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Juan Palm

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?
They have taken the Gospel and relegated it to the realms of the philosophy of incarceration.

Blue Collar Todd

I have yet to buy this abomination, and really do not want to. It is the latest project of the likes of the Emergent Church movement and Brian McLaren. Their new "Bible" is called The Voice. I did spend a few minutes in a bookstore to glance at the first chapter of Romans. I was not surprised in what I found. Jesus is referred to as a "Liberator" repeatedly in the text. Let me offer some thoughts on what this means.

First, the term implies an unjust state of affair are in existence. In order to be liberated from something, one has to be in an unjust condition that requires liberation from oppression.

Second, an unjust situation is usually social and political in nature.

Third, no one deserves to be in such a state of injustice because they are victims of the circumstances.

Finally, this can only reduce the reason for which Jesus came to that of revolutionary or dare I say "community organizer". There is no place for sin, God's wrath on sin, Jesus being the exclusive way of salvation, or the only Lord we ought to obey. This is about a pure version of a false gospel one can come across and now they have their very own "Bible" to propagate this heresy.


O.H. Lee


In the list of verses provided to prove your case of the objective genitive usage, did you parse the words to see if they are in fact examples of the genitive in question? Often, the construction is in the dative or some type of participle construction. And if it was your intention to show how "faith" is used in different cases, then that should have been specified. I see what you are saying, but you can't compare apples/oranges to make a point governing other case usage.

I am glad, though, that people are addressing translations like this.


Thanks Chris for your hard work to show that the Voice really isn't a translation at all, but it is rather a propaganda vehicle for the purpose of spreading leftist theological rhetoric. Restorative justice? This "translation" is full to overflowing with fallacies.

On a side note, the genitive construction in question from verse 22 has been handled both ways by conservative scholars (even within the Reformed tradition). If it is a subjective genitive, the concept that salvation requires faith in Christ is not lost, for the text goes on to indicate that it is "for all who believe." We do know that Christ's faithfulness is tied to our salvation (1 Cor. 1). If the objective genitive is in view here, then we do have to deal with an apparent redundancy.

I think even more problematic is their treatment of hilasterion. This word must and should be rendered "propitiation" or in another phrase that indicates that God's wrath is being averted. This is the only way God can be both just and justifier.

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)


You're correct that conservative scholars have disagreed on this point. I had to pick a side and I believe that the arguments in favor of the Objective Genitive are more compelling than the ones favoring the subjective genitive. But, there are good points on both sides.

The Voice's translation of this passage truly obscures forensic justification. My suspicion is that that this passage has been modified to comport with N.T. Wright's new perspectives on Paul mixed with some Hegelian Liberation Theology.

And you are also correct that The Voice's handling of hilasterion is an abomination. The translators claim that The Voice is supposed to bring the text to life. But its as if they purposely made this passage more difficult to understand rather than less. The impact of the word hilasterion has been obliterated. And by disconnecting the words faith and blood from their textual construct they've smuggled Christus Victor into a text where it does not naturally exist. But even this smuggled form of Christus Victor is corrupted into a "demonstration of God's restorative justice" (God only knows what that is supposed to mean)

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

O.H. Lee,

I spent a lot of time in the greek working on this text for this article. The parsing of this construct leaves many questions. So I spent A LOT of time reading and re-reading greek scholars and their reasonings for translating this passage. I read scholars on both sides and I think the arguments for the objective genitive are more compelling.


"My suspicion is that that this passage has been modified to comport with N.T. Wright's new perspectives on Paul mixed with some Hegelian Liberation Theology."

I would agree. Thanks for the good interaction --- this is one of the most interesting blog posts I have ever read. I hope that this academic-level of critique can increase within the blogosphere. I find it interesting that the majority of those who are angered over websites such as yours, are silenced by posts like this. Emergents revealed their true colors with this "translation" attempt and there is really no way out of it for them now.

