Eugene Peterson, author of The Message Bible, has passed away

by Christina Wong // October 23, 2018, 10:41 am

Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson, best known as the author of The Message Bible, passed away last night (October 22, 2018) at the age of 85.

The longtime pastor and theologian entered hospice care just last week for health complications related to heart failure and dementia.

His death was first announced by author Winn Collier, who is currently in the process of writing Peterson’s biography.

“During the previous days, it was apparent that he was navigating the thin and sacred space between earth and heaven,” read a statement released by Peterson’s family.

“Among his final words were, ‘Let’s go.’ And his joy: my, oh my; the man remained joyful right up to his blessed end, smiling frequently. In such moments it’s best for all mortal flesh to keep silence. But if you have to say something say this: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’

“It feels fitting that his death came on a Monday, the day of the week he always honoured as a Sabbath during his years as a pastor. After a lifetime of faithful service to the church — running the race with gusto — it is reassuring to know that Eugene has now entered into the fullness of the Kingdom of God and has been embraced by eternal Sabbath.”

Peterson had retreated from public life last year after publishing his final book, As Kingfishers Catch Fire, but not before causing some controversy in one of his final interviews by saying that he would officiate a same-sex wedding if asked to do so today by a gay couple who were “Christians of good faith”.

He later retracted that statement.

In an interview last year with Religious News Service, Peterson expressed his feelings towards death as more of a curiosity than fear.

“I guess basically it’s curiosity. I don’t think it’s anything to be afraid of. I have no idea how it’s going to work out. But I’m not afraid, I’ll tell you that. I’ve been with a lot of people who are dying. I think those conversations are some of the best I’ve ever had. These are people who have lived a good life and who have embraced their faith. They’re not afraid.

“We do know what’s going to happen, those of us who believe in the Trinity. For us, there’s something quite… I don’t want to use the word ‘miraculous’ in a sloppy way. But there are people who die well, and I want to be one.”

About the author

Christina Wong

Christina is a designer who memorises Pantone swatches. A recovering bubble tea addict, she also dreams of raising her own pet penguin one day.