Posts Tagged ‘Bibles’

The English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible. “A Dream Come True”? – UPDATED

LTRP Note: Lighthouse Trails is not what some term “KJV Only.” However, we have come to trust the King James Bible more than other versions, and this is what we use for our articles and books. That said, we have strong concerns about many of the new modern translations (and paraphrases that are treated like translations). The ESV has been marketed as a very close translation to the KJV. But a close look, as is done by this Canadian Lighthouse Trails friend, Art K., reveals that the ESV differs from the KJV in many instances and should not be touted as very similar to the KJV. Please also read the article below by Warren B. Smith called “The Kindly Christian Widow.”

The following is an updated version of Art K.’s article with new references and information from an earlier version a few years ago.

The English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible. “A Dream Come True”?

Written and compiled by Art K. (updated: April 2016)

Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission.

Introduction to a Study on The English Standard Version

First, why I compared the KJV to the ESV is because the ESV study Bible has received such high praise for being an excellent literal translation.

Second, in the Preface under “Translation Legacy” page 19, we read “The English Standard Version (ESV)  stands in the classic mainstream of English Bible translations over the past half-millennium. The fountainhead of that stream was William Tyndale’s  New Testament of 1526; marking the course were King James Version of 1611…” I understood this to mean that there would be a great similarity between the KJV and the ESV. What I found however, is that the ESV, is in the majority of the  references, very similar or the same as the NIV. This I find difficult to reconcile with the statement made in reference to the KJV.

Third what motivated me to further compare the ESV to the KJV, was the very high praise that the ESV has received from so many people who are well versed in the field of bible translations. For example, John Piper calls it “a dream come true”? Please see  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlFsBdEkxMQ

Fourth  what  motivated me to examine the ESV Study Bible was what I  read  in the Introduction under the subtitle “Divine Words and Merely Human Words”, where it is written “The ESV Study Bible contains two kinds of words. The first kind is the actual of the Bible, which are the very words of God to us. These are printed in the larger font of each page. The second kind is the study notes, which are merely human words” page 9.

The problem is knowing which group of words to trust. The first group of words “the very words of God to us” in the ESV have so many omissions compared to the KJV that it creates serious doubt, not trust.  If there are so many omissions in “the very words of God” in the ESV, how can we have confidence in the ‘words of men, in the explanation?

Before we accept this translation as “a dream come true” we need to examine the ESV bible carefully and ponder the words of Jesus, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you”.

Please Note.

1) The  following  examples are from the New Testament only.

2) This is not an exhaustive study.

Click here to read this entire document.

A Related Article by Warren B. Smith

The Kindly Christian Widow

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

When I was in the New Age and very involved with A Course in Miracles, I was working for a Northern California agency as a program coordinator serving the developmentally disabled. One day while I was visiting the elderly widowed mother of one of my clients the subject of religion came up. After asking me what I believed, she listened politely as I shared my enthusiasm for the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles. As I described what I believed, she smiled sweetly but didn’t say much. When I finished talking, she excused herself for a moment and went into another room. When she returned she was holding a large, blue King James Bible. She wanted me to have it. Not wanting to offend her, and noting its color was a perfect match with my Course in Miracles books, I accepted her gift.

Several years later, as my wife and I were beginning to understand how deceived we had been by A Course in Miracles and our other New Age teachings, it was this kind woman’s King James Bible that we continually turned to for support and counsel. It sharply contrasted the differences between the New Age “gospel” and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was instrumental in our ultimate conversion to the Christian faith. And we have continued to use the King James Bible for the last twenty years. It has been our guide in everything we do. We thought it was beautifully written, and we found it to be very readable. Occasional outdated words are often defined by their context or can be easily looked up in a matter of seconds. More than anything, though, the teachings and doctrine of the King James Bible have always rung true.

Bible versions only became an issue for us when my book The Light that was Dark was in the process of being published by Moody Press. Moody insisted on converting many of my King James quotes into a newer version. They said they had to make my book more “readable” and “seeker friendly,” so I reluctantly went along with their request. I would not do that today.

I have never understood why church leaders have felt it necessary to downplay and almost apologize for the King James translation. As “seekers,” the King James Bible had met us right where we were at. It might not have been “spiritually correct” for that kind woman to give an unbeliever a King James Bible instead of a newer version, but I will be forever grateful that she did. It helped to save our lives.

