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Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
 
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Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream [Format Kindle]

David Platt

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Chapter 1

Someone Worth Losing Everything For
What Radical Abandonment to Jesus Really Means

   “The youngest megachurch pastor in history.”
   While I would dispute that claim, it was nonetheless the label given to me when I went to pastor a large, thriving church in the Deep South—the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. From the first day I was immersed in strategies for making the church bigger and better. Authors I respect greatly would make statements such as, “Decide how big you want your church to be, and go for it, whether that’s five, ten, or twenty thousand members.” Soon my name was near the top of the list of pastors of the fastest-growing U.S. churches.There I was…living out the American
church dream.
   But I found myself becoming uneasy. For one thing, my model in ministry is a guy who spent the majority of his ministry time with twelve men. A guy who, when he left this earth, had only about 120 people who were actually sticking around and doing what he told them to do. More like a minichurch, really. Jesus Christ—the youngest minichurch pastor in history.
   So how was I to reconcile the fact that I was now pastoring thousands of people with the fact that my greatest example in ministry was known for turning away thousands of people? Whenever the crowd got big, he’d say something such as, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”1 Not exactly the sharpest church-growth tactic. I can almost picture the looks on the disciples’ faces. “No, not the drink-my-blood speech! We’ll never get on the list of the fastest growing movements if you keep asking them to eat you.”
   By the end of that speech, all the crowds had left, and only twelve men remained.2 Jesus apparently wasn’t interested in marketing himself to the masses. His invitations to potential followers were clearly more costly than the crowds were ready to accept, and he seemed to be okay with that. He focused instead on the few who believed him when he said radical things. And through their radical obedience to him, he turned the course of history in a new direction.
   Soon I realized I was on a collision course with an American church culture where success is defined by bigger crowds, bigger budgets, and bigger buildings. I was now confronted with a startling reality: Jesus actually spurned the things that my church culture said were most important. So what was I to do? I found myself faced with two big questions.
   The first was simple. Was I going to believe Jesus? Was I going to embrace Jesus even though he said radical things that drove the crowds away?
   The second question was more challenging. Was I going to obey Jesus? My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus’ words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to him. In other words, my biggest fear is that I will do exactly what most people did when they encountered Jesus in the first century.
   That’s why I’ve written this book. I am on a journey. But I am convinced it is not just a journey for pastors. I am convinced these questions are critical for the larger community of faith in our country today. I am convinced that we as Christ followers in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe. And I am convinced we have a choice.
   You and I can choose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us. Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed him and really obeyed him.
   I invite you to join the journey with me. I do not claim to have all the answers. If anything, I have more questions than answers. But if Jesus is who he said he is, and if his promises are as rewarding as the Bible claims they are, then we may discover that satisfaction in our lives and success in the church are not found in what our culture deems most important but in radical abandonment to Jesus.

