Book recommendation: “Radical” by David Platt.

When I picked up this book to read it I told myself that no matter how good any part of it was, I would not post any portion of it as a quote on DefCon (because time is so little of what I have lately). Well, that ambition didn’t last very long (like here and here, for example, with more quotes to come).

I was just putting the finishing touches on my controversial Christmas post when I began reading this book. Although Platt never mentions Christmas in the book, it did confirm my personal conviction about refraining from celebrating the holiday. But that’s another whole issue.

In brief, David Platt presents a scathing critique of self-indulgent American Christianity (specifically in relation to world missions) and its negligence of the poor and those without the gospel, then offers his advice on how to change this glaring deficiency in our own lives.

I would liken this book to a cross between K.P. Yohannan’s Revolution in World Missions and Francis Chan’s Crazy Love (the good parts, of course). And–as with both of those other books–the reader will find some points of disagreement within Radical, but when all things are considered, this book will not leave you unmoved (in a good way, of course).

This is a must-read for every Christian living in the West (America, Britain, Australia, Canada, etc.). I have personally ordered several copies to give away for free (as the Desert Pastor was gracious enough to provide me with my copy for free) and I’ve already given away my first copy this past week!

You will not be disappointed in reading this book . . . unless, of course, you don’t want to be challenged, you don’t want to be convicted, and if you’re not ready–as the subtitle says–to take back your faith from the American dream.

13 thoughts on “Book recommendation: “Radical” by David Platt.

  1. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve almost finished reading Reformation in Foreign Missions by Bob Finley, founder of Christian Aid Mission. It was a real eye opener for me!


  2. I appreciate the review. This book is on my to-read pile. Platt came across my radar several months ago and he’s impressed me immensely. His sermon series on the Gospel, “Lifeblood”, is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. His church, The Church at Brook Hills, has a wealth of material on their website (sermon mp3’s, video, sermon notes, etc.). I highly recommend checking it out.


  3. I have read Radical and it is a great book. It is very convicting and has changed my whole way of thinking. Are we really living the way we are suppose too? I think not! May God continue to show us through His word and through His people the things we need to change and may He do whatever it takes for us to do it. Here is an awesome message by David Platt. May God use it to change our hearts!


  4. Pilgrim,
    I just finished watching a couple of short videos from this guy on youtube, ‘radical’ and ‘the gospel calls for radical compassion’…wow! This guy preaches with power and convicts with his words. I look forward to getting this book, as well as hearing him preach. Thank you for bringing him to my attention.



  5. I have read Radical and it is a great book. It is very convicting and has changed my whole way of thinking. Are we really living the way we are suppose too? I think not! May God continue to show us through His word and through His people the things we need to change and may He do whatever it takes for us to do it. Here is an awesome message by David Platt. May God use it to change our hearts!


  6. I just ran across a review of this book by Gary Gilley:

    He’s not too fond of it – here is how his review ends:

    “How does Platt support his social agenda biblically? Largely through the misunderstanding of two passages in the Gospels. He contorts of the story of Lazarus and the rich man into a condemnation of the rich man because he lacks generosity (p. 114). Pushed to its logical conclusion this would mean he was judged and sent to hell because he was stingy, not because he was a sinner. Then of course there is Platt’s interpretation of the story of the Rich Young Ruler, a favorite of those who support his position (pp.13, 116-124). What Platt and others miss is that the Ruler was not a believer being challenged to radical discipleship. Jesus is speaking in the context of salvation and what the Ruler lacks for eternal life. The Ruler’s problem was not his wealth as such, but that he had chosen to worship his wealth rather than God. Neither passage of Scripture supports Platt’s point.

    “In balance, Radical offers a needed assessment concerning materialism and discipleship and that has value. However, as the title itself implies, this is not a book that handles balance well. As the author admits, it raises more questions than answers. And due to its over emphasis and confusion concerning the social gospel, I can recommend it only with caution.”


  7. I am on chapter six in this convicting read: so far, I must completely disagree with Gilley’s puzzling review of David’s book. I have been convicted and encouraged up to this point.



  8. Kevin DeYoung wrote a review of Radical which closely parallels several of pastor Gilley’s concerns. Kevin apparently has at least an acquaintance level relationship with David Platt, so he asked him to write a rejoinder to his book review, which can be found here.

    It’s interesting to see a Christian author’s interaction with a Christian reviewer. I’ve not read the book yet, but I’ve read several reviews and the same types of concerns have cropped up here an there; the consensus seems to be that this is a solid, engaging, and challenging book that may tend to blur the lines a bit in the areas of the so-called “social gospel”, and perhaps unnecessarily and unintentionally blur/confuse/conflate unmerited grace-based vs. meritorious works-based justification/sanctification [at least in the minds of some reviewers].

    I think pastor Platt does a fine job of explaining the subtle textures and outlines of these concerns in his response to pastor DeYoung; and maybe in his Second Edition he’ll add a prologue. It’s not uncommon for authors to stir up unintended controversies in a first printing that need to be rectified or specifically addressed in a later edition.

    It’s been well said that if you want to convict Christians then preach on prayer, evangelism, and/or giving!

    I’m adding this book to my “to read” list.

    In Him,


  9. I am almost finished reading David Platt’s work “Radical-Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream”. I must say that he does challenge the constituency of American Christianity to take a good look at our present mind-set and position with regard to Biblical Gospel missions and discipleship.

    Another aspect of American Christianity that he alludes to is it’s evangelistic fallacy of “sign a card” “shake a preacher’s hand at the front of the church” “repeat this sinner’s prayer” or “Accept Christ or make a decision for Christ” None of these corporate “techniques” are to be found in the scriptures with regard to instructing sinners about Salvation. Born-again, Born of the Spirit, Seek the Lord, Repentance toward God and Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Godly sorrow that “worketh repentance that needeth not to be repented of, are scriptural and spiritual admonitions that have been abandon in exchange for “techniques” that will swell the baptismal and membership roles of many of our evangelical churches in much the same way that corporate financial institution view the success of American business.

    It is time that we all take a long hard look at how we are endeavoring to fulfill the Great Commission and does it align with the intent and spirit of Jesus Christ teachings and the precepts of the Holy Scriptures.

    This is written in love and concern for all, but especially for the unsaved through out the entire world


  10. I appreciate all the comments…I found ‘Coram Deo’s’ most helpful so far. I not long ago (prior to reading this) downloaded the 1st chapter free on a promotional website & found myself captivated & refreshed just partially through the first chapter. I’m really looking forward, always prayerfully so, to the rest.


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