No Legitimate Reason?
Having only used one Bible all these years, I wanted to understand why Rick Warren felt the need to use fifteen different Bible versions and paraphrases in The Purpose-Driven Life. In the back of his book I found this explanation:

This book contains nearly a thousand quotations from Scripture. I have intentionally varied the Bible translations used for two important reasons. First, no matter how wonderful a translation is, it has limitations….
Second, and even more important, is the fact that we often miss the full impact of familiar Bible verses, not because of poor translating, but simply because they have become so familiar!….Therefore I have deliberately used paraphrases in order to help you see God’s truth in new, fresh ways. English-speaking people should thank God that we have so many different versions to use for devotional reading.1

I couldn’t really relate to what Rick Warren was saying about “limitations” and overly “familiar” verses. I had always had full confidence in the King James translation, and familiar verses became more and more precious as their truth continued to resound in our lives year after year.

Of the fifteen different versions he used, The Message was clearly Rick Warren’s favorite. In The Purpose-Driven Life he rarely referred to the King James Bible. I found his strange reason why in his 1995 book The Purpose-Driven Church:

Read Scripture from a newer translation. With all the wonderful translations and paraphrases available today, there is no legitimate reason for complicating the Good News with four-hundred-year-old English. Using the King James Version creates an unnecessary cultural barrier…. Clarity is more important than poetry.2

No “legitimate reason” to read the King James Bible? I remember reading that and being amazed. How could he possibly teach something that was so untrue? The King James Bible had not “complicated” the “Good News” for my wife and I when we were lost in the New Age—it had provided much needed clarity by exposing the deceptiveness of our New Age teachings. In The Light that was Dark I commented:

When we could finally see through the spiritual deception, most of the Scriptures that we had been reading clicked into place. It was as if scales had fallen from our eyes, and suddenly the New Testament was flooded with light. Though we had a lot to learn about other aspects of the faith, it was apparent that we were, by virtue of our having been so thoroughly deceived, already well-versed in the Bible’s description of deception.3

Sometimes we thought we were confusing everyone but ourselves. Disappointed but not disheartened by our friends, and discouraged but not disillusioned by some of the churches, we were nevertheless determined to tell our story of the reality of evil and of the power and majesty of the real Christ—how it was the Bible, not our alternative spiritual teachings, that read clearer and truer than the morning paper.4

God had used the King James Bible in a mighty way to reveal the truth. It had pulled us out of the New Age and put us on solid ground. Its straightforward warnings and teachings were clear and true. If we had been dependent on The Message, or some of the other Bible versions that Rick Warren uses, we might still be in the New Age today. It was the clarity and precision of our King James Bible that had exposed the deception behind our New Age teachings. And it is the clarity and precision of our King James Bible that continues to expose these same New Age teachings that are creeping into the Church today. I just thank God no one put something like The Message in my hands when I was in the New Age. And I thank God for kindly Christian widows. (an excerpt from chapter 4 of Deceived on Purpose by Warren B. Smith)

Endnotes:

1. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life  (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), p. 325.
2. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), p. 297.
3. Warren Smith, The Light that was Dark (Chicago, IL: Moody Press: Northfield Publishing, 1992)p. 141. Note: this book is now published by Mountain Stream Press.
4. Ibid., p. 149.

A Glimpse of the Future (or Present?): Penn State University Pulling Gideon Bibles From Guest Rooms Following Complaint

By Heather Clark
Christian News Network

Penn State pdSTATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Pennsylvania State University is pulling Gideon Bibles from its guest rooms and moving them to its libraries and other public spaces following a complaint from a prominent atheist activist organization.

University spokesperson Lisa Powers told the Centre Daily Times that officials made the move “in the spirit of recognizing other religions and beliefs among our guests” after Penn State received a letter from the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF). The organization had asserted that presence of the Bibles, located at the Nittany Lion Inn and the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, presented a constitutional violation.

“State-run colleges have a constitutional obligation to remain neutral toward religion,” the letter, written in June by FFRF attorney Elizabeth Cavell, contended. “When a government entity like PSU distributes religious material to visitors, it has unconstitutionally entangled itself with a religious message, in this case a Christian message.” Click here to continue reading.

The Queen James Bible Release: a Story of Malice and Deception

LTRP Note: We believe this article, written by a Lighthouse Trails reader, goes hand in hand with our recent article, “4 Reasons Why Holman Publishers Should Not Have Inserted an Article by a Contemplative Author into Their King James Bibles. ” Both that and this article below show that the King James Bible is being exploited because it is in the public domain. While the so-called Queen James Bible may be an extreme case, it is still another case in point regardless.

