I first had the opportunity to hear David Platt at the Adopted for Life Conference my wife and I attended in February 2010. I had never even heard of him before and wasn’t sure what to expect. What followed was an incredibly passionate sermon on the book of Ruth that left me feeling challenged and even more convinced that adopting again was what God had called my family to.
This same excitement and passion for God is evident throughout Platt’s new book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. In it, Platt takes aim at the prevalent complacency in American evangelical Christianity, challenging us to “explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical.” (p.28) He challenges the reader to examine whether or not we truly believe that Jesus is “something – someone – worth losing everything for.” (p.18) He gives many inspiring illustrations of Christians, both historical and current day, who have taken the challenge of willingly letting go of everything for the sake of the gospel. Platt concludes the book with a 5-part year-long challenge dubbed “The Radical Experiment:
- To pray for the entire world.
- To read through the entire Word
- To sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
- To give your time in another context
- To commit your life to a multiplying community
The purpose of this challenge is to have Christians focusing on the abundant worth of God, having a desire to spread the knowledge of God around the world, and acting on this desire in truly sacrificial way.
Although small, the book is not an easy read. It is packed with biblical teachings that will encourage, stir up, challenge, and convict the reader. There were a couple of things that I greatly appreciated about the book. The first is that it takes the concept of costly discipleship out of the theoretical and firmly plants it in the practical realities of everyday life. It will be very hard to walk away from this book without being our lives being affected in some way.
The second thing I appreciated is that Platt strives to show clearly that what he is advocating is not a social gospel – making the world a better place for betterments sake. Nor is he saying that it is radical obedience that saves us. No, the single driving force behind radical obedience is “the proclamation of the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth.” The questions we face is what are we willing to give up to proclaim the worth of Christ? What am I willing to give up? What is Jesus worth to us?
This is a book that I know I’ll need to reread because I know my own heart. I’ll put it aside and then get distracted by life’s other responsibilities. But the message is one that I need to not only think about, but act upon as well again and again. Recommended: Absolutely yes.
(Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah Press for providing a review copy.)