DEFEND THE FAITH SERIES.
Prophetic Research Group
RELIGION: Bible, changed - Ro.1:25
THE MYSTICAL BIBLE:
'THE MESSAGE' Of MYSTICISM
by Jan Moser
I. Study foundation
II. Satan's plan: that relates to mysticism and 'The Message'
II. Scripture: verses about the Bible which have been changed by 'The Message'
III. Topical encyclopedia
IV. Making connections: people directly or indirectly with 'The Message' and Eugene Peterson
- Chrysostom Society
- Huntington House Publishers
- The Navigators
- Regent College
- Temple of Understanding
- Gordon Fee
- Leighton Ford
- Richard Foster
- Billy Graham
- Madeleine L'Engle
- J.I. Packer
- Lucy Shaw
- Prince Michael Stewart
VI. Dictionary of terms
A. Mysticism's definition
B. Mysticism's interpretation of Scripture
C. Mysticism's terms, key words - found in 'The Message'
D. Mysticism's doctrines - found in 'The Message'
Appendix 1. 'The Message' compared to the King James Bible
A. Mystical/occult terms and key words used in 'The Message'
B. Mystical/occult doctrines found in 'The Message'
C. Mystical/occult/Masonic practices found in 'The Message'
D. Other occultic concepts found in 'The Message'
I . Study foundation
A. Key verse
Ro.1:25- Who CHANGED THE TRUTH of God into a lie, and worshipped the creature more than the Creator ...
Note- See III.E. for 'The Message's' perversion of this verse
Through the use of paraphrase, 'The Message' was 'crafted' to present the doctrines of mysticism to the Christian church in order to seduce it into occultism and the New Age Movement.
The basis of this study is the English paraphrased text of the New Testament written by Eugene Peterson, called "The Message." Those readers who recognize mystical/occult terminology, will definitely get "the message" Mr. Peterson is seeking to convey within his Bible version. On the back of his Proverbs Version, he writes, "Discover ancient wisdom you can use in your life today." In section IV.C., you will "discover" that "ancient wisdom" is a term that refers to the esoteric wisdom, doctrines, and terminology taught by the ancient mystery religions. Mr. Peterson goes on to say that his version of "Proverbs makes these words of ancient wisdom accessible to modern generations..." This parrots the remark made by Michael Howard in his book "Occult Conspiracy," where he says that occultist Rudolf Steiner made the esoteric teachings of Ancient Wisdom 'accessible to the average person' - see II.G.. On the cover page of his New Testament, Mr. Peterson writes, "The Message is a contemporary rendering of the Bible from the original languages, crafted to present its tone, rhythm, events and ideas in everyday speech." Since Masonry refers to itself as "the craft," it's not surprising to -find that Mr. Peterson has "crafted" Masonic initiation practices into his version - see Appendix I.C.
Seeing that mysticism/occultism uses and demands an allegorical interpretation of Scripture, the translation method of paraphrase/dynamic equivalence is preferable for those seeking to "craft" a mystical interpretation into the translation. Also, by using paraphrase, one has all the Bible verses at his disposal, without being limited to only the Greek changes offered by the Nestle/Aland Greek New Testament that the more literal modern translations rely upon. Therefore, this study seeks to look at only the paraphrased verses that relate specifically to mysticism, rather than addressing the Greek changes, because most of the Greek changes deal with removed portions of Scripture, and it is much easier to see what "Message" Mr. Peterson is trying to promote by reading the words that are found IN the text, rather than what has been OMITTED FROM the text.
Two endorsers of "The Message," Richard Foster and Madeleine L'Engle, will be used to define most of the mystical terms appearing in the text, because they are both involved in, and promote, mysticism. As for the other endorsers, one is reminded of the old saying, "birds of a feather flock together;" or, as the Lord so wisely said in Matt.24:8, "for wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together." When one serves up a mystical "piece de resistance," it is interesting to see who comes to dinner. After you have finished studying this material, hopefully you will have lost your appetite for this dish.
