Jordan Peterson has gleaned more understanding about God and his created order from natural revelation than leftist Christians have gleaned about God and his created order from special revelation.
I started with the strongest statement on this issue I could make, and did so to form the thesis of this article.
Jordan Peterson, who is intellectually attacked and intentionally misrepresented more than any other
Peterson, who calls himself a “pragmatic Christian,” claims to follow the teachings of Jesus as best he understands them and holds that the First Century rabbi’s moral philosophy forms a superior and worthy ethos to live a virtuous life. Peterson, however, denies the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the resurrection (in other words, he’s no more a Christian than was Martin Luther King, Jr). Friends of mine who are close to Peterson believe he is open to the religion of Jesus, but as of yet he has only embraced the ethics of Jesus.
Peterson is not a thought-leader of our age. He is the thought leader of our age. A promoter of logic, reason, and general sanity, Peterson has gutted the anti-intellectual emotionalism of the political left and has done so through a secularist worldview.
When I read his book, 12 Rules for Life, I became convinced that Peterson has taken natural revelation as far as it can be taken, or at least as far as I’ve ever seen it take anyone, toward true knowledge of God and his order.
Reformed believers, like myself, tend to divide revelation (God showing himself and his created order) into two categories. First, there is what we perceive in nature that reveals God and his created order. This is called natural revelation (because it is revealed in nature) or general revelation (because it is generally observable). This is the type of revelation spoken of by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:19-20, “For what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” This is the revelation spoken of in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky displays his handiwork.”
In natural or general revelation, we would include observational science, logic and deductive reasoning, and generally speaking, anything made by God.
I was taken aback while reading 12 Rules as Peterson deduced quite accurate truths about God’s created order by merely observing lobsters on the ocean floor. By this same, simple observational deduction, Peterson has contributed greatly to public political discourse through primarily his work as a social scientist and shade-tree philosopher. A part of what is known as the “intellectual dark web,” Peterson has been turned to time and again by people who desire to employ reason over emotion.
When Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 1:20, “Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age,” Jordan Peterson clears his throat in Toronto.
However, as Peterson also demonstrates, natural revelation is enough to damn a man, but not to save him. As my Confession of Faith (the 1689 London Baptist Confession) says in its first chapter, “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith
We are born again not by observational science, but by the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). This is what is so frustrating about my friend, Jordan. He is so close to fully grasping God and his order (as well as any mortal could) but without believing in the inspiration of special or divine revelation (the Bible) he is close but yet so far.
Needless to say, Peterson’s observations about topics ranging from economics to politics to the social sciences are far superior to most, but insufficient to bring spiritual salvation alone.
Now, I’ll turn the corner.
The Gospel Coalition is a subversive political organization with dubious funding that pushes into and upon churches a progressive theology that trends leftward. Although the organization first started out under the guise of a theological organization, it’s become clear in recent years that The Gospel Coalition (TGC) is much more interested in infiltrating churches and institutions with what some call Social Justice. That term was invented by a Jesuit Socialist in 1940. The ideology is akin to the Social Gospel, invented by Walter Rauschenbusch (also known as Rauschensbuschism). Both are the offspring of Liberation Theology, which is nothing short of Cultural Marxism in a clerical collar.
While economic Marxism, also known as classical Marxism, is inherently atheistic in nature, that subversive ideology did not work in the capitalistic West. In Western Europe and the Western Hemisphere, Marxism largely failed because of class mobility (no one wants to hate the rich when they have an opportunity to become rich). Whereas classical Marxism seeks to cause division by economic class, Cultural Marxism seeks to cause division by social class. The tools to accomplish this division include Critical Race Theory, Identity Politics, and Intersectionality. To accomplish these ends, Cultural Marxism has sought (successfully) to use the power of theology to convince people that these goals are legitimately moral.
These ideas – Cultural Marxism, Critical Race Theory, Identity Politics, and Intersectionality – are regularly promoted by The Gospel Coalition. They are regularly chided and challenged by Jordan Peterson.
Today, The Gospel Coalition ran an article critical of Peterson entitled Jordan Peterson, High Priest for a Secular Age. In the post, they capitalized (the pun is unfortunate) on Peterson’s assertions being founded upon general revelation rather than special revelation.
Bruce Ashford writes at TGC this stunning line:
Unless Peterson buys wholesale into the Christian faith, his solution is insubstantial; metaphysically, it is little more than a banquet of crushed ice and vapor.
This is not the first hit-piece on Peterson from TGC this year (another was done last month), which is strange for a website that purports to be theological rather than political.
Without tit-for-tatting with Ashford or TGC’s diatribe against Peterson – perhaps the most brilliant thinker of our time – I will concede that without upholding the theology of Christ, upholding the virtues of Christ are insufficient and fleeting in value.
However, this is what must be pointed out regarding The Gospel Coalition’s criticism of Peterson, and let me put it in bold.
Peterson’s secular observations of general revelation are vastly superior to the religious observations of leftist Christ-confessors who have built their own worldly philosophies on the intellectual foundations provided by Jesuits and Marxists.
The question is if Peterson’s observational philosophies of general revelation are inferior to wrongfully interpreted special revelation, and the answer is a resounding no. Understanding God’s order by interpreting nature is actually more fruitful than adopting a subversive and wrong perversion of the Bible.
The fact is, even denying the Scripture’s inspiration, Peterson’s worldview is dramatically more Scriptural than those who promote subversive and anti-Christian ideologies like Marxism and Critical Race Theory, even though they have the audacity to do it in the name of Jesus.
Having a decent grasp on God’s order from general revelation can’t save you, but neither can having a heretically wrong grasp of special revelation. In both cases, with Peterson and religious Cultural Marxists, the
That Jordan Peterson isn’t a believer shouldn’t be a cause to boast for The Gospel Coalition. It should be a cause for their shame that his worldview is fundamentally more biblical than their own.
[Contributed by JD Hall]
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