Review | Radical

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

Summary (from Goodreads)

WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU?

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…

BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? DO YOU?

In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a “successful” suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.

Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment — a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring.

Review | 3.5 stars

Radical is a challenging book that points out the flaws in the American dream and opens an important discussion on how the church should look as the body of Christ. Written in a convicting manner, Platt corrects using tough truths grounded in Biblical principles. I appreciate that he does not put up exact boundaries on how to live the Christian life, but instead encourages people to seek out ways to be involved in the local and international community of believers using whatever means necessary (e.g., finances, time, possessions). There is no exact science to living out faith (though some of Platt’s writing is quite formulaic), except that it is a calling to make Jesus known among all people. Platt gives lots of practical suggestions, sometimes compelling the reader to follow through on them. I did not appreciate that so much, but I see his angle.

There are a few proof-texty, misinterpreted scriptural sound bites, certainly, but the theme throughout the book is evident – idolatry of possessions, money, comfort, image, etc. should be cast aside to fully seek Jesus and live out a Gospel-centered life where we put others before self and point all people to him.

Radical is very focused on how we can work out our faith, going and making disciples. Let this part of my review serve as a reminder that you do need to take care of yourself, following Jesus’ example of resting and abiding in God’s presence. Don’t allow legalism a foothold, thinking that if you are not doing these things to make Jesus known, you are not really a Christian. Every person is vital to the church community and serves a different role. Not everyone is called to go out like Paul or Barnabas. That is still no excuse for not stepping out in faith in some way to bring Jesus to people.

Overall, 3.5 stars. There’s good, and there’s not-so-good. In the world of take it or leave it, I’d still take this one to keep on my shelf.

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