By BGF

On December 12, 2012 an unnamed US publisher announced release of the Queen James Bible (QJB), dubbed A Gay Bible. It was apparently produced for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender) community using the 1769 edition of the King James Bible (KJB) for its base translation. The following commentary and conclusions concern the contents of the QJB’s official website, its press release, and Internet coverage. It is assumed that the QJB is not a hoax due to the expense incurred to publish it and the care with which its editors and the publisher have concealed their identities.

Quoting the QJB official website:

Homosexuality was first mentioned in the Bible in 1946 in the Revised Standard Version. There is no mention of or reference to homosexuality in any Bible prior to this – only interpretations have been made. Anti-LGBT Bible interpretations commonly cite only eight verses in the Bible that they interpret to mean homosexuality is a sin; Eight verses in a book of thousands [implying an insignificant number to establish God’s meaning]! (Bold added.)

The Queen James Bible seeks to resolve interpretive ambiguity in the Bible as it pertains to homosexuality: We edited those eight verses in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.  (Bold added.)

The accusation of homophobia from the homosexual lobby against those who disagree with the LGBT worldview for biblical and moral reasons deliberately obscures the distinction between fear and reasoned disagreement. Unlike reasoned disagreement, fear in the phobic sense is irrational. Quoting Wikipedia:

A phobia (from the Greek, Phóbos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”) is, when used in the context of clinical psychology, a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.1

It is claimed that the term homosexual was not used in Bible translation before 1946. That term was also never used in any preserved text Bible because it did not exist in the English language until 1892, according to Webster’s Dictionary. Regardless of the language used, the essential meaning of homosexuality has been presented for millennia in Bible manuscripts as a form of sexual perversion and that understanding is also clear from Jesus’ and the apostles’ New Testament teachings on marriage as a sacred union of fidelity between one man and one woman. The term homosexual was introduced into Bible translation by the same theological revisionist school of textual criticism that is responsible for the modern Alexandrian Critical Text Bibles.

The QJB official website goes on to say:

The Bible is the word of God translated by man. This (saying nothing [of the] countless translations and the evolution of language itself) means the Bible can be interpreted in different ways, leading to what we call “interpretive ambiguity.” In editing The Queen James Bible we were faced with the decision to modify existing interpretively ambiguous language, or simply to delete it.  (Bold added.)

Clearly, the decision of the QJB’s editors and publisher was to modify the KJB’s text to accord with the LGBT agenda. To purchase the QJB, its official website directs one to Amazon where God is indicated as the Author and Jesus Christ as Contributor. It is unclear if this blasphemy is attributable to the editors, the publisher, or both.

The editors deliberately played upon James’s title (Queen for King), implying that rumors of his sexual proclivities made him one of them, so to speak. Alterations to the KJV text may calm the consciences of a demographic accused and offended by God’s intended understanding of the Bibleregarding sexuality and marriage, but at what price? Quoting further from the QJB official website regarding James’ alleged sexual orientation:

Commonly known to biographers but often surprising to most Christians, King James I was a well-known bisexual. Though he did marry a woman, his many gay relationships were so well-known that amongst some of his friends and court, he was known as “Queen James.” It is in his great debt and honor that we name The Queen James Bible so.

No verifiable historical evidence that King James was either homosexual or bi-sexual has been found by this writer, although James has been described as having less than manly deportment for a king (The Bible in the Making, Geddes MacGregor, P.146). In its historical context, Queen James may well have simply referred to deportment, and nothing more. It should be obvious that such an observation regarding James’ manner does not warrant the indictment of his sexual orientation being anything but heterosexual. For the QJB editors to advance their interests without citing sources is slanderous and irresponsible, the more so when James’ accusers choose anonymity. Even if evidence of sexual perversion existed, it would in no way cast a shadow on the veracity of the King James Bible because James’ role was to commission it, not participate in its rigorous translation process. Who are we, the created, to question why God uses unlikely vessels, such as the Apostles and others, for His divine purposes?

Attempts by this writer and others to identify the US publisher and editors of the QJB have been unsuccessful. Further, Internet postings to date are not neutral regarding the QJB’s biases. They have also accepted as factual the association of the fictional Reverend J. Pearson and the real San Francisco Holy Innocents Episcopalian Church with the QJB.

