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Eugene Peterson & His Ecumenical Connections


Ephesians 5:8 -11

8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.


As noted previously, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, was ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, USA, in 1958, which became joined with another branch and which is now referenced to as PCUSA. These were founding members of both the World Council of Churches and of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and in 1997 they aligned with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.    

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is an ecumenical fellowship of churches whose goal is to unite all denominations that claim 'Christianity.' In 2008 there were 349 churches, denominations and fellowships representing 560 million Christians worldwide, from Orthodox to liberal in beliefs. []

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians which include Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches. [] Many WARC member churches also belong to the  World Council of Churches (WCC)

Eugene Peterson is on the editorial council for Theology Today, along with several others including, catholic Richard John Neuhaus, co- writer of the ecumenical Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Mr. Peterson is a member of the ecumenical, the ecumenical Chrysostom Society, and an endorser of Richard Foster's Renovaré and his writings. He was on their Board of Reference and was a contributor and New Testament editor of The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible, a project launched by Renovaré founder Richard Foster and his associate Dallas Willard. Some of Mr. Peterson's contributions are found on the Renovaré website where various Readings are provided from the edition released in 2005. Eugene Peterson was also a participant for other ecumenical ventures.


New York Theological Seminary

According to information on the New York Theological Seminary website, and correspondence with Dale Irvin, Academic Dean at NYTS, the Biblical Seminary, as it was originally called, had this history:

"...Biblical Seminary was founded in 1901 by W.W. White as the Bible Training School in Monclair, NJ. It moved to New York City shortly after that and became Biblical Seminary in the 1920s. The board changed the name of the Seminary again in 1967, this time to New York Theological Seminary. Until 1976 we were located at 49th and Lexington, but the Seminary sold this building and began renting space from Marble Collegiate Church at 29th and 5th Ave. In 2002 we moved to Morningside Heights in Manhattan where we are now located.." 1

Marble Collegiate Church is none other than the late Norman Vincent Peale's church. Norman Vincent Peale was a strong ecumenicist as well as Scottish Rite, 33°. He stated that both his father and grandfather were freemasons, and he was one for over sixty years. Aside from his self-focus teachings he had many unbiblical beliefs. From the article Deceptions, "In a television interview with Phil Donahue in 1984, Peale said: "It's not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine...I've been to Shinto shrines; and God is everywhere."

From their website, we read,

"Built in 1854, Marble Church served as the base from which Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, one of the greatest religious figures of the 20th Century, launched far-reaching innovations in practical Christianity.  It was here that "The Power of Positive Thinking" was born." 2

The Collegium

"As new churches were built and more ministers were called, to what was then known as New Amsterdam, the Collegium system developed: a ministry of colleagues who rotated among the several Dutch Reformed Churches on Manhattan Island. Though the Collegium practice ceased in 1871, the name continues."

"Marble Collegiate is one of four such churches in New York City today, the others being Middle Collegiate, West End Collegiate, and Fort Washington Collegiate. Our government is Presbyterian in origin, directed by elders and deacons. Its creed is Reformed or Calvinistic, emphasizing the centrality of Christ and trustworthiness of the scriptures as the word of God." 3  

According to a New York City promotion, Richard Nixon attended this church and was influenced by Peale; his daughter Julie married Dwight Eisenhower II there in 1968. Other famous weddings viewed as noteworthy were Donald Trump's marriage to Ivana in 1977, and it was noted he also met Marla Maples there. Liza Minelli's marriage to David Guest in 2002 was also noted. 4  Marble Collegiate Church helps to raise scholarship money for the New York Theological Seminary.

From their own information, and long after Eugene Peterson attended and taught at New York Theological Seminary, the ecumenical nature and goals of it is reported:

"In 2002, New York Theological Seminary moved to Morningside Heights, a section of New York City immersed in theological and educational pursuits. Situated with offices in The Interchurch Center, classrooms in The Riverside Church, and additional classrooms, library, bookstore, and student services at Union Theological Seminary, NYTS is at the center of a rich theological and academic community."

