David Platt's Radical was one of those rare books that catapults a first-time author straight to top of the charts. For two years it was a fixture on the lists of bestsellers and even today it remains a top seller in the Christian ranks. Radical was a call for Christians to escape the doldrums of the American dream and to live for something better, something that counts for far more. Books with this message are hardly a rarity today, but what set this one apart was its grounding in the good news of the gospel.
Almost three years later Platt brings us his follow-up, Follow Me. Where in Radical he exposed cultural values and ideas that are opposed to the gospel, his purpose in Follow Me is "to move from what we let go of to whom he hold on to. I want to explore not only the gravity of what we must forsake in this world, but also the greatness of the one we follow in this world. I want to expose what it means to die to ourselves and to live in Christ." He says
I am convinced that when we take a serious look at what Jesus really meant when he said, "Follow me," we will discover that there is far more pleasure to be experienced in him, indescribably greater power to be realized with him, and a much higher purpose to be accomplished for him than anything else this world has to offer. And as a result, we will all--every single Christian--eagerly, willingly, and gladly lose our lives to know and proclaim Christ, for this is simply what it means to follow him.
The fact is that there are multitudes of people who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who are not truly his followers. Platt wants his readers to be radical in their Christian commitment, but he wants them to ensure they have left behind the trappings of superficial religion for the joy of supernatural regeneration. He wants his readers to know that as we follow Christ, "he transforms our minds, our desires, our wills, our relationships, and our ultimate reason for living." Once Christians have been transformed, they will inevitably begin to multiply, to make more disciples, both in their local context and across the planet. As with Radical, Platt's particular concern is that North American Christians shake off their apathy and desire for comfort and take the gospel to the far corners of the earth. The call to follow Christ is a call to go wherever the gospel has not yet been preached.
Follow Me is essentially a brief theology of Christian living and mission, extending from the response to the gospel's call to being the one to then extend that call to others. So many books of this kind come from outside of our theological stream, and it is almost as if we need to translate or contextualize them. Platt's, though, is consistently biblical and gospel-centered in the best sense of that term. He does not introduce anything new or, dare I say it, radical to the equation (which I say as praise, not critique). He does not try to be clever or witty or original. He just teaches what the Bible teaches.
The book concludes with a "Personal Disciple-Making Plan." Using a question and answer format Platt leads the reader to consider a plan to grow as a Christian and to make disciples. Here he addresses one of the critiques that came in the wake of Radical, that he had not given sufficient emphasis to the centrality of the local church in the Christian's life. He has the reader ask:
How will I fill my mind with truth?
How will I fuel my affections for God?
How will I share God's love as a witness in the world?
How will I show God's love as a member of a church?
How will I spread God's glory among all peoples?
How will I make disciple makers among a few people?
He expands upon each of these questions and in doing so provides a helpful grid for living this life in a way that honors the Lord.
It sometimes seems as if books on a particular topic arrive in waves, and I suppose this is probably just the case. One bestseller may expose a lack of writing on a topic and many other authors respond. There have been several recent books that have a good measure of overlap with this one, emphasizing true conversion over cultural Christianity and emphasizing the importance of discipleship (Francis Chan's Multiply comes to mind, as does J.D. Greear's Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart). Still, this one is worth reading and worth handing out.
Though I would suggest that Follow Me is an objectively better book than Radical, my guess is that it will not sell as well. There is something about the call to be radical that appeals to us more than the call to simply follow. Yet this is the one I would prefer to hand out and the one I would prefer to have people read. It may not hold out the excitement and anticipation of doing something radical, but it does something far better and far more lasting than that--it calls us to follow Christ, to lose our lives for his sake. As Platt says, it is a call to die and a call to live. It is a call to die in order to really live.
on May 16, 2013
Follow Me by David Platt [Book Review]
What is it about David Platt's writing that allows him to turn, the "Pick up your cross and follow me," of Jesus' teachings into a national best seller? (I'm suspicious...) Or, to play the cynic, does he lure people in with an intriguing, difficult message and then deflate the call to follow, or completely toss the message aside?
Kudos to David Platt for sparking a healthy critique of the church; moderate examination is always a sign of health. One thing *Follow Me* strongly accomplished was encouraging the question, "Is my experience of Christianity the full picture of what Jesus brings?"
*Follow Me* amplifies this healthy critique from Platt's earlier nationally resonant book, *Radical*. In *Follow Me*, Platt writes to reveal the who and how of "radical" Christian living.
