The cover of David Platt’s book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream really says it all. It is a jarring orange with a small white house turned upside down. Like the cover suggests this book promises two things.
1) It will get your attention
2) It will leave you feeling like everything is now upside down
The foundation of Platt’s book is rather straightforward. American Christians know little, as a whole, of suffering. As a result, many, not all, have come to view the Christian faith as little more than a fire insurance policy. This often means that some miss the powerful work God can do with a heart fully surrendered and dependent upon Him. Platt seems agitated that we have sold our joy for the Lord, His work, and His people so that we can live our best life now.
David Platt is the pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. His theology is sound, and the style of the book is expository, using scripture in context to support the authors assertion. He cites scripture, church fathers (Bonhoeffer), missionaries (Elliot), and theologians (Calvin) to support his argument, which is one reason I found the book so challenging on a personal level. It would be easy to argue with a college educated, presumably well paid, well traveled pastor of a mega-church. It is much more difficult to argue with fathers of the faith and the word of God.
Throughout the book Platt assures us that the pursuit of monetary wealth and fleeting entertainments are not worthy pursuits for someone who claims a whole hearted devotion to God. By the time you turn the last page you will be questioning what you are putting your faith in, and whether or not it is where your faith belongs.
Don’t assume that Platt is preachy in his presentation. He is far from it. Platt is the first to admit that he himself is a work in progress. The book itself is meant to be used as a call to action, and a scriptural justification for that call. Platt wants to capitalize on your discomfort and compel you to do what some might see as drastic but what Christ might very well deem as necessary. In the final chapter he lays out his call and it is far less sweeping than sell all of your belongings NOW and go to a foreign country with the willingness for martyrdom. He wants you to pray, read, and give.
Platt encourages his readers to pray for the entire world one country at a time and he wants you to commit to reading the WORD of God all the way through in the coming year. Lastly, he wants you to give sacrificially, not conveniently, to the work God has placed on your heart. In the end he leaves the conviction to the Holy Spirit and the follow through up to you. Platt seems willing to be the messenger of the unpopular, but needed, message of great opportunity and great responsibility. As benefactors of God’s grace Platt urges us not to keep our blessings for ourselves but to use them for the glory of the One who freely gave them.
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5