Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Emergent Monday: The Mess of the Message 1

The New Testament of the Bible contains the word Gospel 91 times. The word gospel derives from the Old English gōd-spell, meaning "good news" or "glad tidings". It is a calque (word-for-word translation) of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu- "good", -angelion "message"). The Greek word euangelion is also the source (via Latinised evangelium) of the terms "evangelist" and "evangelism" in English. Ninety one times is a lot for a particular noun to appear in a book.

In The Message paraphrase of the bible the word Gospel only appears once. Is that important? Probably not as the Message generally uses the word message in place of the word gospel, and the one time the word Gospel is used, and it's used grammatically incorrectly. This too is also not important, but it does do two things; it makes me feel a lot better about my writing skills, and most importantly it sets the stage for Eugene Peterson's heretical satire of the Bible titled The Message. Eugene Peterson said this about studying the Bible:
One of the Devil’s finest pieces of work is getting people to spend three nights a week in Bible studies… They (Christians) should be studying it less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God… Study is normally an over intellectualized process… I’m just not at all 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… (source)

So Eugene Peterson isn't all that pleased with all the bible study that's going on, I'm sure that worldly men agree with him, in that case I'm sure that Thomas Jefferson, currently a poster-boy for the new age movement who's got President Jefferson pegged as an early day ecumenical diest, agrees with Mr. Peterson, right?
"I have always said that a studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make you better citizens, better fathers & better husbands." - Thomas Jefferson
oooooops. Maybe Abraham Lincoln?
"I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the World is communicated to us through this book... I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason, & the balance by faith, & you will live & die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man." -Abraham Lincoln
Forget them, both are evil Republicans (obviously), what about left wing wonder Woodrow Wilson?
"A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the World who has deprived himself of a knowledge of the Bible." - Woodrow Wilson
Maybe a scientist?
"There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history. All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer. I can take my telescope & look millions of miles into space; but I can go away to my room & in prayer get nearer to God & Heaven than I can when assisted by all the telescopes of Earth." - Sir Isaac Newton
But what does God say about studying the Bible?

 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  (2Tim3:16-17)
So Eugene Peterson isn't all that pleased with all the bible study that's going on, so what? What does it matter what a burned out* pastor with an honorary degree thinks? In this case it means a lot because he took his frustrations out on The Bible and wrote his own version and somehow it became a best seller. The Message IS NOT a bible translation, unless you claim that it's been translated from English to New Age Babblespeak. This is one man's commentary on the bible even though it's commonly referred to as a version, or worse; a translation. It's a disrespectful commentary.

Sometimes Eugene Peterson doesn't seem to understand the Bible, look at John 1:39
He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
You can see that they came and saw where Jesus was staying and they stayed with Jesus for that day, we know this because in many versions of the Bible we capitalize the He and Him when we are speaking about Jesus. (It's also a great tip for new readers of a real Bible, when you're getting barraged with pronouns, look for the ones that are capitalized and substitute Jesus or God, it makes the passage much clearer) But that's not the big thing, Now let's look at the same passage in the Message:
He replied, "Come along and see for yourself." They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.
Here the capitalization has been removed. Why? Maybe because the ASV and the NIV doesn't use capitalization either so maybe he was following in that tradition, or maybe he can't show that kind of respect to Jesus, who knows? But look at the time frame. John gave us lots of time references in his Gospel, which I absolutely love him for. John says that this happened about the 10th hour, Eugene Peterson says it happened in the last afternoon. Well if the day starts at sunup then the 10th hour would be around 4:00 PM to us, right? Unfortunately for Gene, John kept time in Roman time keeping, which is the exact same time keeping we use today. The day starts at Midnight, so the 10th hour is 10:00 AM, late morning at best. 

So maybe you're saying that Eugene Peterson just made a mistake, he used Jewish time instead of Roman time because Matthew, Mark, and Luke's time references are in Jewish time. That kind of thing I could forgive fairly easily, but the Jewish day starts at sunset, not sunrise. In Jewish time keeping 10th hour would be around 6:00 AM, even further away from 'late afternoon' than Gene professes. Even with an honorary degree this is not a mistake that someone who professes to be a pastor of 30 years of experience would make. 

Meeting with Jesus at 10:00 in the morning (or even 6:00 AM) rather than late afternoon has a much more profound implication when you say they spent the day... and wouldn't you love to have been a fly on the wall to hear those conversations? They rambled on all day, Jesus even gave them nicknames; temperamental and volatile Simon he called "The Rock" and the loud and boisterous James and John he named "Sons of Thunder"

As we'll explore in in future blogs about the Mess of The Message, Eugene Peterson twists the word of God around to his own liking, he's made Salvation a guarantee even for whom he calls "irresponsible people" (which other versions of the Bible call lawless and rebellious, ungodly and sinners, unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers and mothers, murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers)

And for those of you who may say "Hey, he just changed a little bit", let's suppose I hand you a tall cool refreshing glass of milk and as you're drinking it on a hot summer day I give you a little warning: "Oh, by the way, the dog peed in it. Just a little bit."

We got a lot more to talk about

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