Church Member Mentioned In David Platt’s Book ‘Radical’ Responds To My Review Of ‘Radical’

Posted on May 20, 2011


A couple of months ago, I wrote a book review of a very popular book called ‘Radical’ by David Platt. This book has been causing quite a stir in some circles of the evangelical world. Out of all the articles that I have written, this book review has been the most widely read article by far. There was a lengthy dialogue that ensued in the comment section as a result of what I shared.

I wanted to draw your attention to a specific comment that came in because they were made by a couple that was actually mentioned in Platt’s book ‘Radical’. They were long time church members of Brook Hills, the institution where Platt is Pastor. They made a couple of comments on the original blog, but I edited them down to one statement here. If you haven’t yet, I would encourage you to read the full book review of ‘Radical’ that I did by clicking here.

Without further delay, here is their response. Their statement speaks for itself:

Thanks for posting this review. It is difficult (I think) to find such an honest statement about David Platt’s book amid all the adulation that surrounds him.
My husband and I were attending Brook Hills when David Platt was called to be its pastor…We are the couple David talks about who gave away our items to the poor (I think it’s on page 131-32). So we started out very much in support of what Dr. Platt was saying, and have since burned ourselves out.

We won’t be making that mistake again. After hearing David Platt repeat the message of his book every Sunday at Brook Hills, week after week, and watching the church members around us strive harder and harder to obey by their own efforts, we grew tired of working off our own steam, of feeling guilty all the time, and of not growing in Christ. So we left Brook Hills.

I had thought we would be members of Brook Hills for the long term. We were members there for seven years. Now, we are taking our kids and praying for God to lead us to the church body he wants us to join…It is difficult to take issue with what Radical says. It sounds biblical, at first glance. But in our attempts to implement the Radical Experiment, we ran into problems. You are right — the focus, for me anyway, was never Christ. It was about being obedient and earning my way to him, which I already knew is incorrect.

What I didn’t know, until recently, is how exhausting and discouraging it is to try to obey Christ on my own. But just a few weeks into the Radical Experiment, I got to where I didn’t want to go to church anymore. I couldn’t look at a painting of the nativity scene without feeling bitter and tired.

In trying to live out the Radical Experiment, I began to realize, even more than before, that I’m not capable of being obedient to Christ on my own. And the answer is not to feel guilty or try harder, or ignore the way I feel. The answer is to turn to Christ…What I want now to learn is how to draw closer to Christ himself and get more of him. So in that sense, the Radical Experiment was helpful to Scott and me, in an unexpected way.

Only prayer can lead me to where I need to be. But any resources you know of that you think may be helpful would also be appreciated. I have seen references to Frank Viola and other authors on this site but have not yet looked into them. But thanks already, just for saying what you’ve said about Radical. As I said in my other comment, I haven’t heard that many people review the book without praising everything it says (and doesn’t say).

Thanks for reading, and please know that my intention is not to question Platt’s heart, but to draw attention to religious systems of thought that actually block our view of Jesus Christ and the fullness of His body. The quest and desire for the fullness of Christ must compel us to address and remove any obstacles that stand in our view of His beauty.

For Him & His Bride,

Jamal Jivanjee