Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

REVIEW BY JON R. KING OF THE BOOK RADICAL: TAKING BACK YOUR FAITH
FROM THE AMERICAN DREAM, BY DAVID PLATT
David Platts book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream seems to have taken
mainstream Christianity in America by storm. Some Pastors seem to have embraced the concepts
propounded in the book as if they had never been thought of before David Platt. Some Christians act as
if this book contains new Divine Revelation. Clearly, my general opinion of the book is negative. When I
was given the book to read the first time I honestly had no pre-conceived ideas or feelings about David
Platt or his book. I went into the book hoping to find some meaningful insight into living for and walking
with God. Sadly, I did not find any even after reading the book a second time. David Platt does have some
useful things to say and I have no doubt of his sincerity to honor God and walk with Him. I am a
fundamentalist, separatist, Calvinist Baptist. I am not an Evangelical in the common sense it is used
today that conveys non-separatist convictions that embrace New Evangelical and/or Conservative
Evangelical compromises in the Christian walk. Knowing this about me will lead many of you to discern in
advance my feelings about David Platts book. I want to begin with comments that I feel reflect positively
on the book.
1.

I believe that it is always admirable, commendable and useful for any servant of Christ and
Christian writer to search the Scriptures seeking to convey Gods Truth in new and effective ways
that will help other Christians in their walk with God through this life on earth. I do think it was
David Platts intention to accomplish this goal.

2.

There is no doubt in my mind that David Platt knows the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior,
that he loves God and wants to serve Him in obedience to the Scriptures. If anyone doubts this
then they did not read the book very well.

3.

David Platt demonstrates a strong commitment to prayer for his family, the nations of the world
and their need of Christ. He shares a burden with missionaries who take the message of the
Gospel of Christ to a lost world.

4.

The author seems to have a deep burden for the poor throughout the world and actually seems
CONSUMED by the fact. However, he gives the impression that the poor in other nations are
more important than the poor within our own country, the United States of America.

David Platts book has some serious problems for me as I compare it to Gods Word. A lifetime of
studying, teaching and preaching the Word of God leads me to these conclusions:
1.

David Platt shares nothing new at all. There are no new ideas, concepts or clarification of Biblical
Truth. The things which he says are simply the old social-gospel dressed in the same new
clothes. He has attempted to make the social gospel relevant through guilt.

2.

David Platt comes out strongly against American churches with lots of money, property and large
buildings for worship. He says in chapter 1, I was on a collision course with an American church
culture where success is defined by bigger crowds, bigger budgets, and bigger buildings. Yet, the
author himself is the pastor of one of the wealthier of American churches including a large
expensive worship center. He is the pastor of a mega-church called The Church at Brook Hills

Page 1 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

in Birmingham, Alabama. It appears that he is dealing with his own problem in this area. He refers
to church buildings as temples, empires, and kingdoms (p. 118). There are only a small
percentage of American churches that are as large as his and not even all of those church leaders
think such things about their ministries and facilities. The fact remains that most of the churches
in America are quite small in size (less than 200 members). Let me point out that the American
church culture does not, in its entirety, define Christian success as bigger crowds, bigger budgets
and bigger buildings. It is only that part of the American church culture to which he has chosen
to become a part. Multitudes of churches in America, and their pastors, long ago took a stand
against such unbiblical teaching regarding what makes a successful church. There remains, yet
today, a considerable portion of the American fundamental, separatist church community that
continues to hold to that stand. I guess David Platt must have never met any of us. If he feels so
strongly, why has he not convinced his church family of the evil of this situation and sold the
property? And if they sold the property, to do what? Let me say clearly that Gods Holy Word
nowhere condemns and/or prohibits His children from constructing and owning buildings in
which to worship Him. In fact, Jehovah Himself finally approved of King Davids plan to build an
impressive Temple unto the LORD GOD. It was to be a Temple worthy of the glory and majesty of
the Creator and Ruler of Heaven and earth and the LORD GOD of Israel. Even though the
construction had to wait until Solomon became King of Israel, the Temple that Solomon
constructed was so costly, was so majestic, and was so awe-inspiring that it was never repeated in
all of human history. If Jehovah God had not approved of the Temple, which Solomon built for the
purpose of declaring to the world the majesty of Jehovah, then God in His Shekinah Glory would
never have descended upon the Temple and dwelt there. Israel was never commanded by God
to sell off the Temple and send the money throughout the earth to feed the poor. In fact, Israel
was condemned by God in Haggai chapter 2 for leaving the Lords House in a wasted condition:
Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the
LORD'S house should be built. Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, is
it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your paneled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore
thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat,
but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none
warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
3.

