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Michael W. Smith endorses controversial new Bible translation

Christian singer Michael W. Smith has endorsed the controversial “The Passion” translation of the Bible, which was removed from the Bible Gateway platform last year.

“The vivid wording strips away the centuries, reminding me with every phrase that each prophecy, letter, history account, poem, vision and parable is God’s word to me today just as much as it was to the original audiences,” Smith wrote on the translation’s website.

Last February, translator Brian Simmons said Bible Gateway provided no explanation when it removed the version from its platform. Upon learning of the move, he voiced and then later deleted his extreme disappointment with the decision to discontinue the translation. “So cancel culture is alive in the church world. Bible Gateway just removed TPT from their platform,” Simmons wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post

In 2017, Smith was among a number of high-profile Christians to endorse “The Shack,” a highly successful book and then a movie, which also drew both praise and criticism for its depiction of God as both male and female and what critics said was a universalist message. In 2018, the book’s author, William Paul Young, addressed one of the main controversies behind his book by disputing the Christian view that those who die without knowing Jesus Christ cannot achieve salvation.

Billed as a “dynamic equivalent translation of the word of God without a religious filter,” the Passion translation website says it’s a translation that “uses Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts to express God’s fiery heart of love to this generation, merging the emotion and lifechanging truth of God’s word.”

Its endorsement page lists many endorsements, including some from controversial figures within the faith movement.

Simmons, a former missionary linguist and pastor who now leads Passion and Fire Ministries, was the lead translator, having previously helped with a Central American indigenous translation of the New Testament, according to the site. Long associated with the New Apostolic Reformation movement, Simmons has stoked controversy for some of his public teachings, including in 2014 during an event at Jubilee Church in Sydney, Australia, where Simmons suggested Jesus is no longer in human form.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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