Puddles of Tears

Imagine all the blinds closed on the windows of a dimly lit room. Twenty leaders from different churches in the area sat in a circle on the floor with their Bibles open. Some of them had sweat on their foreheads after walking for miles to get there. Others were dirty from the dust in the villages from which they had set out on bikes early that morning.
   They had gathered in secret.They had intentionally come to this place at different times throughout the morning so as not to draw attention to the meeting that was occurring. They lived in a country in Asia where it is illegal for them to gather like this. If caught, they could lose their land, their jobs, their families, or their lives.
   I listened as they began sharing stories of what God was doing in their churches. One man sat in the corner. He had a strong frame, and he served as the head of security, so to speak.Whenever a knock was heard at the door or a noise was made outside the window, everyone in the room would freeze in tension as this brother would go to make sure everything was okay. As he spoke, his tough appearance soon revealed a tender heart.
   “Some of the people in my church have been pulled away by a cult,” he said. This particular cult is known for kidnapping believers, taking them to isolated locations, and torturing them. Brothers and sisters having their tongues cut out of their mouths is not uncommon.
   As he shared about the dangers his church members were facing, tears welled up in his eyes. “I am hurting,” he said, “and I need God’s grace to lead my church through these attacks.”
   A woman on the other side of the room spoke up next. “Some of the members in my church were recently confronted by government officials.” She continued, “They threatened their families, saying that if they did not stop gathering to study the Bible, they were going to lose everything they had.” She asked for prayer, saying, “I need to know how to lead my church to follow Christ even when it costs them everything.”
   As I looked around the room, I saw that everyone was now in tears. The struggles expressed by this brother and sister were not isolated. They all looked at one another and said, “We need to pray.” Immediately they went to their knees, and with their faces on the ground, they began to cry out to God. Their prayers were marked less by grandiose theological language and more by heartfelt praise and pleading.
   “O God, thank you for loving us.”
   “O God, we need you.”
   “Jesus, we give our lives to you and for you.”
   “Jesus, we trust in you.”
   They audibly wept before God as one leader after another prayed. After about an hour, the room drew to a silence, and they rose from the floor. Humbled by what I had just been a part of, I saw puddles of tears in a circle around the room.
   In the days since then, God has granted me many other opportunities to gather with believers in underground house churches in Asia. Men and women there are risking everything to follow Christ.
   Men like Jian, an Asian doctor who left his successful health clinic and now risks his life and the lives of his wife and two kids in order to provide impoverished villages with medical care while secretly training an entire network of house-church leaders.
   Women like Lin, who teaches on a university campus where it is illegal to spread the gospel. She meets in secret with college students to talk about the claims of Christ, though she could lose her livelihood for doing so.
   Teenagers like Shan and Ling, who have been sent out from house churches in their villages to undergo intensive study and preparation for taking the gospel to parts of Asia where there are no churches.
   Ling said to me, “I have told my family that I will likely never come back home. I am going to hard places to make the gospel known, and it is possible that I will lose my life in the process.”
   Shan added, “But our families understand. Our moms and dads have been in prison for their faith, and they have taught us that Jesus is worthy of all our devotion.”

A Different Scene

Three weeks after my third trip to underground house churches in Asia, I began my first Sunday as the pastor of a church in America. The scene was much different. Dimly lit rooms were now replaced by an auditorium with theater-style lights. Instead of traveling for miles by foot or bike to gather for worship, we had arrived in millions of dollars’ worth of vehicles. Dressed in our fine clothes, we sat down in our cushioned chairs.
   To be honest, there was not much at stake. Many had come because this was their normal routine. Some had come simply to check out the new pastor. But none had come at the risk of their lives.
   That afternoon, crowds filled the parking lot of our sprawling multimillion-dollar church campus. Moms, dads, and their kids jumped on inflatable games. Plans were being discussed for using the adjacent open land to build state-of-the-art recreation fields and facilities to support more events like this.
   Please don’t misunderstand this scene. It was filled with wonderful, well-meaning, Bible-believing Christians who want...

Revue de presse

Responses to Radical

“In his compelling new book, Radical, David Platt delivers a powerful picture of the church in America today that, on key points, stands in sharp contrast to what the Bible shows us about the person and purpose of Jesus Christ. David challenges Christians to wake up, trade in false values rooted in the American dream, and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose—to make Christ’s glory known to all the nations! This is a must-read for every believer!”
—Wess Stafford, president and CEO, Compassion Intl.

“We have moved into a generation of young leaders who have a passion to surrender the American dream if necessary in order to embrace fully, compassionately, and wholeheartedly a bigger dream—the Great Commission. I have never been challenged by an author more than I have by David Platt. Read Radical, be blessed, and be changed.”
—Johnny Hunt, president, Southern Baptist Convention, and pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock

“Radical will cause you to bounce on a spectrum between two words: ouch and amen. Tough truths do that. They challenge us to examine our lives and then choose the lasting over the temporary. Read Radical if you’re ready to live differently.”
—Gregg Matte, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Houston

“David Platt’s book will leave anyone who sincerely engages with his challenge dissatisfied—and faced with a decision: What will authentic faith look like in my life? This book has the potential to revitalize churches today to practice a radical, biblical lifestyle that can transform society and reach a lost world.”
—Jerry Rankin, president, International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention

“The church of the Lord Jesus has been seduced by a skilled seductress: the American dream. David Platt exposes this enemy of authentic Christianity and provides a way of escape through a radical faith that leads to a radical obedience. I am not the same after reading it. I trust that will also be true for you.”
—Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“It is almost impossible to keep the idols of our own culture from influencing us, whether we want it to happen or not. This is certainly true when it comes to the so-called American dream. We need our eyes opened! We need to be called out! In this challenging and thoughtful book, David Platt shows us the way to live for Someone and something bigger.”
—Darrin Patrick, founding pastor, The Journey, St. Louis

“Sometimes people will commend a book by saying, ‘You won’t want to put it down.’ I can’t say that about this book. You’ll want to put it down, many times. If you’re like me, as you read David Platt’s Radical, you’ll find yourself uncomfortably targeted by the Holy Spirit. You’ll see just how acclimated you are to the American dream. But you’ll find here another Way, one you know to be true, because you’ve heard it before in the words of the Lord Jesus, perhaps most forcefully in the simple call ‘Follow me.’”
—Russell D. Moore, dean, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Through solid examination of the Scriptures and compelling testimonies from believers enduring persecution, my friend David Platt pulls back the curtain on subtle dangers weakening the church in our Western culture. Radical is the urgent call we need to care more about the spiritually lost and physically impoverished people of the world.”
—Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1187 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 242 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1601422210
  • Editeur : Multnomah Books (4 mai 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0036S4C9I
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  1.114 commentaires
1.399 internautes sur 1.434 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 What is GOD up to? 28 octobre 2010
Par Robby Butler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
My first impression of "Radical," just from skimming the dust jacket, mirrored the critical review which has been deemed most helpful. I came very close to missing the blessing God had for me through this book.

However as I read "Radical," reflected on it's message, saw its impact on myself and my friends, and pondered the significance of this runaway best seller, my perspective changed completely and I was led to a deep conviction that God is working through this book in an unusual way. I subsequently volunteered to analyze and review the significance of "Radical" for "Mission Frontiers," a major mission strategy magazine. [Google "Mission Frontiers Radical" for a more detailed analysis than fits here.]

Before dismissing "Radical" based on nothing more than the plausibility of a negative review, I encourage you to use Amazon's "look inside" feature or read the first chapter, available free on-line [Google "Someone Worth Losing Everything For"]. Instead of an "outsider" criticizing the Church, you'll find a well-credentialed insider inviting you to join his struggle to understand and close the gap between what he reads in Scripture and how we have redefined Jesus to affirm the way we live.

A friend just read "Radical" and emailed me: "This book haunts me: `My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus' words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to Him.' - David Platt"

BOOK SUMMARY

David Platt's book "Radical" reflects a wider move of God through which He is stirring His people to live radically for Him to finish discipling all nations (Mt. 24:14 and Mt 28:18-20).

"Radical" overlaps heavily with Francis Chan's Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God in urging God's people to live "all out" for Jesus, but puts forth a much clearer picture of the global purposes which God is working to accomplish through His people, and a more practical suggestion for how God's people can begin intentionally engaging together in obeying God and impacting His world.

In the first chapter Dr. Platt develops Dietrich Bonhoeffer's quote "[the first call every Christian experiences is] the call to abandon the attachments of this world." Throughout his book, Platt urges us to discover Jesus (not heaven) as our sole treasure, to lay aside everything that keeps us from pursuing Him above all else, and to realize that "It's Not About Me." [Google the free excerpt from "Radical" available on line at "Mission Frontiers Radical not about me".]

The final chapter of "Radical" opens:
"Throughout this book we have explored a variety of bold claims about our purpose in life that are contained in the gospel yet contradicted in the American dream. Claims such as these: Real success is found in radical sacrifice. Ultimate satisfaction is not found in making much of ourselves but in making much of God. The purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. Meaning is found in community, not individualism; joy is found in generosity, not materialism; and truth is found in Christ, not universalism. Ultimately Jesus is a reward worth risking everything to know, experience and enjoy."