David Platt seems consumed by guilt over his own failure to meet the social needs of the poor in
the world. Why is it that he feels such need of travelling abroad to observe, feel guilty over and be
consumed with the need to meet the physical needs of the poor yet fails to demonstrate such
need in his own neighborhood and in his own country? He constantly mentions his vast number
of trips abroad to visit other countries but fails to devote that same energy and commitment into
be a true pastor at home. In my opinion, it is sad that the author and so many other Christians
feel that the only way that they can fulfill Gods plan, as they see it, is to go to other nations to
minister to the poor yet they make little effort to do the same in America. Our own nation has
great spiritual and physical need but David Platt makes no determined effort to answer that call.
The guilt that the author experiences is caused by his own failure to understand Gods Word
clearly and accurately. Jesus certainly met the physical needs of some people to whom He

Page 2 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

ministered but certainly not out of guilt or obligation. He fed the three thousand and the five
thousand, not because they were poor or even because they were hungry, but primarily as a
demonstration of the power of God and that He was the promised Messiah. Jesus also healed a
few people during his earthly life but only a small percentage compared to all needy. Jesus
Christ never expressed guilt over not doing enough for the poor. He never felt guilt over not
doing enough for anyone. Christ healed only a small percentage of people during His earthly
ministry but did not feel or express guilt over His failure toward the others. I need to point out
here that not once is it recorded that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded, expected or even politely
asked any of the Twelve Disciples to direct their ministry to the poor and needy. In fact, when
Judas asked why the expensive perfumed ointment used to anoint the feet of the Savior was not
sold for the poor the Masters rebuke, knowing the heart of Judas, was the poor you always
have with you. Jesus Christ was not concerned about the poor being poor but for the poor being
eternally lost. Christ expressed no concern as to whether a person was poor or wealthy. They all
had the same need. They all needed to be saved from their sin not healed, fed or clothed. David
Platt is lost within the quagmire of the Social Gospel that is compelled and motivated by guilt.
Allow me to point out that one of the basic tenets of New Evangelicalism is emphasis upon the
social gospel. Dr. Ernest D. Pickering provides a clear statement regarding this on page 135 of
his book titled BIBLICAL SEPARATION: THE STRUGGLE FOR A PURE CHURCH:
The term social gospel means different things to different people. The older new
evangelicals expressed concern that the church (especially fundamentalism) had neglected
its social responsibility and placed all its emphasis upon personal salvation. The young
evangelicals have come on even stronger in this area, and many of them see the gospel as
two-pronged individual and social. Mark Hatfield admonishes evangelicals to turn to
the theological problems of social revolution in the present. To do less is to concern
ourselves with only half of the gospel. One young evangelical described himself as a
professional social activist, and another announced that traditional orthodoxy turned
him off, but said that the things that turn us on are social action things.
To find such emphasis upon social action in the teaching of the New Testament
would require diligent search and would prove fruitless. Primary place is given to the
proclamation of saving grace in Jesus Christ, and the social betterment which surely
follows is a by-product but not part of the message. Much of the support for strong social
action arises from a misunderstanding and misappropriation of Old Testament passages
and excerpts from the Sermon on the Mount.
The New Testament Epistles are clear that the focus of the Church of Jesus Christ is to reach the
unsaved of its own community and nation before all other people anywhere else in the world; to
minister to the needs of the Body of Christ above all others; and to obey the commandments of
the LORD. If you love Me, keep My commandments. The gospel of saving grace in and through
Jesus Christ contains no reference of any kind to meeting social needs of the lost. It is a sad
commentary on American Christianity that more Christians like David Platt are preaching this
social addition to the gospel and thus leading others down this unbiblical path. I am reminded

Page 3 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

that the book of James says that those of us who are teachers of Gods Word have the greater
condemnation for teaching falsely.
4.

