Thursday, May 6, 2010

Book Review: Radical by David Platt

It's a two book review week.  Next week, there will only be 1, and then 1 the next week.  After that, I'm not sure when my next book reviews will come.  I've got a few books I'd like to get read for my own personal growth, and then there's the desperate need to gather and grow for ministry purposes.  Then this fall school starts, and I'll be writing book reviews for the academic process.  That's going to be different from the blog book review writing.  Anyway, read the Disclosures! regarding whether or not I get paid for reviews.  Summary: I don't.  WaterBrook/Multnomah gave me the book, gave me a copy to give away, and asked that I send you on the link to their website for more info.  Enough said.

Review:  The subject of today's review is Radical by David Platt.  The subtitle is Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.  If you'd like to take a read at the first chapter, there's a link right here.  Here's how the book looks:

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

This book stirred several reactions in myself, but I'm going to limit my responses in this review.  I have become somewhat of a cynic, and tend to question those who write books that tell us to question things.  Part of me thinks it's fair, but it doesn't add to an understanding of the text.  So, let's just look at the text.  What has David Platt presented us with in Radical?

This is a book that is designed, basically, to present questions more than answers.  In that end, Platt succeeds.  He has organized a book that builds well from chapter to chapter, leading the reader to the point he's aiming at: that we can not always be both effective followers of Christ and effectively fulfill the American dream of wealth and privilege. 

There are 219 pages of content, including a challenge at the end to consider a change in life for one year.  These pages are easy to read, the typeface is clear, and the margins are adequate for making notes as you read through it.

The one difficulty I had with the book itself was that it is somewhat loose on direct application.  I assume that the purpose was for the reader to draw their own conclusion, but I would have liked to have seen more direct suggestions.  At more than one point, Platt raises a question of whether we should all either sell everything or all go into international missions or other wide-ranging questions, then backpedals to say, "but we may not all have to do that." It's a bit of a hedge in my opinion, but it does not destroy the overall value of the book.

To read or not to read?  Read it.  Buy it and give it as graduation gifts to high school and college graduates this year.  Then keep a copy for yourself and read it.  If we would push through even a portion of these ideas in the next 3 years in American churches, we'd see an amazing difference.  (The SBC wouldn't even need a GCR Task Force!)

The review package included a copy of The Radical Question, which is a summarizing booklet of this work.  It would be an excellent quick handout to church members on a Sunday morning, coupled with a sermon on the need for evangelism.  I wouldn't rush to buy the booklet for personal reading, but for handouts, it would be great.  If you're going to buy, buy the book.



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