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)


I think one of the frustrating challenges in warning people about the dangers of movements like the Emergent movement that engage in and promote unsound doctrine is that early on it was not difficult for people like us to plot their trajectory and connect the dots and draw some conclusions about where this thing was heading. (we've seen this happen before in the rise of liberal 'scholarship' during the early 20th century)

So when we warn people about the dangers of the Emergent movement many people who are truly Biblically illiterate and like riding latest fad wave think we're just being judgmental or that we're jealous of their popularity or something.

But, with each new book the Emergents publish it becomes clearer and clearer that those who sounded the alarm early on about the Emergents were right in the conclusions they were drawing.

It's now time for people to begin drawing some hard Biblical lines in the sand and saying if you believe this stuff then you are believing false doctrines that put you in danger of the fires of hell.

Diane R

This is great! Thanks. In a nutshell, if you've read the emergents (I've red 23 of their books now and believe me it isn't fun...LOL), you will soon get the understanding that their new "god" is the idea of a social justice atonement. While a few (i.e. Scott McKnight in his book "Atonement Community") don't outright reject substitutionary atonement, they do throw in everything else into the "soup," making substitutionary atonement equal with social justice atonement, moral example atonement, and every other atonement they can think up.


what an underhanded bull**** pretense for a translation of Scripture - I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Brian McLaren endorses this by the way.

Steve K.


You've put a lot of time and thought (and, no doubt, prayer) into this, so I applaud you for that (not that you're doing this to seek accolades). But you caught me short with this statement: "... the doctrine of Christ’s substitionary atonement which is openly rejected and held in derision by many in the Emergent movement."

As Diane R. rightly points out, Scot McKnight's book "A Community Called Atonement" carves out what I would call the prevailing emerging/Emergent position on atonement theory -- which is NOT an "open rejection" or "holding in derision" of penal substitutionary atonement, but rather an embracing of that as well as other BIBLICAL and historically orthodox views of the atonement in tension and harmony with one another. I would argue strongly with you that this is, in fact, the "mainstream" opinion within the emerging church and Emergent Village, specifically (not a rejection of penal substitutionary atonement, but a both/and embrace).

[Diane R., you are wrong to equate this with "throwing in everything else into the 'soup,'" and suggesting these are atonement theories we have "thought up." These are, in fact, biblical and historically orthodox views of the atonement.]

Chris, I think you're walking an equally (if not more) dangerous line when you say "if you believe this stuff then you are believing false doctrines that put you in danger of the fires of hell." What we're talking about are different views of the atonement BASED ON SCRIPTURE and which have been historically held as "orthodox" by the Church throughout history. I'm not sure how that leads you to conclude that these are "false doctrines" which are leading people to hell ...

Is penal substitutionary atonement THAT predominant in your thinking that all other views of the atonement (based on other passages of Scripture, may I remind you) must be completely done away with as heretical?? I guess I shouldn't be surprised at your answer, but it still astounds me.

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)


There is no central person or central doctrinal statement that we can point to that can provide us with a clear and definitive list of the doctrines that Emergents believe teach and confess.

I have no doubt that YOUR particular beliefs include the doctrine of Penal Substitution. Others in the Emergent movement that I have read and personally spoken with make no bones about the fact that they deny Penal Substitution.

Fact is anyone who denies the substitutionary atonement is NOT a Christian because they are denying the central and core doctrine of Christianity and they are believing a false Gospel. And I don't care if that offends you.

One of the things that is particularly offensive about how the Emergent translators have handled this passage is that they obscure the substitionary atonement and insert something more in keeping with a social justice version of Christus Victor.

I don't think that was an accident. I think it was premeditated and intentional. Anyone who starts twisting and changing God's word (especially those passages that touch on justification and salvation) to fit their own theological agenda is walking a very dangerous line.