In my reading, I discovered three healthy things and four unhealthy things from *Follow Me*.
* *Follow Me* brings the question: "Isn't there supposed to be more than reading my Bible, going to church, and talking to people about Jesus? Jesus seems to ask more..."
* Platt spells out the reality and origin of God causing new life to take root within us (p. 18); he illustrates that people who come face to face with Jesus *do* experience change and their lives are called into something different from their surroundings. This is the sanctifying work of grace.
* *Follow Me* spells out the necessity of repentance and grace in our world (p.20), even though I think he missed the mark that God isn't out to do something impressive or worthy of glory, but rather that it's simply God's nature to dive head-first into the brokenness (theology of Glory vs theology of the cross).
On the point of grace, when writing about the end-goal of grace, I believe Platt misses that grace isn't about getting us to heaven, but about God bringing his justice into our world to make all things new, including you and me.
"If you and I know and believe that Jesus came to save us from hell for heaven, then we have no choice but to spend our lives on earth making that salvation known." (p.87)
[There's no doubt that all who rely by grace through faith on the person of Jesus will forever and for always be in the loving presence of God; but there's also no biblical doubt that the goal isn't to "get out" of earth but rather enflesh God's work of justice and mercy as we work and pray, "Your kingdom come..."]
Here are the elements of *Follow Me* that I felt missed the mark:
* For a book about following Jesus, there was very little Jesus of the Gospels; Platt provided little *Gospel narrative* clarity on who you were going to follow, and what it looks like from a Gospels-perspective to follow. Readers were inundated with the necessity substitutionary atonement theory and the old evangelical adage: "Because Jesus did that, you should just follow, just follow."
* *Follow Me* had no connection of Jesus or discipleship to the present reign of God (which Mark's Gospel explicitly states is "the Gospel", Mark 1:15). As I wrote above, Platt's starting point is a handful of preconceived doctrines (albeit biblical) rather than a biblical, Gospel narrative. He uses doctrinal bullet points rather than the story of Jesus to try to speak about discipleship.
* There was very little direction for *ordinary* discipleship; Platt's litter of extraordinary missionary stories was deflating and felt grandiose (almost boastful). Plus, such adventures are markedly different than incarnational moving in with a people to share in the Gospel as a way of life, rather than the Gospel as a package to deliver.
* Platt concludes *Follow Me* by inviting the reader into a very personal, though personally shared with others who are also on their personal faith journey, "following" program of: reading your Bible more, going to church more, and evangelizing more, with an ending caveat to encourage others to be disciples (of which Platt focuses little attention in his book).
Platt's conclusion, by my deduction, is that when people ask the above, "Isn't there more..." he says, "No, not really."
But can you blame him? He's excelled at drawing people into a large megachurch in Alabama; what Platt does well is getting people to do the normal church thing. Why would he want to critique that legacy and impressive success (by some standards) and say, "I think we've missed something..." There's a lot of risk for him in that.
**My final thoughts:**
Platt does provide the gift of a great question in *Follow Me* as he invites people to entertain the thought that discipleship is missing in a lot of the church today. But, I don't feel Platt's answers take us in the best direction; while his examples are helpful and sentimental at times, I don't think we can provide a healthy path of Christian discipleship if our noses aren't buried in the Gospel stories and from that experience asking with people in our community, "How do we live this life that Jesus came to bring?" ...all this of course starts with the gracious embrace of God, which is what Platt tried hard to underscore.
My feel is that this book only makes sense for a comfortable audience who knows little of brokenness on the systemic level and who is numb to identity behind the national capital system and this is sent searching for a greater brand for fulfillment. You don't read this book in an inner city church for a church study, you'd be ashamed to bring it up, mostly because Platt all but ignores the "good news" of God's gracious justice which intends to restore all things.
Finally, discipleship and dying to self from Platt felt like a self makeover and augmentation as Platt writes not about the loss of self but the enlargement of self as self discovers through Platt's book how to become part of the greatness and find fulfillment in the completion of self.
So, where would I point you if I wouldn't recommend *Follow Me*?
* Read the Four Gospels
* Read Bonhoeffer's *The Cost of Discipleship* (I'm baffled at how Platt wrote a modern book on discipleship with only one mention to Bonhoeffer's *Discipleship*)
* Read Dallas Willard's *The Great Omission* or *The Divine Conspiracy*.
