Aaron Renn reacts:
A number of people were critical of Peterson here in defining the church’s mission in temporal terms – reminding men of an ark to build, a land to conquer, etc. But I think this is unfair. Yes, there’s no gospel in this. But his take is mostly a restatement of the creation mandate. I find these complaints somewhat amusing given how loudly so many temporal social justice matters are said to be “gospel issues” in the church today. …
At the end of day the joke is on us. Peterson (and other secular influencers) have attracted big audiences of mostly young men where the church failed to do so. While popularity is no guarantee of truth, I’m sad to report that Peterson has often given men more accurate factual information than the church. As just one example, the church has deeply flawed teachings on attraction.
At the end of the day there’s only one valid reason to become a Christian: because it’s true. At the level of basic metaphysical truth, Peterson is wrong and the church is right. That’s a great starting point for us to work from. But we need to be willing to discover where we have gone wrong – in terms of facts, wisdom for living, and engagement with men – and get in the game to outcompete the likes of Peterson in the marketplace for the hearts and minds of young men.
Ultimately, criticisms from outside the house, particularly when delivered in this hectoring manner, are rarely accepted. But perhaps we can choose to take this as a challenge.
Peterson’s punch line:
“You’re churches for God’s sake. Quit fighting for social justice. Quit saving the planet. Attend to some souls. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s your holy duty. Do it now, before it’s too late. The hour is nigh.”
This is a somewhat harsh message for which Peterson has been criticized. But his punch line is absolutely correct if you have actually read the Gospels. Jesus Christ gave the responsibility of Christians — love one another, etc. — to individuals, not the government, not organizations, not even the church as a body filled with flawed humans. Saving souls is the number one priority, not to be popular or fashionable in the secular world.