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Kyle Beshears

Kyle is a pastor at the People of Mars Hill in Mobile, AL where he lives with his beautiful wife.

Posted 8/8/14 at 10:51 AM | Kyle Beshears

ISIS and the Growth of Early Islam

Day after day we are bombarded with terrible accounts of “Christian genocide” in Iraq, a term that virulent Christian skeptic Richard Dawkins felt appropriate to describe the systematic beheading of Christian children in Iraq by ISIS, or the Islamic State.

Christian homes are being marked with the Arabic letter ن (nun) for Nazarene, reminiscent of the Jewish Star of David in the early days of Nazism in Germany. Thousands are fleeing, dying, or being left for dead by having food and water sources cut off from them.

The question may people are asking is, why? What terrible organization would commit such atrocities that even Al-Qaeda would distance themselves from it? To understand why, we must roll the clock back on Islam to the very beginning when the religion was rapidly expanding.

The early (and phenomenal) growth of Islam went hand-in-hand with military and economic conquest. The Muslim expansion, or Fatah (opening), of the Middle East occurred for roughly one hundred years. During this time, Islam spread as far west as the Iberian Peninsula, as far south as modern–day Yemen, as far east as modern–day Pakistan, and as far north as modern–day France from one location in Mecca. FULL POST

Posted 7/17/14 at 11:12 AM | Kyle Beshears |

40 comments

The Book of Abraham: Sacred Translation?

In 1835, a man by the name of Michael H. Chandler would have a chance meeting with the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. Little did Mr Chandler know that the meeting would play a large part in altering the course of Mormon theology forever.

Chandler, the owner of some Egyptian artifacts, was touring the American frontier, showcasing his ancient treasures to curious spectators. The artifacts contained writing that Mr Chandler could not decipher. At some point in time, it was suggested to him that Joseph Smith had the ability to translate the mysterious writing on the Egyptian artifacts. Such an ability was absolutely remarkable in mid-19th century America.

Today, translating ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs seems like a relatively menial task – surely any academic who studies such things could provide a translation. However, in the 1830s such a task would have been considered absolutely remarkable.

Why? Because the key that unlocked the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Rosetta Stone, had only been discovered about 36 years prior, and an English translation of the demotic (Egyptian) text from the Rosetta Stone in the United States was not published until 1858, twenty-three years after Smith’s acquisition of the artifacts from Chandler (and fourteen years after Smith’s death). FULL POST

Posted 6/28/14 at 11:45 AM | Kyle Beshears

Evidence of God from Dr. Judge the Leviathan

So, there's this article floating around the internet that claims scientists have discovered the first evidence of God's existence. (No need for you anymore, Romans 1...)

The article has been shared almost a quarter-million times on Facebook, where I first came across it. The title was intriguing, so I went ahead and clicked on it. But the more I read, the more things seemed fishy to me. By the time I finished I felt like I was as at a fisherman's wharf.

Why? Because this article is obviously not real. It's completely fake.

Let's count the ways in which this article should raise some red flags:

  1. It's from the Wyoming Institute of Technology... which doesn't actually exist. Don't believe me? Go to their website and try to apply or even get a campus tour. Good luck!
  2. It claims that a fictitious institute joined up with the Human Genome Project and Bob Jones University, but neither of these real institutions make the same claim.
  3. Its author is Dr. Richter DasMeerungeheuer, which means Judge the Leviathan in German – not a real name.
  4. It cites BJU professor Matthew Boulder as being part of the discovery who is about as real as Dr. Judge the Leviathan.

All this reminds us of one simple lesson – you can't always trust everything you read on the internet, even if you want to. FULL POST

Posted 5/27/14 at 6:15 PM | Kyle Beshears |

77 comments

"I Share Your Faith": Glenn Beck at Liberty University

Last month, evangelical mega-college Liberty University made a splash in the news by inviting, yet again, Glenn Beck to speak at its final convocation.

The reasons that Liberty’s president, Dr Jerry Falwell Jr., gave for Mr Beck’s invitation to the university are hardly objectionable, especially considering the university’s history with American conservatism. Dr Falwell introduced Mr Beck as a “patriot, one of America’s leading multimedia personalities” whose radio and television programs have “ordained him as an iconic figure in American culture.”

With this introduction, any conservative-leaning institution could have such a speaker. But there’s one crucial aspect that Dr Falwell left out – Mr Beck’s faith. As a Mormon, or Latter-day Saint (LDS), Glenn Beck is at stark odds with much of what is taught at Liberty.

Luckily, Mr Beck did not neglect to touch on his faith. FULL POST

Posted 5/21/14 at 11:17 AM | Kyle Beshears |

49 comments

What's In a Day? Young vs Old Earth Creationism

What’s in a day? That’s the big question when it comes to any interpretation of Genesis 1 that is not a literal, plain reading of the text.

Taken at plainest reading, there is little getting around the fact that the author of Genesis recounts the timeframe in which God created the entire universe. Turns out, that’s a week – six days, with a seventh day of rest.

