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Believe it or not, some Christians want to be challenged in their faith. They want someone to say, "This is what the Bible says. Many have fallen short. Have you?" They are not content with nice neat affirmations about how wonderful they are because they know they're not, and they don't want to be told how they're better than others because they're not. Rather, they want to be told the truth even if it makes them uncomfortable -- in fact, they doubt it's the truth unless they are made uncomfortable. If that describes you, you'll love this book as I did.
One thing I like about this book is it is not written as a proven formula that will work for everyone by someone who's achieved that success. No, author David Platt points out that he has not attained. Rather, he's looked at the Bible and instead of using exegesis to explain away tough Scriptures, he's wrestled with them and invites us to join him on this difficult journey. This journey is illustrated through personal experiences of himself and his church as well as anecdotes from Church History.
Platt believes the church has a duty to help the poor as part of our mandate to proclaim the gospel to all the world. Some criticize both his belief that the church is to give to the poor and his emphasis that every Christian should consider going to foreign missions. Carefully reading the book, Platt is more balanced than these critics believe. He, for example, doesn't believe that every Christian is commanded to sell all he has and give to the poor. He just believes each of us should ask God what He wants us as individuals to do. For another example, his point on going is that we need to be actively sharing our faith, and it could be in our own city as well as on foreign soil.
One criticism that some have made deals with whether we need to be doing these things if we're a Christian. I'm sure Platt believes we're saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone and that works doesn't do a thing to save us. But he does believe that if we have saving faith, it will be evident in what we do.
For years, I've believed that Christianity can adapt to any culture and at the same times is counter to every culture. That is the point that Platt makes.
Is "Radical" too strong a term? Maybe. But his approach is not the normal one for the church, and in this case normal isn't good. We're to follow the Christ of the Bible, not the Christ of our culture.
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