Reviewing the Radical Primer

Justin Hiebert

3 Stars

October 29, 2012

“Imagine that your church had no buildings or facilities whatsoever. Could you still make disciples?” This is one of the questions (page 84) that David Platt raises in his dual book The Radical Question and A Radical Idea. The answer is, of course, yes. The church did just fine without ginormous monoliths and multimillion dollar facilities. They in fact thrived on not having those things, it meant more money to give away and help those in need. But it is a question I think the modern church misses all too much. We might even be tempted to say, “Of course not! Where would we bring people?” This brief book (excerpts from his two larger books Radical and Radical Together) provide a nice primer to the subjects he covers in those books. That said, I just can’t for the life of me see what the point of this book is. The larger premise is something I agree with (more on that below) but I don’t get why we need a book that has excerpted chapters from other books that are readily available. Do we really need to spend money reading a few chapters, like them, and then have to go out and spend more money buying the full book? It would be about like paying to see a trailer for a new movie and then having to go pay to see the movie too. That said, I want to review the content a bit more closely. I like the premise of this book (and therefore the full books too). We need to be less institutionally focused and more people transformation focused. The larger, gathered church still has a purpose, but we have replaced as a way to worship with being the way to worship. Jesus’ call to make disciples who make disciples is not one bound by four walls, a nice choir and a set time. It is instead one that permeates every facet and dimension of our lives and needs to be lived out in front of others in the context of community. This quote goes a long way in establishing his gentle and yet firm critique of American churches. “...I was overwhelmed by the differences between our version of Christianity that prevails among our brothers and sisters around the world. Instead of weeping together on our faces before God, we calmly sit on plush chairs in beautiful buildings. Instead of going against the grain in our culture, we settle into our culture with lifestyles that are virtually indistinguishable from the world around us. Instead of a simple, costly, humble, authentic, passionate, risky pursuit of Christ, we prioritize clean, elaborate, entertaining, slick, innovative church programs and performances that cater to our personal tastes. And in light of these differences, I am convinced we need to answer a fundamentally important question. What is Jesus worth to us?” The call he raises in this book is a legitimate one, and one that I have heard more and more people adopting. As the American church looks to regain her voice in today’s society, Platt’s book can serve as a useful tool that have sensed for awhile that something is wrong but aren’t sure where to turn. I read the book in just a few house and it left me wanting more. My suggestion, skip this little primer and jump straight to the full books.

Disclaimer: I reviewed a free copy of this book through the BloggingForBooks program offered by WaterBrook Multnomah publishing. I was in no way compensated for this review and all views are solely and completely my own. I was not required to offer a positive review either through the publisher or author.