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Ask a group of Christians what they think about poverty, sex trafficking, or the orphan crisis, and you'll probably get a pretty quick response. But ask that same group about gay marriage or abortion, and you'll most likely be faced with a lot of nervous hesitancy or fuzzy answers.
In this day when social issues are creating clear dividing lines in society, moral and political neutrality is not an option for those who believe the gospel. It's simply not enough to focus on only those issues that are most comfortable--and least costly--to us.
Join David Platt as he invites us to fix our gaze on the holiness, goodness, love, truth, justice, authority, and mercy of God revealed in the gospel and to live with conviction, courage, and compassion in the midst of a culture that is drifting further from the truth every day. Hardcover.
Number of Pages: 250
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.75 X 1.00 (inches)|
A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty - eBookDavid PlattTyndale House / 2015 / ePub$2.39 Retail:
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A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of PovertyDavid PlattTyndale House / 2015 / Trade Paperback$1.99 Retail:
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Because We Are Called to Counter Culture: How We Are to Respond to Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, SexDavid PlattTyndale House / 2015 / ePub$1.59 Retail:
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Because We Are Called to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, ImmigrationDavid PlattTyndale House / 2015 / Trade Paperback$1.99
Bill Q5 Stars Out Of 5Relevant, biblically on point, and practicalJune 11, 2015Bill QQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5David Platts Counter Culture is the first of my summer reading books, and was a great book with which to start, though I almost put it down after just the second page of his introduction, when he wrote: I am greatly encouraged when I see such compassion, conviction, and courage in the church today. As I listen to the way contemporary Christians talk (especially, though not exclusively, younger evangelicals), I perceive a fierce opposition to injustice Im smack in the middle of the baby boomer generation just turning 61 and found this, and some of his following comments almost inflammatory and somewhat nave as if the millennials are the first generation to figure out this Christianity thing.
But then I realized I need to exercise some compassion of my own for two reasons: (1) Pastor Platt is relatively young and, as each generation does, we gain a lot of wisdom between our thirties and our sixties. (2) Pastor Platt redeems himself by referencing Francis Schaeffers deeply thoughtful commentary on the same subject that We as Christians are locked in a conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ. (page 19)
The difference between Schaeffer and Platt however, is that Schaeffer calls for a systemic response to the spiritual warfare in addition to a personal response, while Platt limits his writing to a call for a personal response, even though he bemoans the institutional churchs lack of response on many of the social injustice issues (page xii). Others can argue whether that is enough or not, though Im reminded of Neos choice of a red pill or a blue pill. Schaeffers generation took the red pill and chose to confront the cultural reality though poorly so in the end. Millennials, so far - the blue pills - failing to recognize how culturally infiltrated the western evangelical church has become. Isnt that what underlies the premise that some of the issues Pratt addresses are easy to engage? On popular issues like poverty and slavery, where Christians are likely to be applauded for our social action, we are quick to stand up and speak out. Yet on controversial issues like homosexuality and abortion, where Christians are likely to be criticized for our involvement, we are content to sit down and stay quiet. (page xiii)
Regardless, my opinion of Counter Culture: Platt provides one of the most thoughtful, direct, and scripturally-based series of arguments for a God-centered view of the various social ills he addresses since Schaeffer: from poverty to same sex marriage; from abortion to racism. Platt provides an overview of both Old Testament and New Testament teachings on each subject, explains how to interpret and apply OT/NT variously, and provides illustrations of applying these principles. One would do well to spend a good deal of time studying his teaching on these scriptures and integrating such a biblical perspective into ones world view and faith.
However, after such powerful and clear teaching on the biblical perspective on these issues, I think Pratt wimps out a bit in his call for a personal, spiritual response. His suggestions for a personal response to the widows and orphans chapter, for example, is barely ten lines and he could have provided specific response steps in addition to broad suggestions, as well as suggestions for further reading and resources on each subject. Some readers may find broad suggestions sufficient, but I suspect there will be many readers whose souls will be pricked by the Spirit to respond in some way and find such more difficult without more specific suggestions.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Living the gospel in today's cultureMarch 7, 2015bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Platt has a serious message for Christians. We have done well in feeling compassion for and ministering to the hurt and mistreated. But what about controversial issues like homosexuality and abortion, issues where we might be criticized for our work?
Rather than focusing on the rightness or wrongness of such issues, Platt concentrates on bringing the gospel to them. His goal for the book is the application of the gospel to social issues. He encourages Christians to a self-sacrificing commitment to go, give, and serve. He desires we seek how individually as Christians and collectively in our churches the Spirit of Christ is leading us to compassionate action in our culture. (21) To that end he has included First Steps to Counter Culture at the end of each chapter, with suggestions for prayer, participation, and proclamation.
Topics covered include poverty (and our attitude toward money), abortion, widows and orphans, definition and practice of marriage, sexual immorality, sex slavery, ethnicity and immigration, religious freedom and intolerance. In the end he reminds us that mankind's most urgent need is the gospel.