Recent telephone discussion with clergy at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church revealed that they had no knowledge of the QJB prior to that discussion. That discussion also revealed that there had been a Rev. A (Bertie) Pearson at the Church, but not a Reverend J. Pearson, as cited in the QJB’s press release. Rev. Bertie Pearson left Holy Innocents Episcopal Church on October 1, 2012 to minister elsewhere. On December 12, 2012, PR Web, an online press release distribution service, (www.prweb.com/) issued the press release titled, “New Gay Bible Prevents Homophobic Misinterpretation of Key Verses; Titled The Queen James Bible.” During a telephone conversation with the falsely associated Rev. Bertie Pearson, he stated that he also had no knowledge of the QJB until contacted by his former church, whereupon he had PR Web remove the article from its website because it was inaccurate and libelous.

The QJB has an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), but the ISBN Registration Office in the US only has record of John Pearson as the contact person and Queen James as the publisher. Pink News (news@pinknews.co.uk), a UK website that caters to the European LBGT community, posted an article on December 13, 2012 titled, “San Francisco: Gay-friendly ‘Queen James’ Bible launched, naming Reverend Pearson of San Francisco’s Holy Innocents Church” (no given name initial). It is noteworthy that the Pink News posting occurred just one day after PR Web’s press release in the US. Telephone contact with the US Copyright Office revealed that there is no record of copyright registration for the QJB, including among recent registration applications awaiting processing. If there had, identifiers such as God or Queen James would have been questioned. Apparently, the ISBN Registration Office did not do that. Copyright registration would afford protection under law for the holder and would become part of the public record, which would open the holder’s identity to disclosure. However, registration would not be sought if a work’s copyright holder wanted anonymity, which is obviously the situation regarding the QJB – so far. US copyright begins the moment a work is created and it lasts until the author’s death and/or its ownership is transferred, plus seventy years. Copyright work, registered or not, can show the copyright symbol (C inside a circle), which the QJB does.

The following conclusions drawn from unsuccessfully attempting to identify of the QJB’s editors and publisher serve as a warning to be vigilant and to anticipate future sophisticated deceptive attacks on the King James Bible and its teaching.

– The QJB editors and publisher apparently have no fear of having to one day answer to the Lord for blasphemy, heresy, and gross unethical and immoral conduct.

– The QJB editors and publisher apparently have no scruples about deliberately propagating disinformation and libeling others.

– So far, the QJB editors have failed to publicly associate with their altered KJV, and they have been careful to avoid scrutiny. By any standard, that is moral cowardice and contrary to the admonition of Scripture, which is to stand publicly for one’s faith.

– The KJ Bible was chosen for corruption because outside the UK its text is in the public domain and therefore not subject to copyright violation. The year 1769 identifies the King James as the text used. A non-UK KJ text would have required permission from the copyright owner to alter it, and that would have revealed the QJB’s editors’ identities.

– Several factors suggest the QJB editors may reside in the UK and be associated with the LGBT community there and in the US. Those factors include:

•The one-day separation between the PR Web’s US press release and the UK’s Pink News’ article suggests that Pink News may have anticipated the release. No LGBT publication from another English-speaking country appears to have posted an Internet QJB article within such a short period after PR Web’s release.

•The wording on the QJB’s official website (i.e. printed and bound in the United States), suggests that it was not edited in the US.

•Knowing that only the KJV text is in the public domain outside the UK necessitated a non-UK publisher in a large market. It seems unlikely the QJB’s editors, if from the UK, would select another Commonwealth country for publishing, such as Canada or Australia, and visa-versa.

•Editing abroad and publishing in the US makes it unlikely that prosecution would occur should the editors and publisher be identified.

•Choosing a San Francisco church to scapegoat is consistent with that city’s being internationally known for its homosexual community. And choosing the surname of a past member of that church’s clergy added superficial plausibility to the press release and subsequent coverage. But would domestic (US) editors be as careless in overlooking an individual’s correct given name initial if they were concerned about not raising suspicion?

One would hope that even the LGBT community would distance itself from the QJB if it were to become aware of the deceptive tactics of its editors and publisher on its behalf. Concerning the alteration of Scripture, Revelation 22:18-19 gives clear warning:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (KJV)

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – FINAL PART – “Top 10 Lighthouse Trails In-House Articles for 2012”

1/Looking to the Past to Unravel Confusion About Rick Warren, Islam, and Warren’s All-Inclusive “Second Reformation”

A recent Orange County Register news story titled “Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims” has caught the attention of many people including several online news sources. The story resulted in a rebuttal by Rick Warren, denying the allegations the article made. For those who are trying to figure out what Rick Warren’s true beliefs are regarding Muslims and Christians uniting, we think the best way to unravel the confusion is to take a look at the past. There are a number of telling statements that Rick Warren has made over the past seven years that paint a very clear picture of Warren’s goals regarding this issue.

