Tuesday, July 29, 2008

THE MESSAGE: Should have just been called "The Mess"!

Have you wasted your money bought a copy of Eugene Peterson's "The Message" yet? If it's good enough for Rick Warren and his pal, Bono of U2, it's GOTTA be good, right? Not so fast...

An article about The Message wound up on a U2 fan site since the lead singer of U2, Bono, is a huge fan of Eugene Peterson and The Message. The article states:

The seed for The Message was planted during his pastoral work, (Eugene) Peterson says in a press release. He was trying to get across the fire and wild words of Paul's letter to the Galatians in a Bible study class, but his parishioners were paying more attention to the pot of coffee in the church basement. "It was just awful. They'd fill up their coffee cups and stir in sugar and cream and look at their cups and they weren't getting it. It was just really bad.

So did Peterson plan to write the Message at that point? No... Let's continue his story... "I went home after the third week and said to my wife that I was going to teach them Greek. If they could read it in Greek they would get it, they'd understand what a revolutionary text it is and couldn't just keep living in their ruts. She agreed that would empty the class out fast."

Whoa! Does Mr. Peterson really intend to imply that he is a Greek Scholar who highly values and uses the original Greek for Biblical translative clarification? I sincerely hope that's not what he intends to imply because if so, ten years of his life re-writing the Bible were a complete failure since "The Message" repeatedly fails miserably in being in alignment with the original Greek texts!

Still, it SURELY can't be all bad, since the Irish rocker turned global activist, Bono himself, says that he thinks "The Message" is a "remarkable work"! In a video-taped message to Eugene Peterson, Bono said:

"Hi Mr. Peterson, Eugene. My name is Bono. I'm a singer with the group U2. I wanted to sort of video message you my thanks, and our thanks in the band, for this remarkable work you've done translating the Scriptures. Really, really a remarkable work... There have been some great translations, some very literary translations, but no translations that I've read that speaks to me in my own language. So I want to thank you for that."

Is Bono a Christian? Far from it. Contradicting Jesus' own words, Bono believes Jesus is NOT the only way to eternal life. Check out the following quotes by Bono from an article HERE:

"God's Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm."

"Be wary of people who think theirs is the only way. Unilateralism before God is dangerous."

"Unless tolerance comes with fervor, you'll see (war) in the U.S."

In a move toward bridging all faiths, U2'S 2005 Vertigo tour promoted Bono's New Age, All-Faith agenda. (Which coexists with Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan) In fact, on the tour, the word "coexist" appeared on a giant screen - the "c" represented by the Islamic crescent, the "x" by the Star of David and the "t" by the Christian cross. Then the big screen displayed the favorite mantra/lie of the
Emergent/New Age Church, -"EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG". (Bono) led the audience in a chant ―"Jesus, Jew, Mohammed- All True!"

Is this the "message" of The Message? It certainly is NOT the message of "The Bible"! If he loves Mr. Peterson's work so much, Bono's doctrines and understanding of scripture either prove that (A) The Message is A-OK and Bono hasn't really read it, or (B) The Message is a highly flawed, lousy artistic interpretation of the Word of God. I submit that it is the latter.

From Kjos Ministries:

"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:

1. 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.

2. Since God forgives, don't be too concerned about specific sins such as homosexuality or adultery. Jesus wouldn't want you to offend someone.

3. 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.)

Finally, the problem is made crystal clear by our pal "Ed" at THE GREAT APOSTASY:

"It’s like Eugene Peterson, the guy who paraphrased The Message, took scissors to the Bible and cut out references to holiness, living righteously, and serving the One True God.

That’s sort of scary."

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Anonymous said...

We had a church member use this 'version' extensively this past Sunday Night.....

Romans 8:17 in 'The Message' - 'going through the good times with him (Christ).

Vs. Romans 8:17 in the 'NIV' - 'in order that we may also share in his glory.'

Now, are 'good times' the same as 'sharing in Christ's glory?' I think not!

'The Message' is a nice read, but doctrinally inept.

Roger Sharp
Associate Pastor of Worship
Nassau Bay Baptist Church
Houston, TX

Bethany said...

Hey, just so you know, Petersen is a very accomplished Greek and Hebrew scholar - in fact, before he was a pastor, he taught biblical languages at Bible College.

Anonymous said...

The Message in particular is the favorite of Rock Warren, yet, when you study it against "REAL" scripture, it shows up woefully misleading... I am sure you are familiar with the 'full armor of God in Ephesians...' So here's a question..what being would want followers of Christ to never put on their armour?...the obvious answer is Satan. Would it surprise you to learn that The Message completely leaves out anything about the Armour of God?