* Read this hidden treasure with the same title as Platt's book: *Follow Me* by Luke Kammrath.
on February 8, 2013
This is the best book I've read on basic Christianity in years. For a pastor to write what he has written (and what Francis Chan wrote in the Foreword) heartens me in my deep. I believe every elder of every church and every trustee of every Christian school should read this book--and heed its message.
Given that I've spent most of my adult life working as a seminary professor, I couldn't wait to find out if David Platt went to seminary himself. Lo and behold, he did. He has an earned Ph.D from a seminary, and it shows. His theology is excellent. He does not promote a works righteousness theology; he promotes what the apostle Paul promotes--the obedience of faith. He is so truthful that he even tells his readers that if their pastors aren't teaching AND modeling biblical Christianity, then their pastors lack legitimate authority. That's not a Baptist thing to say, that's a Christian thing to say. Few are the professing Christians who will admit that authority isn't legitimized by virtue of a person's position in an organization.
Authority in Christ is a totally different thing than positional authority in a religious organization that claims to be Christian but whose top leaders do not model repentance. It's one thing to admit sin in a political way and a whole different ballgame to repent from sin in humility by making restitution. The gospel calls for repentance, even though our repentance is not what saves us. We're saved by grace. We're saved by the blood of Jesus. Platt says it well in his remark that many have exchanged the blood of Christ for the "Kool Aid" that people drink when they go with the flow of the politics and take the easy way out and just keep on sinning as if grace issues us a license to sin without genuine remorse. That's my rephrase of Platt's statement, but it's his phrase to contrast the blood of Christ with Kool Aid.
There are so many truthful things highlighted in this book that I find myself both praising God that this book is selling well and praying for all of us readers, including Platt himself, to live it out. It's time for a Fourth Great Awakening in America, and I think this book, John Piper's _Risk Is Right_, and Dallas Willard's _ Knowing Christ Today_ are three books that can help revitalize the church in America. Cultural Christianity has displaced biblical Christianity in many evangelical communities. Thus Platt's book, _Follow Me- , which is akin to Bonhoeffer's _The Cost of Discipleship_, is timely and so needed right now.
The whole point of his book is to mobilize disciple-makers, to motivate all of us to be like the apostle Paul and make it our whole life purpose to follow Jesus and make disciples regardless of the size of our sphere of influence or what kind of work we do. Platt's language is confrontational, yet he speaks with such a good tone. He is not preachy or self-righteous. He's just honest. There is nothing legalistic or grandiose about his approach to explaining the Great Commission. He just lays it out in a way that is faithfully reflective of the Scriptures.
If you're tired of people playing church, or you're feeling empty due to your "success" in Christian professionalism, or you're longing for revival in America, or if you want to stoke or restoke the flames of your passion for disciple-making, then read this book. And if you're serious about following Jesus, then put into action Matthew 18:15-17 as David Platt describes, echoing Jesus. Because as Platt says so clearly, in a true Christian community, sin is dealt with "simply, openly, and severely."
Again, Platt doesn't say that legalistically, he says it biblically--noting that sin is dealt with, so that we can effectively repent from it more and more and more. And so that we will marvel at God's grace and be all the more resolved to follow Jesus, enduring the pain that comes with that, and entering into His joy, and sharing the gospel with others in our excitement.
on July 19, 2014
Francis Chan wrote the introduction to "Follow Me," which David Platt obviously endorses. The first three lines of Chan's introduction he tells of all the wonderful things he did. But according to him, that was not enough. No, he needed to move to Asia. So, he sold everything and took his family to Asia. With credentials like this who could not believe him? I read Platt's other book "Radical." In that book as well as this one his examples are far too lofty for any normal person to "Follow." We are all supposed to make disciples, but in his book, how to talk to my neighbor is nearly nonexistent. And even worse, there is no definition of the term "make disciples." Therefore, if one wants to make disciples, do what he did and sell all that you have and go to China.
Chan and Platt are also good at guilt trips. On page XV of the introduction, he points out the large number of conversions in the first chapters of Acts. But what he does not realize is that most of those conversions were Jews who were true believers in God through the Old Testament. So they were already believers and they just needed instruction in the new "Way." He also reminds us that if we aren't making disciples the "King will one day return as Judge." But Romans 14:3-4 has a different tone. As I read the New Testament, there is very little said about making disciples. In fact, I am truly amazed at how little is taught in the epistles. Not that making disciples isn't important, but there are other topics that are addressed far beyond making disciples.
