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Apostle Brian Simmons’ Love/Hate Relationship With Scholarship and Academic Degrees

diploma in the trashBackground: The following post features the fourth part of an exchange between me and Apostle Brian Simmons, the translator of a “New Apostolic Reformation” Bible called “The Passion Translation.” See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 5.

The exchange occurred after I wrote a critical review of his translation at Amazon.com (see the discussion thread here and notice that he has since deleted his response to me). I feature our exchange here because it shows the types of illogical argumentation, deception, and poor scholarship that characterize many of the written works produced by leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement.

Apostle Brian Simmons seems to have a love/hate relationship with scholarship and academic degrees.

What do I mean?

On the one hand, he is more than willing to make a list of his credentials to make himself appear to be qualified to produce a new translation of the Bible. But on the other hand, when challenged on the strength of his credentials, he then turns around and insinuates that “the scholarship and titles of men” are not necessary for him to be able to produce a reliable translation.

Note our exchange below. First, this is what I said.

Simmons lacks credentials. His single credential–other than the fact that he claims to be an apostle–is that he assisted in a translation project of the New Testament for an indigenous people group in Panama. But he apparently has no formal academic training–only the on-the-job training he received during his eight-year stint in Panama. In contrast, the translators behind the standard English translations are leading Bible scholars with the highest academic credentials awarded from respected seminaries and universities.

And this is how Simmons responded.

Brian Simmons Response 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I find it interesting that Simmons presents his credentials in an attempt to show that he is qualified to undertake a translation project. But then he turns around and downplays the “scholarship and titles of men” and “educational credentials.” He wants to have his cake and eat it, too: that is to say, he wants to claim that he possesses qualifying credentials, but when those credentials are challenged he then downplays the need for any credentials at all. This is another common tactic used by leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation movement to deflect from the fact that they are not the legitimate Bible scholars they portray themselves to be.

And, by the way, he used Paul’s words in Philippians 3 totally out of context. To remind you, this is the passage where the apostle Paul makes a list of his own credentials, including his privileged Jewish heritage and spiritual achievements. But then Paul goes on to say that he no longer values these credentials in comparison to the far greater worth of knowing Christ Jesus as his Lord (Philippians 3:4-9).

Paul is not saying that someone who translates the Bible does not need to have the necessary training and educational credentials to do so. Rather, Paul is saying that no ethnic status or achievement can take the place of knowing Christ. In other words, Paul did not “renounce his education credentials”–as Simmons claims. Rather Paul stated that he no longer trusted in his credentials to give him a right standing with God.

Have you ever seen another NAR leader show a love/hate relationship with scholarship and academic degrees?

— By Holly Pivec

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3 Responses to “Apostle Brian Simmons’ Love/Hate Relationship With Scholarship and Academic Degrees”

  1. Jerry Dodson Says:

    Thank you for standing up to and exposing the fallacies and bluster of the NAR group. Your work will hopefully rescue many from deception.

  2. Brian Raymond Says:

    Ah, yes, a Doctorate from Wagner Leadership Institute – the premiere educational institution of the NAR. Complete with no endorsements or accreditations from ANY scholarly source, I’m absolutely certain I’d trust God’s Holy, infallible Word to this hack. NOT! Thanks for your persistence and continued faithfulness, Holly!

  3. Andrew Chapman Says:

    What does he mean by ‘versions of the N.T. in both Greek and Aramaic’?

    Does he mean:

    a) editions of the Greek text; and of the Peshitta and/or other texts in Syriac.

    or 

    b) English versions translated from the Greek; plus those translated from the Aramaic – like Andrew Roth’s which he mentions on his FAQs.

    It would be odd to say ‘I glean from the wisdom of many accurate versions’ of the Greek and Aramaic texts. There are several different editions of the Greek NT one could look at: Tischendorf, Nestle/Aland, Maurice Robinson, Farstad/Hodges etc; but I am not sure one really ‘gleans from their wisdom’ – the are compilers of manuscripts; and translators normally choose one – usually the most recent Nestle/Aland, or alternatively a Majority Text edition; and then have a look at the apparatus to see if there any significant manuscript differences in a particular verse.

    Alternatively, he seems to be admitting that he is not working from the original languages at all. This was my conclusion with regard to Aramaic, after an exchange on Facebook with him, and from discovering that he is not really translating from the Aramaic at all when he claims to be – but rather borrowing text from supposed translations of the Aramaic – including that of the apparent fantasist Victor Alexander. See The Passion [Anti-] Translation: is Brian Simmons really translating from the Aramaic when he claims to be?

    The big problem with this is that he explicitly claims to be translating from the original languages – from the FAQs at thepassiontranslation.com: ‘It is an entirely new, fresh translation from the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic documents.’

    Andrew

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