, pastor of a megachurch in Birmingham, Alabama, struggles with the conflict between the “American Dream,” having it all and living the authentic Christian life. His book is a clarion call to take Jesus at His Word and not rationalize difficult passages of the gospel. “Caring for the poor is evidence
of salvation… if our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all.” Platt asserts that the difference between willfully indulging in sexual pleasures while ignoring the Bible on moral purity and indulging in the selfish pursuit of more and more material possessions while ignoring the Bible, is that, the first is a social taboo in the church and the latter involves the social norm in the church. He challenges us to look to Jesus for total leadership in our lives instead of looking to Jesus for advice that seems fiscally responsible according to the standards of the world around us. “God has given us excess, not so we could have
more, but so we could give
In the chapter titled “There is No Plan B,” he states that “All too often we view heaven as the default eternal state for humankind…that God owes heaven to us unless we do something really bad to warrant otherwise.“
In addressing the question of “Can we find God’s will,” Mr. Platt says the question instead is, “Will we obey God’s will?” The answer is clear– the will of God is for us to give our lives urgently and recklessly, risking everything – our comfort, our possessions, our safety, our security, our very lives – to make the gospel and glory of God known among all peoples.
This book may make some readers uncomfortable, some angry, and some (as I was) convicted. His directness may seem a bit harsh at times, but near the end of the book, one realizes that many of us are already doing some of the things he suggests.
In the last chapter of the book, Mr. Platt asks the reader to commit to a one year, five-fold experiment of radical living according to the gospel. This is a great book if you want to be held accountable – your feet “held to the fire.”
Review by Marilyn Barton