In the spirit of “God Is The Gospel” by John Piper, “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, and “The Hole In Our Gospel” by Rich Stearns, David Platt adds his voice to the increasing chorus of Christian leaders who are calling Christ-followers to live lives of obedience and surrender to Jesus. In “Radical” Platt adds his rich and valuable insights to what has already been written and lays out a guide for implementation.
Early on Platt states the purpose of his book: “In this book I want to show you that, with the best of intentions, we have actually turned away from Jesus…..Here we stand amid an American dream dominated by self-advancement, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency, by individualism, materialism, and universalism….We need to return with urgency to a biblical Gospel, because the cost of doing nothing is so great for our lives, our families, our churches, and the world around us.” (p. 19) I couldn’t agree more.
Platt attacks head-on the weakness of all-too-many American churches that teach a disingenuous gospel that has people trade a raised hand or a check-mark on a decision card for eternal salvation. (As if Jesus died for a check mark!) “Jesus is no longer one to be accepted or invited in but one who is infinitely worthy of our immediate and total surrender.” (p.38) Throughout his book Platt calls for response to the Gospel that transcends accepting, inviting, or receiving Jesus. Words matter and those three words are not found in the Bible when it comes to following Jesus.
How far has the American dream polluted the gospel with a self-centered ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ mentality? Just ask people why they attend their church and you’re sure to hear a litany of how well the church serves their needs with programs, comfortable chairs, and enjoyable music. Platt contends that biblical Christianity is “God loves me so that I might make him – his ways, his salvation, his glory, his greatness – known among all nations.” (p. 70) The Gospel is not about us, it’s all about God. Everything that God has done for us in Jesus is so that we might make much of him. Jesus didn’t die for our happiness or our comfort but for his glory.
These are familiar themes that you will read in the books previously mentioned. But “Radical” sets itself apart when Platt challenges his readers to conduct a ‘Radical Experiment.’ This one-year experiment has five components:
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.
Platt takes great care to expand these five challenges in meaningful ways that equip the reader to accept his challenge. Additionally, there are other resources at RadicalTheBook.com to help the individual reader or small group to begin a radical adventure!
I found “Radical” to be a helpful and challenging book. Platt is a good communicator who clearly addresses core issues that are vital to the church and to all Christ-followers. The Radical Experiment is well-presented and attainable and could be easily attempted by the vast majority of Christians. If even a fraction of those who read “Radical” would complete the Experiment there would indeed be a radical shift in the church. One can only imagine the eternal impact if they would.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books program. 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.”