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Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

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WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU? It'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 daily... BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIV WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU? It'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 daily... BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? DO YOU? In Radical, 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 Jesus. Finally, 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.


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WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU? It'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 daily... BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIV WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU? It'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 daily... BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? DO YOU? In Radical, 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 Jesus. Finally, 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.

30 review for Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

  1. 5 out of 5

    Corey Decker

    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 might more wisely 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 other more than 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 Radical more of 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. 4 out of 5

    Dara Harvey

    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 Ruler (more on 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 in more ways 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 are more concerned 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 love more than 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 marriage more than you love God, that doesn't mean get divorced – it means you need God's grace to help you love him more than 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 it more than 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 more, give more, go more. David never warns his readers about this. He ignores other problems too, like the division Radical creates in churches, when judgmentalism arises between people who give more than 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. 5 out of 5

    Mark Franklin

    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. 4 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    Full review: http://bookwi.se/radical-taking-back-... Short 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: http://bookwi.se/radical-taking-back-... Short 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. 5 out of 5

    CJ Bowen

    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 with more people 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 many more radical 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. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    Full review is here; http://christianmissionaryuk.blogspot... Full review is here; http://christianmissionaryuk.blogspot...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    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 understand more and more how 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. 4 out of 5

    Dave Johnson

    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 more... 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 seems more like an apology for being American than it does a reason to be godly. Anti-American sentiment is rampant in the world, but no more so 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 made more of 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 topics...it'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 are more man-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. 4 out of 5

    Mike Conroy

    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 say more about all of these types of good questions. But, I'd like to get to the more controversial 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. 5 out of 5

    James

    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 book (more reflections 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 book (more reflections 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 be more communal, 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 want more (but 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 are more prophetic 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 be more 'radical' 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 say more about 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    This is a very thought provoking book asking each Christian to take a look at their lifestyle and ask themselves are they living the American dream or the radical Christian life. This book gave me a lot of questions to ponder and some challenges to seriously pray about.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    I'm tempted to use the word "shallow" to describe this book, but I think Platt was just aiming for "short and simple," which isn't bad. But I wanted more. He doesn't dig deeply into aspects of the "American Dream vs. Christianity" like I wanted. I haven't got the heart to tear into this book, so I'll just list off the good and bad. Or perhaps I'm still simply coming off the high that was The Christian Life: Cross or Glory? which is still ringing in my ears; go read that book instead of this one. I'm tempted to use the word "shallow" to describe this book, but I think Platt was just aiming for "short and simple," which isn't bad. But I wanted more. He doesn't dig deeply into aspects of the "American Dream vs. Christianity" like I wanted. I haven't got the heart to tear into this book, so I'll just list off the good and bad. Or perhaps I'm still simply coming off the high that was The Christian Life: Cross or Glory? which is still ringing in my ears; go read that book instead of this one. The bad Platt goes for the usual "If you don't sell everything you have and move to a third world country to become a missionary, you should feel guilty" approach. Yet at the same time he denies that's what he's saying? Very confusing. Lots of anecdotal stories about people falling accidentally into gospel-sharing and conversion moments. He ends with the usual "now take these 5 steps to grow yourself" application, which is pure law. He should have ended with gospel. But instead, he somehow gets away with framing the law as a "commit yourself to the gospel" call to action, and I don't know how he snuck that in there. Only now that it's over do I see how crafty and underhanded that was. Distinction between justification and sanctification is lacking. The good He says explicitly that good works do not earn salvation. He tries to show how people can incorporate missionary work and ministry to impoverished communities into their regular middle class American routines. He does the usual "get up off your behind" routine, which I do think complacent American Christians need to hear. Some humility shines through. I'm sure there's more good things I could list out, but did any of it stick with me? Nah. Eerily similar to Chan's books like Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God and Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, which I was not impressed with. But Platt does a better job. I'm curious about Platt's follow up book, Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live., but for now I'll leave it off my list.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Wagner