"...New York Theological Seminary is an ecumenical, multicultural Christian seminary which dedicates its educational resources to increasing the capacity of persons and congregations to engage in ministry to meet the needs for evangelism and systemic social transformation in the broad urban and related contexts. The Seminary’s most important partners in this task are local congregations in the New York metropolitan area."

"As an intentionally inclusive seminary, serving people of diverse racial, language, cultural and religious backgrounds, ..." 5  

New York Theological Seminary's "Board of Trustees consists of representatives of a wide diversity of Christian traditions. No more than one-third may come from any one denomination. Sixty percent are laity from business and the professions. They are selected for three-year terms and are involved in the life of the Seminary at many different levels." 6

The denominations and churches represented on that board include: Episcopal Church Center  (NewYork), Presbyterian Church USA, Roman Catholic, American Baptist Church, United Church of Christ, African Methodist Episcopal, The Episcopal Church, USA, Reformed Church in America, Disciples of Christ, etc.

The Episcopal Church, USA or (ECUSA) is actually Anglican. The Episcopal Church base in New York is none other than the 'mother church' for the Episcopal Church, that being the ecumenical and New Age, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, which also houses The Temple of Understanding.

From the Seek God article The Wycliffe Bible Translators, John Mott & Rockefeller Connections:

“The Temple of Understanding collaborated with the Global Commission of Parliamentarian Leaders in 1985 and gave birth to the Global Forum.” 77  

“…New Age organizations behind the Global Forum just happen to be the Temple of Understanding, which is closely tied to the United Nations and is housed at Madeleine L’Engle’s church, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine…The Temple’s purpose…is to facilitate the one world religion, through the promoting both the acceptance and the embrace of all religions, beliefs and rituals.”  78 

  “According to the Temple of Understanding’s own literature, it is the world’s second oldest international interfaith organization, just behind the World Congress of Faith’s, founded in England in 1935…The Temple began through the efforts of …”Founding Friends,” including world leaders Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Schweitzer, Thomas Merton, the Dalai Lama, U Thant, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI…” 79 

“The “Friends” assisted the founder, Juliet Hollister…in establishing a world interfaith center based in the U.S. Additional sponsors have included John D. Rockefeller II, Margaret Sanger… International Planned Parenthood…Bishop James A. Pike…the Society of Friends (Quakers), the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Unitarian Fellowship…” 80 

 “In October of 1988, the Temple of Understanding…held a “North America Assisi,” in Wichita, Kansas…Faith delegates represented Jains, American Indians, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Shintoism, Bahaism, Unitarian Universalism, Sikh and Zorastrianism. Some spanned more than one faith, such as John L. Jory, a Quaker…who is also a practicing Buddhist.”  81"   [See: Renovaré & The Christian Mystic ]

For more on the Anglican/Episcopal Church see also >A Little Deviation From Their "Christian" Root; The Clapham Sect & The Socialists

NYTS mentioned that they had, "classrooms in The Riverside Church." Riverside Church is none other than the church built by John D. Rockefeller Jr.

"...The Seminary’s faculty and administrative offices are located on the fifth floor of the Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Drive (at the corner of 120th and Riverside Dr). Classes are held at Union Theological Seminary and in the Martin Luther King Jr. educational wing of The Riverside Church.

...The NYTS library and student communications center are located on the second floor of Dickinson Hall in Union Theological Seminary. NYTS students also have access to the resources of Burke Library." 7

John D Rockefeller Jr is well known with the history of the United Nations and Riverside Church. From The Wycliffe Bible Translators, John Mott & Rockefeller Connections:.

"...By donating land in New York City, Rockefeller was instrumental in the decision to locate the United Nations headquarters in the United States. Riverside Church in New York City was built through his gifts..."

And the ecumenical goals of these, as noted in World Vision: Global Education.

