Posts Tagged ‘the Message’

RNS Interview Reveals The Message Author Eugene Peterson Changes Mind About “Gay” Issues/Marriage

LTRP Note: The following news story from Religion News Service is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the source or the content. The Message “Bible” has had a huge impact on Christianity. Famous pastors, like Rick Warren, have quoted from it extensively, which has played a huge role in developing the present-day nearly apostate church. It’s too bad more Christians didn’t take heed to some of the warnings about Eugene Peterson and The Message over the past several years (see article links below).

Eugene Peterson – Photo: Creative Commons

“Eugene Peterson on changing his mind about same-sex issues and marriage”

By Jonathan Merritt
Religion News Service

When a journalist has a chance to interview a paragon of the Christian faith like Eugene Peterson, there’s a lot of pressure to pick the perfect questions. I’d asked him about why he was leaving the public eye and if he was afraid of death. I’d asked him about Donald Trump and the state of American Christianity. But there was one more topic I wanted to cover: same-sex relationships and marriage.

It’s one of the hottest topics in the church today, and given Peterson’s vast influence among both pastors and laypeople, I knew his opinion would impact the conversation. Though he has had a long career, I couldn’t find his position on the matter either online or in print. I did discover that “The Message,” Peterson’s popular paraphrase of the Bible, doesn’t use the word “homosexual” and “homosexuality” in key texts. Click here to continue reading.

Articles Warning About Eugene Peterson and The Message:
The New Age Implications of The Message “Bible’s” “As Above, So Below”

BOOKLET: The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth

Southern Baptist Convention Rejects Gender-Neutral NIV Bible But Embraces The Message, Renovare Bible, and Contemplative Books

WARNING: Modern-Day “Bible” Versions Used to Promote Liberal Agenda

Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation

RICK WARREN RETAINS UNBIBLICAL POSITION IN NEW 2012 EDITION OF THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE

How to Find a Bible-Believing Church

                                                                   bigstockphoto.com

We have often been asked, “How do I find a good Bible-believing church?” There are many believers who are struggling to find one in their own communities. To start with, we usually recommend they make phone calls to potential churches and ask a few concise questions such as:

“Do you have a Spiritual Formation program at your church?” or “Has your church implemented aspects of the Purpose Driven Movement anytime in the past 10 years?.”

Since thousands of churches would answer yes to both or at least one of these questions, they are worthwhile to ask, and it would certainly narrow down the scope of one’s search. Here are a few other questions that could be asked:

1. Is the pastor using The Message “Bible” in his sermons and studies? Because this paraphrase is very often used by pastors and teachers who promote contemplative spirituality or emerging spirituality (as the language in The Message helps support these false teachings), it is another indicator that a church is going in the wrong direction.

2. Is the church affiliated in any way with the Willow Creek Association? Oftentimes, a church has not implemented the Purpose Driven Movement but is, rather, hooked up with Willow Creek. This is as problematic as Purpose Driven. See our article on our website titled, “No Repentance from Willow Creek—Only a Mystical Paradigm Shift.”

3. Is the church connected at all with Bethel Church of Redding, California? Bethel’s hyper-charismatic influence is huge today, and many churches are getting on board with the Bethel craze. That would include Jesus Culture too, which is an offshoot of Bethel. Before starting your search for a church, make sure you understand what the Word of Faith/NAR, hyper-charismatic movement is. Lighthouse Trails has several trustworthy authors who write about these issues. You’d be surprised to learn how extensive this influence has been in North American churches, even in ones that do not consider themselves charismatic.

3. Ask a potential church if it would mind mailing you a few recent Sunday programs. When you get them, look for some of the key terms used within the contemplative/emerging camp: missional, servant leader, soul-care, spiritual formation, transformation, transitioning, silence, organic, authentic, reinvent, spiritual disciplines, Christ follower (the term Christian isn’t typically liked too well by contemplatives and emergent) Christian formation (or Christian spirituality) (a term often meaning the same as Spiritual Formation). Just using these terms alone doesn’t suddenly make a church contemplative or emerging, but it does show that at least one person in leadership at that church is reading books of that persuasion, and eventually that person’s influence will affect that church adversely.

In addition to those three questions, be sure and visit a church’s website as there you may be able to find the answers to these questions without making the phone call. When on a website, see if there is more talk about unity, “culture,” social justice, and relevancy than about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can check out the doctrinal and mission statements but be on guard—a church can have a solid-sounding doctrinal statement and be actually going in an entirely different direction. Listen to an interview called Beware the Bridgers for some information on that. And by the way, remember who some of the more popular ”bridgers” are, closing the gap between “rightly dividing the Word” and spiritual deception in millions of people’s lives: Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Tim Keller, John Piper, etc.—those who claim to be orthodox biblical Christians but who promote contemplative spirituality and/or emerging spirituality.

When on a church’s website, you can usually find out which conferences the church is involved with or recommending to their church members. The IF: Gathering conferences are growing tremendously in popularity all across North America, but as Cedric Fisher has documented in his booklet IF It is of God—Answering the Questions About IF: Gathering,  IF is an avenue through which emergent theology is entering the church. There are many other conferences and events, usually with high attendance, taking place yearly that are pumping up Christians with heretical ideas and “theologies.” If you find out a church you’ve been researching is involved in any of these, that is a big warning sign.