David Platt titled his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. The use of
the term radical seems to be chosen by the author in order to build rapport with his readers
desired audience of younger evangelicals. Radical is not typically a term used to describe Biblical
Christianity. The word itself implies and expects dramatic abandonment and revolutionary
acceptance of a new manner of thinking and acting. The term radical has always been used in a
negative manner within socio-political systems of thought. It was the word of political
revolutionaries radicals whose goal was/is to overthrow the existing system in order to replace it
with another that the revolutionary/radical considers more suitable. In my opinion, the use of the
term radical in the context used by the author to describe real Christianity is far off the Biblical
mark that God lays out in His Holy Word. His intention is to imply that mainstream American
Christianity is foreign to Gods Word and needs to be cast off in favor of a more radical flavor.
Let me make it clear that Gods Word does not support David Platts thesis that his idea of
radical Christianity is Biblical. There is very little difference between the views propounded by
the author and that of the social gospel so long taught and practiced by middle-of-the-road
Christianity for the past fifty years. The primary job of Biblical evangelism is to share the Gospel of
Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ to lost sinners condemned to Hell. There is nothing within
the Bible even to suggest that true evangelism requires that the evangelist first meet the
physical needs of the evangelized, whether food, medicine, houses and etc. before attempting to
share the message of Christs redemption with them. Certainly most American missionaries are
appalled with the living conditions of so many peoples to which they go to minister. Moreover,
godly compassion stimulates our desire to meet the needs of these people who are ill or suffering
in another manner. However, meeting those needs is and must always be secondary and
subservient to the preaching and teaching of Gods Word to those lost in sin. Biblical Christianity
is not radical or revolutionary in the sense used by David Platt. True Biblical Christianity is life
changing because it offers and provides eternal life to all mankind if each will accept the finished
work of Christ at Calvary as payment for their sin. More correctly, Biblical Christianity is
reactionary in that it provides the means for mankind to return to the state of blessing and bliss
with God that was forfeited by sin in the Garden of Eden. David Platts use of the word radical is
used so often in the book that I found it tiresome. He uses the term continuously to describe God
as radical, Jesus Christ as radical, his way of thinking is radical, we must be radical, Christ invites us
to take radical risk and offers radical reward. It is all about being radical to David Platt.
However, God did not call His children to be radical but faithful and obedient to Him. David
Platts use of the term radical is exactly how the new evangelicals and the later young
evangelicals referred to their view of the gospel ministry. Again, I quote Dr. Pickering:
Richard Quebedeaux in his definitive study The Young Evangelicals popularized the name.
The young evangelicals basically are younger persons who have imbibed the general
philosophy of the older new evangelicals, but are more radical and feel that the older
evangelicals have not gone far enough in some of their viewpoints. They are particularly
critical of the new evangelicals in the areas of social justice, racial issues and attitude

Page 4 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

toward the established government. The young evangelicals are radical theologically,
politically and socially. They are activists in politics and in the promotion of various
schemes for social betterment. They see these areas as where the action is. Such persons
as Bruce Larson, Tom Skinner, Leighton Ford and Nancy Hardesty are in the forefront of the
movement. Biblical Separation: The Struggle For A Pure Church, Regular Baptist Press,
Schaumburg, Illinois, 1979, page 131.
5.

The second part of the books title suggests that the so-called American Dream is sinful in and
of itself. Platt portrays American Christians as greedy and self-serving. He contends that the
American Dream stresses our own power and abilities and has nothing to do with God. In
fairness to the author, he does admit later in his book (p. 214) that not every facet of the
American dream is negative. Confused? It does us well to remember that multitudes of Believers
have been able to enjoy the so-called American Dream as the direct result of God Himself
blessing them with such. Platt nearly demands that we give up our American dream or else we
will never fulfill the Great Commission. He says on page 14 of his book that, While Christians
choose to spend their lives fulfilling the American dream instead of giving their lives to
proclaiming the Kingdom of God, literally billions in need of the gospel remain in darkness. We
cannot dispute that billions still remain in spiritual darkness. Yet millions still remain in spiritual
darkness within our own country. The reality is that millions of people have heard the gospel
many times in our own country and yet they remain in spiritual darkness. There are liberal,
spiritually dead churches across the landscape of America in which people sit in pews never
having heard the Truth of Gods Word preached from their pulpit. Still the author seems to feel no
sense of the tragedy and failure of such a condition - a condition of which he may be part of the
cause. Why is Americas spiritual darkness not of more deep concern to David Platt than that of
other nations of the world? The Great Commission requires that we focus our evangelistic efforts
on our own nation before other nations of the earth. The view that David Platt holds concerning
the American dream is one that cannot be support by Scripture. The question to be asked is,
Does our faith NEED to be rescued from the American Dream? My answer is unequivocally no.
The title suggests, and David Platt now believes, that most Christians in America have succumbed
to a godless worldview as the result of the pursuit of the American Dream. Once again, I am
disappointed that a well-known and respected pastor and author has so little true spiritual
depth and such limited knowledge of the deep Truths of Gods Word. I have seen this throughout
my lifetime. The problem begins in our Bible colleges and seminaries and then is reproduced in
our pulpits, just as it was when the liberals of the early 20 th Century ravaged the American
Christian church. Many of our once-fundamental, separatist seminaries have abandoned sound,
deep Biblical teaching for a watered-down, milk-toast Christianity that resembles, if not in
actuality, that of New Evangelicalism. I wonder if the author studied the milk or the meat of
Gods Word in seminary and then in his own personal study. The Apostle Paul rebuked the
Corinthian Believers because the only Truth from Gods Word that they could handle was related
to the doctrine of salvation, which the Apostle called the milk of the Word. They were spiritually
shallow and the Apostle Paul could not even teach them beyond the simple milk of Gods Truth.
In my opinion, David Platt is Biblically anemic. The truth of Gods Word relating to money and