Having presented such a challenge, Dr. Platt then takes a surprising departure which seems to have thrown several other reviewers. Instead of calling for immediate dramatic change, as most "high commitment" books do, he suggests the starting point of a growth path which any group can embrace together to pursue greater passion for Jesus and obedience to His global purposes.

The "Radical Experiment" is not radical in where it starts, but in the direction it leads. It is much more like Jesus' initial call to Peter and Andrew in Matthew 4:19--to follow Jesus and let Him change us into effective disciplers--than it is to the kind of radical Luke 14 challenge I and my missionary colleagues like to present.

Like some negative reviewers, I was initially misled into dismissing "Radical" by the low initial commitment required in the "Radical Experiment." "What," I asked myself, "is radical about reading through the Bible in a year, or giving 2% of your time or to a specific cause?" But such a dismissal misses the whole thrust of Dr. Platt's book.

"Radical" will challenge most readers in the healthiest of ways, not simply to agree with what is wrong with the Western Church, but to take practical steps to join others in living for God's global kingdom. As the Chinese proverb says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

From the one out of eight reviews of "Radical" which are negative, it is apparent that:
- some will read "Radical" as a guilt trip or an appeal for wealth distribution,
- others will question Dr. Platt's motives, lifestyle or position, and
- those who love money will mock the idea of living sacrificially as the Pharisees did.
"The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus" (Lk 16:14 NIV).

But those reactions seem generally to be the result of existing bias or careless misreading of the book.

WEAKNESSES

I find two major weaknesses in the book itself:
1. Extracted from the caring tone of Platt's audio presentations, some will experience the book as a guilt trip. For those with an oversensitivity toward personal guilt for the state of the church, I recommend the audio version Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, or the free original sermon series which I found much richer than the book itself. [Google "Brook Hills Media Radical"]

2. While Dr. Platt effectively develops God's intention for those He has blessed to join Him in caring for the poor, inexperienced Western Christians far too often translate this simplistically as "giving to the poor." And this creates more problems than it solves. Unfortunately the current edition of "Radical" does nothing to address this problem (a later edit may), but to his credit Dr. Platt asks that all of his small group leaders read Fikkert and Corbett's When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Yourself.

CONCLUSION

In my experience, "Radical" is most suitable for three audiences:
- Those disillusioned with self-centered "Christianity Lite" will generally find "Radical" both challenging and refreshing.
- Those who have never considered Biblical obedience as an alternative to self-serving religion will find "Radical" a healthy challenge.
- Most real friends of the True King will find value in "Radical" and want to share it with others.
[Toward multiplying the circulation of "Radical," "Mission Frontiers" has arranged a bulk discount for its reader. Google "Mission Frontiers Radical not about me"]

"Radical" is NOT likely to be appreciated by those who
- are prone to feelings of guilt,
- want to justify their attachment to the things of this world, or
- are not prepared to give their lives to drawing close to Jesus and joining Him in His global purpose.

For a mature discussion of the danger of some experiencing "Radical" as a guilt trip, see the concerns of Kevin DeYoung and the response he invited from Dr. Platt, which you can find by googling "DeYoung Platt Root of Radical."

REPRESENTATIVE OF THE IMPACT OF "RADICAL":

The following edited story typifies the impact of Dr. Platt's message. [Find the original by googling "Platt foster care office"]:

Dr. Platt asked a foster care office in Birmingham how many families they would need to care for all the children. They laughed. He asked again. They said 150 families. Platt preached on orphan care from James 1 (v. 27 in particular), and 160 families signed up to serve as foster care families.

---

Today, 11/7/2010, I have moved the following items to a comment under today's date:
- my own transformation of perspective toward "Radical,"
- how God is using "Radical" like He has used "Crazy Love,"
- my unusual involvement in promoting "Radical," and
- related free resources to help you live radically for our King.

To see the kind of practical applications Radical is stirring, google "Waterbrook Multnomah Radical action plan."

