Review of Chapter Four in “Radical”

November 14, 2011

Summary of the Chapter: Platt focuses on the call of God to all believers to be involved in bringing the Good News to the nations. He contends that this call is not just for some, not just for those who feel “called” to overseas missions. In this chapter, he challenges the idea of a special call to missions. He says that few of us think we have a special call to be blessed, or a special call to be cared for by God. So why should we think we have to have a special call to go to the nations.

Best Points of the Chapter: It is ludicrous to take the command of Jesus to “make disciples of the nations” and naturally assume that is referring to someone else. In this chapter, he presents a compelling case that in some way every follower of Christ is expected in some way to be uniquely involved in the Great Commandment. He ends the chapter with several examples of people who have begun to use their skills and resources to reach out to the world. He mentions a young engineer who is ministering in Guatemala. He talks about a successful businessman who uses his time and resources to help a pregnant woman living on a garbage dump. He introduces us to a retired couple who help feed the refugees in Sri Lanka. All of these people are prototypical of Americans, except they have not shirked their call to the world.

Weaker Points in the Chapter: At some point, Platt needs to stop opening his chapter with straw men and ideal examples. In this chapter, he opens with a pastor who threatens his congregation if they don’t give to missions he will pray their children get sent overseas. The pastor and deacon mentioned at the beginning of this chapter are cartoon christians. I assume they’re real, but so few are really like that. What Platt needs to learn to do is present more realistic and down to earth examples –  both good and bad.

It got me thinking: I thought through a very long list of believers I know who have sold almost all they had and begun serving the nations. They represent the full gamut of ages, professions and abilities. Yet they have all had this in common: They believed Jesus was speaking to them when he called them to bless the nations. I believe this is hugely important.


  1. I have to admit this chapter bothered me. On the one hand, he says that everyone is called to go to the nations, but then he says he’s not saying that. But then he says he wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. Not well written chapter.

    • Ferdy: You are correct that he seems to go back and forth on this issue of our calling. He does tend to lump everyone into the same boat by his contention that we all need to have the same kind of “radical” living style.

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