Page 5 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

possessions is this: (a) Money is not inherently sinful nor are material possessions. It is the love of
money that is the root of all evil. The sin is not in the material wealth but, rather, in the desire
consumed by wealth. It is that all-consuming desire to increase in material wealth above all else
that is condemned in the Scriptures. (b) God blessed Abraham with extreme wealth for his day. He
had large herds of livestock. He had such a large number of servants that he was able to defeat
the armies of those that invaded the valley of Sodom and took Lot and others prisoners. He had
enough wealth to arm all of his servants to war. He had enough wealth to feed and provide for all
of his household and the families of his servants. Yet God gave Abraham this wealth. It was not
sinful. (c) The man Job was blessed by God with great wealth for his time. Job had lands, multiple
herds, and many servants just as Abraham. In addition, after God restored Job to the place of
blessing God gave Job twice the amount of possessions he held prior to his trials. Was God
therefore sinful to trap Job in the bondage of possessions? Of course not! (d) Neither Abraham,
Job, King Saul, King David, King Solomon nor multitudes of others, were commanded by God to
give away all their possessions to the poor. Nor does God expect such action today. Our faith
does not need to be rescued from the American Dream. It is not wrong to want a nice home in
which to live and raise our families, or to have car/cars to travel to our places of employment, or
to desire to do well at the job God has provided us so that we can provide and care for our
families. It is not wrong to take vacations each year even though there are millions in the world
who cannot. I have no sense of guilt over enjoying the blessing which God has graciously given to
us in America and Gods Word does not expect us to feel guilt over it. The sin is in the pursuit of
material wealth for its own sake. If we allow our desires to be consumed with the accumulation of
wealth and possessions then we have fallen into the sinful trap that will bring about the
chastening of God if we do not repent and change our direction. David Platt would do well to
remember that Fundamental, Conservative Christians in America give large amounts of their
wealth toward the work of God through their local churches, including toward foreign mission
outreach. We give to the Lord in our churches out of love, respect and honor of Him and His Holy
Word. Certainly, some Believers in Christ do not give at all or give with a wrong attitude but that
cannot be said for all. We give so that we can compensate our ministerial staff. We give to pay for
Bible study materials for Sunday School and childrens church, for music for the choir ministries,
and Bibles to give away to visitors and new members. We give to pay for utilities, upkeep and
maintenance of the church facilities and grounds. We give to fund Vacation Bible School, and
neighborhood Bible studies. We give to support local evangelistic ministry through our local
churches and to support summer Bible camps. We give to support home missions and foreign
missions. We give to assist needy persons and families within our local church membership (in
fulfillment of taking care of those of the household of faith). In addition, the list could go on and
on and on.
6.

