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The Voice: A Reader Comment and Reply

This is a comment I received on a post: The Voice: A New Bible For The New Age, from a gentleman who is an advocate for the new Bible translation, “The Voice”. I might add that the link for Houston Farris goes back to Ecclesia Houston home of Chris Seay, Emerging church leader, and Dave Capes, “The Voice” resident scholar.

He says,

Houston Farris

One of the things clearly left out of this blog report is the list of highly reputable scholars who are contributing to this as well.

No. McLaren is not a scholar. No. Chris Seay is not a scholar on the level of a seminary professor. And he doesn’t have to be. To name a couple of the scholars whom you may be able to find publications from: Dr. David Capes, a department head at Houston Baptist University and recent author of “Rediscovering Paul” which has be hailed by the Society of Biblical Literature as one of the most important books on Paul in the past decade and Dr. Sherri Klouda, former professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Each book of The Voice lists the scholars who are working alongside pastors, poets, musicians, etc to create a legitimate translation. This is not someone reading English and paraphrasing.

Before you cast it aside as just another thing from those emerging (we don’t use that word so much) heretics, check it out.

Grab yourself a copy. You can even download John for free at Yes… FREE so that you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money on something that might be heresy… which it’s not. At least not as much as King James’. But… I digress.


Thanks for your feedback.

First off, your critique of my “blog report” is not accurate, it is not a report, just a simple warning, and the warning stands as written. As far as your “highly reputable scholars” are concerned that may very well be one of the reasons to beware. Not that scholarship is bad, in and of itself, but scholarship, degrees, or academic fame are no guarantee that corruption, even intentional corruption, has not occurred. After all, we know that Rick Warren is not above cherry picking verses at his leisure to manipulate his undiscerning flock.

My immediate take from reading “John” is that, to these men, understanding what God is saying is not as important as understanding their message in a certain way, that agrees with the particular bent of those “men” who are doing the re-writing. Also, having scholars who are influenced by artists is not good. It is kind of like a plastic surgeon who, at the mercy of the paying customer, changes their appearance, and only he knows that the truth lies hidden underneath the “artwork;” as the saying goes, “only their hairdresser knows for sure,” but to those lacking insight and understanding, the man on the street, it is the essence of pure beauty and truth. To reason that there is no harm done to the original and that it is essentially the same Bible or person, with only a cut here, a stretch there, a tuck somewhere else, an insertion where needed, and a deletion of unwanted excess, is a fantasy and a lie. Of course the plastic surgeon does this with the idea of getting rewarded, and it is easy to see how corruption or leaven sneaks in. Should we assume all purity of motive? Not if you know these characters.

You say that “Brian Mclaren and Chris Seay are not scholars,” but I say that they are the architects;  their fingerprints are all over this production? You say this is not important, and that they do not have to be scholars, and you are probably correct, if they hold the purse strings, or they are the final authority and the leaders of a growing organization. Most men and scholars salivate at such opportunities to market their fame. I’m not as concerned with scholarship as knowing who the scholars work for and their motivation. As I said, scholarship really means very little and may very well be one of the main problems. Scholars are men, and men have motives and agendas, and love rewards. The continual re-writing of the Bible over the centuries, especially the last century, in my opinion has done nothing but dirty the waters so that the understanding of Holy Scriptures is corrupted, way beyond what God originally intended, but this also is predicted in the very Book that is being corrupted. The Living Water these men profess to be providing has been contaminated by their scholarship.

You asked me to not cast “The Voice” aside as “ just another thing from those emerging heretics” before I “check it out.” It seems that everything that anyone has or says should be “checked out” before a judgment is made. Is this true? Can we make judgments based on past evidence? I have checked out the free Gospel of John and my warning stands firm. I never read the whole thing, it wasn’t necessary. I really wouldn’t have even needed to read any of it to pass a judgment. I hear this all the time, especially from the world, but increasingly from “Christians,” that unless we sample a particular thing that we can have no idea what it is about, and therefore cannot judge its worth. We are told by many that we should learn from experience that a thing is bad or can harm us, is this true? No, it is not true. That nonsense is the result of eating from the wrong tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, instead of the tree of Life. That kind of knowledge suggest that you can get close to a trash fire and not smell like smoke. Granted some things are easy to figure out, like judging a man who smells like marijuana and wearing a tee shirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf on it; the man can be safely judged to be a user. Other things are more difficult like the Catholic Priest or Minister who is a pedophile. But, most things can be discovered and even assumed with just a little knowledge, like those who are promoting this “New” version of Holy Scripture. You see we know Brian McLaren and Chris Seay through the things they have written, and the people they endorse, and the writings they applaud. This is why I warn people away from this new “translation.” I don’t know all about these men, but I know enough to know that they have an agenda that does not follow the truth. We make these kinds of judgments all the time. We judge who we want our children to play with, without ever knowing the other child well, or their parents. The whole world judged Hitler and Mussolini based on their knowledge of right and wrong and Christians need to judge those who profess to have this new knowledge that is not based on truth.

I admit that traditional Church is wrong, but doing church differently or rebelling against the established church system like a throwback to the sixties is no better. It does appeal to the flesh, but it is likewise wrong.

There is no question that we need to go back to an ancient model of what Church is, but it cannot stop with the desert fathers, rituals, liturgies, creeds, or Constantine, or a continual re-writing of the Bible, we must go all the way back to the foundation and do a lot of house cleaning. Jesus’ command was to go back and do our first works over again, unless He come and removes our candlestick. When we look at the mess the “Church” has gotten itself into I think it is fair to assume that He was not bluffing.

The answers to all our questions are not in the Institutional, Emerging, or Mega Church, or new translations of the Bible that have flesh appeal. All the answers lay buried under centuries of Babylonian religious refuse, that until removed, blocks the way for many who think they are on the road to the Celestial City.

The Voice Bible translation is just one more project of the religious hobbyist trying to produce something in his own image to make a name for himself.

Steve Blackwell

P.S. Your other scholar, Sherri Klouda, should have used some of her scholarship to not only translate the Old Testament into English but to obey the New Testament command not to take her brother into the pagan court system and mock the God she says she follows. Her feminist leanings are apparent, but it is nice to know that she has found work with The Voice. The more one looks into this venture the more sense it makes. All the players make a perfect team.

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