WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOUIt s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him They would abandon everything for the gospel They would take up their crosses dailyBUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT DO YOU InRadical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a successful suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to JesusFinally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment a one year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring


10 thoughts on “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

  1. Corey Decker Corey Decker says:

    Radical for the Wrong Reasons Taking Back your Faith from the American Dream This is the confessed purpose of David Platt s new book, Radical In it, he attempts to save American Christians from their cultural sins, showing that one cannot serve both the American Dream and Jesus Christ A decision must be made it is either radical obedience to Christ or self centered, lukewarm mediocrity Summary His thesis is based upon his interpretation of the great commission in Matthew 28 and a select f Radical for the Wrong Reasons Taking Back your Faith from the American Dream This is the confessed purpose of David Platt s new book, Radical In it, he attempts to save American Christians from their cultural sins, showing that one cannot serve both the American Dream and Jesus Christ A decision must be made it is either radical obedience to Christ or self centered, lukewarm mediocrity Summary His thesis is based upon his interpretation of the great commission in Matthew 28 and a select few sayings of Jesus from the Gospels Simply put, he asserts that the Great Commission is directed towards every, individual Christian therefore, every Christian not just a select few is obligated to go and disciple all the nations The rest of the book is his outworking of what this looks like in practice living modestly, caring for the poor both domestically and internationally, and centering life around the preaching of the gospel to the nations For, he argues, God s heart is for all peoples to be saved it has been his mission from the very beginning Therefore, it should be ours He concludes the book with his radical one year commitment This includes 1 praying for the whole world, with a focus on asking God to raise up men and women to bring the gospel to the unreached people groups 2 reading the Bible all of the way through 3 sacrificially giving to the poor and needy through the local church 4 serving in an unfamiliar cultural context and lastly, 5 seeking to work with a local church to bring community to those who do not have it Review First, Platt should be praised for his cutting critique of much of American Evangelicalism He makes excellent points regarding our focus upon lavish buildings, comfort and safety, and inbred community All of these are things the church needs to take to heart and examine how we mightwisely use the resources given to us Second, his emphasis on the importance of working within the local church is a sigh of relief While, as will be seen, he doesn t balance this well enough and is a bit misguided in the ministry relationship between church as body and the individual as member, the centrality of the local church is a much needed antidote to the pervasive individualism today Third, his zeal for Christ and for his people is humbling While I believe it is founded upon misguided theology, it cannot be said that he is lacking for love Fourth, he articulates a very good presentation of the gospel and the sinfulness of man He does not sugarcoat man s depravity in an attempt to appeal to his sentiments Lastly, he is powerful when speaking about the need for churches to not merely confess faith in God but to demonstrate their reliance upon the Spirit through prayer and trust He astutely rebukes many for believing in the power of their programs and strategies, leaving little room for being led by the Spirit in humility In all these areas, Platt shines Even with these hard hitting points, I cannot recommend this book From a literary standpoint, it is messy Topics do not flow well or build upon each other It is monotonously anecdotal I kept wanting to skip the stories halfway through, though I did read it in a single 2 hour period , and his grammar is at times sloppy However, you don t need to be the greatest writer to put out a book, so this critique is only minor If a book has sound theology and piercing application, proper grammar is not of the highest import Unfortunately, Radical exhibits neither It is needless to cover every theological issue, but the following will point out the deepest shortcomings First, I believe Platt fundamentally misinterprets the Great Commission The last command of Christ to his church was to make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching them As the rest of the New Testament illustrates, this is the mandate of the church The church is called to evangelize, baptize, and equip believers as God s established institution if the term can be used without too much anachronism What Platt fails to see is how this mandate plays out as it relates to individual Christians A careful look at the Pauline epistles demonstrates the glaring absence of imperatives to evangelize, baptize, and disciple Instead, Paul primarily leaves this to Timothy and Titus, men who are called to carry out this commission For the rest, the emphasis is upon living their lives in a way that manifests the grace and love of Christ Paul s radical call is for them to learn to love each other by encouragement, sacrifice, and thinking of each otherthan themselves They are to live in peace with the world as far as they can and orientate their lives so as to demonstrate the holiness of God in a dying world They are to continually learn how the truth of the gospel changes everything Nowhere do we see Paul commanding them to preach or evangelize the world Paul s radical view of discipleship is not for everyone to go to the ends of the earth preaching Christ but to love one another and grow into maturity as the community of faith In doing this, they will be able to support those who are called to preach to and teach the world and indeed are commanded to do so The making of disciples is for the community of God led by men he has called and equipped, not the obligation of every Christian Second, his use of Scripture in support of his paraenetic homily which is the best way to describe the tone and purpose of the book is at times admirable and at others disconcerting He takes almost every word of Jesus as being directly spoken to every Christian He does the same thing by reading the history of the early church as normative for today At one point he even states that he wishes he were back in the days of the early church Has he really read the New Testament The impetus for most of Paul s letters was the numerous problems in the early church Of the Galatians he was even to the point of struggling to call them saints Granted, there are principles to be learned, but one cannot read every statement in the New Testament as normative and prescriptive without regard to its context and authorial intent The most glaring case of this is in his chapter on the power of the Spirit He quotes Jesus statement about receiving the Spirit upon asking as normative and perpetual He gives no place to the redemptive historical context of this statement seeing as the Spirit had yet to be given when Jesus states this Thus, rather than understanding that the Spirit already dwells in the church and thus has already empowered every saint for ministry, he interprets it to mean that we must constantly ask for the Spirit whenever we are in need, and thus the Spirit will come reside in us This is a fundamental and rather dangerous understanding of the work of the Spirit in the church Third, he almost completely neglects the two fold nature of discipling baptizing and teaching Instead, the book focuses primarily on evangelizing, which is merely the first step in the process I believe the reason he does this is because he cannot apply all of the Commission to every Christian Not every Christian baptized and not every Christian is gifted to teach all that Jesus commanded So he neglects baptism and the on going training and instead focuses on what is easier to do preaching the gospel Because what is so radical about serving in your local church and loving others Thus, he ends up marginalizing the Commission and failing to do justice to the whole purpose of the Church Fourth, while his focus on the poor is very good and stabs at the heart of our pride and vanity, he completely neglects the New Testament s priority of caring first for those of the household of faith and then those in the world In fact, he never even mentions it in the book We are to care for our brethren who are poor and hurting and then move outwards This is a glaring absence in the book Lastly, he states that unless every Christian has a heart for reaching every people group, they do not have the heart of God Let s put this another way if you do not care as much about teaching Sunday school children as you do the elderly, you do not have the heart of God This is rather short sided God gives certain people passion for certain kinds of ministries and does not call everyone to international missions That is what makes the church a body with many members not everyone is a hand We need all kinds of desires and passions to fulfill God s purpose for his people In all, the cultural critique of Platt is good and his zeal commendable, but his misguided theology and myopic interpretation of Scripture leaves his thesis falling short of something truly biblical In fact, it lays a burden upon the Christian that God himself has not given His clarion call to care for the poor is much needed, but his failure to notice the New Testament s call to care first for those of faith is entirely absent In my opinion, his reaction to cultural sins and blind spots in the church has caused him to swing too far in the other direction, thus making Radicalof an impassioned reaction to cultural weaknesses than a positive construction of biblical discipleship It has some good points, but in the end, it fails to present a truly biblical, balanced view of what it really looks like to be a radical disciple of Christ I fear many faithful Christians who read this will be disheartened and guilt ridden for not measuring up to his radical standard By over generalizing and being reductionistic, Platt ultimately succeeds in reducing the church to a cookie cutter formula of the most extreme fashion The glory of the church is its diverse giftings, not its homogeneity This is a tragedy