Also, once your search for a new church has narrowed down to a few churches, a weekday visit to those churches’ bookstores would be important. Look for books by Richard Foster, Gary Thomas, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, and other authors discussed and critiqued on the LT website. Chris Lawson from Spiritual Research Network has a booklet that provides an extensive list of authors who fall within the contemplative, emerging camps. It’s an excellent resource.

While searching for a good church, it would be important to find out where a particular church is at in relation Jesus Calling and The Shack. Many churches have been allowing New Age ideas into their congregations through such books. Be sure to read former New Age follower Warren B. Smith’s materials which will help you identify what the New Age is and how it can disguise itself as a better, newer “Christianity.”  You might ask about women’s and men’s Bible study groups and which books are being used at these meetings. That will tell you a lot.

When all this has been done to find a Bible-believing church, if there are any in your community that have passed the contemplative/emerging/seeker-friendly/hyper-charismatic test, maybe it’s safe to take your family for a Sunday visit. Are many of the people walking in carrying Bibles? Seeker-friendly and church-growth churches discourage that because it might “offend” unbelievers (or as they say unchurched) coming to church. Does the pastor at some point in his sermon talk about the Cross (the atonement) and salvation (and mention of hell)? These are subjects that many churches avoid because of the “offensiveness” of that message. Better to offer an espresso drink and a little rock n roll music during the service and a psychology-based, feel-good message that appeals to the carnal senses (sensual) rather than build up the spiritual man.

Once you have found a church that seems to be sound, you should not stop being discerning. That must be ongoing. That might seem like a ”paranoid” or overly concerned attitude to have, but if we remember the many verses in Scripture that talk about spiritual deception (right from the Garden of Eden all the way to the Book of Revelation), we will realize it is the responsibility of the Christian to be discerning and watchful. And the Bible frequently talks about the latter days before Christ’s return where deception will run more rampant than ever before. Roger Oakland gives a list of signs to look for to see if a church is becoming or has become contemplative/emerging. As you begin to attend a new church, this list may be helpful to you and your family:

Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.

The centrality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.

More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.

The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.

The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past.

An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.

Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be re­invented in order to provide meaning for this generation.

The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.

While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.

These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.

There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.

There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace—claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.

Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.

Roger has these signs listed in his booklet/article How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging into Your Church.

May God bless you and guide you in your search. It may seem like an insurmountable task, but we know there are still good churches out there because we often hear from pastors who are staying the course and are aware of the times in which we live. May God lead you to find one of these churches.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural [carnal] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. . . . For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)

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.

Letter to the Editor: “Booted Out Harshly” From My Church

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I really appreciate all of you at LHTs. Thank you and God bless each one of you.  I went through a very difficult period  when attending  Calvary Chapel __________.  I was very uncomfortable with what they were permitting and promoting. I was very distressed. I had concerns about The Message bible, Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz’s Circle Prayer, Greg Laurie and a few other things. I was told to spit out the bones. I asked them to show me that approach in  Scripture—they ignored me. I raised concerns again and was booted out harshly. It was mean. It hurt. LHT helped me to understand the concerns were reasonable. I am still sad for the way things ended—but God comforts me—I am  okay. I think  this is what happens sometimes, and what happened to me is mild in comparison to other situations.This has encouraged me to read and study God’s Word.  I really appreciate all that you do- will keep you all in prayer.

June (not real name)

Bono Meets With “The Message” Author Eugene Peterson

The following is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement. The video is part of a new film project by the emergent Fuller Theological Seminary. To him who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Related Information:

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth

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

Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation

D is for Deception—The Language of the “New” Christianity

What Kind of Message is THE MESSAGE?

Who is Bringing the “New” Spirituality Into the Church?

NEW BOOKLET TRACT: Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything

Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything,” click here.

Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything

rp_BKT-BE-STILL.jpgBy Warren B. Smith

Our Spiritual Adversary would have everyone believe that we are all “one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. Using every promotional means possible—including a creative and ingenious perversion of quantum physics—he is attempting to convince the world and the church that while Jesus was Christ, so is everyone. And while Jesus was God, so is everyone else. To underscore this heretical New Age doctrine of God and Christ “in” everyone, he would have us further believe that nothing of any significance happened on the Cross of Calvary. However, the Bible makes it very clear that something extremely wonderful and overwhelmingly significant did happen on the Cross of Calvary. For it was on that Cross that Jesus Christ died to save the world as He defeated sin (1 John 2:2), death (2 Timothy 1:10), and the Devil himself (Hebrews 2:14). As the one and only Christ, He is our Rock (1 Corinthians 10:1-4), He is our Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11), and in every sense of the word He is the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14).

Christ Our Savior
The apostle Paul proclaimed that all he needed to know was Christ and Christ crucified:

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Yet Paul also said we should not be “ignorant” of Satan’s “devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Paul further stated it is “a shame” we have to talk about “the unfruitful works of darkness,” but we must “reprove” them—expose them—by bringing them into the “light”:

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (Ephesians 5:11-13)

At the same time, Paul reminds us that there is a “simplicity” in Christ:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Just as there is a “simplicity” in Christ, there is a simplicity in the deception. Satan’s deceptive scenario presents a false “God” and a false “Christ” who are allegedly “in” everyone and everything—thus providing the false foundation of a false one-world religion.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4-5)

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

But what if the true foundations are destroyed by a New Worldview that presents itself as a New Spirituality for a New Age?

