Posted by: Brian Musser | July 18, 2011

Book Review of Radical Together by David Platt

downloadThere is a story about a church deliberating over whether to invite D.L. Moody to preach a revival service for them.  Someone stands and says, “It is not necessary for us to invite Mr. Moody.  He does not have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit.”  A second voice offers this rebuttal, “Yes, that is true, but it appears that the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Mr. Moody.”

That conversational exchange describes my opinion of Radical Together by David Platt.  David does not hold a monopoly on the Holy Spirit.  Very little that is written in Radical Together is new or unique.  All of what is said could be easily derived from a careful, unbiased and Spirit-filled reading of the New Testament.  At several points, I felt obligated to turn to my wife and say, “I’ve been saying this for years.”  To be honest I have seen David speak on several occasions so I may have been previously inoculated to the “radical” nature of his message.  On one hand, I feel as if I could have written this book.  Radical Together is not a message that the Holy Spirit has only told David Platt.  There are many of us that have heard this same voice.

BloggingForBooks-120x600The difference is not in the “radicalness” of the message David has shared.  The difference is with the radical obedience with which he has chosen to listen to that message.  The Holy Spirit is not speaking to David and his church in a unique way.  David does not have a monopoly on what the Holy Spirit is saying.  However, through the personal stories that are shared it is clear that him and his church have decided to be obedient to the Holy Spirit in some unique ways.

If you have no intention of changing your life to radically follow God’s call to do whatever, wherever, however and whenever He calls you to, then there is no need to read Radical Together.  If you have already submitted to God’s absolute right to every aspect of your life, then there is no need for you to read this book either.  If you are like me and find yourself somewhere in the middle, slowly and sporadically allowing God to have an ever-increasing control of your life, then you will undoubtedly hear within Radical Together  the voice of the Holy Spirit calling you to take that next step of obedience.  You will also see in David Platt and the Church at Brook Hills encouraging examples of those on the journey with you.

As you read this book you will find that is has a very simple thesis stated in the form of a question.  “How can we in the church best unleash the people of God in the Spirit of God with the Word of God for the glory of God in the world?”  Then each of the following six chapters emphasizes on way the church in America can better answer that question.

Chapter one asks us to be willing to sacrifice in obedience to the call of God the good things that the church does in order to be available to do the will of God.  The will of God and the activity of the church may be two different things.  It is one thing for a disgruntled para-church missionary or the elderly pastor of a struggling congregation that is about to close its doors to say something like this.  But it adds validity when a young pastor of a vibrant church says it.

The second chapter brings us back to the very gospel we preach.  Our knee-jerk reactions to unbalanced interpretations have led us to many misunderstandings when it comes to the gospel.  The simple fact is that salvation by grace through faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ saves us from having to do the impossible task of working for our salvation and frees us to be able to do the awesome task of working for God’s glory.  Throughout Christianity but temporally and spatially we have often been in error with our explanation of how grace and work relate.  Our ability to bring God glory has suffered.

Chapter three’s emphasis on the fact that God is always and consistently speaking to His people through His Scripture reminded me of a time when I heard David speak.  He stood on a stage in front of approximately 800 college students and instead of giving of well-polished and inspirational sermon, he recited the first eight chapters of Romans.  His point was the same one as in this chapter.  More important than what we have to say is what God has to say and God has chosen to say it through His Word.  So it might be important for us to listen.

Then the next chapter calls us to remember that the church of God is the entire body of Christ not just the professional staff or the building or the programs.  We are the body of Christ and God has chosen to reach the world through all of us.  The church, especially the church leadership, exists to equip the entire body to reach the entire world.

Chapter five reviews our task.  Our task has been directly given by Jesus and is hard to misconstrue.  However; over the years we have developed some creative ways to misunderstand it.  The church’s task is to task the gospel to every tongue, tribe and nation throughout the entire globe.  We are still here so we have not successfully completed our task yet.  This is the chapter that I need to do better at within the context of my ministry.  How do I better leverage the resources in my ministry for the sake of the gospel reaching the ends of the earth?

The final chapter reminds us that it is all about God and God’s glory.  God does not need us but He chooses to use us.  The lost do not need us and our fancy ideas.  They need to come in contact with the God of the universe who is searching for them.  The less of us and the more of God in our ministries the better things will be.  Prayer, or the lack of it, is a clear indicator of our dependence on God.

Allow me to leave you with this blessing.  May you read this book and hear not the voice of David Platt but the voice of the Holy Spirit calling you to find a few like-minded Christians and set out on a journey to live radically together for the sake of the glory of God.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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