Whenever I talk to fellow Christians about the troubling trends and movements in the global church today I’m discouraged by their eagerness to brush it off.
To many Christians (and in part they have a point), giving time to the bad side of Christianity is a waste of time – we should focus on the positives.
There is truth in this – I’m a happy Christian, saved by grace, living in freedom. God has the victory and we should be joyful. In fact, I would advise anyone visiting here not to get obsessed with watching stuff regularly that exposes us to darkness.
Yet the attitude of brushing it under the carpet is not good enough and it isn’t Biblical. Jesus was the Jewish church’s harshest critic, God was massively angered and critical of Israel, and Paul rebuked the church regularly, while encouraging and strengthening them, reminding them of the gift and victory we have in Christ.
Why do we need to be wary? Because the modern church is beginning to look incredibly like Israel in blindly rejecting the warnings of the prophets. The excuse? Because everyone (including scholars, respected clerics and most believers) are doing it and say everything will be fine, so it must be OK.
So have we not learnt the lesson of Israel, who blindly rejected their messiah because he inconveniently shined a light on their error?
The fact is, crazy new age theology is now seeping into ‘normal’ churches unnoticed and in ever more damaging ways, particularly through seemingly polite and harmless (even seemingly good) things like Alpha, mega-church music, big unity rallies, and new Bible ‘versions’ that are slowly disintegrating the Word of God without us even noticing.
Which brings me onto the point of this blog and The Passion Bible translation in particular. I do this because of its troubling yet largely brushed over origins and warped agenda.
So lets jump right to it. What are the red flags we should be noticing immediately regarding The Passion? And why should it make us question whether it is wise or respectful of God to have it in our homes, or our church, or to hear it used for sermons. Importantly, is there a case to warn others?
Problem #1: take my word for it
In reading this blog, I do not ask you to believe or trust me. I ask you to read it, consult scripture, research what I say, and make up your own mind, hopefully guided by the tested Holy Spirit.
You may be looking for reasons to doubt me or to confine me to a certain group so you can ignore or deride my opinion, but the fact is, you don’t know me.
As the world becomes so globally linked, we must realise the danger in just accepting things with zero background of where they are coming from.
That’s certainly the case with The Passion Translation (note it is NOT a translation) because it’s easy to ‘assume’ that as it is well known and accepted by preachers and churches, it must be OK.
NO. Unfortunately, even the most seemingly intelligent or trustworthy pastors and believers seem to have switched off their discernment in many cases.
Why am I bringing this up? Because the entire theological basis of the Passion version is this: it relies on us believing the (pretty much) sole writer Brian Simmons is really hearing from God, getting prophesy from God, and that his visions came from God and not something else.
Put simply, are you willing to put all your trust in Brian Simmons, even though you don’t know him?
Well, you say, I didn’t know Paul (other than knowing he had a dodgy past) or John or Ezekiel, but I trust them to deliver God’s Word and prophesy.
Yeah, but what they preached and prophesised lined up with scripture and the rest of the Bible and known historical events. Brian Simmon’s prophesy is going into new ground. It asks us to forget what we know as correct, and trust what he is saying is the true translation.
In anyone’s book (pardon the pun), this is highly dangerous and best tested by careful comparison with what the Bible says.
Problem #2: so can we take his word for it?
Well, that’s up to you to decide. I don’t want to spend too much time explaining this because widely available video featuring Brian’s story, from the horse’s mouth, is far more convincing than taking my word for it.
As you’ll see, to believe in Brian Simmons and Sid Roth requires us to take a massive ‘leap of faith’ in them telling the truth (even though the show was full of adverts asking people to part with their money).
In this clip alone, with no eye-witness testimony to support it, we need to believe and trust that Brian:
1) Threatened to slander God and, as a reward, got amazing Holy Spirit powers (note I’m not saying he didn’t receive SOMETHING that night, but from who and what it was must be tested).
