Hope : Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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26 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane – “I read the comments of those who name the name of Christ, yet have abandoned any physical community of faith.”
    I agree and I would call on all professing Christians who have stopped going to church for whatever reason to give up their animosity towards “the local church” for Lent. Six weeks, go back to and participate with a local body – put God to the test to make that union whole.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    Nice to agree on something for a change…

  3. Jean says:

    I have to agree with your proposal Duane. Well done.

    The preacher somewhere says, “Today, if you hear his voice…” and again “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace….” It’s individual but also communal. It’s anywhere but its in the worship service.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    Many thanks. For the first time in many years, what I saw in Europe frightened me.

  5. Jean says:

    Duane,

    Here in the Midwest, there are a lot of frightened seniors in our churches who have lived through the decline and see their own family churches on the precipice of closing permanently. It’s a very hard thing to witness. And the current situation, which took decades to get to where things are, can’t be undone or reversed in the short term by making a few executive decisions, even if one had the right decisions. The miracle is that faith still exists in many places. It remains to be seen in any given place whether repentance and faith will again take root and grow.

  6. Michael says:

    The last paragraph says it all…I have to take personal responsibility to represent what I believe the church to be…

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    I sent the article to a friend who serves as the rector of a small church. They replied that the article represented their day to day reality.

    I’m currently attending a church that is not my style of worship; not my style of music and in which I’m the oldest. I’m attending in order to help mentor the pastor who has asked for my help. The priority must be, in my opinion, to “strengthen that which remains”…

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael,

    We ALL need to take personal responsibility…

  9. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Absolutely…I’m just overly skilled at telling others what to do… 🙂

  10. Mud Man says:

    “I agree and I would call on all professing Christians who have stopped going to church for whatever reason to give up their animosity towards “the local church” for Lent. Six weeks, go back to and participate with a local body – put God to the test to make that union whole.”

    By doing so you are encouraging those who disagree with this tradition and its being inspiration, to essential capitulate to you. While many agree with Jesus is Lord, many also don’t not hold the traditions of Lent as being one they should observe.

    And there lays the conundrum with your statement.

    A writer who supports Lent states this about the rest of us:

    “Protestants are no strangers to the disciplines taken up in Lent: mourning over sin, giving alms, loving neighbors, extending forgiveness, putting aside favorite amusements in order to focus mind and heart on God. Protestants do these things anyway. But for some, making rules about it seems worrisome. After all, rejection of Lent figured importantly in the kick-off of the Reformation in Switzerland. In 1522, Ulrich Zwingli defended a Zurich printer and his staff for conspicuously eating sausages during Lent. Zwingli’s central arguments still have deep Protestant resonance: Lent does not appear in Scripture, so Christians should not be bound to observe it. If Christians want to fast, fine, but only if they choose to.”

    https://aleteia.org/2016/02/09/at-lent-a-protestant-looks-to-the-first-christians/

    In the ideal to build ecumenical community why must one conform with those in whom they disagree?

    Sorry to post a rebuttal, but thank you for patience.

    BTW Duane thank you for the article.

  11. Mud Man says:

    Duane you wrote:

    “Meanwhile, we wonder at the rising generations who have abandoned the Church and wring our hands saying that we just don’t understand what has happened. ”

    I don’t think there’s any mystery as to why the Church, or one of its many sects, is being abandoned. In the final accounting it simply comes down to value. We can say all we want about grace, free gift, spirituality or some other enigmatic ideal, but if there is no value to the observer it will be left along side the road.

    Faith in general has to have value to the one who has it.

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mud Man – you miss the point. Lent is not the object of my statement – it is the background for the timing. The point is ‘go back to church’ – and not just go back, but go back with the intent to reconcile – put trust in God. The Lent part right now gives a 6 week window to try.

    btw, if we can only make statements where everyone must agree with all elements of each sentence, well this would be a silent world. Lent is observed by the vast majority of Christian bodies worldwide – so I guess in the end I would encourage the strays to jump on board. 🙂 PS, I observe lent but I don’t fast.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    one other thing about the next generation abandoning the church – didn’t our generation (the early boomers) do the same? Was that not the reason the Jesus Movement was invented – kind of like a new church marketing scheme?

  14. Mud Man says:

    MLD

    I got what you wrote and the second form, “The Lent part right now gives a 6 week window to try” is very similar to the first. Acknowledging Lent in any form of practice is to many an acceptance of the tradition.

    I’m in my sixties and came from the reverse, I discovered the Church in my late teens because a man of deep faith spent the time to personally tell me about Godl. While I wasn’t raised in a traditional Christian home I never felt the traditional churches were the center of God’s purposes in Jesus. Just didn’t reject something I never was a part of.

    I might add I have no problem with a discussion about traditions and their validity to the individual or corporate church. I simply point out the statement to observe Lent in any way could be seen as a back door to acceptance by those who don’t. In this I do not wish to upset those who have value in the tradition.

