Kyle A. King


An Atheist Believes Africa Needs God
January 6, 2009, 12:45 am
Filed under: Informative

africa-satellite-small

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Dollar For A Drink
December 3, 2008, 6:06 am
Filed under: Service

glass-of-water

Joshua Guthrie is a young man with a heart to help the poor find water. I’d encourage you to go to his site and donate a dollar. He is calling his vision “dollar for a drink” and is part of building water wells in Sudan. I’d love to see a good response from my blog community (do I have one?) … Joshua’s goal is $8000 by Christmas and he’s over half way. If you donate, leave a comment on my post! -Kyle




What is the Gospel?
November 22, 2008, 4:03 am
Filed under: 1

I really enjoyed this article by John Ortberg and so I thought I would share it with the rest of you!

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What is the gospel? Folks in the most interesting places are asking that question these days. When I was growing up, in the 1890s, no one had to ask what the gospel was. We knew. It was the answer to the question: “If you were to die tonight, how do you know for sure you’d go to heaven?” The gospel was what got you saved. We knew what getting saved was, too. Getting saved was being placed in the heaven-bound category. And we knew what heaven was. Heaven was the pleasure factory where everybody wanted to go after death.

But now folks like N.T. Wright (from a New Testament historical perspective), and Dallas Willard (from a spiritual formation and discipleship perspective), and Shane Claiborne (from a community perspective), and Brian McLaren (from a general gadfly perspective), are calling us to rethink what the gospel really means. Recently someone asked me to comment on it. (Actually it was my wife. And she did so only because I asked her to ask me to comment on it so I’d have an excuse to write about it.) So here are a few thoughts.

I recently subscribed to an actual, academic, peer-review journal called Journal of Happiness Studies. “Positive psychology” is the big new trend in social science over the last decade, so all kinds of researchers have decided to explore the northern rather than southern hemisphere of human emotions.

One theme that keeps cropping up is the happiness paradox: “the more directly one aims to maximize pleasure and avoid pain, the more likely one is to produce a life bereft of depth, meaning, and community.” One article listed eleven separate facets of the happiness paradox. Another explained the principle of indirection: happiness, by its nature, cannot be obtained by direct pursuit. You have to sneak up on it. Or rather, you have to let it sneak up on you while you’re pursuing something more important.

It struck me that the traditional expression of the gospel I heard growing up fell into a similar trap. There was not much serious thought about the true nature of heaven. (If you’ve been avoiding God all your life, would you want to be in heaven? It appears that God will be very hard to avoid there.)

Maybe the “if you were to die tonight” version of the gospel falls victim to the happiness paradox. If “heaven” is understood as “ultimate happiness,” then I can seek to obtain it while remaining trapped in my self-centeredness. If “heaven” is understood as the eternal pleasure factory, then obtaining it has no intrinsic relationship to transformation, therefore no intrinsic relationship to discipleship.

But if the gospel really is the announcement of the availability, through Jesus, of the “with-God life,” then things begin to fall into place. Grace is not just the forgiveness of sin, it is the power to live the with-God life from one moment to the next. Heaven is not a pleasure factory that an angry God chooses to shut some people out of because they don’t pass a theology test; it is a community of servanthood that can only be enjoyed by a certain kind of character.

Discipleship or obedience is not something we have to cajole people into by obligation or gratitude (“after all, Jesus died for you; the least you can do is deny yourself happiness for a while on earth”), it is simply the process of learning to enter into the good, with-God life. The gospel becomes social as well as personal—not because individuals don’t matter, but because to be “saved” means (among other things) to be delivered from the chronic selfishness that contributes to the world’s hurt and to my misery.

We do have a ways to go on one great task regarding the gospel. And that is how to articulate a biblically sound, spiritually powerful gospel in a way that calls for great clarity of decision.

One reason the old “if you were to die tonight” gospel was so popular (and, I think, has been used by God to a large degree), is that at least it helps people be very clear that they’ve made a decision about something. (“I’m not going to earn my way anymore; I’m on the grace plan.”) And that decision itself is often enough to start people on the road toward God.