2/Setting Aside the Power of the Gospel for a Powerless Substitute

If I were to say to you that much of the church today has set aside the power of God, would you be shocked? After all, we live in a time where having the power of God in your life is a major theme preached from pulpits across the country. And book after book, sold in massive quantities, pour off the presses promising a special connection or intimacy with God that will revolutionize your life and make it more dynamic. Yet, I believe I can prove in this article that in fact, the power of God is being laid aside, and I will tell you how.

3/The Roots of Spiritual Formation

To understand spiritual formation, all one needs to do is understand the spirituality of Richard Foster. Lighthouse Trails has documented his beliefs through A Time of Departing and Faith Undone, as well as through numerous articles on the Lighthouse Trails Research site. In this particular article, let us turn to a small book Richard Foster wrote called Meditative Prayer. Foster says that the purpose of meditative prayer is to create a “spiritual space” or “inner sanctuary” through “specific meditation exercises” (p. 9).

4/“They Hate Christianity But Love (Another) Jesus” – How Conservative Christians Are Being Manipulated and Ridiculed, Especially During Election Years

In 2007 and 2008, books, videos, broadcasts, and news articles were pouring into mainstream America with a guilt-ridden message that basically manipulated conservative Christians into thinking that either they shouldn’t vote because “Jesus wouldn’t vote,” or they shouldn’t vote on morality issues such as abortion or homosexuality. Suddenly, all over the place there was talk about “destroying Christianity,” or “liking Jesus but not the church,” or “Jesus for president” (suggesting that maybe we could get Him on the ballot but certainly we shouldn’t vote for anyone already on the ballot). It all sounded very noble to many. After all, everybody knows there is so much political corruption in high government and certainly as much hypocrisy within the walls of many proclaiming  Christian leaders and celebrities.

5/Wheaton College “Dialogue” Evening – Exploring “Common Ground” with Catholicism in “A Conversation on Unity”

On March 26, 2012, Reformed pastor John Armstrong and Catholic Cardinal George of Chicago will come together at Wheaton College for “A Conversation on Unity in Christ’s Mission.” The flyer you see to the left reads: “An evening of dialogue exploring the common ground and current challenges that face Catholics and evangelical Protestants in Christian faith and mission.” The event came about last summer when Armstrong met with Cardinal George and asked him,  ”Would you join me in a public venue to further discuss this idea of missional-ecumenism?” The Cardinal agreed, and thus the “Conversation” at Wheaton in March.

6/Wycliffe Bible Translators to “Re-evaluate” Methodology to Removing “Son of God” and “Father” from Bible Translations

In a growing controversy where Wycliffe Bible Translators is removing “familial terms” such as Son of God and Father in their Bible translations in order to accommodate Muslim readers, the organization posted a statement . . .  This statement came on the heels of Wycliffe issuing a statement a few days
earlier than the one above, criticizing accusations that they had indeed been removing the terms.

7/The Moody Church of Chicago Welcomes Contemplative Advocate Larry Crabb As Guest Speaker

The Moody Church in Chicago Illinois has an impressive history. It was named after its founding pastor, the famous Dwight L. Moody. It’s been through a
number of pastors and buildings since the early 1800s, and if Dwight Moody were here this coming Sunday to listen to the guest speaker, we think he might find himself shocked to learn that this speaker is a strong advocate of contemplative spirituality and the spiritual formation movement.

8/Preparing For Perilous Times and Finding God’s Peace in the Midst of Them

Over the last ten years since Lighthouse Trails began, we have been contacted by many who love the Lord and were struggling with great challenges: Some were ostracized by their churches, which had gone Purpose Driven, contemplative, or emerging; some had division in their families; some had financial concerns; and others were worried about health issues – whether their own or that of loved ones. Beyond all of this, many have expressed a sense of uncertainty or foreboding of what the future will bring.