David Platt, like so many other western Christians, seems to be so overwhelmed with the living
conditions of people in other nations whom they perceive to be living in abject poverty. How
many times have we all heard the pleas from televangelists and from our own Pastors and
missionaries of how wealthy Americans are and how poor are the native peoples of other
countries? Of how guilty we should feel when we pay for that extra cup of coffee or extra bottle of
Pepsi. On page 108, we are told to feel bad for the money we spend on French fries. Ive lost

Page 6 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

count of how many times I have heard the same message that David Platt teaches in his book and
from his pulpit. It is imperative that we, first of all, remember that God is sovereign over all people
and things. Each of us was born into a society of Gods own choosing. No one else had any input
into that decision. It is all of Gods sovereign Will. The why that one is born into one nation and
another person is born into a different nation is known only to God. Some people are born into
wealthy nations and others into poorer nations. That is not something that we can control and
God never even refers to it in the Scriptures. There is no reference in Gods Word of the need for
social action as a responsibility of individual Believers or of His Church, the Body of Christ. David
Platt needs to be reminded, as do all Believers, that most citizens of foreign nations do not even
know that they are poor. My question to David Platt, some pastors and foreign missions
personnel is, By what standard are these people considered poor? They make very little money
in contrast to Americans but how does that constitute being poor? I remember during the early
years of my married life that we made so little money that we fell below the U.S. government
poverty level. We did not even know that we were poor. Only the government thought we were
poor. We were happy, paid our bills, had food on the table, and had a place to live and
employment every day. Just because the government said we were poor does not mean we
actually were poor. The same is true for the people of the second and third world countries to
which Christian missionaries seek to minister. If anyone is to blame for considering those people
to be poor, it is the missionaries themselves and the mission organizations. If Christian
missionaries would deal honestly with the Scriptures, they would have no reason to feel guilt over
being an American. It is liberal Christianity, including new evangelicalism, and not the Holy Spirit
that has spawned such feelings of guilt over the material wealth which God has graciously
allowed them to enjoy. There is absolutely no Biblical justification for such feelings. If David Platt
and those who think as he does feel the need to expiate their guilt by giving away their personal
wealth and possessions, by all means they should do so, but they have no Biblical support for the
decision to expect all other Christians to do the same. If a Believer in Christ feels led by the Holy
Spirit to make such a choice for himself/herself that is between them and God. The Believer in
Jesus Christ as Savior, whether American or otherwise, has no Biblical obligation or requirement
to give away all their possessions to meet the needs of the poor. Please understand that I am
not suggesting that Believers should not feel compassion for other people in need. Indeed, we
should feel compassion and seek to help others according to how God has prospered us, but we
must also remember that the instructions for the Church to care for the needs of others is
directed to those of the household of faith. God is clearly more concerned about Believers in the
Church caring for their fellow Believers than for Believers caring for the social needs of others in
the world. Our churches are filled with Pastors and members who are either oblivious or
unconcerned about the often severe financial, physical and spiritual needs of their own brothers
and sisters in the household of faith of their own church family. In addition, yes, this is an
indictment of our failed church leadership. Is it more exciting to send money to help a poor family
in Zaire than to help our fellow Believer who sits in the same pew as us? Let us be thankful that
God has blessed America and Americans with success, peace and prosperity according to His own
Will. Let us focus on the real needs within our midst. Honestly, if God had wanted it any other way
He would have so ordained it. It the responsibility of the Body of Christ to share the gospel of

Page 7 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

saving grace in Jesus Christ to those who are lost in sin. There is no second part of the gospel that
is for the purpose of solving social, political and economic problems within the societies we
minister. We must agree that there are multitudes in other nations that are suffering from
malnutrition, deformed bodies and brains, and preventable diseases. However, no amount of
increased giving will alleviate human suffering. The sovereign God of the universe knows the
circumstances and conditions of every human being that has walked the earth. The worlds need
is not relief from social ills but salvation from their sins through Jesus Christ. A very important part
of the book is where David Platt presents the story of a couple in his congregation that randomly
give away their possessions (p. 131) as a result of his preaching the same ideas as propounded in
his book. He holds them up as an example of truly committed Believers in Christ that are fulfilling
Gods commands in the Great Commission, even though the Great Commission says nothing of
the kind. Then David Platt calls for informed giving so that our efforts are not wasted by giving to
people who will misuse it (pp. 195-196). I will comment on the couple to which he refers later in
this review.
7.

