After reading this article, please then take a look at this link http://www.sdadefend.com/MINDEX-U-Z/Saddleback.pdf which shows how Rick Warren uses the false translation of "the Message" to distort truth and how he produces a very worldly and counterfeit type of church devoid of "real" spiritual life.
Whatever you do ensure that you study a reliable translation, such as King James version. More on this later.
What kind of message is THE MESSAGE?
Written in 1993 in response to several requests
Emphasis added throughout the report
"Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
"I and the Father are one heart and mind."
Riding a spreading tide of publicity and enthusiasm, Eugene Peterson's The Message is sweeping into Christian bookstores, homes and churches from coast to coast. In the first four months after its mid-July lease, 100,000 copies of this "New Testament in contemporary English" were printed by NavPress. Seventy thousand books were sold. Thousands were either donated or distributed at reduced prices to youth leaders, Young Life staff, and pastors who could share Peterson's message with their followers. Apparently, most readers were delighted. "The Message is so good it leaves me breathless," writes popular author Madeleine L'Engle in her endorsement.
"We don't maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God."
|1 Timothy 4:1 "...in later times some will abandon the faith and follow seducing spirits and doctrines of demons." (KJV)||The Message: "...as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase afterdemonic illusions put forth by professional liars."|
|Ephesians 2:1-3: "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts."||The Message: "It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat."|
|Thessalonians 2:9: "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."||The Message: "The Anarchist's coming is all Satan's work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake, evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them. And since they're so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it - gives them what they want. Since they refuse to trust truth, they're banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions."|
|Galatians 5:19-21: "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like."||The Message: "It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religions; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved.... ugly parodies of community. I could go on."|
If you open up your heart You will know what I mean...
Now here's a way for you to get clean
By chanting the names of the lord and you'll be free
The lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see.
|Colossians 2:10: "...and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority."||The Message: "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..."|
* DELETES words like adulterers and homosexual which identify specific sins and ADDS a politically correct reference to environmentalism.(Recall the environmental terminology in Eph. 2:1-3, "filled your lungs with polluted unbelief...")
|1 Corinthians 6:9-11: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders [sodomites] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified..."||The Message: "Unjust people who don't 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 from experience 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...."|
Romans 16:19-21. "Everyone has heard about your obedience [the Greek word consistently refers to obedience or obeying], so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."
|The Message: "And so while there has never been any question about your honesty in this matters - I couldn't be more proud of you! - I want you also to be smart, making sure every "good" thing is the real thing. Don't be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil. Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus!"|
|1 Corinthians 6:18-20: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."||The Message: "There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much a spiritual mystery as a physical fact. As written in Scripture, 'The two become one.' Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever - the kind of sex that can never 'become one.' ....In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for 'becoming one' with another."|
* ADDS words that qualify homosexuality, providing a loophole for committed homosexuals who "love" each other. DELETES "God gave them over...":
|Romans 1:26-27: "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."||The Message: "Worse followed. 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, theyabused 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."|
|Romans 3:19-20. "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law, rather through the law we become conscious of sin.||The Message: "This makes it clear, doesn't it, thatwhatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! and it's clear enough, isn't it, that we're sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everyone else? Our involvement with God's revelation doesn't put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else's sin."|
|Galatians 6:1-2: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."||The Message: "Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out."|
1 Peter 3:1, 7: "Wives, in the same way besubmissive to your husbands...
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life..."
The Message: "The same goes for you wives: Begood wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs...
The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God's grace,you're equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals...."
* DELETES references to sexual immorality, repentance, tolerating sin, the God who searches hearts and minds...
|Revelation 2:22: "I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. so I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds..."||The Message: "But why do you let that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet mislead my dear servants into Cross-denying, self-indulging religion? I gave her a chance to change her ways, but she has not intention of giving up a career in the god-business. I'm about to lay her low, along with her partners, as they play their sex-and-religion games. The bastard offspring of their idol-whoring I'll kill. Then every church will know that appearances don't impress me."|
|Romans 15:4-5. "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God..."||The Message: "Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well asJesus gets along with us all. Then we'll be a choir... our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God..."|
|2 Corinthians 5:20: "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."||The Message: "We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you."|
|Romans 8:35-37: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"||The Message: "Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:"|
The last passage seems consistent with Peterson's refusal to mention those "worst sins" in the various New Testament lists of fleshly expressions. It also helps explain his commendation of medieval mystic Julian of Norwich,whose teachings - often quoted by controversial priest Matthew Fox, founder of Creation Spirituality - fueled the fourteenth-century flowering of pantheistic mysticism. In his article titled "Spirit Quest" (Christianity Today, 11-8-93), Peterson wrote, "Single-minded, persevering faithfulness confirms the authenticity of our spirituality.
The ancestors we look to for encouragement in this business - Augustine of Hippo and Julian of Norwich, John Calvin.... Teresa of Avila - didn't flit. They stayed."
