Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Review: Radical by David Platt (and GIVEAWAY!)

(Be sure and read the end of this post to see how you can enter to win a copy of Radical.)

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American DreamRadical by David Platt was exactly that: radical. I was challenged and inspired by this book. The author has made some great observations of our society and gives the Christian reader suggestions (based on commands from God) on what we can do to ensure we aren't "conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2).

David Platt believes that there are many professing Christians who "have in many areas blindly and unknowingly embraced values and ideas that are common in our culture but are antithetical to the gospel (Jesus) taught." He goes on to say: "Here we stand amid an American dream dominated by self-advancement, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency, by individualism, materialism, and universalism. Yet I want to show you our desperate need to revisit the words of Jesus, to listen to them, to believe them, and to obey them. We need to return with urgency to a biblical gospel, because the cost of not doing so is great for our lives, our families, our churches, and the world around us."

In Chapter Two, the author does a great job of describing the gospel, then he goes on to explain what he sees as the problem in our churches today:

"The dangerous assumption we unkowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. The American dream prizes what people can accomplish when they believe in themselves and trust in themselves, and we are drawn toward such thinking. But the gospel has different priorities. The gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust in his power."

"While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God."

One illustration that I will not soon forget is about the time the author was reading a "Christian news publication" and noticed two headlines next to each other. One pronounced the celebration of a new $23 million building for a church. The article beneath described the church's new sanctuary which consisted of marble, stained glass, etc. The other headline was atop a much smaller article. It proclaimed that "Baptist Relief Helps Sudanese Refugees." Nothing wrong with that, except the article stated that 350,000 Sudanese refugees were dying of malnutrition, and "Baptists have raised $5,000 to send to refugees in western Sudan." I almost cried when I read that.

Next, Mr. Platt explains in detail what he sees as the solution to the problem: obey God in reaching the world for Christ with the gospel. He suggests we consider the words of Jesus to the rich young ruler to go and sell everything he had and follow Christ. What "things" do we need to give up in order to follow Jesus? "What luxuries does God intend for my family and me to savor, and what luxuries does God invite us to sacrifice?" Then, there is the challenge to go to those who need to hear the gospel.

In the last chapter of the book, the author sums up all he says by suggesting the following:

"I dare you over the next year to:

1. pray for the entire world;
2. read through the entire Word;
3. sacrifice your money for a specific purpose;
4. spend you time in another context;
5. commit your life to a multiplying community."

I gained a lot by reading this book. I will be going through it again and praying to see what the Lord will have me do in these areas. Here is one more quote (my favorite from the book):

"Radical obedience to Christ is not easy; it is dangerous. It is not smooth sailing aboard a luxury liner; it is sacrificial duty aboard a troop carrier. It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all thes things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us."

If you profess Jesus as your savior, you should read this book. But remember, it is RADICAL, and it may change your thinking and how you live your life!

To read chapter one of this book, go here.

There is also a booklet entitled The Radical Question: What Is Jesus Worth to You? by the same author, David Platt. It would be a good resource to have to pass along to other believers who need to be challenged in their faith (what Christian doesn't need that from time to time?)

Would you like to win a copy of Radical by David Pratt? Just leave a comment with your email address. (I would love for you to become a follower, too, but it is not required to enter.) Entries will be recieved until midnight (EST) on May 13th.

(This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed in this review are strctly my own.)


Carrie said...

Well, Lisa has also been reading through this book and harping about how it's a "MUST. READ. NOW. GO. BUY. READ!" and so I suppose, after hearing the two of you give such a high and glowing recommendation, that I should enter to win. Then if I don't win, I"ll buy it. Sound good? =)

Linda Henderson said...

This sounds like a book everyone should read. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

I am a recent follower.

seriousreader at live dot com

ibeeeg said...

This book sounds impressive, a book that sounds like I need to read. I like what the challenge the author made to his readers. It seems so simplistic yet it is radical.
I am with Carrie, if I don't win, I will buy.
Thanks for this review.


folk notions said...

I am interested in a book like this particularly because it is being endorsed by a number of more conservative evangelical leaders and publishers.

In recent years, books like this have tended to come from authors who are going of the rails in terms of their orthodoxy (examples abound such as Brian McLaren, Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, etc.) and committing to social gospel rather than the biblical gospel.

I wonder how we balance the commands of Jesus to give generously with the instruction of Paul in Romans 13:8 to "owe no one anything". In America today, we live in a debt culture. So, for me, living with student loans and a mortgage, I wonder what giving generously means when, if I look at my actual financial situation, I'm in the red.

Anyway, thanks for reviewing this book and I'd like to enter the giveaway


bekahcubed said...

This sounds like a great book--so far I've only heard positive reviews. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I have heard a lot about this book and want to read it! Please enter me.
Will follow.

Michelle said...

I would love to read this book! Thank you for offering the giveaway! :)

ajandmichelle AT

Linda said...

I keep forgetting: Carman sent me.

Now, after reading the first chapter of this book, I am interested in the direction the author is pursuing. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I really want to win this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Desiree said...

WOW! God is up to something! This seems to be a message He wants His believers to get! Our pastor has been doing a series entitled "The Gospel Driven Life".

I have been enjoying your blog for some time now. Keep up the good work!

davidndes at comcast dot net

MoziEsmé said...

I read the first chapter and would love to read the rest!
janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Esther Y.M. said...

Hey...thanx for this chance to win a copy...

Please enter me.

I am following you because i want to and my e-mail add is estherym[at]yahoo[dot]com

God bless

Anonymous said...

Our pastor was reading excerpts of this book to our congregation today. It was very inspiring, drives the Word, and makes you think. I'm excited to get my hands on this book, but if I win it will be money offered to my church.


sarajoerrn said...

I'm very excited about reading this book. I've looked at it in a bookstore and online, but money is really tight for us right now. Even if I don't win the free giveaway, I'll either save up and buy the book or ask for it for my upcoming birthday. Either way, I'm definately going to read this book soon. Thanks for offering the chance to win it.