Then, when we add up the genealogies (assuming they don’t skip generations at any point) we are given about 5,700 – 10,000 years of history from Adam to us. This six-day creation with a young earth are central to the idea of Young Earth Creationism (YEC).

Yet, there are many who argue that a plain reading of Genesis 1 actually does the text a disservice. They say that the earth is much older than 10,000 years because of scientific evidence. These folks typically subscribe to Old Earth Creationism (OEC), along with Intelligent Design (ID) and Theistic Evolution (TE). FULL POST

Posted 4/11/14 at 10:20 PM | Kyle Beshears |

3 comments

Mrs. Jesus? Not So Fast...

This morning, as I made my daily ritual of checking various news sites, I saw a consistent theme.

Apparently, Jesus was married. Again.

Last fall, the world was introduced to an ancient document called the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, but it was quickly dismissed as a forgery. The announcment came from Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King who had published her research of the ancient Coptic papyrus, which indicates that Jesus was married.

As quickly as the news came, it went. But, this time it's back with all the sensationalism one would expect. After further study, it appears that the document is not a forgery, despite reservations from notable scholars, among them Dr. Leo Depuyt of Brown University, who still maintain belief that the document is a forgery. FULL POST

Posted 3/29/14 at 9:04 AM | Kyle Beshears

Noah: Yet Another Review

Everyone else is doing it, so why not chime in? Here’s my pros and cons from just seeing Noah.

PROS

It was raw, bloody, violent, and not something you would want to decorate your nursery with – just like it should be. Noah’s story is not a bedtime tale, it’s a campfire sermon. Themes of humanity’s fallenness, God’s judgement, and covenantal mercy are key. Sometimes, we lose that message while painting smiley giraffes next to a plump, happy Noah in the kid’s room.

Noah told his family the creation narrative over campfire, just like the oral tradition of Genesis was passed down from generation to generation. Not only this, but the cinematography was great. It showed God creating the universe in the exact order that science and the Bible tell us. But, was that scene showing a literal six day creation or a figurative six day creation? The movie leaves that up to you to decide. FULL POST

Posted 3/18/14 at 6:00 PM | Kyle Beshears |

1 comment

Quit Denying Joy

John Piper is famous for saying, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." Christian hedonism, it’s called. The more we delight and enjoy in God, the more God is glorified and we are joyful.

For most of us, this seems easier said than done.

A lot of us Christians hold to the idea that we should not be purposefully seeking joy in our life. That, in all ways, the Christian life is supposed a hard one, and to deny that is to deny the faith. We cling to the notion that our treasures and joy are stored up in Heaven, but until then, God is telling us to have "fun" living a dull, meaningless, joyless, hard life.

I think this is total garbage.

Yes, the Christian life filled with hardship. Yes, we are called to a life of denial. But are we called to a life without joy? Absolutely not.

Just because we seek after and desire joy – and an abundance of it – does not mean joy is wrong. It just depends where the source of that joy comes from. If our joy comes from God, and in aligning our rhythm of life to the beat of God's drum, then let the joy come! FULL POST

Posted 3/4/14 at 9:18 AM | Kyle Beshears |

3 comments

The Bible and Chinese Telephone

"We can't trust the Bible because it was corrupted through years of translation."

We've all heard this line before. Recently, I've heard it a lot. It's an argument for why people should not or cannot trust the Bible.

The theory goes that through the ages people copied and recopied the Bible, each time changing it just a bit so as to reflect what they wanted it to say.

It's a bit like a massive game of Chinese Telephone or Chinese Whispers for my British friends. (Either way, what's with the name? Are the Chinese known for a consistent breakdown in long-distance communication or something? What's the deal?)

Usually, people who question whether the Bible is reliable come from a wide array of backgrounds. Anyone from staunch atheists to devote Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses have questioned why we should trust the modern Bible.

For atheists, it is a book of myths passed down from generation to generation, suffering severe alterations due to translator bias or Christian agendas. For Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, it is a damaged scripture missing theological points restored only by their scripture. FULL POST

Posted 2/7/14 at 11:33 AM | Kyle Beshears |

20 comments

BREAKING: Camels Disprove God's Existence; Bible Is False

If you’re like me, I’m sure you woke up this morning to a barrage of news articles claiming that the discovery of domesticated camel bones have definitively disproved the Bible.

Alarming? Yes. True? Mmmm not exactly.

Unfortunately, the article titles are a bit misleading because they draw conclusions that the researchers, Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef, do not draw. It is a bit frightening to see how irresponsibly the various media outlets have spun Sapir-Hen and Ben-Yosef’s research. Here is just a gleaming of some popular outlets and their article titles.

“Major discrepancy in the Bible” – Huffington Post

A major discrepancy in the Bible would being finding Jesus’ remains, not a camel’s.

“‘Direct Proof’ Bible Was Written Centuries After Events Described” – International Business Times FULL POST

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