Jordan Peterson’s popularity is on the rise. His new book, 12 Rules for Life, tops the charts on Amazon. And he is appearing on numerous platforms, physical or digital. He also influences Christians. But should Christian listen to Peterson? I’ve given my answer in a previous article. But to sum it up, Christians should listen to Peterson critically because his message sometimes agrees and other times disagrees with the Christian faith.
Peterson is so interesting because he astutely understands the culture in which we live. And he (sometimes) speaks truth into it. But others, who might be less well-known than Peterson, are doing the same thing. Here are four people who you should listen to instead of (or along with) Peterson.
Tim Keller is the co-president of the Gospel Coalition, and he pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York for many years. He’s also written many books and has given numerous talks, many of which are available online. He’s known for his cultural analysis and Christian response to it.
Charles Taylor wrote the monumental work, A Secular Age. Every decade, there might be one or two true works of genius that are produced. This is one of them. Read it. It will make you a better person. But if you don’t have the time to grapple with it, try Jamie Smith’s summary of the book. Smith’s book cannot do justice to Taylor’s original. But it can get you acquainted. The Gospel Coalition has also produced a multi-author reflection on Taylor’s work, which would be a helpful entry point as well.
Augustine lived about 1,600 years ago and wrote one of the most important books of all time: The City of God. In the book, Augustine attempts to explain why Rome fell to the Visigoths. In so doing, he wrote a brilliant analysis of Christianity’s relationship to the culture. The City of God is a large book, and a more accessible introduction to Augustine might be his Confessions.
Augustine’s Confessions are a prayer to God in which Augustine confesses his faith in the Lord, all the while carefully studying how he understands his own soul. In other words, Confessions will help you understand yourself.
Marilynne Robinson is a treat to read. Her theological narrative Gilead should be required reading for anyone interested in American spirituality. She is also a wonderful essayist, speaking on all sorts of issues (from grace to metaphysics). Consider reading The Givenness of Things.
While this is a basic list, I hope it gives you some direction. I hope it helps you to locate authors or speakers from whom you can learn and from whom you can understand the world in which we live better.