Chris -
To gain better understanding on the "restorative justice" translation of dikaiosune, check out Stassen and Gushee's "Kingdom Ethics". They go at length into the Jewish understanding righteousness in the OT, particularly Isaiah.

Diane R


While I personally do accept McKnight's Christus Victor as well as some of the Ransom Theory atonements (in addition to the substitutionary one), and they are historical, I am not remembering (outside of Protestant liberalism) where the social justice atonement is in church history. But if you can tell me, I will learn something....:). However, I will probably not embrace it....LOL.


Mike Baker

"...EVEN WORSE in Rom 3:26 The Voice uses it’s mistranslation of this passage to smuggle works-righteousness and a salvation based upon the law keeping by making justification contingent upon trust AND commitment to Jesus."

trust AND commitment? Is that like faith and love?

Wow, I'm sure the papacy is kicking itself for not coming up with this translation sooner.

This is not a new doctrinal error by any means. Come to think of it, that sounds alot like living a Life of Porpoise (err) Purpose. Satan is going back to the old reliable playbook. It looks like the same, ancient error of legalism in a trendy post-modern package. It should be called "re-emergant"... like when cancer comes out of remission.

The Highland Host

Dr. Daniel Strange (not in fact a Batman villain, but a British theologian) has pointed out in his 2005 Evangelical Library Lecture that the problem with the other 'theories' of the atonement is that they are in fact aspects of the atonement treated in isolation. Thus it is very true that Christ's death was a victory over Satan, and a display of God's love, but that it was these exactly because it is Christ dying in the place of guilty sinners and bearing their penalty. Substitution is the central pivot of the doctrine of the atonement.

The phrase 'the faithfulness of Christ' is such a typical New Perspective on Paul expression that I recognise it at once. To put this sort of theology in a Bible version is really very naughty. It's bad enough some people reading the Scofield notes as if they are inspired, but the Voice actually puts its interpretative material inside the verses, as if it was inspired. Taking a random passage from the Voice website, I found that 1/4 of it had no antecedent in the Greek, meaning that readers of the passage think they are getting the Word of God, but 1/4 is actually what these Emergents thought it ought to say. This is a highly idiosyncratic paraphrase, and I expect that it will be about as popular as J N Darby's translation. Niche market. Darby, however, tried to stick close to the Greek.



"Faithfulness of Christ" is really not new perspective lingo. It is theologically true, semantically possible, and avoids a redunancy in verse 22. Further, James Dunn doesn't find it basic to New Perspective as he espouses the objective view in his commentary on Romans (Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 1, Romans 1-8).


Chris pointed out: "So when we warn people about the dangers of the Emergent movement many people who are truly Biblically illiterate and like riding latest fad wave think we're just being judgmental or that we're jealous of their popularity or something."

Well, here's the problem, isn't it. Those who are already thoroughly caught up in this stuff simply *don't care* that their translation sucks. Who can concentrate on all that heavy theological stuff, anyway? It's not about being accurate. It's about attracting people with any carrot you can dangle under their nose, and you're going to attract them largely with stuff that appeals to the Old Adam. It's about Christianity-lite for a lazy, self-absorbed culture.

And the people who aren't already thoroughly caught up in this stuff, but still don't seem to care too much about orthodoxy, wring their hands and whine like little girls whenever one Christian dares criticize *anything* that "successful" Christians are putting out there. (I'm particularly annoyed by the obnoxious "You're just jealous!" remarks, smacking of third grade.) They may not like everything Emergent yet, but their tolerance is setting up their kids and grandkids to be overwhelmed by this stuff.



Sedentary "Christians" just like sedentary people, need more and stronger doses of external stimulation to feel gooooood. More sugar, more caffeine, more entertainment, eventually they have to come to a conclusion...either embrace the work it takes to be healthy and active as a true Christian should be or die from obesity and over stimulation.
I wish that someone would clean house in some of these churches the way Gordon Ramsay does with failing restaurants in Kitchen Nightmares..."Your serving THAT!"

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