white issue that some would try to make it. As to your other observation, I’m also bothered about discussing racial issues without a person of color at the table…

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mike E = “how about a law making vasectomies very difficult to get? Or requiring them? You see what I’m getting at.”

    There was a time (1978) when all this was more about the family relations and a better view of reproduction, Most here may be too young but when I was 29 and we already had 3 kids we decided that I should get a vasectomy. When I showed up for my appointment, my wife had to give her consent – she was 28 and if the wife was under 30 she had to approve showing that I was not taking away some “god given right” to have children.

    Now everything is about the individual.

  33. josh hamrick says:

    I think it is the Black/white approach that has defeated us. We rail about abortions and vote for politicians who claim to agree, but nothing ever changes. Hundreds of thousands of babies are killed each year.
    The argument is always one from the margins, Like BOC makes above. Health of the mother, rape, and incest. I think if we could speak rationally with our opponents, and give in in those areas, we could save 100’s of thousands of lives per year.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – “Health of the mother, rape, and incest. I think if we could speak rationally with our opponents, and give in in those areas, we could save 100’s of thousands of lives per year.”

    Have you ever tried it? This is my default position when speaking to pro abortion folks. I tell them that I will compromise my ethical position and I will allow for abortions in the case of rape incest and or the life of the mother (about 5% of all abortions) if you will give up on the others – the frivolous “choice” abortions.

    Not once has anyone offered to give an inch on their position. This is why the Biden / Harris team have upped the ante from choice, to a woman’s right to now calling any abortion for any reason a Human Right.

  35. Duane Arnold says:

    Legal, safe and rare…

  36. Xenia Moos says:

    Duane, are you saying (I want to be sure I am understanding you) that you believe abortion should be legal?

  37. josh hamrick says:

    MLD – yes, I’ve tried it and found middle ground.

  38. Jean says:


    I agree. I also believe we need to grapple with when the State has an interest in a fetus and what that interest is. For example, if conception is the standard, then most birth control methods could be banned as leading to homicide. Most in vitro fertilization methods could be banned because of excess fertilized eggs.

    When if the pregnant woman smokes cigarettes or weed, snorts coke or drinks alcohol, or doesn’t take her vitamins her doctor prescribes? Is she criminally culpable for battery or child endangerment or homicide if she has a miscarriage?

    How much State intrusion into the personal life and health of a woman will society require and women submit to?

  39. Duane Arnold says:


    There are medical circumstances (usually endangering the life of the mother) and societal circumstances (rape, adolescent incest, etc.) in which it should not fall outside of the law… in my opinion.

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So on the other side – should the penalty for rape and incest that results in pregnancy be the death penalty as we are authorizing the death penalty to one of the victims – the resulting unborn?

  41. josh hamrick says:

    I don’t believe in death penalty or abortion. I think we could drastically reduce the number of abortions through compromise.

  42. Duane Arnold says:



  43. Em says:

    Weel… How about vasectomies for every man who impregnates a woman outside of marriage? 😋

  44. josh hamrick says:

    Another all or nothing that wouldn’t find much legal traction.

  45. Duane Arnold says:

    I think we discredit the truly awful decisions that people have to make when we make light of such matters…

  46. London says:

    Bride of Christ,
    That was not an abortion, that was an ectopic pregnancy. Those can kill you if left untreated. The egg was not viable in your situation and would have never produced a child. You did NOTHING wrong.
    Please do not feel any more guilt for surviving your ordeal.

  47. My take: although there are some aspects of the abortion issue that deserve thoughtful discussion, by and large abortion is a blight on our sense of morality and humanity. I’m not saying we ought not be highly compassionate regarding the various reasons a person chooses an abortion. But when abortion is widely referred to as “healthcare,” it reveals how off course we really are.

  48. Duane Arnold says:


    It’s one of the tragedies of our age… and there are few good answers that address all the issues that arise.

  49. Methinks if we were a people of deeper character and greater constitution, we would come up with some good responses to almost every abortion dilemma. We set the bar so low. Not trying to be judgmental or legalistic. I walk with people facing such issues all the time and love them to death.