    I was really looking forward to reading this book and went in with some high expectations, only to be disappointed. To start on a positive note, I will say that I was challenged by this book and really enjoyed some parts. In the beginning, Platt offers some wonderful criticisms of American Christianity, which he argues is often practiced within the sheltered context of privilege with an overemphasis on prosperity and comfort ala the American Dream. The discussion about the importance of stepping I was really looking forward to reading this book and went in with some high expectations, only to be disappointed. To start on a positive note, I will say that I was challenged by this book and really enjoyed some parts. In the beginning, Platt offers some wonderful criticisms of American Christianity, which he argues is often practiced within the sheltered context of privilege with an overemphasis on prosperity and comfort ala the American Dream. The discussion about the importance of stepping outside our comfort zone and making our life conform to our faith (not the other way around) really resonated with me. However, as I progressed through the book I became increasingly bothered by the paternalism and privilege that underscored Platt's assertions. I have three key criticisms: 1. Platt seems to define the average American Christian like the people he sees at his megachurch - wealthy, fully employed, well-educated, and married (or on the road to marriage). In doing so, he neglects the vast diversity within American Christianity, as well as the thousands of American Christians living below the poverty line. 2. While he recognizes that his failure to previously be concerned about the extreme and pervasive poverty in the world as a "blind spot" he spends a good portion of the chapter on this subject offering disclaimers about why being wealthy isn't wrong and meeting people's material needs shouldn't be our chief concern. 3. Platt never considers the power dynamic inherent in mission trips to deeply impoverished areas. While I don't want to discount the great work that missionaries do, I will assert that it is easier to get less privileged and under-educated people to agree with your beliefs (especially when you present them with desperately-needed supplies and services) than it would be to convert socioeconomic peers. I should also add that the 'evangelism is all-important' theology behind this book does not sit well with me, nor do I believe that God condemns all those who have never heard the Good News and/or were raised in other faiths. In short, I'm grateful for the ways in this book challenged by own thinking, but I came away bothered by the patronizing and privileged brand of work Platt recommends.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lena Morrison

    I do my reviews in the form of a letter, which is why they are written like this. Dear David Platt, Wow. This is the first nonfiction book that I have given five stars. It was that good. I seriously did not expect to like it as much as I did. I really, really, REALLY appreciate the fact that you are extremely Biblical. It's needed in this world. I know that I, as an American, have bought into a lot that the American Dream teaches. But now I realize how much of it is wrong. The way you write abou I do my reviews in the form of a letter, which is why they are written like this. Dear David Platt, Wow. This is the first nonfiction book that I have given five stars. It was that good. I seriously did not expect to like it as much as I did. I really, really, REALLY appreciate the fact that you are extremely Biblical. It's needed in this world. I know that I, as an American, have bought into a lot that the American Dream teaches. But now I realize how much of it is wrong. The way you write about what Jesus commanded us is convicting. The stories you tell are eye opening. Jesus truly did want us to give up everything to follow him, and our main goal really IS to preach the gospel. I've realized how much we've watered down the Gospel, and the job we have. There's so much I could say about this book, but the truth is that I'm going to sum it all up shortly. Thank you for writing this to wake up the American church. Thank you for being brave enough to seek out the Jesus of the Bible. And thank you for writing with so much passion and truth. I want to be a part of the Radical experiment. Sincerely, Lena Marie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book has provoked me to deep thought. Am I living for the temporary or for the eternal? For myself or God? It has spurred me on to deeper living and a deeper commitment to the spreading of the Gospel!! I recommend this book to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ!

