You might not want to read this book. Seriously. If you are happy with your life and faith where they stand now you probably should avoid reading this book. David Platt’s Radical is a book that can easily be read in a day, but it will challenge you long after you have closed the cover of the book. Platt takes a hard look at American Christianity and subjects it to the harsh, revealing light of Scripture. What he discusses is both sobering and challenging.
Essentially, he paints the problem with American Christianity as being too inward focused. Churches and church members get caught up in the cycle of bigger buildings, better music, more dynamic speakers, and an endless array of programs. Now, he does not saythat these things are necessarily bad or sinful, but he does ask a very good question, are they “best.” Could the church be doing better things with its resources than spending huge amounts of money on endless programs and coffee shops in the foyer?
His answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Radical is filled with stories of the lost in countries around the world. People who desperately need Jesus and Platt points out that churches have the resources and people to reach the lost, but instead choose to buy unnecessary things that do little to truly advance the Gospel around the world. He also tells stories of people who have chosen to live a radical lifestyle. Instead of buying in to the American dream, these people downsized. They moved into smaller houses, bought more affordable cars, and cut fat out of their budgets. Why? So that they could give more of their time and resources to telling people about Jesus. He also tells stories of Christians overseas who face the threat of persecution and/or death every time they meet and compares their hunger for God and Scripture to the often lack their of in American churches.
Platt does not suggest that money is evil or having wealth and resources is bad. He does not advocate an austerity theology. Instead, he advocates a radical shift in the priorities of the American/Western Christian. A shift away from a”bigger, better, more” way of thinking to a simpler life that allows for more time and money to be focused on Jesus and the advancement of the Gospel. When I stop and think about his book and the message of Scripture it becomes obvious that for Christians the life Platt describes should not be “radical” but “normal.”