Book Review, Discipleship

Are you willing to be Radical?

I am overdue for my thoughts on Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream by David Platt. You might remember months ago I posted a video about the book along with my hopes of reading it soon. Thanks to the generosity of my wife, I did get to read Radical while we were visiting family in Nebraska and thinking about how we might be “radical” in our faith.

The idea behind Platt’s book is that the Gospel is too big for us to sit back and be comfortable. Clearly the teachings of Jesus and our desire to glorify God should be empowering and pushing us toward action and Platt suggests that this action is feeding those in need and working to improves lives across the globe.

I tend to agree with Platt on the overall theme so I won’t go into the finer points of actually living the Gospel and caring for your neighbor but I do want to touch on parts of the book that surprised me.

Discipleship is huge in a radical faith. Unlike most books on social action, Platt takes the time to outline how the foundations of our faith in Christ should be solidified and one area that is key is discipleship. From mentoring to building community in our local church, we are called to live as a family and care for each other. For too long American Christianity has been self-centered and greedy – prayerfully in this generation we will see true Christian community as outlined in the bible.

Platt calls us back to that form of community in Radical and it is something I passionately hope to see in my life.

Throughout the shorter book there are stories of people living radically and your story can be very different, the key is that you have a role and God has called you to glorify him in a unique way.

The book truly makes you evaluate how you spend your budget as an individual and as a church. Perhaps we have convinced ourselves that the Gospel can not be shared without the latest audience gathering technology – but if it is at the cost of the hungry in our towns what is the point? I am quite guilty in this respect and I needed to repent of this mentality while reading Radical.

The book is not a guilt trip – but you might feel guilty. I would suggest that perhaps that feeling is the Holy Spirit reminding you of our true call as Christians. That call is about radically loving God and radically loving those around us.

I highly recommend Radical and hope you will find the time to read this book.


Godly Discourse

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was excited to read David Platt’s new book Radical. It seems to be a call to live out our faith boldly and for the benefit of the hungry and hurting in our world. (When we land in Oregon and my book buying fast ends this will be among the first books ordered.) Certainly whether I will agree with everything or not in the book, I expect question to be posed that will convict and inspire me to live in the grace God has given, in such a way that I might share it.

Kevin DeYoung, pastor and champion of the “young, restless, and reformed,” has reviewed the book on his Gospel Coalition blog and he has some concerns with the book. But what is hopeful is not in his concerns but in the way he presents them and then gives Platt and opportunity to respond. If we are to have theological (or more likely contextual) disagreements this is how it should be done. Two men, both wise, gracious and fighting for the Gospel, diverge a bit but do it without arrogance or bitterness.

We should all pay close attention to this and aspire to present our disagreements in a similar fashion. I commend both of these men for setting such a Godly example for young and old leaders alike.

For what it is worth (and I realize that isn’t much) I tend to agree with Platt’s positions here and this conversation highlights some heartburn I have with the “modern reformed” movement. The theology is right but the willingness to push aside the work our faith calls us to (which I will have to unpack much further in another post.)