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

    Rereading for a class. David Platt argues, convincingly, to the point that you feel like you've been punched in the stomach and you've lost your breath, that the American church has taken the radical message of Jesus in the gospels and traded it for ... respectability. Radical: Sell all you have, and give the money to the poor, and follow me. Respectable: Throw some money in the collection plate every week. "You and I can chose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the chur Rereading for a class. David Platt argues, convincingly, to the point that you feel like you've been punched in the stomach and you've lost your breath, that the American church has taken the radical message of Jesus in the gospels and traded it for ... respectability. Radical: Sell all you have, and give the money to the poor, and follow me. Respectable: Throw some money in the collection plate every week. "You and I can chose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us," he writes. "Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obey him." By and large, he writes, the church in America is choosing the former rather than the latter, pursuing the American dream instead of radically following Jesus. This is a surprising book coming from the pastor of a megachurch in suburban America. I would expect something more like "How Jesus Can Give You Everything You Want!!" Platt is pastor of a 4,000-member church in suburban Birmingham, Ala., and even the church's name reeks of affluence: "The Church at Brook Hills." Yet he doesn't take it easy on the wealthy. "Regardless of what we say, or sing, or study on Sunday morning, rich people who neglect the poor are not the people of God," he asserts. He offers many examples from his own church of people who indeed have made sacrificial choices to follow Jesus. But some of the most stunning illustrations come from elsewhere. He tells of a seminary in Indonesia where each student is required to plant a church with at least 30 new, baptized believers in a Muslim community -- before graduating. How would that sort of a requirement go over in a U.S. seminary? When you've recovered your breath, Platt suggests a one-year experiment with five components, and they might not be what you expect. Given that this book is a New York Times bookseller, a lot of readers have had the opportunity to take up Platt's challenge. Will they? Will I?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    What a disappointing book. Despite the title, it is not particularly radical. Oh my goodness, God doesn't want me to have 3 cars and 20 tvs! Also, the author gets so caught up in preach his neo-Calvinist understanding of atonement and the place of the Bible (or "the Word" as he keeps calling it) that the rest of the book where he covers the "radical" idea that Christianity and the American Dream are not the same thing gets swallowed up with little detail or explanation. Also, the author is a pas What a disappointing book. Despite the title, it is not particularly radical. Oh my goodness, God doesn't want me to have 3 cars and 20 tvs! Also, the author gets so caught up in preach his neo-Calvinist understanding of atonement and the place of the Bible (or "the Word" as he keeps calling it) that the rest of the book where he covers the "radical" idea that Christianity and the American Dream are not the same thing gets swallowed up with little detail or explanation. Also, the author is a pastor at a mega church, and while he points to some changes he and his church have made, it's kind of hard to take his admonitions seriously when all he is asking is for us to realize that we can worship without a slide show and to go on a mission trip once a year. He does give a few more radical examples, but skims along not asking really hard questions and not seeming to give much of a focus on a living experience of Christ guiding us day by day. Not very challenging and there were points when I had to work hard not to throw the book across the room.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    While I appreciate some intentions, a desire to think more seriously about the poor, attack the idolatry of the American dream (which ends with dog eat dog) and remove the self from the center of his theology, Platt sums up a lot of what I really don't like in Evangelicalism and I expect irritates many unbelievers. To be specific Platt doesn't have the gear to do what he wants to do: *Heap on the Guilt: Platt comes across as a tortured soul, one who preaches at a Megachurch, but feels guilty abou While I appreciate some intentions, a desire to think more seriously about the poor, attack the idolatry of the American dream (which ends with dog eat dog) and remove the self from the center of his theology, Platt sums up a lot of what I really don't like in Evangelicalism and I expect irritates many unbelievers. To be specific Platt doesn't have the gear to do what he wants to do: *Heap on the Guilt: Platt comes across as a tortured soul, one who preaches at a Megachurch, but feels guilty about a building that expensive. But any atheist could see that Platt doesn't really believe helping the poor is necessary. If Platt were a doctor he would say, "Gee, if you keeping eating like this, you might have a heart attack. I don't think you should necessarily change your diet, but in the next three weeks write a list and prayerfully consider whether to cut one or two things over the next few months." Guilt. I can sympathize with a person who insists we sell everything we have and I can sympathize with someone who says to cut it out and enjoy what you have anyway. Platt wants both and all the guilt that no unbeliever or believer should go through. *God as Gasoline: Platt runs through all the cliched forms of speaking about God being our power instead of relying on our own strength. Maybe this is a problem for unbelievers, but I don't think this is as nearly a problem for believers. Maybe relying too much on stuff other than God (maybe--even here this is overemphasized), but our strength rather than God? Unbelievers see us, rightly, as passive and cowardly. Isn't it nice to paper over cowardice with holy speak? *Emotionalism: Platt continues to labor under the delusion that somehow the Christian life is made up of a passionate relationship with Christ. I'm not saying we should be stoics, resentful of emotions as if they were a great crime to feel joy, ecstasy, and pleasure in God. However to expect them as our dues, to feel "out of the spirit" when we don't got 'em, or to view them as making up God's communication to us is the bane of evangelicalism and prevents us from reaching cultural maturity. We may feel joy in truths, but we should be assured by the objective spoken Words of God, the objective bread and wine offered to us regularly, and the objective songs that we sing. All subjectively applied and apprehended with a full range of emotions, but finding basis in God's objective word to, in, and through us. Sorry John Piper, Anthony Bradley was right: http://www.worldmag.com/2013/05/the_n...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kyra

    A few things. I apologize in advance if I am mean or insensitive to anyone. First, this is truly a wonderful book. I don't think I have ever read a more convicting and awe-inspiring book. Anyone who thinks they are a good christian should read it, and meditate on its words, because David Platt goes right to the throat about the concept of "good christianity". I don't know about anyone else, but I have found myself being convicted beyond belief by this book, and I recommend it to literally everyon A few things. I apologize in advance if I am mean or insensitive to anyone. First, this is truly a wonderful book. I don't think I have ever read a more convicting and awe-inspiring book. Anyone who thinks they are a good christian should read it, and meditate on its words, because David Platt goes right to the throat about the concept of "good christianity". I don't know about anyone else, but I have found myself being convicted beyond belief by this book, and I recommend it to literally everyone because it's flawless. Second, to everyone who thinks this book is not absolutely incredible (this is where my apology comes in): 1. Several people are arguing the opinion that Platt has the entire Gospel wrong. In actuality, he really hits the key points that we are missing. For example, the section where he talks about money and how we as americans spend so much on stuff, he isn't saying that every christian everywhere gives everything up and becomes homeless. But we should be willing to give everything to God, and if that means everything, it means EVERYTHING-including perhaps our own lives. 2. For those of you who say that it isn't well written: It's not really supposed to be, and that's part of the beauty of it. Platt doesn't sugarcoat anything, he is yelling at us as followers of Christ to WAKE UP and start living for Him, not ourselves! It IS roughly written, and it's supposed to be. People don't use challenging and eloquent language when they're trying to get a desperately important point across. People say "GO," not, "start to propel yourself in a generally forward motion to begin progressing to your ultimate destination". 3. I'm hopefully done with being mean. I will leave you with this: Followers of Christ should be just that: Followers of Christ, the living God. He has saved us from eternal damnation in hell by abandoning his son and sacrificing him to crucifixion and forsakenness, purely to save us. If that doesn't justify a deep and eternal love for him, and a burning and irresistible desire to to ANYTHING for Him, than you seriously need to consider where your heart is. I'm no expert. Be mad at me if you want. This is my opinion.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lorena

