Jonathan Arnold on Missions History in a ‘Cancel Culture’ Age

In this interview, Jonathan Arnold explains how we can study missions history without falling into the pitfalls of iconoclasm or hero-worship.

Christians live in an age of iconoclasm. How can we do church history and modern missions history responsibly—without falling into the opposite errors of hero-worship or “cancel culture”? Jonathan Arnold, Associate Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, weighs in from his perspective as a church historian.

For three years, Jonathan served as senior pastor of a Bible Church in Michigan. Prior to that he and his wife led several student-focused ministries on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Arnold transitioned to the academy full-time at Northland International University in Dunbar, Wisconsin where he served as vice president of student services and professor of theological studies. In 2015, Arnold moved to Boyce College, where he served as the founding director of the Augustine Honors Collegium, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history, and as founding editor of The Augustine Collegiate Review. He has written The Reformed Theology of Benjamin Keach (CBHH, 2013; reprint, 2019) along with numerous articles, book chapters, and book reviews for various publications. He has been a fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies (SBTS), a visiting fellow of the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage (Oxford), and is active in several scholarly societies. He and his wife, Lindsay, have four children: Nathaniel, Benjamin, Lukas, and Sadie.

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Alex Kocman & Scott Dunford

Alex Kocman is the Director of Communications and Engagement for ABWE. He serves as general editor for Message Magazine and co-hosts The Missions Podcast. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University and a youth pastor in Pennsylvania, where he now resides with his wife and three children. Read his blog or follow him on X/Twitter.

Scott Dunford is the pastor of Western Hills Church in San Mateo, Calif. Previously, Scott served as Vice President of Mobilization and Communications for ABWE and as a missionary in East Asia. Scott graduated from Northland International University (B.A. in Pastoral Studies), earned his M.A. in biblical studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, his M.B.A. from Cornerstone University, and is currently enrolled in Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s D.Min. program with an emphasis on missions.