Friday, May 7, 2010

"radical" by david platt

I almost didn't read Radical. When I got the invitation to review it, I let the email sit in my inbox for a couple days. I'd rather read and review fiction. Fiction is easy to read. I knew that Radical would be hard. I knew that it would challenge me.

I'm so thankful I sent a "yes" response. I was right--Radical wasn't easy to read. It did challenge me. And I think that ultimately it will change me.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt is a book that I believe every Christian should read. I read with a pen close by, and I may well have underlined more in this book than in any other I've read. Everything Platt has to say is thought provoking and at times cringe inducing. There's no way to cover everything, so I'll just hit on a few points that struck me:
  • Platt challenges our Americanized view of Jesus, a Jesus who we think wouldn't really ask us to give up our jobs, our families, or our possessions, saying, "We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with ... But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point? We are molding Jesus into our image" (p. 13).
  • Platt completely blew out of the water my main objection to foreign missions: I'm not called. WRONG! The Great Commission isn't a suggestion. It's a command. That doesn't mean that I have to pack up and move to Timbuktu, but it does mean that I'm supposed to share the gospel ... and not just in my own backyard (though that's a great place to start)!
  • In chapter seven, Platt very logically lays out why we need to share the gospel, going beyond the command itself. I've heard people question why God would send someone who has never heard about Jesus to Hell, and using Romans as a basis for his arguments, Platt basically shoots their protestations down. Taking that question to the extreme, Platt says that if that were true, then evangelism would be stupid. He gives the example of a foreign exchange student who arrives in America never having heard of God or Jesus. If not having heard of God would give a person a free pass to Heaven, then it would be logical to tell that student that "If anyone tries to tell you about Jesus, just put your hands on your ears, start yelling very loudly, and run away!" (p. 149). Ridiculous! As someone who teaches international students, some of whom have never heard of Jesus prior to arriving on our doorstep, I can't imagine doing that! 
  • Platt also tackles the question of finding God's will for our lives. This is something I've struggled with many times, but Platt says that's the wrong question to be asking. Rather, in the grand scheme of things, we know what God wants us to do: go share the gospel. So instead, we should ask ourselves if we're willing to obey God's will.
  • At the end of the book, Platt introduces "The Radical Experiment." This is a challenge to the reader--something to commit to for one year. Platt asks the reader to do five things: Pray for the entire world; read through the entire Word; sacrifice money for a specific purpose, spend time in another context, and commit to a multiplying community. I intend to take the challenge, and I hope you will, too. More information on the experiment can be found here.
Along with Radical, I also received The Radical Question, a small booklet adapted from Radical. It's an excellent introduction to Platt's ideas, and I think that had I read it first, I would have been even more excited to read Radical. The best part about it is it's free! You can request your free copy here.

Should you read it? Without a doubt!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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