Man simply does not wish to change Scripture unless he has a hidden agenda that rests upon a foundation of unbelief concerning one or more aspects of God's Word. A changed Bible will change three things: 1) your faith, Ro.10:17; 2) your doctrine, I.Ti.4:1, II.Ti.4:3-4; 3) your behaviour, Ro.1:25-32, Gen.3:1,6. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to 'bring to light the hidden things of darkness', I.Cor.4:5, in order that you may 'have no "Fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them," Eph.5:11.
This study seeks to show that Mr. Peterson's hidden agenda rests upon a foundation of mysticism. The following statement by Eugene Peterson in his article, "Spirit guest," published by Christianity Today 11-8-93, reveals that he is inclined toward mysticism himself. He refers to two mystics, Juliana of Norwich and Teresa of Avila, whom he looks to for personal spiritual encouragement.
"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."
NavPress's "A RESPONSE FROM THE PUBLISHER TO SPECIFIC CRITICSM OF 'THE MESSAGE," reveals that we are not alone in our convictions concerning "The Message;" others have come to the very same conclusions, as expressed in the following 3 issues and criticisms:
"3. Does 'The Message'...introduce a different gospel message that is unbiblical?'
"4. Does 'The Message' reflect 'New Age' influences? Some critics have objected to terms scattered throughout 'The Message' that they see as tainted with a 'New Age' agenda.'
"6. Are people being deceived by 'The Message' or drawn away from the truth of God's word? Some critics have denounced 'The Message' as distorting God's Word and spreading Deception in the Church.'
The issue of "New Age" terms alone should have sounded an alarm to NavPress, and caused them to research Mr. Peterson's terminology,--for Scripture itself counsels us to:
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,
Abstain from all appearance of evil. (I.Thes.5-21-22)
It is regrettable that NavPress has chosen to ignore the Lord's counsel, and continues to navigate the unsuspecting into mysticism, not only through the text of "The Message," but also through the publications of some of its endorsers as well.
The 3 issues mentioned above are the very things that are dealt with in the following study. In the light of I.Thes.5:21-22, we have chosen to reject "The Message'' of mysticism, as presented by Mr. Peterson. After studying these issues, we hope that you will come to the same conclusions.
II. Satan's plan
Note: Except for Samantha Smith's remark, all other quotes are by occultists.
A. Christianity must embrace mysticism
"Embracing the Cosmic Christ will demand a paradigm shift, and it will empower us for that shift; a shift ... from rationalism to mysticism" (Fox, p.134-135)
B. Doctrines about the Bible rejected
"The 'higher criticism,' to-day has destroyed the authority of the Christian Scriptures in their literal form, but has offered us nothing to replace that interpretation. We have to turn elsewhere ... (to) the various Theosophical Societies ... (and) in the ritual of Freemasonry..." (Kingsland, p.91-92)
"The documents of the Bible itself, very far from being the inspired word of 'God', are exceedingly human documents; and - as Dr. Eisler says ... even the Gospels themselves were falsified in order to bring them into line with 'Orthodoxy'. They are full of errors, contradictions, unbelievable statements, and are replete with 'the precepts and doctrines of men'; not to mention errors of translation and re-translation." (Kingsland, p.36)
C. Bible to be interpreted and taught allegorically, not literally
"There always has been and ... always must be an exoteric doctrine for the masses, and esoteric teaching for those who - as Plotinus says - 'are fortunately able to perceive it'. But in fact these 'mysteries' cannot be stated in any language but that of allegory and symbolism ... and in a physical language which can only be symbolical, never literal." (Kingsland, p.26)
"Paul ... speaks of 'false apostles, deceitful workers,' ... (2 Cor.xi.12) ... Must we not say, in deed, that all those teachers in the Church who still base their teachings on the literal word of the Scriptures belong to this class, and are simply 'blind leaders of the blind'." (Kingsland, p.84)
"... what is known traditionally and historically as 'Christianity' consists of man-made dogmas based on a literal interpretation of those Scriptures, and not on their allegorical, mystical, and gnostic nature." (Kingsland, p.23)
D. Christian doctrine to be changed
