Is Eugen Peterson’s “The Message” NEW AGE??

Recently, upon knowing the demise of Philip Powell (Christian Witness Ministries), I went on to browse through his latest newsletter – “Contending Earnestly for the Faith” December 2014 Issue 68; and chanced upon this article  by James Smith.

What I read prompted me to study the term “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matt 7:15) anew. It is a long long time since I read anything as alarming as the article “Bible Versions: All preaching the same Message?”

Alarmed, and chastened, as I have been one who used and touted the “The Message” by Eugene Peterson.  Now I begin to see why many has questioned and challenged the teachings of Rick Warren and his use of Eugene Peterson’s translation in the “Purpose Driven Life” (or as some said “The Purpose Driven Lie”

The article by James Smith is rather long, and his expose of “The Message” is very illuminating.  Are the “New Age” terms and teachings in “The Message” really innocuous or deceptively intentional?  One will have to find out for oneself, asking the Lord for a spirit of wisdom and revelation.  For myself, I would destroy my copies of “The Message”

An excerpt at the end of James Smith’s article is appended below:-

”Insertion by Eugene Peterson into The Message of the odd New Age phrase or reference could be forgiven as coincidence or unwitting neglect. But reference to so many specific New Age and occult phrases by the addition, deletion and alteration of so much of Scripture can’t honestly be put down to coincidence or oversight. Eugene Peterson has deliberately and systematically changed so much of the Word of God to communicate a New Age theme, there can be no mistaking it. He is preaching a New Age gospel of a New Age “Lotus Blossom” Master Jesus, who spouts well-established New Age language. God the Father is a New Age impersonal “presence” or “light” that is more concerned about redeeming the Earth than redeeming souls. This is another gospel not found in the Bible.

Please bear in mind when I make that statement the publisher of The Message has specifically advertised it as a “translation from the original languages” that “accurately communicates the original Hebrew and Greek.” In reality, what we have is a free and reckless paraphrase from Eugene Peterson’s own imagination, rather than any authentic attempt at translating the original text.

Peterson has been quoted as saying, “Imagination is our training in dealing with the invisible” (A Conversation with Eugene Peterson, Mars Hill Review, Autumn 1995, Issue 3). What an astounding contradiction of Scripture, which says,“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth”(2 Timothy 2:15).

Matthew 12:37 says, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” What Eugene Peterson has done to the Word of God is serious and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

I write these things most certainly not to criticise or condemn anyone who has, or is still using The Message; I suspect the vast majority of readers of The Message will be generally unaware of the extent of Eugene Peterson’s additions, deletions and alterations. 1 John 1:7 tells us to walk in the light, as Christ is in the light, so we may have fellowship together. My intention is to shine the light of Christ on the real message in The Message. The question therefore for anyone using The Message, is now that light has been shone on The Message, will they continue to use The Message?


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