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

For biblical Christians, the true foundations can never be destroyed because we have “a sure foundation”:

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (Isaiah 28:16)

And that foundation is our Rock—Jesus Christ:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11)

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)

While many in this world build upon foundations that crumble, we, as believers in Christ, have built upon a foundation that will never falter:

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. (Luke 6:46-48)

These other foundations bring ruin:

But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:49)

“Oneness” is the foundational lie of the New Age/New Spirituality. New Age leader Neale Donald Walsch claims to have had literal “conversations” with “God.” He says God told him that “Oneness”—“God” in everyone and everything—is the “Foundational Truth” of a New Spirituality that can save the world. In regards to this “immanent,” “panentheistic,” and heretical worldview, Walsch writes:

[W]e see God in everyone and everything. Including our divine selves.1

Oneness is the message.2

It is the Foundational Truth of the New Spirituality.3

The following chronologically selected quotes are just some of the many ways this false foundational principle of “Oneness”—God “in” everything—has gradually worked its way into the world—and into the church—over the last sixty to seventy years.

The God “in” Everything Lie Through the Years

(1935) The Two Listeners in God Calling—Two anonymous English women claimed to receive special messages from “The Living Christ” in the 1930s. Their messages were first released in 1935 and were later turned into a best-selling book that is still popular today. Their “Christ” delivered new revelation that included the new “truth” that God is “in” everyone:

Wherever the soul is, I am. Man has rarely understood this. I am actually at the centre of every man’s being.4

I see as no man can see the God in you.5

(1948) Alice Bailey in The Reappearance of the Christ—New Age matriarch Alice Bailey and her spirit guide Djwhal Khul describe how the path to God will be based on an “immanent” God that is “within every form of life”:

. . . a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance of the fact of God Transcendent and of God Immanent within every form of life. These are the foundational truths upon which the world religion of the future will rest.6

(1952) Norman Vincent Peale in The Power of Positive Thinking—In his mega best-selling book, Peale teaches the foundational belief of the New Age/New Spirituality that God is “in” everyone. On page 40, Peale tells his millions of readers:

God is in you.7

(1971) Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in Christianity and Evolution—Teilhard de Chardin, the “Father” of the New Age Movement and frequently quoted by undiscerning Christian leaders, wrote:

I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe.8

What I am proposing to do is to narrow the gap between Pantheism and Christianity by bringing out what one might call the Christian soul of pantheism or the pantheistic aspect of Christianity.9

(1975) The Channeled “Jesus” in A Course in Miracles—Oprah Winfrey stated that the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles—allegedly new revelation from Jesus Christ—could “change the world.” The Course’s “Jesus” teaches that “God” is in everyone and everything—therefore all is “one”:

The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.10

The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power.11

(1978) M. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled—The late mystical, pre-emergent, best-selling author and professing “Christian” wrote:

If you want to know the closest place to look for grace, it is within yourself. If you desire wisdom greater than your own, you can find it inside you. To put it plainly, our unconscious is God. God within us. We were part of God all the time.12

(1980) Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy—The late New Age author wrote that God was within everyone and everything. God was described as the universal “ground of being.” What heretofore had been perceived as heresy—the “immanent” notion of God “in” everything—was presented by Ferguson as new truth. She introduced this as “a great heretical idea”13 that could save mankind:

GOD WITHIN: THE OLDEST SPIRITUAL HERESY—In the emergent spiritual tradition God is not the personage of our Sunday-school mentality. God is experienced as flow, wholeness . . . the ground of being.14

(1980) Maitreya in Messages from Maitreya the Christ—On page 88 in this channeled New Age book, false New Age Christ Maitreya states he is the Christ and is already here on earth waiting for humanity to call him forth. He teaches that “God” is “within” every person:

My friends. God is nearer to you than you can imagine. God is yourself. God is within you and all around you.15

(1980) Benjamin Creme in The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom—New Age channeler Benjamin Creme—still speaking today on behalf of Maitreya—states on page 88 of his book that the New-World Religion will be based on the proposition that “Christ” is “immanent”—“in man and all creation”:

But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—outside of His creation—and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—in man and all creation.16

(1983) Shirley MacLaine in Out on a Limb—Using her celebrity status, MacLaine was one of the first people to bring occult/New Age teachings out of the closet into mainstream society. In her best-selling book Out on a Limb, she and her friend David converse about the idea that everyone is God:

“The simple truth,” he said, “of knowing yourself. And to know yourself is to know God.”

“You mean that is the Big Truth?”

