Eugene Peterson, author of 30 best selling books including the popular “The Message” paraphrase Bible, has a new interview up with The Religious News Service recently. The interviews topic starts off as a discussion of his career and his retirement and celebrating the effect he has had on the church, however it doesn’t end there.
The first sign of possible issues is when Mr. Peterson is asked about the President. He responds “I think we’re in a bad situation. I really do. Donald Trump is the enemy as far as I’m concerned. He has no morals. He has no integrity.”
Now, I’m not here to say opposing the President politically is wrong. There are well-meaning, good people on both sides of that aisle. But it worries me when people say president Trump is the “enemy” in that way just like it worried me when people said it about President Obama.
When asked about church culture and the trends of the church, Mr Peterson has some things to say that I actually agree with. He first says, “I’m not sure it’s either/or. I do feel like pastors are not doing their job. Look at what’s going on in the church, at least in my Presbyterian church. It has a consumer mentality. It’s about what we can sell and how we can attract people to come to church.”
He continues with his thoughts about megachurches: “I think the thing that’s most disturbing is the megachurch because megachurches are not churches. My feeling is that when you’re a pastor, you know the people’s names. When 5,000 people come into the church, you don’t know anybody’s name. I don’t think you can be a pastor with just a bunch of anonymous people out there.”
I wholeheartedly agree with this, megachurches do tend to be too big and too impersonal and one person cannot properly pastor 5,000 people. Pastoring someone should be a more intimate relationship more like mentoring than being a CEO and the modern church would be better off without CEO Pastor’s.
Then, Mr. Peterson is asked about recent “hot button issues” his denomination is grappling with. Here is his entire response:
I haven’t had a lot of experience with it. But I have been in churches when I was an associate pastor where there were several women who were lesbians. They didn’t make a big deal about it. I’d go and visit them and it never came up for them. They just assumed that they were as Christian as everybody else in the church.
In my own congregation — when I left, we had about 500 people — I don’t think we ever really made a big deal out of it. When I left, the minister of music left. She’d been there ever since I had been there. There we were, looking for a new minister of music. One of the young people that had grown up under my pastorship, he was a high school teacher and a musician. When he found out about the opening, he showed up in church one day and stood up and said, “I’d like to apply for the job of music director here, and I’m gay.” We didn’t have any gay people in the whole congregation. Well, some of them weren’t openly gay. But I was so pleased with the congregation. Nobody made any questions about it. And he was a really good musician.
I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.
A follow up question asked if he would officiate a same sex wedding and the simple answer was “Yes.”
i don’t understand this. The most known book he has “written” is a paraphrase of the Bible itself. Let’s take a look at what he wrote in that very Bible:
““If a man has sex with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is abhorrent. They must be put to death; they are responsible for their own deaths.”
Leviticus 20:13 MSG
““Don’t have sex with a man as one does with a woman. That is abhorrent.”
Leviticus 18:22 MSG
I don’t understand how a man can spend his life in ministry as a pastor, can do a work that, in my opinion, is as great as “The Message” is and yet, in the end, become so deceived by Political Correctness and this sinful world in the end of his life. It is truly a sad day and just another item to add to the list of reasons the end is near.