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Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God Paperback – April 19, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Addressing evangelical Christian leaders and members, mega-church pastor and author Platt (Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream) espouses six "essential ideas" to accomplish the title goal. For example, in "The Tyranny of the Good," Platt urges individuals and congregations to prayerfully review budgets, questioning everything--family homes and dreams, church programs, building projects,--with a willingness to sacrifice all "to accomplish the Great Commission," namely, to evangelize. Providing examples of individuals and churches who faithfully engage in this process, he describes his own congregation's embrace of community orphans needing foster care and adoption, as well as the work done by families undertaking missions in impoverished countries. Platt challenges affluent Christians to rethink devoting vast resources to providing entertaining experiences and lattes for seekers. With urgency, he calls leaders to equip lay Christians to spread the gospel to the six thousand "people groups" who risk "everlasting suffering in hell" because they have not heard about Jesus. While mainline and other non-evangelical Christians may dispute some of Platt's assumptions, his call for faithful allocation of resources and an empowered laity will resonate across the Christian spectrum. (Apr.)
New York Times bestseller
Response to Radical and Radical Together
“I love this book! Please read it. God is using David Platt to lead His church into much-needed reform. Radical Together is filled with tremendous insight from a man who loves Christ’s church. I don’t know of a church leader that I trust more.”
-Francis Chan, best-selling author of Crazy Love
“I have the privilege of knowing David Platt, and I assure you that his life and ministry commend what he has written here. Read Radical Together. Like the right medicine, it may be more helpful than comfortable. In fact, my prayer is that it may be an explosion, shifting many churches from centering wrongly on ourselves to centering rightly on Christ and his agenda for us—and for his world.”
-Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington D.C.
“Radical caused many Christians to be shaken and to reevaluate their lives. Radical Together will do the same for our churches. Radical Together is such a clarion call for churches across the world to follow the clear teachings of the Word that I began to pray that this book would indeed move thousands of churches to become more biblically radical. Many churches and Christians will never be the same again after reading this book and following its biblical precepts.”
-Thom Rainer, President and CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources, and coauthor of The Millenials and Simple Church
“David Platt challenges Christians to wake up, trade in false values rooted in the American dream, and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose—to make Christ’s glory known to all nations! Radical is a must-read for every believer!”
-Wess Stafford, President and CEO, Compassion International
“Platt’s arguments…emerge at a post-excess moment, when attitudes toward material life are up for grabs. His book has struck a chord.”
-David Brooks, The New York Times
“Platt challenges affluent Christians to rethink devoting vast resources to providing entertaining experiences and lattes for seekers. His call for faithful allocation of resources and an empowered laity will resonate across the Christian spectrum.”
“What's significant about Platt's perspective is that it is coming from a solidly conservative voice in the evangelical mainstream.”
-Jonathan Merritt, The Huffington Post
“This book is a challenge for Christians to wake up, trade in their false ‘American dreams,’ and live a Christ-centered life.”
-Jay Peroni, CFP, Crosswalk.com
“[Platt is] biblical, straightforward, brutally honest, and writes a powerful narrative as he sets out to discover what Jesus really taught to first century followers.”
-Matthew Robbins, TheChristianManifesto.com
“Throughout the book, Platt exposes the indifference of American evangelicals. It was hard for me to put the book down, though I can't say that I enjoyed it. I was convicted. I was uncomfortable. But mostly I was (and am) challenged. Challenged to live a life that looks more like that of a true follower of Christ.”
-John Bird, DiscerningReader.com
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He writes with a clear perspective of living a RADICAL faith, of actually living out Matthew 28:19-20 ("Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.")
His foundation for his challenge is that many in America have decided to settle for the Jesus they are comfortable with, a watered down New Testament prophet, and thus we have become grossly complacent, perhaps neglectful, in fulfilling the Great Commission.
IT IS A GREAT SMALL GROUP STUDY!
It's a book that is hard to put down.
After reading this book, follow it with his "Follow Me"
1. Replacing Good with Best
In the first chapter Platt explains how churches in America, and around the world, have a tendency to get caught up doing good things for God while sacrificing the most important thing God wants us to be doing. By clinging to buildings, worship styles, and personal preferences we begin to build our own idols, call the church, and begin to distract ourselves from what the God of the universe has for us.
"We begin to discover our dangerous tendency to value our traditions over God's truth, just as Jesus warned. We find ourselves defending a program because that's what God has said to do now. We realize how prone we are to exalt our work over God's will, our dreams over God's desires, and our plans over God's priorities." ~David Platt
Platt doesn't simply preach truth. In this first chapter he shows how his church was humbled, and driven by God to give up on a church building project and to submit that dream to God's dream. He writes:
"Our staff had already been frugal, and we had saved more than $500,000 for the future. But James caused us to realize that we had brothers and sisters around the world who already needed it. So we decided to give it all away - specifically through partnerships in India, where 41 percent of the world's poor live." ~David Platt
When we begin to desire to live radically, not simply as individuals, but as a corporate body, we are called to replace our vision with God's vision. When we give up our plans for the church, we may discover that His plan for His church is, indeed, radically different than our own!