In our day, I think, we are seeing more accurate ways of understanding the gospel. But we need clarion calls of directness to help people respond today.

When Jesus walked the earth, the call “Follow me” was easily understood. People would actually, physically, bodily, walk with Jesus. People knew if they were following.

When the church formed, the call to follow Jesus was easily understood. There was an alternative community that met daily, that radically transformed people’s financial lives, social lives, time, learning, allegiances, and hope. People knew if they were following.

In our day, that experience has become so diluted and enculturated that people have a hard time knowing.

The availability of life, with God, in his favor and power, as a gift of grace we receive by repentance and trust, through the death and resurrection of Jesus—that’s the gospel with power. What needs still to be done is to find ways to express this with great clarity and simplicity, ways to help ordinary people know for sure they have made the great decision, the great commitment of their lives.



Matthew’s One of My Best Friends…
November 4, 2008, 4:17 pm
Filed under: 1

-Matthew and I went to school together at Taylor U and we did ministry together at Exit 59 Church. He got to meet Obama two summers ago at a cookout in Iowa. I love this guy!



Farming the Sun
October 27, 2008, 3:24 pm
Filed under: 1

watch this video



Alarming Statement Made by Palin
October 10, 2008, 7:07 pm
Filed under: 1

Many evangelical voters seem to love Sarah Palin, yet recently, she made a statement that should alarm many of us.

“I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America — as the greatest source for good in this world.”

As she attacked the character of Barak Obama, she calls America the ‘greatest source for good.’ She is not alone as politician when it comes to stealing language that should only be used for God and than using it to refer to America. Bush, Obama, and McCain are all guilty of it. The greatest source for good in the world is Christ and His global following from all the nations. Her statement could be classified as heretical or unorthodox. Most likely, however, she probably didn’t think through what she was actually saying. We need more thinking Christians who are engaging in faith and politics!



The Two Faces of Humanity as Described in the Psalms
September 24, 2008, 8:16 pm
Filed under: scripture

A Paraphrase of Psalm 8:3-9

“When I look at your universe, Oh God, the detailed craftsmanship of your hands, the moon and stars, which you have set in motion, WHAT IS HUMANITY that you are even thinking of us, and our children that you even care for the smallest of them? YET (though we are nothing) you have made us slightly lower than the flaming beings that surround You. You have clothed us with glory and honor. You have given us all authority to compassionately govern over Your creation; you have placed all things at our feet as if we were Kings and Queens of this good earth. All creatures that inhabit the fields, the forests, the air, and the sea are ours to cherish and make use of. May you be praised, Oh God, throughout the whole, good earth for doing these things! ”

A Paraphrase of Psalm 10:4, 7, 8, 11, 18.

“In pride, humanity does not seek God. All their thoughts say ‘There is no God….’ Their mouths overflow with destructive ideas, oppressive words, curses from hell… Humanity sits quietly, ready to ambush the innocent ones living in their own villages… Humanity says in its heart ‘God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, He will never see our evil ways…’ Oh God, Break the arm of humanity and weed out all the evil until there is none. Hear the voice of the broken, encourage their hearts by being a Father to the fatherless and providing justice to the oppressed, so that humanity, who is made of dust, may strike terror no more.”



NT Wright on Heaven and a Post-discussion
June 28, 2008, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Church, Theology

NT Wright on Nightline (click here)

A Short Discussion Between One of My Best Friends Matthew Josten and Myself About the Interview

A Brief Bio: Matthew and I met at Taylor University by living together on the same floor, sharing the same major, and doing ministry together at Exit 59 Church. In the spring of 2007, Matthew and I skipped classes to attend Wheaton’s theological conference on the Church Fathers. Many of the papers that were presented there were over our heads, but we still learned alot. In the fall of 2007, we skipped classes again and drove down to Asbury Seminary to hear New Testament scholar and Bishop NT Wright speak. We both found his presentations very fascinating and inspiring. Matthew and I have had many memories and alot of awesome conversations together. We always seem to learn something from one another. Matthew is actually the one who sent me this video and wanted to know my reaction to it. What is recorded hear is an unrehearsed discussion we had on ‘IM’. I thought many of you would enjoy reading our discussion, and might want to participate yourselves.

