An Anglican reviews 12 rules

Despite its many sub-Christian, un-Christian, and even anti-Christian features – which mean it must be read with care and taken with a whole cellar-full of salt – there is a great amount of common grace wisdom in this book that we can mine to inform our public theology apologetic. Peterson’s arguments have the potential to become a significant ‘minority report’ against the seemingly-unstoppable broader cultural narrative in the West in the next decade or so – a sort of ‘antidote to chaos,’ as the book’s immodest subtitle has it. But we mustn’t be uncritical: though he is something of an ally in a cultural war against a worse common enemy, we must not allow our co-belligerence to mask our fundamental differences. 12 Rules illuminates the contours of both Christians’ commonality with and divergence from Peterson better than The Interview or others of his You-Tube hits. Reading 12 Rules with a critical Christian mind will, I think, make you a more discerning disciple of Peterson in the years ahead; able to appropriate what truly accords with revealed Scripture in a way that speaks powerfully and persuasively to Millennials who, it seems, are increasingly ready to see that the Emperor of the cultural zeitgeist has no clothes. If we are going to deploy Peterson’s arguments (and I think for the most part, we should), we do well to know their genesis as well as our Genesis.

Tom Woolford is the curate at All Hallows Bispham.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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