The category of book I’ve been reading the last two weeks is: A book about Christian living. The book I chose for this category was Radical by David Platt. Below you’ll find some information about the book, a summary, and some closing thoughts. If you’d like to skip straight to my ratings, click here.
Bibliographic Information: Radical: Taking back your faith from the American dream. Platt, David. Multnomah: Colorado Springs, 2010.
Summary: At the beginning of Radical, Platt says that there is a choice that American Christians must make: “[We] can choose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us. Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obeyed him (pg 3).” The first few chapters compare and contrast the gospel as stated in the Bible with that which is prevalent in the American culture. A radical Christian is one who obeys the commands of Christ to abandon one’s own desires and follow the will and desire of God. Each chapter begins with a poignant anecdote that shows the stark difference between the way Christians in America live and those who live in countries considered to be less privileged.
True Christians will have a thirst for deep understanding of the word of God. They will rely not merely upon strategies and business models but on the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer. The result of the first two will be a desire to reach the lost and, after having reached them, to gather with them to love and grow together with them in godliness. This model is one that is self replicating; as those who were once lost begin to grow in godliness they will also reach the lost and teach them the commands of Christ. This is the idea of missions as portrayed in the Bible.
The second part of the book deals with how Christians should respond to realizing they may have been serving the American dream instead of Jesus. He cites two major issues with American Christianity: 1. They do not care about the needy 2. They feel that going is optional. The underlying problem behind this is that American Christians care more about monetary safety and security than being a part of God’s plan of redemption. He ends the book with a year-long, five-part challenge: 1. Pray for the entire world 2. Read through the entire Word 3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose 4. Spend your time in another context 5. Commit your life to a multiplying community.
9.5/10. Radical is timely, necessary and spot on. It wasn’t heavily technical and the use of long, theological terms was minimal. Some parts felt redundant but the length of the book was short enough where it wasn’t much of an issue. Everyone should read this book even if you aren’t an American or Christian (or an American Christian). His explanation of the gospel and the proper response to it was clear, concise, and convicting (and he used alliteration). It’s almost worth reading for the anecdotes at the beginning of each chapter. If you don’t feel like praying, reading the Bible, or reaching those in need after reading this, you probably read it wrong.