  2. Dara Harvey Dara Harvey says:

    Despite the hype WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU , I don t recommend Radical I was a member of Brook Hills when David was pastor there I spent 4 years hearing him preach Radical in various forms week after week When it hit bookshelves, I was already in a crisis over it I believed I was saved, but under David s teaching I felt I must make myself worthy of Jesus by doing good works for the poor Why Because, according to Radical, if you re not going on missions overseas, downsizing homes, wo Despite the hype WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU , I don t recommend Radical I was a member of Brook Hills when David was pastor there I spent 4 years hearing him preach Radical in various forms week after week When it hit bookshelves, I was already in a crisis over it I believed I was saved, but under David s teaching I felt I must make myself worthy of Jesus by doing good works for the poor Why Because, according to Radical, if you re not going on missions overseas, downsizing homes, working with the homeless, adopting children, etc., your soul is in peril see pg 111 If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all In short, Radical presents a Christianity that is so lopsidedly focused on our good works, it s too easy to conclude that s all God cares about But you can t please God unless you know him Otherwise, you re just acting out 1 Cor 13 3 I believe David takes for granted that his readers already know God, and you can t do that First and foremost, focus on knowing God Matthew 6 33.David is obviously well versed in the Bible But he s also very opinionated, and he lets that come across too strongly in Radical I believe it causes him to overstate his conclusions, and unfairly judge American Christians most of whom he s never met , as if we were all the rich man from Luke 16 19, or the Rich Young Ruleron that below.This can lead some readers to conclude that God wants no, demands that we focus our entire lives on giving up material excess and give to the poor On its face this doesn t sound like a bad thing But is helping the poor supposed to be our main focus as Christians What about Ex 20 3, Deut 6 5, Hosea 6 6 Mt 22 37 38 1 Cor 13 1 3 Is it possible to pursue good works so much that we lose sight of the God who commands us to do them Absolutely Is that what God ultimately wants from us Absolutely not And yet, reading Radical, it s easy to do just that That is my problem with this book.To begin with, as the title illustrates, the underlying premise of Radical is an attack on the American Dream But I believe David fundamentally misunderstands the American Dream He 1 confuses it with materialism, then 2 claims it s the biggest problem in the church today First, the American Dream is not about materialism It s about freedom When James Truslow Adams first called it the American Dream in 1931, he described the opportunity for each according to his ability There is nothing materialistic in that If I aspire to live quietly, minding my own affairs and working with my hands, so that I may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one, 1 Thes 4 11 12 , the American Dream enables me to work toward that goal It doesn t have to involve pursuing wealth or material prosperity That is what the American system is all about giving people freedom of choice and chance, within the bounds of certain moral precepts Some Americans abuse this freedom by pursuing sinful wants, but do we blame cars for car accidents The American Dream is not the problem here Second, David presents a rather myopic view of the church, proclaiming that materialism is its biggest problem He ignores countless other sins plaguing American Christians that have nothing to do with materialism adultery, addiction, and other moral compromises that stem from the human heart, not from our wallets The problem in the church is the same as it s always been sin, not the American Dream While I m sure David would agree, this doesn t come across at all in Radical.I also think he misjudges American Christians, claiming we live an either or existence that does not reflect reality While Christians choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to proclaiming the kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the gospel remain in the dark 14 But the American Dream is not inherently opposed to the Gospel It is neutral like many things in life, it depends on what you do with it It can be and doubtless, has been used to further the Gospel inways than David can imagine For example, in my last semester of college I was invited to visit a new church plant that met in a movie theater That s when I became a Christian, at the age of 22 It s a far cry from the wealthy megachurch David uses to describe the American church in Radical But tell me God didn t use the American Dream to make that scenario happen But David sounds too convinced that American Christians areconcerned with creature comforts than with knowing Jesus He presents the Rich Young Ruler as a cautionary tale against wealth, and maintains that we need to purge our excess in order to follow Christ But this story is not about money It s about the love of money in one man s heart, pulling him away from his devotion to God Jesus knew his god was money, and thus he could not even keep the first Commandment Ex 20 3, Deut 6 5, Mt 22 37 38 So he tells him to give his stuff away because that s what kept THIS man from following him While David contends that American Christians in general have this same stumbling block, Scripture says otherwise Something does separate us all from God, but it s not always money Anything we lovethan Christ health, job, marriage, kids, politics, self