    I got this book for free and figured I should read it and boy it is not even one bit radical. Beyond the whole poorly written aspect, he builds up his initial argument decently. Then, however he sort of dives into international missions as the ~key~ way to do this - while not actually challenging the lifestyles that North American Christians tend to live. Very much an extension of the white saviour complex, and the "radical" call to finish it off is 'go on a missions trip or some sort of interna I got this book for free and figured I should read it and boy it is not even one bit radical. Beyond the whole poorly written aspect, he builds up his initial argument decently. Then, however he sort of dives into international missions as the ~key~ way to do this - while not actually challenging the lifestyles that North American Christians tend to live. Very much an extension of the white saviour complex, and the "radical" call to finish it off is 'go on a missions trip or some sort of international evangelization every year'. Also interesting to hear him reflect on leaving New Orleans after the hurricane instead of hearing about that crisis as an opportunity to be the church in action. Anyway, don't read this book. It's great if you want to feel more comfortable in your wealthy life with your Christian community - now you don't have to feel guilty because you've saved the soul of someone in another continent! Just look at the amazing things that can be done when a white person goes to Asia or Africa for 3 days! 😶

  21. 5 out of 5

    Abbie Riddle

    It's the orange book with the upside down face - the eye catching one that makes you wonder what's inside. The picture of the upside down house is exactly the idea of this book - it will turn your ideas, your world, your spiritual house upside down. Those beliefs that have been long ingrained in you since a child sitting on a pew will be tossed out the window. What you have held as the standard for Christianity will be turned on it's head. The standards you held will be lifted to a new level and It's the orange book with the upside down face - the eye catching one that makes you wonder what's inside. The picture of the upside down house is exactly the idea of this book - it will turn your ideas, your world, your spiritual house upside down. Those beliefs that have been long ingrained in you since a child sitting on a pew will be tossed out the window. What you have held as the standard for Christianity will be turned on it's head. The standards you held will be lifted to a new level and that level brings a freedom that you will be excited to have. This is one of those books that as I read I find myself getting excited! This is a great book of motivation. David Platt challenges Christians to embrace their true freedom in Christ - One not regulated by church covenants or religious have too's. The reader is pushed toward understanding and pursuing God's standard and in that is true happiness. If you are ready to jump out of the stagnant luke warm water and into something hot and fresh, If you are ready to be consumed by Christ and fully surrender to His will - this is the book to read. Live radically, live fresh, live free - experience all Christ has for you. Thank you Multnomah/Waterbrook for this review copy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I started reading this book based on several people recommending it to me. While Platt does a great job of highlighting the materialism and affluence we live in, I had some issues as to how Platt seemed to present his personal convictions as convictions everyone should have. Throughout the book, there were many instances where it felt like he was trying to "guilt" people to doing what he thought would be the most Christian way of giving radically, generously, and sacrificially, but not taking in I started reading this book based on several people recommending it to me. While Platt does a great job of highlighting the materialism and affluence we live in, I had some issues as to how Platt seemed to present his personal convictions as convictions everyone should have. Throughout the book, there were many instances where it felt like he was trying to "guilt" people to doing what he thought would be the most Christian way of giving radically, generously, and sacrificially, but not taking into account the fact that some people are called to be good stewards of what God has given them. That doesn't necessarily always mean selling everything you have to give everything to the poor without a single plan or thought in place of what God wants you to do next. I am definitely challenged though to take a good look at what I have, and what I spend my money on, and how much time I do spend on not only giving sacrificially, but thinking of ways to practically serve others, and be more mercy minded.

