Eugene Peterson, the Message and Contemplative Prayer

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 release, 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.

Considering this ground-swell of acceptance, we do well to ponder the question: What is Peterson's Message?

"The Message is the boldest and most provocative rendering of the New Testament I've ever read," writes Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, general director of "Back to the Bible" broadcast and former pastor of Moody Bible Church. "The Message is certainly destined to become a devotional classic - not to mention a powerful pastoral tool," adds pastor Jack W. Hayford.

What does Eugene Peterson himself say? In his introduction to The Message, he tells us that "This version of the New Testament in a contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message and fresh and understandable in the same language in which we do our shopping, talk with our friends, worry about world affairs, and teach our children their table manners...."

This sounds like a good idea, but what if essential Biblical concepts are not part of our everyday conversation? Should we then rewrite God's holy Scriptures to fit today's more shallow and worldly communications? Read the rest of this article by Kjos Ministries.

The Message "Bible" Omits "Lord Jesus"
The King James Bible refers to Jesus as "Lord Jesus" about 115 times. The New King James Bible uses this term about the same amount of times and the New American Standard about 100 times. How many times does Eugene Peterson's The Message use the phrase "Lord Jesus"? None! Not once. Never! (Check it out at (

What The Message does refer to Jesus 77 times is the title "Master Jesus." This is a New Age term.

Eugene Peterson and The Mystics

"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."

Eugene Peterson and Sue Monk Kidd

Eugene Peterson has endorsed the back cover of Sue Monk Kidd's new edition of When the Heart Waits. Sue Monk Kidd, a once conservative Baptist found the "secret" in contemplative prayer and has now become a strong proponent of contemplative spirituality.

"As I read her book, Sue Monk Kidd became a companion to me. I love having her walk with me on my journey." —Eugene Peterson, author, Reversed Thunder

As Above, So Below

Why Does Eugene Peterson use the phrase "as above, so below" in his paraphrase The Message? Did he know about Ronald Miller's book, As Above, So Below? And if he did know about this well-known New Age title, does he agree with that book when it says:

"The spiritual dimension of culture is not an array of dogmatic world views ... but a spectrum of contemplative practices."( p. 3) or when it quotes Aldous Huxley as saying that mysticism is the "highest common factor" that unites all the world's religions and helps people to recognize their divinity within.(p.2)

Where does the term As Above, So Below originate?
"This phrase comes from the beginning of The Emerald Tablet and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic which was inscribed upon the tablet in cryptic wording by Hermes Trismegistus. The significance of this phrase is that it is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. All systems of magic are claimed to function by this formula.

"'That which is above is the same as that which is below' ... Macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom, the atom is the same as...and so on, ad infinitum." This message theorizes that man is the counterpart of God on earth; as God is man's counterpart in heaven. Therefore, it is a statement of an ancient belief that man's actions on earth parallel the actions of God in heaven. This pivots on the belief that "all things have their birth from this One Thing by adaptation." As Above, So Below

Eugene Peterson and Sue Monk Kidd

Eugene Peterson (The Message) has endorsed the back cover of Sue Monk Kidd's very contemplative new edition of
When the Heart Waits.
(See A Time of Departing, page 127-128)

The Message deletes the following references:

(Taken from Kjos Ministries)

Reference to
God's Holy Name
Occultic Spirituality
Sinful Nature
Consequences of Occultic Involvement
Homosexuality and Adultery
Obedience and Grace
Sexual Immorality

What Books Has Peterson Endorsed?
*Prayer: Finding The Hearts True Home
by Richard Foster ©1992

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