Author: David Platt
Publisher’s Synopsis: WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU?
It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…
BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? DO YOU?
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.
Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment –a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.
I think this is one of the most exciting books I’ve received since I started blogging for books. When I read the invite, I almost salivated. There is a part of me that craves the radical– inhales it like air. I am naturally a very extreme person. It’s difficult to take a concept and look at it from a balanced perspective and then be satisfied with it. I make a very good legalist/Pharisee for that reason.
No, this book doesn’t encourage legalism or Pharisaical nonsense. Breathe now. The book opens with the contrast between leaders of house churches in Asia congregating together for prayer and encouragement– wisdom even– with his installment as the youngest pastor of a mega church in America. At first, I was concerned that he would take Luke chapter 9 and the words about not having shelter, not burying the dead, and leaving family to a degree that made it sinful to do those things and related ones. He does not. He does, however, challenge us to examine our hearts to see if our priorities are out of whack.
I tend to be very intolerant of ideologies that seem to strip Christians of God’s blessings. God blessed Solomon with both wisdom and riches. I believe our life in America IS a blessing. I think that to reject it, is a rejection of Jesus’ gifts to us. So, at first, I was a little nervous. I know, that makes it sound as if I just don’t want to be challenged to give up my “stuff.” Truthfully, that wasn’t the main point. I’ve just spent years learning to accept that it isn’t a sin to enjoy air conditioning just because somewhere else in the world doesn’t have it. Thankfully, Mr. Platt doesn’t do that. He does challenge us to think about our hearts, our motives, and our willingness to give up all for Jesus. Those are things I can get behind and support. He gives the example of one church that spent 23 million dollars on a new lavish church building and in the next breath sent five thousand dollars to the Sudan. Now, I don’t know if the church sends that kind of money every month or even every week. If so, it isn’t just to sit in self-righteous condemnation of their expenditures. I did realize that the point is still an accurate one. How often do we literally throw money away on things that we don’t even care about while our brothers and sisters in Christ are in need? How often do we dispose of something “out of date” while the rest of the world would find it a luxury they can’t imagine?
The hunger of the Asian church is still stirring my heart. How long has it been since I couldn’t stop reading because it was too good– my soul was too hungry– my heart was parched for the Word of the Lord? Even if it was yesterday (and it wasn’t) it has been too long. His analogy of God on a mountain top coming down to people who need Him was simple yet profound. The reminder that Jesus didn’t just “die for our sins” in the nebulous way we like to mention, but instead, He endured the WRATH OF GOD for us… wow. Just. Wow.
I wanted to laugh at the story of the preacher who threatened his congregation with prayer that their children would become missionaries to Japan unless they contributed generously to the mission work there. I want to laugh. It should be funny in how ludicrous it is. It’s not funny though– the man really did it and was proud of himself. In the end, I want to be willing to sacrifice all… including the location of my children, for Jesus and Him alone. My head says that I am– my heart calls me a liar.
The me centered gospel is one of the most hard-hitting, brilliant, soul-stirring things I’ve read in years. It ranks right up there with Bonhoeffer for me. I’m still reeling from the words piercing my soul. It isn’t so much what Mr. Platt says– it’s the scripture that he shows. Ouch.
The Radical Experiment is something I am considering. The five parts of it are things that I find scriptural support for, that I can do alone without making demands of my family, and so it’s under prayer. I want to read the book again before I decide. I am excited about it, and if I do decide to do it, I may blog a bit about it. Just warning you.
The book isn’t an easy read. By that, I don’t mean that it is nauseatingly pedantic. It s actually quite approachable. While simple enough for a child to read and understand most of it, the book is engaging, and spiritually stimulating. No, by “not an easy read” I mean that it hits hard. Very hard. It knocks your breath from you, and when you stand up, ready to gulp that breath of air again, it knocks you down again. It’s hard. I kept putting it down, picking it up, setting it aside, dragging it back out– it’s hard to read. So are most things worth anything. I know I missed a LOT of good stuff. I also missed where I disagree. I’ve never yet read a book that I agree 100% with, but I didn’t find anything in here. I think that’s because just like being pummeled by fists, eventually my heart and soul became numb– a self-preservation mechanism.
I will reread it. Several times. However, the books, generously provided by Multnomah, are being given away. I think it’s imperative to get this book into as many hands as possible, so I’m giving both away and buying a new copy for me. I think I’ll likely do a follow up review when I’ve had time to chew, swallow, and redigest this.
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