Book Review: Radical By David Platt

I recently joined the Blogging For Books program which is run by Waterbrook Multonomah Publishing Group. I've confessed that I'm a bookworm, and this program allows me to get books for free if I agree to post a review about them. How can I pass that up? If you're a fellow book-lover you should check out the Blogging For Books website and sign up too.

Several months ago I heard about the book Radical by David Platt. The sub-title particularly caught my eye "Taking Your Faith Back From The American Dream."

Now, I am pretty fiercely patriotic, so when I saw the sub-title, I wasn't sure what to think about this book. I get rather defensive whenever it appears that someone is criticizing one of the things that I think makes America great, and that includes the freedom that we enjoy in America to work hard toward our goals and provide a good life for our families.

I was expecting it to be one of those anti-American, liberal-minded type books, but something made me read the first chapter anyway (it was available to read online).

After reading the first chapter, I realized that the topic of this book really wasn't even close to my initial impression of it, so I decided to request it for my first book to review, and I must say, I found it challenging and not anti-American at all.

David Platt clearly states early on in the book that "Certainly hard work and high aspirations are not bad, and the freedom to pursue our goals is something we should celebrate." That helped to clear up the initial impression I had received from the title, and the rest of the book focused instead on warning American Christians to not let the American Dream distract us from our higher loyalty and calling as Christians - which includes glorifying God (instead of ourselves and our own abilities), reaching the world with the gospel, giving of our resources in order to further the gospel and help the needy, personally working to bring the knowledge of Jesus to those who don't know Him, and not being afraid to give our lives in these biblical pursuits.

I think the underlying points that Platt brings to light in this book are valid and biblically sound, but I sometimes take issue with the way he says them. For example, at one point Platt discusses the point that American churches sometimes focus too much on what we're called not to do, instead of the things we are called to do as Christians, and he states that when we change our focus in this way "All of a sudden, holiness is defined by what we do." I feel as if that statement almost sounds like a works-based philosophy, but I know that in the context that is not what he is saying. There were a couple such instances in the book, but they were minor enough that they weren't a major issue - the underlying points were sound, and usually the issue was discussed in more detail somewhere in the book, which made Platt's position more clear. I just made notes in the book to clarify for myself for future reference.

Overall, I found this book to be very challenging. Most people are going to feel uncomfortable reading this book; I certainly did. Platt brings up biblical commands that aren't comfortable to consider - such as guarding against materialism, giving sacrificially, and going personally to "make disciples of all nations".

However, no one ever said that following Christ would be comfortable - in fact, if we're feeling comfortable, we probably aren't giving as much of our lives to Him as we should be. In our American church culture it is so easy to fall into that comfortable place, and David Platt brings a full-on, biblical attack against that kind of attitude.

I was convicted, especially by the chapter on materialism, and I find myself thinking of practical ways I can apply what I've read in Radical to my own life. I would recommend this book to any Christian who is feeling a little too comfortable or content in their current walk with Christ - it will challenge you, and it will lead you to think more deeply about what we are called to do as followers of Christ - and that definitely makes it worth reading in my opinion.

Note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. This is my honest opinion on the book.

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Anne said...

Thanks for sharing about the blogging for books program - I am going to check that out, I love reading too! This book is on my list of books to read. Derek is reading it right now, so once he's done I'm going to dive in.

chloƫ. said...

We're reading this for our small group, and you are very right--it is hard to read. But also very worth reading.

Julie S. said...

Thanks for sharing the bloggers for book site! I am definitely going to check that out!

Jessica said...

Books for free? I'll definitely have to check that out!

I've been wanting to read "Radical" for awhile now. I've heard lots of people talk about it, and I've been curious. I will have to check it out!

ladyfelicity said...

I just found out about Book Sneeze too - it sounds ideal ... books for free for a committed bookworm! :) I'm looking forward to improving my book review skills too. I think you did a great job with this review - it sounds like a really good book!

cait said...

Yep, I have put this book down quite a few times and picked it back up. Convicting and tough. Yet, so good! Glad you're spreading the word about it!

Anonymous said...

I, too, enjoyed "Radical" and found it a positive influence on my sanctification.

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