Radical: very different from the usual or tradition; favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions or institutions (Miriam-Webster)
In his book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, David Platt drew a line in the sand to show how the worldview of the US goes against God’s desires for His people seen in the biblical gospel. In his follow-up book, Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God (2011), Platt expands these principles to be applied to all of God’s people who are in fellowship and walking the journey of life together.
Platt presents six principles that are very different from the common viewpoints of the church in America today. The first is that often we settle for good things in the church, while missing out on what is best. We have the potential to fill our time with religious activity that does nothing for the spiritual growth of the body of Christ and the advancement of his Kingdom. Platt does not suggest getting rid of every program and building, but rather that we should put everything up against the measuring stick of God’s Word and seeing God glorified around the world to discover what is best.
Second, Platt tackles the concept of working for God’s Kingdom. He helps the reader understand that while we do not have to work for our salvation, the grace that God provides and our love for Him compels us to be a part of the work that God is doing. The third principle follows this, putting the burden of change on God and the transforming power of His Word. Sometimes in churches today we depend too much on an engaging performance and inspiring speaker, rather than filling our time with the study of God’s Word and letting His spirit speak through us.
God’s Word is transformational, but how can people hear unless there is someone to tell them? Platt reminds the reader that each one is called to make disciples as outlined in the Great Commission in Matthew 28. The work of sharing the gospel and helping believers grow in faith is not up to only the paid staff of a church, but it is the privilege of each believer. Platt said, “If you are a member of the church, start dreaming and strategizing. Consider where God has placed you, who God has put around you, and how God desires to use you for his glory where you live and work” (73). All of us have opportunities to love and serve those around us.
Our task of sharing and making disciples is bigger than just our community, although that is a great place to start. Platt says we must have the vision of seeing the whole world with access to the Gospel. Here he discusses unreached people groups, the distinct ethnic groups who have no way of hearing the Gospel in a way that is culturally relevant to them. Platt does not mince words by pointing out that we are not just called but commanded by Jesus to reach these peoples.
The final chapter of Radical Together looks at God’s desires for His own glory. It is God’s amazing glory and His worship around the world that compels us to move forward in sharing and making disciples. Platt says, “I know of no greater motivational tool for the church than a glimpse of the sovereign, holy, majestic God, worthy of all worship, who is high and lifted up. This vision alone will compel a church to radical, risk-taking, death-defying obedience to the purpose of God in the world” (119).
What does radical obedience look like for the body of believers desiring to walk in God’s path? Platt’s book is small and easy to read, and provides a great springboard for churches as they wrestle with this question. The principles he puts forth are backed up with Scripture and his experiences as a pastor of a large church. Coupled with individual study and a desire to seek God’s heart, the book can help churches understand God’s work in the world and how each of us can be a part of how He is working.