“That’s it. The point, Shirley, is that it is simple.”17

(1987) The Oprah Winfrey Show—On a September 18, 1987 program titled “The New Age Movement,” Winfrey praised New Age minister Eric Butterworth’s book Discover the Power Within You. This New Age book mentions the divinity of man over one hundred times in its pages. On this particular Oprah program about the New Age Movement, Winfrey used Butterworth to present her own New Age belief in the divinity of man. She stated:

One of the most important books I think I’ve read in my life was a book by Eric Butterworth. . . . Discover the Power Within You. And what Eric Butterworth said in that book is that Jesus didn’t come to teach us how divine he was, but came to teach that there is divinity within us.18

(1991) David Spangler in Reimagination of the World—Pioneering New Age leader David Spangler introduced the idea of “God within” as a “universal presence” and as the “ground of all being.” He wrote:

There is nothing new about saying “I am God.” . . . However, in the Judeo-Christian-Moslem world, God is usually not popularly understood as a universal presence, the ground of all being.19

(1991) Leonard Sweet in Quantum Spirituality—Sweet, like other New Age sympathizers in the emergent church, tries to use quantum physics to demonstrate that God is “in” everything. He makes his quantum meaning clear when he introduces the “radical” and heretical “God within” doctrine by stating that God is embodied in the “substance of creation.”

Quantum Spirituality bonds us to all creation as well as to other members of the human family. . . . This entails a radical doctrine of embodiment of God in the very substance of creation.20

(1992) Betty Eadie in Embraced by the Light—Mormon/New Age author Betty Eadie’s best-selling book was extremely popular with countless undiscerning Christian readers. In describing a part of her alleged near-death experience, she writes:

I felt God in the plant, in me, his love pouring into us. We were all one.21

(1992) Sue Monk Kidd in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine—Kidd, a former Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher and now a best-selling New Age mystic, falsely teaches the “immanence” of “God” in everything:

Restoring the feminine symbol of Deity means that divinity will no longer be only heavenly, other, out there, up there, beyond time and space, beyond body and death. It will also be right here, right now, in me, in the earth, in this river and this rock, in excrement and roses alike.22

(1992) New Age Journal Editors in As Above, So Below—In this New Age book written by the editors of the New Age Journal, the authors discuss “transcendence” and “immanence” in regard to “oneness” and the idea of God being “in” everyone:

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.23

(1993) Eugene Peterson in The Message—Eugene Peterson not only uses the occult phrase “as above, so below,” but he puts these New Age words in the mouth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Instead of “in earth as it is in heaven,” Peterson has Jesus proclaiming this mystical, magical, New Age phrase right in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. Also, in his Message “translation” of Ephesians 4:6, after erroneously translating that God is “present in all,” he introduces “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.24

(1993) Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen in Chicken Soup for the Soul—On page 69 of the very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, in his personally penned story titled “The Golden Buddha,” New Age author/leader Jack Canfield writes:

. . . underneath each of us is a “golden Buddha,” a “golden Christ” or “a golden essence,” which is our real self.25

(1994) Catechism of the Catholic Church—The 1994 Catechism is the official source for Roman Catholic doctrine. The following quotes are taken straight from the Catechism:

Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. (#795)26

For the Son of God became man so that we might become God. (#460)27

The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods. (#460)28

(1996) Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God: Book 1—The New Age “God,” speaking through Walsch, tells everyone:

You are already a God. You simply don’t know it.29

(1997) Henri Nouwen in Here and Now—Henri Nouwen, the late Catholic mystic, is frequently quoted by undiscerning pastors and Christian leaders. In his book, Here and Now, Nouwen writes:

The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of every human being.30

(1999) Leonard Sweet in SoulTsunami—With a front cover endorsement by Rick Warren, New Age sympathizer/church figure Leonard Sweet introduces the New Age concept of “immanence” after suggesting that Christians “learn to speak out of both sides of the mouth”:

To survive in the postmodern culture, one has to learn to speak out of both sides of the mouth . . . Biblical theological is not circular with a fixed center, but elliptical, revolving around the double foci of God’s immanence and God’s transcendence.31

(2002) Rick Warren in The Purpose-Driven Life—On page 88 of The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren quotes Ephesians 4:6 from a New Century Bible translation, which erroneously states that God is “in” everything:

Because God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God than the place where you are right now. The Bible says, “He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.”32

(2003) Robert Schuller in an Hour of Power Sermon—On November 9, 2003, using the same overlapping New Age term of “immanence,” Robert Schuller told his international television audience that God was an “immanent God” because he was “in every single human being”:

The immanence of God means here, in me, around me, in society, in the world, this God here, in the humanities, in the science, in the arts, sociology, in politics—the immanence of God. . . . Yes, God is alive and he is in every single human being.33

(2003) Tom Holliday and Kay Warren in their Saddleback Church Foundations Participants Guide—Invoking the same overlapping concept of “immanence,” the Foundations Participants Guide states:

The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).34

(2004) Sarah Young in Jesus Calling—The July 8th message on page 199 that Sarah Young says she received from “Jesus” states that He is “in” everything:

I am above all as well as in all.35

(2006) Rhonda Byrne in The Secret—This New Age author prominently features the occult/New Age phrase “as above, so below” at the front of her book. On page 164, she later defines what she means by the term:

You are God in a physical body.36

(2006) What the Bleep Do We Know!?—This popular New Age movie featured in theaters across the country, tried to use quantum physics to convince people that God is “in” everyone and everything. New Age channeler J.Z. Knight appears in the film and channels an ancient “spirit guide” named Ramtha. This spirit guide proclaims that quantum physics proves that we are all “God.”

