Friday, July 1, 2011

Review - Radical Together by David Platt

If you and I want our lives to count for God’s purpose in the world, we need to begin with a commitment to God’s people in the church. God has called us to lock arms with one another in single-minded, death-defying obedience to one objective: the declaration of his gospel for the demonstration of his glory to all nations.

This is the reason for David Platt writing Radical Together, the extension of his first book Radical (my review here). In this first book Platt urges the believer to live a radical life for God. He teaches that we are to live our lives in service to others and in ways that we are not accustomed to. Most of us have never been overseas ministering the gospel in a third world country nor have we spent much time doing that in our communities outside of our church buildings. We need to be willing to sacrifice all to accomplish that end.

As he did in Radical he confronts the selfishness of contemporary Christianity head on. Most people today try to make the gospel fit their wants yet our wants should fit the gospel. He points out on page 48 that the design of God’s Word is “not to provide practical guidelines, parenting tips, leadership advice, and financial counsel that Americans are looking for in the twenty-first century. Instead, the purpose of God’s Word is to transform people in every country and every century into the image of Jesus.

Throughout the book he asks us to evaluate every program we have in our churches, even those that are considered “sacred.” Many of us would say that what we do in our churches is good but he points out that isn’t enough. We should be doing what is best. That cuts me to the bone. I can get complacent when things are going good and not give much thought to them. Yet when we do we may see that even though a particular program is good it may not be the best. As a leader in my church I will apply this to everything we do.

The major complaint I had with Radical becomes even a bigger issue in Radical Together - that in Platt’s understanding taking the gospel to the world means somewhere outside of the U.S. In Radical he didn’t devote much time to local ministry and seems to spend even less time in Radical Together on it. And I couldn’t get past that.

As I said in my review of Radical we have to look at a lost soul in Africa like we do our lost neighbor. We can’t say that one is more important than the other and I believe Platt does (see pages 87-90). He does try to clarify himself on this (Not Either/Or But Both/And page 90-93) but I believe he fails. He says at the end of the section that the purpose of ministry in his community is to reach those outside of the U.S. In the very next section he moves again to missions outside of our local communities and to the world. Platt carries this idea throughout the book. And it seems to become a bigger issue with each page.

Please don’t believe that we don’t need to go out to the world and evangelize every person we can. We do. But we can’t do it at the sake of those around us.

If the book were to handle this better I would be able to give it a better review but I can’t, nor should I want to.

Disclaimer- I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.