Eugene Peterson, who is best known for writing The Message Bible transliteration, has passed away, reports Christianity Today. This sad news comes just a week after he entered hospice care.
The Presbyterian pastor was 85 at the time of his death. He had entered hospice care for complications related to heart failure and dementia.
Author Winn Collier first shared the news on Twitter. “My dear friend and pastor Eugene Peterson has died this morning,” he said. “The lantern is out, but the joy he carried with him to his final breaths endures. Eugene is now with the Triune God he has loved his entire life. Memory eternal.”
Others also took to Twitter to mourn his passing:
NavPress, publishers of The Message, confirmed his death. His family said in a statement:
"During the previous days, 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," shared his family.
Peterson seemed completely unbraid of death. According to his family, "Among his final words were, 'Let’s go.'"
They added, "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.'"
They concluded, "It feels fitting that his death came on a Monday, the day of the week he always honored 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."
In addition to The Message, Peterson was the author more than 30 books, including his 2012 memoir, "The Pastor," and the bestselling "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction."
Peterson, who was raised in the Pentecostal church, received his ordination in the Presbyterian Church. In addition to his work as a pastor, he taught at Regent College and held degrees from Seattle Pacific, New York Theological Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University.
In their statement, Peterson’s family thanked supporters for their prayers during the pastor’s final days. They plan to live-stream his funeral, to be held at First Presbyterian Church of Kalispell, Montana, but have not set a date.
“With full and overflowing hearts, we give thanks for the gift of his life,” they said, “knowing that his joy is now complete.”
Please join us in praying for Peterson's family as they mourn his passing. May God cover his family in His great mercy.