We have the epitome of a great science . . . quantum physics . . . Everyone is God.37

(2006) Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love—In this best-selling New Age book, Gilbert frequently references the idea that God is “in” everyone:

God dwells within you as yourself, exactly the way you are. . . . To know God, you need only to renounce one thing—your sense of division from God.38

(2007) William Paul Young in The Shack—Like many New Age proponents, author Paul Young uses the term ground of being. In this book that was enthusiastically read by millions of Christians, Young’s “Jesus” uses the phrase to underline his heretical statement that God is “in all things”:

“God” who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things.”39

(2011) Glenn Beck in The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life—Mormon author and radio personality Glenn Beck openly acknowledges his New Age sympathies in this book. He writes:

If God is everything and everywhere and inside everyone, then I figured He had to be inside me, too.40

I wasn’t here by accident. I was part of God’s plan and I had to respect that plan, or at least not resent it. I had to respect myself, as part of Him.41

My father’s granola-hippie-New Age spirituality (which I actually really agree with) . . .42

Scripture makes it clear that God is not an immanent/quantum/panentheistic force or “ground of all being” that interpenetrates His creation. Scripture exhorts believers to lay up “a good foundation”—the true Jesus Christ—for the challenging days ahead. It also warns us to beware of a false foundation that purports to be scientifically proven—like the quantum/New Age/New Spirituality. God is our creator, but He is not “quantum-ly” embedded in His creation. He is not “in” everyone and everything.

Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. (1Timothy 6:19-21)

Scriptural References to Show God is Not “in” Man

Thou shalt have none other gods before me. (Deuteronomy 5:7)

Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. (Psalm 9:20)

. . . verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. (Psalm 39:5)

I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another. (Isaiah 42:8)

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:5-6)

Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? (Jeremiah 16:20)

Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God. (Ezekiel 28:2)

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. (Hosea 11:9)

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)

But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things . . . .Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. (Romans 1:21-23, 25)

And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. (1 Corinthians 3:20-21)

. . . that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. (1 Corinthians 4:6)

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)

Final Thoughts

It has been rightly said that God is God and we are not. However, tremendous pressure is being continually mounted to convince everyone there is a New Age/New Spirituality/New Worldview that can save the world from its present problems. We are being told that if we accept the new revelation that “we are all one” because “God is in everyone and everything” then world peace can happen. But we know from Scripture that a false Christ—Antichrist—“shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice” and “by peace shall destroy many” (Daniel 8:25). The Bible warns that what will appear to be a wonderful “peace and safety” will suddenly turn into terrible “destruction” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Universal “oneness”—God “in” everyone and everything—is obviously a broad way. The true Christ—Jesus Christ—warns that “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction” (Matthew 7:13). He also warns that “narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). He later states there will come a time when Satan, working through Antichrist, will deceive “the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). Jesus explained that “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12).

Describing the coming apostasy, the apostle Paul said that people “received not the love of the truth that they might be saved” and “believed not the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). Thus, with “itching ears,” humanity will “turn away their ears from the truth” as they turn toward things like a New Age/New Spirituality that teaches we are all “one” because God is “in” everyone and everything.

God is not impressed with deceptive devices like worldly “oneness” and neither should anyone who reads and believes the Bible. Genesis 11:6 records what the Lord has to say about worldly “oneness”:

Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Scripture records that God was so displeased with their contrived “oneness” that He confounded their language and scattered them all over the face of the Earth (Genesis 11:7-8). Contrast this with Galatians 3:26-28 where the apostle Paul says to those who are actual believers, “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” He does not say that Christ is “in” everyone. Rather, He says that everyone who believes in Christ is “one” in Christ. In Ephesians 4:6, Paul tells believers at the church in Ephesus and the “faithful in Christ Jesus” that God is in “you all” solely by virtue of their belief. God does not naturally reside in everyone and everything. Thus, there is a big difference between the mistaken notion of universal worldly “oneness” and believers who become “one” in Christ through their belief in the true Jesus Christ.

Acts 17:26 affirms that all of humanity is “one blood” because we come from an original set of parents—Adam and Eve. But “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). That is why Jesus said—“Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). It is only after conversion to the true Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit is sent to believers. As a result of that commitment and conversion, it can be said that God is now “in” those believers. But those believers are not God. And most certainly, God is not “in” everyone and everything. Years ago, people claiming to be God were considered delusional. The way things are going, it may not be long before those who deny they are God will be the ones who are considered to be delusional.

It has been said that when a big lie is told often enough and convincingly enough over time, it will eventually be perceived as truth. Because most Christians are not contending for the faith, the big lie that “God is in everyone and everything” is fast becoming the new spiritual norm. Consequently, it is easy to see how evil may soon rule the world—just as the Bible said it would one day. And the way things are going it may be sooner than most people would ever imagine.

