How this book came to me: I read a review of Radical somewhere and thought it sounded interesting. My husband bought it for me for Christmas.
Nutshell Synopsis: Radical is a call to Christians to abandon the American dream as we currently pursue it and to follow the commands of the Great Commission.
Quotes from the book:
"We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves."
"...with the best of intentions, we have actually turned away from Jesus. We have in many areas blindly and unknowingly embraced values and ideas that are common in our culture but are antithetical to the gospel he taught. here we stand amid an American dream dominated by self-advancement, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency, by individualism, materialism, and universalism. I want to show you our desperate need to revisit the words of Jesus, to listen to them, to believe them, and to obey them. We need to return with urgency to a biblical gospel, because the cost of not doing so is great for our lives, our families, our churches, and the world around us."
"We will look at the core truth of a God-centered gospel and see how we have manipulated it into a human-centered (and ultimately dissatisfying) message."
"Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator...until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, "No.""
"This, after all, is the goal of the American dream: to make much of ourselves. But here the gospel and the American dream are clearly and ultimately antithetical to each other. While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God."
More Info: David Platt is the lead pastor of a mega church in Alabama. He has a passion for going into all the world and teaching others to go into all the world to teach the gospel. He speaks to the harsh realities of our complacency... millions dying without ever hearing about Jesus, lost for eternity, all because we pursue what is temporal more than what is eternal. Regardless of your agreement or disagreement with his basic premise, it is a book that will most likely make you think and reevaluate. Near the end of the book he issues a 5 part, year long challenge to help the reader test "his" theory.
Reading Level: True to its title, this book is pretty radical in comparisson to how most American Christians are currently operating. I'm glad I read Crazy Love by Francis Chan before reading Radical. You can read my review of that book HERE. I think I would have found the concepts in this book much more difficult to understand if I hadn't.
Re-readability: I don't know if I will read this book again but I may visit the last chapter to look futher into the challenge he issues. There is a follow-up website as well. I don't often request my husband read the books I do but I have asked him to read this one. I told him that he really should be aware of what is going into my brain so he can more easily understand what is coming out of my mouth!!
Lasting Impressions: It is my belief that we only feel condemned by the beliefs of others if it is an area in which we already feel some sort of guilt or shame, or if our current belief is somewhat shaky. When we are confident but are seeking to grow, then we are free to experience conviction, change, and growth. So before reading this book I would gently suggest you determine how you view your current situation. This is not an easy concept to ignore once you read it.
"Though you and I find ourselves surrounded by the lure of temporary pleasures, we must fasten our affections on the one who promises eternal treasure that will never spoil or fade. If your life or my life is going to count on earth, we must start concentrating on heaven. For then, and only then, will you and I be free to take radical risk, know that what awaits us is radical reward."