2) Received a spirit similar to that of the Toronto Blessing, which made people spontaneously fall to the floor when near him.
3) Raised a baby from the dead.
4) Got a visitation from ‘Jesus’, who oddly according to the video looked like the Catholic Jesus, who told him to write the Passion Translation even though he had no knowledge of ancient languages.
5) Received ‘downloads’ from God to help him write it.
6) Went to heaven’s library, where he wanted to steal John 22, a new chapter of John that ‘Jesus’ said was a new book to be written by the awesome new generation of super believers. (Note, we have to take Brian’s word for it that it was Jesus and, even then, assume he wasn’t deceived by an ‘angel of light’).
Why should we not just believe this? Brian might be a nice guy, he says he prays a lot, people believe him, he seems genuine.
Well, as I said, the issue with all that Brian says in the interview is that none of it can be tested by scripture because Brian’s whole concept is that ‘God is moving in a new and different way’. Thus it is open season. If you believe what Brian says, God can decide to change anything, just like the Catholic Church introduces new laws and doctrines as the ‘voice of God on Earth’.
Is this dangerous? Of course it is. Because it means we base our faith and beliefs on trust in MAN not GOD. When the mark of the beast is 666 (and 6 is the number of man), should we not be concerned?
When Revelation says the False Prophet will perform signs and wonders and call down fire from heaven to deceive the elect, should we not question this?
And, if this guy then writes a ‘translation’ of the Bible that is 50% longer than the Bible itself because he’s added so much in ‘prophetically’, should we not be wary?
Problem #3: links to the New Apostolic Reformation
Though not an official organisation or grouping, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) describes a group of mega-church, popular ‘prophets’ who claim to be the next generation of apostles.
They include Bill Johnson and others at Bethel, Rick Joyner, Che Ahn, Todd White, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, Randy Clark, Todd Bentley (unless he’s been expelled for his latest sexual misconduct allegations)Dutch Sheets, and several others.
Many of these people hold several of the following in common:
They are very wealthy
They run churches like businesses
They are extremely popular
They teach the prosperity gospel
They have links to the Toronto Blessing and associated signs and wonders
They preach and encourage unity with the false Catholic Church
They promote weird new age practices
They discourage people to read the Bible, saying it is religious
They deride people who rebuke them with Bible evidence as having ‘a religious spirit’
They believe Christian people will gain dominion over the Earth BEFORE the second coming of Christ via the greatest end-times revival, even though the Bible preaches about an end times ‘great falling away’.
Strangley enough, Brian Simmons is part of this movement and, strangely enough, these preachers use the Passion Translation in sermons and endorse it.
Why? Because the new ‘prophetic’ meanings Brian claims to have unearthed through his direct access to Jesus coincidentally FITS their theology.
Here is Brian himself in action in a Fighting for the Faith video of one of his sermons. Again, I do not endorse this channel (it can often be overly mocking) but it is clear from what Brian is saying that his ‘prophesy’ and theology is extremely ‘out there’ and new age in nature.
Personally, I find what he says alien, deeply troubling, and suspect. His interpretation of Revelation is particularly bizarre and untrustworthy and, without interpretation, I am concerned as to what he is speaking in tongues.
If you doubt why these churches are troubling because all churches sing Bethel music etc, please, please, view other pages of this site, including Strange Fire.
To understand how this all fits in with the Bible, I suggest reading all chapters, because this is all leading to false unity, false love, a false gospel, false spirit, false Jesus, a huge deception and the great falling away.
Problem #4: fitting NAR theology into a twisting of the Bible
Pulling the Passion apart word for word is pretty pointless and can be found on many other blogs, so I won’t do it here.
The fact the Passion version is 50% longer than proper translations should be a red flag enough that this is NOT a translation.
It’s also primarily the work of one man, unlike other translations (bar The Message Version).
Instead, I recommend that you view this long but thorough and fair, critique by Mike Winger (note I do not know Mike or his beliefs so am not endorsing all his work, but this video is very good and more fair than most):
Problem #5 where is it leading?
