Book Review of David Platt’s “Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God”

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Platt, David. 2011. Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God. Multnomah: Colorado Springs, CO.

I want to first thank the good folks at Multnomah for sending this review copy of Platt’s latest book.

I must admit that I have not read Platt’s first work, “Radical”, which he often references in this volume, “Radical Together”. The sequel hits enough clear notes to alert me to what was likely covered in the first work, so I don’t feel at a total loss. All that to say that if one is interested in this book but has not read the first, you will likely be fine. I was first introduced to Platt in a Christianity Today article on his all-night services which serve as a reenactment of sorts of what the underground church is like in many countries. I was amazed that the church was packed out for hours and hours of sermon material. I liked Platt right away after reading that and suspected that his people are blessed to have such a passionate Gospel-centered pastor. Well, reading this book only confirmed to me everything I suspected about this young Evangelical pastor.

Here’s a breakdown of the content:

Chapter 1 – “Tyranny of the Good”

–          Platt has a no holds bar approach to everything in the church and whether the acquisition of property, the hiring of new staff, VBS, and all other ministries are best propagating the mission of the church to spread the Gospel to all peoples. He shares about his gutsy leadership when assuming the pastorate and having the leaders reassess EVERYTHING. You got to respect a guy who is willing to shake the boat out of a deep conviction for the unadulterated mission of the church as given by Christ.

Chapter 2 – “The Gospel Misunderstood”

–          Platt doesn’t assume the Gospel and devotes an entire chapter to the radical nature of God’s grace. I suspect he does this because the book would make no sense apart from the Gospel. Platt is aware that Biblical piety may seem radical and actually undermine assurance of salvation for some who struggle in various areas, so he makes himself clear in asserting that the Gospel is rooted in a grace that does not look at our works in any meritorious fashion. Platt contends that once one understands the radical nature of grace in the Gospel, such a person will have a radical devotion to Christ as a result of it and not as the cause of it.

Chapter 3 – “God is Saying Something”

–          After explaining the radical nature of the Gospel and how we are saved by grace to be liberated to do good works for His glory in chapter 2, he proceeds to spend all of chapter 3 by contending for the absolute necessity of Biblical exposition to the life of the local church. Platt is not innovative for someone advocating being “radical”. Platt is pretty much a back to the basics type of guy who is passionate about the things that many contemporary Evangelicals simply find boring.

Chapter 4 – “The Genius of Wrong”

–          Platt believes that the church really is the body of Christ and that every member should contribute for the edification of the whole. It may sound like Platt questions the idea of professional clergy, which he is careful to clarify as not doing, but is really wanting to give a kick in the butt of every ministry paradigm that depends upon the coolest, hippest, most gifted person. Platt believes in equipping the believers and not simply hiring the equipped. This paradigm is very demanding upon the local membership of the church and runs counter to the idea of passive participation in the church.

Chapter 5 – “Our Unmistakable Task”

–          Platt is unashamedly committed to the “great commission” and involving his church in the task of bringing the Gospel to the ends of the world. This is not optional. For all of the modern talk about being missional, Platt subscribes to the same evangelistic zeal than accompanied the Fundamentalists from a previous generation. For all the grief Fundamentalists get, I would dare say that their missional zeal far surpasses the shallow contextualized efforts to reach a small niche of the demographic in urban settings that we see today.

Chapter 6 – “The God Who Exalts God”

–          This chapter is essentially a microcosm of John Piper’s, “The Pleasures of God”. It is fitting that Platt ends his book with a chapter that essentially resounds loudly with “Soli Deo Gloria”. The book culminates in the glory of God. The Gospel, the Scriptures, evangelism, and everything else has to do with the glory of God. It is refreshing to see yet another young Evangelical who does not think that the self-centerdness ofGod is something to apologize for, but rather something to glory in.

There are many great quotes in this little book as well as a helpful study guide for use in personal reflection or a small group study. I’m grateful for the influence of Platt and trust that many will benefit from his passion for the Church, the Gospel, the Bible, evangelization, and the glory of God. I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

 

© 2011, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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