Towards A New (Old) Exegesis: Duane W.H Arnold, PhD

You may also like...

179 Responses

  1. filbertz says:

    Duane, this is an approachable overview of biblical interpretation. In your experience and opinion, which of these steps or tools is most misused or ignored when one misinterprets scripture? Further, what unusual interpretive models most commonly lead folks into error?

  2. filbertz says:

    also, what role do you see the Holy Spirit play in leading his people into accurate understanding?

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    This is good and thoughtful. Would you then say that actual exegesis is impossible without some interaction with the languages? Now I don’t mean that Greek, Hebrew, and Aramiac would be mastered, but that, at the very least tools, are consulted to gain an understanding of the original.

    What do we call the teachers who make no real use of the originals? Exposition?

  4. Steve Wright says:


    Without arguing against Augustine of Hippo or the value his comment has had in your life, I would add (if he did not) that the Bible is about truth as much as it is about love.

    Check out John for one example, and count the times Jesus speaks of love, for they are many. Then count the references to truth. So if one’s love filter does not start with the fact that I want to know what is TRUE, love alone can lead us quite astray.

    Because we are sinful creatures and our hearts are wicked. The most loving thing I could do is encourage someone that all religions lead to God and are equal. By one standard of love. But not God’s standard of love, because in fact I would be “loving” people straight to hell. So we preach the Gospel which must include a very unloving starting point, namely that we have sinned and offended the True and Living God and await His judgement. Of course, the love of God is demonstrated in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    I can “lovingly” encourage people in sinful choices (i.e. God wants you to be happy so go ahead and leave your wife and children), or even in a whole lifestyle of sin. But it is a false choice that we can never be “happy” unless we sin, and the loving thing to do is to help people live a happy life, rather than a life rooted in truth which will actually lead to God and thus, joy and blessing.

    Our call is to speak the truth in love. The man you quote did not live in our postmodern world with our postmodern challenges on truth.

    I say this, having just read the Ryland book about the transgender kindergarten child, having recently listened (a 2nd time) in full to the conservative Baptist pastor in the LA area (Biola, Calvary Chapel educated) reasonings for his new view supporting homosexual relationships and marriage – and seeing this in the trenches of ministry every week as friends and family members of church members are fed this from the world and receive it into their fallen hearts. Like divorce was in the 70s and 80s, where just about every extended family was personally affected or were close to a family who was, so it is with these modern challenges.

    Love is the name of a new false idol and many a sacrifice is being offered on its altar. I’m sure that is in no way what you are professing in this article, but the point of exegesis is a search for truth, is it not. And while we may not be the Biblical language scholars, and we may be far removed from the linguistics of the days Scripture was written, we can certainly be men and women seeking truth…in love.

    Blessings on your day and the readers here.

  5. Xenia says:

    Blessings on you too, Steve.

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    My man, Steve Wright!

  7. Steve Wright says:

    I would add that the reference to 1 Timothy 1:5 (there is a typo there in your article) is actually a support of my point. And the value of what is understood normally as exegesis.

    Paul is not using the word for commandment in any sense of God’s commands to mankind. He uses the word parangelia (singular).

    It is the word used for his charge, his order, his message, to Timothy, which context explains in the immediate prior couple of verses that open the epistle – namely, to not let those in Ephesus teach other false doctrines. Timothy needs to stay there and straighten that out. Minister Godly edifying in faith.

    The END RESULT of this charge, this focus on the truth, is love.

    For the chapter continues by talking about the Law, NOW indeed speaking of the commandments of God (not the personal charge of Paul to Timothy), and how it is meant for the sinners of the world and “anything else contrary to sound doctrine”

    Leading in to the glorious truth of the Gospel in the close of the chapter, and how Jesus Christ even saves the chief of all sinners.

    Ending with an arguably very unloving thing to do, turn a couple guys over to Satan, but Paul says even here, there is a purpose in doing so. A purpose for THEIR benefit.

    THAT is actually being loving to Hymenaeus and Alexander – of course whether they repent is out of Paul’s control.

    The most unloving thing Paul and Timothy could hand done is pat on the head all the sinners under discussion in this one little chapter and quote the Beatles “All You Need is Love” and let them keep on living their destructive lives, but now thinking they had the approval of God because God’s leaders on earth approved (or stayed silent)

  8. Xenia says:

    We say “love the sinner but hate the sin,” which is certainly a true saying, but we have to be very careful as to what “loving the sinner” consists of. If it consists of confirming the sinner in his sin, that’s not true love.

    There’s a current kerfuffle in the Orthosphere concerning a famous nun (a problem right there already) who gave online advice to the mother of a 14 year old boy who is claiming to be a homosexual. The advice was to let the boy bring his boyfriends home because if this wasn’t permitted, he might go out and get into trouble. She said other dubious things, too. She was praised for being so loving but all she really did was tell this mom and her son that it was ok to be a practicing homosexual. (She did say active homosexuality was a sin.)

  9. Steve Wright says:

    Thank you Josh and Xenia.

  10. Xenia says:

    So, loving God and loving one’s neighbor may include some uncomfortable moments when we don’t pat the unrepentant sinner on the head but confront him or her with the truth. Start with the most gentle of speech possible and see how that goes. Souls may be at stake.

  11. Steve Wright says:

    The word quoted in Duane’s article from verse 5 is the noun form of the same word used as a verb in verse 3.

    There we read “so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer”

    Command them to stop false teachings is the loving thing to do.

    Exegesis made simple. (And one danger in taking a random verse out of context and using it to make a point not fully or exactly being made by the text of that verse.)

    Have to run now…

  12. Papias says:

    Josh #3.

    Augustine seemed to think that learning original languages was needed:

    Chapter 11.— Knowledge of Languages, Especially of Greek and Hebrew, Necessary to Remove Ignorance or Signs..

    16. “The great remedy for ignorance of proper signs is knowledge of languages. And men who speak the Latin tongue, of whom are those I have undertaken to instruct, need two other languages for the knowledge of Scripture, Hebrew and Greek, that they may have recourse to the original texts if the endless diversity of the Latin translators throw them into doubt. Although, indeed, we often find Hebrew words untranslated in the books as for example, Amen, Halleluia, Racha, Hosanna, and others of the same kind. Some of these, although they could have been translated, have been preserved in their original form on account of the more sacred authority that attaches to it, as for example, Amen and Halleluia. Some of them, again, are said to be untranslatable into another tongue, of which the other two I have mentioned are examples. For in some languages there are words that cannot be translated into the idiom of another language. And this happens chiefly in the case of interjections, which are words that express rather an emotion of the mind than any part of a thought we have in our mind. And the two given above are said to be of this kind, Racha expressing the cry of an angry man, Hosanna that of a joyful man. But the knowledge of these languages is necessary, not for the sake of a few words like these which it is very easy to mark and to ask about, but, as has been said, on account of the diversities among translators. For the translations of the Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek can be counted, but the Latin translators are out of all number. For in the early days of the faith every man who happened to get his hands upon a Greek manuscript, and who thought he had any knowledge, were it ever so little, of the two languages, ventured upon the work of translation.”
    On Christian Doctrine, Book 2, Chap 11

  13. Jean says:

    I did not read anything in Duane’s article that creates a dichotomy between love and truth.

  14. Xenia says:

    Jean, I don’t, either.

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    Sorry to be late to the party… I’ll go to some questions first and then move on to some of the very good comments…

  16. Xenia says:

    Actually, I wouldn’t have said anything at all except for the current buzz in Ortholandia which has been on my mind lately.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    #1 Filbertz

    I think often people make the biggest mistake in not placing the passage in context. Lack of knowledge of original languages, is of course, an issue, but there are tools available to help in this.

