The Real Radical: In Defense of the American Dream

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, David PlattI have previously commented on David Platt’s book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, in which I outlined a preemptive critique of his ideas based on David Brooks’ assessment.

Now that I’ve actually read the book, I have written a full review. Unfortunately, much of what I anticipated was proven to be true. Platt is far too broad in his condemnation of the American church, and his solutions are narrow-minded and sloppy.

The full review is posted over at Common Sense Concept.

Here’s an excerpt:

For Platt, American culture promotes the antithesis to radical abandonment. It relies heavily on individual ingenuity and prosperity, and thus it is automatically low on grace and generosity (in truth, the two go hand in hand). In order for the American church to reach widespread abandonment, Platt argues, it must instead strive toward extinguishing any “non-sacrificial” pursuits therein and ensure that its participants are engaging in more “acceptable” activities.

Here’s my general response to Platt’s criticisms:

Having the freedom to pursue one’s own goals can certainly be a bad thing, particularly when such dreams are merely one’s own goals. But God has intended for our hearts to be aligned to his mission. When that is the case, the society that promotes individualism becomes one that has great potential for enabling God’s plans through individuals.

To read the full review, click here.

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  • Modocrider1

    I agree that Platt has some very good ideas and warnings. But I do have some questions about his views on individualism.
    If we come to salvation individually, and in our uniqueness as designed by God, just which parts of our personal self are we to deny? Are we to follow a cookie cutter pattern laid out by Platt? Does he deny an individuals personal gifts of the Spirit? Not all of us are made to be missionaries, but many can be servants in other ways. If the church teaches us to use our gifts that we've been given as individuals, wouldn't the church flourish so much more? Why be limited?
    In Acts, the believers gathered together at various homes. Which one had the gift of hospitality? Which ones had the funds to pay for the food? Which ones supported the others who traveled to spread the Gospel?
    We are called to live in this world, but not be of this world. We aren't supposed to be so “heavenly minded that we're no earthly good”. Our focus as individuals and as a church is to spread God's word. The ways this is done are as varied as the gifts of the believers. A person or company can donate planes to take missionaries around the world or bring disaster relief, as in Haiti. If that person who had donated his planes had given up his wealth, wouldn't the spread of the Gospel and the care for “widows and orphans” be denied? The wealth of the one believer allows missionaries and those with gifts of healing or other gifts to flourish.
    I wonder if Platt is more concerned with the camel through the eye of the needle, than the promise Jesus made that with God, all things are possible. Pursuit of riches for riches alone will keep a person from God. In contrast to that; if a wise Christian steward is blessed with wealth, wouldn't they be the same as the servant who returned his master's investment tenfold? Doesn't God counsel wise use of our resources, whatever they are? Aren't those resources as varied as the individuals they're given to?

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