DISCLAIMER: I did NOT receive a copy of "Radical" or any other compensation for this review or any other analysis or promotion of "Radical." All of my research and endorsement of this book is a free gift offered in service to my King.

NOTE: If you have found this review helpful, please register that with the button below. Thanks!
161 internautes sur 170 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Little Too Radical 2 décembre 2010
Par David D. Browning - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I finished reading David Platt's book Radical, while waiting for a flight from New Delhi to Hyderabad, India. The book had been recommended to me by several friends, so I decided to throw it in my bag for my recent tour (training pastors in the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Kenya and South Africa). The book calls us to a much deeper commitment to following Christ, and reaching others - two themes that get my blood going. So thanks to David Platt for stoking the fire. For the most part the book accomplished its mission well.

On the other hand, there were places where Platt got my blood boiling in a not-so-helpful way - a little too radical. In an effort to make his points, I felt that Platt pressed too hard, and stretched the supporting evidence. I would chalk it up to "too much of a good thing." Here are my (hopefully) gentle critiques:

1. I feel like a radical life for Christ needs to be motivated by radical love for Christ. We need to be givers, but cheerful ones, not from compulsion. I felt there was a little too much compulsion in Platt's book. I didn't find much sense of cheer. While I can tell that Platt is on the move from his legalistic upbringin, I get the feeling that he has a way to go. At several points in the book I got the distinct feeling that Platt was preaching at me, instead of to me (maybe before the book went to print he had already received that feedback....he seems to apologize on p. 214). In my opinion there wasn't nearly enough of "the love Christ compels me" and a little too much of "come on, you guys, you should be ashamed of yourselves!" Granted, we all need a kick in the pants now and then, but there's a line we can cross where we can "exasperate our children," particularly if you are a child who wants to do what is right. Count me among the exasperated.

2. Platt tends to overstate things a bit in order to make a point, particularly in his chapter How Much is Enough, critiquing the American dream:

a. "Caring for the poor is one natural overflow and a necessary evidence of the presence of Christ in our hearts. If there is no sign of caring for the poor in our lives, then there is reason to at least question whether Christ is in our hearts." (p.110)

b. "If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all." (p.111)

c. (on the story of Lazarus) "This story illustrates God's response to the needs of the poor." (p. 114)

d. "Isn't the hidden assumption among many Christians in our culture that if we follow God, things will go well for us materially? Such thinking is explicit in "health and wealth" teaching, and it is implicit in the lives of Christians whose use of possessions looks virtually the same as that of our non-Christian neighbors." (p.117)

For me, these overgeneralizations tended to lessen, not increase, the impact of his argument.

3. Platt has problems with the American church and I share his pain. But while He diagnoses the disease as largely spiritual, I think it is largely sociological. The church turning in on itself is quite natural - it is what organizations naturally do. By virtue of being organized together, over time, we get to know each other. As we get to know each other we become aware of each others' concerns. As we become aware of each others' concerns, we create programs to meet those concerns. In the end, our own concerns end up being plenty to keep us busy, and the mission is largely forgotten. It is purely natural. Of course, God does not call us to natural, but to supernatural. What I see happening in the American church is not unspiritual as related to spiritual, but natural as related to supernatural. I think the hearts of most Christians are well-meaning. I think they are just trapped in a self-reinforcing system where they can't see beyond our own needs. If nothing else, I can see Platt's book as a huge favor to get us to look up and see there is far much more beyond ourselves.

4. There is a lot of classic either/or (black/white) thinking in this book. For example, "We can stand with the starving or with the overfed. We can identify with poor Lazarus on his way to heaven or with the rich man on his way to hell. We can embrace Jesus while we give away our wealth, or we can walk away from Jesus while we hoard our wealth." I'm not sure that those are the only choices. There may be some other combinations or shades of gray, but Platt doesn't allow for the possibility of being interested in the plight of the rich man, only Lazarus. In response I would cite Jesus' second great commandment, "love your neighbor as yourself" and his great commission, "go into all the world." He could has said, "love your poor neighbor as yourself" but Jesus is interested in everyone, rich and poor, Lazarus and rich man. He could have said, "go into all the poor world" but Jesus is broad, not narrow, in his instructions. Jesus told us to go into all the socially and economically diverse world.

