Eugene Peterson and his translation, The Message


(Friday Church News Notes, July 21, 2017,, 866-295-4143)

In an interview with Religion News Service on July 12, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, said that he does not believe that homosexuality is sinful. He said, “I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good.” Peterson told the RNS that the church he pastored hired a homosexual minister of music and that in churches where he served as associate pastor, “There were several women who were lesbians.” In the interview, Peterson also said that if asked to do so he would preside over a same sex marriage, but he later retracted that, leaving the rest of his comments to stand. In light of Peterson’s statements, it is not surprising that in The Message every passage condemning homosexuality is tampered with. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in the KJV speaks of “effeminate” and “abusers themselves with mankind.” In The Message this becomes the vapid and almost meaningless “those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex.” In 1 Timothy 1:10, “them that defile themselves with mankind” is changed to “the irresponsible, who defy all authority, riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever.” The Message is extremely popular and influential among “evangelicals.” It is one of the versions most frequently used by Rick Warren and has been recommended by Jack Hayford, J.I. Packer, Michael Card, Joni Earckson Tada, Bill Hybels, Bill Gaither, Chuck Swindoll, John Maxwell, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, to name a few. It is called a “translational-paraphrase” and is said to “unfold like a gripping novel.” In fact, it IS a novel! (For more on this see the report “Eugene Peterson and The Message” at the Way of Life web site.)

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