"We have in the Modernist Movement some kind of attempt within the Church itself to bring Christian doctrines more into line with our modern knowledge and our modern concepts as to the nature of Man and the Universe in which he lives. But can Christian doctrine be thus reconstructed if the Bible is to be taken in its literal narrative and word? ... The Bible, then, along with other Scriptures, having its origin in this same Ancient Wisdom or Gnosis... (is) sadly mutilated and garbled in our authorized version; its proper interpretation lies in what we can gather from other sources of those great fundamental principles concerning Man's nature and destiny which have been taught for ages past, and long before the Jews were ever heard of" (Kingsland, p.78, 81)
E. New Bibles will contain new Gospel and new message
"Judaism is old, obsolete and separative and has not true message for the spiritually-minded... The Christian faith has also served its purpose; its founder seeks to bring a new Gospel and a new message that will enlighten all men everywhere." (Bailey, p.754)
'The real Gospel of the Christ is ... the ancient Gnosis ... (Kingsland, p.47)
F. Mysticism to be taught in Christian and Jewish seminaries
"Education for Deep Ecumenism - Courses in the mystics, and above all courses that bring out the mystic in each minister, rabbi, or priest-to-be, must be taught in our seminaries" (Fox, p.239)
G. Mysticism to be made accessible to average person
"In rare instances these esoteric teachings [Ancient Wisdom] have been presented by an initiate to the public in a way which has made it accessible to the average person ... (An) initiate of' the secret societies who was instrumental in the spread of their esoteric teachings in the early part of the 20th century was Rudolf Steiner." (Howard, p.171, Occult Conspiracy)
H. Those teaching mysticism to the Church will deny it
"Occult writings often twist everything. In our ongoing study of mysticism/occultism/ spiritualism, we often find that the authors deny what they are actually teaching. Strangely enough, many readers fall prey to this deception when the teachings are disguised as something spiritual or "Christian." (Smith, p.14)
Note; An example of this is found in Richard Foster's book 'Celebration of Discipline', p.17, which says, 'Christian meditation ... involves no hidden mysteries, no secret mantras, no mental gymnastics, no esoteric flights into the cosmic consciousness.' He then proceeds on p.5 to encourage the use of the imagination to picture the 'Christ within' when meditating. In his earlier 1978 edition, he actually presents a guided imagery 'trip' into the unconsciousness, which he has conveniently removed from the later editions.
I. New Age mysticism to be promoted by the Church and Masonry
"...the new world order must be built ... The three main channels through which the preparation for the new age is going on might be regarded as the Church, the Masonic Fraternity and the educational field" (Cuddy, "President Clinton," p.35, quoting Alice Bailey, Externalization of the Hierarchy)
J. Mysticism will become the universal religion through the ecumenical movement
"A living cosmology cannot happen from science and art alone. Mysticism too must be integral to this awakening, basic to this global renaissance. Indeed, the new science is demanding a mystical awakening ... Yet mysticism - which represents the depth of religious traditions the world over - has never been tried on an ecumenical level. We have no inkling what power would ensue for creativity, for employing one another, for exciting the young to deep adventures once again ... were mysticism to be unleashed on a global scale." (Fox, p. 229)
"Alice Bailey's writing in 'Glamour: A World Problem'...indicates that a 'new world religion is now on its way to externalizing ... the inauguration of the New Age ... [and] the only ritual which is still regarded as of value to the human family as a whole - particularly to the advanced person - is the Masonic ritual." (Cuddy, Dawning, p.274) Note - Now you know why Eugene Peterson's 'The Message' contains Masonic ritual practices.
K. World Bible to be based on mysticism
"In her ... book... 'When Humanity Comes of Age', Britain's Vera Alder discusses the coming of the Great Teacher. She says that as soon as he has consolidated world power, he will form and head a Spiritual Research Panel that will evaluate and combine all the world's religions and teachings, the occultic 'ancient wisdom', and Mystery teachings... 'The Research Panel would develop the new 'Bible' of a World Religion which will be the basis of future education.'" (p.39) (Marrs, Mystery Mark, p.63)
Note: The King James Bible is compared to 'The Message' where there is a contrast in meaning. These words are printed in bold type.