5. It would be possible, not popular, to make the argument that the church has spent more of its efforts reaching the poor, than the rich. Perhaps not in America, where the cost of the mega-model draws our attention to the rich suburbs (nearly all of the top churches in America being precisely located). But in other parts of the world, where poverty reigns, the church has done little to target political and business leaders, instead going to the people with the least power, and least ability, to change the system.

6. In some cases possessing great status and wealth may be precisely what God wants for a person's calling (see Joseph); at other times such wealth and status should be forsaken (see Moses). One size does not fit all. Platt carefully "cherry picks" the passages that fit his argument.

7. Platt tries to make me feel guilty for the price I pay for food, relative to "half the world struggling today to find food, water, and shelter with the same amount of money I spend on french fries for lunch." This is a superficial argument, and contrasts like this abound in our world. Having just come from the Philippines I could say that they are enjoying much better pineapple than I am where I live, and a fraction of the cost. In India, their transportation costs (per person/per mile) are pennies on the dollar. So? The cost of something on one culture, relative to another, is sexy not substantive.

8. Culture is water to fish. If you live in it, it's hard to describe; if you live outside of it, it's hard to understand. I wonder if the two-thirds world misunderstands America about as much as America misunderstands the two-thirds world, in their actual experience. If so, Platt seems to reinforce these misunderstandings. Many in the two-thirds world live very simple lives, with a daily diet of inexpensive rice and chicken. They do not have electric bills, insurance, health care, automobile repairs, college bills, a mortgage or debt. (Remind me again, who am I supposed to be feeling sorry for?) I guess what I am saying is that Americans are not nearly as "wealthy" as people think. At times, I have to say, when I travel in the two-thirds world, I don't feel as guilty, as I do jealous. I think they may be rich in ways that matter.

9. I think it is important to make a distinction between struggling and suffering. Platt makes no such distinction, putting the cost of daily living on par with how many children die of malnutrition every year. It seems to me that a believer's primary concern should be those who are suffering, a smaller subset of those who are struggling, and certainly a much smaller number than "half the world." Ironically, it is a particularly western point of view to blur the two. As Americans, we don't like to struggle (I think we think it is suffering), but sometimes we are spiritually richer for it. After all, it is in the Lord's prayer where we read, "Give us this day our daily bread." For most people in the world, this prayer actually makes sense, and the people praying it are blessed for doing so.

10. I think Platt's interpretation of the rich young ruler negatively colors his perspective on wealth throughout the book. I like that story a lot, but I don't come at it from a money-centric angle. Simply put I don't think Jesus talked with the man because he was interested in the topic of money. I think he talked with the young man about the topic of money because he was interested in the young man. This was a personal challenge that came out of personal concern: "what do I still lack?" (what is in the way?). The answer? Whatever is in the way of him, and it could be (maybe often is) money. But Jesus made it clear in other contexts that is it could be relationships (mothers, brothers, sons or daughters) or something else valuable to us, like our time, our job, or our ideas. It would be a mistake to say that money is everyone's issue, or every American's.

11. One question that naturally arises for Platt and his church, which is of the "rubber meets the road" variety: What are they doing with the greatest accumulated asset of their ministry - their multi-million dollar church facility? He is obviously aware of the question, but there is not even so much as an oblique answer ("Every Sunday we gather in a multimillion-dollar building with millions of dollars in vehicles parked outside" (p.115). Platt comments negatively on how much money has been spent by others on such edifices (I pastor a multi-national church where we spend 13% on facilities in the US and less overseas, so I appreciate frugality here). Platt even suggests downsizing our homes (something else I am all for). But Platt doesn't take his reasoning to its natural, radical conclusion: Shouldn't the church sell its "home" and give the proceeds to the poor? I raise the question, not because I think they should sell their building, because I'm not sure they should. I raise the question to point out that there are times where it is more strategic for the overall mission to keep an asset than to give it away. The old fable, "Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg" comes to mind. At a certain point I don't become more effective for Christ without a car (or phone, or laptop, or roof over my head), but less effective. For example, I work closely with an apostolic leader in India, and I think he needs to have more in the way of resources, not less, even though his standard of living already exceeds that of most Indians. This makes me think that the real challenge - largely missed in Platt's book - is stewardship more than sacrifice. Shouldn't our objective be to steward the resources of the world, particularly our own, in such a way that we "seek first His kingdom and his righteousness"?

