In short, this book came highly recommended to me. So I put it on my Amazon wishlist and Jonathan bought it for me for my birthday. I instantly devoured it (sharing one passage here) and then Jonathan devoured it and we both LOVED it!
This book gives the church of God (and the Christians in it) a good kick in the pants. A much needed kick in the pants! Platt writes to challenge American Christians in particular to dive into a deeper faith that might actually cost them something.
These days, Platt argues, American Christians have become far too complacent, settling for what is easy and tastes good to the spiritual palate. We are no longer wrestling with gospel truths that might demand anything from us. Just let us find a cozy church, settle down, remain anonymous, do our own thing and really, sacrifice nothing. The first half of the book is a real zinger to the modern mindset that we're all ok just pluggin' away at half truths and accepting whatever watered-down version comes trickling down the pike. He says:
"In this book I want to show you that, with the best of intentions, we have actually turned away from Jesus. We have in many areas blindly and unknowingly embraced values and ideas that are common in our culture but are antithetical to the gospel he taught. Here we stand amid an American dream dominated by self-advancement, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency, by individualism, materialism, and universalism. Yet I want to show you our desperate need to revisit the words of Jesus, to listen to them, to believe them, and to obey them. We need to return with urgency to a biblical gospel, because the cost of not doing so is great for our lives, our families, our churches, and the world around us." (page 19)He makes some pretty bold statements as to what the church today is doing to water down scriptures and how it is having the effect of producing watered down Christians. (Actually, it reminded me of a quote by Charles Swindoll in which Swindoll said that if you preach sermonettes, you'll get Christianettes.) Platt says this:
"We live in a church culture that has a dangerous tendency to disconnect the grace of God from the glory of God. Our hearts resonate with the idea of enjoying God's grace. We bask in sermons, conferences, and books that exalt a grace centering on us. And while the wonder of grace is worthy of our attention, if that grace is disconnected from its purpose, the sad result is a self-centered Christianity that by-passes the heart of God." (pages 69-70)Like Lisa, I'm tempted to just go on quoting the book to you in this review. Let's just say that a lot of what Platt said resonated within me and I'm excited about it. Add my recommendation to the pile. That sort of thing. This is a much needed book.
One thing I'm glad of:
This book made it to the New York Times Bestseller list. I can only hope it has an impact.
One thing that kinda rankled me about it:
Platt has a very mission minded approach to the church which is absolutely fantastic and something I'm not inclined to quibble with. We should all have a heart for missions in some form or fashion. No beef there. But I did feel like he wouldn't easily accept the idea that a mother is working her own mission field in the home. He was bent on thinking outside the home, your church family and the local community. He really does work hard to preach a global mission message and I know that has great appeal for those who do feel called to go global. I don't believe we're all called to go global in the sense that we all need to dash out and purchase international airplane tickets. Right now I'm called to the bedroom upstairs and the two little people who lay their heads to rest there. That's my call. That's my mission for the moment. And I'm not about to start apologizing for it. I think that a stay at home mother has a great work to do and her work does and will effect the future. I don't know what my children will grow up to be, but I know that I am called to act responsibly towards them at the present moment and so home truly is where my heat is - and needs to be.
That's the one and only issue I took with the book, but otherwise, I think its hands down fantastic and he said some things that just needed to be said! Furthermore, he said some things that need to be heard and acted upon.
Yes, I do highly recommend this read. And I feel like I'm in good company in doing so.
This review linked to the I Read It carnival at 5 Minutes for Books.