Read More Looking Up

Read Upward Glances


I really hope this column will bless you. You can read the most recent column below and previous columns at the archive.

The Gospel can solve racial division

Posted by Kyle on January 2, 2016

I am no prophet, but I have a prediction for 2016. Unless something drastic happens, 2016 will be marked by increasing division in every facet of American life. Culture wars will rage. Racial tension will get tighter. National elections will catalyze an increasingly uncivil and disrespectful political discourse.

If you have trusted Jesus to pay the penalty for your sin and to provide eternal life, it would be a tragedy for you to think a prediction like this is bad news.

Instead, think about it as an exciting opportunity to be different.

Sin causes racial tension

Posted by Kyle on December 26, 2015

One year and one month ago, rioting broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager.

The news media began to highlight similar cases from around the nation. Police violence crossing racial lines has saturated both conventional and social media.

Reasons for the Bible: Jesus is an Historical Fact

Posted by Kyle on December 5, 2015

Jesus of Nazareth was a real person who really lived at the beginning of the first century A.D.

History accepts this as a fact. The best-selling book of all time confirms his existence. So do semi-contemporary historians and writers like Josephus, Tacitus, Seutonius and Justin Martyr. Pliny the Younger confirmed that early Christians thought the same thing about Jesus as what many Christians (myself included) still believe about Jesus. Thallus, a historian who wrote within the first 20 years after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, even included corroborating details of the passion narrative before most of the gospels were finished. The Mishnah and the Quran acknowledge some of the basic details of Jesus’ life and what the earliest Christians believed about him.

Reasons for the Bible: The Bible is Consistent

Posted by Kyle on November 28, 2015

The Bible is easily the best-selling book ever printed. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, more than 5 billion copies have been sold in English alone. Maybe about 500 million people speak English in the world today. That means about 10 copies per English-speaking person.

The Bible also perhaps bears the distinction of the most misquoted book ever printed. Quotes like “God helps those who help themselves,” “Love the sinner but hate the sin” and “God works in mysterious ways” appear nowhere in the Bible. Most of what people think they know about Hell comes from Dante’s Inferno instead of the Bible, the fruit Adam and Eve ate is never identified as an apple and the narrative about a little drummer boy is a complete fiction.

Reasons for the Bible: Science Works

Posted by Kyle on November 14, 2015

I love science. I always have. I was the kid who checked out science textbooks from the library because I had already read through the one from class. That kid grew up into a pastor who believes the Bible is true. God created the earth in six days and created humans just as they are now (though without sin). Moreover, I think those views are 100 percent compatible.

But so did the fathers of science. Leonardo da Vinci, Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton all operated from a Christian worldview. They understood the world to be created by God and to operate in a rational and predictable way. A rational mind created a rational world where we can use our own rational minds to understand.

Reasons for the Bible: God is Smarter than Us

Posted by Kyle on October 31, 2015

My 3-year-old daughter has entered the “Why?” phase. That’s the period in a preschooler’s life when the causal relationship between everything in the universe must be explained.

Sometime, you should try explaining why wheels are round to a 3-year-old. She doesn’t understand much, but my infant understands less. For instance, she cries when you take her blanket away at breakfast because she doesn’t really understand that her blanket and yogurt don’t go together. That’s why children have parents.

Objections to the Bible: Cultural Relevance

Posted by Kyle on October 24, 2015

Recently, I have been thinking and writing about the myriad reasons people reject the Bible as being the reliable, trustworthy and revealed word of God.

There is one objection I am forced to concede. Some have observed that the Bible is simply a cultural relic that reflects and affirms cultural values that are no longer relevant. Author, atheist and former Christian preacher John W. Loftus raises the objection this way, “Let’s just face it. The Bible and the people who produced it were barbaric and superstitious. The only redeeming qualities about the Bible or the Christian tradition are those things that civilized people agree with them about, and hence they are irrelevant to modern, scientifically literate people.”