A. Prophecies concerning the Church's apostasy into mysticism
1. Seducers concerning the Bible will become worse and worse, not just "things"
KJB - But EVIL MEN AND SEDUCERS SHALL WAX WORSE AND WORSE, deceiving and being deceived.
Message- Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They're as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, THINGS CAN ONLY GET WORSE.
2. Man shall reject sound doctrine, and turn to fables/myths
KJB - For THE TIME WILL COME when they will not endure sound doctrine ... and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (muthos = myths)
Message - You're going to find out that THERE WILL BE TIMES when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food - CATCHY OPINIONS that tickle their fancy. They'll turn their backs on truth and chase MIRAGES.
Note: On "The Mythical Bible" television program, "The Message" endorser, Madeleine L'Engle stated, 'These marvelous mysteries could not be understood in the language of literalism, or inerrancy, and all such attempts to restrict the glory are deadly indeed." (Smith, p.16, quoting Madeleine L'Engle, "The Mythical Bible" television program, "The Chicago Sunday Evening Club," October 1991)
B. Principles/doctrines concerning Bibliology
1. Inspiration of the Bible
a. God inspired holy men - not women - to write it
KJB - For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but HOLY MEN of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
Message - Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men AND WOMEN to speak God's word
b. Every word, not just every part, was inspired by God
KJB - ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God ...
Message - EVERY PART OF SCRIPTURE is God-breathed ...
c. The Bible is a record of what God thinks and speaks, not of what man thinks and speaks
KJB - For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord
Message, Introduction, p.7 - "The goal is not to render a word-for-word conversion of Greek into English, but rather to convert the tone, the rhythm, the events, the ideas, into THE WAY WE ACTUALLY THINK AND SPEAK."
d. Every word, not just every promise, of God is pure
KJB - Every WORD of God is pure ...
Message - Every PROMISE of God proves true ...
Ps.119 :140- Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
Note: Those who truly love God's word would never change it; they accept it as it is by faith
2. Interpretation of the Bible
a. God's word is to be interpreted simply, in its literal form. Satan's attack of God's word - "Hath God said?" - not Eve's love for God.
KJB - But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eye through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.
Message- And now I'm afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eye with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the SIMPLE PURITY OF YOUR LOVE fir Christ.
b. Those who are unstable in their doctrine will twist difficult verses
KJB- As also in all his (Paul's) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are UNLEARNED AND UNSTABLE wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Message- Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. IRRESPONSIBLE people who don't know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it. Note: Too bad he didn't take this warning literally!
3. Translation of the Bible
a. Many have corrupted the Bible
KJB - For we are not as many which CORRUPT the word of God ...
Message- ...but at least we don't take God's Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap.
Note - ????????
b. Many change God's word
KJB - Who CHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD INTO A LIE, and worshipped the creature more than the Creator
Message- And all this because they TRADED THE TRUE GOD FOR A FAKE GOD, and worshipped the god they made instead of the God who made them ...
c. God rejects the use of man's 'craft' and deceit when handling His word
KJB - But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Message- 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.
C . Commandments
1. We are to guard the sound words of Scripture, not guard our faith and love
KJB - Hold fast the FORM OF SOUND WORDS, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Message- So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. IT'S AS SOUND as the day you first heard it from me.
'The goal is not to render a word-for-word conversion of Greek into English...' (Peterson, The Message N. T., Introduction, p.7)
2. Avoid those who teach doctrine contrary to what you have learned
KJB - Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED; and avoid them.
Message- Keep a sharp eye out for those who TAKE BITS AND PIECES Of THE TEACHING THAT YOU LEARNED and then use them to make trouble.
D. Warnings concerning the changing of Scripture
Rev.22:18-19- For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
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