I had been very excited to see that I had the opportunity to review this book. I had seen mixed reviews at sites such as Amazon.com and relished the idea of reading such a controversial book. Unfortunately I turned the last page feeling very disconnected and was left with a lot of questions about Mr. Platt's theology and disappointed in his call to action.
Chapters 1-3 were wonderful. I read them avidly, often shaking my head in agreement and often quoting some of what was written to my husband and friends. I agree wholeheartedly that "contemporary Christianity sales pitches don't seem adequate anymore" (pg.26) "...I cannot settle for anything less than a God-centered, Christ-exalting, self-denying gospel" (pg 39) I stopped and prayed and examined myself when Platt wrote, "the question for us, then, is whether we trust in his power. And the problem for us is that in our culture we are tempted at every turn to trust in our own power instead." (pg. 45) I found that there were areas of my life that I was not trusting God. I had to admit after reading, "would you say that your life is marked *right now* by desperation for the Spirit of God?" (p. 60 emphasis mine) that I wasn't desperate, that I had become content.
Then we reach chapter four where I began to disagree with my interpretation of what Mr. Platt wrote. I say that it is my interpretation because I hope that it had not been his intent to conjure such thoughts in his readers. However, this was a concept I had struggled with before giving my life to Christ and it has been drug up again. Platt writes that, "God centers on himself," "he saves us, not for our sake, but for the sake of his holy name." and "God is at the center of his universe, and everything he does ultimately revolves around him." (pg 71) Which caused thoughts of God as a being a selfish creature back to my mind. Platt's answer to such thoughts is "whom else would we have him exalt?" and he continues in an attempt to convince us that he does love us deeply but his "passion does not ultimately center on his people. It centers on his greatness, his goodness and his glory being made known globally among all peoples." (also pg. 71) The rest of the book continues with ways in which members of his congregation have attempted to make God known globally.
Platt agains turns me off when he tries to impress upon us the importance of becoming world missionaries for Christ in the chapter entitled There is No Plan B. In this chapter he draws upon the book of Romans and lists 7 points that are supposed to demonstrate that even if you have never heard of Christ or don't have knowledge of his sacrifice you are still condemned to hell and that is why it is our mission to spread the Word. I disagree with this in that this belief condemns young children to hell because they can not understand the gift, it condemns others to hell due to a lack of knowledge. This just doesn't ring true with a loving God. Platt argues that this belief implies that there is a way to God other than through Christ. I disagree.
The book continues with a call to bring the Word to other parts of the world, implying that sharing the gospel in this country is not enough and should not be enough for American Christians. He concludes with a one year experiment that calls us to pray for all of the countries of the world, read the Bible in a year, sacrifice financially for a specific purpose (here he calls us to do something that builds churches rather than simply help the poor), spend a week in "another context" which should be outside your own city, and concludes with joining a church body. While you may label me as a person stuck living the American Dream rather than that of Christ's I am reminded of another statement of Platt's, " ...when Jesus summarizes his work on eath, he doesn't stat reliving all the great sermons he preached and all the people who came to listen to him. He doesn't talk about the amazing miracles he performed...Instead he talks repeatedly about the small group of men God had given him out of the world. *They were the work God had given to him.* They were, quite literally, his life." (p. 88-89) These men were the disciples. They didn't come from some far off land and Jesus didn't travel to some far off place to recruit them. God placed them where Jesus would come in contact with them. I believe some are led to travel and share God where they go, while others are to share and teach where they are. In the end I felt like this book was rejecting my efforts to share God with my children because they were not foreign to me. I feel like I should feel guilty for the blessings God has given my family because we live on 50% of the income rather than 10%. I felt judged and I felt like Platt was saying that if I didn't bring God's Word to other countries then I was responsible for them going to hell. For me, this just didn't ring true with the God of my Bible.
I was reading a blog written by Hilary Alan, author of Sent, and she was responding to those who said that when her family chose to sell their home, give up her job and move to Southeast Asia to help people there was "radical". While she was not responding to David Platt's book, I feel it is, in many ways, a response to Platt's call to be radical. Here is what she wrote:
You can read chapter one of this book and view the free resources by visiting http://www.radicalthebook.com/
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255