I really don't like writing this kind of review, but I don't think I'll be able to get this out of my head until I do, so here it goes.
Warning: I'm going to be mean. Proceed at your own risk.
First, I appreciate the effort Platt is going to in order to shake American Christianity out of it's stupor. He says going to a mega-church on Sunday morning and giving a few dollars to international missions is an insufficient expression of the gospel. Amen, no argument from me. However, Platt then spends the rest of the book talking about a "gospel" I don't see in the scripture at all, and encouraging God's people to fulfill a tiny version of the Great Commission.
Based on this book, Platt has an understanding of the gospel that goes something like this:
1. God hates you and everyone else who ever lived from Adam on, and will carry out divine vengeance on everyone's eternal soul.
2. Through a schizophrenic act of divine suicide, which had nothing at all to do with power structures of the time in which Jesus lived or today, God somehow manages to tolerate you, but not anybody outside the United States who hasn't heard about Jesus, especially not in China or India.
3. You therefore should spend your whole like telling people far, far away from you about #2, because otherwise it really is your fault if they go to hell to be tormented for eternity.
4. Just kidding! You should just read through your Bible and go on a short term mission trip!
Okay, I might (!) be overstating the case. But only maybe.
Let's see what is missing:
1. Creation- there is no purpose to our lives but evangelism, so God obviously made everything on a whim.
2. Love- Platt talks about Love, but only as a peripheral to God's "holiness" which in this case appears to be a word used to mask God's real primary attribute, which is hate.
3. Discipleship- training for... oh wait, we don't need to be trained for good works, because nothing matters but international evangelism.
4. Follow through! This actually disturbs me the most. Platt builds a massive pile of accusation and guilt for American Christianity, then says: But you can feel better by making a one year commitment to do easy stuff! I will have nothing to do with that kind of gospel.
The irony of this book is that it is subtitled "Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream" but it is rooted in a very ugly version of revivalist theology that ignores everything but evangelism, in fact it goes one worse and ignores anything but international evangelism. Platt talks about caring for the poor, but his call to action is based on an understanding of God that has no room for such nonsense, and I'd be hard put to it to defend any social action at all from his perspective. Save their soul, because otherwise they're damned and it is your fault!
Okay, I'm done. I'm sorry if I ticked anybody off.