12. I wish that Platt would have spent more time on Christian strategies to relieve suffering, beyond "give more." What is a Christian strategy for alleviating suffering altogether, beyond writing a check? For those who "have something" to "sacrifice it" only addresses matters short-term. Shouldn't we consider Jim Collins' advice to "strengthen the core" while we "expand the frontier"? Doesn't justice need to be paired with mercy? While it in no way alleviates my moral responsibility to respond generously, even sacrificially, I believe that thoughtful people want to understand how their gifts are really making a difference. The situation in Haiti comes to mind, for example. If there is a gigantic hole in the bottom of the bucket, no matter how many resources we pour in the top, we are going to end up with an empty bucket.
376 internautes sur 412 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Need for fuller picture on Scripture, economics, and answers for the poor 29 juillet 2011
Par L. Wheeler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:CD
I share this author's passion for missions and generous giving. In a sense, this book is the antidote to Osteen anthropology--and in that sense, I adore it!

At the same time, however well-intended his purpose, the author has rested his arguments on poor exegesis and an incomplete survey on Scriptural teaching on wealth. More on that to come, but first a mention of some basic facts:

1) Americans have both sent and funded missionaries at a level unprecedented in the history of the Church. This is possible because of the American Dream with its free market capitalism. This cash flow rests on a consumer society. When I go to the fabric store to make a new dress for my child, I am helping the owner of the store and the original producer of the fabric to put food on their table. Would they rather have my business or my handout? If every Christian in my Bible belt town sold all their possessions to give them to the poor, we would create a larger segment of the poor through unemployment. Restaurants and businesses would have to close their doors.
2) The majority of world hunger has less to do with a lack of resources than it does with corrupt governments.

This does not, of course, mean that we ignore the poor or spend our entire income on ourselves. The Bible is clear that we are to share our resources, and that the desire to get rich--simply for the sake of getting rich--leads to all sorts of heartbreaks.

So, what does the Bible say about wealth? First, I'd start with what it does NOT say about wealth. To use the story of the rich young man as a lesson on stewardship misses the point. One must read the entire account in its full context to see this, not quote just those verses convenient to our agenda. For starters, it is preceded by the account of children coming to Jesus. We can imagine that they did not come asking what they must DO. Their innate trust led Jesus to say, "The kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Then, along comes the rich young man who falls at Jesus feet with a description of all the boxes he had checked off his religious list. Is there any box left which he must check to earn enternal life? Jesus gives him an answer which reveals the depravity of his sin and his need for God's grace! He then turns to his disciples and addresses them as, "Children" (sound familiar?) and talks about the difficulty of a rich man entering the kingdom. BUT--and this is what Platt fails to mention--he finishes this by saying, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." His disciples don't quite get it--Peter argues for all they've done! And Jesus affirms their sacrifice, but this sacrifice is not the saving act. It is God who does the impossible, creating a path to righteousness that we could never attain on our own.

While Platt has the occasional caveat that we can't earn salvation and that we are not all required to "sell all our stuff," the overall impression of the book, page after page after page, is that if we don't sell all our stuff, we are somehow falling short. (In fact, if anyone feels that their salvation is somehow on the line after reading this book, I highly suggest reading through Galatians.)

Other exegetical problems lie with things like the assertion that God "hates" sinners, pulled from the psalms (the psalms are properly read as our words to God, a cathartic practice for our cleansing and healing, NOT for teaching doctrine; unless, of course, we think that God affirms dashing the heads of infants against stones). Or saying that people are going to hell because we haven't brought them the gospel, rather than because of their own rejection of the general knowledge of God given through the world itself. Or saying that all people are called to foreign missions ("Are all apostles?" 1 Cor 12:29).