  23. 5 out of 5

    June

    Radical : Taking back your faith from the American Dream was a challenging read. Initially, there were generalizations that didn’t sit well with me but I continued as I have been listening to the author on Back to the Bible radio program. His heart is about living an authentic Christ-follower. As part of my church’s fasting and prayer I slowly read this. Certain parts ripped the band-aid off my excuses and forced me to commit to making much needed changes. There are gems that every Christian can Radical : Taking back your faith from the American Dream was a challenging read. Initially, there were generalizations that didn’t sit well with me but I continued as I have been listening to the author on Back to the Bible radio program. His heart is about living an authentic Christ-follower. As part of my church’s fasting and prayer I slowly read this. Certain parts ripped the band-aid off my excuses and forced me to commit to making much needed changes. There are gems that every Christian can use, regardless of the length of their journey with Christ. Platt mixes the Word with practical approach. Highly recommended this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Great book. I thought his assessment of American Christianity was rather accurate and convicting personally. I may not agree with all of his conclusions or methods, but his message (discipling all nations with the gospel) needs to be remembered in our churches. I know I needed this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    David Platt spoke at Urbana 2012, and after hearing him speak I wanted to learn more. If you heard him speak at Urbana, skip chapters 1-2, it's the same material. Positive: The book revolves around the diagnosis of 'materialism' as a deadly sin of the American church. The 'American Dream' has been absorbed by the American Church, and we've made the pursuit of 'bigger and better' the same thing as the pursuit of Jesus' kingdom. We, American Christians, are not entitled to the wealth of resources a David Platt spoke at Urbana 2012, and after hearing him speak I wanted to learn more. If you heard him speak at Urbana, skip chapters 1-2, it's the same material. Positive: The book revolves around the diagnosis of 'materialism' as a deadly sin of the American church. The 'American Dream' has been absorbed by the American Church, and we've made the pursuit of 'bigger and better' the same thing as the pursuit of Jesus' kingdom. We, American Christians, are not entitled to the wealth of resources at our fingertips and, if we aren't faithful stewards of what we've been given, have not counted the cost of following Jesus. I'm surprised to hear this from a mega-church pastor in an age when most American mega-church pastors are preaching a health and wealth prosperity. Negative: I wish Platt had gone further. He vaguely talks about his own struggle with materialism, but what would really push the 'radical' edge is if he had plainly stated his income, how much he's choosing to live on, and valuing simplicity for the sake of generosity. The way he write about poverty and how his congregation is alleviating it feels paternalistic. His people are going and doing for the poor rather than identifying with and empowering the poor. He writes of a number of short-term trips he's taken and how they've impacted him, but in most of them, he's teaching or in some kind of leadership role. From page 110: "Yet, while caring for the poor is not the basis of our salvation, this does not mean that the use of our wealth is totally disconnected from our salvation. Indeed, caring for the poor is evidence of our salvation." This sums up what seems to be how he thinks about caring for the poor: give to others because materialism is choking your faith. While I don't disagree that generosity and caring for the poor is an excellent antidote for materialism, there is no sense of renouncing power/resources for others in the way that the biblical Jubilee restores access to power/resources. TL;DR - Decent read for the average middle-class Christian who feels dissatisfied with their faith. For those working among the urban poor (like myself), you've probably already counted the cost to follow Jesus and have some value for simplicity.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This book hits you in the gut about falling into the trap of the American dream and chasing the bubbles that accompany it. Lots of wonderful stories, anecdotes and exegesis that call us to move away from lukewarm comfortable christianity that seems to permeate so much of American Christianity into more of a radical (biblical) one. Loved reading it overall and I love Platt. However, I was a bit uneasy with some of the over generalizations that seem to seem to show that non-American Christians and This book hits you in the gut about falling into the trap of the American dream and chasing the bubbles that accompany it. Lots of wonderful stories, anecdotes and exegesis that call us to move away from lukewarm comfortable christianity that seems to permeate so much of American Christianity into more of a radical (biblical) one. Loved reading it overall and I love Platt. However, I was a bit uneasy with some of the over generalizations that seem to seem to show that non-American Christians and churches are awesome and all American Christians are just absorbed in their materialism and wealth. I don't think he means to say that, but it comes across like that. He says he made mistakes himself, but what are they? (doesn't give us any examples--not that we need all the dirty laundry, but it would be good to hear that he's a broken sinner too that failed in being radical). What about small church plants in the US that are not trying to build bigger buildings and programs but struggling with trying to be relevant in the community? What about the prosperity gospel running rampant in third world countries? I would have also loved for him to point us to the radical Christ more, the One who left his comfort zone to enter our hostile world; the One who broke the bank to make us His treasure! This is because we become what we behold. Unless you show me a radical Christ to behold, I cannot become radical on my own. Without a robust Christology that affects our missiology, I am just left feeling guilty and despairing at the lack of my radicalness instead of seeing the radical Christ pulling me into His love to push me out to love others the same way.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Polly