Platt's suggestions may be surprising. The purpose in addressing sexual immorality, he writes, is not to rail against the dominance of sexual sin in the culture around us but to expose the depth of sexual sin that lies within us. (166)
I liked that he set the record straight on legislating morality. He writes, The state not only has the right but also the responsibility to legislate morality. (70)
You will not be encouraged to picket abortion clinics in this book. You'll be encouraged to work at a pregnancy care center and befriend a pregnant teen. You'll be encouraged to adopt orphans and sponsor orphan care. You'll be encouraged to live out the gospel, not just talk about it.
This is a great book for church boards, pastors, and directors of Christian organizations to read. There are teaching videos available as well as personal study materials.
Food for thought:
Referencing sinful indifference, Moral and political neutrality here is not an option. (71)
ArchieBuffal, New YorkAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5great readMarch 2, 2015ArchieBuffal, New YorkAge: 55-65Gender: maleI loved this book. The title says it all. If you are looking for a book that looks at issues facing today's Christians from a biblical perspective, then this book is for you. I highly reccomend this book!
CliffymaniaMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5The Gospel Makes the DifferenceFebruary 4, 2015CliffymaniaMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Sex slavery is a phrase that would probably make a lot of us giggle even today.
Thats my tag line. Thats how I want to get you interested in reading this article and Im not sure it was the right way because sex slavery and sex trafficking is destroying the lives of children.
In America we have perfected the art of sexual tension. Weve coined the phrase sex sells even though we constantly argue the definition of sex. We are so confused when it comes to sex that we will at the same time tell women you are worth more than your body while putting up billboards with images of sexy women in their underwear or less. We will praise men who are strong leaders and then mock them as idiot fathers.
And sex is the wedge used to separates us.
By the way, this is supposed to be a review of David Platts new book Counter Culture and it is, just hang with me because a lot of what Im putting into my words is what Platt talks about in the book.
Sex is Christianity 101. God tells Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). Thats right, the first thing God tells this one man and one woman to do is have sex. Ever since then our sin nature has been making a mess of things from adultery, fornication, polygamy, divorce, homosexuality, nudity in print and in movies, pornography, incest, rape, sex slavery, and a number of perversions that I dont even want to say. We have so sub-defined sex that we have robbed the good thing God gave us of its beautiful simplicity; a way for husband and wife to come together in the most intimate way; and weve turned it into something utterly perverse.
What is the end result?
Platt covers the result in his book Counter Culture.
Counter Culture is about more than just the devastating impact of human trafficking and sex slavery. He covers poverty, same-sex marriage, immigration, and racism to name a few. All for the purpose of drawing Christians out of our lethargy into doing something about each one of these things.
Whats amazing is that Platt has this compassionate way of throwing cold water in your face and making you take stock of your Christianity. He does not make the claim, or the promise, that doing something about any of these things will make you a better Christian, or earn favor with God, or wipe away your sin. Rather, he makes it clear from page one that if we are going to claim Christ as our Savior then shouldnt we do those things that Christ called us to do?
The primary task of any Christian is to spread the Gospel the good news that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and this is what I appreciate about Platts book. Platt makes it clear that no human plan is going to put an end to any of these problems; the Gospel is what makes the difference.
Our culture has lead us to believe wrongly about sex. As Christians we need to think and respond counter to the culture in the way that Christ has taught us. In the time I had I was not able to read the entire book, but the chapter on sex slavery caught my attention and thats what Im reviewing.
According to Platts book, sex trafficking has brought us to the devastating statistic that there are more slaves in the world today than there were during the years of transatlantic slave trade. Girls are purchased, or kidnapped, and rented out until they are no longer profitable. They are trapped and enslaved. That should be an outrage to all of us. But maybe thats too far removed for us to see in America.
Pornography is multi-billion dollar a year industry in America. Platt writes, Research continually demonstrates a clear link between sex trafficking and the production of pornography. Want to bring it even closer to home? Platt continues, Men and women who indulge in pornography are creating the demand for more prostitutes, and in turn they are fueling the sex trafficking industry.
Consider for a moment the possibility that as we in America enjoy movies and books like 50 Shades of Gray, young girls, as early as nine years old, are being trafficked in the sex industry.
How can this happen?
Once a woman is seen as less important, less dignified, or less worthy than a man, she is more easily discarded as an object to be used, or abused, says Platt and I agree.
How does the Gospel of Jesus Christ resolve this?
Platt writes, Fighting slavery begins with believing the gospel with seeing that the good, holy and loving Creator God alone is the Owner of all people. Fighting slavery continues with applying the gospel with living the truth that all people have been made in Gods image and thus are to be esteemed and never enslaved. And fighting slavery requires that we proclaim the gospel that we do all that we can to tell the utterly hopeless that ultimate hope is found in Jesus Christ.
Jesus called us to proclaim repentance and the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47) that He won for us on the cross and to declare that eternal life is found in Christ alone (John 17:3) because he rose from the dead. We still reach out and meet basic needs of food, shelter, and companionship, but the gospel is the foundation that must be the prominent driving component of our efforts. Platt offers from his experience, ways to accomplish this both.
Platts book brings this all together, not with criticism and shaming, but with sobriety and hope. We must get involved.
I highly recommend this book and while I have no qualms about recommending Platts writing even when I couldnt finish the whole thing in time to meet the requirements of the publisher, Ill be coming back to this book to talk about those other topics.
I received a free copy of Counter Culture from Tyndale publishing, but was not required to write a positive review. It just turned out that way.