Follow Me by David Platt – Ever since I read David Platt’s book Radical, I have been a fan of his work. What Platt did in Radical was challenge the American Dream version of Christianity with a Biblical litmus test. He talked about the spread of the Gospel and the believer’s responsibility to such per the Bible.
Follow Me isn’t too far from this vein but looks to clear out some of the clutter of our christian culture in America. Platt takes on well intentioned, but harmful work today and in the past with regards to bringing people to a decision to be saved.
Without fully understanding what they are doing, without counting the cost, people are asked if they want to go to hell. Once they say no, we give them a “sinners prayer” that all too often is formulaic rather than heartfelt and genuine. We use phrases created as tools that aren’t found in the bible, we tell people to “ask Jesus into your heart” and for Him to be “your personal Lord and Savior.”
I’ll let you read it to see what you think of Platt’s take on these things, but he does a good job of addressing the deception that many have that they are followers of Christ when in reality they haven’t demonstrated fruit of a Spirit filled life in years. He even leads you to think that there may be people out there that think they’ll be in heaven but will hear “I never knew you. Away from me, evildoers!” (It seems he is debunking the “once saved, always saved” crowd that rests on that more than a transforming work of Christ.)
There are many challenging things that Platt works throughout this book that take some thoughtful consideration and prayer. One is the idea that Jesus called the disciples to follow him and learn to disciple others. This is contrasted with the idea that many in the church get saved and then sit in a church and wait for death or Christ’s return without disciplining anyone.
Another is whether our way of “doing church” is Biblical. I found this to be similar to things talked about in Radical, but definitely call to attention where your focus is. This is brought out especially in the following:
“So if you had nothing but people – no buildings, no programs, no staff, and no activities – and you were charged with spreading the gospel to the world, where would you begin? Would you start by pooling together your money so that you could spend millions of dollars on a building to meet in? Would you get the best speaker, the greatest musicians, and the most talented staff in order to organize presentations and programs that appeal to your families and your children? Would you devote your resources to what is most comfortable, most entertaining, and most pleasing to you?”
The funny thing is that any follower of Christ says that this Great Commission to go and make disciples is our charge today as much as when Jesus gave it 2000+ years ago. So if you take that to heart, you may see where your own focus may not have been correctly applied.
One final thing that was eye opening was the statistic that American Christians give an average of 2.5% of their annual income to the mission of the church. That’s $.03 out of every $100 to spreading the gospel. It doesn’t exactly match up with what you read in Acts or 2 Corinthians.
I really liked this book. There are some practical discipleship planning things at the back that can give structure if you don’t where to start in your own life, or with others. Although not perfect (I have to throw that into every review) I definitely think this is another solid work by Platt in this arena.
I am rating this book 5/5. Pick it up or borrow my copy.