Takeaway: We often live like Jesus is the Life, sometimes like Jesus is the Truth, but often forget that Jesus is the Way. It is a path that we are to follow, not just a belief that we are to ascribe.
This is the second time I have started this book. A couple of years ago, I got bogged down and did not finished it. Because it was the only one of Peterson’s series of practical theology that I have not read, I decided that I should go back and read it again. This time I got it. That is not to say that it is an easy book to get through, I still think it is the weakest of this series. It is a bit disjointed. The beginning of the book talks about the reasons that we need to follow Jesus. This section primarily revolves around the passage of Jesus saying he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Peterson says we spend a lot of time on Jesus being the truth and the life, but we do not often think a lot about how Jesus is the way.
The part of this section that most struck me was that Peterson says we need to read scripture and learn, not to just aquire God knowledge, but to get direction from God. Then he talks about how we should look at the language of those we learn from. Do they speak with a purpose? Or it is simply to tear down. Peterson discusses the academic Historical/Critical method of scripture study. He believes that there is real value to using academic tools to give us new insight. But there needs to be a rooting in scripture as God’s word or else the tools simple tear down without any ability to put back together.
I am thinking about a talk I am going to give in the fall about how to disagree as Christians. This seems to be one tools that we can use. When we look at the controversy with Rob Bell and John Piper, both are writing with a pastoral desire. I am pretty sure some of the bloggers that jumped on the bandwagon did so because they were after page views. (One of the reasons I have not read or reviewed Love Wins). But if we look at different sides of an argument and both sides really are trying to act with a good purpose, then there is something that is positive, even if agreement is never reached. It does not mean both Piper and Bell are equally right, but it does mean that they are both striving to serve God in what they are writing.
The second section then takes 6 Old Testament figures and shows how they follow the Jesus Way without knowing Jesus in particular. This was the section that seemed most disjointed. There was lots of good stuff here, but I did not get the structure he was attempting to convey.
The final section was the best section for me. Here Peterson compared Jesus’ way with the ways that others were striving at the same time Jesus was around. Peterson compares the different religious parties that were active at the time of Jesus, the Political power plays of Herod and the social/cultural methods of Josephus. Jesus was aware of all of these methods, but chose a different way.
Over all the concept was good. But I got tripped up on the organization in a way that I normally do not with Peterson. If you are interested in the topic, then I would recommend it. If you want to check out Peterson for the first time, I would probably encourage you sto start with either Eat This Book (if you want to read about how to read scripture) or Practice Resurrection (if you are interested in spiritual growth or the role of the church) or The Pastor: A Memoir (if you want to read more about Peterson himself).