I received the book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt, nearly two years ago. I was excited to start reading it because I believed it probably had some thoughts in it that many in our culture needed to hear. These were ideas that I felt I already had a handle on and I was ready to hear another voice reaffirm my thoughts.
But for whatever reason, most likely the wonderful leading of God, I got bogged down in the book after the first three chapters and put it down. I knew Dr. Platt comes from a different theological strand than I do and the first three chapters set up those differences. I moved on to other books and this one sat on my shelf.
In the last few months I have been a little frustrated as a pastor. It wasn't the usual things that pastors often say when they get discouraged. Things at the church were going well. The people of the church are supportive and open to leading. I was discouraged because I didn't feel we were in the place I wanted us to be as a church. I had been praying and talking with trusted friends about my feelings and searching for next steps.
Within that process I "happened" to pick up this book again and started where I had left off and Dr. Platt was saying exactly what I needed to hear!
I was frustrated not because the church wasn't where I wanted it to be. I was frustrated because I had lost sight of where I needed to be.
This book will challenge you to get outside of what our safe Christianity in the United States has trained us to pursue and to stretch out to live in the radical way Jesus has called his disciples to live. The sentence that challenged me came as Dr. Platt examined Matthew 10 and concluded:
When Jesus looked at the harassed and helpless multitudes, apparently his concern was not that the lost would not come to the Father. Instead his concern was that his followers would not go to the lost.
Dr. Platt uses the scriptures to challenge us to not ask, "What can we spare?" but instead to ask, "What will it take?" He encourages us to stop being afraid to take chances for the spread of the gospel but instead to realize that "to live is Christ and to die is gain." And he ends with a year of practical steps that lead us to the radical life Jesus has called his followers to experience.
Dr. Plat and I may land in slightly different places on some theological issues...but we are a part of the same team of Jesus followers and we share a common mission to make disciples of ALL PEOPLE whatever that requires of us.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review
I give credit to David Platt for the courage to write a book like Radical. Christianity in America needs a wake up call and this book is that call. For those who think the Christian faith is soft and easy, think again. This book is doctrinally sound and does not deviaate from Scripture. I would recommend that every believer in Christ who has the desire to serve the Lord faithfully and hasn't quite figured out where to begin, to read this book.
The author of this book takes us on a journey where we can view our life as we live it today and compare it with the words of Jesus. It was eye opening for me and is a book that can change your life if you are willing to follow Jesus. The message comes straight from scripture especially in Mark and Isaiah. It reminds me that My job is to witness for Him and care for others.
Platt does a wonderful job at speaking into our culture, that is to say, at speaking into the blind-spots that are hard for us to perceive in our own time. The big one he brings up is greed and how the American Dream doesn't quite fit into the Biblical picture of picking up our cross and following Jesus. Like so many issues you can go drastically to one extreme and while he certainly presents some radical ideas, it's all backed up by Scripture and the teachings of Christ. I think that many of his ideas are expressed in similar fashion in Shane Claiborne's writings and one would do well to read both authors.
Do I agree with every end-goal conclusion he puts forth? No, but that is never the case and I certainly agree with the questions he's asking, the idea's he's presenting and the sad fact that the Christian faith for far too many is a pale shadow of what it should be. As the pastor of a small church, I plan on incorporating some of his Radical Experiment ideas in the coming months (albeit - in a form contextualized for my own congregation). One minor complaint would be that I wish there were more statistics and facts backed up by research, as I think those would help to embolden some of his arguments about poverty.
I'd love to see David Platt and Dave Ramsey in a debate - while I appreciate much of what Ramsey is doing, I think Platt serves as a very good counter-balance.