    As to your second question – yes, I think a prayerful approach to Scripture asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit is essential – especially if you are looking a the new exegetical approach I am suggesting…

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    #3 Josh

    Yes, exposition rather than exegesis.

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    #4/7 Steve Wright

    I don’t see the conflict here between love and truth. I’m not talking about a Hallmark Greeting card “love”. I’m talking about the dual filter – love of God and love of our neighbor. Love of our neighbor, of course, has to be grounded in truth. The point is, however, we can get caught up in the complexities of exegesis that we miss the point of all Scripture (in a general thematic sense) and of individual passages – that point, for me, is the love of God and love of my neighbor. I think someone even said that all the law and the prophets hang on that double love…

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    #12 Papias

    I don’t know about you, but every time I go back to De Doctrina Christiana, I am amazed at the clarity and measured nuance of Augustine’s thought…

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    #11 Steve Wright

    Actually, that was the verse in I Timothy that Augustine used in his argument… I simply quoted him. So, you can ask him about contextualization…

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    #10 Xenia

    I agree. I think it needs to be said that loving one’s neighbor is not a wholesale acceptance of their life, practices, beliefs, etc. If it was, then loving our enemies would be a nonsense – as they are opposed to us by definition. It seems to me, however, that there are a large number of believers who are all about telling people “truth”, often with a vehemence that seems to belie that fact that we’re commanded to love and show love. I use the word “commanded” advisedly… it was not a suggestion, or something we should do occasionally. I have to say, often I see ODM people, or even occasional posts on this and other sites that makes me wonder (in the words of the Black Eyed Peas) “Where is the love?” Even some of the sentiments suggested above that there is some dichotomy between “love” and “truth” gives me pause. I think there are attributes of speech and conduct by which, as Christians, we can be judged. I’m reasonably assured that when I stand before Christ, he’s not going to quiz me on The Rudder, or the 39 Articles, or the Augsburg Confession – he will, however, be asking me about how I cared for “the least of these” who, in reality, are his brethren.

  23. Michael says:

    When I hear people constantly advocating for “truth” what I perceive is a desire to focus on some aspect of the law.

    Without the Gospel, such “truth” is a half truth that doesn’t promote a greater love of God and neighbor, but a host of other things that cause both to deteriorate.

  24. Duane Arnold says:

    #23 Michael

    And often it’s about “shibboleths”, not “Truth” with a capital “T”…

  25. Dan from Georgia says:

    Hey! I see a “like” button! Cool!

  26. Michael says:

    I’m experimenting…I hope it works.

  27. Michael says:

    Looks like I found one that works…I think…

  28. Steve Wright says:

    Actually, that was the verse in I Timothy that Augustine used in his argument… I simply quoted him. So, you can ask him about contextualization…
    Quite snarky. I read people all the time that use verses out of context to make the points they want to make rather than the point the Bible verse is making…the moment I “simply quote them” is the moment I too do the same.

    But as long as we are being snarky, the one who “constantly advocated for truth” as I said in my opening comment, was the Lord Jesus Christ. It may often be about “shibboleths” but certainly not always. (Nor is it always about “politics” just because one side seems overly dominated with support of an issue)

    Now, if one wants to dismiss the devastation and destruction that adult activists are doing to numbers of young children in this country, in the name of love, in the name of transgenderism, as merely “some aspect of the law” then so be it. As merely a shibboleth, then fine. Nobody has to answer to me and we all have to answer to God.

    But it is LOVE for my neighbor that makes me weep over the lies that are being advanced that are destroying so many young people. Just look at the most famous transgender of them all, whom we have watched in celebrity status for a full decade, since kindergarten, who now is shocked that the bottom surgery may not be possible because of all the damage the blockers did to the kid during puberty. So this kid won’t have a normal penis, nor a neovagina – and will likely have to live this way for the rest of his/her life.

    And Ryland and his/her parents see Jazz as the trailblazing hero. And indeed, he/she is definitely the most public we have ever seen. (It is LOVE for neighbor that motivates reading their story, and learning about what is happening all around us).

    It is the person not motivated by the love of Christ who rejoices over this kid’s misery now – and there are plenty out there for sure, but not the guy writing this post. But equally, there is no love in encouraging destructive behavior that is divorced from truth.

    (And for the record, what an adult does with surgery and transitioning is none of my concern, though there too my wish is for all to come to the knowledge of Christ.)

    But there is a war on against children. Children who may have parents who are confused, scared, ignorant, or simply (as parents have been since the dawn of time) incapable of saying, no, to their child.

    Is the loving parent the one who never says no to their small child, or the one who DOES say, no, when warranted.

    And far too many Christians are either ignorant of the war, or in fact aiding and abetting the wrong side.

    But hey, the Bible doesn’t say anything bad about taking hormone blockers so the loving exegesis of what the Bible DOES say about male and female (as well as true science) must be to encourage these little kids and their parents to listen to the radical activists with vested interests (often financial) that have nothing to do with the love of Jesus Christ.

    Yea, that’s the ticket.

    (snark off)

  29. Dan from Georgia says:

    Looks like it works!

  30. Michael says:


    I have no idea what precipitated that rant or even what it’s about…how the hell we went from exegesis to transexual issues is beyond me.

  31. Michael says:

    Dan…it seems to be throwing everything into moderation for some reason…

  32. Duane Arnold says:

    #28 Steve

    No snark intended whatsoever. I was just telling you why I used that particular reference. Now, I must admit that the journey from advocating love of God and love of neighbor to transgender issues is one that I really don’t see. I actually agree with most of what you say, but perhaps not the tone…

  33. Josh the Baptist says:

    I thought Steve’s jump to transgender issues was explained well in his thoughful and respectful #4.

    He adds an addendum about “truth” to Duane’s post, pointing out that he doesn’t think he is disagreeing with Duane, then showed from his very recent experience where “love” and “truth” would seem to be in conflict.

  34. Xenia says:

    Like and Not-Like buttons. I am going to have to resist many temptations.

  35. Michael says:

    Last time I checked no one here is a LGBTQ activist…or even advocate.

  36. Jean says:

    Godly love and godly truth are never in conflict.

  37. Josh the Baptist says:

    You guys are predisposed to read disagreement into anything Steve writes.

  38. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – “would seem”

  39. Xenia says:

    If Steve would ease up on the snark I think he would be received better.

  40. Michael says:


    “Now, if one wants to dismiss the devastation and destruction that adult activists are doing to numbers of young children in this country, in the name of love, in the name of transgenderism, as merely “some aspect of the law” then so be it. As merely a shibboleth, then fine.”

    I think that pretty much speaks for itself…that’s not what either myself or Duane were saying, so evidently we’re not the only ones reading things…

  41. Duane Arnold says:

    #37 Josh

    I’m not predisposed in any way whatsoever. (see #19)

  42. Michael says:

    The “like, not like” buttons were screwing up the posting…I’ll keep looking.

  43. em... again says:

    #4 – Pastor Steve’s words are good and true look at the subject here… for human kind love is adaptable to situations, God’s love is an absolute and immovable, hence the price of redemption…
    now i’ll go back and enjoy the thread with all the repeatin on exegetin 🙂

  44. Michael says:

    “Godly love and godly truth are never in conflict.”

    Agreed…with the understanding that even orthodox Christians don’t always agree about what constitutes “truth”.

  45. Josh the Baptist says:

    Steve Wright at 4, 7 and 11 – No snark, no issue. Good comments. First shots fired at 21 and 23. He did “fire” back.

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Godly love and godly truth are never in conflict.”

    That was just Jean trying to take issue with my #33.

  47. Michael says:


    #23 was not in any way a shot at Steve, but an observation I’ve made at least a hundred times here.
    I’m perfectly capable of addressing my shots so they hit the desired target.