THE DISCUSSION

me: i think NT Wright just articulates restoration of all things in his own imagnitive way
but I agree with most things that he says
josten: ya.. idk if I buy into his whole heaven view (at least how he expressed it on tv…)
josten: but I guess we will find out when we get there
me: oh, what parts did you disagree with?
nightline did edit his stuff way down and I dont think they were totally fair to him.
josten: I guess I would have to look at it some more (it is hard to get very deep in a 5 min interview) but I am not sure if I totally buy into the idea that heaven is the “inbetween state”
me: well it depends how the word heaven is used in the NT
josten: explain
me: well i need to do a word study on it.
but when I think of heaven– i think of both the intermediate state and the renewed earth of Rev. 21
i think of heaven as when we are with Christ
josten: right…
me: but I agree with NT Wright in that the thrust of the New Testament is on the renewed earth part.
the resurrection of the dead happens on earth and those people stay on earth after it happens,
but I think NT Wright is fine to contrast pop view of heaven and the restored earth version.

me: i think the restored earth will be the springboard from which a new humanity will seek to explore a renewed universe and continue discover the marvelous works of God again
and we will be in perfect community, have glorified bodies, experience true worship, and live with Jesus here on earth.
josten: I guess when you explain it that way it makes sense… just something didn’t quite click when I was listening to the interviews of NT
me: yeah, well i didnt like the way it was presented and sometimes Wright can use reactionary language.
he likes to contrast himself from the doom and gloom judgement day stuff.
I think he hurts himself when he does that,
because its part of the gospel message and the New Testament.
josten: right…
me: like in 2 Peter 3

“7By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”

earlier Peter compares this judgement of fire with the flood.

the interesting thing about the flood is that it didn’t destroy the earth completely.
it destroyed most people but not the earth.
i think it will be the same with the fire.
josten: interesting point.. In never thought of that
me: the text also says ‘the earth will be laid bare’
more like its been exposed for what it really is, than blown up
i think the fire will be a renewing fire
it destroys the ungoldy and the evil world-systems, but it preserves what is good
for example Rev. 21:24

“24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

the kings and nations will bring their glory and honor into the City.
the culture of the nations that is not impure will be kept and brought into the city as if God intended people to create diverse culture all along.
this isnt really a modern interpretation either, because the ancient Jewish worldview was this.

me: the earth would be restored. The lion would lay down with the lamb. the nations would turn their weapons into gardening tools as its says in Micah, essentially world peace after the ungodly have been judged.
josten: so you are saying this is what the ancient Jews believed?
me: well not about the specifics as revealed in Revelation
josten: right
me: but concerning the resurrection of the dead and the renewed land and the coming of the new jerusalem
yes, because thats what the prophets said,
and the early church emerged from that worldview and put Jesus at the center of it.
josten: tru…
josten: I am going to make something to eat
it was good talking with you
have a good evening!
me: yeah, take care brother
think about heaven!
its so good



Re:imagine Catholic Christianity
February 6, 2015, 4:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

