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That’s scary, Part 2: The spookier reason for the Passion Translation New Testament’s Oct. 31 release date

Passion Translation full New TestamentLast week I wrote a post noting that the book publisher BroadStreet chose Oct. 31 — Halloween Day — to release the controversial Passion Translation’s complete New Testament. Then one of my readers sent me a link to this article showing that the people behind the Passion Translation are reading an even spookier significance into the Oct. 31 release date.

Oct. 31 is not only Halloween Day; it’s also Reformation Day. This Oct. 31 will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. So the makers of the Passion Translation have nicknamed their so-called translation the “Reformation Bible”  because they believe it will help launch a new reformation in the church. See the following announcement from the “lead translator” of the Passion Translation, Brian Simmons, of Stairway Ministries.

This next year, October 31, 2017 leads us up to the celebration of the 500th year of Reformation of the church, the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. It was a day that changed the church and the world forever. I believe we are on the precipice of another reformation of sorts and without realizing it we have been planning all along to roll out the completed Passion Translation New Testament on that very day. We are nick- naming our translation, the Reformation Bible. We believe that it will truly be a great tool in this next great moving of God’s Spirit in the earth which will affect many generations to come! (Stairway Ministries, March 2017 Newsletter)

What is this “another reformation of sorts” that Simmons references? Similarly, what is he referring to in saying “this next great moving of God’s Spirit?” No doubt he’s referring to the movement of which he is an apostle in, the New Apostolic Reformation, which seeks to restore the present-day governing offices of apostle and prophet to the church.

It’s ironic that Simmons would try to align his “translation” with a movement based on the doctrine of sola scriptura — that is, Scripture alone — because the Passion Translation is not a translation of Scripture at all. It’s not even a loose paraphrase. Rather it’s the product of Simmons imposing his own fanciful interpretations on the text. To see what I mean, check out this review of Simmons’ bizzare rendering of Song of Songs, written by George Athas.

Yet Simmons is not the only NAR leader seeking to relate this movement to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. So have many others, starting with the influential NAR apostle C. Peter Wagner, who coined the name “New Apostolic Reformation.

  •  C. Peter Wagner: In his book Changing Church, Wagner claims that the effects of this movement will be as great as, or even greater than, the effects of the Protestant Reformation (p. 10).
  • Bill Hamon: The extremely influential prophet Hamon teaches that God began restoring lost truths to the church during the Protestant Reformation and has continued to do so through present-day apostles and prophets. (Day of the Saints, p. 49).
  • James Goll: The prophet James Goll, another major player in the movement, carried on these claims during a recent media panel discussion I took part in, organized by the Religion News Association. Goll sought to portray the NAR movement as simply an outworking of the Protestant Reformation.

But by flogging two “restored offices” that can proclaim new revelation to the body of Christ — and prophetically re-interpret already existing passages in the Bible to mean something totally alien to their original meaning — NAR leaders are undoing the Reformation, not upholding it or its principles. And that’s what’s really scary about Simmons’ attempt to jump on the Reformation bandwagon.

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Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

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