"In 1962 Edith Roosevelt, writing about the "Universal Theocratic State" stated, "Curriculum is being drafted to indoctrinate our children in what "John D. Rockefeller Jr. calls 'the church of all people.'...Plans are being made to set up regional World Universities whose objectives would include 'to instruct in all religious but will not make religion it's aim,' 'build a world outlook' and teach the physiological , psychological and spiritual aspect of sex.'...On July 31, 1962 Dwight D. Eisenhower endorsed setting up a World University to provide 'World Thinkers' to funnel into the United Nations....Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara is a sponsor of the Temple of Understanding, the $5,000,000 "Spiritual UN' for the six major faiths...UN official lecture at meetings of the Arcane School, the international 'group of New World Servers', who form 'Triangles' to work for UNESCO." These were established by occultist Alice Bailey's Lucis Trust, 6 which was to be affiliated with the U.N. Meditation Room. 7 "

From the Seek God article The Wycliffe Bible Translators, John Mott & Rockefeller Connections:

John D. Rockefeller Jr. provided the funds for the building of New York's Riverside Church  47, considered one of the ten largest churches in the World. The Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, was Senior pastor from 1930 - 1946. Their information states:

" We are an interdenominational, interracial, & international congregation." "The Riverside Church seeks to be a community of faith. Its members are united in the worship of God known in Jesus, the Christ, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The mission of The Riverside Church is to serve God through word and witness; to treat all human beings as sisters and brothers; and to foster responsible stewardship of all God’s creation.
The Riverside Church commits itself to welcoming all persons, celebrating the diversity found in a congregation broadly inclusive of persons from different backgrounds of race, economic class, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation. Members are called to an individual and collective quality of life that leads to personal, spiritual, and social transformation, witnessing to God’s saving purposes for all creation.

Therefore, The Riverside Church pledges itself to education, reflection, and action for peace and justice, the realization of the vision of the heavenly banquet where all are loved and blessed.

"The church is interdenominational. It is affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches and cooperates with the Council of Churches in the City of New York as well as the New York State, National, and World Councils of Churches."

Many do not know of, or are supportive of, the Rockefeller's massive funding of population control through such groups as the Population Council and Planned Parenthood. One can view some of their donations through the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Archives 48, which lists such recipients as:..."

See Also > The Wycliffe Bible Translators, John Mott &  Rockefeller Connections : Unholy Alliances and also> John Mott

It is very noteworthy that the NYTS 2005-2006 course catalog mentions in their upcoming events,

"In August you can participate in the Willow Creek Leadership Summit with Rick Warren and Bill Hybels by satellite link-up, while throughout the year you can explore the place of prayer in urban ministry with Concerts of Prayer or take an interfaith pilgrimage with the Auburn/NYTS course titled "Spiritual Journeys."" 8

NYTS mentioned that they also have student services and classes at Union Theological Seminary. Union Theological Seminary was funded by The Rockefellers.                                Please See  John Mott > The Rockefeller Philanthropies Influence on W.C. Townsend  >

The Union Theological Seminary history, as cited from The Columbia Encyclopedia:

Union Theological Seminary

"...nondenominational, coeducational Christian seminary; opened in 1836 and chartered in 1839. Originally Presbyterian, Union Seminary has been free of denominational control since the early 1890s. It shares cooperative educational programs with Columbia University, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, General Theological Seminary, and other institutions. Auburn Theological Seminary (Presbyterian) conducts programs of continuing education from Union. Union's Burke Library, the preeminent theological library in the western hemisphere, contains about 750,000 volumes, including a number of special collections. Union Seminary was a major contributor to the revival of Protestant theology in the 1930s and 1940s; through the work of such distinguished faculty as Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr it played important roles in the ecumenical movement and development of Neo-orthodoxy. Current contributions are being made in the areas of biblical studies, feminist thought, and liberation theology. See Robert T. Handy, A History of Union Theological Seminary in New York (1987)." 9

Burke Library of Union Theological Seminary, serves as the main research library for the school. SOPHIA, the computerbased catalogue listing the Burke Library holdings, can be accessed on-line.

