Top critical review
guilt trip or conviction?
on November 1, 2012
David Platt's books Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God have been New York Times bestsellers. I haven't read these books but I have friends who are Platt fans, so I thought I would read The Radical Question and A Radical Idea by Mr. Platt.
The Radical Question basically challenges the American Dream and the affects of it on the contemporary church. He writes of people who have given up large salaries (either by leaving the job or by giving the money) for God's work. I agree with the pretense of giving up all one has for the Lord, I don't think that necessarily means giving it up. It can merely mean using those things (money, time, homes, cars, etc) FOR the Lord. I believe that everything I have is the Lord's...unfortunately, I do know that I don't USE it that way sometimes...probably a lot.
I felt that this book was more of a guilt trip, trying to make people feel bad about the things they have, even if God has blessed them with those things! It sounds like Mr. Platt also is the pastor at a mega-church, so I would love to know if he practices what he preaches. I'm trying not to judge him, but I just hope he really does practice what he preaches. I think there's a difference between a guilt trip and conviction from the Holy Spirit. My family doesn't have a lot of money or stuff, although we totally have more than millions of people around the world. I know that my husband leads us to use and share our material things with others in the spirit of Jesus Christ.
The Radical Idea basically challenges church buildings, programs, and events. At the church I attend, we have programs but I think the staff has done a phenomenal job of making those programs to equip the church. I think it's awesome that Platt challenges how money is spent in the church. As much as I feel our church tries to equip people to make disciples to make disciples to make disciples (as is the quest of this book), I don't think all churches are like that. Millions of dollars to build church buildings is frustrating; I've questioned the very same thing (although I know it does take quite a bit of money to fund building projects).
One church in this book chose to not build a church building but to meet in a parking structure. Obviously that wouldn't work here (Christmas service would be COLD!), but it's an idea. Our church encourages small groups and Bible studies to help us grow together as a community of believers and to invite non-believers into this fellowship with us. That's how the church started - small home churches. The Radical Idea challenges the idea of a church merely being a charismatic person preaching each week in a huge building meant to impress rather than revere (the Temple Solomon built to revere the Lord, in the end was merely an impressive building that Christ prophesied would crumble). The church workers are not just those paid professionals, but the church members (qualified by the Holy Spirit not a church membership, per say) working to spread the gospel.
I enjoyed this book greatly. I would love to literally give it all up and move to the sticks of another nation to reach unreached people. I don't know if that's God's plan for me. I'm not opposed to it one way or another; I feel my family has always been striving to do God's will wherever it leads us. I also really would love to continue to use my resources for the Lord and look for other ways to use them for His Will. We currently lead a small group that I hope would expand to more small groups and more people trusting Jesus Christ with their lives.