sufficiency thinking you don t need Jesus , logic intellect thinking you re too smart to follow Jesus is an idol that must be rooted out If you love your marriagethan you love God, that doesn t mean get divorced it means you need God s grace to help you love himthan your marriage In other cases, the idol can be family ties instead of money Luke 9 59 62 let me FIRST go and bury my father let me FIRST say farewell to those at my home Jesus says, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit In the Rich Young Ruler, the focus is on ONE form of sin The two men in Luke 9 59 62 have the same problem with sin as the Rich Young Ruler, but with different idols Yet David only addresses the story pertaining to money, as if that tells us all we need to know about God, and about ourselves It doesn t First, Jesus didn t tell every wealthy person to sell all their stuff In his lengthy discourse with Nicodemus in John 3, he doesn t even mention money David completely ignores this in Radical He also ignores the lives of Abraham, Job see Jas 5 11 , David, Solomon, Lydia, Lazarus, Joseph of Arimathea, etc Not all wealthy persons are incapable of loving God because of money The problem is not having money, but loving it In 1 Timothy 6 10, Paul warns that the love of money i.e., not merely having it, but loving itthan God is a not the root of all kinds of evils not all evil, but all kinds of evils money is a powerful tempter, but not the only one Christians can struggle against Money may be YOUR primary idol But for others, it may be something else something just as dangerous to the soul that David does not even address in Radical That is my biggest concern with this book Satan would love for us to read Radical, and let it convince us that money is our biggest problem So we spend our lives ridding ourselves of material things, giving to the poor, etc., when our true idol is something else completely, and we ll never address it because we re too busy being Radical about money This book makes that a very easy trap to fall into See 1 Cor 13 3, Hos 6 6, Rom 10 2 4, or Mt 6 1.When confronted with these concerns, David says Radical isn t salvation by works, but evidence of salvation That sounds like a valid distinction on paper But in practice, the line blurs very easily Meanwhile, the Bible is already clear about evidence of salvation, see, e.g., Gal 5 22 23 I m also concerned about David s treatment of the Great Commission in Radical Jesus has not merely called us to go to all nations he has commanded us to go We have taken this command, though, and reduced it to a calling something only a few people receive 72 73 Scripture doesn t exactly support this See 1 Cor 12 27 30 Are all apostles In Acts 13 1 3, the Holy Spirit said, Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off Out of a group of prophets and teachers, five men are specifically identified, but only two are called to go Scripture indicates Mt 28 19 is a corporate command to the body of believers We each have a role, but it s not the same for everyone See 1 Cor 12 4 11 However, David would have us think we should not even ask God s will for our lives, because it s the same for everyone 160 The question is not Can we find God s will The question is Will we obey God s will Will we refuse to sit back and wait for some tingly feeling to go down our spines before we rise up and do what we have already been commanded to do Contrast Col 1 9, Rom 12 2 This does NOT mean I don t believe Christians are all called to share the Gospel It does mean that I think David goes too far in arguing that American Christians have all become lazy and complacent in response to the Great Commission We all have the same calling to share Jesus with the world, but that doesn t look the same in everyone s life And much like giving to the poor, it s too easy for a Christian to read a book like Radical, conclude he s disobeying the Great Commission simply because he hasn t done half of what David Platt has done worldwide, and focus all his energy on becoming just like David Whether he actually knows the God of the Bible or not And that is a huge problem Before we start sharing Jesus with the world, we need to make sure we ourselves know him first I ve lost count of the people I ve personally known who worked themselves to exhaustion trying to be Radical David has not effectively addressed this at all, and even seems to scoff at these concerns by claiming that those who say it can t be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it 83 This is not helpful Meanwhile, Satan has had a field day over the problems this book can lead to spiritual exhaustion as people strive to do , give , goDavid never warns his readers about this He ignores other problems too, like the division Radical creates in churches, when judgmentalism arises between people who givethan others, pride of poverty, etc He does not warn against the potential for legalism, as we replace go to church every Sunday, tithe exactly 10%, etc., with go on missions every year, give away all your excess, adopt children, etc Are we not merely exchanging one potential idol for another here If David explained how 1 Cor 13 3, Hos 6 6, Rom 10 2 4, or Mt 6 1 apply to Radical, it would be a different book altogether But he doesn t address any of these, choosing instead to laser focus on the Rich Young Ruler and the Great Commission, and ignoring virtually the remainder of the Bible Bottom line Our problem isn t money, it s sin And the answer isn t be Radical The answer is Jesus Only Jesus can be truly Radical, and he does so on our behalf Rom 3 23 25a Be careful with this book God has already given you everything you need, 2 Pt 1 3 You don t need Radical you may be better off without it