  48. Xenia says:

    #45…Firing shots.

    It would be better if we didn’t think of this as a “war” with shots fired but rather as a conversation between brothers and sisters. This does happen here most of the time, I think.

  49. Josh the Baptist says:


    I’ve got a feeling that everyone here knew who Duane, Michael, and Jean were digging at.

    But we’ll pretend otherwise.

    Y’all have a good day.

  50. Kevin H says:

    I wrote an article on aspects of the transgender issue a few months ago. I dealt with the concerns ranging from how transgendered individuals have been treated over the years, including by the church, to concerns of the push to allow biological men into women’s bathrooms and changing rooms. I did not deal directly with the issue of the “sinfulness” transgender behavior as that was not my purpose of writing the article. I believe in the discussion of the article, I commented something along the lines that I thought transgender behavior probably wasn’t healthy or best but that I wasn’t ready to just condemn it all as sinful because Scripture doesn’t directly address the issue.

    If I remember correctly, Steve also interjected into that article a couple times the need to speak the truth about the sinfulness of transgender behavior at what seemed to be a concern of some on the site erring towards a faulty “love” by not doing so. So maybe there’s some carryover from that in bringing up the issue in this thread as an example of truth/love issues. Or maybe not. If Steve so chooses, he can say if my speculation has any relevance.

  51. Duane Arnold says:

    Well, if the double filter of loving God and loving our neighbor got people in a twist, how about this:

    “This is what I insist upon: human actions can only be understood by their root in love. All kinds of actions might appear good without proceeding from the root of love. Remember, thorns also have flowers: some actions seem truly savage, but are done for the sake of discipline motivated by love. Once and for all, I give you this one short command: love, and do what you will. If you hold your peace, hold your peace out of love. If you cry out, cry out in love. If you correct someone, correct them out of love. If you spare them, spare them out of love. Let the root of love be in you: nothing can spring from it but good. …”


  52. em... again says:

    Pastor Steve is readable and reasonable… a little snark shows up in many of the comments here, i just let it pass – if the content is worth reading, i’d rather not wade thru dull, pasturized text book intellectualism – a little humor, a little snark, mini-tantrums all make the folks here real people sharing their souls as well as their intellects… only when the above peccadilloes take over the thread does it become wearisome … just sayin … again

  53. Michael says:

    Sometimes, this place is utterly inexplicable…

    Whenever we preach on a given text, there is always more than one viable, biblical, way to teach it.

    When you’ve studied it through and exhausted your resources, you still have to preach it.

    To filter everything through “how does this help us love God and neighbor” seems wise to me and a way of pointing to Christ in all things.

    I don’t think I’ve ever preached on the transgender issue and if I did I don’t know that I’d have much to say beyond that it is another consequence of the fall.

    The solution for all the consequences of the fall is still the Gospel.

    When we preach the law, we always preach the Gospel…there is no one here that would negate the law, but I hope we all would emphasize the Gospel.

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I agree with everything Steve says. I have never seen anyone lead with love who does not leave the standard for truth way behind in the dust.

    But hey, that’s just me.

  55. Michael says:

    I’ve known more who in “speaking the truth” left love in the dust…it’s really possible to do both…

  56. Jean says:

    One of the biblical principles that is missing when juxtaposing love and truth, is that Christian mercy can and should coexist with fidelity to one’s faith. If Christ died for His enemies (us), then can we forgive and give to our enemies? If the answer is “no,” then we might be worshiping a false christ.

  57. Duane Arnold says:

    #53 Michael

    Well, it seems that love of God and love of neighbor is a VERY dangerous idea!
    Actually, it is a very, very, radical dangerous idea… the one who preached it first went to the Cross…

  58. Descended says:

    Steve Wright

    Your comment to Duane was spot on.
    I recall some things about “love of the truth” and “speaking truth in love”. Then there’s the High Priestly prayer in John. Can’t have one without the other.

  59. Jean says:

    MLD in #54 misrepresented Duane again. Duane never said “lead with love.” He didn’t even imply that.

  60. em... again says:

    well, i hate it when i make a comment and it hangs there like a crossing gate… surely there’s more to be said LOL
    Pastor Duane has shown grace and kindness in this explanation today – thank you
    as a fuzzy fundy evangelical dispensationalist (not really, cuz i don’t hang my hat on labels), i think that those who came up with dispensationalism were on to something…
    but perhaps it is the human race as it moves in the whirlpool that defines those dispensations – all the while humanity looks for the cause and seems to dance around the conclusion that it is we hard nosed, ignorant Christians holding mankind back…
    whose idea is that? there once was this creature who informed a beautiful lady that we could be as gods… we think we’re progressing and in some ways we are, but the whirlpool will suck us down nevertheless…

    God bless and keep our exegetes, strengthen them in honesty and perseverance and give us ears to hear

  61. Descended says:

    “Like”, “not like” buttons would make my experience here very depressing I think 🙁

    Maybe there’s a “meh…” button?

  62. Michael says:

    I must be getting old and soft.

    We have a bunch of young men at the skatepark who are doing damage to themselves through drug and alcohol abuse.
    I’ve talked to some of them about it…I’ve preached the “law” to them concerning their lifestyles.
    The only reason they listen to me at all is I did lead with love…what I wanted to do was lead with a cop and clean out the park.
    I’ll talk to them again today, I’m sure…but I won’t be focused on the law, but the love of God for them that can transform them.
    As His ambassador, I have to lead this way…they’ve heard the law already.

  63. em... again says:

    i began my #60 before the teachers returned to posting after my #52 … then again, sometimes i just plain don’t make sense, so… take your pick 🙂

  64. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean once again misrepresented me – I said nothing about Duane.

    But you look at EVERY liberal branch of any denomination and you will see that they gave up truth (and the scriptures) in the name of loving neighbor. Check it out, every one.

  65. em... again says:

    Michael, are you still able to stock an ice chest with cold water for these kids? you are there for a reason – no doubt, but it is so hot now, take care

  66. Michael says:

    I’m going to give everyone here the benefit of the doubt that says they know the difference between love and license…

  67. Jean says:

    “But you look at EVERY liberal branch of any denomination and you will see that they gave up truth (and the scriptures0 in the name of loving neighbor. Check it out, every one.”

    Theology should NEVER be reactionary. We are Lutherans; thus, we should not massage our theology in reaction to, or to compensate for, what we see wrong in other traditions. This is something that Todd Wilken has been writing about on a variety of topics.

    I don’t care what other denominations do. I only care what the Bible says, as interpreted through my Lutheran tradition. Why, because Luther interpreted the Bible correctly (sorry Michael 🙂 ).

  68. Michael says:


    I can’t afford that these days, but T is very quick to let me know if a kid is in distress…and we get them hydrated fast.
    We just have to do it one at a time after the fact now.

    Happened yesterday…they forget it can be 10-20 degrees hotter on the concrete.

  69. Jean says:


    You should share with the group some time, the story of Monica as told by Augustine and how she led her pagan husband to become a Christian. My pastor actually mentioned it in his sermon yesterday and Peter Brown covers it pretty well in his biography of Augustine. I think it really puts meat on the bone about what you are writing about.

  70. Michael says:


    It’s all good.
    I have a soft spot for Lutherans…and all the other traditions who think they got it right. 🙂

  71. Descended says:


    I hear ya. Sometimes I think we throw truth at the lost like constituents throw money at community crime issues. His on you for taking the gospel where it counts. I hear it takes like 90 contacts on average with one homeless person or addict before they listen to truth…? Without the Spirit of Love we only decrease our odds.