    I really struggled with the author's tone throughout the whole book, and I've come to the conclusion that David Platt needed to have had a better editor. I really wish that for someone who says we must glorify God in all that we do, that he would follow his own advice in his writing style. I think he took a few verses and quotations out of context which didn't help matters. I also didn't like how he painted everything with a broad brushstroke. I wanted to stop reading the book after the eighth c I really struggled with the author's tone throughout the whole book, and I've come to the conclusion that David Platt needed to have had a better editor. I really wish that for someone who says we must glorify God in all that we do, that he would follow his own advice in his writing style. I think he took a few verses and quotations out of context which didn't help matters. I also didn't like how he painted everything with a broad brushstroke. I wanted to stop reading the book after the eighth chapter, but I am glad I pushed onto the last chapter about the experiment. That chapter alone makes reading the book worthwhile. He finally answered many, but not all, of my questions there. Truthfully, I would have a hard time recommending this book to "anyone." I never figured out who Platt was writing to. In his eyes, all American Christians are failing to follow Christ. So one would think this book is written to a naive Christian, but then I'm afraid most of the book would go over their heads. I don't disagree with everything in the book, but I find it hard to agree on much of it due to his gross assumptions.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    The author David Platt covers a topic that I have been hoping someone would would write about for a long time! He talks about the complacency of the church today and contrasts it with the passionate churches in other countries suffering from persecution and ready to die for Christ. Our churches today don't have people that are radical followers of Jesus. He also touches on the fact that Christians don't think long-term, but short term. In church, we can listen to a message and decide how to appl The author David Platt covers a topic that I have been hoping someone would would write about for a long time! He talks about the complacency of the church today and contrasts it with the passionate churches in other countries suffering from persecution and ready to die for Christ. Our churches today don't have people that are radical followers of Jesus. He also touches on the fact that Christians don't think long-term, but short term. In church, we can listen to a message and decide how to apply it to OUR lives, but not how to teach it to, and disciple others. Radical needs to be a wake-up call for many churches today! When Christ said "follow Me", he didn't mean; follow Me when we feel like it. He means: You won't always like it, and though the world will use you, persecute you, mock you, and misuse you; follow me. Following Christ isn't just a trivial, everyday thing; it requires a radical faith! I highly recommend reading Radical for yourself.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dave Cruver

