Radical – what is the cost?

For full disclosure I must tell you that I haven’t read David Platt’s book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.  I’ve read a review, and I listened to Rev Platt’s introduction of his book on youtube.  But I haven’t read it.  I am sure he is well-meaning, but he has taken only one view of Jesus. As a woman who believes that Jesus was the very essence of women’s equality, I find it hard to believe that being Radical in today’s world doesn’t address women’s equality in our churches.

Platt has made a study of the Gospels, and wants us to be like Jesus in our concerns for the hungry and the poor.  He said we are too comfortable and we have made Jesus into a middle-class American to fit into our culture.

On his youtube introduction he makes a fervent case for being Radical with your religion.  He says that we have become man-centered  instead of being God-centered.  He says that God is a global God and we have to feed those who are hungry and starving, and get the gospel to them. 

Mostly Platt is speaking about the poor and hungry.  He made the point that every day 26,000 chidren die due to hunger. According to Kevin DeYoung in his review of Radical that I mentioned in a previous post, he says it is impossible to do what David Platt suggests.  He says that you can’t just pour money into these countries hoping that it take care of all their problems.  Kevin DeYoung * says that what David Platt is suggesting will cause burn-out, and people will become disillusioned when they see that it doesn’t work. 

Platt goes on to say that there are 4,500,000,000 people in the world who are not Christians.  Platt says that we have to take up the cross, and in doing so, we have to be willing to risk it all.  He says the cost is great, and he asks “What does it cost to follow Him?”

I think this young pastor did not look at the complete Jesus as the Gospels portray. The complete Jesus was not only concerned with the hungry and the poor, he was concerned with women.  Jesus showed this by treating them as equals to the men, by directly giving them the gospel (the woman at the well, the gentile woman and Mary at the tomb). How can you elevate man over women when you seek to be Radical like Jesus?

“What does it cost to follow Him?”  It can cost you your big SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) church. If you get out of favor and don’t follow the SBC line which clearly says that women are to be submissive to their husbands, and that the husband has leadership over the wife and family, you have a price to pay.  We know David Platt believes in second-class spiritual citizenship because he says that women cannot teach men – using 1 Timothy 2.  He says emphatically that women cannot teach men as the elders do.  Clearly elders are to be men and women cannot be elders.  He also says that older women can teach younger women, but they cannot teach a man.

Four and one-half billion people who need the gospel and he says that only men can give them that gospel. If David Platt really wants to be Radical, I suggest that he allow women to take their place alongside men and preach the gospel, and not limit old women to teaching young women in church.

What does it cost to follow HIM?  It costs surrendering your belief that men are superior to women, and listening to the Jesus we love, and allowing all his children to preach and teach His gospel.

Will you be Radical and speak out for women.  Four and a half billion people in the world needing Jesus and we have tied one hand behind our back when we do not allow women to go and tell.

*I worry that radical and crazy Christianity cannot be sustained. If the message of Jesus translates into “Give more away” or “Sacrifice for the gospel” or “Get more radical” we will end up with burned out evangelicals.

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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7 Responses to Radical – what is the cost?

  1. Kristen says:

    I was a member of a get-crazy-radical-for-God group. And yes, it did result in burnout and disillusionment– largely because “radical obedience” so often gets translated into “march in lock-step with all the other radically obedient Christians in your group, and look down on everyone else for not being as sold-out for God as you are.”

    Messages like this are important– complacency is something Christians must always fight against, particularly in wealthy nations– but if the emphasis is not on “Walk in the Spirit and listen to God over men,” you can end up with cultic, spiritually abusive practices. When these teachings are also coupled with male supremacy teachings, women are very quickly relegated to their own “radical” gospel of “daring” to stay home and be mothers– when they have so many other choices, and the Spirit may be leading them to do something completely different!

    I agree that if young men want to do something daring for God, they could do a lot worse than choosing to champion their sisters in Christ and fight for equality, no matter the cost. How can we challenge the maltreatment of women overseas, when we subordinate our women over here as well? Do we want to send the message, “Free your sisters to serve Christ!” Or do we want to send the message, “Be kinder masters to your womenfolk”? The choice is ours.


    • I will tell you how we can “challenge the maltreatment of women overseas, when we subordinate our women over here as well?” We deny that we do it. We tell women that they are equal-but. We say it is God’s word and that He designed women for certain beautiful roles. We put lipstick on the pig.


  2. Anne says:

    What’s the difference between being crazy-radical for God and just being passionate and faithful to God? Because honestly I’d do what He wants me to do in my life. But right now I’m not the ‘go out and make disciples’ type via preaching or witnessing at people. I’m not good with evangelism. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, as there are other spiritual gifts, but I’m very conscious of how I sound when talking about God and Jesus. I think I’m better at rebuking the illogical/ignorant type of atheist rant, the Christian and God bashing type. All I have to do is point out the holes in their arguments, appealing to reason and scholarly practice. (It rarely works though. They’re often so hyped up on emotion that they refuse to listen, and there are none so blind as those who will not see).

    But I digress. What I mean to ask is: is being loyal and servantlike for God as good as anything more outspoken? Because I’d rather just show faith by action than do much gospel-spreading, or perhaps write things for people who are already Christian. What should I say if people start questioning in a not-nice way why I’m not so verbal about my faith?


    • I’m with you, Anne. I am not verbal either with my faith. I don’t use churchy words. When I was young and foolish, a pastor who was younger than I was said something that has stayed with me ever since. I was complaining about someone’s commitment, and he said that their idea of what commitment was might be different from what mine was. And that they were honoring their idea of commitment.


  3. Estelle says:

    John Milton wrote a poem bewailing how his blindness prevented him from writing and the last line has always stayed with me: ‘…They also serve who only stand and wait.’
    I guess that kind of resonates with this conversation.


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