No announcement yet.

The Message Paraphrase by Eugene Peterson *Merged*

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Deceptive Message – Part 1

    Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
    Proverbs 3:3 (NASB)

    Twenty plus years ago, a friend of mine, had a copy of the book, THE MESSAGE – New Testament. This book included only the New Testament and Psalms, as the full “bible” had not yet been edited and published. I was first interested in it because of its size – a small pocket-sized “bible”. At the time, I carried a fairly heavy study Bible and I thought it “cool” to be less encumbered, but still able to stash a Bible and take wherever I went (I will show why this book is anything but a good paraphrase of the Bible and should not be called so).

    My friend expounded on how wonderful The Message, written by Eugene H. Peterson, was and how friendly and easy it was to read. Not long after, I purchased myself a copy. In reading it, I did see that it talked in a much simpler language - even a very cultural language. Most people I knew had yet to even be exposed to this book, so it was somewhat of a novelty for me for a while. However, I didn’t use it much as I still wanted a full copy of God’s Word to carry in my purse and the passages just didn’t seem to come close to the more familiar translations (KJV, NIV, NAS) that I grew up reading and studying.

    A couple of years later, I became interested in whether The Message was a very “good” biblical paraphrase and began researching this. What I found is what I’d like to share with you. This information is truly, truly being passed in Christian love, so others may not be tripped up by the sometimes covert deceitfulness of this book. My heart hurts to see Christians I love quoting or praising this book, because I know they lack the knowledge about its doctrinal errors and problems (or at least I hope so).

    Although, I could start with some of the most problematic passages, I want to first start with one that is rarely brought up when criticizing this book: Proverbs 3:3.

    Don't lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
    Proverbs 3:3 (Message) boldness mine

    Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
    Proverbs 3:3 (NASB) boldness mine
    You will notice in the comparison, that The Message omits the word “truth” and substitutes the word “loyalty”, which is possibly an aspect of kindness or love, but certainly is not a synonym for truth. This is the foundational problem I have with The Message or MESS, as some call it, that it is foundationally untruthful – even about truth! Here are more examples (I’ve bolded certain words):

    John 4:23-24 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” NASB

    John 4:23-24 But the time is coming - it has, in fact, come - when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. God is sheer being itself - Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. MESS
    John 4:23-24, the MESS omits the word “truth” and even seems to portray a different message altogether. In verse 24, Peterson uses the words “true selves”. So then, we are to worship God not in truth, but with our true self? This takes the focus away from God and places it squarely on us. To worship in truth means to worship without error in knowing who God is and to acknowledge His worth or worthiness to be worshiped. Peterson’s version brings up the possibility that a person might worship with their “true self” yet not worship the true God.

    John 1:17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. NASB

    John 1:17 We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, This endless knowing and understanding - all this came through Jesus, the Messiah. MESS
    John 1:17, the MESS again omits the word truth to describe what was realized through Christ (grace and truth). The overall meaning seems distilled from its original intent. John is showing how we got the Law through Moses, but the more excellent redeeming qualities of grace and truth are only realized through Jesus. Peterson, seems to muddy up the clear understanding with a definition for grace as “exuberant giving and receiving” and truth as “endless knowing and understanding”.

    Ephesians 6:14-17 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE ; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. NASB

    Ephesians 6:14-17 Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon.
    Ephesians 6:14-17, it is clear to see how Peterson, reduces God’s Word, actually making it less meaningful, less clear and literally unbiblical. He leaves out the very well-known metaphors of this passage as well as the core principle of “and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE”. He does list the word, ‘peace’, however, the true meaning of the ‘preparation of the Gospel of peace’ is obliterated.

    We are not permitted to add or subtract from God’s word according to several passages found in the Bible, one is Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. See also Deut 12:32; Prov 30:5-6; Rev 1:3; 22:18 about adding and subtracting from God’s Word. These admonishments taken as a whole apply to all of God’s Word. For indeed all scripture is God-breathed.

    I hope by now you are at least uncomfortable with the above examples, for there are more alarming comparisons to come.

    As Above, So Below
    One of the most alarming comparison to me is Peterson’s interpretation of The Model Prayer (the prayer Jesus taught His disciples) and his using of the phrase, “as above, so below”.

    Matthew 6:9-10 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. KJV

    Matthew 6:9-10 With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what's best - as above, so below. MESS
    The Message omits the reference to God's holy name, confuses the meaning of “Thy kingdom come”, adds “reveal who you are”, which is not voiced by Jesus, and changes the meaning of other verses that follow. Through much study, I found that the phrase, “as above, so below” originates from the occult Hermetic text of the Emerald Tablet written nearly 2,000 years ago. In fact, few phrases become as synonymous with occultism as “as above, so below”.