  50. Duane Arnold says:

    It is, as someone has said, learning and unlearning…

  51. Mike E. says:

    Ok here’s another point: the difficulty of adoption. Why does adopting a baby in the U.S. cost so much money, thereby making adoption prohibitive for people of lesser means? Which then makes adoptions rarer. See, that’s what I’m saying. It’s easy to say, “well, I’m against abortion.” Well, I am too, but there’s also a lot of other stuff I’m against that come into play. Variables, if you will. And unfortunately what happens is we end up talking past each other. In a society of 350,000,000 people, issues are complicated.

  52. Both my kids (now adults) were adopted out of difficult situations. Both were prime candidates for abortion. Both were granted life. YAY! And yes, its sad how much $ and red tape is involved in adoption. Adoption is one way the Christian community can really step up and show they are really pro life.

  53. Mike E. says:

    PA…exactly my point. Where is the Christian community? I’m sure there’s some adoption ministries out there, but…seems like the church could do a lot more in the arena of adoption. But yet, the same folks who won’t lift a finger to do something about adoption will vote for and cheer for people to make restrictive abortion laws. Why don’t we fight for less restrictive and less expensive ADOPTION LAWS?

  54. Jean says:

    Mike E.

    I’m pretty sure that the Roman Catholics have adoption agencies. Unfortunately, most evangelical groups have been taught that social justice is “bad,” so you don’t see very many, if any, adoption agencies operated by evangelicals. In addition, most of the big money mega churches I am aware of are more interested in building up their brand than addressing social issues financially, such as adoption.

  55. Bride of Christ says:

    I want to thank those who offered compassion. Perhaps that compassion could also be extended to young girls who have experienced rape or incest. I know young women who have experienced both, but blessedly there was no conception. I was told I had a 50% chance if having another ectopic pregnancy if I tried to have a child after my ordeal. I was very, very frightened, but I trusted God and did try again. I will always remember a book that helped me to be brave. It was called ‘ Hinds’ Feet on High Places’ by Hannah Hurnard. The book is based on the Bible verse about God ” making my feet as hind’s feet, and setting me on high places”. It was a parable of sorts, a bout a frightened deer called “Much Afraid”. The deer makes it to the top if the mountain with God’s constant comfort and encouragement, though she is deathly afraid. I will never forget how that book helped me when I was so filled wirh fear. My own doctor told me that many women never try again to have a baby after experiencing what I had experienced He told me that the best thing to do was ” get right back in the saddle again “. I had horses as a young girl, and I understood that saying well! If you ride, you will fall, but you must get right back on the horse again or your fear will prevent you from ever enjoying horse back riding again. The small book ‘Hinds’ Feet on High Places’ surely will give courage to anyone in the grip of fear – I highly recommend it.

  56. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The adoption issue is such a non issue when it comes to abortion. Does anyone know a girl who says “I got an abortion because adoption has too much red tape or is too expensive? I doubt it.

  57. MLD, the expense and red tape is upon the person adopting the child, not the person giving the child up for adoption.

  58. To succeed as the church in regard to adoption (as well as many other social issues) we must teach truth but also be willing to alongside people who have made foolish decisions. They need truth and grace. I find that transformation of heart takes place when both are present.

  59. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Pitney, I know that – so that is why I am saying fixing adoption does not prevent abortions at all.
    So it is a non issue in the abortion talk.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Someone above said that many evangelicals do not care about or teach that justice is wrong – he actually said evangelical groups teach that justice is bad.
    I call BS – what group actually teaches that as part of their founding or confessing document.
    **not just I heard some guys standing around saying we don’t believe in providing justice to people.
    This is a grave breach of the 8th commandment.

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Above Pitney was supposed to be Piney my nickname for Pineapple Head.

  62. My first thought: Pitney Bowes!

    In my worldview of social improvement, everyone gets to play a part.

    Some have the part to do the right thing. And others are to come alongside and help the person seeking to do the right thing. Its a James 2 “faith and works” dynamic. There are to be no spectators wagging fingers or clucking tongues, just some who are moving toward truth and some who walk with those truth-seekers with love and grace.