So may God have mercy on us all as we race with ever increasing speed toward this inevitable prophesied conclusion. Ironically, in humanity’s effort to avoid this, they actually bring it on with “new truths” that are no truths at all—like God “in” everyone and everything. In the meantime, we rest in our relationship with the Lord, knowing that these things must come to pass at such a time as this.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:3-5)

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Endnotes
1. Neale Donald Walsch, Happier than God: Turn Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary Experience (Ashland, OR: Emnin Books, 2008), p. 207.
2. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God: Our Greatest Spiritual Challenge (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2004), p. 167.
3. Ibid., p. 167.
4. Two Listeners, Edited by A. J. Russell, God Calling (Grand Rapids, MI: A Spire Book published by Jove Publications Inc., for Fleming H. Revell, 2005), p. 55.
5. Ibid., p. 88.
6. Alice A, Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ (New York, NY: Lucis Publishing Company, Lucis Press, Ltd., 1948), 1996, p. 150.
7. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking (New York, NY, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Sixteenth Printing, 1955), p. 40.
8. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution (New York, NY, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1971), p. 128.
9. Ibid., p. 56.
10. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, California: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975), (Text), p. 147.
11. Ibid., p. 125.
12. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1978), p. 281.
13. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1970s (Los Angeles, CA: J.P. Tarcher, Inc., 1980), p. 27.
14. Ibid., p. 382.
15. Messages from Maitreya the Christ: One Hundred Forty Messages (Los Angeles, CA: Share International Foundation, 1980), p. 88.
16. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (London, England; The Tara Press, 1980), p. 88.
17. Shirley MacLaine, Out on a Limb (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1983), p. 317.
18. The Oprah Winfrey Show # W265, “The New Age Movement,” Air Date: September 18, 1987.
19. David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson, Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company Publishing, 1991), p. 148.
20. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic (Dayton, OH: Whaleprints for SpiritVenture Ministries, Inc., 1991, 1994), p. 125.
21. Betty J. Eadie, Embraced by the Light (Placerville, CA: Gold Leaf Press, 1992), p. 81.
22. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine (New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers Inc.,1992), p. 160.
23. 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.
24. Eugene Peterson, The Message: The New Testament in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Nav Press, 1993, 2003), p. 21-22.
25. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1993), p. 69.
26. Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1995), p. 228.
27. Ibid., p. 129.
28. Ibid.
29. Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God an uncommon dialogue Book 1 (New York: NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Hardcover Edition, 1996), p. 202.
30. Henri Nouwen, Here and Now (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997 edition), p. 22.
31. Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami: Sink or Swim in the New Millennium Culture (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999), p. 28.
32. Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), p. 88.
33. Hour of Power, Robert H. Schuller, Program # 1762, “God’s Word: Rebuild, Renew, Restore,” November 9, 2003, (http://www.hourofpower.org/bookletdetail.cfm?ArticleID=2107), p. 5.
34. Tom Holliday and Kay Warren, Foundations Participant’s Guide: 11 Core Truths To Build Your Life On (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), p. 46.
35. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. 199.
36. Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2006), p. 164.
37. What the Bleep Do We know!? (20th Century Fox, 2004, http://www.whatthebleep.com) transcribed by author.
38. Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2006), p. 192.
39. William P. Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity (Newbury Park, CA: Windblown Media, 2007), p. 112.
40. Glenn Beck and Dr. Keith Ablow, The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life (New York, NY: Threshold Editions-Mercury Radio Arts, A division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2011) p. 58.
41. Ibid.
42. Ibid., p. 24.

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NEW BOOKLET: The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth

The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth by John Lanagan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.

The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth: How Eugene Peterson’s The Message Omits Homosexual Sin—and Other Strange Deletions, Additions, and Alterations

The-Message-BibleBy John Lanagan

Can we just say it? Homosexuality is going to be the dividing line between the true church and the rising apostate church. And Eugene Peterson’s The Message is being used by those who want to avoid or deny the truth that homosexuality is a sin.

The Message flat out deletes homosexuality as sin from two key New Testament passages and gives a politically correct spin to a third (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Romans 1:25-27).

For this reason, The Message and other ungodly imitations of the Bible will be increasingly promoted by those who practice a “form of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) that includes acceptance of homosexuality.

Preaching and teaching from The Message rather than the Bible also makes it easier for those who are unwilling, afraid, or just too tired to resist the politically correct juggernaut of homosexuality.

I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. (Hosea 8:12)

Hillsong’s Role
Pastor Carl Lentz oversees Hillsong Church in New York City. Like its parent church in Australia founded by Brian Houston, Hillsong NYC is enormously popular. Celebrities flock there, younger people rave about Hillsong, and secular media give it a free pass.

Such popularity and acceptance would cease if Carl Lentz treated homosexuality like any other sin (i.e., biblically). But Lentz refuses to do so from the pulpit, during interviews, or in any public forum. Among other excuses, he claims he does not deal with homosexual sin publicly because “Jesus rarely dealt with morality or social issues” but with “the deeper things of the heart,” he says.1

During one of his sermons, Lentz used The Message version of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 to assert that Hillsong is biblically obedient in refusing to “make polarizing statements about certain things in our Christian community.”2

According to 1 Thessalonians 5:14 from The Message:

Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.

Lentz waxed eloquent over one particular phrase from the passage. He repeated, “Be ‘attentive to individual needs.’ That’s interesting. Isn’t that cool? That’s why some churches want us to give blanket answers on huge issues, well, my Bible says be ‘attentive to individual needs.’ So we’re not gonna make polarizing statements about certain things in our Christian community right now. No matter who says what we won’t be pressured into giving blanket statements to individual needs. Never!”3

That sounds kind of heroic, doesn’t it? There is one slight problem: The phrase “attentive to individual needs” is not in any reputable translation of the Bible. It is not in the original Greek. It can only be found in The Message.

In other words, Carl Lentz used a non-existent verse to justify Hillsong’s politically correct silence about homosexual marriage and homosexual sin!