"Because she held strongly this belief in the closeness of man and God, Julian has an optimistic assessment of man and the universe, and a belief that sin is relatively unimportant... Moreover she claims that 'God showed me that sin need be no shame to man but can even be worthwhile.' She seems to mean by this that sins are disguised virtues, for 'in heaven what sin typifies is turned into a thing of honor.'" ...In Julian's theology, we find the fullest expression of the concept of the femininity of God. 'God is really our Mother as he is Father,' she says. 'Our precious Mother Jesus brings us to supernatural birth, nourishes and cherishes us by dying for us, giving us the sacrament.... Her mysticism brings tenderness and 'homeliness' to the understanding of God our Mother. (Emphasis added)
Like the culture around us, many churches today seem to emphasize good feelings and subjective experience rather than uncompromising faith based on God's revealed truth - the only foundation for a mature relationship with God. Peterson's definition for spirituality in his article seems to reflect this drift from solid rock to shifting sand - along with an alarming focus on self rather than God:
"Intimacy: we want to experience human love and trust and joy. Transcendence: we want to experience divine love and trust and joy... We hunger for divine meaning, someone who will bless us. And sospirituality, a fusion of intimacy and transcendence, overnight becomes a passion for millions of North Americans.... It is heartening that our continent is experiencing a recovery of desire to embrace intimacies and respond to transcendence...." (Emphasis added)
The inspired scribes of God's holy Word documented facts and observations. They were led by the Holy Spirit, not personal imagination. God was the Creator, not man. No one should know this better than J. I. Packer, the beloved author of Knowing God. Yet in his endorsement of The Message, he uses the same questionable terms -- words popularized by the New Age quest for personal empowerment and unbiblical energies. "In this crowded world of Bible versions," writes Packer, "Eugene Peterson's blend of accurate scholarship and vivid idiom make this rendering both distinctive and distinguished. The Message catches the logical flow, personal energy, and imaginative overtones of the original very well indeed."
What does Packer mean? Does the Bible really have imaginative overtones?
Historical facts and absolute truth made the Bible unique among the world's religious documents. Pagan myths, on the other hand, spring from imagination, personal feelings and mystical experiences. Yet, the author of The Messagerepeatedly stresses the latter. He writes, "We are after what we came for in the first place: intimacy and transcendence, personal friends and a personal God, love and worship."
It seems paradoxical that someone who desires intimacy with God, would minimize or ignore the main obstacles to that intimacy: our sinful nature, our specific sins and our lack of submission and obedience to God. Could an answer to this paradox lie in the strange spirituality he propounds in his article?
I realize that Peterson's intent was "to recapture the tone" and subtleties of the Greek language. Whether or not he achieved that (personally I believe that his language reflects neither the heart of Jesus nor His followers' fiery devotion to a holy sovereign God and the integrity of His Word), this noble goal can never be an excuse for "dumbing-down"Scripture to match our culture's downward trends.
The fact that essential Biblical terms are no longer part of our everyday conversation doesn't give us license to soften God's message. Shouldn't we rather aim to use Scriptures to lift our communications to the level where our language reflects the eternal perspective of God's revealed truth? That seems to be the exhortation of Deuteronomy 6:4-7 and 2 Timothy 3:16. When we simplify Scripture by removing its mysteries, controversies and exhortations toward God's highest, we demean our Lord and misinform believers.
Some might ask, "Who are you to question the wisdom and scholarship of respected Church leaders?"
The sad fact is that shepherds and leaders throughout history have turned from truth to embrace "new" teachings. We are all called to "examine Scriptures" and test our leaders as did the Bereans and Ephesians. Our ability to exercise this kind of discernment comes from the Holy Spirit - as God tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:5: "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant." (NASV) Sad to say, Peterson deleted this wonderful promise of God's sufficiency for any task He assigns us.
"But isn't most of The Message accurate?" ask some. Probably. So is the Jehovah's Witnesses' Bible. However, it only takes the distortion of a few key passages to reflect an entirely different message. When any part -- even "the smallest letter" -- of God's Word is changed, the integrity of the whole is lost.
If The Message is accepted as Biblical truth, three distortions of New Testament teachings could spread and permeate the Church, conforming "truth" to popular consensus and false unity:
Since God is love, He wouldn't be so cruel as to cause someone to suffer, perish or burn in hell. So don't mention Biblical consequences or punishment.
Since God forgives, don't be too concerned about specific sins such as homosexuality or adultery. Jesus wouldn't want you to offend someone.
Since God is tolerant, don't correct others. Be tolerant of all, except those who criticize something you like. (This politically correct attitude censors much-needed
rational, objective criticism as a corrective force.)
Today's most seductive masks bear an alarming resemblance to Christianity. History documents the results - both personal and cultural: a tragic blend of plagues, drought, famine and wars. (I document these in Under the Spell of Mother Earth.) Humanism was often an intermediary step (see Psalm 12:4) and continues to provide an effective tool for banishing God until spiritual hunger draws people to all kinds of pagan, earth-centered alternatives. Romans 1 outlines this timeless slide.
The signs of compromise are multiplying - even in God's churches. Congregations have traded truth for myth and Mother Earth for God our Father. Sunday school curricula teach Native American shamanism and equate the Creator with the Great Spirit. Gay pastors teach spiritual guidelines, and children's pastors teach Bible "truths" through comical skits that mock God.
As we face an explosion of false teachings and spiritual substitutes both in churches and in the world around us, we had better be faithful stewards. It's time to awaken all God's people to test, guard and follow the truth our King has committed to us. Therefore,
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ... Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." 2 Timothy 4:1-5