There are a lot of rules in the Bible I don’t like. I find them inconvenient because they prohibit me from doing exactly what I want to do. Fortunately, some of those rules do not apply to me. For instance, Ephesians 6:1 commands, “Children, obey your parents.” Because I am no longer a child, that rule no longer applies tome.

This is not unique to the rules, commands and injunctions in the Bible. Our own secular law is similar. Off-duty policemen, district attorneys and judges have a different set of rules for carrying concealedfirearms than other citizens do. As a clergy person, I have a different and greater legal obligation to report abuse, neglect and threats of harm to self or others than other citizens do.

Objections to the Bible: Missing Books

Posted by Kyle on October 10, 2015

I inherited a curious habit from my grandmother. When I meet someone new, I immediately begin trying to figure out what people we have in common. For instance, a man recently began attending my church. When we met, he told me what he did for a living and I immediately began running through all the people belonging to that profession in my mental Rolodex. I discovered that we both know John.

Objections to the Bible: Supernaturalism

Posted by Kyle on October 3, 2015

There is a word that, depending on who you are, may draw you in, or it may push you away. To some it inspires fear and to others it awakens excitement: philosophy.

Whether the subject excites you or worries you, everyone is a philosopher. Everyone has a set of presuppositions and beliefs that shape the way they live their lives and how they make decisions. Not everyone, however, is a good philosopher. Some have unexamined presuppositions and beliefs. Still others have presuppositions and beliefs that don’t make sense together.

Objections to the Bible: Slavery

Posted by Kyle on September 12, 2015

“I am a servant, and I will die some day.”

Some time ago, I was listening someone talk about the practice of daily affirmations. These are the things you repeat to yourself everyday to foster a positive mental attitude. This person’s affirmations were things like, “I am beautiful” and “I am valuable.” These things are true, but I discovered a more valuable daily affirmation that I began to repeat to myself every morning when I wake up: “I am a servant, and I will die some day.”

Objections to the Bible: Copy of a copy

Posted by Kyle on August 22, 2015

I remember playing Telephone as a child. We’d sit in a circle and one person would whisper a message in the ear of the child next to him. He would, in turn, whisper what he heard into the ear of the person on his other side. The “message” would travel around the circle to the last person, who would then repeat what he heard out loud for the whole group to hear. Most of the time, it was completely wrong.

Objections to the Bible: God does "bad" stuff

Posted by Kyle on August 15, 2015

As I teach the Bible lately, I’ve been interested in examining perspectives not traditionally examined in a text.

For instance, when Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, people often look closely at Jesus’ perspective on the story because Jesus is the named character. They look at the way he draws the woman into a conversation and how he broke down her guard to share the gospel with her.

Objections to the Bible: People do bad stuff

Posted by Kyle on August 8, 2015

In the throes of preparing for battle against enemies attacking Israel, Jephthah began to do what many people do in times of stress: He started making promises to God that he could not or should not keep. In this case, Jephthah promised to make a burnt sacrifice to God out of the first thing to come out of his house to meet him if God granted him victory (Judges 11:30-31).

After he won the battle, Jephthah returned home. As Jephthah approached his house, his daughter came out dancing to celebrate his victory and return. The text seems to indicate that Jephthah, being a man of his word, killed his daughter and offered her as a burnt sacrifice.

Objections to the Bible: It was written by men

Posted by Kyle on August 1, 2015

The Bible is simultaneously the most popular and most hated book in the world.

The idea that a collection of ancient religious literature is singularly inspired by God, uniquely communicates his nature and will and holds authority over every human endeavor is an incredible claim. If we’re being honest, it bears noting that the majority of humanity does not believe that the 66 canonical books of the Christian Holy Bible measure up to their own claims. As irrational as it sounds, even large swaths of Christianity do not believe in the absolute authority of revealed scripture.

But I do. And I’d like to spend the next couple months explaining why.