  3. Mark Franklin Mark Franklin says:

    I really don t like writing this kind of review, but I don t think I ll be able to get this out of my head until I do, so here it goes.Warning I m going to be mean Proceed at your own risk.First, I appreciate the effort Platt is going to in order to shake American Christianity out of it s stupor He says going to a mega church on Sunday morning and giving a few dollars to international missions is an insufficient expression of the gospel Amen, no argument from me However, Platt then spends t I really don t like writing this kind of review, but I don t think I ll be able to get this out of my head until I do, so here it goes.Warning I m going to be mean Proceed at your own risk.First, I appreciate the effort Platt is going to in order to shake American Christianity out of it s stupor He says going to a mega church on Sunday morning and giving a few dollars to international missions is an insufficient expression of the gospel Amen, no argument from me However, Platt then spends the rest of the book talking about a gospel I don t see in the scripture at all, and encouraging God s people to fulfill a tiny version of the Great Commission Based on this book, Platt has an understanding of the gospel that goes something like this 1 God hates you and everyone else who ever lived from Adam on, and will carry out divine vengeance on everyone s eternal soul.2 Through a schizophrenic act of divine suicide, which had nothing at all to do with power structures of the time in which Jesus lived or today, God somehow manages to tolerate you, but not anybody outside the United States who hasn t heard about Jesus, especially not in China or India.3 You therefore should spend your whole like telling people far, far away from you about 2, because otherwise it really is your fault if they go to hell to be tormented for eternity.4 Just kidding You should just read through your Bible and go on a short term mission trip Okay, I might be overstating the case But only maybe.Let s see what is missing 1 Creation there is no purpose to our lives but evangelism, so God obviously made everything on a whim.2 Love Platt talks about Love, but only as a peripheral to God s holiness which in this case appears to be a word used to mask God s real primary attribute, which is hate.3 Discipleship training for oh wait, we don t need to be trained for good works, because nothing matters but international evangelism.4 Follow through This actually disturbs me the most Platt builds a massive pile of accusation and guilt for American Christianity, then says But you can feel better by making a one year commitment to do easy stuff I will have nothing to do with that kind of gospel.The irony of this book is that it is subtitled Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream but it is rooted in a very ugly version of revivalist theology that ignores everything but evangelism, in fact it goes one worse and ignores anything but international evangelism Platt talks about caring for the poor, but his call to action is based on an understanding of God that has no room for such nonsense, and I d be hard put to it to defend any social action at all from his perspective Save their soul, because otherwise they re damned and it is your fault Argh Okay, I m done I m sorry if I ticked anybody off


  4. Adam Shields Adam Shields says:

    Full review review I think this is one of those books that lots of people will read and many people will not do anything about That is unfortunate, this is a call to live a life like what Christ has called us to There are five specific suggestions that are in the last chapter and most people will not do one or two let alone all five.I say this fully aware that I might be in the same boat I may not really do what I should be doing either But rea Full review review I think this is one of those books that lots of people will read and many people will not do anything about That is unfortunate, this is a call to live a life like what Christ has called us to There are five specific suggestions that are in the last chapter and most people will not do one or two let alone all five.I say this fully aware that I might be in the same boat I may not really do what I should be doing either But reading books like this can inspire us to really seek God and do what he is asking us to do to reach the world We are God s plan


