It saddens me when I see "Christians" condemning those who are "not christian enough". One person who receives a lot of this antagonism is the prolific, contentious and ever hopeful, Canadian, Jordan B. Peterson. "Christian's" criticize Peterson saying, he doesn't teach Gospel, he teaches psychological self-help.
In some sense they are correct, but in today's post I'd like to explain why their antagonism saddens and worries me.
First let us read from the Book of Matthew:
Matthew 7:21-23 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Never Knew You
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Matthew 5:16 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 7:1-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
The hypocrisy of judging another's faith is dangerous
Is it not hypocrisy, when we point our finger and say "you don't teach the gospel perfectly?".
Does any among us, teach it perfectly? Can you identify a man solely based upon his outward behavior and definitively announce whether they are saved? No man, save for Jesus, was perfect, and therefore why do we look at Peterson, or any other person and pass judgement?
Go forth and make disciples
Every follower of Christ, must go forth and make disciples for Christ, spreading His good news: Our salvation by faith in Christ, which satisfies the debt of sin, restoring relationship to all repentant souls with their creator in heaven. This is what it means to be a follower of Christ, this is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
But the exact words and actions we use to honor God in this way, by teaching his truth, are up for our best judgement.
So what does Peterson teach?
It seems to me that Peterson is constantly pointing us to God's calling, which is to pick up our cross and follow Christ.
Peterson is always trying to convey the significant weight of personal responsibility in life, which as he would say is to "clean your room". Said another way, it is to make the world a little better for yourself and those around you. Which he says, and I think Jesus agrees, is no small task. Furthermore, it seems to me that is exactly what is meant when God said let your light shine. (Matthew 5:16)
Is Peterson "saved"?
Is Jordan Peterson a perfect man, or teacher, of course not. Is he a saved repentant servant of Christ? Only God can answer that question definitively. But it seems to me based on the fruit of his life, that thousands of people are learning about Jesus' mission to love and serve those who need help, is an indication that God is bringing good works to this world through Peterson.
I don't know if he is saved, but truth be told I don't know if I'm saved.
Is Jordan Peterson a Christian? I don't know
But he talks about finding meaning in the darkness, seeking truth and light, lifting up ourselves and those around us, in small ways. He explains that this work is the calling of all mankind, which not only brings meaning to ourselves, but light to this dark existence.
I don't know if he is Christian, but his words and actions are at minimum a great start.
He lives as if God is real
What's more he says he lives as if God is real, and if that isn't good enough... I don't know what to tell you.
One final thought on this, Peterson is no one's savior, Jesus is the only name that saves. So, why are so many people looking at Jordan Peterson like he is anything more than another man, trying his best, to "live like God is real".
We are saved by faith in Christ, and if God is in us, we will bear good fruit. I don't know Peterson's relationship with Christ when no one is looking, only God does, but it seems evident to me, that Jordan B Peterson is bearing good fruit... can we all say the same?
God will judge, therefore we don't have to.
It seems to me Jordan Peterson's view on "belief" in God, espoused in this video, are rightly reverent and humble.
Arguing Peterson "is not teaching overtly christian truth", is in my mind to deny the fruit of his work, and more shamefully than that, such criticism seeks a degree of overtness, that believers are told to be wary of... wasn't it the pharisees & Sadducees that Christ was most critical of?
I don't know if he is "known" by God and neither do you.
Truth be told, I don't know if I am known by God, and if you accept the terrifying reality of Matthew 7:21-23, then you will honestly, and humbly acknowledge our own precarious state. None of us know, until we stand before Christ, whether he will say to us, "well done good and faithful servant", or "begone, I never knew you". Peterson is not above this coming judgment, and neither are we.
Romans 2:3 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
If you'd like to hear directly from Dr. Jordan Peterson, about his faith in Christ, follow the link. It is an hour long interview where Peterson explains his struggle with God, and I found it beautiful and encouraging.
I Live as if God were Real
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