On page 1 Platt quotes Jesus when He said "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Platt then points out that they followed as if they fully understood what they were getting into. The he indicates that the men who follow would loose their "professions" this would have been fishing, "possessions" a fishing boat, "dreams" a big catch, "ambitions, family, friends, safety, and security." But a carful reading of the Gospels indicates that they were selfishly trying to work there way to the top of Christ's earthly kingdom (Mark 10:35). When they followed Jesus they thought they were headed for fame and fortune. They thought Jesus would overthrow the Romans, and they would reign with him in an earthly kingdom. (Then Platt back peddles on page 11 and states that Peter wanted a "Christ without a cross") Even in Acts 1:6 and after the resurrection they were still hoping for the earthly kingdom so that they could reign with power. It wasn't until the Holy Spirit came that they only began to understand why Christ came to earth. So I ask, does the end justify the means when he distorts the Scriptures and indicates that the disciples understood what Christ wanted while they were standing on the shore and Jesus said "Follow me?" Actually, the disciples resisted going into the entire world throughout the book of Acts. And it wasn't until Acts 8 that persecution drove the disciples out of Jerusalem. They did not march out willingly as Platt would have us believe.
On page 6 Platt tells about a man who, in prayer, asked Jesus "to save me from my sin." Platt goes on to explain that to "ask Jesus to save us from our sin" is false teaching. He goes on to explain that the way of salvation is to "follow him," but Platt's example "to follow him" is to go to China. This is clearly a works salvation. But the Bible says this in Romans 10:13, "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Then on page 118 he back peddles again and says that the "sinners prayer" is "not inherently wrong."
On page 23 Platt describes a fully mature totally dedicated Christian who completely understands all of the biblical teachings that come from a life long walk with Christ, and then he calls this the way of salvation. This to me is the primary fault of Platt. He has the "cart before the horse." No one can become even slightly mature without asking Jesus to "save us from our sins." Salvation is an act of believing God's word (Romans 4) and then maturing in Christ is a life long process. Platt on the other hand says "Your relationship with Jesus and your status before God are not based on a decision you made..."
On page 30 there is a discussion of the severity of God's punishment. But what Platt does not understand is that those who were punished were punished because they witnessed first hand the power of God and then refused to believe it. The man who was punished for picking up sticks had witnessed the Glory of God on Mt. Sinai. His disobedience was punished because he saw first hand the power of God and then directly disobeyed the command. (Just as when a child directly disobeys his mother, he or she is punished most severely.) But Platt is not the only one who makes this theological blunder; there are many other Christian leaders who make the same mistake.
The title of Chapter 4 is "Don't Make Jesus Lord and Savior of Your Life." He goes on to say that this is a "dangerous trend in contemporary Christianity." Platt seems to think that making radical statements like this that people will listen to him. But does it make sense and most important is it biblical? He makes the statement that "making Jesus Lord" is somehow our allowing Jesus to put on the crown of the Universe. But to make Jesus Lord of your life isn't to make him Lord of the Universe. It is to biblically submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
On page 144 Platt talks about one of his disciples. He is a college graduate, a successful business man, he prays for two hours at a time with the person he is discipling, he regularly fasts, he travels overseas to witness the world's distress, and he donates much of his wealth to feed the hungry and make disciples. On page 147 Platt then admits that not every disciple should look like this. But examples like this are all he gives.
On page 79, Platt would lead us to believe that we should take everything Jesus said as literal, but neither Jesus nor his disciples took all of his sayings as literal. For instance, Jesus said in Mark 8:34, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." The literal command was to go to the lumberyard, buy lumber, build a cross and carry it everywhere they went as they followed Jesus. They did not do this and Jesus did not expect them to do it. If this is a figure of speech, and it is, it is up to each individual Christian to decide what it means to him or her to "carry his cross"--not Platt.
On page 158, Platt says that the man in 1Corinthians 5:1 is sleeping with his mother, but the text actually reads "his father's wife." This could be his mother but to be exact he needs to quote the Bible as it is. So this could and probably is his step mother.
