Radical by David Platt

Cover of "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith...
Cover via Amazon

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

I will confess I have always been a little defensive about books that approach economics or American society and faith. Far too often, from my perspective, these books easily move from relevant spiritual issues into garden variety leftist critiques of capitalism, etc. In this way they turn me off from the message by delving into politics – and usually poorly at that.

Radical by David Platt may seem to be headed toward this territory. After all, the subtitle is Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Title and subtitle would seem to indicate  that this book comes from the less talked – and fretted – about religious left.

But Platt takes no such turn and as a result it is a much stronger book. Don’t get me wrong. Platt doesn’t get into conservative politics or economics either. He plays it straight and sticks to his Biblical and spiritual points without getting sidetracked into politics or economics.

Here is a quote from the publishers blurb:

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.

My thoughts below.

This is a very challenging book for any Christian who takes the Gospel and their faith seriously.

Quite simply Platt asks his readers to think about how they might live if they really believed what they read in the Bible. He argues that churches have accepted too much of the culture of individualism and materialism and turned Christianity into a comfortable life choice and therapy program instead of something that demands everything you can give.

With hundreds of thousands of innocent children dying without adequate food and water Christians need to wake up and think about these needs not their own comfort. With millions of people unreached by the gospel Christians need to wake up and think about the Great Commission. He challenges you to think about what is comfortable and convenient and what is real faith.

And in a very helpful step, in my opinion, at the end he offers a year long program to begin the process of re-orienting your life and faith: pray for the entire world; read through the entire Word; sacrifice your money for a specific purpose; spend time in another context; and commit yourself to to a multiplying community.

The writing is a big awkward at times as he switches between anecdotes, theology, cultural criticism, and memoir rather frequently and not always smoothly. The chapters are not tightly argued point as much as conversational and anecdotal descriptions mixed with arguments.

But the message is powerful and, in my opinion, one that needs to be heard.

– You can download the first chapter here

– Also check out the compact and challenging companion The Radical Question

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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