165 of 203 people found the following review helpful
Kernals of truth surrounded by a shell of guilt,
This review is from: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Paperback)
It's hard to review this book. There is much to recommend about this book, especially for mature believers in Christ. However, I would have to say that I didn't really like this book and can't recommend it to read.
The authors beginning premise that American Christians have become too materialistic is correct. I cringe to see these multi-million dollar churches go up when I see homeless people sleeping on the street. I was so glad when our church decided not to go that route, but instead renovate an older building instead. I also appreciate the work of those that are called to go overseas or work in all kinds of full-time Christian ministry.
What I'm concerned about with this book is the attitude of "this is what God's call me to do, so everyone must do it." I found the same attitude in Shane Claiborne's books. The bulk of this book is about the author's journeys to dangerous places and how his own church occasionally puts off creature comforts to do church. Wonderful! Glad to see God doing these wonderful things. But why must the author make the rest of us feel guilty for not doing these things? The author pastors a large metropolitan church and has the resources to write and have a book publish. He can afford to take months away from his American home and minister overseas. However, this is not true of everyone. Some of us cannot leave our homes because we need to work everyday to support our families and (yes) those in full time Christian ministry.
On a personal note, I've long struggled with working in my little grey cube. I don't know why God hasn't made me rich enough to travel the world, having adventures while I evangelize to the far corners. Actually I do know one reason why, because I'd probably be puffed up with my pride. Maybe the greatest sacrifice I can make is not going overseas, but in learning to share Christ here at home. And one thing that encourages me (though I still get bored with my 9-5 job) is that the (admittedly too small) amount of money I can give to those in full time ministry is spreading the Word around the world.
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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 14, 2010 6:37:59 PM PDT
B. Davis says:
This is probably the most accurate review available for this book. I mean, this is exactly what I would write if I were to write a review. There are some things in there where he hits the nail right on the head, and it's great that he's doing what he's doing, but in his attempt to be "radical" he ends up seeming like he wants to send everyone who reads this on some major guilt-trip for not pursuing missions in China or for having nice things.
Posted on Jul 7, 2010 11:10:07 AM PDT
Why can't we get really introspective and feel guilty anymore? Why can't we be pushed about the comfort level we have? I don't see a guilt trip to go do what Platt does specifically, but I do see a real plea to do SOMETHING, and the honest truth is that few "Christians" do ANYTHING, or do the bare minimum to free their conscience. Go look at Stetzer, Barna, Pew Forum, and see the statistics. We probably SHOULD feel guilty!
The trap is to turn the guilt or burden to move past our complacency (we all have some level of complacency) into a new way to earn God's love, and I think Platt makes it VERY clear that is not the way to go, but rather find a hunger and yearning to sacrifice more because of Christ's sacrifice for us.
You don't have to travel the world like Platt did. Most of us don't. Most of us have VERY radical things we could do within 10 miles of our home. The problem is most of us aren't even doing that! I for one am willing to hear some rebuke if it might lead me closer to God and the things of God.
In regards to the personal ancedotes Platt uses, how else can he describe how God is leading him? If his stories of adventure are guilt-inducing, then I caution you against reading the book of Acts-- it's nothing but personal testimony of things the apostles and others did. Was Luke prideful? Was Paul prideful? Why do they get a pass for telling their personal stories but Platt is guilting you?
Posted on Jul 11, 2010 6:35:17 AM PDT
Dana Ashley says:
Troy, you have missed the point in so many ways. If you will listen to David's messages online, he addresses every concern you mention in his book. I know this is about a review of the book, but if you truly seek to dig deeper, truly surrender rather than just object to the Great Commission from a radical viewpoint, I challenge you open your heart to the possibility these truths are exactly where God wants us all to go - whether locally or globally. Please don't place this book on a shelf but prayerfully ask God for those answers.