So I ask, is it okay to twist Scripture to make people feel guilty so that they somehow become better Christians?
on February 11, 2013
With this work Platt offers greater clarity about his theological tradition and approach toward Christianity. Where "Radical" aimed to shock and shake up the consumer driven American evangelical church, "Follow Me" offers a more systematic approach to his biblical theology, his view of the church, as well as individual Christian responsibility.
In short, he offers a more classically Reformed (Calvinistic) approach to understanding the Scriptures, while taking on the long standing Arminian (Baptist) misnomer of a "sinner's prayer," even calling such prayers "unbiblical" and "manipulative." This is fascinating since Platt is a Baptist pastor. He repeatedly asserts that salvation is much more than simply having the right idea about God and "is always based on Christ's work, not ours," where "Our assurance of salvation is not found in a prayer we prayed or a decision we made however many years ago." (p.189).
Platt does a wonderful job of putting the scriptures in front of the reader. But what is becoming apparent (at least from my outsider Lutheran perspective) is that Platt seems to be solidifying himself more formally with the "New Calvinist" movement even while remaining in the Southern Baptist Convention.
To be honest, I enjoyed this read far more than I did Radical, and greatly appreciate the earnest desire that Platt has for disciples of Jesus to make more disciples of Jesus. Platt is apt at having his readers (Christians) wrestle with the words and commands of Christ, which is a good thing. However, I do have a significant concern with this book. Though I would be willing to recommend the book to others for his approach on the unhelpful nature of the "sinner's prayer," I would still not be able to completely endorse it as an adequate view of grace and salvation.
What becomes clear is that Platt follows the Reformed opinion that though Jesus saves by grace through faith, he only saves if obedience to Jesus can be observed and seen in the Christian's life. (Perhaps even aiming to quantify and qualify authentic saving faith by specific behaviors, most notably, making other disciples?) In other words, the fruit of faith must be shown if one wants to be considered an "authentic" and "true" follower of Jesus. And if such behaviors (obedience) are not there, then faith is not there and the person is in fact not saved. This is very dangerous territory to tread and ironically, in my opinion, undermines the grace of God in Christ he so diligently set out to defend.
To be sure, showing fruit of the faith is part and parcel with following Jesus, but trying to qualify and or quantify those behaviors (fruit), along with his treatment of sin and its effects upon believers is, from my perspective, too simplistic and shortsighted. The picture he chooses to paint tends to be far too idealistic and simply not realistic about the battles and afflictions sinners face and endure. Yes, life in Christ is beautiful, but his depiction of how he thinks it is supposed to be for every believer only heaps guilt upon those who cannot sense that beauty. It would not be a book for the struggling as it would only drive them into deeper doubts about their faith and lack of obedience, which, at that point, from my perspective, suggests he might be missing the heart of what "grace" is all about.
on February 5, 2013
This book won't disappoint. Platt dismantles many Christian cliches and calls you to examine scripture to see what God is truly calling us to do. It's not just one of those books that makes you question your faith, but it instead shows you what a true faith in Christ can lead into. Definitely a book for all Christians looking to strengthen their faith with Biblical truths
on June 7, 2015
I have lost count of how many people I know who have read this book and have been led astray into a works based salvation gospel, a gospel that the Apostle Paul says is no gospel at all.
It is impossible to tell who he is talking to in this book. On one page it seems like he is talking to unbelievers on how to be saved, and on the next page it appears as though he is talking to believers on how to live a good Christian life. He lumps the two together (Justification and Sanctification) to create a very confusing works based salvation message that allows for no assurance of salvation.
Believers and unbelievers need to hear 2 very different things. Unbelievers need to hear how to receive eternal life which is by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from works (John 3:16, Acts 16:30-3-31, Ephesians 2:8-9). Believers need to hear how to live a life that is more Christ like and need to know about how to trust the spirit to help them overcome their struggles with sin. They need to hear how to grow in their walk with Christ.
This author doesn't specify which he is talking to and it will lead people astray
on February 12, 2013
A review on a book by David Platt needs no special introduction. It can be assumed that when a reader closes the back cover of a book by Platt after the first read through that reader must be prepared for a paradigm shift. Right now the small group that my family participates in at Church is reading through Platt's second work, Radical Together. This past Saturday's meeting ended with us praying about how to be more globally minded as a small group and how to better care for our missionaries that we support. These convictions stemmed from Platt's exhortation in Radical Together. Platt understands how to lovingly challenge people to more fully align their doctrine and practice with God's plan for His people.
