Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review - Radical by David Platt

Real success is found in radical sacrifice. Ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of God. The purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. Meaning is found in community, not individualism; joy is found in generosity, not materialism; and truth is found in Christ, not universalism. Ultimately, Jesus is a reward worth risking everything to know, experience and enjoy.

That is David Platt’s summary of his book Radical. A book that will enhance, change or make you evaluate your view of what it means to be a Christian, unless you are already doing those things he teaches in this book.

Platt directs us to live a true, Biblical life for God. A life that is selfless and full of service to others. He shows us that God wants us to focus on ways we can live out the gospel command to go into the world and make disciples. A life he calls radical.

He points out that the American dream is contrary to Scripture. We often let pop culture, media and things like these to determine what is means to live a full life without ever considering how God says we are to live fully. Platt speaks to this contrast with the following, the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God. I couldn’t agree more.

Platt has visited many third world countries and the experiences he had in them has changed his life. He gained a greater understanding of God’s call to take the gospel to the world, to help orphans and widows, to live a life of service. The experience that seemed to affect him most was visiting a house church in Asia where the hunger for God and His Word was so powerful that people attending didn’t work for weeks just to hear him teach Scripture all day, literally. In a country where Christianity is illegal and most people are poor that speaks volumes.

There will be some that will say that they don’t have it in them to live radically for God. They wouldn’t the ability to do things like those mentioned above. Platt addresses this false assumption with the following words: 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.

Such encouraging words. Living for others is a command not a suggestion. We read in Mark 10:45 the following: For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. If we want to be like Christ we must serve others.

There is really only one issue that I have with what Platt says in Radical and that is he takes Christ command to go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20) to mean almost exclusively people outside of the U.S. He spends very little time on how we are to reach our community. To be far he does speak to this ministry but far less than he does with going to those parts of the world that have never heard the gospel. I do understand that we need to get the gospel to them but no more than we do the guy down the street that is an atheist.

With that said I do highly recommend this book. Platt writes in a conversational manner that is easy to read. He keeps the foundation of his ideas in Scripture, as any idea in the church should be. Read this and you will be challenged to live a radical life for God.