Posted on Jul 12, 2010 6:29:51 PM PDT
Renee Van Druff says:
"The bulk of this book is about the author's journeys to dangerous places and how his own church occasionally puts off creature comforts to do church." HUH?! Did we even read the same book? The bulk of the book is about realizing that the TRUE gospel message and what it looks like to be a TRUE disciple of Christ are a lot different than what most American Christians have made it out to be. Instead of having a radical, risky, faith, we try to stay safe and comfortable and we MISS SO MUCH of what God wants for us!
David Platt talks much about making disciples in the community in which you live but also recommends giving a mere 2% (ONE WEEK) in a context outside your home city. This is a far cry from trying to convince every Christian that they need to take months away from home and families to evangelize to the far corners of the world. And truthfully if God tells us to "GO" in His word, then we just need to obey, drop our excuses and BELIEVE that HE is big enough to provide the means to make it happen.
Posted on Jul 15, 2010 10:24:22 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 10, 2011 3:22:14 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 11, 2010 7:14:51 AM PDT
Have you actually read the book? Listened to Platt preach? They cut their budget significantly. They had a rainy day fund at nearly $750,000 and GAVE it away to help villages in India. People in the church are scaling back lifestyles, moving to smaller homes, and changing career paths to serve more.
Platt certainly does not represent mainstream Evangelicalism-- who else is saying what he's saying?
The church was mega BEFORE Platt took it over. Are you saying he should disband the church?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2010 7:32:53 PM PDT
David Mullens says:
Actually the bad reviews really don't matter. What matters is listening to God, following Jesus, and making a difference in the place God has placed us. Yes, in America we have nice things. Is it so hard to believe that God might be calling us out of our "Dreams" (as in American) and be someone's answer to prayer? What kind of difference can we make to those who have almost nothing by giving up some of our nice things we don't want to let go of?
When I was a kid there was a banner in our church that said "Live Simply so others can simply life." I know today that is probably a cliche, but when I was a kid it really caused me to realize that I might be able to help others live by doing without some of the nice things I wanted.
Posted on Sep 16, 2010 7:45:00 PM PDT
Is there a difference between conviction and guilt? Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corith 7: 10 God brings conviction so our hearts can be changed, when we agree with him it leads to life and we have no regrets. The book is not about what we have or don't have but is our heart aligned with the heart of Jesus and his purposes for our lives. Our culture overwhelms us and we forget why we even exist. We don't exist to serve ourselves but to be in relationship with our creator, to hear and obey what he asks of us. Whats not radical about the book is that we as Christs followers should have such a great love for our Savior that we have an overwhelming desire to know and study his Word, to be in relationship with him in prayer, to care about all those around us who are going to Hell simply b/c we won't share the gospel, to see and realize that people around the world that God loves are dying everyday because we do nothing. We need to wake up and ask God to empower us to do his work in this world. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked Luke 12:48. We in America are among those who have been given much.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2010 6:38:35 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 10, 2011 3:22:37 PM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2010 9:12:13 AM PST
Gary Bisaga says:
I haven't read the whole book, only parts of it from the Amazon page, but what I have read so far tells me that you are spot-on. My own comment to a friend (before I read your review) was:
I agree with a lot of what he says - we are called to be radical in a certain sense, and western Christianity is too cozy with itself (although i disagree that it's a western thing, it's a lots-of-money thing) ... but i am not sure i agree with his definition of what "radical" means. from what i have read so far, it looks like "radical" means (a) taking the gospel to the ends of the earth (which he said and he's actually wrong, that's not what Jesus told each of us individually to do) and (b) doing it the way he does it. i think there are plenty of "authentic" ways to be "radical" but many of them involve living your life, raising your family, and ministering in your local community the way God has called you to. which may be different from what he calls radical but doesn't mean it's not.
There's a lot of that in the church today. Platt also gets his exegesis wrong - THE story of the Bible is NOT how God has poured out His grace on mankind. Talk about a man-centered understanding of the Bible! THE story of the Bible is God's glory. If somebody thinks this is a niggling difference, in my view that just shows their own un-self-examined, man-centered theology. Sure, an important part of God's glory is his grace and mercy ... and I thank Him for that ... but equally important is His wrath and justice. If you don't understand both sides of the issue, you'll naturally read the Bible wrongly.