    David Platt's book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, is an excellent book. I highly recommend it - if only for his assessment of American Christianity; the American Dream couched in Christian verbiage. His prescription of the problem? Not so much. The American Dream is what I would call a "secular religion" of which Platt rightly calls us to abandon, but Platt exchanges this "secular religion" for a "religious religion" and not the Gospel. Let me explain. "But if Jesus is who David Platt's book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, is an excellent book. I highly recommend it - if only for his assessment of American Christianity; the American Dream couched in Christian verbiage. His prescription of the problem? Not so much. The American Dream is what I would call a "secular religion" of which Platt rightly calls us to abandon, but Platt exchanges this "secular religion" for a "religious religion" and not the Gospel. Let me explain. "But if Jesus is who he said he is, and if his promises are as rewarding as the Bible claims they are, then we may discover that satisfaction in our lives and success in the church are not found in what our culture deems most important but in radical abandonment to Jesus." ~Platt p3 "'Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.' Now this is taking it to another level. Pick up an instrument of torture and follow me. This is getting plain weird...and kind of creepy. Imagine a leader coming on the scene today and inviting all who would come after him to pick up an electric chair and become his disciple. Any takers? "As if this were not enough, Jesus finished his seeker-sensitive plea with a pull-at-your-heartstrings conclusion. 'Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.' Give up evertying you have, carry a cross, and hate your family. This sounds a lot different than 'Admit, believe, confess, and pray a prayer after me.'" ~Platt pp10-11 Throughout the book, there is a plea to surrender to Jesus, which is good, but the pleas are expressed either by making a person feel guilty or via a command to surrender. There is no connection with the Gospel itself. How does my surrender flow from and out of the Gospel? How does my surrender to Jesus get motivated by Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection? This is the Gospel, and my surrender MUST, it MUST, flow out and from the Gospel. The Gospel is mentioned but the "surrender to Jesus" is not connected WITH the Gospel. Yes, we can "surrender to Jesus" but how do you know your surrender is sincere enough? How do you know your surrender to Jesus is surrender enough? Can you surrender EVERYTHING for Jesus? Sure. We WANT to surrender everything, but the reality is, our sin touches every part of our being, sin corrupts our every molecule to such a degree that even our best surrender and abandonment to Jesus is as filthy or polluted rags before God. See Isaiah 64:6. Ask yourself this: Can I absolutely, 100% abandon EVERYTHING in my life for Jesus? This means there is NO turning back; this means you cannot, even for a split second, think "wow, it'd be nice to have X for a moment" or "I miss X...." I cannot do that. I want to. But I cannot DO it. It is a law I cannot fulfill. But Jesus DID do it. For me. In my place. And it is HIS work of surrender and abandonment to God that I rest in. Speaking of Jesus parable of the treasure in a field in Matthew 13: "This is the picture of Jesus in the gospel. He is something--someone--worth losing everything for. And if we walk away from the Jesus of the gospel, we walk away from eternal riches. The cost of non-discipleship is profoundly greater for us than the cost of discipleship. For when we abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to the radical invitation of Jesus, we discover the infinite treasure of knowing and experiencing him." This is very true, but this statement does not go far enough. How does the Gospel motivate me to "abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to the radical invitation of Jesus?" Platt explains the Gospel very well, but there is a disconnect between the Gospel and its motivation of our doing. Without this connection of our motivation with the Gospel, the command to surrender all is just a command, a heavy weight placed upon us we can never fulfill. Show me the beauty of the Gospel, don't just tell me it's beautiful. Let me quote large portions of Radical and let Platt speak for himself: "Biblical proclamation of the gospel beckons us to a much different response and leads us down a much different road. Here the gospel demands and enables us to turn from our sin, to take up our cross, to die to ourselves, and to follow Jesus. These are the terms and phrases we see in the Bible. And salvation now consists of a deep wrestling in our souls with the sinfulness of our hearts, the depth of our depravity, and the desperation of our need for his grace. Jesus is no longer one to be accepted or invited in but one who is infinitely worthy of our immediate and total surrender. 'You might think this sounds as though we have to earn our way to Jesus through radical obedience, but that is not the case at all. Indeed, 'it is by grace you [are] saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.' We are saved from our sins by a free gift of grace, something that only God can do in us and that we cannot manufacture ourselves. "But that gift of grace involves the gift of a new heart. New desires. New longings. For the first time, we want God. We see our need for him, and we love him. We seek after him, and we find him, and we discover that he is indeed the great reward of our salvation. We realize that we are saved not just to be forgiven of our sins or to be assured of our eternity in heaven, but we are saved to know God. So we yearn for him. We want him so much that we abandon everything else to experience him. This is the only proper response to the revelation of God in the gospel. "This is why men and women around the world risk their lives to know more about him. This is why we must avoid cheap caricatures of Christianity that fail to exalt the revelation of God in his Word. This is why you and I cannot settle for anything less than a God-centered, Christ-exalting, self-denying gospel. "I pray continually for this kind of hunger in the church God has given me to lead and in churches spread across our country's landscape. I pray that we will be a people who refuse to gorge our spiritual stomachs on the entertaining pleasures of this world, because we have chosen to find our satisfaction in the eternal treasure of his Word. I pray that God will awaken in your heart and mind a deep and abiding passion for the gospel as the grand revelation of God." ~Platt pp38-40 "The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. The American dream prizes what people can accomplish when they believe in themselves and trust in themselves, and we are drawn toward such thinking. But the gospel has different priorities. The gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust in his power. In the gospel, God confronts us with our utter inability to accomplish anything of value apart from him. This is what Jesus meant when he said, 'I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.'" ~Platt p46 "It is the way of Christ. Instead of asserting ourselves, we crucify ourselves. Instead of imagining all the things we can accomplish, we ask God to do what only he can accomplish. Yes, we work, we plan, we organize, and we create, but we do it all while we fast, while we pray, and while we constantly confess our need for the provision of God. Instead of dependence on ourselves, we express radical desperation for the power of his Spirit, and we trust that Jesus stands ready to give us everything we ask for so that we might make much of our Father in the world. Think about it. Would you say that your life is marked right now by desperation for the Spirit of God? Would you say that the church you are a part of is characterized by this sense of desperation? Why would we ever want to settle for Christianity according to our ability or settle for church according to our resources? The power of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, and as a result we have no need to muster up our own might. Our great need is to fall before an almighty Father day and night and to plead for him to show his radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for his glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover that we were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of his Spirit. ~Platt p60 Do you have this desperation for the Spirit of God? How do I know my desperation for the Spirit of God is enough? I can tell you, my desperation will NEVER be desperate enough. My abandonment will NEVER be abandoning enough. To command me to do these things even in the context of the Gospel is still placing a law upon me I can never fulfill. Connect me to the Gospel. Connect my doing to the Gospel and that fruit will grow in my life because only my conforming into Christ's image will be done. "'Abandon all, take up your cross and follow me.' If in responding to this command our stress is primarily upon our own responsibility, we will first look within, at the quality and sincerity of our own faith and repentance, rather than without, at the vicarious life and death of Christ. 'Gospel proclamation' that leads Christians to think mainly about what they must do, rather than mainly about what Jesus has done as our substitute inclines the hearers to stray from gospel-centered missional living. "The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has done it all--for us and in our place. Only as we believe and live in the reality of what he has done are we progressively freed to live truly missional and radically obedient lives in a broken world. "As we grow in understanding the reality of who Jesus is for us, we are progressively freed from our personal and missional paralysis and empowered to turn outward for the gospel-good of others. The good news of who Jesus was and is for us as the God-man turns dread into joy and frees us from self-preoccupation to move outward in mission." All this to say, say these things; just say them in a different way--in a way in which the Gospel is my motivation not a command.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eric Chappell

