Book Review | Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God

If reading Dr. David Platt’s first book Radical was like getting a punch in the stomach, then reading Radical Together was like getting your teeth knocked in. Dr. Platt uses a simple and direct way of communicating the heart motivation that believers should have. And every time I read something that was not present in my life my heart was pricked by conviction. The Gospel is radically good news. It should change us and leave us wanting for more, but this is not always the case.

In Radical Together Dr. Platt moves the focus from the individual Christian to the corporate fellowship of believers. How should radically transformed believers live out their lives together? This is a powerful question that we have to take seriously. There are six areas that are covered in the book:

  1. The tendency to be satisfied to easily
  2. Misunderstanding what the Gospel is and does
  3. A failure to trust the Word of God
  4. The arrogance of favoritism
  5. Our fear of what’s to come
  6. Our prideful sense of our own worth

These are my takeaway’s from reading the book. It is difficult at times to come face-to-face with what you are doing, or not doing for that matter. What makes Radical Together helpful is the way that you are confronted, comforted, and challenged to make the changes that need to be made. It is not that you are doing these things on your own. I think that this really is the point. The combination of the church’s power and presence to facilitate these changes is invaluable and incalculable.

I would say that the book is worth the price of three pages found at the end of the book. As I read them I was so convicted that I had to re-read them as they spoke to my heart. Dr. Platt shares a personal story about sharing tracts to an unreached people group and thinking to himself that “God must be really glad to have me on his team.” He then quotes several paragraphs from A. W. Tozer‘s book The Knowledge of the Holy. As Dr. Platt puts it, he just so happened to be holding the book. This particular passage captures the essence of whole.

“An effective speaker can easily excite pity in his hearers, not only for the heathen but for the God who has tried so hard and so long to save them and has failed for want of support. I fear that thousands of younger persons enter Christian service from no higher motive than to help deliver God from the embarrassing situation His love has gotten Him into and His limited abilities seem unable to get Him out of.” (A. W. Tozer, quoted in Radical Together, p. 122)

This section alone is worth the price of the book! I am thankful for Dr. Platt’s faithfulness in sharing these insights and encouragements. I pray that the universal church would take to heart what God has called her to. I also pray that I would live a life worthy of the God who saves in such a radical way.

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The Piper-Warren Interview

First of all, it was a refreshing and interesting interview. Two men with different approaches to ministry “jousting” about what they believe. Dr. John Piper picked the questions that he wanted to get clarification on and Dr. Rick Warren answered them in as candid a way as I have ever seen. While Piper was accused of giving in to the “Purpose-Driven” machine when he invited Warren to give a talk at the Desiring God Conference in 2010, there were not minced words in this interview. There is a genuine affection shared by these two men for one another. What made the interview worth watching was to see Piper dig deeply into Warren’s book “The Purpose-Driven Life” and to ask very direct and uncomfortable questions that Warren was quick to answer.

Interview on Desiring God’s website. (This is also available on Pastors.com, but the quality seemed to be better here.)


Here is an example of the questions that were asked. This is a very direct question by Piper to Warren on the nature of the atonement.

Book Review | Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy

Book Cover: Jerry Falwell: His Life and LegacySometimes you read a biography because you want to know if what you believed about a person is true or not. This can also be a dangerous endeavor because the author’s perspective will color the light in which that person is seen. And with that reality comes the real possibility that your perception will be changed. This is definitely true with Jerry Falwell.

I was still relatively young when Falwell’s public life was winding down. At the same time his presence and influence could be felt in so many different facets of American culture. The evangelical community felt his influence because of the size of Thomas Road Baptist Church and the church’s influence in the trends that it set. The academic arena felt the challenge of a competing university that offered a liberal arts education, while maintaining a strong evangelical point of view. The political realm was forever changed because of the rise of the religious right and the formation of the Moral Majority. Jerry Falwell was very much a larger than life person, but that was not what motivated the man.

Falwell’s widow, Macel, lovingly and honestly provides the reader with an insider’s view of Who shaped the man and what made the man. The conviction of Falwell’s life was that God sent His son into the world to provide salvation to whoever believed. This was what led the young and inexperienced pastor of the newly formed Thomas Road to knock on one hundred doors a day, six days a week.  This was what motivated him to start radio and television ministries before the idea of preaching in these mediums became popular. This singular conviction was what drove Falwell to attempt things that the “normal” pastor would have thought foolish or ill-advised. But, that was exactly what appealed to Falwell, dreaming so big that only God could make it happen.

If anyone knew what made Falwell tick it was his wife. And yet in many ways the picture that is shaped by her recollections is not inflated or exaggerated. The difficulties and the heartaches are described and detailed as only she could have done. Seeing into the life of a man that was portrayed according to the most public facets of his life only creates a caricature of the whole man.

One event spoke to the devotion and intensity with which Falwell followed the leading and prompting of God. Liberty University was, and will possibly be, Falwell’s greatest achievement. The lengths to which he went to bolster its success is captured by a difficult time in the school’s history. While enrollment and growth was increasing, the school was carrying too much debt. This caused Liberty’s accreditation to be jeopardized.  So what does Falwell do? He fasts for forty days, calling upon God for a financial miracle. While this may sound extreme, Falwell did this twice within a eight month period. A liquid only fast, twice in one year. The miracle came. Falwell’s faith was vindicated and the university was spared.

I found myself moved by the faith of a man that many portrayed as close-minded, bigoted and extreme. I am glad that I read this book and would recommend it to you as a testimony of what God can to in a man and women that become single-minded in their trust and devotion to God. On multiple occasions my heart was touched to tears. Not so much because the man was great, but because God was great in this humble servant. I was convicted and challenged to surrender, not just more of myself, but all of myself to the will and work of God.

Reading List | 2011

This list is accurate as of July 2011.

Book Information

Title: Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe
Author(s): Mark Driscoll, Gerry Breshears
Publisher: Crossway Books

Title: Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ
Author(s): Dr. John MacArthur
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (240 pages)

Title: What Jesus Demands from the World
Author(s): Dr. John Piper
Publisher: Crossway Books

Title: Man of Valor: Every Man’s Quest for a Life of Honor, Conviction, and Character
Author(s): Richard Exley
Publisher: WORD And SPIRIT RESOURCES, LLC
My Review

Title: Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy
Author(s): Macel Falwell
Publisher: Howard Books (272 pages)