One might describe Follow Me as being a culmination of Platt's perspective on salvation, discipleship, and missions. In this book the reader hears echoes from both Radical and Radical Together, yet with a greater crescendo as a tympani might in a basketball gymnasium. The difference between these two former works of Platt's and Follow me is best described in his own words. "The purpose of this next book is to take the next step. I want to move from what we let go of to whom we hold on to (Platt, 4)." Namely, we are called in this book to follow Christ.
Platt does not wish to confuse anyone, though I think some have been confused in spite of his intentional clarity in both Radical and Radical Together. Platt is not offering a social gospel. He is offering the true gospel exhibited with evidencing fruit. He writes, "Now I want to be very careful here, because we could begin to twist the gospel into something it's not. Jesus is not saying that our works are the basis for our salvation. The grace of God is the only basis of our salvation...If our lives do not reflect the fruit of following Jesus, then we are foolish to think that we are actually followers of Jesus in the first place (Platt, 16)."
Later Platt gives priority not to our faithfulness in God, but to God's faithfulness to us. He says, "Christianity does not begin with our pursuit of Christ, but with Christ's pursuit of us. Christianity does not start with an invitation we offer to Jesus but with an invitation Jesus offers to us (Platt, 29)." David clearly lines out how marvelous it is that God came to us in our need. He pursues and reveals Himself to sinners who lack the ability to turn to Him. Platt argues for a view of justification that emphasizes God's sovereignty in the tradition of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. Platt's greatest fear is that thousands of proposed "followers" of Christ have actually been deceived because they might have prayed a prayer when God Himself did not actually reveal Himself to them. Platt encourages each person to test, examine, and look for fruit. This is the biblical way of establishing confidence and assurance of salvation. He writes, "This is the heart of Jesus' call to follow him. When you become a Christian, you dies, and Jesus becomes your life (Platt, 65)."
From this premise, Platt is careful to dispel the clichéd phrases such as "praying a prayer" or "making Jesus our personal Lord and Savior." The clear expectation from Scripture is not a picture of cheap grace but of a whole-hearted pursuit of God's mission for His people to make disciples. We go not because He is our personal Lord and Savior but because we wish to obey Him by proclaiming Him as the universal Lord and Savior. In support of this thesis, Platt encourages followers of Christ to evaluate their commitment to Christ. Is it as great as His commitment to them? Do they recognize what it truly means to be adopted by God? Do they understand that when God adopts, it's because He truly loves and wants them as His own? He delights in His children. Our response ought to be delight in Him! Platt shares, "Surely this delight is not designed to be one-sided though. While I find great joy in my children, I trust that my children find great joy in their dad, as well (Platt, 104)." Platt encourages us to consider our hearts. Do we desire God's Word? Do we crave communion with Him? Do we delight in every discipline? Do we enjoy God as our Father?
After exploring our relationship with God, Platt explores God's will for our lives and His function for us in His body. Essentially, God's will for His followers is to make more followers of His will. We do this as we function in a local church context that globally seeks out more followers of Christ. In the process of explaining all of this, Platt puts forth a noble argument for Church discipline that raises the bar for Churches and challenges them to strive to reach that bar. As he explains the second time Christ uses the term "church" in Matthew 18, he explains that discipline in the church is a fundamental and essential trait of the church. He says, "Church discipline is not supplemental for Christians; it's fundamental. Church discipline is not optional; it is essential (Platt, 155)." This observation flies in the face of how most churches function. Discipline is a function most leaders and churches avoid or flee from, rather than fully and lovingly embrace as they call sinners to repent. This is a valuable side-note in Chapter 7 of Follow Me.
Yet, emphasis should be given to the core function of the church to make followers of Christ. Platt devotes much of this chapter for outlining the importance of a church functioning as one local body to create more local bodies of the church. Disciple-making is not an individual sport, it's a team effort. Platt observes, "But the message of God's Word is that God's glory is most majestically displayed not through you, or through me, but through us." The church must lock arms together to expand the church. This is an effort to develop a global church with the great commission in mind. We are to make disciples of all people groups. This requires the church to reach six-thousand unreached people groups. Platt gives a measure of urgency and a glimmer of hope as he calls followers of Christ to make followers of Christ. This is not a mission relegated to the trained professional we call Pastors but to every follower of Christ. He says, "But what might happen if students, singles, couples, families, and senior adults took their gifts, skills, passions, and training and fanned out among the nations for the sake of God's fame? Might we see the accomplishment of the great commission - disciples made and churches multiplied in every nation - in our day (Platt, 199)?"