  72. Duane Arnold says:

    Well, liberals in most denominations use the Bible… so we’d better abandon it.
    Well, liberals in many denominations celebrate the Lord’s Supper… so we shouldn’t do it.
    Well, liberals in most denominations go to seminary… so we should avoid seminaries.
    Well, liberals in most denominations talk about love… so let’s eliminate those 106 NT references…


  73. Michael says:


    We’ve been there on an almost constant basis for almost 10 years…and the kids that were there in the beginning are just starting to trust me.
    I never had any agenda except to keep them safe and as healthy as possible…everyone who comes at them with an agenda will leave greatly frustrated.

  74. Descended says:

    #71 my point was that love in truth is elbow grease, so to speak

  75. Duane Arnold says:

    #69 Jean

    That would actually make a great article. I’ll give it some thought. By the way, I wonder if we should nominate Monica as patron saint of “helicopter mothers”…

  76. Michael says:


    I could be wrong…but I believe that it’s only though continual, loving, relationship that we earn the right to be heard.
    It would be incredibly easy to preach against and lament the sins of the people at the park…it’s a whole different ballgame to actually engage them.

  77. em... again says:

    you’ll have to be careful designating Monica as a patron saint – today’s kids will think you mean this lady LOL

    Michael, if you give the go ahead, i’m sending you and T some $$s for water and ice… how much will they consume in a month?

  78. Michael says:


    You’re too kind…

    Let me see whats on sale today when I pick T up from work.
    Strangely enough, it’s the ice that gets expensive…

  79. CostcoCal says:

    Maybe spending time in Juvey would save one of those young skaters.

    Maybe talking to a probation officer might save one of them.

    So too, the Law is for sinners and unrighteous. (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

    By tossing out the law, we are actually hurting the transgressor.

    So too, with our theology.

    Grace to the Saint and Law to the Sinner.

    It is the Law that breaks us into needing God’s Grace.

  80. em... again says:

    just realized that i think that i have an E address for you, Michael…

  81. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane @72 – you are a fool for even bringing that up.
    I am all for loving neighbor, but if truth hurts their feelings, well what can I say.

    I can love my unbelieving family to death, and even I compromise the truth as I will not speak to them any longer about Jesus because they get too agitated – I have not mentioned Jesus to any of them for more than 15 years, out of love.

    And that’s the way it works.

  82. Michael says:

    “By tossing out the law, we are actually hurting the transgressor.”

    I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’ve never tossed out the law.

    Many of these kids have already been in jail.

    It didn’t work…maybe someone caring about them will.

    If not, maybe we can just line them up and shoot them.

  83. Michael says:

    If I weren’t sure that it can’t be so, I’d think that some folks here are thinking the law is a cure by itself…

  84. Duane Arnold says:

    “Duane @72 – you are a fool for even bringing that up.”

    Some things should not be dignified with a reply. (Matt.5:22)

    I will only say, the bullying and bluster lowers the tone of the conversation and an apology would be in order…

  85. CostcoCal says:

    The Law is the cure…in showing me how much I need Grace.

  86. em... again says:

    MLD, FWIW – i was raised by my grandparents (part of the Holiness movement of that era) and my mother forbid them to teach me anything of the Faith… growing up, it was easy to watch their lives, to compare my rebel mother and my grandparents and come to my own conclusions… stay the course, but if you feel you’ve got the chance, say something 🙂

  87. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, only because I am a nice guy will I accept your apology.

  88. Michael says:

    So, lets try this again…why do so many seem to believe that “truth” and love are incompatible?

    This is a (mostly) mature group of believers…and for the most part conservative theologically.

    Why does the mere mention of love lead to accusations of being soft on sin?

  89. em... again says:

    sometimes the Law does convict, but not if we come with a gun loaded with law bullets… i think this is where the Holy Spirit can step in and prompt

    mostly folk, especially kids IMO, need to be affirmed as human beings

  90. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD, An answer with a lack of grace is what I have come to expect…

  91. Michael says:

    “mostly folk, especially kids IMO, need to be affirmed as human beings”

    Amen and amen.

  92. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    em, my thought is that someone else will need to talk to them – just as I speak to members of other families who will not listen to their own,

    A prophet has no honor in his own country (family)

  93. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t think they are incompatible – I think they are synonymous.

    However, what we usually see in practice is that when someone leads with love – as I said earlier – truth either gets 2nd chair or goes out the window.

    Check it out – ELCA – PCUSA – The Episcopal Church – the United Church of Christ – all once solid, but for the sake of love …

  94. Duane Arnold says:

    #88 Michael

    We love our theological systems, we love those who think like us, we love the borders we have set around us… too often we do not love God or our neighbors as ourselves. Unfortunately, love for God and neighbor is “ground zero” for what it means to be a Christian.

  95. Jean says:

    Duane, Michael and Costco,

    I think we’ve hit upon another failure of popular evangelicalism: the failure to understand vocation.

    When Michael goes to the skate park, he has the office of parent to his son, but he does not have the office of parent, pastor, police officer, law court judge, etc. to the other kids. To other kids, he is their good samaritan.

    Oddly enough, God also uses kindness to bring unbelievers to repentance according to Romans 2:4. We could also reference Paul’s admonition about Christians remaining married to pagan spouses as another example.

    Much of the disagreement here arises from confusing the Christian doctrine of vocation.

  96. CostcoCal says:

    I’m sounding old school.

    That is fine, I own it.

    Grace is for the Saint.

    The Law is for the Sinner.

    That is what I see in Jesus and then through the New Testament.

  97. Duane Arnold says:

    #95 Jean

    Yet some vocations are for all of us:

    “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

    The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

    Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

  98. Jean says:

    “Much of the disagreement here arises from confusing the Christian doctrine of vocation.”

    I’m being very charitable. But I hope it’s a matter of catechesis and not deep seated hatred, because that would be a rejection of the grace of God.

  99. CostcoCal says:


    I’m not saying I am an awesome evangelist.

    However, what I know is that leading people to Christ does include the use of the Law.

    Particularly, in the day and age where there ought to be no Law, according to culture.

    The Gospel message includes the Law for the unbeliever.

    Again, I have much room to grow in this regard.

  100. em... again says:

    “Grace is for the Saint” amen… but does that not include our dispensing of it also? it isn’t grace if it either fudges the Truth or acts as Judge
    so how does grace play out in our lives as Believers – we receive and we dispense, but how?

  101. Jean says:


    Unless I was being ham fisted, I think my 95 would agree with your 97.

  102. Duane Arnold says:

    #98 Jean

    Agreed. I would not wish to question anyone’s motives. However, the culture and the dysfunction of society at large can push us into corners…

  103. Duane Arnold says:

    #101 Jean


  104. CostcoCal says:

    There are many hills not worth dying on.

    When you do have one, though, then stick to it.

    Even if accused of “pushing people into corners.”

  105. Duane Arnold says:

    #104 CostcoCal

    Please read again… the sentiment was about the culture and society at large can make all of us feel like were being pushed into corners…

  106. Steve Wright says:

    Why does the mere mention of love lead to accusations of being soft on sin?
    I responded to the article. Without disagreeing with the article I added the issue of truth which was wholly lacking from the article. I cited Christ’s words as example and my authority in doing so. And I gave a mini-exegesis of 1 Tim chapter one that showed this balance of Scripture between truth and love.

    Why? Like I said, I read the Ryland book.

    I watched the hour-long Danny Cortez sermon (twice) where he gives his new-found exegesis of the homosexual texts in defense of his new-found stance (and his church’s) on homosexuality.

    I see what love divorced from truth in the name of Christianity looks like. I did it, because this is our world. ALL so-called, love, no truth. No absolutes. And MILLIONS of people are listening to the voices of Cortez, of Ryland (or more specifically, her Mom)

    I cited Jazz and his biological nightmare as an example of what the world’s love results in with the destruction of this kid, and how badly this kid needs the truth and love combination found in Jesus Christ – and some serious counseling. There have been more than enough “Christian” voices rooting this poor kid on in his destruction for the past decade. And any cautionary voice is dismissed as a hater, or worse, maybe an evangelical Republican!

