Eugene Peterson


Jul 13, 2017 by Rik Bokelman

LifeWay Prepared To Stop Eugene Peterson’s Books Over LGBT Comments

The Message Bible, The Pastor, and the rest of Eugene Peterson’s catalog may no longer be sold at LifeWay Christian Stores, the country’s largest Christian retail chain, due to the retired pastor’s revisited views on same-sex marriage, reports 

Eugene Peterson, the respected pastor and author of the best-selling “The Message Bible” has changed his mind about homosexuality and marriage. In an interview with he says "I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do."

"I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over," he added. "People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned."

RNS asked him: 'If you were pastoring today and a gay couple in your church who were Christians of good faith asked you to perform their same-sex wedding ceremony, is that something you would do?'"

Eugene Peterson: "Yes." 

And now Eugene Peterson’s catalog may no longer be sold at LifeWay Christian Stores. “LifeWay only carries resources in our stores by authors who hold to the biblical view of marriage,” a spokesperson for LifeWay, said. 

“We are attempting to confirm with Eugene Peterson or his representatives that his recent interview on same-sex marriage accurately reflects his views. If he confirms he does not hold to a biblical view of marriage, LifeWay will no longer sell any resources by him, including The Message.”

A lot of Christian leaders respond
- Rich Villodas, pastor of New Life Fellowship: "I love Eugene Peterson. He’s a pastoral hero of mine. I disagree with him on the issue. I grieve how he’s being slandered."
- Russell Moore, president of the the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC): "I cannot overstate just how disappointed I am, as one who writes this next to a shelf full of highlighted, book-flag-adorned works by Peterson." He adds: "I probably wouldn’t now give his books to a brand-new believer, seeking to find a starting place in discipleship, for fear the new brother or sister might embrace the whole package."

- Rachel Held Evans: "Eugene Peterson announced his support of LGBT people today, so I'm encouraged things are getting better."

- Matt Coulter: "The problem at the heart of the western church is illustrated in this: our pastors reject Eugene Peterson while affirming Donald Trump."

- Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the ERLC: "How sad that a creative voice like Eugene Peterson would forsake the Scriptures and the Tradition that he so eloquently wrote of."

UPDATE: Eugene Peterson Now Says He Does Not Support Same-Sex Marriage
“To clarify, I affirm a biblical view of marriage: one man to one woman. I affirm a biblical view of everything,” Eugene Peterson said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "I’ve never performed a same-sex wedding. I’ve never been asked and, frankly, I hope I never am asked."

"This reporter, however, asked a hypothetical question: if I were pastoring today and if a gay couple were Christians of good faith and if they asked me to perform their wedding ceremony—if, if, if. Pastors don’t have the luxury of indulging in hypotheticals. And to be honest, no is not a word I typically use."

"When put on the spot by this particular interviewer, I said yes in the moment. But on further reflection and prayer, I would like to retract that. That’s not something I would do out of respect to the congregation, the larger church body, and the historic biblical Christian view and teaching on marriage. That said, I would still love such a couple as their pastor. They’d be welcome at my table, along with everybody else."

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