Former missionary and pastor of Gateway Christian Fellowship, now heading up Stairway Ministries, Brian Simmons has become involved with the Passion Translation Project, devoting most of his time to a ‘new’ translation of the complete bible. In producing this new translation, he was asked if he “had training in Greek and Hebrew”:
“I had minimal background in biblical languages, so yeah, it was something that,
honestly, something the Lord has really helped me with.” [15:05]
That’s no different to having Joseph Smith put his face into a hat and rely on God for a translation of His Word through a ‘seer stone’ inside the hat.
“I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” (Page 12 of David Whitmer’s book An Address to All Believers in Christ)
We could make the claim that Brian Simmons is no different to Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon cult. Christian churches wouldn’t promote the Mormon Bible, the Koran or JW’s Watch Tower. So why are we putting up with a self-appointed Apostle within the NAR cult, who claims to lack any professional expertise in biblical languages but relies on divine guidance, to pen what he claims is a “new, dynamic equivalent version that will help breathe life into your Bible reading”.
This Joseph Smith comparison is fairly accurate. This is the same Brian Simmons who has had ‘heavenly tourism’ experiences, talked to Jesus in heaven, was introduced to ‘heaven’s library’ reading secret knowledge about the future that is yet to be revealed – he claims he was “translated to the library of heaven where he saw more books than you can imagine, one book that stood out was called John 22 and it spoke of the greatest revival the world is yet to see”.
Surely no one in their right mind would take Brian Simmons seriously for being so irresponsible with translating ancient biblical manuscripts. Unless… you’re ‘Doctor’ Michael Brown.
Recently, Michael Brown gave his nod of approval to the ministry and work of Brian Simmons on The Passion Translation (TPT). Of course we’re not surprised to hear that Brown would endorse the work of his friend and his work on this NAR bible:
“So I would highly recommend the Passion Translation as a secondary version. So you’re reading through the Bible and you’re wanting another translation, or you want to read, let’s just read through this in the Passion Translation and see how it flows, and then go back and compare with the translations I normally use.”
All we can do is keep repeating the fact that Michael Brown needs to be rebuked for promoting such serious error. For someone who has studied the biblical Hebraic languages, his recommendation is reprehensible and confirms how deeply entrenched he is with both the beliefs and agenda of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
You can hear Brown defend Bill Johnson, Brian Simmons and the Passion Translation at 37:45 below:
The Reading The Passion Bible (RPB) website is a great site helping to expose the dangers of using this NAR bible. This website proves Dr Michael Brown has not done his due diligence concerning The Passion Translation.
Michael Brown: “Okay back to Stewart in California. You were asking me about the Passion Translation.”
Caller: “Yeah I just wanted to get your opinion on it, and I don’t know, maybe you’ve ever thought of writing an article on that? Because the Passion Translation is like the thing right now, that Charismatic leaders are reading and recommending and from what I’ve researched…. Verse after verse is like not like a literal translation, like a lot of additions. And I also read something that said an entire paragraph was added to scripture and how, Brian Simmons seems like a good guy, but it’s only one person, there’s no committee of translators, and people are saying it’s not really a translation, it’s an interpretation.”
Michael Brown: “Yeah.”
Caller: “But then, leaders like Bill Johnson are using it and are actually preaching from it, as well as many others. And I respect Bill Johnson you know, I’m a Charismatic, I speak in tongues, I pray for healing, all of that, but if we can be so shaky on our foundation of scripture, like it’s not really a translation. You get what I mean? We should not be preaching from it.”
Michael Brown: “Yeah, let me weigh in and thanks Stewart for framing the question clearly. I’ve known Brian Simmons for a good number of years, he and his wife were Bible translators in Jungles of the Amazon, somewhere like that. The Lord called them back to the States, he pastored a thriving church in Connecticut, and then felt called out of that in the mist of successful ministry, to devote himself fully to Bible translation.
So he reveres the Word, he’s a great lover of the Word, he’s a God fearing man, who really reveres and loves the Word. And has devoted more of his life to Bible translation than most human beings you’ll ever, ever meet. So that’s one thing.
Second thing is, the ‘Passion Translation’, that’s a good name for it, it is passionate, it is vibrant, it is powerful, it is beautiful. But it is not really a ‘translation’. It is more a paraphrase than a translation in my opinion. Now it’s not a paraphrase on the level that ‘The Message’ is. The Message is a more radical paraphrase. Brian Simmons’ rendering is closer to the original. But I would not use it as my primary Bible. Because it is not close enough to the literal sense in that regard.
Now, no translation is word for word, because you cannot go directly from one foreign language to another word for word and have it make perfect sense. Sentence structure is going to be different, emphasis is going to be different, grammar is going to be different. But you can get closer to that, for example the NASB shoots to get closer to that type of translation. And the NIV would be a little bit more free to try to get things in more smooth flowing English. So translations are more literal verses more dynamic.
And then you have a paraphrase like the NLT, the New Living Translation, that’s a mild paraphrase. The Living Bible, little more extreme paraphrase. The Message, a really extreme paraphrase. The Passion Translation fits in with those paraphrases. And that’s why I say don’t use it as your primary Bible, use it in a secondary way.
Brian also relies on the Aramaic Peshitta more than I would. But he does so in a mature way. And has wrestled for a long period of time to really try to get the nuance of a word here or there correct. And it’s not impassive in it to have one person do a translation or paraphrase, whether it was JB Phillips, whether it was Moffatt, whether it was Peterson, for better for worse. And those will reflect the gifts and strengths of the individuals involved.
But that being said, if Bill Johnson is preaching from it, my take would be, that he is thoroughly familiar with the scriptures, that he’s been through these texts many times, and he likes the way this reads. If he replaced his Bible reading, and just read that all the time, I would say that he would get more used to the way Brian has rendered things with his particular nuances.
So I would highly recommend the Passion Translation as a secondary version. So you’re reading through the Bible and you’re wanting another translation, or you want to read, let’s just read through this in the Passion Translation and see how it flows, and then go back and compare with the translations I normally use. And if I’m preaching, I have no problem pulling a passage out of the New Living translation, I’ve pulled a passage out of The Message, as much as I have problems with other parts of it.
But I promise that I would get back to talking about other translations once I get through the KJV, and I’m planning on getting to paraphrases one of these weeks. So hopefully, I will cover the Passion Translation at that time as well. Thank you sir for asking.”
Source: Michael Brown, Line of Fire, 10-13-17: Dr. Brown Answers Your Questions, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OESYGH4SCog, Streamed live on Oct 13, 2017. (Accessed Oct 30, 2017.)
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Categories: Line of Fire