David Platt seems to favor the use of the term Christ follower instead of the term Christian. For
what purpose? The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). The term Christian
means little Christ, and the term was originally derogatory. However, the name Christian has
been a badge of honor for centuries. The term Christ follower was made popular by many
Emergent church leaders. The Emerging, or Emergent, church movement takes its name from
the idea that as culture changes, a new church should emerge in response. It is the belief of the
emergent church leaders that if the church is to survive it must emerge with a new identity
that is more like its culture in order to meet the needs of its culture. New terminology must be
adopted that speaks to the new culture. Once again, there is no Biblical support or justification
for this position. The Church, the Body of Christ, needs to change the culture in which it ministers,
not allow the culture to change the Church. Sadly, even in some once conservative, fundamental
and separatist Baptist churches the pastors have begun to pursue this very position and goal. The
result has been books like those of David Platt and sermons like those of David Platt. It has
resulted in compromise in evangelistic efforts; compromise in the ministry of church music;
compromise in the very message of the church within its community. It has resulted in an
abandonment of Biblical teaching on personal and ecclesiastical separation so as not be seen as
confrontational and unloving. It has resulted in the desire to make our churches more likeable
to those in our communities. The messages to the seven churches by the risen Lord Jesus Christ in
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 provide His answer to all of these errors. The Emerging Church
movement is, once again, only new evangelicalism in a different suit of clothes. The declared
purpose of new evangelicalism, according to the founder, Harold John Ockenga, was and still is
to build a bridge between evangelicals and fundamental separatists to encourage cooperation in
essential issues of ministry. The very foundation of the movement was one of compromise, both
theological and social. David Platts book is radical new evangelicalism.

8.

David Platts use of the account of Jesus with the rich young ruler is wrongly applied. David Platt
suggests that the only way anyone can be a true disciple of Christ is to Go, sell everything you
have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. He
equates this to the occasions when Jesus first called His twelve disciples. However, that was not

Page 8 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

the case with His disciples. We know for certain that at least some of Jesus disciples did not sell
off their possessions when they chose to follow Him. The disciples who were fishermen were often
seen in their boats later, even with Jesus. In fact, Jesus never even mentioned to His disciples that
He expected them to give away all of their possessions. His promise was to follow me and I will
make you fishers of men. Platt argues that the Believer should ask God if doing this is His will for
their life (p. 120). This misses the entire point of the text. The rich young ruler had approached
Jesus and told Him that he had kept all of the Law of Moses (v. 20), clearly demonstrating his
attitude of self-righteousness. I personally believe that the man was genuinely seeking salvation
but Jesus had to confront him with this true problem. Jesus confronted the rich young ruler with
the very thing that He knew would keep him from redeeming faith. His possessions meant more
to him than any belief in Christ and His ministry. The rich young ruler failed the test because he
refused to part with his consuming lust for material wealth. Nothing like that occurred with Jesus
calling His disciples. David Platt refers to the rich that are condemned in James 5 (p. 109) as an
example of how God feels about the rich. He misses the meaning of the text which is not just
about the rich, but about the ungodly rich who acquire their wealth by cheating the poor. In the
account of Zacchaeus being converted to faith in Christ (Luke 19), we find that Zacchaeus gave
half his goods to the poor (v. 8) but he did not give away all of his wealth. Jesus was pleased with
this demonstration of faith in this despised tax collector for the Roman government and never
told Zacchaeus that he must give away the rest of his wealth. Jesus was pleased and dined with
him in his house. Joseph of Arimathea demonstrated his faith in the burial of Jesus, a dangerous
action for a ruler of the Jews to commit. Still, the Bible nowhere condemns Joseph for not giving
away his wealth to the poor. In the New Testament book of Acts, Dorcas was a wealthy seller of
purple cloth for garments. Only the wealthy could afford to purchase this cloth. Yet we see no
command from God for her to sell her possessions to give to the poor and there is no
condemnation of her in the New Testament. David Platt needs to spend more time reading his
Bible.
9.

David Platt makes the following statement on page 21, We will discover that our meaning is
found in community and our life is found in giving ourselves for the sake of others in the church,
among the lost and among the poor. We will evaluate where true security and safety are found in
this world, and in the end we will determine not to waste our lives on anything but
uncompromising, unconditional abandonment to a gracious, loving Savior who invites us to take a
radical risk and promises us radical reward. Once again, the author is expressing a view that is
foreign to the Scriptures. Where do we find in the Bible any support at all that the true meaning
of a Believers life is to be found in giving ourselves for others, including the poor? Somehow, the
poor seem to haunt the authors every step and thought. The true meaning of a Believers life is to
be found in Jesus Christ our Savior. Christ alone is the entire meaning of our lives. There have
been and still are multitudes of people that live very short lives in this world who never even have
an opportunity to fulfill David Platts vision of the fulfilled Christian life. The meaning of our lives
is not wrapped up in community. This is a term which the author leaves us wondering as to
exactly what he means by its use. The meaning of our lives is not dependent upon meeting the
needs of the poor. The meaning of our lives is not even based upon ministry to the lost. While
none of these concepts and actions may be wrong, the Bible nowhere supports the authors