    Review: Challenging. While I don't think that I would say things exactly the same way as Platt, I appreciate many of his thoughts. The book was simple and straightforward and dealt principally with Scripture passages. One thing I liked about this book was Platt's refusal to be dogmatic about how radical obedience to the call of Christ might look from Christian to Christian. He appreciates people's life situation, but not at the expense of sell short the call of Christ to go to all nations. This Review: Challenging. While I don't think that I would say things exactly the same way as Platt, I appreciate many of his thoughts. The book was simple and straightforward and dealt principally with Scripture passages. One thing I liked about this book was Platt's refusal to be dogmatic about how radical obedience to the call of Christ might look from Christian to Christian. He appreciates people's life situation, but not at the expense of sell short the call of Christ to go to all nations. This book helps expose blind spots to how the American dream really has shaped our expectations, our appetites, and our ability to follow Christ. Chapter 1: Two questions: (1) Do I believe Jesus? (2) Am I going to obey Jesus? Chapter 2: Is about being hungry for God's Word--the American church has sidelined it as largely irrelevant in comparison with all the programs and exciting things we have to offer. Chapter 3: Relying on God's power to accomplish the task. "God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in his extraordinary provision" (56). Chapter 4: God's global purpose. We Enjoy His grace in order to Extend His glory Mission: "I'm not called to foreign missions" or "Not everyone is called to foreign missions"--Most of us are content to watch the missions slide shows, but in the end God has not called us to the whole missions thing (72). We take the Great Commission to refer to other people, not us. "In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all" (73). Chapter 5: The Multiplying Community--why the Church is important. We make disciples, baptize, and teach. Jesus' High Priestly prayer (John 17) --when talking about his earthly ministry only mentions the small group of disciples God had given Him. They were His life. The megastrategy of Jesus: make disciples. "Disciple making is not about a program or an event but about a relationship. As we share the gospel, we impart life, and this is the essence of making disciples. Sharing the life of Christ" (96). "Disciple making involves inviting people into a larger community of faith where they will see the life of Christ in action and experience the love of Christ in person" (97). We often listen to sermons, read books, etc. in order to receive. Platt urges us to listen and read in order to reproduce. Begin to think, "How can I listen to His Word so that I am equipped to teach this Word to others?" (102) Discipling or Disinfecting--"Disinfecting Christians from the world involves isolating followers of Christ in a spiritual safe-deposit box called the church building and teaching them to be good..." (104). "Whereas disinfecting Christians involves isolating them and teaching them to be good, discipling Christians involves propelling Christians into the world to risk their lives for the sake of others (105)." "A community of Christians each multiplying the gospel by going, baptizing, and teaching in the contexts where they live every day. Is anything else, according to the Bible, even considered a church?' (106) I would probably not want to reduce the Church to merely these things. Seems unncessarily reductionistic in light of other NT revelation. Chapter 6: About wealth, poverty issue Mark 10, in light of other Scripture, does not mean that following Jesus necessarily implies a loss of all your private property and possessions. But we often assume because it doesn't mean that, then Jesus NEVER calls his followers to abandon all their possessions to follow him (120). See John Calvin's commentary on 2 Corinthians 8-9. Calvin quote: God "has enjoined upon us frugality and temperance and has forbidden, that any one should go to excess, taking advantages of his abundance. Let those, then, that have riches...consider that their abundance was not intended to be laid out in intemperance or excess, but in relieving the necessities of the brethren" (128). Calvin specified that half of the church's funds should be allotted for the poor--"no one is to be allowed to starve" (129). God's sovereignty is our safety. The testimony of Scripture from Job to Paul's attack in 2 Corinthians 12, Satan not only acts within the sovereign permission of God, but also ends up accomplishing the sovereign purposes of God. Indeed, this is what the Cross is all about. Satan's strategy to defeat the Son of God only served to provide salvation for sinners (173). Chapter 9: One year to a life turned upside down 5 Challenges: 1. Pray for the entire world 2. Read through the entire Word 3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose 4. Spend your time in another context 5. Commit your life to a multiplying community (185) Do the first two steps sound anticlimactic? In our quest for the extraordinary, we often overlook the importance of the ordinary, and I'm proposing that a radical lifestyle actually begins with the extraordinary commitment to ordinary practices that have marked Christians who have affected the world throughout history (193). Critique Mod Ref 20.2 March/April 2011 "Confusing Law & Gospel" by John Fonville Confuses law and gospel by saying we have to live the gospel (20, 94, 109, 136, 198, 200, 212) Confusion of words and concepts in the understanding of the foundations of the gospel. For eample, 28-31--Gospel does not reveal God as wrathful judge. Confusion of law and gospel evident in exegesis of Mark 10--Jesus doesnt command to give all as implication of gospel, but of impossible demands of the law. Critic argues that this is not an invitation of the gospel, but setting forth of law to demonstrate rich ruler's lack of genuine obedience. Critic doesnt think Platt's call to unconditional surrender and willingness to sell all is helpful. Critical of pages 37-38. Nowhere in Scripture is the demand of hte law an invitation to the gospel. Rather gospel is invitation to rest and receive in Christ. Essentially, because of this book Christians will always wonder if they actually have given enough.

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