“If you read one book this year, read the Bible. If you read two books this year, read Radical.” These were the words of a pastor friend of mine. It was not the first time someone recommended David Platt’s new book to me. I have listened to people talk about how challenging and moving the book is. I have heard it described as “dangerous” and I have listened to people talk of how God used this book to challenge them to huge steps of faith in their lives. I’ve also listened to very uneasy people question why their church suddenly wanted them to read this book. With such a buzz about it, I moved it to the front of the line of my reading list.

Dr. David Platt, pastor of the Church at Brook Hills, has been the envy of many pastors. That is, if pastors can be envious. When he became the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills he made national news as the youngest mega-church pastor. As success for a pastor is measured, Platt has it all. He has notoriety, an effective ministry, invitations to preach at large conferences and conventions, a large congregation to lead, lots of resources to do big ministries, and, unlike the average pastor, it is assumed that he has a large salary to boot. However, in Radical, Platt is quick to deny these things as any measure of success.

In this book, Platt challenges American Christianity with scripture. Where is the justification for spending so much money on luxuries and comfort, when there is a mission field and a clear command to go? These challenges do not come easy. He challenges everything from where money is spent to how the message is presented. Be warned, you may not like what he has to say. The hard part, however, is that he backs up what he has to say with scripture. We eventually must face the question: are we pursuing the American dream or Christ?

When I first began to read this, I wondered if this wasn’t a better book for other mega-churches. I can easily agree that those churches with lots of resources should better use their resources. Myself, on the other hand, I pastor a more average (or maybe smaller) church. Our church averages less than 100 people. We don’t bring in $100,000 in a year. Clearly, it is everything we have to keep things running. That reasoning may work if it were not for one thing. We are not judged according to what others have, or what we have, but the command we’ve been given. Even my church, with our limited resources, must admit that we don’t do all that we can for the mission to which our Lord has sent us.

Thus, Radical is a stinging book at times. It is ripe with stories of Christians that have far less and do far more; that face greater risks, and minister with greater abandon. In the end, I must admit that Platt is right. There is no way to claim to have surrendered our lives to Jesus and still live for ourselves. The book concludes with a challenge: Pray for the entire world, Read the entire Word, Spend time in a different context, Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose, and Commit to a multiplying community. I am praying through what that means for me. I strong recommend that you read this book and pray about the same.

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