Meanwhile, if you are going to write on stewardship of wealth, you've got to give the whole picture. Wealth is not inherently evil (note Abraham, Joseph, Job, Daniel, Lydia, etc.). As we saw above, our ability to send missionaries is furthered by the cash flow of a consumer society. Rather, wealthy people are called upon to give willingly, cheerfully and generously as need arrives. This is quite different than saying "You must downsize your house" (after all, one family's downsize is another family's dreamhome!)

This is not to say that God couldn't call someone sell it all, or even downsize, for the cause--in fact, I'm very willing to believe that he sometimes does, and I personally must always be open to that call--but this is not the norm. In fact, particularly generous giving is described as a special gift not given to all, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us... if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously..." Romans 12:6,8

Do I see problems with materialism in America? Absolutely. If a Christian is spending beyond his means to the point that he can't share a portion of his income, then he needs to reasses his stewardship. (I'd suggest reading Affluenza.)

My biggest problem, ultimately, is that this book "inspires" us to take the gospel based on some sort of survivor-guilt. We do not take the gospel to prove anything to God, ourselves, or anyone else. We do it because Christ's love compels us. "We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 2 Cor 4:2.
136 internautes sur 154 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Bold and To the Point! 4 mai 2010
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
In Radical, David Platt looks at how Christianity in America has become far too comfortable. He suggests that Americans have become more interested in pursuing the "American dream" than in fulfilling their obligations to Christ. Platt mentions that many Christians will go so far as to twist the Word of God to mean what they desire it to mean. With this in mind, Platt challenges the reader to a year-long journey to make radical changes for the cause of Christ.

Radical is the no-excuse, no-holds-barred work of a pastor who is fed up with what Christianity has become in America. In his passionate way, David Platt shares his burden about a Christian religion that has strayed far from what it is supposed to be. His book teaches and convicts readers. His goal is to help Christians see what they're missing out on by holding back in their faith.

The book contains stories that will make you weep, as well as those that will shock you. It gives the readers a bold look at where Christians are failing in today's society and how to bring about a positive change. Platt speaks with no apologies, and his message will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows, especially among the "religious" crowd. However, I found his radical statements to be true and straight down the line of what the Bible teaches.

Say "goodbye" to watered-down theology and "feel good" messages. While Platt's message may not be popular, I believe it is God-sent.

This book was reviewed as part of the "Blogging for Books" program by Random House. All opinions expressed were my own.
103 internautes sur 116 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Radical...that Should be Normal 4 mai 2010
Par Robert R. Hostetler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Radical, David Platt's new book (his first) is a challenge to the American church to take back our faith from the "American Dream." Platt, the pastor of four-thousand member The Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, pulls no punches, and somehow manages to disturb without offending.

In nine short and very readable chapters, he makes the case for a radical Christian faith--which SHOULD be the norm. He shows the shameful poverty of our faith amid the affluence of our lifestyles. He advocates a Great Commission mindset far beyond the tidy routines of our comfortable Christianity. He says, for example,

If Jesus is who he said he is, and if his promises are as rewarding as the Bible claims they are, then we may discover that satisfaction in our lives and success in the church are not found in what our culture deems most important but in radical abandonment to Jesus.

If people are dying and going to hell without ever even knowing there is a gospel, then we clearly have no time to waste our lives on an American dream.

Why would we ever want to settle for Christianity according to our ability or settle for church according to our resources?

After eight compelling chapters filled with writing like the above, Radical concludes with The Radical Experiment, a clarion call to "One year to a life lived upside down," in which the reader is urged to commit to:

Pray for the entire world
Read through the entire Word
Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
Spend your time in another context
Commit your life to multiplying community

One might expect those challenges to seem like asking too much, particularly in light of some examples he gives. On the contrary, however, it is far more likely that the reader will be champing at the bit to rise to the challenge and respond to the call. In other words, ready to be radical.

This book was provided for review by the publisher, Multnomah Books.
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