Friday, July 14, 2017

"The Message Bible" Author Eugene Peterson Now Supports "Gay" Marriage

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Eugene Peterson, the author of "The Message Bible" and more than 100 other Christian books, told Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Services that his experience with Christian homosexuals has caused him to reconsider his opposition.

How does he reconcile his newly "reconsidered" position with the Scripture he has paraphrased for millions of people who read "The Message Bible"?

Eugene Peterson, pictured above speaking at Seattle's University Presbyterian Church, has been a long respected biblical scholar and author by many---often quoted by some of the most prominent evangelical pastors you hear on the radio and see on television.

He has shocked the evangelical world with his recent comments to Jonathan Merritt at Religion News Services.

Merrit asked about several issues before he asked Peterson, a former Presbyterian pastor, this:

"You are a Presbyterian, and your denomination has really been grappling with some of the hot button issues that we face as a culture. I think particularly of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Has your view on that changed over the years? What's your position on the morality of same-sex relationships?"

Peterson answers by saying he hasn't had a lot of experience with it but when he was an associate pastor there were several lesbians in the church and although he would visit them, the subject never came up.

He said, "They just assumed that they were as Christian as everybody else in the church."

Then Peterson said this:

In my own congregation — when I left, we had about 500 people — I don’t think we ever really made a big deal out of it. When I left, the minister of music left. She’d been there ever since I had been there. There we were, looking for a new minister of music. One of the young people that had grown up under my pastorship, he was a high school teacher and a musician. When he found out about the opening, he showed up in church one day and stood up and said, “I’d like to apply for the job of music director here, and I’m gay.” We didn’t have any gay people in the whole congregation. Well, some of them weren’t openly gay. But I was so pleased with the congregation. Nobody made any questions about it. And he was a really good musician.
I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now 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. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.

Then Merritt asked, "If you were pastoring today and a gay couple in your church who were Christians of good faith asked you to perform their same-sex wedding ceremony, is that something you would do?"

Peterson replies: "Yes."

I have a "message" for the man who wrote "The Message Bible"---With all due respect, the fact that someone is a "really good musician" doesn't qualify them to lead a Christian church in worship.

The "debate" about homosexuality is "over?"

Does the fact that no one in your church questioned you knowingly hiring a homosexual worship leader somehow make it a good decision?

Is the church really debating sexual behavior that God clearly condemns? And if so, if we decide it's now acceptable, does that mean God has also changed His mind about it, or does that mean we will just ignore God's Word because they are really nice people?

Does Rev. Peterson really believe "It's not a right or wrong thing?"

He says we "are in a transition," but have we paraphrased away the fact that God Himself instituted marriage as only between one man and one woman?

Apparently, we have. His "The Message Bible" does not even use the term homosexual or homosexuality, because he says, the words don't appear in original Scripture.

While those descriptive words may be more recent, God's Word does indeed explicitly explain the behavior---while condemning it---in both the Greek and Hebrew.

And if we have evolved to believe it's not a "right or wrong thing," does that apply to all other "things" that God labels as sin---like killing, stealing, adultery, coveting, etc?

As you can imagine, those within the Church who are promoting total acceptance of homosexuality---Rob Bell, Richard Cizik, Randy Thomas, Matthew Vines, Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis and others, are rejoicing.

However, as evangelicals are learning of his comments, many are taking considerable issue with them.

There is no biblical basis for what Peterson is saying. His so-called evolved beliefs are merely a culturally induced transition from truth to error.


The retail giant LifeWay Christian Stores says it's attempting to verify that Peterson actually said these words and, "If he confirms he does not hold to a biblical view of marriage, LifeWay will no longer sell any resources by him, including 'The Message Bible'."

This would be financially catastrophic to Peterson in that "The Message Bible" has sold upwards of 15 million copies and continues to be a strong seller.

Southern Baptists and other denominations who use some of Peterson's books, including The Message, as gifts to visitors or new converts also say they will no longer use his materials "for fear of confusing someone."

I, personally, have never used "The Message Bible," nor do I have a copy of it.

When it first came out, it was highly endorsed by high profile, highly respected evangelical leaders such as Chuck Swindoll, Dan Quayle, Bill Hybels, Gordon Fee, JI Packer, Max Lucado, Rod Parsley, Tony Campolo, Warren Wiersbe, Jack Hayford and others---several of whom I consider good personal friends.

The reason I, personally, have not used it is that it was bothersome to me that while the "Lord" occurs 7970 times in the King James version---more than any other noun, "The Message" uses it only 71 times.

In the New Testament, the King James Version uses the term "Lord Jesus" about 115 times (the New King James version uses it about the same amount of times), but "The Message" completely eliminates the term.

The Message refers to Jesus over 400 times as "Master" and the unique New Age term "Master Jesus" appears 76 times.

I have studied the New Age Movement in depth because it typically tries to parallel biblical Truth with a mix of new age mysticism and Scripture that is very, very deceptive.

As a pastor, I addressed this from the pulpit with some regularity and had many in the New Age Movement find Christ and be delivered from the deception---including some who taught "A Course in Miracles" and other New Age courses.

Certainly, Jesus is our Master and Lord, but Peterson's repeated use of the term linked to the concept of "Master or Divine Guardians" has been troublesome to me personally.

The New Age Movement identifies their "Masters" as "divine guardians" and "custodians" of the "Divine Plan," etc.

Peterson consistently uses this phraseology "Master God" (Genesis 15:8), "Master God", (II Samuel 7:18), and "Master God" (Ezekiel 37:3).

Another example: Deuteronomy 32:8

The Message: "When the High God gave the nations their stake, gave them their place on Earth, He put each of the peoples within boundaries under the care of divine guardians."

The KJV: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel."

There's more, but you get the idea.

It's tough to see someone with so much influence in the evangelical community take this kind of turn.

But it happens.

Jeremiah (chapter 23) addresses "False prophets and empty oracles" saying in verse 13, "And I have seen 'folly in the prophets of Samaria; They prophesied by Baal, And caused My people Israel to err." v.14 "Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem...they also strengthen the hands of evil doers."

Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.