Kyle is a pastor at the People of Mars Hill in Mobile, AL where he lives with his beautiful wife.
Posted 4/20/15 at 11:40 PM | Kyle Beshears
It seems that just about everyday there is something new in the news that spurs on the cultural conversation about Christianity in a direction that's, well, let's say, unhelpful.
Whether its another report of the über gracious and super Christ-like Westboro Baptist Church picketing a soldier's funeral or my home state of Indiana becoming embroiled in controversy over religious freedom laws, everywhere you turn there's a conversation about Christianity (or whatever forms of Christianity those things may be) where two sides aren't so much talking to one another as they are shouting past one another.
These conversations, I suspect, represent something more than their face value. They aren't really about whether or not a family-sized fundamentalist congregation has the right to interrupt the grieving process of funerals. Neither are they really about whether or not some baker in Terre Haute can legally decline to bake a cake with two grooms as the toppers. FULL POST
Posted 2/23/15 at 1:52 PM | Kyle Beshears
End Times is a big topic. Much ink has been spilled and breath expended on the topic of Christ's second coming. Eschatology, as it is called by theologians, provides endless fascination (and sometimes distraction) about the End. Shoot, even Nicolas Cage is cashing in on our obsession with the second coming of Jesus.
We're told this is coming soon, to be ready! "Keep awake," Jesus warns, "for you do not know in what day your Lord is coming (Mt 24:42)."
Okay, check, got it – he's coming very soon. Imminence.
Then, we're thrown a curve ball. Jesus speaks of tarrying, slowness, delay. In Mt 24, he tells a parable about how the Master was delayed in returning. In the next chapter, during the same teaching, he tells another about the delay of the bridegroom.
Imminence and delay. It's the tension that each believer finds themselves living in. On the one hand, scripture pleads for our preparedness. "Be ready, stay awake!" On the other hand, Jesus himself informed us of a delay. "The Master was delayed..." FULL POST
Posted 2/12/15 at 10:22 PM | Kyle Beshears
I had the joy of speaking at a local university today on the relationship between scholarship and ministry to future Christian leaders. Here's the gist of my short talk.
What is the relationship between scholarship and ministry?
I think the fact that these two (scholarship and ministry) are separated is indicative of a larger issue – compartmentalization of pastoral skills and responsibilities. We’ve split scholarship and ministry apart, dividing a line between mind and heart, seminary and church, head and hands.
But is that really wise? Is it healthy for the church to make hard distinctions between scholarship and ministry? I don't think so. To me, scholarship is a subset of ministry. Not that it’s less important, but I believe that all Christian scholarship is ministry.
Think about it. Why do theologians write books? Why do Christian leaders blog? Why do pastors research for sermons? They do it with people in mind, to both inform and transform the Church. FULL POST
Posted 1/8/15 at 9:46 AM | Kyle Beshears
In the wake of yesterday's horrific massacre of twelve people in France, we may ask ourselves, “Why?”
French officials are still trying to answer that question as well, yet is seems that the most likely motivation for the attack is satirical images of the Muslim prophet Muhammad printed by the French publication Charlie Hebdo.
This, of course, begs another question. “What’s the big deal with Islamic terrorists and cartoons of Muhammad?” After all, if the motive for the Charlie Hebdo attack does turn out to be Muhammad’s depiction, this wouldn’t be the first time. Most notably, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard received numerous death threats and assassination attempts for his satirical depiction of Muhammad in 2006.
So what gives?
The answer lies in the earliest days of Islam. Muhammad viewed his mission as ridding the world of idolatry. He was born and raised in polytheistic, pre-Muslim Arabia and became disillusioned with the idolatry surrounding him. So, he chose a life preaching strict monotheism to counter the polytheism he so despised.
He also challenged Christianity’s understanding of monotheism, rejecting the Trinity (as he understood it) as tritheism, the belief of three separate gods. He believed Christianity enabled idolatry with its many depictions of saints and Jesus. To Muhammad, Jesus was simply a prophet in the line of many prophets. He was certainly not worthy as an object of worship. Yet, here were Christians worshiping him through crucifixes and paintings. FULL POST
Posted 12/31/14 at 12:56 PM | Kyle Beshears
Newsweek published an article, authored by columnist Kurt Eichenwald, that has attracted a lot of attention recently. With a title like The Bible: So Misunderstood It's a Sin, of course you're going to have some fireworks.
But, man, those fireworks have been bright.
Admittedly, when I first read the article, I found it either intentionally misleading or hopelessly naive, reckless either way. So, you can imagine, there was much I wanted to say by way of commentary, most of it was not exactly kind. What I wanted to do was write a clever and snarky response to match the tone of Eichenwald’s essay.
Then, I remembered Proverb 26:4, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.” #jesusjuked
Yet, I still felt like something must be written for friends and family and friends of friends who may happen to read Eichenwald’s article and find themselves lost in this labyrinth of half-truths and (hopefully) genuine ignorance. But so much has already been written on it, like this popular response from Albert Mohler. So, what to do? FULL POST
Posted 10/29/14 at 2:26 PM | Kyle Beshears
Recently, the LDS Church published an essay on the Church's polygamous history. The very admission of this is extremely admirable. Up until the past few days, the Church has held to a sort of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy with regard to its polygamous past. However, all that changed last week with the release of the essay.
I was excited to read the essay when I first caught wind of its release. Yet, when I opened it to read, I initially had difficulty getting past the first two lines. Both sentences demonstrated a repeated pattern of the LDS Church presenting a delusive account of Mormon history to the public.
Of course, such an accusation is serious; however, I truly believe it is warranted. The first sentences of an essay set the tone for the entire piece. In this instance, the first two sentences feel intentionally designed to give a misleading impression of both Mormon history and biblical truth. FULL POST
Posted 9/19/14 at 10:29 AM | Kyle Beshears
One of the most pervasive imports of eastern religious and philosophical thought into Christianity is pantheism – the idea that God is not only everywhere, but is literally everything. From the largest star to the smallest molecule, from the device by which you're reading this article to you yourself, everything is God.
Pantheism is a prominent idea in many eastern religions. Hinduism and Taoism, for example, both speak of a God being the mysterious underlying element to all existence. God is not an individual divine being, but itself constitutes all reality.
This idea has become more and more popular over the years and it is becoming more and more identifiable in Christian thought. But are the two compatible? Does Christianity and pantheism jive?
DOES THE BIBLE TEACH PANTHEISM?
At the end of the day, pantheism blurs the line between the Creator and his creation. For Christianity, this quickly becomes a major problem. FULL POST
Posted 4/11/14 at 10:20 PM | Kyle Beshears
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 3/18/14 at 6:00 PM | Kyle Beshears
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
"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