  5. CJ Bowen CJ Bowen says:

    It is ironic to call a book entitled Radical imbalanced by the nature of the case, such is Platt s goal A gifted preacher, and a personable writer, Platt s call is good, but his technique is cruel, and his application over generalized Some Christians are called to radical lives like he describes but others are called to be radical in a different way Platt misses the radical nature of a life of boring Christian faithfulness, and sees no middle ground between the life of a first century eva It is ironic to call a book entitled Radical imbalanced by the nature of the case, such is Platt s goal A gifted preacher, and a personable writer, Platt s call is good, but his technique is cruel, and his application over generalized Some Christians are called to radical lives like he describes but others are called to be radical in a different way Platt misses the radical nature of a life of boring Christian faithfulness, and sees no middle ground between the life of a first century evangelist and the american dream.If God flooded the church withpeople heeding Platt s call, much good would be done, but with such a short sighted vision, it would be temporary at best The Apostle Paul had learned how to abound, as well as how to be in want Platt sees that many American Christians have abundance, but don t know how to use it Unfortunately, his answer involves running right back to being in want, and not actually learning how to abound in a way that glorifies God He explicitly denies making wealth the problem, but his answer involves getting rid of wealth It is hard to see how someone could accumulate the immense capital needed to do the good work of a C.T Studd without it looking on the surface like he was pursuing something like the american dream Much of Platt s motivation comes in the form of guilt manipulation, disguised in the language of God s glory He doesn t appear to have a category for the faithful father who spends his life working to provide his children with a bed, food, and a college education all things which Platt sees as good, and not opposed to the radical living he is talking about , who gives faithfully to his Church, and saves enough to enable his children to do the same Is God not just as glorified by generations of boring faithfulness as he is with one dramatic spending of capital His eschatology seems to constrain his thought to the short term, as the immediate swallows up the long term, and his baptistic atomism leads him to put what should be covenantal, communal expectations on individual churches and people.His heart is in the right place, and many people need to hear his call But he mistakes a calling for the Christian life The things he cautions Christians against indulging in are explicitly promised to Christians as the blessing of God He warns Christians against blessings without nuance, or at least without appreciating the true weight of the nuances he nods his head to Wealth and blessings are to be used and developed, not scattered and avoided Strangely, at the end of the day, it is the american dream that is not as radically materialistic as the blessings God promises to give to his faithful people By mistakenly spiritualizing away the idea of heavenly treasure, and by not allowing the blessings that Christ the King gives to his people to be a reality in this age though of course not as fully or completely as at the end of all things Platt has given us a radically imbalanced picture of the Christian life.If God gave us manyradical Christians like Platt calls for, it would be a great blessing to the world But if every Christian took Platt s call as the normal Christian life, a crushing burden of guilt and a short sighted vision would harm the Church


  6. Natalie Vellacott Natalie Vellacott says:

    Full review is here Full review is here


  7. Stacia Stacia says:

    I have really struggled with how I felt about this book At first I felt like, I am SOOO sorry that I am a middle class American Christian, which automatically makes me somehow less of a Christian than someone in the Chinese or Indian underground church movements Read sarcasm That is probably a wrong response, but I ve been feeling like that type of message has been coming from a lot of angles Through reading the book I felt like Platt was very repetitive he could have written a booklet, I have really struggled with how I felt about this book At first I felt like, I am SOOO sorry that I am a middle class American Christian, which automatically makes me somehow less of a Christian than someone in the Chinese or Indian underground church movements Read sarcasm That is probably a wrong response, but I ve been feeling like that type of message has been coming from a lot of angles Through reading the book I felt like Platt was very repetitive he could have written a booklet, honestly, and gotten the same message across I felt like he came across a little arrogant See what I m doing and what my church is doing pats on the back I also felt like he was saying, Do international missions, or else you are in danger of not being a true Christian As someone who has moved 1 2 across the country to do missions in America, I found it somewhat insulting.Then I stepped away from the book, I listened to friends comments, and how they were affected by it and I began to lighten up a bit First, take the book with a grain of salt Radicalism has a danger of becoming the new legalism Be careful BUT don t use that as an excuse not to do what God has called us to do Second, I think part of why the book bothered me is because, I m not his target audience My faith family for the most part is not his target audience When a couple decided to head to Haiti for three months this summer, I don t think a single person in our church cautioned them on how irresponsible it was No We rejoiced and are sending them off with monetary donations and prayers So, I do think if this book is read by a Christian who really hasn t thought about these things, it would be life changing and helpful and radical to their lifestyle Third, I was also struck There are so many people preaching to the American Christian church about the physical needs of others in the rest of the world Do something Do something DO SOMETHING And we are responding slowly but surely, responding But here s the thing, American Christians haven t been sitting around picking their nose for the last 250 years It s just been in the last 100 or so that we ve had the technology ourselves to clean water and prevent diseases and now we re beginning to understandandhow much we CAN make a difference in the rest of the world It excites me to think about where we will be in 50 years as the Christian church takes their money, medicines, knowledge and love into impoverished parts of the world


