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'We have lost a modern saint', tributes paid to Eugene Peterson

Tue 23 Oct 2018
By Eno Adeogun

Tributes have continued to pour in on Tuesday for the author of The Message Bible, Eugene Peterson who has died aged 85.

The Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes described Mr Peterson as a "great teacher" in a tweet.

Speaking to Premier Bishop Paul shared his reaction to the pastor's death.

 

"In many ways it was expected I know that he was suffering the illnesses of old age," he said.

"But it is still a shock when a man who has been so significant in the world church passes away."

The Presbyterian pastor began receiving hospice care last week after his medical team informed his family his care would be "primarily palliative".

Christian writer and speaker Sheridan Voysey told Premier the pastor left a lesson for Christians to learn by the way he handled his own death.

He said: "He gave us a model of dying well.

"If you read the reports from his family about his last few days of life, here we have a man who walked with God and then in his very last days he was almost joyful - he just couldn't wait for what was about to happen next.

"We have lost a modern-day saint."

The paraphrased Message Bible was published in segments from 1993 to 2002.

Justin Brierley presenter of the Unbelievable apologetics show on Premier said it's hard to calculate the impact of The Message.

He explained: "It's been used by rock-stars like Bono, it's been used by people like my wife in ministry in her church.

"It's always provided an immensely fascinating and fresh way of looking at scripture and he himself is a remarkable theologian."

Eugene Peterson spent decades sharing his teachings with a worldwide audience through more than 30 books - although he maintained that The Message Bible "wasn't his".

 

Brian Houston, the founder of Hillsong, said in a tweet that the pastor's writings revitalised the spiritual lives of "many".

The pastor found himself caught up in controversy last year following the publication of an interview he did in which he stated he would officiate at a same-sex wedding.

However, following the backlash, he released a statement to "clarify" his opinion on same-sex marriages.

He said: "I presume I was asked this question because of my former career as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), which recently affirmed homosexuality and began allowing its clergy to perform same-sex weddings."

The Peterson family's statement revealed that the pastor was at peace during his last few days.

Their statement reads: "It was apparent that he was navigating the thin and sacred space between earth and heaven.

"We overheard him speaking to people we can only presume were welcoming him into paradise. There may have even been a time or two when he accessed his Pentecostal roots and spoke in tongues as well.

"Among his final words were, 'Let's go'."

Listen to Christian writer and speaker Sheridan Voysey speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun:

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