Platt concludes Follow Me by offering an excellent resource, a personal disciple making plan, where he challenges readers with a very important question, "Do you desire to reproduce?" This is the critical question that has been asked in so many ways throughout the book. If you seriously claim to follow Christ, then do so by reproducing followers of Christ. Our role is to multiply people of the Kingdom.
Follow Me is a critical book offered at a critical time in the history of American Evangelicalism. This is the message that comfortable Christianity needs to hear to shock it out of its apathy. We need the urgency that Follow Me brings with the gentle correction and humble presentation that this book offers. I can see this book becoming a first read for new followers of Christ. It provides a blueprint for embracing the call of Christ, which is a call to die and a call to live.
Purchase Follow Me from Amazon here.* You are reading this review because Tyndale offered me this book in exchange for an honest review. Read more reviews by Joey Cochran at [...]
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on November 11, 2015
This is the first book by David Platt that I have read, although his renown precedes him. I want to stress that theologically I really agree with 95% or more of the content of this book. But it is that pesky 5% that often occurs in absolute statements about what makes a christian that I take umbrage with. It's not that he's entirely incorrect about statements about how christians should have a passionate emotional response to what Christ has done for us and what he is doing in us. But I find that Platt often goes perhaps too far by making absolute statements (outright or subtextually) that infer you MUST have a passionate emotional experience in order to be a christian. It's that subtextual or outright message that I disagree with. Should a Christian exhibit these features? Yes. Does devotion to the Lord need to be fiercely preached in today's pluralistic "anything goes" christianity? Yes. But saying you have to do something in order to be saved, if that thing is extra-biblical (i.e Platt's idea not God's idea written for us in the word) is potentially incorrect.
So I say all of this under the umbrella that many members of the church need to be spurred on to a greater devotion and faith to the Lord, and that perhaps many of us do need to consider if we are indeed his.
But ultimately it is the Lord whom we must obey and not David Platt, and there are just a few too many statements incorrectly put in this book so as to lead some to have the idea that extra biblical requirements are due to have a relationship with God. I believe Platt would agree with me about this stipulation, and he does point out at times the exceptions to his "rule" like statements. None the less he frequently follows it up with these absolute statements that don't leave any space for people who know the Lord but are imperfect. It's often all or nothing. These are things we should all aim for, but they are not requirements for salvation per se.
Platt does promote many great ideas about devoting ourselves to the Lord, being passionate to committing our lives to God, and spreading the Gospel world wide.
Overall it's worth a read, but I'd read it with the knowledge that your faith is between you and God, not you and David Platt.
on August 24, 2013
I love David Platt's first major hit book, "Radical". His writing style was so concise and took the words of Christ at their most literal interpretation, which is rare in today's Christian culture. As great as the writing was, the message behind it was even better and changed my life.
I pre-ordered "Follow Me" as soon as I heard it was going to be released.
Like many others, I agree that the intention of this book is good. It is extremely important that as spiritually healthy Christians, the point of our lives is to die to Christ and be a vessel of evangelism to others.
Unfortunately, from a writing stand point this book is filled with a painfully large amount of fluff. I would read almost every chapter only to realize that the point of the entire section was summarized in one sentence in the first paragraph. The rest of the chapter then was filled with rephrasing the same thing, or adding his own personal convictions.
This leads me to the content. Again, I love Platt's literal and unsoftened interpretation of the Bible. Unfortunately, with this book, a great deal of his passages are snippets of verses to make his point relevant, without fully explaining the context. That is dangerous for a pastor that has so many people reading his words. Second, as much as he claims that he does not believe that people can lose their salvation and/or that salvation is not based on words, everything else he says in the book strikes me as the exact opposite. Certaintly, as Christians our lives are to give our will's up to Christ, and evangelize. In his book, however, Platt keeps repeating over and over that if you are not constantly pursuing evangelism you are not a Christian, which I do not believe is even remotely biblical. Even as a viewpoint that is different than mine, his argument that you don't truly believe in Christ if you don't perfectly execute these things is very weakly presented.
Overall, the intention of the author and his message seems to be a great message to supercharge complacent Christians and churches to fulfill God's will for us. As an author and theologian, though, this is definitely the last book of Platt's I will read.