The Innate & Compelling Nature Of Challenge -- By: Lemanuel Williams

Journal: Eikon
Volume: EIKON 01:1 (Spring 2019)
Article: The Innate & Compelling Nature Of Challenge
Author: Lemanuel Williams

The Innate & Compelling Nature Of Challenge

Lemanuel Williams

Lemanuel Williams is the Director of Discipleship at Redemption City Church in Franklin, TN. He is a Hunt Scholar completing his Master of Divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Why are men so attracted to the message of Jordan Peterson? Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, came to public fame when he spoke against a Canadian law that stifles freedom of speech and intends to protect “gender identity and expression,” yet his comprehensive work is what has captivated the masses. His most recent book, 12 Rules for Life, was one of the top selling books in 2018 and is currently one of the most listened to books on Audible. Why? What is his message? With respect to the breadth and depth of his work, and in danger of over simplification, his message is merely this: “man up.” The overture to responsible, assertive masculinity is one of the primary reasons men are attracted to Jordan Peterson.

The colloquial phrase “man up” has never lost its potency in our society. The expression is not as vibrant in our politically correct culture, but its meaning still lingers. Nestled in the nuance of the phrase is a glimmer of a call to a man’s true identity, not merely a false identity of hyper masculinity. Implied in the phrase is this challenge: be what you were meant to be, a man. Peterson captures the inherent value in that challenge—be what you were meant to be—and it evokes the interest of the masses.

Peterson challenges men to be what they were meant to be and to fulfill that calling by bringing order to chaos. He presents no illusions about taking up the challenge and guarantees inevitable danger. Although prima facie his message seems to lack appeal, it is nevertheless compelling, not because some Canadian phenom has uttered it but because at the heart of the message, I believe, men can hear someone more phenomenal: their Creator. They may fail to recognize the echo of the true voice, but the voice cries out nonetheless.

What the masses perceive as Peterson’s call for males to cease being passive, the Canadian genius’s new message, is actually an ancient message from the genius of God. Here’s the message: be what you were meant to be by bringing order to the world. We see this challenge in the creation mandate of Genesis 1. It was this call that was meant to be man’s purpose and fulfillment of life on the earth. There is no more enthralling and fascinating summons from God to man. That summons must be heard by men in the church and church leaders must tap into the genius of that call...

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