    You asked, why?, Michael.

    Because I just read a doctor (a DOCTOR) who said any teenage girl who cuts herself during puberty is transgender and should get on hormone blockers. No room for all the other issues that have led girls to this destructive behavior in the past. In fact, young kids uncomfortable, embarrassed or otherwise ashamed of their pubescent bodies almost surely have gender dysphoria we are being told – or at least it should be the first thing we assume.

    Read that again and ask yourself if you have ever met a teenage kid who was NOT somehow awkward and uncomfortable with their body when going through puberty. This is madness.

    This nonsense is no different than when junior high school counselors tell kids who aren’t boy or girl crazy yet like their peers that it means they are homosexual, and encourage them to explore that.

    Why are we quick to assume, Michael?? Becuase I minister in the USA in 2017. My ministry is first and foremost with people. I am not a celebrity pastor, and every message I give on Sunday is not something that could double in Bible College class, but rather designed to speak practically, and applicably to the people in the pews who are dealing with the real world of USA 2017 and looking for guidance, comfort, grace, and yes, truth and love, which I seek to give them through the power and authority of Scripture for the 30 minutes of their one hour a week worship they are in my care before they face the world once more.

    While remaining available throughout their week, and their lives. As I also said, like divorce in the past, these are issues that every one in our congregations has a niece, a grandchild, a good friend or coworker, the next door neighbors, SOMEBODY being led by falsehood and not truth, and being lead always “In the name of love”

    As far as ministering among troubled youth, outcasts, homeless and the like, there is more than one of us out there doing that. Come intern at CCLE and get a glimpse of the challenges….Or you can visit our brother (and another former regular at this blog), Rob, at his church on the other side of Elsinore.

    And we don’t shoot them either….

  107. Michael says:

    So… let me introduce you to Stevie.

    I’d seen him at the park…nothing particularly memorable about him other than he was a good skater and kind to Trey…and he drank a bit.
    I asked him not to do so when the young kids were around and he politely complied.
    I hadn’t seen him for some time until we saw him working at a local diner…and he was quite proud to be able to work.
    He’s had a skating accident…no helmet, hit his head on the concrete and suffers seizures as a result.
    If he doesn’t take meds twice a day he has constant seizures that leave him paralyzed and blind.
    He’s homeless.
    I saw him last night…and he was drinking.
    He’s lost his job.
    He’s a mess.
    He knows he’s a mess.
    He’s heard every condemnation spoken over him that you can make.
    I hugged him…told him I’d pray for him…would help any way I could.
    Maybe he’ll be sober today.
    I’ll hug him whether he is or not.
    I’m not a nice person, but I’m wearing the Jesus thing and you have to do what you have to do…

    Time to pick up T… we get to water the heathens today… 🙂

  108. Steve Wright says:

    Check it out – ELCA – PCUSA – The Episcopal Church – the United Church of Christ – all once solid, but for the sake of love …
    You left out Methodists, MLD, which I believe was the flavor that Ryland and her parents visited, from what I could tell from the book, the first church service since the kid was born. It got a few pages in the book.

    Visiting after their total embrace of the little child’s transition, where they describe the service and the pastor complaining about how the denomination had defrocked a gay marriage pastor and how that would not happen there. Not sure what else he taught in his sermon, the book did not say. I know they affirmed the gay couple that was there that day and how wonderful Ryland’s mom thought it all was…

    Nothing like giving a lost family a “Christian” stamp of approval on their child’s destruction the one week they decide to visit a church….so much love.

  109. CostcoCal says:

    I go to the Hospital every week as a chaplain.

    I visit people who are hours away from dying.

    I offer them love.

    A cup of water.

    And salvation through Christ alone.

    ALL three are necessary in that moment.

    And by the way, we are all on our “death bed”.

    It’s simply a matter of time.

  110. Duane Arnold says:

    #106 Steve

    God loves me… and often he tells me “No”.
    I try to love my neighbor, and for the sake of truth, I often have to say “No” to societal norms, behaviors, untruths, etc. – but that is part and parcel of love as well. I don’t think we’re on a different page…

  111. Duane Arnold says:

    #109 CostcoCal

    Agreed in all points and without hesitation…

  112. Descended says:

    #109 Would that be the doctrine of immanency?

  113. CostcoCal says:

    *high fives Duane

  114. CostcoCal says:

    Descended, um, I had to Google what that even means.

  115. Descended says:

    I wouldn’t know save I came from a pretrib background. I appreciate the simple logic of death being immanent. So that’s all I need (for now) to understand immanency.

  116. Descended says:

    Oh gracious



    Nailed me

  117. Michael says:

    Waiting for Trey to come out…you’re confusing imminence with immanence…imminence means something could happen at any time, immanence refers to the “closeness ” of God as contrasted with His transcendence.

  118. Descended says:

    I thought the other one started with an E

    Should have Googled it 😀

  119. Descended says:

    Yeah, thx, caught it, still smiling

  120. Duane Arnold says:

    #118 Descended

    “Eminence” is for the next time you’re introduced to a Roman Catholic Cardinal…

  121. em... again says:

    and if the Cardinal has a very large nose or ears that stick out, you can smile to yourself as you address him as “Your Eminence” … sorry… 🙂

    as i read the thread now, the agreement is all over the place… even when fine tuning a point and this is the kind of thread of which i’ll say, “twas good to have been here today”

    i think God is pleased when we examine the Faith, even when we don’t see eye to eye

  122. Duane Arnold says:

    #121 Em


  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Now that I am done working for the day, I reread the article. I may have passed over the last paragraph too quickly earlier.
    After 25 years of asking the “what is this text telling me to do or how to act” – Now, for the past dozen years I have been properly taught when reading a text to ask – “what is this telling me about Jesus.”

  124. Duane Arnold says:

    #123 MLD

    I assume the quotes are referring to yourself, and not the article…

  125. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Yes the quotes refer to me – but they were brought to my remembrance by the last paragraph of your article.

  126. CostcoCal says:


    As in so many things in life…

    It’s not either/or.

    I read a text and can ask, “What is this telling me about Jesus” while at the same time I can also ask, “How does this help me love God and love my neighbor.”

    Where we all too often error, is sticking to what we believe to be true and write off things that can very well accompany it.

    Either/or’s are too frequent and are rarely helpful.

  127. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Costco, I wasn’t speaking of either or. I was just pointing out that I no longer read the Bible like I read the instruction manual to my dishwasher.

  128. Erunner says:

    It seems clear many in the church won’t refer to themselves as Christians these days because of how they see that word being interpreted by society today. So they are Christ followers, etc.

    When it comes to the word love as it pertains to our faith I never look at that words use by anyone who calls themself a believer. Why? Because of how easily that word seemingly justifies all that follows it or in other instances what isn’t being said.

    People in the world are looking for love. Yet they may have no interest in God.

    When in discussion with others I try to ask questions so I can have an idea of how to proceed. I’ve had the most loving people turn out to be agents of satan once their beliefs became clear.

    So in what I hope is love I share the gospel with them. No longer do I feel responsible for their conversion as I used to. My prayer is that I represented our God properly and not out of pride or any other sin I’m capable of.

    I believe in the end we all desire people to come to faith. And it blows me away that God would allow people like me to share His love with others.