    The following is a translation of the opening lines of the occult Emerald Tablet:
    True, without falsehood, certain and most true, that which is above is the same as that which is below, and that which is below is the same as that which is above, for the performance of miracles of the One Thing. And as all things are from the One, by the meditation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation. The Sun is its Father, the Moon its Mother, the Wind carries it in its belly, its nurse is the Earth. This is the Father of all perfection, or consummation of the whole world. Its power is integrating, if it be turned into earth.1
    Here is a quote from an occult website:
    This phrase comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula. "'That which is above is the same as that which is below'...Macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom, the atom is the same as...and so on, ad infinitum."
    This message theorizes that man is the counterpart of God on earth; as God is man's counterpart in heaven. Therefore, it is a statement of an ancient belief that man's actions on earth parallel the actions of God in heaven. This pivots on the belief that "all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation."2

    Sandy Simpson, of “Deception in the Church” says:
    The editors of the New Age journal described this immanent aspect of God and its New Age significance in their book “As Above, So Below”.
    ... "As above, so below; as below, so above." This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. 3
    The intentional use of the phrase, “as above, so below” is used in Peterson’s counterfeit model prayer to a counterfeit father - satan. This deceiver, the prince of the power of the air, long ago proclaimed his will to be worshipped:
    "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven ; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds ; I will make myself like the Most High.'
    Isaiah 14:13-14 (NASB)
    Other Troubling Passages Distorted by The Message
    Others have written great discerning criticisms of The Message that list many more troubling passages that are distorted. I recommend the article, “What kind of message is THE MESSAGE?” written in 1993. There you will find how The Message:
    • Distorts the relationship between God the Father and Jesus
    • Distorts the nature of God
    • Deletes words that imply occult spirituality
    • Minimizes occult dangers
    • Adds words that qualify homosexuality
    • Distorts truth with contemporary bias
    • Deletes marital submission. Adds marital equality
    • Replaces “reconciliation” with “friend”
    • Adds a promise not found in the original Greek
    • …and more4

    Crooked Thinking of Eugene Peterson
    Peterson himself gives insight to his true opinion of the Bible and clues to his thoughts on the Bible’s inerrancy in an interview by Michael Cusick:

    Question: Why do you suppose we have become so comfortable with the scriptures?
    “I think it’s partly our sin. One of the Devil’s finest pieces of work is getting people to spend three nights a week in Bible studies.”

    “Well, why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text which has a separate life of its own and we think we’re being more pious and spiritual when we’re doing it. But it’s all to be lived. It was given to us so we could live it. But most Christians know far more of the Bible than they’re living. They should be studying it less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God.”5
    Has the truth of God’s Word been dumped on its head? According to Peterson, there’s a tipping point where we should no longer do as Jesus says and abide in My word or study to show thyselves approved or follow Proverbs 4:20-22:

    Proverbs 4:20-22: My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them And health to all their body.
    In contrast, I believe the devil is doing everything he can for us to forsake the study of God’s word. Without it we are sword-less and easily deceived. But with it, we can know the truth and be set free from sin, be transformed by the renewing of our minds, learn wisdom and discernment and be equipped for good works. And mostly, we can know what God Himself wants to reveal to us about Himself.

    Unfortunately, my friend not only still uses The Message but has also bought into many false new age teachings and doctrines of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and heretical Dominion doctrine. I pray she escapes the path she is on for she is worshiping a different Jesus and a different Gospel. As for my reader, avoid the crooked path of The Message and keep to the straight and narrow paths of the righteous.

    By Trust&Obey

    1 Carson, Reed; “As Above, So Below – Part 1”; Blavatsky Net – Theosophy;

    2 A.G.H.; “As Above, So Below”;

    3 Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of New Age Journal, As Above, So Below, p xi. As quoted from “The New Panentheistic God of Christendom”; Sandy Simpson;

    4 Kjos, Berit; “What kind of message is The Message?”; 1993; “What kind of message is THE MESSAGE?”

    5 Cusick, Michael J.; “A Conversation with Eugene Peterson”; 1995 Mars Hill Review 3 Fall 1995 · Issue No. 3: pgs 73-90.
    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, "I am the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE, no one comes to the Father except through Me."


