“I Don’t Know”…”I Might Be Wrong…” : Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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19 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Duane,

    A public thank you for this.
    The best church service of my life as a pastor was when I admitted that I didn’t know it all and in fact, could not know it all.
    The mystery creates a blessed tension where we are always seeking Christ instead of “answers”…

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Agreed. I think too many church leaders set themselves up as quasi authorities having all the answers. Then something happens for which there is no answer. It’s at that moment that I think we encounter the true meaning of faith…

  3. Michael says:

    I will confess right here that I desperately wanted to be an “authority”…that is what pastors were in my opinion.
    In reality, what we are supposed to be are “guides’…

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    You are not alone. There is a reason that so many classes/seminars/courses are held on “leadership” issues. All too often, they are actually primers on different way in which to exercise authority. Leadership and authority are two different concepts… that is not always understood…

  5. Em says:

    The trick, it seems to me, is to know which things require an adamant stance and which things are those mysterious ponders….

    Rabbit trail follows…. As i watch the way the world is focusing now it seems that it is being groomed for a world governance of a sort and for my part that says the antichrist’s move to rule just may be imminent…. But that is a … Ponnder 😇

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    Em

    Things are bad… but we’ve seen worse…

  7. Steve says:

    Duane,. Thanks for this. I like the differentiation you make between leadership and authority. I think you are right. I also think our culture and parts of the church has somewhat made an idol out of leadership. Maybe it’s because we’ve all become narcissistic. You don’t see too many courses on how to be a good follower in most seminaries and that’s a bit troubling to me but I think I may know where it’s coming from.

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    Steve

    “You don’t see too many courses on how to be a good follower in most seminaries…”

    The “leadership” fascination, in my opinion, is very much off-center and, at the end of the day, dangerous for clergy and laity alike…

  9. Em says:

    Dr. Duane, what has me pondering the time we are living in is not how bad things are… mid 20th century was pretty bad…
    What caught my attention is the number of academic types who think we are being visited by aliens from other worlds…
    There is no god, but there are more advanced beings “out there”… can’t argue against that, but… More advanced may not equal good guys coming to save us…
    Just watching times and tides and wondering.

  10. Em says:

    P.S. Apologies for the rabbit trail tose ponderable mysteries…

  11. Jean says:

    Duane,

    I agree that no one knows it all, and that there are some mysteries that are not known to any of us. For me, when a preacher steps up to the pulpit to speak the Word of truth to his congregation, we should only speak about what he knows, not what he doesn’t know or isn’t sure about. However, that doesn’t mean he cannot point out that there are mysteries that are not revealed to man.

    In other words, I would hate to hear two things from the pulpit: (1) “I am going to give you 2-4 views on the meaning of our text;” and (2) “I don’t know that this text means,” or “I’m 70% confident that what I’m proclaiming to you this morning is accurate.” I don’t think either of these options meet meet the objective of a Christian sermon.

    I would suggest that if a preacher was considering a text that he didn’t know the meaning of, he should pass on that text and preach what he does know the meaning of, while continuing to study the text he doesn’t yet understand.

  12. Steve says:

    Jean,. In my church we have various views on baptism. My current pastor does not believe infants should be baptized and we don’t force him to comply. However, my daughter was baptized in this same church as an infant. I appreciate when leadership says they not 100% sure who is right and can coexist. If either side was completely convinced I doubt we could worship together but as it stands Presbyterian and Baptists can worship under one roof. It may not work for you but it’s a blessing for us.

  13. Jean says:

    Steve, just so I understand you, you said:

    “My current pastor does not believe infants should be baptized and we don’t force him to comply.”

    and

    “I appreciate when leadership says they not 100% sure who is right and can coexist.”

    It sounds like your pastor has a position on the issue. Is he part of the leadership that is not 100% sure? I guess I’m trying to nail down whether your pastor is sure of his belief or not.

    By the way, I’m very happy to hear that your daughter is baptized.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    There are some texts, and the background to some texts, that will probably remain disputed until the parousia…

  15. Steve says:

    Jean,. He is part of the elder board who collectively choose not to divide on the baptism issue. He is probably more convinced that baptism should only be reserved for adults but he has great respect for those who disagree and although he wouldn’t personally baptise an infant, he wouldn’t be so offended when another pastor did perform the baptism. I heard a previous pastor put it in degrees of confidence. Some maybe 75% sure or only 25% sure of this particular doctrine. On other doctrines you better be 100% sure if you want to keep your job though.

  16. Michael says:

    “In other words, I would hate to hear two things from the pulpit: (1) “I am going to give you 2-4 views on the meaning of our text;” and (2) “I don’t know that this text means,” or “I’m 70% confident that what I’m proclaiming to you this morning is accurate.” I don’t think either of these options meet meet the objective of a Christian sermon.”

    You would hate my teaching…I do teach the other main views and I do admit when I’m just not sure…so far, we’ve survived.

  17. Thomas Manney says:

    The alternative to saying ‘I don’t know’ is a false confidence, an inaccurate statement (made to sound like fact), or a downright lie. I believe that it takes a truly confident academic or pastoral leader to admit his or her intellectual limitations. And in an ironic sort of way, I think admitting ‘I don’t know’ goes farther in building trust between leader and student.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Thomas

    I agree. Honesty and authenticity goes a long way toward establishing trust…

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