We all have a past, a lineage, and a family tree, whether we know it or not. For most evangelical Christians, including myself, we have been ignorant of it. I remember when I first became interested in the history of my faith—looking to examples such as D.L Moody, Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley, and Johnathan Edwards. These were men who shaped what evangelicalism has become in the last few hundred years. They were revivalist preachers who wanted to see the whole world experience rebirth, but they were also compassionate pastors who truly were concerned that people have a real experience with Jesus grounded in the scriptures. People flocked to these men, because they didn’t want to be mediocre anymore. They wanted the same fire that they had. And so did I.
This book is not about returning to mediocre, legalistic versions of Christianity and finding Biblical support for that. It is not about falling asleep in the pew, listening to boring or fluffy sermons, or choosing rules and church laws over experiencing the power of the Risen Christ. This book is about reimagining and rediscovering the fiery heart of Catholic Christianity that existed from the beginning as evidenced by history, and how present evangelical pastors and leaders are returning to the family we believe we have always belonged to. This book is about falling into deeper love with Jesus and receiving the gifts He always intended us to have so that we can complete the mission he gave us—teaching, baptizing, and making more authentic disciples of Jesus who supernaturally love one another.
In 2011, I made the decision to resign from my evangelical church in order to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church and reconcile with my family tree. I did this for numerous reasons, but it is important for me to say that it was not because I found my past experiences within evangelical Christianity unfulfilling. My years being formed in two evangelical churches and an evangelical school, Taylor University, were deeply transformative that helped me grow in my relationship and understanding of Jesus. I actually cannot speak of these experiences enough! There are many, many people who I could think of that poured their very hearts into mine and to them I am forever grateful (my parents being on top of the list). But I also began to find some of our historical claims rooted in a Protestant worldview to be incomplete and inconsistent as began to grow in my understanding of the scriptures.
Growing up, I would have never said that the fullness of the Church seemed to be complete within Catholic Christianity. I was largely ignorant of Catholicism, but I generally believed that the Catholic Church was a medieval dinosaur about to go extinct! Like all traditional churches, it was slowly being abandoned by the people and needed to be left to die in the streets. I had it reinforced in my mind time and time again that Biblical truth and freedom was largely abandoned until the 16th century when Martin Luther came around like Moses to set God’s people free! When I was a child, I also heard it said that there were some saved Catholics, but these ‘saved’ Catholics were the ones who were fortunate enough to still see Jesus in the thick of medieval superstition, pharisaic legalism, and severe doctrinal confusion. The prayer was that someday they would discover freedom in a church like ‘ours.’
I began to appreciate the Catholic Church more in college as I encountered the church fathers, the spiritual disciplines, the monastic movements, and ancient forms of Christian worship. However, my mindset was more like a man grabbing prized possessions from a burning building. The ‘Roman Catholic Church’ would still crumble or become obsolete in its relevance, and it was the duty of Christian leaders to preserve was still good in this system. As a future pastor and church planter, I could take some of these effective ideas and use them in ministry settings.
My world was turned upside down however when my best friend became Catholic and challenged me on several points. The Catholic claim is that it is the form of Christianity that has been around since basically the Book of Acts and that the study of church history from the earliest sources vindicates this claim. So I sought to both understand my friend, but also use Biblical and historical evidence to show that he was wrong. That process backfired, and I discovered that the first generations of Christians sounded shockingly Catholic. Ideas that I thought originated in the Middle Ages were documented at the end of the New Testament era. I found that there was quite a bit of evidence that the Catholic Church was the only thing around in the first few centuries except a few heretical groups that nobody wants to be associated with today! Blessed John Henry Newman summarizes this experience quite well, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
My first reaction was anger that this information had been hid from me by my college professors. My second reaction was shock that I missed this information even after reading some of these writings before and that it had the potential to completely change my life. My third reaction was fear that the Catholic Church was going to have a bunch of baggage that I would have to accept and that it was no longer the church it once was. My fourth reaction was sorrow—that I would hurt friends and family members, leading some to think that I had become a fearful, timid pastor who was simply looking for way out of ministry. In reality, I was embarking on the most courageous journey God had ever called me to.
Today, the breakdown in prejudice between Catholics and Protestants and advances in Biblical scholarship has led to a new phenomenon — a significant number of evangelical theologians, pastors, and leaders have become Catholic after rediscovering the real teachings of the Catholic Church. This could be clearly seen in 2007 when the President of the Evangelical Theological Society, Francis Beckwith, resigned in order to enter into the Catholic Church. Beckwith admits he does not feel as though he stopped being an evangelical when he became Catholic, but that his evangelicalism was being fulfilled by being in right relationship with Christ’s Church in its visible and historical fullness. In response to this startling news about Beckham, a book was written by Norman Geisler and Betancourt called, “Is Rome the True Church?,” which argued against the Catholic Church’s claims. Shortly after it was published, the co-author Betancourt made a dramatic decision to also become Catholic himself. He found as I have found and many others that there are good arguments against Catholic Church, but there are still much stronger ones for it, or as G.K. Chesterton puts it, “It is impossible to be just to the Catholic Church. The moment a man ceases to pull against it he feels a tug towards it. The moment he ceases to shout it down he begins to listen to it with pleasure. The moment he tries to be fair to it he begins to be fond of it.”
In 2008, evangelical pastor Allen Hunt made the decision to resign from his 10,000 person Methodist congregation to become Catholic, and this last year, in 2014, Ulf Ekman followed Hunt’s example by resigning from his evangelical, Pentecostal mega church in Sweden after studying the Church’s claims and building strong relationships with Charismatic Catholics across the globe. There is a entire organization called the “Coming Home Network” that networks with pastors and Christian ministry leaders so they can tell their story and find support from one another.
Looking at Catholics and Evangelicals from a distance, there is a lot that we have in common. Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren noted that, “We have more in common than we have different,” when he visited the Vatican in November of 2014 in order to give a talk on Marriage. There is even an organization called, “Catholics and Evangelicals Together” begun by evangelical Chuck Colson and former Lutheran theologian turned Catholic, Father Richard Neuhaus, and they have issued significant declarations together while still noting their differences. Much has been done in the last 25 years to warm up the relations between Catholics and Evangelicals, most notably seen when Billy Graham visited Pope John Paul II in 1981, and the Pope responded by calling them “brothers.” This warming of the relationship may be alarming to some, but generally, it has produced fruit in unity and holiness that helps more people see Jesus as we love another. My greatest aim for this book is that after reading it Catholics and Evangelicals would be much more stirred up to love one another and seek understanding from each other prayerfully so that the light of the Risen Jesus would shine out all the more clearly and powerfully through us.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7



