The New Apostolic Reformation and Their New Version of the Bible

God’s Word is inspired. It is infallible. It is truth. If those statements are true, then any theological movement claiming new revelation or needed restoration for Scripture should cause unease. Any movement that then proceeds to create its own “translation” of the Bible, should raise an enormous red flag. Of course most Christians are familiar with the New World Translation put out by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as the revised King James Bible and Book of Mormon from Joseph Smith. A translation (if it can even be called that), currently underway and gaining popularity, that many Christians are not aware of, is The Passion Translation of the New Apostolic Reformation. If you are unfamiliar with this movement you can see my previous posts here.

A. Concerns with the Author

1. The Lone Translator:
The Passion “Translation” of the Bible is being completed by NAR Apostle, Brian Simmons, of Stairway Ministries. Not to say that Brian Simmons doesn’t love Jesus or have ministry experience, but not only does his background not offer the qualifications needed for this type of undertaking, but it’s not a project that should be attempted alone. The site for The Passion Translation often uses plural language describing a team of translators, but the only author ever mentioned is Brian.[1] Trustworthy translations, however, such as the NIV, ESV, and NKJV, all have teams of Bible scholars who work to maintain adherence to the accuracy and integrity of the biblical manuscripts.[2]

2. Lacking Credentials:
Working alone is concerning enough, but even more so is the fact that Brian Simmons simply does not have the appropriate credentials for this type of project. Don’t be misled or confused by the title “Dr.” before his name. Simmons “did not receive his degree from a recognized academic institution, but rather from the Wagner Leadership Institute – an NAR organization that offers courses in subjects like dream interpretation and miracle working.”[3] Furthermore, Simmons seems to also hugely emphasize the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic, and that this work uses Aramaic manuscripts to bring a better understanding from the heart of God. But this is confused thinking. Jesus did not actually pen any manuscripts, and the vast majority of New Testament scholars still recognize the early and reliable nature of the Greek manuscripts.[4] All of this points to the unfortunate reality, that Brian Simmons should not be undertaking a project like this at all, and he certainly shouldn’t be peddling his project as a legitimate version or translation of Scripture.

3. Claims of New Revelation
There is no confusion about where Simmons feels he received his inspiration and information for this project. He believes he received special revelation from God.[5] Because Simmons believes that he has received this special assignment and revelation, it comes as no surprise that the goal of his translation is to give readers an experience with God’s word that no other standard translation offers. This translation promises to unveil “the passion of [God’s] heart” and to reveal “the deep mysteries of the Scriptures in the love language of God.”[6] Perhaps that doesn’t sound so dangerous, but what it’s implying is that all other Bible translations are lacking something only this version can offer. This friends, is a dangerous and divisive path to wander down.

Even if the concerns regarding the author could be overcome or over-looked, the following must also be considered.

B. Different Verses and Different Meanings Lead to a Different Gospel

Now, there is a growing faction of the NAR called the Revival Alliance (again see my previous posts for more information), and these apostles teach that Jesus laid his divinity aside in the incarnation and lived only as a man, anointed and in right relationship with God. This “anointed one” is very different from the Anointed Messiah that orthodox Christianity teaches.

However, with this being the case, it should come as no surprise then that The Passion Translation removes the word “Christ” from Philippians 1:1-2.[7] Removing a term that represents Jesus’ deity makes sense, if in the incarnation you do not believe he was, in fact, divine.[8]

This is only one example of the concerning issues found in the installments that have  already been printed within The Passion Translation. Often in this new “translation,” words and phrases are added which are not present in the early manuscripts, and words clearly expressed in the Greek, are removed. Giving Simmons some sort of benefit-of-the-doubt, we’d have to label his work sloppy, at best. When the big picture is viewed though, especially in terms of how these changes reflect NAR ideology, it seems more likely that this work is careful, intentional and deceptive. For more examples of the differences between standard versions and the NAR translation of the Bible, you can visit Holly Pivec’s site, Spirit of Error.[9]  She is well researched on the subject. I also recommended reading this “translation,” side by side with a standard version.

In our country, we are blessed with many great translations of Scripture to choose from. This post is not about a favorite version and why everyone should use it. Any work that calls itself a translation, however, should be just that, an actual translation from the early manuscripts, and not a project filled with changed passages in order to reflect a particular ideology.

C. Growing Popularity 

This Bible translation is one that is gaining  popularity in purchases on sites like Amazon.com.[10] Part of the reason for this is that other NAR apostles, such as Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA, endorse it when they use it to preach.[11] These prophets and apostles speak all around the world. What happens when people in these other countries, many who don’t have the resources to have several Bible versions at their disposal, begin to adopt this version? What happens if this version is the only way they have to learn the Gospel message?

This is perhaps one of the main reasons that Christians should be hesitant regarding how much influence this movement is allowed in their homes and their churches. At best, the NAR is significantly lacking solid doctrine and discernment, but at worst, it is persisting in and perpetuating wrong teaching. If the former is true, it is dangerous; if the latter is true, it is dangerous. Changing the Word of God is a serious offense, and it should be taken seriously.

Sources:
[1] http://thepassiontranslation.com/faq/
[2] See http://thepassiontranslation.com  and https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=usXst0j_ANg  (both accessed July 10, 2015)
[3] Geivett, R. Douglas and Pivec, Holly. God’s Super Apostles. Wooster, OH: Weaver, 2014, pg. 68.
[4] http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/05/a-new-nar-bible-part-3-wheres-the-manuscript-evidence/3153
[5] https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=usXst0j_ANg  and http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/06/apostle-brian-simmons-and-the-secret-knowledge-tactic/3560  (both accessed July 10, 2015).
[6] http://thepassiontranslation.com/
[7] Brian Simmons, Letters from Heaven by the Apostle Paul, The Passion Translation (BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC, Kindle loc 1081 of 2401)
[8] http://saraboyd.org/?p=233
[9] http://www.spiritoferror.org/2013/05/a-new-nar-bible-part-2-drastic-differences/3059
[10] http://www.amazon.com/Passion-Translation-Set-8/dp/1424550564/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436598307&sr=8-1&keywords=passion+translation+bible
[11]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GHpDWhNSmPc

7 comments on “The New Apostolic Reformation and Their New Version of the Bible

  1. I am so thankful to find this site. I saw Brian Simmons last night and came away feeling very conflicted and definitely not closer to God. My first red flag while listening to him was the fact that he refers to himself as a linguist but consistently mispronounces the word Soliloquy when describing the song of songs. I went back and watched several videos on YouTube to be sure I was hearing it correctly and he always pronounces the word “siloquy” rather than soliloquy. His credibility was shot for me at that point. A linguist that mispronounces the English language. I had a restless night of sleep and just knew I needed to dig a little deeper on this guy. There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing in our society and he is just one of the many. We need to shine light on Brian Simmons as there are many people drinking his Kool-Aid and being steered further and further from God and the truth.

    • Thanks for the feedback. I’ve just had the chance to look briefly at your page, but it looks like a very thorough examination. I look forward to reading through it more carefully.

  2. Thanks, Sarah. I have examined his first ten claims to have translated from the Aramaic that appear in ‘Letters from Heaven’ (Galatians following), and done a post for each one. I am currently working on a single summary post for the ten cases. Andrew

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