Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christians should be downwardly mobile

My wife and I have just finished reading Radical by David Platt. The subtitle is "Taking back your faith from the American Dream". However, almost all of it is relevant to Australia and not written in the manner than seems to turn off some Australian readers.

I thought the book would equate "the American dream" mostly with material wealth and career advancement. However, Platt rightly considers it to be broader. For example, he points out the Gospel and ministry should go against values of self sufficiency, pride, showmanship....

The book may be uncomfortable reading for both liberals and conservatives. Liberals will disagree with the emphasis on the depravity of man, the authority of the Bible, the centrality of the Cross, and the claim that salvation is found in Christ alone.
Conservatives will be unsettled by the advocacy for the poor and needy, the call to forsake wealth, and to give equal emphasis to meeting physical needs as to evangelism and teaching.

Perhaps the best and most challenging chapter is the sixth, "How much is enough: American wealth and a world of poverty?". He exposits several very challenging teachings of Jesus such as Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. Platt confesses that for many years concern for the poor was a "blind spot" for him.

Platt then gives several moving and challenging anecdotes of people from his congregation who have got radical, "downsized", and started to focus on using their money for the good of others rather than themselves.
Painful and challenging truth.

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