Format: Trade Paperback
Religion - Christian Life
This review may be a bit late for some, but it may come at just the right time for others. Radical Together is a year old book and a follow-up book to David Platt’s book Radical. For some, putting the challenges of Radical and Radical Together into practice may be a daunting task. I think Platt intended it to be so. If your church is looking to focus its attention on the most important mission God has called us to, and isn’t sure how to get that thinking process going, Radical Together is the book to read. Radical Together offers six foundational truths that all of God’s people need to reignite in their corporate assemblies.
In the first chapter Platt explains how churches in America, and around the world, have a tendency to get caught up doing good things for God while sacrificing the most important thing God wants us to be doing. By clinging to buildings, worship styles, and personal preferences we begin to build our own idols, called the church, and begin to distract ourselves from what the God of the universe has for us.
“We begin to discover our dangerous tendency to value our traditions over God’s truth, just as Jesus warned. We find ourselves defending a program because that’s what God has said to do now. We realize how prone we are to exalt our work over God’s will, our dreams over God’s desires, and our plans over God’s priorities.” ~David Platt
Platt doesn’t simply preach truth. In this first chapter he shows how his church was humbled, and driven by God to give up on a church building project and to submit that dream to God’s dream. He writes:
“Our staff had already been frugal, and we had saved more than $500,000 for the future. But James caused us to realize that we had brothers and sisters around the world who already needed it. So we decided to give it all away – specifically through partnerships in India, where 41 percent of the world’s poor live.” ~David Platt
When we begin to desire to live radically, not simply as individuals, but as a corporate body, we are called to replace our vision with God’s vision. When we give up our plans for the church, we may discover that His plan for His church is, indeed, radically different than our own!
In chapter two Platt deals directly with a problem that will inevitably arise in churches when some people start living radically for all the wrong reasons. Oftentimes when we start talking about doing great things to bring God glory, we start talking about all that WE will do FOR Him. Platt explains that the Gospel of God will accomplish the work of God. We are not to work in order to be freed from sins but we are to work BECAUSE we’ve been freed from sin:
“We live sacrificially, not because we feel guilty, but because we have been loved greatly and now find satisfaction in sacrificial love for others. We live radically, not because we have to, but because we want to.” ~David Platt
Again, Platt goes on to explain one example of how this happened in his church. As they were studying the book of James they were challenged to adopt. Not just Platt and his family, but his entire church was driven to adopt all the orphans in their county through their study of the Book of James.
“That night more than 160 families signed up to help with foster care and adoption in our county.” ~David Platt
“Only people who are resting constantly in the righteousness of Christ will be able to risk it all wholeheartedly for the glory of Christ.”~David Platt
Many churches across the country, and well meaning Christians, have felt the need to supplement the Word of God with their own words and gimmicks. Adding motivational talks, topical discussions, and an appealing atmosphere all in an effort to do what they believe the Bible no longer does: reach people. Platt has a different view:
“In short the Word of God accomplishes the work of God” ~David Platt
Platt rightly explains that it is a bit silly for created men, limited in strength and knowledge, to try to supplement the Word which was written by the uncreated, eternal, infinite, almighty, and all knowing God of the universe. To suggest that God somehow didn’t account for future situations and life circumstances is a bit demeaning to the Almighty. God’s Word needs to be the central motivating source of all that we do in God’s Church. Pastors and church leaders need to seek God’s plan for His church and not their plans for His church.
“The assumption is that God is somehow obligated to bless the plans we create.” ~David Platt
God will bless His plans for His church. He has no obligation to bless your plans for His church.
In chapter four David Platt reminds us that we’re not called to bring the world to hear and watch professionals do the work of the ministry. We are called, as leaders, to send the people of God out into the world to do the work of the ministry. If our vision doesn’t reach beyond ourselves, our organization, and our community, it isn’t the plan of God. The plan of God is to reach all nations.
“What this means, then, is that church leaders are intended by God not to plan events but to equip people. Leaders do not exist to provide services; they exist to serve people.” ~David Platt
When we begin to equip God’s people to do God’s work we will be able to give up on our vision for our local church, and focus on God’s vision for His global church.
According to Platt, we have one simple task that we, as the church of God, are striving for. That task is the ushering in of the end of the world. Platt, referencing Matthew 24:14, suggests that the end of the world will come when the Gospel of the kingdom has been preached to all nations. Although Platt admits that the definition of “all nations” isn’t precise, the mission is quite certainly not completed so long as we are still on this earth. If the mission was complete, Christ would have come. With that in mind, Platt calls on the Church of Christ to broaden its vision from simply reaching the community it finds itself in to reaching the uttermost parts of the earth.
“He will come when every people group has heard the gospel. For this reason he has charged his church, not just generally with getting the gospel to as many people as we can, but specifically with getting the gospel to every people group on the planet. Indeed, he is not coming back until this assignment has been accomplished.” ~David Platt
In fact Platt suggests, and I believe rightly, that Satan is quite pleased when the church of Christ pours all its time and effort into a local building, a local community, and a local mission. Why? Because Satan doesn’t want to see the day when Christ returns. The Devil wants us consumed with doing good things, so we fail at doing the best thing: reaching all nations.
“I am convinced that Satan, in a sense, is just fine with missional churches in the West spending the overwhelming majority of our time, energy, and money on trying to reach people right around us. Satan may actually delight in this, for while we spend our lives on the people we see in front of us, more than six thousand people groups for generations have never even heard the gospel and remain in the dark.” ~David Platt
Finally, Platt reminds his readers that they are not a necessary piece in God’s accomplishing His mission. God will accomplish His mission, and bring Himself the most glory, with or without us. The only reason He has chosen to do it with us is because He loves us, not because He needs us. The mission that He has set out to accomplish is to bring Himself the most glory among all the nations.
“We want to see God glorified by people everywhere because God wants to see himself glorified by people everywhere.” ~David Platt
Platt puts it succinctly when he writes:
“We are selfless followers of a self-centered God.” ~David Platt
If we are going to bring God the most glory in our churches, we must begin to be radically obedient to the Word of God as an outpouring of God’s grace on our lives. This radical obedience can not simply impact us individually if we hope to fulfill the mission of God. No, we must be Radical… Together.
“Let’s rise up together as selfless followers of a self-centered God, and let’s live – and die – as though we believe our highest price is His global praise.” ~David Platt
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