In another sermon, Lentz lamented about biblical illiteracy—and then, ironically, proceeded to teach from The Message. He said:

If you don’t know the Bible, it’s okay. Get to know it. We have a biblically illiterate generation coming up right now where you’re gettin’ second hand information, second hand revelation, second hand stuff that don’t get you through the first hand battle, so make sure you know it for yourself.4

Lentz then told his audience to go to, “James, chapter three. . . . I’m gonna read from The Message.”5 This is further irony because chapter three of James begins by warning that teachers will be more strictly judged.

On more than one occasion, Lentz has assured his audience that The Message is a valid text. Speaking at Judah Smith’s City Church, Lentz stated:

And this morning I’m reading from The Message paraphrase. It’s not a literal translation, but I believe if you check it with all the other translations, it’s right on the money.6

Lentz depends on a phrase not found in genuine translations to justify Hillsong’s politically correct silence about homosexuality.

The Message Versus the Word of God

On a homosexual website, a former evangelical pastor, now living as a homosexual man, uses The Message to assert homosexual relations are God-honoring if performed in love rather than lust.

Tim Evans, author of On Being Gay, relies on The Message versions of 1 Corinthians 6 and Romans 1:25-27 to make his case. He writes:

Reading these renditions and then re-reading the traditional texts without the lens of prejudice, the point is as plain as day. Lust and abuse is wrong and destructive, but love—now that is a different matter.7

Let’s compare The Message passages with those from a genuine Bible.

First, here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NASB):

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Now, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 from The Message:

Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who do not care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.”

How many people even realize what Peterson has done here? Peterson’s version claims those who “use and abuse the earth” will not be saved! Homosexuality has been removed, and nature/earth reverence has been added! Homosexuality out, earth reverence in! Yet, the Lord tells us:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

The second passage used by the author of On Being Gay is Romans 1:25-27. Here is the passage from the KJV:

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; men with men, working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Compare that with Romans 1:25-27 from The Message:

Refusing to know God they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretcheds. (emphasis mine)

All lust, no love? Commenting on Eugene Peterson’s altered meaning of this passage, Berit Kjos, the author of “What Kind of Message is The Message?,” notes:

This strange wording may leave loopholes for homosexuals that make “sex” seem permissible as long as it is viewed as an expression of “love,” not lust—which many gay couples claim today.8

As Tim Evans has ably demonstrated in On Being Gay, The Message serves as a potent weapon for those who deny that homosexuality is sin.

Before examining one final verse where the sin of homosexuality is deleted in The Message, let’s briefly look at a few other verses that have been changed. This is simply to demonstrate there are deletions, additions, and alterations throughout The Message.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27)

Remember, a generation has now been raised on this “Bible.” For many, it serves as a preferred or even primary text. Nationally known pastors like Rick Warren and Carl Lentz frequently teach from it.

So, just to get a sense of what Eugene Peterson has done, below are two psalms, a verse from Romans, a verse from John, and one from Colossians. We’ll compare The Message versions with those from the KJV.

First, Psalm 1:1:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Now, The Message, Psalm 1:1:

How well God must like you—you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College.

Eugene Peterson’s psalm evokes images of clowns pouring forth from a tiny car, running around in helter-skelter fashion, honking their hand held horns.

Sin-saloon! (Honk, honk) Dead-End Road! (Beep, beep) Smart Mouth-College! (Honk honk, Beep beep)

Several years ago during a radio interview, I read aloud Psalm 1:1 from The Message. The Christian talk radio host exclaimed, “That sounds like a cartoon!”

Let’s compare verses from another psalm. Here is Psalm 32:1-2, KJV:

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

Now, Psalm 32:1-2 from The Message, Eugene Peterson’s “lucky” psalm:

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from Him.

Eugene Peterson has taken away “blessed” and added “lucky,” thus changing the very meaning of the verse.

The Lord warns us:

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

Green Hope?

Now, let’s see what has been done to Romans 15:13, The Message:

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! (emphasis mine)

What God of “green” hope? Here is the same verse from the KJV:

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)

Just as he did in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, where he deleted homosexuality and added “use and abuse the earth” as a sin, Eugene Peterson has inserted a potential God/nature reverence interpretation into Romans 15:13 that is not in any reputable translation of the Bible.

Should we care for the environment? Of course. Should we insert our man-made agendas into passages of Scripture? That is blasphemous.

Keep in mind that many brand new Christians are given The Message because of its readable, everyday language.

I and the Father are one heart and mind. (John 10:30, The Message, emphasis mine)

I and my Father are one. (John 10:30, KJV)

The Message version of John 10:30 changes understanding about Christ’s relationship to the Father. Eugene Peterson changed the very words of Christ.

The following verse is also bold on Peterson’s part, considering the Lord hates attempts to divine or foretell the future. Why the mention of a forbidden practice (along with telescope and microscope) as if it were a legitimate activity?

You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. (Colossians 2:10, The Message)

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:10, KJV)

Why has Eugene Peterson done all this? The Message, bluntly stated, seems written to make Christians less knowledgeable about the Word of God. While that may seem a strong comment, please consider what Eugene Peterson himself said about the Bible:

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 do it. . . . [Christians] should be studying it less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God. . . . I’m just not pleased with all the emphasis on Bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more they do the better.9 (emphasis mine)

In contrast, the Word of God encourages us:

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)

The Lord commands us to neither add to nor delete from the Bible. We see this in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32, Proverbs 4:20-21, 30:5-6, 1 Corinthians 4:6, 2 Corinthians 4:2, and Revelation 22:19.