2. Freed to Work, not Working to be Freed
In chapter two Platt deals directly with a problem that will inevitably arise in churches when some people start living radically for all the wrong reasons. Oftentimes when we start talking about doing great things to bring God glory, we start talking about all that WE will do FOR Him. Platt explains that the Gospel of God will accomplish the work of God. We are not to work in order to be freed from sins but we are to work BECAUSE we've been freed from sin:
"We live sacrificially, not because we feel guilty, but because we have been loved greatly and now find satisfaction in sacrificial love for others. We live radically, not because we have to, but because we want to." ~David Platt
Again, Platt goes on to explain one example of how this happened in his church. As they were studying the book of James they were challenged to adopt. Not just Platt and his family, but his entire church was driven to adopt all the orphans in their county through their study of the Book of James.
"That night more than 160 families signed up to help with foster care and adoption in our county." ~David Platt
"Only people who are resting constantly in the righteousness of Christ will be able to risk it all wholeheartedly for the glory of Christ."
3. The Word Is Powerful
Many churches across the country well meaning Christians have felt the need to supplement the Word of God with their own words and gimmicks. Adding motivational talks, topical discussions, and an appealing atmosphere all in an effort to do what they believe the Bible no longer does: reach people. Platt has a different view:
"In short the Word of God accomplishes the work of God" ~David Platt
Platt rightly explains that it is a bit silly for created men, limited in strength and knowledge, to try to supplement the Word which was written by the uncreated, eternal, infinite, almighty, and all knowing God of the universe. To suggest that God somehow didn't account for future situations and life circumstances is a bit demeaning to the Almighty. God's Word needs to be the central motivating source of all that we do in God's Church. Pastors and church leaders need to seek God's plan for His church and not their plans for His church.
"The assumption is that God is somehow obligated to bless the plans we create." ~David Platt
God will bless His plans for His church. He has no obligation to bless your plans for His church.
4. Unleashing God's People
In chapter four David Platt reminds us that we're not called to bring the world to hear and watch professionals do the work of the ministry. We are called, as leaders, to send the people of God out into the world to do the work of the ministry. If our vision doesn't reach beyond ourselves, our organization, and our community, it isn't the plan of God. The plan of God is to reach all nations.
"What this means, then, is that church leaders are intended by God not to plan events but to equip people. Leaders do not exist to provide services; they exist to serve people." ~David Platt
When we begin to equip God's people to do God's work we will be able to give up on our vision for our local church, and focus on God's vision for His global church.
5. Our Task is Clear
According to Platt, we have one simple task that we, as the church of God, are striving for. That task is the ushering in of the end of the world. Platt, referencing Matthew 24:14, suggests that the end of the world will come when the Gospel of the kingdom has been preached to all nations. Although Platt admits that the definition of "all nations" isn't precise, the mission is quite certainly not completed so long as we are still on this earth. If the mission was complete, Christ would have come. With that in mind, Platt calls on the Church of Christ to broaden it's vision from simply reaching the community it finds itself in to reaching the uttermost parts of the earth.
"He will come when every people group has heard the gospel. For this reason he has charged his church, not just generally with getting the gospel to as many people as we can, but specifically with getting the gospel to every people group on the planet. Indeed, he is not coming back until this assignment has been accomplished." ~David Platt
In fact Platt suggests, and I believe rightly, that Satan is quite pleased when the church of Christ pours all it's time and effort into a local building, a local community, and a local mission. Why? Because Satan doesn't want to see the day when Christ returns. The Devil wants us consumed with doing good things, so we fail at doing the best thing: reaching all nations.
"I am convinced that Satan, in a sense, is just fine with missional churches in the West spending the overwhelming majority of our time, energy, and money on trying to reach people right around us. Satan may actually delight in this, for while we spend our lives on the people we see in front of us, more than six thousand people groups for generations have never even heard the gospel and remain in the dark." ~David Platt
6. A God After His Own Glory
Finally, Platt reminds his readers that they are not a necessary piece in God's accomplishing His mission. God will accomplish His mission, and bring Himself the most glory, with or without us. The only reason He has chosen to do it with us is because He loves us, not because He needs us. The mission that He has set out to accomplish is to bring Himself the most glory among all the nations.
"We want to see God glorified by people everywhere because God wants to see himself glorified by people everywhere." ~David Platt
Platt puts it succincly when he writes:
"We are selfless followers of a self-centered God." ~David Platt
If we are going to bring God the most glory in our churches, we must begin be radically obedient to the Word of God as an outpouring of God's grace on our lives. This radical obedience can not simply impact us individually if we hope to fulfill the mission of God. No, we must be Radical... Together.
"Let's rise up together as selfless followers of a self-centered God, and let's live - and die - as though we believe our highest price is Hi global praise." ~David Platt
Radical Together wasn't as deep, theologically-minded or as long, but it is a worthy sequel. The discussion guide in the back is much more extensive than most of the lame, seemingly thrown-together study questions that often are tacked on at the end of a "Christian Living" book. This would be a very good book to read in community to discuss, critique and practice.