The NYTS Seminary’s faculty and administrative offices are located on the fifth floor of the Interchurch Center, which was also heavily funded by John D Rockefeller Jr. From the Interchurch-center website:

"Towering high above the Hudson River in New York City is the Interchurch Center - a visible symbol of Christian unity.

The 19-story structure houses religions and religious organizations of Protestant, Islamic, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and other religious and educational agencies.

This web site is a guide to the unique features of the Interchurch Center, which with its manifestations of inter-religious service, make it much more than an office building." 10

"...the Interchurch Center, a visible symbol of the oneness of many churches in Christ and reflective of the inspiring growth of ecumenism and inter-religious activity in the United States in the past century. Its construction and dedication ... testify to the ever closer relationships of these groups in their primary objective of bearing witness to the significance of religion and spirituality in today's world and their relationships to other religions." 11

"... people had dreamed of a center for Protestant and Orthodox communions in America. They envisioned this building as a tangible symbol of growing unity... Many denominations who do not have offices in the Center nonetheless participate through their membership in the interdenominational agencies which the Center houses.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for The Interchurch Center were held on
November 17, 1957. After a worship service in James Memorial Chapel of Union Theological Seminary, ...

... on October 12, 1958, The President of the United States laid the cornerstone for The Interchurch Center. A crowd of more than 30,000 ...banners of 37 Protestant and Eastern Orthodox communions.

National leaders of denominational and inter-denominational agencies, representatives of the Morningside Heights community and of the New York churches took part...

...President Eisenhower described the cornerstone as symbolizing a "prime support of our faith, the Truth that sets men free." A sealed copper box within the cornerstone contains documents and records of importance. Historical papers review the previous steps toward unity taken through several generations up to 1958: the uniting of denominations; the establishment of local, state, national and world councils of churches; the increase of mutual understanding in matters of faith and order; the enlargement of the areas of common witness and influence for the Gospel of Christ; the united ministry of compassion and service to the victims of natural disaster and of man's inhumanity to man; and the strengthened fellowship of Christians transcending class, race and nation, loyal to one Lord. The steel framework of the Center had already risen to 15 stories at the time of the cornerstone laying.

On May 29, 1960, the completed edifice was dedicated in a moving ceremony that marked the official opening of a new chapter in the movement for a greater unity among the churches of the United States -THE INTERCHURCH CENTER.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. through the Sealantic Fund, made available the entire block of land upon which the $20,000,000 structure now stands, gave $2,000,000 toward the building fund and another $575,000 for the limestone exterior. Over $1,000,000 more was provided by foundations and interested friends for the Chapel, lounge Treasure Room, lobbies and meeting rooms. ... Churches and other agencies completed the financing by investing $4,500,000 in second mortgage bonds and by contributing $500,000 as a working capital fund. Those participating in this financing are: American Baptist Convention in America (two agencies), National Council of Churches of Christ, Reformed Church in America, Sealantic Fund, Inc., United Board for Christian Higher Education, United Lutheran Church in America, and the United Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A..." 12

The National Council of Churches (NCC) and all of its many branches is housed in this building. The NCC is the national or American branch of the World Council of Churches. The NCC holds the copyright to the Revised Standard Bible and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), which was translated under Council auspices. Among the myriad of denominations housed in the Interchurch-Center is the office of World Day of Prayer International.

In presenting the Bible Room at the Interchurch-Center the promo stated:

"Opening off the Treasure Room , the Bible Room has on view a continuing religious exhibit of information and material about the translation and development of the New Revised Standard Bible.

The exhibit includes a soundbite from Dr. Bruce Metzger. Dr. Metzger was the secretary for the committee that translated the Revised Standard Bible and he chaired the committee that translated the New Revised Standard edition."