Jesus without the Church?
August 4, 2012, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Where in the Bible do you see Jesus personally endorsing Popes, Priests, and Bishops? Doesn’t Jesus speak against organized religion and the traditions of men? Isn’t the Catholic Church a human invention and a distortion of what Jesus started?

Many non-Christians and more and more Protestant Christians are claiming to follow a Jesus who has been rescued from the hands of the Church. They take some of His words that reveal His love for humanity and disdain for the ‘current establishment’ of religious leaders, and they pit those words against everything else He says. To summarize their message: “love God and others but do it in way that you find best rather than what organized religion says, because you are the only authority that matters in your personal relationship with God.” The problem with this line of thinking is that it does not consider a third possibility—that God has given us a faithful and reliable picture (revelation) of Himself in history so that we can know and experience Him on His own terms.

Recall what God said during Jesus’ transfiguration, “This is my Son, Listen to Him” (Luke 9:35). If we listen to the Son, we will hear Him speak through His Life, Death, and Resurrection, and we will hear Him speak when He appointed Apostles and gave them His authority to heal, teach, forgive sins, and cast out demons in His name. We will hear Him speak when he says, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). The point is this—the Church was not an invention of man, but a Mystical Body breathed into existence by Christ Himself.

Excitingly, for Catholic Christians, the Story does not stop there. These Apostles then appointed deacons to assist them in service (Acts 6:1-7), presbyters (priests in English) to assist them in running the local churches (Acts 14:23), and lastly, bishops to assist them in governing whole cities (dioceses) of churches. As seen in Titus 1:5 and 1 Timothy 1:3 , Saint Paul transferred His apostolic gift to Titus and Timothy as bishops over Ephesus and Crete so that they could appoint more presbyters and keep things moving orderly. These first bishops then appointed other men and passed on this apostolic gift to the present day through an unbroken line of successors. One of the earliest bishops, Saint Ireneaus, described this doctrine around 180 AD, “It is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate (college of bishops), have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father.”

What a wonderful gift God has given to the Catholic Church—the gift of infallibility guarded and taught through our bishops and priests so that we might rightly hear the voice of God’s Son.  Let’s honor Christ by honoring those whom He appointed by not sitting on the sidelines, but by joining them in their labor so that our communities might know that Jesus still is alive and that He has not rejected the Church, but continues to live and reign in Her.