To be honest I really have mixed reviews about David Platt’s book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Maybe with all the hype, I was expecting more. If you want my honest and straight forward opinion I think its weak, premature and largely borrows from the work of others without giving them fair credit: While at the same time, I sense that Dr. Platt is pointing us in the right direction.
First, I think Dr. Platt’s arguments are weak. He is like a doctor who can find the pulse, but has no cure. Yes, America is consumed with consumerism. Yes, we are materialistic. Yes, we are wealthy compared to three-quarters of the world. Yes, a large portion of the world in need of the gospel and basic humanitarian aid. Yes, we should change that. If this book were just about that, it would be prophetic: Find the issue, declare what God has said about it. The weakness arises when Platt tries to usher a new way forward based on his limited experiences as the pastor of a mega-church.
That is why it may be a bit premature. We are in no shortage of books touting short-term and even untried solutions. Everyone sharing the gospel should have success stories to share. The fact is that the Holy Spirit moves both in us and sometimes in spite of us as pastors, teachers, and leaders. The real question is, will the “Radical Experiment” produce long-term results or will we have forgotten about it by next year?
I’m troubled that much of what Platt says appears to be patterned off of messages, books, and articles I’ve read by Dr. John Piper. I guess I wouldn’t be as troubled if I saw that Platt recognized that he has been heavily influenced by Dr. Piper. To me this just appears to be complete ignorance of the loudest voice and call to the “radical” lifestyle or intellectual dishonesty on Platt’s part.
That being said, I sense that Platt is on to something. He is pointing in the right direction. I heard enough of his voice in his writing to sense that he caries a genuine passion to revolutionize the world with the gospel. I hope he does. I pray that God uses him and his book to stir many more into awareness and action. I really liked his 5 fold challenge to take up the ‘radical experiment’ at the end of the book. I hope he writes another book or even revises “radical” in 10 years with more of what God has taught him. He has a voice at the table of American evangelicalism, I pray he uses it well.
If you are looking for an emotional stirring to challenge you to take up the mantle of global missions to the poor, this book is for you and I would recommend you to read it. The retail price of Radical is $14.99 (Paperback), and is available around the web in places like Amazon.com for $5.50. I gave it three stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”