David Platt has a passion for the Gospel. In his book, “Radical”, we are confronted with the absolute holiness of God, the Sovereignty of God, the depravity of man, the vileness of sin, the necessity of repentance and the fact that the Gospel, properly believed, will change your life. After reading this book, one is left with a proper, and humbling, view of himself before God Almighty. If the book stopped here, I could unhesitatingly recommend it.
Unfortunately David doesn’t stop here. He also leaves us pondering our desire to take the Word to the world: the world, it seems, is out there and not here in the Gospel-impoverished United States. We cannot simply have a heart for the United States, we are told; to be right with God, we must have a heart for the world, also. That is, we must also serve there if we desire to serve here.
David deals soundly with the lust for money and things; unfortunately for weaker or younger Christians, perhaps just a little too soundly. Statistics of those who die daily from hunger and disease are intermixed with stories of those who are dying without the Gospel; this sets the stage for many to come away confused and questioning how to live out their faith (Is it teaching the Gospel? Or does it by necessity require that we also alleviate hunger and illness?). Though his challenge to us stops short of imploring us to sell all and GO, we are left wondering if anything less is enough? Yet the Gospel isn’t confronting and eradicating poverty (the groundwork for social change takes place, however, when the Gospel is properly preached), the Gospel is confronting mankind’s sin with God’s perfect holiness which led to the death of Jesus on the cross. David, who earlier in the book, did such a magnificent job of confronting sin, now lets it take a back seat to the call to meet mankind’s physical needs.
“Radical” is egalitarian in nature and men and women are both referred to as “leaders” in the church. The story is told of a young single woman going to a foreign field to do what God has called man alone to do: preach the Word. One wonders to what happened to the radical call to women to be godly wives, mothers and homemakers?
In the end, “Radical” doesn’t quite call us to be radical enough. Living the radical life is simply living as Christ has called us to live and nothing more than a whole Gospel makes a whole (and radical) Christian. While those who are mature in their faith can receive some nourishment from “Radical”, those younger or weaker in their faith or in their knowledge of Scripture just might be led astray. Because of its shortcomings I recommend it only hesitatingly and then only to mature Christians.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to give a positive review.