  129. filbertz says:

    emandemsandants. When you leave your bag of M&M’s out and those pesky ants find them.

    just keeping pace with the 25 cent words. 🙂

    I think one of the key aspects of today’s post that should be stated is that Biblical interpretation and resulting systematic theologies have repeatedly divided denominations, churches, families and friends. Since there is no agreement on the processes of interpretation, every man does what is right (or ‘supportable’) in his own eyes. Rightly dividing the word of God is another biblical pipedream.

  130. Costco Cal says:

    If rightly dividing the Word is a “pipe dream”, then why did Paul tell Timothy to do so?

  131. Em says:

    Rightly dividing the word of truth… not a dream, but a standard… truth is that we are all so riddled with unrecognized prejudicial reactors that it takes time to cleanse our thinking – all of us seem to have our unique style of doing so…
    So much of how we process information is perspective driven… Could we anticipate and enjoy our wobbly pilgrim journey as we gain the mind of God? Be learners, let God set the pace while we respect and enjoy the variety of our fellow pilgrims? Even in eternity we’ll all have our quirks, I suspect
    You PxP peeps, teachers and us pew sitters, have the best quirks. IMHO ?

  132. Duane Arnold says:

    #128 Erunner

    I’ve been considering this thread for some hours. I must confess, I generally found much of what was expressed to be discouraging. I’m painting with a broad brush here, but sentiments expressed along the lines of “Liberals use the word ‘love’, so we can’t”. Instead of honest conversation with a desire to learn and understand another point of view, the reaction turns to long diatribes on culture wars or schoolyard bullying and name-calling. Is this what we as believers have been reduced to nowadays? Yes, I run into those who reject the appellation “Christian” in favor of “Christ follower” and the like. Part of it may have to do with the perception that Christians are the grumpy neighbors always yelling at kids to “stay off my lawn”. For myself, I will not allow fundamentals of Christian faith to be hijacked. If saying that loving God and loving our neighbor is the basis of our life in Christ is controversial, or somehow “liberal”, I’ll deal with it. There’s been much talk here about “truth”. Part of that “truth” is the double love of God and our neighbor. It may not place me as a “cultural warrior”, or be the subject of the latest book, but it is the closest I can come to not only understanding the Gospel, but trying to live the Gospel as well.

  133. Jean says:

    One thing that many Christians detest about Christian love, and so they ignore it and/or don’t preach it, is that it is to be given freely to those who won’t or can’t reciprocate. Just like Jesus does for us.

  134. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Duane (#132)…I have for the most part ignored most comments here that complain about love because it has been disheartening (pardon the subtle pun). I will love the lost at the risk of raising the ire of some law-only Christians, to the point of ignoring said believers.

  135. Duane Arnold says:

    #133 Jean

    Yes, Christ set the model – “Love one another as I have loved you…”

  136. Duane Arnold says:

    #134 Dan

    Yes, I’ve rarely seen a person attracted to the message of Christ by self-righteously demeaning them… there is that other horrible word, by the way, that’s seldom used – “Grace”…

  137. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Who are these many Christians who detest Christian love and refuse to preach it? Other than the folks at Westboro Baptist, I don’t think I have run across this ‘many’.

  138. Dan from Georgia says:

    Duane (#136)…agreed. There is that scandalous word…GRACE.

  139. Duane Arnold says:

    #138 Dan

    It is so scandalous, I think we should use it often…

  140. filbertz says:

    a pipedream in that it is a grand ideal that has failed to catch on in common practice. Of course Paul directed Timothy to do so, and if the passage is prescriptive, which it apparently is, then others are to do so as well. Yet the evidence is overwhelming that those hermeneutical and interpretive principles cited in the article are not widely nor consistently applied leading to wildly broad and contradictory conclusions of what the Bible ‘says’ or what Christians believe and practice.

  141. Michael says:

    What a weird thread.

    Now that I’ve slept on it (but not much) it’s even stranger to me.

    When I read it before we posted it, I assumed a decent discussion of hermeneutical methods.

    This is the first time in a long time that someone has laid out the various interpretive models we work with and I thought those would be the focus.
    It would be, I thought, a good thread.

    It turned into something wholly other than what was intended.

    (I do think our esteemed Filbertz has made some comments worth noting on the original subject, however.)

    Any and all discussions today end up about the culture wars and most especially gay and transgender issues.

    You can’t have a conversation about anything unless it’s preceded by a strong statement of opposition to the “gay agenda”.

    I guess in the 20’s and 30’s you had to speak against higher criticism and in the 40’s and 50’s against communism before you earned a hearing.

    I confess I have a more naive and simplistic mindset in regard to these matters.

    The culture doesn’t define my thoughts or conversations on religious issues.

    I’m much more inclined to look to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount to assess such.

    I haven’t read the books or the videos that have Steve upset.

    They don’t interest me because my ministry or hermeneutic doesn’t change according to the kind of sin encountered.

    It doesn’t really adapt to the culture.

    My problem is that I have a hard time loving God and my neighbor at all, let alone well.

    There are times when I’d rather just flush and walk away.

    Lots of times.

    Most of the time.

    That’s why this thread was important to me…I can get the technical stuff down, but my heart has problems… and needs a better hermeneutic.

  142. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I guess in the 20’s and 30’s you had to speak against higher criticism and in the 40’s and 50’s against communism before you earned a hearing.”

    Pretty much, and in some circles still the same today 🙂

  143. covered says:

    We have come a long way from despising most things CC to where we are today. I enjoy watching more than participating. From where I’m sitting, all PP threads have some redeeming value. This one is no different. It’s much like other ministries. It gets weird when people get involved 🙂

  144. CostcoCal says:

    CC has been too involved in culture for my taste. That’s just me, though.

    I love talking about Theology. So thank you, Phoenix Preacher.

  145. Duane Arnold says:


    We’ve talked about this often. If we allow ourselves to be defined by our reaction to the cultural issue of the moment, we become completely defined by that issue… until the next issue comes around. I’d rather spend time and energy dealing with the basics of the Faith and how we express that Faith. If we do that job properly, and with grace, we’ll have a message to share with all, regardless of the shifting culture around us…

  146. Michael says:

    Duane @ 145…exactly.

  147. Steve Wright says:

    I haven’t read the books or the videos that have Steve upset.

    They don’t interest me because my ministry or hermeneutic doesn’t change according to the kind of sin encountered.
    LOL. Yeah, you got me. That’s exactly why I chose to educate myself on what millions of Americans are hearing and believing. Because I have a changing hermeneutic.

    Certainly not because of the reasons I actually wrote in this thread. Namely a desire to minister to the culture and issues of our day that are affecting the families God has put in my pastoral charge. Hey, I bet a lot of pastors couldn’t be bothered to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin back in the day, or Letter from a Birmingham Jail in the 60s.

    If you think I am just referencing a couple of youtube videos you are woefully uninformed. The people here have had audience with Obama, been on Oprah, Ellen, interviewed far and wide. They are influencing our culture and the people I minister to.

    And despite protests to the contrary on this blog. We ARE talking about something unique, something different, than any other sins in recent memory. Even pro-choice Christians are not actively encouraging abortions, nobody encourages addicts to stay addicted to their drugs. The strongest 1st Amendment types still don’t encourage Christians to watch p*rnography, or adultery. Maybe a few loons out there but they aren’t being followed by millions or being interviewed by Barbara Walters.And sure you can cue the expected “Calvary Chapel hires former adulterers” music…and seek to dismiss the whole thing. After all, no CC pastor can speak on matters of integrity in ministry, right?

    But always, ALWAYS it comes back to “love” – No one says you are unloving to speak against abortion, drugs, p*rn or adultery. But if you do not actively AFFIRM the beauty and glory that is same sex relationships or transgender transition, then YOU are NOT loving. And of course, an example of those hated, bigoted Christians.