  15. Mud Man says:

    MLD

    Can I point out one flaw in your discussion? Ok I will anyway.

    You wrote:

    “Lent is observed by the vast majority of Christian bodies worldwide”

    Ignoring the subject of Lent, using the argument of the majority as a point of validation is not a good one. In the end all it means is the majority embrace some subject, whether it be good or bad, valid or invalid.

    So maybe we should focus on the areas we agree across church boundaries:

    “mourning over sin, giving alms, loving neighbors, extending forgiveness, putting aside favorite amusements in order to focus mind and heart on God.”

    Will this focus bring people back to the corporate church structure? Probably not.

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will amend my suggestion to erase any reference to Lent.
    “Take the time between March 6th and April 20th to give up your animosity towards the local church and return to regular church services – putting God to the test to show that reconciliation is real.”

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mud Man – if you leave out the Holy Spirit I can guaranty it will not move the needle one bit.
    This is why I say put God to the test. Make him keep his promise to make us one.

  18. Mud Man says:

    MLD

    Much better!

    BTW who says the Holy Spirit has validated the traditions of one tradition over the other? Normally it’s those who developed the tradition. Kind of like history is written by the victorious.

    Yes I’m poking at you now, sorry. Keep up the Faith.

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    Mud Man

    Many thanks for your observations. I just want believers to understand that we can’t do this all on our own. Christ established the reality of the Church as a place of mutual care and concern. I don’t know about you, but I need it… in my heart and in my soul…

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mud Man, you are focused on Lent. Mine, is about the importance and edification of people returning to Church. My statement was about the Holy Spirit honoring those folks going back to Church.
    However, whatever the activity if the spirit is not involved there will be no success.

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I will admit that I am definitely in the minority here (perhaps singular and alone), but I don’t think all churches should be populated. Here is one that I wish would empty out until they get converted. (and don’t get me wrong – they hang the name Lutheran on their blasphemous building.)

    https://www.kctv5.com/churches-hold-glitter-ash-wednesday-for-lgbtq-community/video_daec6006-41c7-59ee-a46c-1319bc7ec3ff.html?fbclid=IwAR28V__3yiNRxJ_jb83fnUwnkEfqLcK-9G6ut3JJE0_5OJGF_Nn_h32OZJc

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    Yes, I saw it as well. There is enough silliness going around to encompass most denominations. I’m not interested in fighting these fights. The foolishness, in time, will be seen for what it is. In the meantime, I intend to channel outrage into something constructive… As I said, “strengthen that which remains…”

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Except it is not silliness. These people are just a fundamentalist in their doctrine and practice as Westboro Baptist Church – and just as dangerous.
    Silliness is an Easter egg hunt at church Easter morning. 🙂

  24. Duane Arnold says:

    It is a matter of opinion… I, for one, will not treat them with the seriousness they desire…

  25. Randy Davis says:

    I wanted to so badly disagree with you, but I can’t. You wrote that Church members love each but not those outside the church (a paraphrase of course). But this has been the problem for decades. And I’m not so certain that they love each other. I think it is why Paul often said in some form to stir the faith that is in us. We grow cold so easily if our faith practice is not a moment by moment event. I for one know how the coldness creeps into my heart.

    As a pastor, I have to examine myself to see if I have compromised biblical teaching and contributed to this malaise and of course all of us have. We are in the culture and it is hard to keep it out of ourselves. The answer is not to browbeat pastors and church members into submission, but to remind them of who we are. To show us all what true love is.

    I think there is something mysterious about the Christian life. For it is that some us are robed prophets wondering through the streets shining our lantern of truth. The following is a quote from my dissertation. I have about it, almost daily, for over thirty years. I hope I’m an faithful to this calling

    Thus I express my conviction that we should portray to men the poor garment of the Crucified only in such a way that we expound to them at the same time the rustling of the mantle of God in our age. God does not merely speak; He also marches. And why should we not venture, why should we not have to venture, to speak of this marching when we have set ourselves under the disciplines of His Word? . . . And perhaps theologians out of the pulpit, even more than preachers in it, are summoned today to hear the command of the hour and to become Socratic theologians, who will move through the markets and shelters and guard posts and command stations, and there, questioning and answering, often maintaining silence when others speak, from man to man, let this Word shine as a light in the darkness of events. — Thielicke, Out of the Depths, pp. 22-23.

  26. Duane Arnold says:

    Randy

    This is so well said, and it deserves more than the response that I can give. I think that we are moving into a time in which much may no longer be taken for granted… “The church is there…”, “Theologians will do their job…”, “There are so many younger people coming into the ministry…”, “Families are always moving in and looking for a church to join…” And on and on. All the presuppositions are no longer realities. I’m afraid that we have to be in the trenches, or, as you say, going “through the streets shining our lantern of faith”.

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