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Customer Review

on October 23, 2010
I had high hopes for this book because I thought it was going to address how upside down and materialistic our world has become. The American Dream that says we need to own a big house, drive nice cars, wear expensive clothes, and have fancy churches on every corner... And for the first 70 or so pages, I loved the book. Then, however, the bottom dropped out.

This book should really be called 'Evangelism 101: Evangelism in the Only Way.' I have been a Christian my entire life, and I have never heard of a requirement to travel overseas and help - or else you aren't doing your biblical duty. This is a very guilt-driven and works-driven type of theology and, in my opinion, misses the larger picture of the Bible.

The truth is that God has called each one of us according to our spiritual gifts RIGHT WHERE WE ARE. We don't all have to be exotic missionaries, and that's perfectly okay. God uses businessmen, God uses teachers, God uses farmers, and God uses car mechanics. God calls using our intellect and creativity "good." Platt seems to call these things wrong and even goes to far as to say that those who aren't missionaries sit back in comfort while others are doing what the Bible actually says to do.

The whole idea that you have to be part of some grand overseas missions trip to truly fulfill what the Bible tells us is not only dangerous, but is contrary to whole books in the Bible that instruct us to work hard, minister to our local neighbors, and plan for our future. It also gives us the mindset that where God has put us (our local community, our friends and coworkers, etc) is not as important as somewhere exotic and faraway. The truth is we can be "missionaries" right where we currently are in life.

In short, I think Platt has the right intentions (and I certainly warmly welcome missionaries who travel afar), but he makes one part of the Biblcal story the only part. He takes a handful of Bible passages about the early church and runs with them - without any regard for the rest.

I fear too many newer Christians who read this book are going to think the only way to truly please God is to evangelize a distant land. And that's exactly what's been wrong with the American church. Everyone of us needs to think of ourselves as a missionary whether we are in Sudan or at the grocery store down the street. The Bible shows us there are many ways to give back and to spread God's word. Often times in scripture this is shown by working hard in your job where you are skilled so that you then have the ability to spread your earnings to others.

Here's just a couple of verses to the contrary of Platt's book:

-"He who tills his land shall have plenty of bread, but he who chases fantasies is void of understanding." Proverbs 12:11

-"Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve kings. He won't serve obscure men." Proverbs 22:29

"Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need." Ephesians 4:28

"And that you make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, even as we instructed you; that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

"Be sensible and store up precious treasures-- don't waste them like a fool." Proverbs 21:20
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