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To say that I am torn as to whether to give this book a 1 Star or 5 Star rating is a bit self-indulgent, but hey, everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't I?
Yes, I rate this book as 5 Stars, only if, you agree to read it in a small group within your Church Family. The reason for a 5 Star rating is NOT because the author has done such a wonderful job of research, nor speaking "the Truth", but because there is so much wrong with the author's writing, that is a warehouse of good disucssion.
For example, he sets up so many "strawmen" arguments with his "What if...this, and What if that..." He uses terms that he created that beg the question, what does it mean? His use of the term "American Dream" is not even well thought out, it is just another method for his brow beating. To follow David Platt's well thought out and researched "broad brush" at labelling, I will declare that 99.999% of what he calls, "The American Church" do not even think one iota of the "American Dream" when they head into Church each Sunday.
I surmize that those born of God, that understand that Christ died for our sins, that we are lost without his physical life, death and resurrection, do NOT THINK of the "American Dream" when we are coming together in worship each Sunday morning. We are coming to listen, learn to what our Pastors are teaching us.
For Platt to come out and basically "condemn" the fellow believers, because David Platt THINKS this is the way it is, is very arrogant on his part.
Other criticisms. His term, "Global Purpose". So, what does that mean? Yes, God loves the whole world and wishes none to Perish. Great, we got that. But he throws around that phrase like it's has some God breathed definition. Let's get back to the scriptures and use terms that are scriptural and not "make up" cute sounding terms to bring people to some acceptance of David Platt's worldview.
David Platt is a young Pastor that comes across like he has it all figured out. He displays no capability of looking at History, and because he doesn't appreciate History, he stumbles on so many false ideas.
For example, He feels "we" and it literally causes me to gag everytime I see him write, "we" by the way. I highly recommend questioning every sentence where he uses "we" because how can he speak for you and I??
But I digress. Let's get back to "nations", another term that Platt uses so frequently. Let's look at Church History to make a point. Paul went to all these places and "planted Churches" after God called him. And it is only the "American Church" definition that comes up with "Church planting" as a "strategy" as it is not in the New Testament, but simply a "modern definition".
But doesn't everyone realize that it was the ROMAN EMPIRE to which all these Church's resided? Paul was not being directed to "Go to all the Nations", there was ONLY ONE NATION. So in many respects, in David Platt's terms, Paul never went anywhere out side his "own culture".
Additionally, Paul was never coming to the Church in the area now known as Isreal, and brow beating the Church there to "...come on guys, give up everything we need to go to the "nations"..."
Didn't the Lord have a "Global Purpose" in Paul's day? Was Paul a "failure" on Platt's terms because he didn't "Go to the Nations"?
I'm sure David Platt would say, oh no, that's not what I meant. But there in lies the poor writing and research. Platt would have us believe that the "American Church" is so unique, and so different, yet mankind has been the same from the Old Testament, to the New Testament, to Today. We are sinners, and we think only of ourselves.
The problem is within each of us, it is a strawman to claim that we are unique, and that it is the "American Dream" that is the problem. I categorically disagree with the assertion that the "American Dream" is the problem.
The problem is within our minds, body's and Spirit. It is each individual, and to distract us by putting up the "American Dream" strawman is not helpful. It takes us away from the "Real Radical" which is for each individual to walk in the Holy Spirit and listen to the voice of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit each moment, every day. This will bring about a Radical change in each individual and each community.
My biggest fear is that people will follow the "man", David Platt. That they will believe the lie that we are not living for God until we sell it all, until we move to an "overseas" location. Which reminds me of another comical term, "overseas". Again, it's his naivite that reveals his own, USA centric view of the faith.
What if, oh yeah, let me play that game. What if, someone goes to the middle east to "serve the Lord", why would that be considered "overseas", isn't our faith geographically originating from the middle east. And aren't we, in the USA, actually the one's "overseas"? Let's use some deep thought people, let's not just buy into words and ideas without using our BRAINS!!
Then there's his economic view of the World. He at least admits he's no economist, but that never stops him from commenting on the $1 or $2 a day income that some people on this planet enjoy.
The economic answer is not that since one population drops $5 for a Starbucks without batting an eye, that they should "feel guilty" and send money to the $1 or $2 Dollar a day people. No, that doesn't make any sense. It may make you "feel good", but is that the real answer?
I say, there's no question here requiring an answer. There was no Dollar when Jesus walked the earth. We live in a culture/society that has develeped to this point based on an economic system of developing products, services that have value and are exchanged for money. It's a complex system that has worked well for Europe/Asia/North and South America. Even China and India now exchanges goods, services, for monetary currency. That's it people. The "American Church" didn't create this system, it's out there and it's no better or worse than the "African" or "Tribal" system.
The people that live on $1 a day are likely 99.99999% "happier" than 49% of "Americans" that are constantly being told, sold, that they have to "have more", you need this, you need that. The simplier cultures are likely "happier". Why would we want to corrupt their system by dumping "Dollars" on them. They may not even be "poor" in their own culture. "Happier" yes, but I agree, they are "lost" and need to hear the Gospel, and if the Lord wishes, they will be saved upon that hearing. Whether upon their salvation, they then enjoy a Starbucks is irrelevant.
The Scriptures don't tell us that one "culture" should transform their "culture" to another. Yes, better health systems, better water systems, and all would help them live another 10 years or more. I'm not going to analyze the benefits that the western civilizations can bring to other cultures today, but suffice it to say, King David didn't have a 1 gallon per flush toilet, purified water from a city water department. He didn't have TV, Ipad, internet, air travel. Yet, he was a great servant of the Lord.
One final irony in David Platt's "thesis" if you will, is his Jet setting around the world. If he would sit back and wonder in awe at the technology that has allowed him to get from Alabama, to India, Africa, and think of the "Christians" that have worked, toiled, at Boeing and other Aerospace companies, perhaps he wouldn't chastise the "American Church" for chasing his view of the "American Dream". The irony of his mega-church with it's Big Screen TV's, his Secret Church sessions on Friday evenings all brought to us by technology....but hey Electrical Engineers, throw it all away, leave Apple Computer, Boeing, or where ever else you work and go to India, because David Platt says so.
Anyway, I've drowned on far too long on this. I don't "dislike" the man, I just "dislike" his ability to communicate in the written word. He's probably a great man in many respects, in fact, I'm looking forward to meeting him in eternity and I'm sure we will have a good laugh about it, that is if "laughter" is allowed in Heaven? I might be able to give Platt 5 minutes of my eternity to allow him to say, "You know, you were right, and I was wrong...thanks for speaking the truth in love...."
My final thoughts. Please read critically, and don't listen to any man. Listen to the still quiet voice of the Lord. He promised to send his comforter, the Holy Spirit to guide us in all matters. So only if the Lord, the Holy Spirit prompts you to "Go to other nations" do it. My greatest fear, if I'm allowed to have one, is people end up in these foreign lands and there's no one there to support them and they ask themselves, "How did I get here"? That they will realize that they weren't listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, but guilt tripped into doing something like that. People, the message should be, Don't wait for the future time to finally "arrive", start right now, this very moment, where ever you are, what ever you are doing, to follow the promised Holy Spirit into ALL ACTIVITIES that you are engaged in, and make sure each moment is lived with conciousness of God's presence.
Peace out. Such a great book, thanks to the publisher and editors that never challenged the ideas so we could do that. It's been a blast reading this book.
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