Page 9 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

conclusions. The Scriptures do command us and hold us responsible to care for the needs of
fellow Believers in Christ, those of the household of faith. The Bible does command and require
of us to take the Gospel of saving grace in Christ Jesus our Lord to our Jerusalem, to our Judea, to
our Samaria and then to the uttermost parts of the earth. Yet once again, it needs to be made
clear that our first responsibility is not to the other nations of the earth but to our own nation.
That is what the Great Commission clearly teaches. David Platt is espousing and adhering to
another basic tenet of new evangelicals and the more radical young evangelicals, and what is now
known as the emergent church movement.
10. David Platt mentions in his book that you cant share the life of Christ with the masses. Yet Jesus
Christ did that throughout His ministry on earth. It is true that He often met with lost people oneon-one but He also shared His life with thousands of people at the same time on more than one
occasion. I think that I might understand the authors intent but I am not sure it has any Biblical
basis.
11. In chapter 2 of his book, on page 39, David Platt makes the statement that he disagrees with
catch phrases often used in Christian circles about accepting Jesus into your heart to be saved.
According to him this is not enough because Jesus alone is worthy of total surrender. This
statement and similar ones David Platt makes are identical to the Lordship Salvation teaching that
a person is not truly saved unless he/she accepts Christ as both Savior and Lord of their life. This
is a false teaching that is expounded today by John MacArthur, John Piper, Zane Hodges and
others. The Word of God is clear that salvation from sin comes through faith alone in the finished
work of Christ at Calvary.
12. David Platt argues in chapter eight that the reward for living the radical life will result in a
radical reward death. While it is true that martyrdom may yet come to American Christians
who truly serve the Lord at all cost, death is not the reward. Jesus Christ Himself is our great
reward and whether we die for His name or are taken Home to Heaven at the Rapture of the
Church our radical reward, to use the authors terminology, is eternal glory with Him. It seems to
me that the author has a preoccupation with martyrdom that is not Biblical. While the Bible makes
it clear that martyrdom may be Gods choice for us it nowhere implies that we should
intentionally seek it.
13. While chapter nine deals with the points of David Platts one-year plan to turn the believers life
upside down, the five components of the plan are good and not so good. The first component is
to pray for the entire world. I certainly have no personal objection to this but our personal prayer
emphasis must be directed to the place where God has given us to serve Him. Platt has raised
praying for the entire world above all other Christian responsibilities. The second component is to
read through the Bible. I have done this a multitude of time during my life with great blessing. I
agree that this should be a goal of every Believer in Christ. God speaks to us through His Word.
The third component of the plan is to sacrifice your money for a specific purpose. I have no actual
problem with this one either except that this decision is a personal one between God and the
individual Believer. I actually believe that multitudes of American Christians have done this more
than once during their life. They give as God has prospered them. Yet I have to emphasize that
this is neither radical nor unusual. Sacrificing our money for a particular purpose is a vague
concept. We are told in the Scriptures to give of our offerings to the Lord when we gather

