If I had to describe the book Radical Together to you in one short phrase it would be this:
Trusting in the power of God to work in the people of God to do the work of God.
The book is short- just shy of 130 pages. But the points that are covered clearly represent the author David Platt's heart. His desire for transforming Christian fellowship guides his words. This transformation includes the maturity of the believers, the spreading of the gospel, and giving God all the glory for the work that is done.
Let's be honest. As long as church consists of normal routines and Christianity consists of nominal devotion with little risk, little sacrifice, and little abandonment, then we can do this on our own. But what happens when we give ourselves to something that is far greater than what we can accomplish on our own?
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think it brings up some valid points that need to be discussed in churches today. Our focus can go astray and get off-kilter from what God intends for us. We often look to the abilities of people and programs of churches rather than to the all-powerful source.
I did have some trouble with a few of the points. In chapter five David talks about spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth, to every people group, rather than focusing in on our own neighborhoods and communities. While I agree that we need to have a world mission focus, I don't necessarily agree that it should be either or. I don't think he intended to sacrifice local mission work with international since he does talk about reaching out to the community as a church body in other places in the book.
I wanted to give this book 4.5 stars but there were two big problems with it and semi-ruined the book for me. The book has some great points and is worth the read if you have the time. One main issue other reviewers mentioned, this book is missing the gospel and this is terrible because all the way on page 27, the author tells readers to put down the book "and place your faith in [Christ]" "if you have never trusted Christ like this." But the book is missing the gospel! So how can an one place their faith in something they don't really understand? To his credit, Platt is writing for believers and states this in the beginning of the book, but then still this call to "place your faith" in Jesus is odd without a deeper explaination of the TRUE gospel of repentance vs the false gospel of "read the paragraph and make a decision".
The biggest issue I had with this book were pages 80-104... these pages made me want to throw my book out. All the great ideas and theology and the "focus on God's will for the church instead of our comfortable cush lives and desires" nearly went out the window, when I reached these pages. Platt takes "preaching the gospel to all nations" to an extreme compared to most Christians. Now, some of you will agree with Platt and if so, I recommend you read the book. But for the rest of us, this teaching adds more false legalism to scripture than the Bible truly says. Platt believes and teaches readers that "Jesus Christ will NOT return until Christians have taken the gospel to ALL tribes of peoples" - all nationalities or races - of which he claims there are "about 6,000 tribes who have not received the gospel and this amounts to 2 billion people". Platt tells us that the world must be Christianized in order for Jesus to return. So Platt's entire focus is on preaching to these 6,000 tribes RATHER than preaching to the 4,000 tribes who have "heard" the gospel. Platt does say the lines on "who has heard the gospel" and "who hasn't heard" are drawn up by people, so they aren't perfect, but Platt still emphasizes that our main missions and evangelism duties are to focused on those 6,000 tribes - RATHER than your own home down, another state, or one of the 4,000 tribes. I strongly disagree with Platt's interpretation of Matthew 24:14. Although at one point, he tries to say that he is not discouraging people from preaching to the people in their own cities, he contradicts himself when he writes, "Satan, in a sense, is just fine with missional churches in the West spending the overwhelming majority of our time, energy, and money on trying to reach people right around us. Satan may actually delight in this, for while we spend our lives on the people we see in front of us, more than 6,000 people groups for generations have never even heard the gospel and remain in the dark."
If you read carefully, you can see the "good intentions" of the author, but he gets lost in man-made thinking, weak arguments, bad motivations for evangelizing, and poor unclear writing at times. Platt seriously does touch on some great things and some of his writing is clear. Platt does an excellent job telling Christians to stop being so self-centered and be more god-centered. He challenges us to have our priorities straight and to make sure we are spending our money where it counts. For that part of his book, I give him 4.5 stars. It's very good, but not quite "outstanding/out of this world."
This book review was done for Thomas Nelson publisher in exchange for the book
In this "sequel" to Radical, David Platt sets before himself a single goal. Based upon Scripture, he seeks to clarify "the practical implications for how a right understanding of the church fuels a radical obedience among Christians." Better said, he hones in on this basic question: How can believers be mobilized to fulfill God's design (that they walk "... in single-minded, death defying obedience to one objective, the declaration of his gospel for the demonstration of his glory to all nations.")?
In the book, Platt explores six notions that he sees as critical to walking in radical obedience to Christ:
The worst enemy of Christians is good things in the church. (I.e., in many cases, the church is not doing what is best, and we can know what that may be, if we would only question all that we are doing and allow Christ "to determine what needs to stay and what needs to go.")
The gospel that saves us from work saves to work. (I.e., we need to appreciate that the fruit of God's gracious gift of salvation, our works of righteousness, is also a gift from God.)
The Word does the work. (I.e., we need to rightly understand that the it is the Word that has transformed and continues to transform lives, as we walk with his Spirit.)
Building the right church depends on using all the wrong people. (I.e., God's purpose is for all of his followers to be engaging the world with the Gospel.)
We are living - and longing-- for the end of the world. (I.e., the end will come when people from every ethnic group have heard and responded to the gospel, so fulfilling the Great Commission hastens that day.)
We are selfless followers of a self-centered God. (I.e., true followers know that death to self is required, and that our God, as Lord, Master and King, is free to spend our lives however he pleases, that he alone may be exalted.)
As he does this, he relates the experiences of the Church at Brook Hills in their journey of obedience, to provide context and to unpack the realities of what it looks like to live lives abandoned to God. These are not shared as a model to be followed or self-directed praise; I found them to be a great encouragement to pursue the better ways that are a part of God's plan.
This book should a "must read" for all leaders within any local church that is serious about mobilizing the people they lead to whole-heartedly follow Christ and take the gospel to folks near and far. But the reading must be followed by the hard questioning, grappling, obeying the Word and "relentless prayer." A "must," as well, as Platt stresses, is that leaders realize that the sheep will likely never be what they cannot see in their shepherds.
By the way, if your church leaders have not read Radical, this should not, in my view, hinder their reading and positively responding to this book, and moving to a position where God can speak to needed changes in the the way your church seeks to minister.
Radical Together by David Platt follows his prior book Radical. To really get the most out of this book I would suggest that you read Radical first. This will provide a back drop for the flow and purpose of his second installment. In Radical Together, David presents six chapters that will pave the way for disciples of Christ to become all that Jesus intended us to be as disciple makers. He points out issues that are hindering individuals and churches, and then biblically constructs the antidote to the problem. His book is bold to say the least, but it is theologically sound and challenging.
David's writing style is easy to read and is filled with real life stories of what happens when God's people are unleashed for the purposes of God. This book reinforced many different areas of my own call that God has placed on my life. Yet I was challenged to become even more radical in laying everything on the table for the sake of the call. It is so easy get wrapped up in ministry that we end up missing the very substance of the relationship that Jesus desire with each of us. Radical Together is a book that challenges us to keep Jesus and his Word at the forefront of all we do as believers.