9/Biblegateway Teaches Readers “Lectio Divina” – a Dangerous Gateway to a New Spiritual Outlook

Biblegateway, “an online searchable Bible in dozens of versions and languages” is one of the most popular websites on the Internet today, ranking in the top 1000 sites in the world.  Over 48,000 websites link to or recommend Biblegateway. Needless to say, their reach is substantial. Thus, it is with dismay to report that on their official blog this past September, Biblegateway introduced their readers to the contemplative practice of Lectio Divina in an article written by Brian Hardin called “Lectio Divina: Diving Reading.”

10/Henri Nouwen’s Affinity Toward Eastern Mysticism – A Valid Reason Why Christian Teachers and Leaders Should Not Promote Him

In Nouwen’s book, Sabbatical Journey (which was a diary or journal of what turned out to the be the last year of his life), Nouwen admitted he was
listening to tapes on the chakras (which Reiki is based on) during that final year, and in that same book he discusses meeting a man named Andrew Harvey at a talk Harvey was giving. Nouwen said he was particularly attracted to this homosexual New Ager’s mystical affinities. It is Harvey who stated: “we are all
essentially children of the Divine and can realize that identity with our Source here on earth and in a body.”

OTHER 2012  YEAR IN REVIEW CATEGORIES FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS:

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 1: “Top 10 Book and Film Reviews”

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 2: “Top 10 Out-of-House News Stories by Various Agencies”

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 3 : “Top 10 Out-of-House Articles By Like-Minded Ministries”

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW Part 4: BEST VIDEO CLIPS

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 5: “TOP STORIES COVERAGE ON “CHILDREN AT RISK”

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 6: CHRISTIAN COLLEGE/SEMINARIES COVERAGE IN 2012

2012 YEAR IN REVIEW – Part 7: TOP 5 “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” IN 2012

The New Age Implications of The Message “Bible’s” “As Above, So Below”

By Warren B. Smith
Author of A “Wonderful” Deception

One of the many examples of the New Age implications of The Message [“Bible”]  is seen in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrasing of the Lord’s Prayer. Where most translations read “on [or in] earth, as it is in heaven,” Peterson inserts the occult/New Age phrase “as above, so below.” The significance of this mystical occult saying is seen clearly in As Above, So Below, a book published in 1992 by the editors of New Age Journal. Chief editor Ronald S. Miller describes how the occult/magical saying “as above, so below” conveys the “fundamental truth about the universe”—the teaching that “we are all one” because God is “immanent” or “within” everyone and everything. Miller writes:

Thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, the great master alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, believed to be a contemporary of the Hebrew prophet Abraham, proclaimed this fundamental truth about the universe: “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. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked.1

Miller continues describing the meaning of “as above, so below” by quoting Sufi scholar Reshad Field:

“‘As above, so below’ means that the two worlds are instantaneously seen to be one when we realize our essential unity with God. . . . The One and the many, time and eternity, are all One.”2 (ellipsis in original)

In 2004 when I searched “as above, so below” on the Internet, the first entry listed further defined this “key” New Age term:

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’ . . . The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man.”3

Most of the references, either on websites or in books and magazines containing the phrase “as above, so below” describe the term as having the same occult/mystical/New Age/esoteric/magical sources. One website states:

This ancient phrase, “As above, so below” describes the Oneness of All That Is.4

In Deceived on Purpose, I discuss my concerns over Rick Warren placing such great emphasis on Eugene Peterson’s The Message. When I looked up Ephesians 4:6 in The Message,Peterson’s paraphrase (like the New Century Version) also definitely lends itself to the New Age interpretation that God is present “in” everyone. In The Message, Peterson introduces his readers—with no parenthetical warnings or explanations—to the concept of  ‘Oneness’:

You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, 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.5

The “as above, so below” God “in” everything “Oneness” message of Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase The Message sounds strikingly similar to the same “as above, so below” God “in” everything “Oneness” message of the New Age/New Spirituality. Such a teaching is contrary to what the Bible teaches. We are only “one” in Christ Jesus when we repent of our sins and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Galatians 3:26-28 states:

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (emphasis added)

Notes:

1. Ronald S. Miller and the Editors of New Age Journal, As Above, So Below: Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life (Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1992), p. xi, quoted in Warren B. Smith, Deceived on Purpose,  op. cit., p. 32.

2. Ibid.

3. “As Above, So Below” (http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/a/below_above.html).

4. See: http://www.mothermaryspeaks.com/as_above_so_below.htm.

5. Eugene H. Peterson, The Message (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress), Ephesians 4:6.


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