    This is the culture of the recovery center I work with here in North Idaho. And the results are amazing. People who have walked in darkness and made a plethora of terrible choices are introduced to the light and truth of Jesus. False beliefs are revealed. New and living ways are embraced. It’s an 18 month program that ministers to the whole person: spiritual, physical, emotional.

    I would say, IMHO, the church in general does very little to come alongside women who want to do the right thing but believe they can’t. It’s like the guy being told to be warmed and filled. but not giving him any food or shelter.

  63. Mike E. says:

    MLD-I see your point and you made mine for me. We’re just talking past each other. I’m offering what in your opinion is an irrelevant solution, but you’re offering none. So get to offering some solutions besides ones that place further restrictions on women’s civil rights.

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well it’s kind of a stacked deck. There are Christian pregnancy health clinics all over the country but the secularist controlled local government agencies work 24/7 to harass or put them out of business by telling them they need to advise abortion as one of the options to what they call “problematic” pregnancies.
    Most of these places don’t have the deep pockets to spend a year in court – so the pull up stakes.

  65. Em says:

    Im willing to be proven wrong, but i believe most voluntary decision s to abort a fetus or a well developed survivable infant abortions are made for purely self centered reasons…
    I said most. I did not say all.

  66. Its kind of like what happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Yes, federal agencies came in and provided some support, but on a rebuilding missions trip to NO about 10 years ago I heard several residents declare, “It was the Christians who came here and made the real difference.” We should be known for that kind of impact when it comes to all our social ills.

  67. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mike E – let’s be honest. What are we protecting here? In this case (key phrase) a woman’s civil rights = the right to openly kill her unborn child, with no restrictions — this covers at least 95% of all abortions.

    But beyond that, I don’t care what the world does – but given a right to speak out, I will use my civil right and vote.

    What I do care about is the lack of speaking firmly against abortion in the church to church people. And so you don’t get me wrong I feel the same about divorce / remarriage and unmarried couples living together and the church remaining silent or worse yet accepting it because we live in difficult times.

  68. Too often we are just clanging gongs when it comes to improving our society. Instead we should find a way to better our community, and go about it faithfully and quietly.

  69. Mike E. says:

    PA–You are hitting the nail on the head. Conservatives decry government programs to help people as “socialism,” and recommend charity instead. But the church is too busy spending money on…well…God knows what. So what happens to the poor? They get forgotten and left to themselves. There has to be a medium somewhere.

  70. Our church has intentionally connected with several community outreaches – not just with $ (which certainly helps!) but with volunteers. People get involved in our local rescue mission; pregnancy center; mobile medicine for seniors; jail chaplaincy; and LOVE, INC.

    All in all, I think abortion sucks big time. Its an indicator of the sick condition of our cultural heart. But any denouncement of abortion should be accompanied by an understanding hand to guide a person toward life.

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think for the most part churches in America do an admirable job of trying to fix broken people and a broken world.

    Check the church vs other institutions in works of charitable giving (time, treasures and talents).

  72. JimmieT says:

    Em 5:36
    I thing the term ‘convenience’ is just as applicable.

  73. JimmieT says:

    “It’s just not convenient for me to have this baby/pregnancy”

  74. Duane Arnold says:

    I remember K in New York. She and her husband had been trying to have children for years. When it finally happened, her pregnancy was a medical nightmare threatening her own life. The pregnancy was terminated. The nursery had already been prepared. K would sit in the nursery for hours on end crying. Her husband, a leading member of the church, lapsed into clinical depression…

    I remember being asked for advice as a pastor by the parents of a 14 year old girl, pregnant from an incestuous assault, as they struggled to make a decision.

    At the women’s shelter where I used to volunteer, I encountered two different women through the years pregnant owing to rape.

    Just to say, these things actually happen and the decisions made are neither simple nor easy…

  75. Michael says:

    It’s all easy until you have to deal with real people…

  76. Duane Arnold says:


    Indeed, the abstract and the hypothetical are always easy… and, generally, very limited in terms of empathy or compassion…

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