Features, Preaching, Theology

Jordan Peterson and Gospel Hope

[The following is the conclusion from a recent sermon I gave from Acts 2:25-36.]

With all that is going on in the world today at large and in your life in particular you may be tempted to grow weary and lose heart. This was the case for one Jordan Peterson fan who attended his recent book tour event in Indianapolis, Indiana. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and University of Toronto professor, and the author of the national and international bestseller 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos. His book tour has sold out venues across America. An intellectual and self-help guru, Peterson is offering his own brand of hope and finding a huge market.

At Peterson’s book tour events he lectures for about an hour and then moves to a time of Q&A. The questions are sent via Twitter so he opens his laptop to mine the best ones for the audience. According to a person at the event, Peterson answered some “light” questions before coming to one where he paused and said, “This is a serious one.” It read, “I plan on taking my life very soon. Why shouldn’t I?”

Peterson’s answer gave helpful advice like “wait, there’s no rush”; “talk to someone close”; “check yourself into a hospital”; “try antidepressants”; “think through the impact this would have on others”; and, finally, a plea of “please, take care of yourself, man” (this plea, apparently, done in person by Peterson to the actual questioner after the event).

This is where Peter’s sermon comes in with the very hope of heaven. We have the ultimate antidote to the chaos of a fallen world: Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and exalted. God has given us his Spirit who comforts and empowers us in the knowledge of the truth of Jesus. Why does this matter for your Sunday afternoon and forever? Because through faith in Jesus Christ the promises of God are yours, including Romans 8:31-34:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Pentecost is the glorious declaration to the world that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. Therefore, I do not say to you this morning, “Please, take care of yourself, man.” I say, “Look to Jesus, for he will take perfect care of you, forever.”

Filed under: Features, Preaching, Theology
Michael Pohlman

Michael Pohlman (PhD, Southern Seminary) is professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry and chair of the Department of Ministry and Proclamation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is founder and executive director of Some Pastors and Teachers.