  8. Dave Johnson Dave Johnson says:

    First, why is it that many people out there have a hard time with obedience And why is it that certain ministers and writers have a hard time explaining obedience without dipping into either legalism or radicalism I understand what it s like to rebel and not wish to obey I m human so this is an innate problem with all of us But I always try to keep my heart open to what the Father has to say in my life, even if I don t like it And I m always trying to keep an open heart with teaching that I First, why is it that many people out there have a hard time with obedience And why is it that certain ministers and writers have a hard time explaining obedience without dipping into either legalism or radicalism I understand what it s like to rebel and not wish to obey I m human so this is an innate problem with all of us But I always try to keep my heart open to what the Father has to say in my life, even if I don t like it And I m always trying to keep an open heart with teaching that I m not used to I knew this book was going to be a little rough Rough I can handle, provided that it s biblical and inspired by the Holy Spirit But I didn t realize just how bad it was going to be Platt brings up some interesting points here and there, and overall, I can t say that what he s saying is wrong, per se, because what he majors on in the book is devotion to God s commands, world evangelism, and sacrificial giving What s unbiblical about those Well, nothing The problem is in how he presents what he does, and the heart in which you believe that he presents it I m going to have to go there the Pharisees were perfectly righteous in their own eyes They obeyed the scripture to a tee They taught it and preached it They lived what they believed But ultimately Jesus said some condemning things to them because they didn t realize what they got themselves into Ultimately the Pharisees saw the word of God as something to DO and not the reflection of someone to KNOW And where they found themselves was a place steeping of legalism and radicalism And because of this, Jesus said that they were nice on the outside, able to observe all that the Law required, but were really dead in their hearts Jesus said, You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life But the Scriptures point to me Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life John 5 39,40 NLT One of the biggest problems with this book is that the author points to the Scriptures as something to do in order to do and be right by God Now granted, God s word to us is for us to obey, but only as it relates to our relationship with Christ After all, it s called the Sword of the Spirit and not the Sword of Man It s not for me to use it s for the Holy Spirit to use to awaken my heart to know Christ If I just look to the Bible as a list of commands alone, I will ultimately turn Pharisaical Ultimately, it is Christ who will reveal the Living Word in himself to us by the Holy Spirit to our hearts, and when he does that, THEN is when we must obey And that s the biggest problem with this book But there are The other problems I have are that, though he appears to be very intelligent and knowledgeable, he clearly doesn t think about the implications of all that he believes or professes in this book For instance, at one point he tries to contrast the American church with the Chinese church, and his point is that they have something we don t and that the American church is inferior compared to them I ve heard this comparison before, but it s not a good argument I ve read a little of the church in China, and I can tell you that the good things that we here are true miracles, hunger, zeal, passion, enthusiasm, persevering faith, sacrifice These are all things that the American church lacks to a degree But to contrast the Chinese church with the American church to push your views is both short sighted and wrong The Chinese church has weaknesses that we don t, such as a lack of teaching, lack of wisdom, lack of finances, lack of authority, lack of stability, lack of reach of the Gospel In America, these are some of our greatest strengths But also, if you want to really be honest here, the West brought the Gospel to China in the first place And the reason is that we had the funds and the organization and willing ministers to go Not that we deserve credit or glory for this, but it s just a fact We did our part in obedience to God, and now God is doing something in China because of it No one talks about these when comparing them to China, because it would make America look somewhat good and it wouldn t sell as many books Which brings me to my next point this book seemslike an apology for being American than it does a reason to be godly Anti American sentiment is rampant in the world, but noso than in America For whatever reason, Americans tend to believe the self deprecating statements about our nation Partly, I think, it has to do with guilt Many Christian Americans are realizing that all they are used to is comfort, and not knowing what to do about it, they complain or, worse, they try to do something about it and preach that what they are doing is what Jesus would do The reason I say this is worse is that almost all of the people I know in this category don t even bother to discuss this with God and see what it is that the Holy Spirit would lead them to do Instead they go out and do something on their own I ve done this same thing Because I go do it without God s go ahead, it s ultimately a form of spiritual masturbation, that sates my conscience for a time, but will never fulfill, because what I do is man centered is me centered I do it only because I feel guilty for not doing it, and after doing it, think that I did something important for the world and now I can