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Posted: 11/09/11

A Review of David Platt's "Radical"

Posted by Christine Pack

Gary Gilley, pastor of Southern View Chapel, has recently reviewed pastor David Platt's bestselling book Radical. In his review, Gilley takes issue with Platt's "two-tiered" gospel......i.e., a true gospel message that has been combined with a social justice mandate. Writes Gilley:
"(T)oday evangelism is losing its way in the maze of the social agenda as more and more time and resources are being poured into alleviating physical suffering rather than uprooting the cause through the gospel."
Pastor Gilley's entire review can be read here.

For what it's worthy, here are some of my thoughts on Radical, a book, incidentally, which is sweeping through churches and communities like a hot knife through butter (but don't we all remember the other Great New Things to come along in evangelicalism? Prayer of Jabez......Experiencing God.......Purpose Driven Life.....Blue Like Jazz........The Shack.......Crazy Love......etc., etc., etc.)

My issue with Platt's book is that there seems to be a subtle form of "missions pietism" undergirding this book. I get a sense from Radical that unless you sell everything to go take care of orphans behind enemy lines while taking incoming fire, you're sort of a "second-tier Christian." I'm kind of kidding with my analogy there, but then again, kind of not.... As Gary Gilley wrote above, there are definitely mixed messages in this book. The ordinary Christians who live in America and take care of their families and work at their jobs are just as "Christian" as the behind-enemy-lines "Super Christians."
Bottom line for me: Doing good things in Third World countries is not the
gospel. The gospel is a distinct message that gives life to the spiritually dead. The whole world will rush to love you and embrace you and give you kudos for digging wells, dispensing medicine and helping set up infrastructure (being "Missional"). And please understand what I'm saying here: none of these things are wrong to do. We should help the poor, we should help the widowed, we should help the orphaned. But these things are not the gospel. Missions must ALWAYS be done for the purpose of gaining a platform for sharing the gospel message.

And for some Christians, the harder thing might actually be to stay here in the U.S. and do the less dramatic - but still Godly - things: lovingly and faithfully serving their families, raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD, working at a less-than-exciting job to pay the bills, etc.

Are the mixed messages from David Platt's book Radical contributing to a kind of "Missions Pietism" in the making? It seems that way to me.
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By Christine Pack

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Posted On: 07/26/12 04:27:49 PM Age 0, CANADA
Might I post some thoughts for reflection: Does it really matter whether Radical is a 'Great New Thing?' What should matter is whether it accurately reflects what is eternally in God's Word. The test is not whether we are offended by Platt's teaching, but whether it is in accord with scripture. Deeds "done for the purpose of gaining a platform" is not missions. People are pretty observant. They are aware when there is an underlying agenda. Missions is when the love that is within you flows naturally outward in action. It is when faith and actions work together, and faith is made complete by what is done. Deeds done for the sake of 'creating a platform' is not missions... it's hypocrisy. Would Christ say that, "ordinary Christians who live in America and take care of their families and work at their jobs" are his followers? Are we being ordinary 'Christians,' or ordinary 'Americans?' When Christ says that, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Mt 7:21 ESV) is he talking about many of us today? "Doing good things in Third World countries is not the gospel." It isn't necessarily, and Platt never says this. In fact, he gives many examples of everyday people living in the US who are 'mission minded' and seek to glorify God through acting upon the Great Commission. If we are looking like, behaving like, desiring like and lusting like the world, then are we really 'following' Christ?

Posted On: 12/22/11 03:34:43 PM Age 0, NJ
Interesting how many views there can be of the same book. I am 2/3 through and see NONE of the above mentioned issues with the book. What I do see here, and elsewhere is a very defensive attitude to the idea the maybe, just maybe, we've all grown a little too fat, dumb, and happy toward our faith in America. I see scripture after scripture referenced in Platt's Radical, and by and large every negative review I've read responds not with scripture but with opinion and typically a condescending opinion at that. I see no "super Christians vs. regular Christians" in Platt's book. I do see REAL FAITH vs. Self-absorbed faith. I do see a Christ-centered Gospel and life vs. the life of the average "church-goer" in America (myself included, truth be told). Why is it that a radical, bible-based, Christ centered approach to the faith makes so many so nervous, angry, 'whatever'? I dare say for the same reasons Platt mentioned in his book. Discipleship has a COST that most are frankly not willing to pay. It really is that simple. The idea that "regular Christians" living their "regular lives" taking care of their "regular families" is THE GOSPEL; seems to me to be very sad indeed. There is no such thing as a "regular Christian" in the scripture. For to be a "little Christ" (Christian) one MUST have the Holy Spirit (those that have not the Spirit of God are not His). And if one has the Holy Spirit, one will become MORE CHRISTLIKE not more "insert favorite adjective here" (anything else). Lastly, no where in Platt's book have I seen any indication that he draws a line in the sand and states that to be "radical" you must cross THIS LINE. No, the idea as I see it it that each of us must bow before the Lord and humbly ask "what will thou have ME to do?" And shouldn't that ultimately be the question on the lips of anyone who claims to be His Disciple?

Being careful
Posted On: 11/09/11 09:58:23 AM Age 0, NC
While being careful is important, we have to remember that Jesus did healings and other things for the sake of "being good". I agree that we have to be careful not to become pragmatists, but at the same time, we also can give money and time because we share the goodness that Christ has given us....Even when there is no platform for the gospel. Sometimes it should just be a show that we have the true goodness dwelling in us, which is the Holy Spirit. God doesn't always open the door for us to give the gospel, but may impress on people that only good things come from Christians and the Christian community. We give the gospel when God opens the door. In Muslim countries sometimes all you can do is serve until the Lord opens the door. So, there are times when we should be feeding the poor, and widows and anyone who needs help, because we have the joy of Christ, not because we are using it to give them the gospel. We give the gospel ANY time the door is open. So, pragmatism is bad...But the opposite extreme is also bad. We don't give in order to give the gospel, we give to be a blessing just like Christ did.

David Platt
Posted On: 11/09/11 09:27:32 AM Age 0, LA
Rejoicing over your article,....recently had a conversation with a pastor friend who mentioned his attending a David Platt service,...they were enamored by him, his message and delivery,.....having studied the emergent movement for the last 15 years, I warned him about Platt,....they were shocked...and told me they didn't hear anything unbiblical in his message,.....I suggested it's not always what he says but what he doesn't say, I sent them home with some revealing information about Platt's "Catholic Poverty Gospel" (I am a former Catholic/born again 26 years ago) which is not the salvation Gospel, continue being discerning. In Christ, Addie K. Miller

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