I just finished reading Radical by David Platt and I thought it was a great book. If I had to sum it up in one word, that word would be "challenging".
David subtitled the book, Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, so that was a good hint at what he was going to cover in this book. He jumps right with a question that has stuck with me; if Jesus were to walk into your church on any given Sunday, would he recognize it as the movement He started? Platt makes some pretty big criticisms of the church today and how we may have the concept of church upside down to what was started 2000 years ago. He looks at how we have adapted church programs to grow much like the businesses we run and often times the church leaves out the Holy Spirit and manages to run and grow a successful church, but something feels missing. Platt recognizes that he is making a broad generalization about the church in America, but at the same time it is good to take a look at why we do church the way we do it.
Platt also looks closer at the American dream of bigger is better and how we have applied that to church. There is some irony here in that fact that Platt is the pastor of a mega church and this book made it to the NY Bestseller list, the book became so popular that you can find it on the self in Wal-Mart (I wonder what David thinks about that...). Platt recognizes that fact, he tells several stories of different mission trips he has been on to impoverished countries where people are living on less than $2 per day, only to be back in his church preaching that Sunday in a multi-million dollar facility and walk out into the parking lot to see a sea go vehicles worth millions. All of this makes him question if we are spending our money the way Jesus would want us to.
Platt not only questions how we spend our money but also how we spend our time. He unpacks Jesus commandment for us to make disciples of the world and challenges the church to get out of their comfort zone and go out into the world.
In the end, I really liked this book because not only did Platt raise a lot of challenging questions, but Platt leaves the reader with a challenge. He challenges the with one year, 5 point challenge.
1. Pray for the world
2. Read through the Word
3. Sacrifice money for a specific purpose
4. Spend time in another context
5. Commit to multiplying community
Not only does he lay out these 5 challenges, but he provides resources to achieve these challenges. He asks challenging questions but then provides plenty of explanation and resources to help answer those questions in your own life.
I would highly recommend this book!