    And as someone who ministers to far more real people, eye to eye, than through cyberspace, and as someone who has every message public and online so anyone can hear how “hateful” I am or how often “it always comes back to the gay agenda” (but why bust stereotypes of our imaginations) let me just say that I have encountered many a person either personally or through a family member, who has bought into these lies, and without fail not one of them is walking anywhere close to the Lord today. How many parents or grandparents, rejected spouses or children have you held hands with and prayed as they poured out their pain of watching a loved one not just desert the family, but desert the Lord. In fact, I’ve seen people previously serving in leadership turn to rabid atheists with the gay agenda now being their new god to serve – which is odd because as MLD notes, there are plenty of Christian churches out there that will welcome the LGBQT community with open arms.

    But maybe this is the sort of thing Peter referenced:

    18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.

  148. Duane Arnold says:


    Some of us (and I include a number of friends, whom I’ve reference before) have paid a high price for being unwilling to sign on to “the gay agenda”. Still, however, I am unwilling to abandon either the truth of the Gospel (as I’ve stated elsewhere in these pages) or the love that I am to have for my neighbor and for those who are “the least of these”…

  149. Michael says:


    You’re fighting ghosts here.
    No one here is writing or has written an article in favor of same sex relations or transgender issues.
    You seem to think it necessary for orthodox Christians with an orthodox, historical, view of biblical sexuality to temper any references to “love” in any sort of biblically based article with a disclaimer about this cultural issue.

    I refuse.

    I refuse to allow this current issue (or any other) to color everything I do and say as a Christian pastor and writer.

    No one has accused you of being anything except being reactionary when it really wasn’t called for.

    Calvary Chapel wasn’t even thought about, let alone mentioned, in this article or in any of the comments concerning it except in a tertiary sense.

    Duane has stated at least twice that you and he are in basic agreement on this matter, with the exception of tone.

    Still, you rage.

    I am gratified that after twenty plus years in the same church and fifteen years producing online Christian content that you find me worthy of becoming an intern in your church.

    I guess I have a pride problem too…

  150. Jean says:

    Nobody who has studied the second half of Romans 1 should be surprised about the depravity and delusions of the human mind.

  151. Steve Wright says:

    Duane’s post 145 and Michael’s affirmation crossed with my writing above. I guess we just have different philosophies of ministry. We certainly have different ministries at present as mine is pastoring a mid-sized church in an impoverished, largely immigrant populated, older part of a smaller city in an otherwise wealthy area of Southern California.

    My philosophy is speak the truth in love. Duane’s article concluded with all that matters in interpreting the Bible is the love part. That is exactly the argument that says any reference to homosexuality in the New Testament only speaks to temple prostitution. Well, that is the loving interpretation. After all, if homosexuality per se was sinful, that would not be loving, would it? So let’s just dismiss the whole thing as 1st century pagan culture and like Xenia shared one example even in Orthodox circles – encourage 14 year olds in their homosexual pursuits under your own roof.

    So I added the importance of truth to love – maybe because I have listened to those “videos that got me all upset” – I know the arguments the world is making right now in the name of Jesus.

    Speak the truth in love comes from the larger passage that deals with the pastoral office found in Ephesians chapter 4

    So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

    Deceitful scheming in the name of Christian teaching affecting the Body of Christ.

    Countered by speaking the truth in love. (Thanks, Apostle Paul).

    I’ll close with how I started and then drop it.

    Nobody used “love” to defend slavery, to defend segregation, or any other issues of history that Christians have been on the wrong side of. They may have used Scripture, they may have made arguments rooted in God.

    But not “love”, with the added bonus that the opposing and traditional interpretations for 2000 years of Church history are relabeled as “hate”

    Love can’t be divorced from truth. And today it often is…

    If that is controversial or strikes a nerve on this blog, then I’ll take proper note.

  152. Steve Wright says:

    that you find me worthy of becoming an intern in your church.
    I didn’t know what you were talking about here but looking at yesterday’s post I see what I intended as a nonspecific general sort of “you” to the reader looked like it was directed at you personally, Michael, because of the context of the post.

    That was not my intent. It indeed would be insulting to you. And I apologize for the clumsiness and confusion, and the implied insult.

  153. Michael says:

    The insane irony is that Duane Arnold has probably paid a greater price to stand for biblical truth in this matter than anyone here.

    I’ll leave it at that out of respect, but most of you have no clue…

  154. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, @150 didn’t you hear?

    Paul was only using the depraved Nero as an example. All the homosexual references in the chapter as well as the other vile stuff, were references to Nero who was such a monster and given the years of his reign and the timing of the authorship of Romans, would be an obvious example to his original audience – even without naming Nero specifically. No different than if someone today talks about a president having oral sex with an intern. We would all know the reference without need of a name.

    That’s the loving new exegesis being peddled, and there is absolutely zero we can apply to our modern world from those verses. Nothing to see here.

    I of course, choose to teach the unloving exegesis of Romans chapter one. The hate speech version to so many….

  155. Jean says:

    This is not sinking in, but when Duane proposed a hermeneutic with a telos of loving God and loving neighbor, he was pretty much saying exactly what Jesus taught in Mark 12:29-31. To put a fair, but certainly best construction, on Duane’s meaning, one would have to interpret “love” as meaning the same thing Jesus meant. At the very least one should ask the question: “What did you mean by love?”

    Nobody on this blog has even hinted in adopting a pagan definition of love as a hermeneutic for Bible interpretation. No one!

  156. Duane Arnold says:

    I’ve seldom heard the word “love” taken from a biblical text used so often as a pejorative term as I have in these past two days.

    It’s tragic… simply tragic.

  157. Michael says:

    I’m going to say this one more time,then I have to go.

    No one…let me repeat this…no one… is making the case here that Steve is protesting.

    That’s not what this piece was about…and it’s a damn shame that it has become about that.

  158. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Jean, Duane and Michael. (comments 155-157).

  159. Michael says:

    Thank you got it.

    Thanks, Dan, as well.

    Have to run…

  160. Duane Arnold says:

    #155 Jean

    Many thanks…

  161. Kevin H says:


    If I may, I have seen this pattern here before. I know I’ve experienced it on some of my articles and seen it on other ones, too. You will read an article here and apparently find something in it that you deem to be lacking. Some aspect of the issue or subject at hand that you thought should have been covered, or covered in greater detail. And so you will “add” into the discussion what you thought was lacking in the original article. Often, the technical substance of what you add into the discussion most don’t have disagreement with (such as the case here where most don’t disagree with the sinfulness of homosexual behavior and that we shouldn’t ignore truth by claiming a misguided “love”). However, the manner and tone in which you make your “additions” will sometimes rub some people the wrong way, most notably the authors of the articles. I am sure that past friction between parties adds to the current situations at hand and usually everybody carries some culpability for how they react and add to the newest friction. However, it may be something to think about when and how you choose to “add” to the writings here.

  162. Steve Wright says:

    153 about Duane’s sacrifice and Jean’s 155 show that my simple attempt in my very first post – a reference to the times in which we live and the care in which we must speak, the ever shifting new definitions in key words of our language (i.e. like “tolerance”) – failed on this blog.

    I did not disagree with Duane. Nor do I think he is advocating something I know he is not. (Read that again – or read my post again). I go out of my way to write “Without arguing against….I would add…” and it falls on deaf ears.

    I sought to SUPPLEMENT his article, with reasons why, coupled with examples.

    If I taught word for word what Duane wrote in that article, the majority of the congregation who know me well, would not misunderstand my point and would amen accordingly

    However, visitors and newcomers, might walk away with a different message entirely.

    This is a public blog. When Jean writes “nobody ON this blog even hinted at….” one is either omniscient or only referencing the posted replies and not the many silent readers who are very much “on this blog” – and likely a few of which know exactly the new definition of “love” sweeping our culture because they have had firsthand experience and/or been charged as “unloving” for speaking the truth.

