The Message is a Bible translation known for its street language. And yes it is a real translation although some would disagree. It is not a paraphrase partly because Eugene Peterson is such an accomplished scholar. Here is where Jesus called out Peter for questioning Jesus about His relationship to another person.
John 21:20-21 Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved [called John] following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”
22-23 Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?”
This scripture is a clear call for us to spend less concern on what God is doing with and to other leaders. My blog has been going on now 3 1/3 years and one of the major concerns of my readers has been “false prophets and false teachers in the church.” You’ll notice that I never identified anyone by name. That is not what God wants.
God wants us to know His word so well that we can spot fraud ourselves. He does not want us making lists of false teachers and their teaching. The FBI trains agents in how to spot counterfeit bills, not by showing them the phonies, but by only handling the right stuff. When they pick up a bad bill instantly their fingers recognize the fraud. That is how we should be.
The Word makes a point of saying do not study the religion of unbelievers. Furthermore one is not even to speak the name of false gods, and considering the prevalence of the word Allah on TV shows this today would be nearly impossible!
Exodus 23:13 “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.
Please remember that we are supposed to honor the laws of the Old Testament while always remembering that keeping them is not a work to guarantee our salvation. We are only saved by faith in the Messiah. But the good advice of the Old Testament still applies to our daily affairs.
It is acceptable to identify someone who has wronged you personally; that is part of your testimony, and if he or she has not made things right or asked for forgiveness you are free to criticize openly. Here is the Biblical example for that principle from Paul the Apostle:
2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.
However, the fact that you can do so that does mean you should do that. God is the one who is supposed to be governing your life, not the rules however clear they may be. Jesus saved His most acidic criticism for those people in the faith, the synagogue, and the church but for those outside the faith He had nothing but love and acceptance. Perhaps He found that those with a little learning became dangerous things?
In doing some 10 hours of research recently I was annoyed and surprised to see how many educated people are spending untold internet pages on lambasting someone else. Besides being unscriptural, it is also damnable to them. The Old Testament warns not to criticize a servant to his master.
Proverbs 30:10 Do not malign a servant to his master, Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.
God is watching people who take shots at others. And in more cases than I care to mention, the critics did not know their arguments against another were simply not true.
One man on TV recently made an error, but he seemed to be such a nice person I wrote him a letter and quoted the Bible passage he had messed up. God hates legalism. Why? Because it puts men in charge of other people, and even an historical nincompoop knows that men cannot manage other humans very well. God’s purpose for the planet is His running things, that is why it is called the Kingdom of God.
Once you know the Bible thoroughly false teaching will have no effect on you and you will know Jesus much better as well.