Often a person will say of a book, “I couldn’t put it down.” However, someone who reads RADICAL, by David Platt, may actually prefer to put it down, quickly, because the truths contained in it are almost too eye-opening and jarring. This is a book that, in the words of one reviewer, makes the reader alternately say “Amen!” and then “Ouch!”
Platt’s epiphany for this book came on a mountain in India. After seeing so many people in the cities close by, he realized that it is time to “Wake up and realize that there are infinitely more important things in your life than football and a 401(k). Wake up and realize there are real battles to be fought, so different from the superficial, meaningless ‘battles’ [we] focus on. Wake up to the countless multitudes who are currently destined for a Christless eternity.” (p. 15)
We have become so accustomed to our amenities and cushioned lives. Is God’s Word alone enough for us? Platt says, “This is the question that often haunts me . . . What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would His Word still be enough for people to come together?” Platt’s church actually tried to answer this question by gathering for what they called “Secret Church.” On a Friday night they met from 6:00 to midnight and did nothing but study the Bible and pray for the persecuted church around the world.
The result? So many people showed up that now they must limit participants to advance sign-up. They discovered that when we really recognize the Gospel for what it is – God coming to us instead of us finding a path to Him – contemporary Christian sales pitches just don’t satisfy anymore. Much of our effort amounts to “Pray this prayer, sign this card, walk down this aisle, and accept Jesus as your personal Savior.” Our attempts to reduce the gospel to a shrink-wrapped presentation no longer seem appropriate.
Platt also reminds us that living in America we have fallen prey to the American Dream: There is no limit to what we can accomplish. While there is nothing wrong with working hard, we subtly believe that our ability and our hard work are all that we need. We forget that God has said “I am the vine; you are the branches . . . apart from me you can do nothing.” He called upon His disciples to give up their all – why do we think that we are any different?
I had heard of this book a number of times before being given a copy at Christmas. I had heard that it is a must-read for a serious Christian, and have found that to be true. Those who desire to know God in more than a superficial way should absolutely read RADICAL. And even as you want to quit reading, you will not be able to put it down.