    So I tried to make a contribution. And Michael showed what he thought of it with his first response up there @23. Oh well, Xenia and Josh understood. Em too. And even MLD agreed. I should have chalked that up to a win and called it a day. 🙂

    Josh’s post #37 was spot on. And it didn’t use to be that way….

  163. Steve Wright says:

    However, the manner and tone in which you make your “additions” will sometimes rub some people the wrong way, most notably the authors of the articles.
    Yep, Kevin. Thanks for that….

  164. Xenia says:

    Xenia and Josh understood.<<<<

    I added an anecdote from a story current in Ortholandia but I am not taking sides.

    I think Duane's article is outstanding and I was impressed by:

    "For Augustine, proper exegesis is to see the Scripture through this filter of “double love” – love for God and love of our neighbor."

    This is by far the most important thing said today and that is what I intend to keep in my heart.

  165. Xenia says:

    One thing we *could* have discussed would be how to apply this to some of the imprecatory Psalms, such as places where we ask God to knock out the teeth of our enemies. I am uncomfortable with these readings but get around it by applying it to demons.

    Any ideas?

  166. Duane Arnold says:

    #162 Steve

    I appreciate your comment. Please know that I am not in any way predisposed against you (politics, most likely, excepted). I did try to define what I (and Augustine) meant by love at @19. I have several times in other threads made reference to you in very positive terms. In human terms (and as a brother in Christ), you would always be welcomed under my roof and at my table…

  167. Duane Arnold says:

    #165 Xenia

    First, many thanks for your comment @164. Secondly, odd as it may seem, the discussion between Bono and Eugene Peterson on the Psalms is actually very good – it came down to the Psalms encompassing the whole of life, good and bad. Something I’ve been thinking about of late.

  168. Jean says:


    “One thing we *could* have discussed would be how to apply this to some of the imprecatory Psalms, such as places where we ask God to knock out the teeth of our enemies. I am uncomfortable with these readings but get around it by applying it to demons.

    Any ideas?”

    Yes, Martin Luther said a lot about this. In a nutshell, it is a prayer for the conversion of our enemies. It is a prayer that the sin and evil which has captivated our enemies who afflict us would be destroyed, so that the sinner might be redeemed. Finally it is a prayer that God would thwart the evil goals of our enemies. Christ has died for our enemies too, so we join Him in His will that they might be saved through hearing the Word and being converted.

  169. Xenia says:

    Duane and Jean, thank you, that is helpful.

  170. Steve Wright says:

    Kevin, I think my “problem” is that my ministry involves preaching messages every week to live audiences that result in, almost every week, at least one person coming up and telling me what I could have added, or left out, or telling me where they disagree with on a point.

    As a pastor, I actually appreciate this because

    a) Often the remarks are spot on and make me a better communicator. In fact, I have been known to change the message in later services on Sunday when someone offers a great nugget early enough like at first service.

    b) It shows they are listening and engaged. 🙂

    c) It shows they find their pastor approachable, and someone can they talk to, even challenge.

    Almost always those commenting are kind and respectful, but on occasion, yes, someone can “rub me the wrong way” too.

    Those are great opportunities to practice Christlikeness – and the medium (namely face to face interaction in a public area with plenty of bystanders) is conducive to that. Not a very pretty sight to see the pastor in a shouting match with a worshipper in between services. 🙂

    The internet is a far different medium.

    Most importantly though, I know in my heart that the person was not TRYING to rub me the wrong way. Maybe their motivation was self and a “look at me”, maybe it was the glory of God – but it really should not matter in how I respond – nor am I capable of making that judgment in the first place.

    I know a lot of thought and effort is poured into these weekly articles, whoever the author. And I also recognize they are in some degree the equivalent of the Sunday message “outlet” for the authors (Unless Duane presently is pastoring somewhere also that I am unaware of)

    And the moment I comment, I am no different than the guy sitting in the pew who comes up to me after the sermon has ended.

    While the regulars who comment here have always been committed Christians, the population does change over time. There used to be a lot, LOT of pastors of local churches regularly and frequently commenting and contributing here in the past. Sometimes I scroll through and old archived thread from 2009 or 2010 when I first showed up and marvel at the changes. Sort of like a local church. (I know we often speak of how a blog is not a church but does share some characteristics). Someone from 2010 who visited our church at CCLE today would recognize a few faces but a whole lot of faces would be different. That’s how it goes. People move on, and new people arrive.

    It’s all good. Blessings.

  171. Steve Wright says:

    Thanks Duane! I too respect greatly (and have a little awe quite frankly) at your knowledge and appreciate the commitment to study you have so obviously had throughout your life.

    And sharing the fruits of that study, as well as practical ministry you experienced, with all of us in a public forum.


  172. em... again says:

    Pastors Duane and Michael, just read the beginning of today’s posts on the thread – discouraged with the direction(s) of the ‘conversation’ here? don’t be… love needs examining in these troubled times… i do think God would rather our love be ham handed and sloppy than it be niggardly administered with great caution… but we do need to keep growing and that happens here – a lot IMV – push-back is sometimes just processing

    and, if you’re not paying a price among your fellow Believers (or believers-so-called), you’re not standing… per Ephesians 4:14 (and surrounding verses)

    just the choir preaching backatcha here today… 🙂

    now i’ll read the rest of this thread and soak up some edification myself

  173. Steve Wright says:

    it came down to the Psalms encompassing the whole of life, good and bad
    Xenia, when I taught Psalms at the Bible College we spent a week’s session on those psalms.

    In fact, my assignment was for the students to write their understanding of them BEFORE the class lecture where we talked about them. I did not want them to just give back to me what I taught in the lecture, but wanted them to be forced to ponder and think critically on the issue – given the teachings of Christ and the rest of the New Testament. How to reconcile both things being in our one Bible.

    Plus it made for an easy A if they just did the work since obviously I was not going to penalize any student for sharing their thought out opinion on what has been debated for centuries by scholars. 🙂

  174. Duane Arnold says:

    #172 Em

    Many thanks… we’ll take the rough with the smooth!

  175. em... again says:

    pondering Xenia’s question on David’s desire to “knock the teeth out of his enemies”…
    does it have a parallel expression in our Lord’s words to Peter? “get thee behind me, Satan?” … i have a hunch that the impact was much greater than the King James we read… dunno

  176. em... again says:

    if i didn’t live with an ex bicycle racer daughter, i’d never have given the Tour de France a second glance… as i’ve watched it (i like to see the countryside), it occurs to me how much it parallels Scripture’s reference to the Christian life being a race…
    the riders come from so many different backgrounds but, with one thing in common, they race (until July 23rd, i believe) – some cheat, some put sportsmanship over being first, some get wrongly accused and disqualified (Sagan), some crash and get badly hurt and ride on, some crash and break, so many parallels to our race – with, perhaps, a little more drama than Paul’s footrace example…
    don’t know if i’ll go so far as to draw a parallel between the team support cars and the Holy Spirit, but… 🙂

  177. DavidM says:

    Well done, Duane. I am always encouraged when you deal with criticism, fair and unfair, with grace and patience. It is so easy on a blog to spit out the vitriol on all the critics. But, you have remained steady in all the years we’ve know each other (47?).

    Also, Michael, I appreciate your ability to moderate this blog. It can’t be easy!!

  178. DavidM says:

    #177 That’s KNOWN each other . . .

  179. Duane Arnold says:

    #177 DavidM

    Ah, my old friend… We have traveled some miles.
    Many thanks, but it’s really all down to Michael on this blog. Speaking of which, would love to see some small article on mission training… hint, hint…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

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

Continue reading