    • The Deceptive Message - Part 2

      This is a continuation of my article on why The Message “bible” is deceptive and heretical. It is a departure from the truth of the Word of God, even though Peterson portrays it as the Word of God.

      But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
      2 Peter 2:1 (NASB)
      The Message is not just a bad paraphrase, it is far worse. Just as the prophetic words of Peter predict, it has secretly introduced destructive heresies. Perhaps, if Christians weren’t so biblically illiterate they would catch the changes and overall corruptness that is found in the MESS. Even so, as I’ve tried to show, just comparing the scriptures with a literal translation, as well as understanding some New Age and occult terms, quickly alerts a Spirit-led believer that The Message is pointing to a different gospel and a different Jesus.

      The God of Green Hope
      "Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!"
      Romans 15:13 (The Message)
      The Message seems to be interjecting a new age earth worship theme here. Earth worship is intrinsic to new ager’s. Green has been a symbol for immortality in the pagan world. Today, environmentalists also tout the “green” anthem. Peterson seems to tie immortality to the words “life-giving energy”. Nowhere in scripture is the Holy Spirit described as an “energy”. The Holy Spirit is a person in the God-head. Here is the same verse translated by the NASB.

      Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
      Romans 15:13 (NASB)
      The New Age Movement is not an organized religion, but is made up of many beliefs and practices. It welcomes all forms of religion, especially the mystical. Unity, to them, is the combining of environmentalism, Mother Earth worship, mystical spirituality, Buddhism, Hinduism, enlightenment, yoga, labyrinths, reincarnation, meeting “Spirit Guides” (demons) in spiritual realms (astral projection) into the One thing. To the New Age Mystic, Jesus was just a man who mastered his spirituality and became a god and there is no angry God or hell.

      According to Brannon Howse (a discernment ministry) (emphasis mine),
      The New Age Jesus came to earth to teach people how to live during the age of the Pisces or the Christ consciousness, the force or energy each individual must tap into in order to understand his or her own deity. References to the coming Christ or Maytria speak of a world leader that enlightened people desire to lead them through this Age of Aquarius. I believe Satan and his demons are using this “Christ” to prepare the world for the acceptance of the anti-Christ. 1
      You’ll recall in Part 1 of this article, the occult quote from The Emerald Tablet, included these words: “for the performance of miracles of the One Thing. And as all things are from the One, by the meditation of One, so all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation.” 2

      This movement is all about pluralism (the belief all religions are equal) and universalism (the belief all roads lead to God).

      Alice Bailey, occultist and publisher of Lucifer Publishing, which was started in 1922 and its sister organization, Lucis Trust, says this (by the aid of her spirit guide, Djwhal Khul):
      The day is dawning when all religions will be regarded as emanating from the one great spiritual source; all will be seen as unitedly providing the one root out of which the universal world religion will inevitably emerge . . . they will accept the same truths, not as theological concepts, but as essential to spiritual living; they will stand together on the same platform of brotherhood and of human relations; they will recognize divine sonship and will seek unitedly to cooperate with the divine Plan. . . . 3
      I’ve troubled to show all this, so you can better understand when you read the list of MESS passages below (emphasis mine):

      The One
      Acts 13:25 As John was finishing up his work, he said, 'Did you think I was the One? No, I'm not the One. But the One you've been waiting for all these years is just around the corner, about to appear. And I'm about to disappear.'

      Hebrews 2:11 Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn't hesitate to treat them as family,
      Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

      John 17:23 I in them and you in me. Then they'll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you've sent me and loved them In the same way you've loved me.
      Oneness as described by New Age term, interdependence
      Romans 1:14 Everyone I meet - it matters little whether they're mannered or rude, smart or simple - deepens my sense of interdependence and obligation.
      Satan has tried to steal the truth from us by first casting doubt on the Word of God and secondly, changing the Word of God to conform to a worldly, sinful worldview. The way of the Cross is foolishness to some, but it is the only way to salvation. The unsaved world will always reject the exclusiveness of the true Gospel. Jesus said that they will hate us just as they hated him. He said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. To believe in the unity offered by the New Age Movement is to deny Christ.

      By Trust&Obey

      1 Howse, Brannon; Worldview Weekend Publishing; Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave; pgs 67-68; 2009.

      2 Carson, Reed; “As Above, So Below – Part 1”; Blavatsky Net – Theosophy;

      3 (Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Problems of Humanity, Chapter V – The Problem of the Churches, III.* The Essential Truths,
      John 14:6
      Jesus answered, "I am the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE, no one comes to the Father except through Me."