Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Radical Together

David Platt's Radical Together is a short little book that follows up his bestseller Radical. In this book David Platt seeks to encourage, motivate and illustrate how the church can yield itself to the larger plan and purposes of God by giving and serving sacrificially. 

The book is full of personal stories, illustrations and examples of people who have set their life aside to serve God in radical ways. The author offers a number of challenges: from church's using their budgets in radical ways, such as foregoing building programs, foregoing building period, slashing waste in budgets, and giving radically to mission. 

Platt makes is very clear early in the book that we do not serve God because God needs us or because we need to curry favor with God. He is clear that the gospel is salvation by grace alone. He things like "you cannot do enough to be accepted before God. And the beauty of the gospel is you don't have to" and "The starting point of your radical life is your radical death--death to yourself and death to your every attempt to do enough before God" (27). He is clear that we are saved from work but when we are saved God saves us to work (28).

The book as a whole is a good but brief read. When I read this book I had not yet read Radical. One the one hand this book can stand alone but on the other hand I think I would have been better served having read the books in order.

By far the best chapter in the book is chapter 6 "The God who Exalts God." All Christian need to be reminded that God is in the business of glorifying his name and He does not need us to do so even though he freely chooses us in love for these purposes. In this chapter, as in a few others, David makes some passing quips at those who do church, are sold on mega-church for the pizzaz and even takes a respectful but Biblical dig at "seeker sensitive" quoting Romans 3:11. In all of this Platt is to the point and on target. He is respect and sensitive even while challenging the reader. This last chapter ends with a wonderful quote from A.W. Tozer speaking of people who are motivated to missions by a lofty opinion of ourselves and what we can do for God. For one who grew up in the church scene and went to Bible college, one would do well to listen to this.

As a whole David Platt's book seeks to motivate and encourage yet slice down a man-centered approach while lifting up a God-centered approach. It is often easy take an either/or approach: either I motivate people and really lay it on thick or I really emphasize God-centeredness. It is sometimes tough to do both and David Platt's book does it well.

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  A favorable review was not a condition of receiving this book.

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