The Reformation Bible | Holly Pivec


Yes, I know, this Bible is called the Passion Bible but hang in there.

Holly is an evangelical researcher of cults, sects, and new religious groups, such as the “New Apostolic Reformation” movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University in Southern California. Holly has also written articles for numerous print and online publications, including Biola Magazine, the Christian Research Journal, and Apologetics Index.

Holly has recently published two posts about the Passion Bible on her website that I will combine here for your reading convenience. If you are familiar with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement you will see the importance of being aware on the origins of this new Bible that they are promoting. To obtain additional information about the NAR movement just select “New Apostolic Reformation” on the drop down list of Post Categories on this website or visit Hollies website.

Part One

That’s scary: Passion Translation plans Oct. 31 release for full New Testament

BroadSteet Publishing has announced an Oct. 31 release date — Halloween Day — for the controversial Passion Translation’s complete New Testament.

This popular New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) “translation” of the Bible is produced by the NAR apostle Brian Simmons. Simmons claims that Christ visited him personally and commissioned him to produce this new translation, where he has taken Bible verses and changed them to make them appear like they support NARteachings. It’s endorsed by leading NAR apostles and prophets, including Bill Johnson, Che Ahn, and Lou Engle.

Up to now, Simmons has released the Passion Translation in installments, starting with Song of Songs in 2011. The Oct. 31 release will include the full New Testament plus Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs.

In preparation for the release, the publisher has announced plans to expand the secretive editorial team of “respected scholars” who are allegedly behind this translation project. I refer to the team as “secretive” because Simmons–who describes himself as the lead translator–claims that a team of respected scholars and editors evaluate his work. But, to date, he has not publicly identified any of those supposed scholars. And the publisher’s latest announcement, about expanding the team, also does not identify any of the scholars. See this statement from the Passion Translation’s FAQ page:

In preparation for the release of the full New Testament October 31, 2017, BroadStreet Publishing is forming an even more extensive and diverse team to review and provide critical feedback to ensure The Passion Translation is faithful to the original text and heart of God.

It’d be almost kind of funny — if it weren’t such a serious matter — that the publisher claims to be adding more phantom scholars to the team. Do they think this translation actually gains credibility by beefing up the ghost squad? And why won’t Simmons reveal who is editing his work? Could it be that these individuals don’t have any more qualifications to make a new translation of the Bible than Simmons does? Read about his lack of qualifications and other serious problems with the Passion Translation in a series of posts I wrote.

In contrast to the Passion Translation, other true Bible translations–such as the New King James Version, the English Standard Version, and the New International Version–are produced by a team of scholars (not a single lead translator). And the names of those scholars are identified publicly–not shrouded in secrecy.

Having a shadowy team of figures behind this disturbing translation makes it that much scarier for anyone who might be considering lending it the same credibility as reputable translations of the Scriptures.

Part Two

That’s scary, Part 2: The spookier reason for the Passion Translation New Testament’s Oct. 31 release date

Last week I wrote a post noting that the book publisher BroadStreet chose Oct. 31 — Halloween Day — to release the controversial Passion Translation’s complete New Testament. Then one of my readers sent me a link to this article showing that the people behind the Passion Translation are reading an even spookier significance into the Oct. 31 release date.

Oct. 31 is not only Halloween Day; it’s also Reformation Day. This Oct. 31 will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. So the makers of the Passion Translation have nicknamed their so-called translation the “Reformation Bible”  because they believe it will help launch a new reformation in the church. See the following announcement from the “lead translator” of the Passion Translation, Brian Simmons, of Stairway Ministries.

This next year, October 31, 2017 leads us up to the celebration of the 500th year of Reformation of the church, the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. It was a day that changed the church and the world forever. I believe we are on the precipice of another reformation of sorts and without realizing it we have been planning all along to roll out the completed Passion Translation New Testament on that very day. We are nick- naming our translation, the Reformation Bible. We believe that it will truly be a great tool in this next great moving of God’s Spirit in the earth which will affect many generations to come! (Stairway Ministries, March 2017 Newsletter)

What is this “another reformation of sorts” that Simmons references? Similarly, what is he referring to in saying “this next great moving of God’s Spirit?” No doubt he’s referring to the movement of which he is an apostle in, the New Apostolic Reformation, which seeks to restore the present-day governing offices of apostle and prophet to the church.

It’s ironic that Simmons would try to align his “translation” with a movement based on the doctrine of sola scriptura — that is, Scripture alone — because the Passion Translation is not a translation of Scripture at all. It’s not even a loose paraphrase. Rather it’s the product of Simmons imposing his own fanciful interpretations on the text. To see what I mean, check out this review of Simmons’ bizzare rendering of Song of Songs, written by George Athas.

Yet Simmons is not the only NAR leader seeking to relate this movement to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. So have many others, starting with the influential NAR apostle C. Peter Wagner, who coined the name “New Apostolic Reformation.

  •  C. Peter Wagner: In his book Changing Church, Wagner claims that the effects of this movement will be as great as, or even greater than, the effects of the Protestant Reformation (p. 10).
  • Bill Hamon: The extremely influential prophet Hamon teaches that God began restoring lost truths to the church during the Protestant Reformation and has continued to do so through present-day apostles and prophets. (Day of the Saints, p. 49).
  • James Goll: The prophet James Goll, another major player in the movement, carried on these claims during a recent media panel discussion I took part in, organized by the Religion News Association. Goll sought to portray the NARmovement as simply an outworking of the Protestant Reformation.

But by flogging two “restored offices” that can proclaim new revelation to the body of Christ — and prophetically re-interpret already existing passages in the Bible to mean something totally alien to their original meaning — NAR leaders are undoing the Reformation, not upholding it or its principles. And that’s what’s really scary about Simmons’ attempt to jump on the Reformation bandwagon.