relax That s not selfless at all, and that s not what Jesus did at all What Jesus did was live a life in which he thought nothing of himself And THAT S what Jesus is calling us to, not go out and do something that takes you out of your American comfort There are other things I do not like about this book I don t like how he makes blanket statements all the time that he can t back up At one point in his argument for evangelism, he says that if God s heart is the world and you don t want to go into all the world but would rather be sent to your city, then you are only experiencing less than 1% of God s heart When I read this I said aloud, That s not true And it s not From what I understand of the Bible, I have 100% of God s heart And so do you, and so does everyone God s heart is wherever the object of his love is At another time, Platt makes a blanket statement trying to prove his point about obeying Jesus, no matter the cost In his statement, he points to Jesus telling others to forsake their family, their homes, their possession, and other things in order to follow Christ No one can argue with that from Scripture, but his point is that Jesus tells us ALL of those things But in the context of Scripture, this is obviously incorrect, as Jesus told SPECIFIC people to forsake SPECIFIC things For me, Jesus is going to tell me to forsake idols that are different then yours, as he did with these people in the Bible But if Platt were to voice this statement, his point would be weakened, because it would require less radicalism and strict obedience than it would a conversational relationship with Jesus and contextual obedience to what he specifically commands in our lives Also subversively, this book is about something else reformed theology I ll be the first to say that there are many things I don t believe about reformed theology There are many things I think that are wrong about it But what I don t get is why he harps on those themes so much in this book It makes little sense that he talks so much about God s wrath and God s holiness One would think that it doesn t need to be in the book at all except that he s reformed and apparently that s what the reformed do, they talk about reformed theology But what s sad about it all, is that in light of his exposition of certain reformed beliefs, he almost diminishes the truths of God s love, as if people who believe in a God of love are part of the problem Again, it s the implications of what he says and not just what he says, and it shows that he doesn t think about these things In my Bible, I see that God is unquestionably holy, but i also see that in spite of that, he chose to reveal himself even DEFINE himself not as holiness, but as love don t knock the readers, knock the author, Platt, if you have a problem with that understanding The other thing is money God doesn t have a problem with it You see this all throughout the Bible God richly blesses his people The problem is when money has us or when we think that we need to derive contentment from things we possess And THAT type of attitude is what the Bible describes when it says that the rich have pierced themselves with many griefs paraphrase Money gets things done Money sends the Gospel into all the world But money is a tool that God needs to use in our lives And God needs complete access to our pocketbook I just wish that Platt would have said this in this way and not talk about just living in a way that is reactionary to the guilt trip of American consumerism versus Kingdom giving and living I couldn t help but think how this book was madeof a reaction to Platt s apparent hypocrisy than anything else I m not accusing him of being a hypocrite, though I will say that his book didn t exactly convince me otherwise But what I will say is that for a person to write a book bashing American values, mega churches, comfort, prosperity, and other similar topicsit s odd that it would come from a pastor of a huge mega church in the suburbs It s also one thing to say that God led you to do certain things with your life and ministry and church, and quite another to say that everyone should do exactly as you are doing Again, this goes against what he s saying, and the implications of his message areman centered than they are Christ centered It s borderline offensive to think that after you read the book, you can fill out a sheet of paper, sign your name, fill out a list of things you want to do, and thus consider yourself doing God s will and being a radical And there really is such a paper in the back of the book Listen, I love that he has a heart for evangelism But if you want others to have your heart, show Christ in your calling, and let Christ convict others of THEIR callings and maybe then we ll get somewhere But to say that I need to do exactly what you are doing, Mr Platt, is incorrect I need to do what the Holy Spirit is telling me to do right now Otherwise, I m building a house in vain I see this a lot in people with missionary hearts, sadly Not all of them, but it s a problem I ve seen too often They project their calling onto others and expect others to do exactly what they do What they don t see is that God is big enough to tell others to do something different The Great Commission is to go into all the world for The Church to go, which we are doing but even in the Bible, not all Christians went Many went, but some stayed And that s not reconcilable with the view of a radical If this message were packaged in a way pointed to Christ instead of pointing to ourselves, this would be better I honestly feel sad for those who bite at this word, because what it will end up producing is radicalism in the wrong way Platt pays lip service to grace but seems to not understand that it is Christ in me that does the work, not me working for Christ