Page 10 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

together on the 1st day of the week. The local church is the place where we are to primarily give.
Component 4 is to spend time in another context, such as in a foreign country on a missions trip.
This idea is flawed in that it has no Biblical basis. God nowhere even mentions this in His Word to
be required or even desired of a His children. While this may be beneficial, I came away with the
feeling that David Platt thinks that the only way the American Christian can ever fulfill the Great
Commission is to visit the poor people in other nations so we can all share the guilt over the
wealth God has given us. As I mentioned previously, American Christians give far more to reach
the lost for Christ and to minister to the poor and needy than he gives credit. I cannot help but
wonder if he ever actually spent any time at all with truly dedicated American Believers in Christ.
The fifth component of the authors plan is to commit to a life that is multiplying the
community. As I said previously, this idea of community is a social gospel terminology. After
saying all of this David Platt concludes that he thinks that the costs of following Jesus are (a) to
give up everything we have, (b) sell our possessions and give to the poor and (c) go to places we
may lose our life (p.215). May I ask where in the Bible are we told that any of these are costs
required to follow Christ? While it is true that we may be required someday to sacrifice our lives
for the work of Christ, we are nowhere told in the Word of God to follow these three summary
points he makes. Christ never even told His disciples to do this when He called them to follow
Him. My point in this is that the teacher and preacher of the Word of God must make certain that
he is conveying what God has actually told us in His Word. It is the responsibility of the
preacher/teacher of the Scriptures to make certain that they do not say what God did not say. Just
as true, the teacher of Gods Word is responsible to teach what God has told us and not to reinterpret Gods Word to fit their own agenda.
14. I mentioned previously about the couple David Platt held up as examples (p. 131) that gave away
everything they had at least partly in response to the sermons of their pastor, David Platt. Their
later testimony says volumes. The following submittal by that same couple was posted May 20,
2011 on the web site http://jamaljivanjee.com:
Thanks for posting this review. It is difficult (I think) to find such an honest statement about David
Platts book amid all the adulation that surrounds him.
My husband and I were attending Brook Hills when David Platt was called to be its pastor We
are the couple David talks about who gave away our items to the poor (I think its on page 13132). So we started out very much in support of what Dr. Platt was saying, and have since burned
ourselves out.
We wont make that mistake again. After hearing David Platt repeat the message of his book
every Sunday at Brook Hills, week after week, and watching the church members around us strive
harder and harder to obey by their own efforts, we grew tired of working off our own steam, of
feeling guilty all the time, and of not growing in Christ. So we left Brook Hills.
I thought we would be members of Brook Hills for the long term. We were members there for
seven years. Now, we are taking our kids and praying for God to lead us to the church body he
wants us to join It is difficult to take issue with what Radical says. It sounds biblical, at first

Page 11 of 12

Review of the book Radical by David Platt

By Rev. Jon R. King, April 2013

glance. But in our attempts to implement the Radical Experiment, we ran into problems. You are
right the focus, for me anyway, was never Christ. It was about being obedient and earning my
way to him, which I already knew is correct.
What I didnt know, until recently, is how exhausting and discouraging it is to try to obey Christ on
my own. But just a few weeks into the Radical Experiment, I got to where I didnt want to go to
church anymore. I couldnt look at a painting of the nativity scene without feeling bitter and tired.
In trying to live out the Radical Experiment, I began to realize, even more than before, that Im not
capable of being obedient to Christ on my own. And the answer is not to feel guilty or try harder,
or ignore the way I feel. The answer is to turn to Christ What I want now to learn is how to draw
closer to Christ himself and get more of him. So in that sense, the Radical Experiment was helpful
to Scott and me, in an unexpected way.
Only prayer can lead me to where I need to be. But any resources you know of that may be
helpful would also be appreciated. I have seen references to Frank Viola and other authors on this
site but have not yet looked into them. But thanks already, just for saying what youve said about
Radical. As I said in my other comment, I havent heard that many people review the book without
praising everything it says (and doesnt say).
Conclusion: David Platts book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream has definitely
created a stir within the evangelical community. I have no doubt in my mind that the author loves the
Lord and desires to serve Him rightly. I have read so many good reviews that I felt compelled to attempt
an honest evaluation of the book. David Platts book is just another presentation of the social gospel -that the gospel of Christ requires that we meet the social needs of the world. My evaluation may seem to
be unkind to some, but that is not my intent. Gods servants cannot allow the twisting of Gods Word by
even well-meaning Christians. Subtle error is far more dangerous that bold error because it is more
difficult to discern. David Platt has aligned himself with those that teach Lordship Salvation. Lordship
Salvation is a false teaching that salvation in Christ requires more than just faith in His finished work at
Calvary to cleanse us from our sins. The Bible is clear that salvation is solely of grace through faith. The
author has also placed himself within the new evangelicalism and the Emergent Church movement. Such
movements were built upon theological compromise at their inception. While David Platt has done well to
encourage American Christians to evaluate our priorities in our life, he has used unbiblical teaching to
lead others to his conclusion. Finally, then, in my opinion the book is dangerous to undiscerning Believers
in Christ who will be led down a road of Biblical compromise. The sheep within the local church usually
follow their shepherd even if he is teaching falsely. Some do so because they are unable adequately to
discern Truth from subtle error and others out of fear of being called divisive. For David Platt, and all that
teach Gods Word, we will have the more severe judgment if we teach falsely.

Page 12 of 12