For those of you who are joining me, today I’m continuing the online discussion of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream.
First, a couple logistical points. A few of you have asked me where and how to join the book club. Just click here, and you’ll find Marla Taviano’s website and instructions.
Second, my current plan is to post every Tuesday, in schedule with the online book club. The next month looks pretty hectic, so if I skip a week I’ll just pick up the following week.
Now, on to Chapter Two.
David Platt lays it on pretty thick in this chapter. (Yeah, even a bit too thick for me.)
But I’ll start with the positive. Chapter Two makes the point that God doesn’t need us, we need him. I couldn’t agree more.
Platt explains that Christians on the other side of the world are risking their lives to meet in secret, simply because they hunger and thirst for God. Yet the American church is more interested in programs, comfortable seats, and cool music. In Platt’s words, many of us have reduced the costly sacrifice of Jesus to a sales pitch. “Our attempt to reduce this gospel to a shrink-wrapped presentation that persuades someone to say to pray the right things back to us no longer seems appropriate.” (p. 37)
Again, I couldn’t agree more.
Where Platt and I differ is in his statement that God “hates” sinners. (p. 29) First and foremost, I’m pretty sure I’m a sinner. And I’m also pretty sure God doesn’t hate me.
According to John 3:16, God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. The love came first. And according to Romans 5:8, God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
Call me optimistic, but I still believe that God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life. I may be taking Platt too literally, but I’m a lawyer, remember? We tend to get hung up on words.
I also don’t think it’s a bad thing for Christians to be culturally relevant. In fact, the Christian subculture often gets in the way of the gospel. Many Americans walk away from church because they think, I’ve got to become some weirdo in order to be accepted here. I’ve got to act a certain way, dress a certain way, and think a certain way.
My fear is that folks who are looking for Jesus might just miss him in church.
I do agree with Platt’s conclusion that the gospel is costly – it’s a gospel that calls us to “turn from our sin, to take up our cross, to dies to ourselves….” (p. 39) It’s a gospel I fail to live out every day. It’s a gospel that motivates me to keep at it – because of grace, not guilt!
Yes, Platt lays it on pretty thick in Chapter 2. But he has my attention.
Does he have yours?