  9. Mike Conroy Mike Conroy says:

    I wanted to read this book a few years ago and I decided to read it now because of some criticism that was leveled against the radical movement and this book in particular One of the things I appreciated about the criticism was one questions raised Would people who really loved this book agree with Paul s words, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands 1 Thess 4 11 That is a fair question However, I thought this book was pretty balanced I wanted to read this book a few years ago and I decided to read it now because of some criticism that was leveled against the radical movement and this book in particular One of the things I appreciated about the criticism was one questions raised Would people who really loved this book agree with Paul s words, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands 1 Thess 4 11 That is a fair question However, I thought this book was pretty balanced And, in the end, it called for an application that was mildly radical What I appreciated the most about this book were the solid questions that he asked or the things he called us to really consider And from all of those questions, the ones that pertained to our understanding of the Gospel were the best We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves pg.7 Who doesn t need to consider that One of the big points that he makes in this book is That we have read many parts of the Bible through our cultural lenses of prosperity, individualism, self esteem, etc so that we misread misapply parts of the Bible Another good question he asked He was talking about how a church had spent 23 million dollars on their new building And they gave money to help refugees in Sudan, the total amount for the refugees was 5,000 And he asked a vert spot on question, How did we get to the place where this is actually tolerable pg.16 Here is another one This is the question that often haunts me when I stand before a crowd of thousands of people in the church I pastor What if we take away all of the cool music and comfortable chairs What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed Would his Word still be enough for his people to come together pg 27 He is not saying those things are bad But, isn t that a good question What kind of Christianity are we living and what kind of Christianity are we cultivating That is an excellent question to ask How do you keep a passion for knowing and loving God when you do have all of those comforts That is a question I need to ask myself about the church I have been called to serve I could sayabout all of these types of good questions But, I d like to get to thecontroversial stuff.Missions I just want to summarize what he really calls us to do here 1 To care about the nations and unreached peoples He does this by describing the situation of world evangelism and, probably, opening up many Christians eyes to the great work that is to be done Also, in the end he challenges us to take a year and pray for the whole world.2 To go on a short term trip Who can call that totally radical To just go to another part of the world for one week I think that is a great idea for all Christians, who could go Poverty This is where I think he is the most controversial.But, we can t argue with some of the questions he is asking God has blessed so many of us in America with wealth and possessions But, have we adopted the way the world around us looks at these things Do we just try to accumulate and spend these things on ourselves Do we consider what we could do to help other people in the world who live on very little Over 42% of the world lives on less than 2 dollars per day.Isn t it only right to ask ourselves those questions And this is where the application of the book isn t so radical Many of the examples of people in his church who have put these things into practice are people who still live in the same house, the same place, and still earn a lot of money But, they have prayed and thought of some creative ways to give their money for the sake of other people.All in all, this is a great book that asks some great questions that all of us would do well to ask ourselves.He ends by challenging us to take a year to Read through the entire Bible, pray for the whole world, sacrifice our money to a good organization or church, and to go on a week long missions trip Those are all great things for us to consider and do for the sake of Christ.And that was the best part of the book Christ is worthy for that kind of living The value and worth of Christ is what drives and motivates His people to live for His Name s sake


  10. James James says:

    So I read this book after reading it s sequel, Radical Together As I expected, this is the better book of the two Unfortunately the two books are too similar for me to enjoy this book as much as I may have otherwise Here are some of my general thoughts on this bookreflections than a book review 1 David Platt manages to write in a humble, and engaging way He tells stories about what his church is doing and the steps that they are taking to follow Jesus and to accomplish his mission So I read this book after reading it s sequel, Radical Together As I expected, this is the better book of the two Unfortunately the two books are too similar for me to enjoy this book as much as I may have otherwise Here are some of my general thoughts on this bookreflections than a book review 1 David Platt manages to write in a humble, and engaging way He tells stories about what his church is doing and the steps that they are taking to follow Jesus and to accomplish his mission in the world It is true that this not the best written book in the world, but it is hard to dislike Platt s genuineness and eagerness to be faithful to the gospel in the mega church context he found himself in.2 The stuff that Platt is pushing people towards is good stuff This book ends with a challenge to for one year to pray for the entire world, read the entire Bible, sacrifice money for a specific purpose, spend time in another context, and to commit one s life to a multiplying community Having taken up such challenges in the past, I agree that giving a year of one s life to these types of things are life changing and will enlarge your faith, your heart, and your eyes to see where God is at work 3 Platt writes from the perspective of a conservative evangelical this is who he is and the lens by which he looks at the world This is not bad but occasionally it means that his concept of the gospel and social issues are skewed because of it This is a great book to get someone thinking globally, about caring for those in need, about evangelism and world missions What is missing is analysis of systemic injustice, and the way the powers skew our vision Platt urges activism and mission, but in places his vision could becommunal, holistic and sacramental I feel like if I were to enact his program, I would burn myself out unless there was also a context of nurture, community and continual encounter with the grace of God Not saying Platt is against any of this, but it is not articulated here Thus, I think that despite the many good things he advocates for, a wholesale embrace of his program, can still be one dimensional I have been where he is and I wantbut not less.4 Platt does a good job of challenging the typical individualism, me first ism and consumerism of American Christianity This is frankly amazing as a mega church pastor So though, I can think of a number of authors who areprophetic and incisive in their critique, they are often voices from the margins It is refreshing to hear a spokesperson who is a successful middle class white pastor of a wealthy church with a multi million dollar facility raising this critique Ultimately I think Platt could and should beradical than he is in either sense of the term radical , but this is someone who seems on the right road.5 Evangelicals are widely reading this book That is exciting The growing trend towards awareness of social justice by Evangelicals is an exciting development which signals a shift from the Gnosticism which evangelicals are tempted toward The Kingdom of God is not a purely spiritual institution but one in which the church brings to the world, in part, through their care for the physical needs of the watching world Could this book sayabout social justice, creation care, etc Absolutely, but I like that Platt doesn t overspiritualize everything 6 There are some points of theology where I disagree with Platt and think he oversimplifies things, but I like his overall thrust