It is a mistake to consider Eugene Peterson as some kind of elder statesman of the faith. Not only has he spawned The Message, Peterson has also endorsed two heretical books: The Shack, and Rob Bell’s sly ode to universalism, Love Wins. The latter disputes whether the unsaved will really spend eternity in Hell.

Peterson has been praised and admired for so long that it may be difficult for some to accept that The Message is an offense to God. Yet, as Paul writes:

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. (1 Corinthians 4:6)

Let us heed Paul’s admonition, and not put “men above that which is written.” Not our pastors. Not Christian authors and musicians. And certainly not Eugene Peterson.

That being said, this deception is spiritual in origin as Scripture tells us:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

The Message’s Effect on the Church
Now, let’s return to the issue of homosexual sin. We are at the point where many in the church are wavering about homosexuality.

As with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, homosexuality is again deleted in 1 Timothy 1:8-11. According to The Message:

It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say. It’s obvious, isn’t it, that the law code isn’t primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever! They are contemptuous of this great Message I’ve been put in charge of by this great God.

Here is 1 Timothy 1:8-11 from the NASB:

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (emphasis mine)

The Message is weakening the church. Our long-term acceptance and use of The Message explains in part why many Christians are lukewarm on the issue of homosexuality. Society continues to undergo a paradigm shift. Christians are daily being exposed to a barrage of pro-homosexual propaganda via media, entertainment, politics, and education. Certainly, The Message is not the only factor—but place this “Bible” in a person’s hands, and it can have, over time, significant influence.

This booklet has not been written as a weapon against homosexuals. Far from it. My wife and I (and many others) have repented of this sin and trusted the Lord with our lives. True love is holding to what the Bible says about homosexuality, rather than glorifying the sin, which is what is happening in the culture.

I believe The Message will be increasingly used by on-the-fence churches, apostate churches, and by homosexual “Christian” activists.

The Bible says: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).

But how can we understand God’s Truth when Truth is no longer there to be read?

Satan has always tried to twist or deny the truth of God’s Word (Genesis 3:1-5). Jesus Christ Himself showed us the importance of the Word of God. When the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, Christ fought the devil’s lies and temptation by answering with Scripture. Three times our Lord responded with “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).

Men like Tyndale and Wycliffe put their lives on the line so common people could have access to the unadulterated Word of God. Now, centuries later, there is relatively little objection when the Bible is altered, revamped, or tinkered with.

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

If you have been using The Message, please don’t feel embarrassed or condemned. After all, The Message has been endorsed by numerous well-known Christians and has been with us for a long time now. People appreciate its everyday, accessible language. So this booklet may come as a bit of a shock.

We have primarily concentrated on the passages where homosexuality is deleted or given a politically correct spin. We have noted what seems suggestive of earth/nature reverence in two other passages, and we have also looked at two altered psalms; then we examined a verse from John and found that The Message offers a different understanding of the relationship between the Father and Christ. Eugene Peterson’s “horoscope” verse was also examined.

The fact is, there is so much wrong with The Message it would take a book (maybe two books) to cover it all. Some other “Scriptures” in The Message you might want to investigate by comparing them with the real thing are: Romans 8:35-37, Matthew 6:9-13, Ephesians 2:1-3, Galatians 5:19-21, and Romans 16:19-21. There are many others.

It is rather amazing how the earth reverence insertions and the altered or deleted passages about homosexual sin play into current political correctness. The Message is seemingly made for worldly churches. But I have often wondered if The Message is the precursor to a sinless, Christ-less “Bible” that will be used by the false church.

That “Bible” will have so-called sins included in it, but more along the lines of the 12 Steps—more generic in nature. A “Christ” figure will be included as well—but not the sinless Savior, our King of kings. Homosexuality will not be a sin but will be treated with reverence.

Christian use of The Message is not a good thing.

The Message is not a translation of the Bible. It is not a para-translation, as its publishers have so cleverly called it. Nor is it a paraphrase, because Eugene Peterson has omitted, and he has added.

The Message should not be used by the body of Christ at all.

To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.

Endnotes:
1. Carl Lentz with Katie Couric http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3wLm6pPvRY.
2. Carl Lentz, Huffington Post interview with clip of Lentz preaching (go to18:01 in video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrdJd1vD2MM.
3. Ibid.
4. Carl Lentz, LOVE IS RED Conference (go to14:38 in video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wqXIAS9B0A.
5. Ibid.
6. There Goes The Neighborhood (go to 6:19 in video) hhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_60hICs834.
7. Tim Evans, On Being Gay (http://www.courage.org.uk/articles/article.asp?id=219)
8. Berit Kjos, “What kind of message is The Message?” (http://www.crossroad.to/Bible_studies/Message.html).
9. Michael J. Cusick, “A Conversation with Eugene Peterson” (Mars Hill Review, Fall 1995, Issue No. 3, http://www.marshillreview.com/sojo/peterson.shtm), pp. 73-90, quoting Peterson.

To order copies of The Message “Bible”— A Breach of Truth, click here.


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