In the follow-up to his bestselling book Radical, pastor and author David Platt expands and expounds upon the need of the church-at-large to seek more than just the “Christian spin on the American dream.” In Radical Together, Platt calls for churches to “sacrifice good things in the church in order to experience the great things of God.”
In this quick though challenging read, Platt begins by asking questions that some church boards would be reticent to answer:
Platt asserts that everything in the life of the church should be set on the table and openly discussed regarding its merit in light of the world’s need to hear the gospel.
Much of Radical Together is an extension of Radical, but expanded to call the church toward radical living as a community of believers. As such, living intentionally as mission-minded is an overarching aspect of the book. Noting “out of more than eleven thousand people groups in the world, more than six thousand of them are still unreached,” Platt encourages churches to take mission trips, to take the gospel “to the ends of the earth.”
The severe contrast between the first world and the third world is often not thoroughly grasped until someone has experienced it for themselves. Still, many are hesitant to take a mission trip for a variety of reasons that, in the end, seem self-serving. Platt presses, “Is it possible for church people to be so focused on personal comforts and so fearful of the potential cost that they virtually forget the purpose of God among all the peoples of the world?”
While I found the first chapter to be the most engaging and challenging, Platt also covers how the gospel, though it frees us from work, is also what allows us to work. He then details how the word of God is always enough, how the right church may actually be filled with the wrong people, and how Christians should live and long for the end of the world. He closes with a look at our self-centeredness and how this plays out in our church lives.
On the whole, the book asks the reader to prayerfully and honestly assess themselves and their church in light of Jesus’ great commission. ”We are to be selfless followers of a self-centered God. But the problem is that we often reverse this in the church.” Our egos and our fallen nature contribute to the easy, oft-unnoticed slide from faithful follower to comfortable Christian, one who’s more apt to stay wrapped in that cocoon of comfort than to travel halfway around the globe to talk to someone about the amazing grace of Jesus.
Consumed by work, by family, or by church obligations (which can all be good things), we are lulled into believing that this is all God may have for us, yet Radical Together reminds us of what the Bible tells us is so: that there is work to do to spread the gospel to all people, and God accomplishes that work through those that are willing to sacrifice. Maybe we believe the challenge is too large, our church is too small, or our faith is too weak. Yet each of these false beliefs are preoccupied with us instead of with God, for whom nothing is impossible.
Who would benefit most from reading Radical Together?
In light of the challenges presented by Radical Together, may we echo Platt’s prayer for himself and make it our own: ”Lord, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am.”
This review was based on a review copy provided by the publisher, Multnomah Books. Radical Together was released on April 19, 2011.
Originally posted on November 8, 2011.