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By Willie Elliott

 A Challenge to American Christians

David Platt in his two books Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God has handed down a challenge to both individual Christians and the Christian church. The first book is directed mostly to individual Christians and the second one is directed to the church as a whole.

Platt asked Christians to abandon their county-club attitude (my words not his) and actually live their lives much like Jesus said his followers would live. That is quite a challenge when one considers the prevailing state of culture. Instead of daily news about graft, corruption and greed, we would see stories of people using their money to further the work of Jesus rather than building mansions that could easily accommodate twenty people for a family of three. The response to this may be, “But we do see such stories.” Then we need to see many many more.

Christians may not agree with Platt's take on the church, but it is hard to argue with the man since he bases all his recommendations on passages from the Bible. As Christians we may claim that we are not influenced by this me-me attitude. One author said ninety percent of the people buy things that don't want, with money they don't have, to impress people they don't like. Do we really need televisions screen big as the same of one wall in our house? Or do we buy them because our neighbor has one? It is not easy to give up the luxuries and comforts that we have come to enjoy, but that is exactly what Jesus, not asked of us, but demanded.

Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God deals with way the church uses its resources. Many churches spend a great deal on building magnificent building to house the comfort-loving flock. One must ask, “Who are they trying to impress?” Other churches, the general public? God? We know that the church can't impress God. He said the best we could do would be like rags to him. So Platt and his members have changed the way they use their resources and encouraged other Christian churches to do the same. For those who asked the question, “Yes, but what is wrong with the programs we have now,” he tells us there is nothing wrong with them. It is just that they are not the best way to accomplish the goal of gathering more people into God's army.

Platt spends a great deal of space on the importance of missionary work to other countries when some people have never been exposed to the word of God. He uses the biblical message that all people will hear the word of God and help responsible for its teaching. That argument is hard to disagree with, but there is much of God's work yet to be done right here in our own country—let's pray that we can accomplish both.

After reading these two books, readers will be forced to look at churches and their work in a different light and wondering if they are doing what Jesus would do.

2012 Past Columns

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