29 October 2009

Twisting The Message

I want you to read the two Bible passages below:

Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:7-11 (NASB)

These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn't it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you're doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.
Don't you realize that this is not the way to live? 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 by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:7-11 (The Message)

A prize goes to the person to come up with the most valid errors in the second "translation." What's the prize? The prize is the knowledge that you actually have the ability to discern truth from error!

Notice verses 9-10 in a proper translation, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." Now tell me, where are these truths in the paraphrase, 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."


HUH? Where is the truth about homosexuals? The unrepentant lifestyle of a homosexual--or any unrepentant sinner--is clearly stated here as a disqualification for eternal life. And yet The Message softens it into "those who use and abuse sex." A "happy" homosexual will not consider his/her actions an abuse of sex and so they are being lied to in this verse. They are reading their way right into Hell.

"Those who [...] use and abuse the earth and everything in it [...]" Hm. Is it just me or does that sound like a nice little tool for the "Go Green" movement? Forgive me, but I just don't see this idea set forth in the NASB translation, which is an excellent word-for-word translation from the original Greek text.

Now, I don't want to go into any further passage critiques of The Message. Personally, a brief look at this one passage is more than enough to convince me that The Message, a paraphrase written by men, is teaching anything but the clear and truthful Word of God. It saddens me each time I see or hear a professing Christian reference this work. It would be my hope that most Bible studying Christians would see the apostasy written in black and white. Sadly, while so many Christians are busy nurturing the false man-made spiritual disciplines like journaling or worse, contemplative and/or listening prayer, they fail to exercise the spiritual muscle of discernment. If it's in a "Christian bookstore" then it must be safe. Or worse yet, when they hear their pastor endorse or quote from The Message, they naturally assume it must be a reliable resource. This is a perfect reason why all Christians need to be wise in discernment, not just church leaders and pastors! We need to be exercising discernment in all things, especially within our churches!

Remember that The Message is man's paraphrase, not an actual translation of the Word of God. It says what man wants it to say. It trades truth for non-offensive language and offers more warm-fuzzies than the best word-for-word translations like NASB, ESV, and KJV, which is why it's a favorite of seeker-sensitive and Emergent churches. So I beg you not to buy this book (I refuse to call this a Bible) for your child because you think he or she will be able to understand it better; at what point did you begin thinking your child was too dumb to read a real Bible? And please, please, please don't buy it for yourself unless you've chosen to walk the road of the apostates. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels both use The Message, so at least you'll have some big footprints to follow down that road. Why are we so afraid to read the Word of God as He intended? Believe me, it wasn't just written for scholars and theologians. It was written for you and for me. So pick it up (a real translation) and open it up and read it. I guarantee you that the Holy Spirit won't leave you lost in confusion!