Listen, you can say why does it matter? It’s just a translation. It reads better and is more easily understandable.
Firstly, it IS NOT a translation, it is an interpretation by one man.
Secondly, it is NOT more easily understandable than a proper modern translation, in fact it is way longer and uses mystical, vague language that can be more easily misunderstood to suit someone’s own preferences.
Finally, this is why it matters: because it is leading towards a fake Jesus, fake spirit and the fake love and unity of humanity, NOT God.
Jesus is being turned into a new age, soft, anything goes Jesus not reflective of the Jesus of scriptures who rebuked, shared harsh messages, was KILLED by the church of the time, and was not loved by the world.
It is a theology that looks more like Babelonian or new age mysticism or Catholicism than Christianity, focused on experience, sensuality and signs and wonders that mimic demonic possession, divination, street magicians and fortune telling.
As with any deceit of Satan, it LOOKS harmless, but the errors are gradually building and building until, eventually, all truth will be replaced with error and, guess what? Nobody will even notice.
What did Satan do to trick Adam and Eve? And what did Satan do to try to tempt Jesus? He tried to trick them by saying ‘God wouldn’t mind if you did that’ or ‘God said that, but he didn’t really mean it and, anyway, it’s harmless’.
He tried to tempt them by telling them they could be better, higher beings if they followed him and trusted him over God.
Problem #6: here’s where it’s leading…
The Passion Translation release date was ‘coincidentally’ on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on Halloween 2017!
Yep, not making it up.
They actually nicknamed the Passion Translation the ‘Reformation Bible’, because they believe it will usher in a new reformation bringing all churches back to the Catholic Church (something often taught by NAR).
If you don’t fully understand why Protestants gave their lives to break from the Catholic Church, please research it thoroughly.
I know that there is an agenda these days to convince people who do not bother to look it up, that the Reformation was a tragic act caused by ‘petty religious’ differences when ‘we all believe the same thing’, think about it. Why would people accept being burned at the stake for ‘petty religious’ differences?
No. This was and is serious stuff. The Reformers acted because they believed the Catholic Church was not of God and was actually in many ways preaching the opposite of Christianity. It was also keeping the Bible out of the hands of the people.
And, guess what, NOTHING has changed, despite the ‘we all believe the same’ rhetoric. Catholicism still believes in other ways to God than Jesus, it still believes in man-made laws over God’s laws and the volume of problems is staggering. Not petty either – these are salvation critical issues.
Beware people. In love.
For a lot of further useful information on The Passion Translation and its origins and problems, visit http://www.spiritoferror.org/?s=passion
Again I cannot endorse this site as I do not know the author or authors, but it is interesting research to check and test alongside other research.
FOOTNOTES/DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a hater, far from it, I love the church of Christ, my brothers and sisters in Christ and all who need him. I write this in love as Paul might write with warnings to the churches. I am not judging you or anyone mentioned in this post, that is between you and your God. I am not jealous of Christian music artists success, I acknowledge that, hopefully, their music will bring people, whether initially or later, to a true relationship with Christ. If so and if it is the real Jesus of the gospel, fantastic, but check everything via scripture. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit who guides us and fills us with the gifts as God allocates, not all to all, but some with prophesy, some with tongues, some with other gifts and, perhaps most importantly, gentleness, patience, love, caring, self control. I do not pull apart every Christian song. I do not hate these churches or people, I do not claim to be better than anyone, I am a helpless sinner made pure only by the blood of Jesus. I am not saying people mentioned in this post or organisations do not or have not done any good work, are not necessarily nice people or that they are necessarily knowingly deceiving people. What I do ask is that you do not fall into the trap the chosen people did at the time of Jesus and harden your heart to things you don’t want to know because you feel guilt or because you like someone or like a particular song. View things openly, consult scripture and let it be your guide. Check everything, but enjoy the love and freedom bought by the real Christ.