My sister sent me David Platt’s first book Radical for my birthday, I had already heard a lot about it, mostly good things, but also some skeptical comments. It proved to be intriguing and a solid challenge to rethink how I have been living personally and how the church as a community of believers can better impact the world for God’s glory. Platt’s second book Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God, is more practical and puts legs on the first.
Radical Together will not make you feel comfortable. If you are looking for something to soothe your conscience or bolster the American Dream, don’t bother reading it. It is a wake-up call not only for the American Church, but the Church in the West. I have heard critics say that Platt is promoting a theology of poverty, but this could not be further from the truth. Platt simply sends his readers back to the gospels, back to the Word to study and learn what God thinks about wealth, the poor, who will always be with us, and how we are to esteem them, and yes, share with them sacrificially. He makes it very clear that his church is not our example; Christ is our example. Christ is the measure. We are to take our cue from Him.
The book is a call to follow Christ’s directives to go out into the whole world and make disciples; a challenge to take a hard look at how far we, the church, have strayed from the gospel; how the gospel applies to all of life, even to how much money we make, and how we use it. Will we use our resources solely for ourselves and our families? Or for God’s Kingdom and for his purposes? The examples he provides of individuals and churches who have taken Christ’s commands seriously create hope that change, becoming radically like Christ, is possible.