It should be noted that the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible was a retranslation of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), which the National Council of Churches holds the copyright for, as noted above. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) was translated from the latest United Bible Societies' Greek text, UBS4, in 1989.  This is the same text as the Nestle-Aland 26th Greek text, and which foundations were built from the Westcott and Hort manuscripts. Dr. Metzger was one of the main editors.  Eugene Peterson also used the latest Greek Testament from the United Bible Society, meaning the above, for The Message.


It should be noted that most English Bible Translations of the 20th Century, including the NRSV, NIV, etc., translate the Hebrew using the 1937 Kittel Biblia Hebraica.  NKJV uses the 1967/77 Stuttgart edition which was the revised writing called the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia by Rudolph & Gerhard Kittel. The Biblia Hebraica is published by the German Bible Societies/UBS or United Bible Societies.


The ecumenical United Bible Societies history shows the joining of a myriad of Bible Societies and eventually working with the Catholic Bible Federation.

"...Also working in close liaison with the UBS is the Catholic Biblical Federation, which has cooperated in formulating a number of mutually agreed position papers, the most important of which was “Guiding Principles for Interconfessional Cooperation in Translating the Bible” (1968, updated in 1986).

...In order to assist the work of translators, the UBS has played a leading role in the provision of scholarly helps. The Württemberg Bible Society in Stuttgart (founded 1812) made a notable contribution through the publication of Eberhard Nestle’s Greek New Testament (1898, revised by Kurt Aland, 1979), Gerhard Kittel’s Hebrew Old Testament (1937, revised by Karl Elliger and Wilhelm Rudolph, 1977), Alfred Rahlfs’s Septuagint (1935), and Robert Weber’s Vulgate (1969). The UBS called on an international group of scholars to produce a new edition of the Greek New Testament (1966, 3rd ed. corrected 1983), and handbooks giving exegetical and linguistic help to translators."  13

For more on Nestle-Aland, etc. see: John Mott; The Clapham Sect, The Ghost Society & The Word of God


The Ecumenical Library of the Interchurch Center information states:

"The Ecumenical Library, located on the 9th floor of The Interchurch Center, serves the bibliographic needs of the Center's diverse tenancy. The Library holds 14,000 monographic titles and receives 100 periodicals. The collection descends from two older libraries: the United Missions Library, itself a merger of the United Presbyterian Missions Library and the Methodist Board of Missions Library, and the National Council of Churches Research Library. The United Missions Library and the National Council of Churches Research Library merged in 1978, and took the name, Ecumenical Library. The combined collections showed strong holdings in missions theory and history, area studies, social science research, and the history of ecumenism." 14

The Claremont Lobby "is given in honor of Eugene Carson Blake, stated clerk United Presbyterian Church, in the U.S.A. President of The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. 1954-1957 when ground was broken for The Interchurch Center." 15

Eugene Peterson was ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, USA, in 1958, meaning there was clear association with the ecumenical National Council of Churches and the development for the InterChurch Center was well on its way. It has also  been noted that Eugene Peterson received a bachelor of sacred theology from New York Theological Seminary (1954-1956), and according to NavPress website information, he also taught "biblical languages and English Bible" there 1959-1960.


Next Suggested Article: The Message & NavPress Promotions


Related Articles

The Message Eugene Peterson's Opinion of The Bible ;   The Message and Dr. Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson & His Ecumenical Connections ;   The Message & NavPress Promotions

The Message Doctrine & Foundations of the Faith

The Message Doctrine & Gnostic or New Age Terms and Concepts

The Message Doctrine & Gnostic or New Age Terms and Concepts Cont.

The Message, Who Endorses and Promotes Eugene Peterson's Opinion of the Bible 




1. email Thursday December 18, 2003








9. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition Copyright 1994, 1995 Columbia University Press.




13. A Brief History of the United Bible Societies






All Scriptures from the KJB

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.


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