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Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  49,277 ratings  ·  1,969 reviews

It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily...

Paperback, 230 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Multnomah (first published January 1st 2010)
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 ·  49,277 ratings  ·  1,969 reviews

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Corey Decker
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Radical for the Wrong Reasons

"Taking Back your Faith from the American Dream." This is the confessed purpose of David Platt's new book, Radical. In it, he attempts to save American Christians from their cultural sins, showing that one cannot serve both the American Dream and Jesus Christ. A decision must be made: it is either radical obedience to Christ or self-centered, lukewarm mediocrity.


His thesis is based upon his interpretation of the great commission in Matthew 28 and a select f
Dara Harvey
Jul 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: garbage-can
Despite the hype ("WHAT IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU?"), I don’t recommend Radical.

I was a member of Brook Hills when David was pastor there. I spent 4 years hearing him preach Radical in various forms week after week. When it hit bookshelves, I was already in a crisis over it: I believed I was saved, but under David's teaching I felt I must make myself "worthy" of Jesus by doing good works for the poor. Why? Because, according to Radical, if you’re not going on missions overseas, downsizing homes, wo
Mark Franklin
May 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
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 t
Adam Shields
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review:

Short review: I think this is one of those books that lots of people will read and many people will not do anything about. That is unfortunate, this is a call to live a life like what Christ has called us to. There are five specific suggestions that are in the last chapter and most people will not do one or two let alone all five.

I say this fully aware that I might be in the same boat. I may not really do what I should be doing either. But rea
CJ Bowen
May 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
It is ironic to call a book entitled "Radical" imbalanced; by the nature of the case, such is Platt's goal. A gifted preacher, and a personable writer, Platt's call is good, but his technique is cruel, and his application over-generalized. Some Christians are called to radical lives like he describes; but others are called to be radical in a different way. Platt misses the radical nature of a life of boring Christian faithfulness, and sees no middle ground between the life of a first-century eva ...more
May 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I have really struggled with how I felt about this book. At first I felt like, "I am SOOO sorry that I am a middle class American Christian, which automatically makes me somehow less of a Christian than someone in the Chinese or Indian underground church movements." (Read sarcasm.) That is probably a wrong response, but I've been feeling like that type of message has been coming from a lot of angles.

Through reading the book I felt like Platt was very repetitive he could have written a booklet,
Dave  Johnson
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
First, why is it that many people out there have a hard time with obedience? And why is it that certain ministers and writers have a hard time explaining obedience without dipping into either legalism or radicalism? I understand what it's like to rebel and not wish to obey--I'm human so this is an innate problem with all of us. But I always try to keep my heart open to what the Father has to say in my life, even if I don't like it. And I'm always trying to keep an open heart with teaching that I ...more
Mike Conroy
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this book a few years ago and I decided to read it now because of some criticism that was leveled against the "radical movement" and this book in particular. One of the things I appreciated about the criticism was one questions raised: Would people who really loved this book agree with Paul's words, "and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands."? (1 Thess 4:11) That is a fair question.

However, I thought this book was pretty balanced.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: justice
So I read this book after reading it's sequel, "Radical Together." As I expected, this is the better book of the two. Unfortunately the two books are too similar for me to enjoy this book as much as I may have otherwise. Here are some of my general thoughts on this book (more reflections than a book review):

1. David Platt manages to write in a humble, and engaging way. He tells stories about what his church is doing and the steps that they are taking to follow Jesus and to accomplish his mission
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-life
This is a very thought provoking book asking each Christian to take a look at their lifestyle and ask themselves are they living the American dream or the radical Christian life. This book gave me a lot of questions to ponder and some challenges to seriously pray about.
Jul 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm tempted to use the word "shallow" to describe this book, but I think Platt was just aiming for "short and simple," which isn't bad. But I wanted more. He doesn't dig deeply into aspects of the "American Dream vs. Christianity" like I wanted. I haven't got the heart to tear into this book, so I'll just list off the good and bad. Or perhaps I'm still simply coming off the high that was The Christian Life: Cross or Glory? which is still ringing in my ears; go read that book instead of this one. ...more
Maureen Wagner
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to reading this book and went in with some high expectations, only to be disappointed.

To start on a positive note, I will say that I was challenged by this book and really enjoyed some parts. In the beginning, Platt offers some wonderful criticisms of American Christianity, which he argues is often practiced within the sheltered context of privilege with an overemphasis on prosperity and comfort ala the American Dream. The discussion about the importance of stepping
Lena Morrison
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I do my reviews in the form of a letter, which is why they are written like this.

Dear David Platt,

Wow. This is the first nonfiction book that I have given five stars. It was that good. I seriously did not expect to like it as much as I did.

I really, really, REALLY appreciate the fact that you are extremely Biblical. It's needed in this world. I know that I, as an American, have bought into a lot that the American Dream teaches. But now I realize how much of it is wrong.

The way you write abou
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has provoked me to deep thought. Am I living for the temporary or for the eternal? For myself or God? It has spurred me on to deeper living and a deeper commitment to the spreading of the Gospel!! I recommend this book to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rereading for a class.

David Platt argues, convincingly, to the point that you feel like you've been punched in the stomach and you've lost your breath, that the American church has taken the radical message of Jesus in the gospels and traded it for ... respectability.
Radical: Sell all you have, and give the money to the poor, and follow me.
Respectable: Throw some money in the collection plate every week.
"You and I can chose to continue with business as usual in the Christian life and in the chur
Aug 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
What a disappointing book. Despite the title, it is not particularly radical. Oh my goodness, God doesn't want me to have 3 cars and 20 tvs! Also, the author gets so caught up in preach his neo-Calvinist understanding of atonement and the place of the Bible (or "the Word" as he keeps calling it) that the rest of the book where he covers the "radical" idea that Christianity and the American Dream are not the same thing gets swallowed up with little detail or explanation. Also, the author is a pas ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
While I appreciate some intentions, a desire to think more seriously about the poor, attack the idolatry of the American dream (which ends with dog eat dog) and remove the self from the center of his theology, Platt sums up a lot of what I really don't like in Evangelicalism and I expect irritates many unbelievers.

To be specific Platt doesn't have the gear to do what he wants to do:
*Heap on the Guilt: Platt comes across as a tortured soul, one who preaches at a Megachurch, but feels guilty abou
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A few things. I apologize in advance if I am mean or insensitive to anyone.

First, this is truly a wonderful book. I don't think I have ever read a more convicting and awe-inspiring book. Anyone who thinks they are a good christian should read it, and meditate on its words, because David Platt goes right to the throat about the concept of "good christianity". I don't know about anyone else, but I have found myself being convicted beyond belief by this book, and I recommend it to literally everyon
Abbie Riddle
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's the orange book with the upside down face - the eye catching one that makes you wonder what's inside. The picture of the upside down house is exactly the idea of this book - it will turn your ideas, your world, your spiritual house upside down. Those beliefs that have been long ingrained in you since a child sitting on a pew will be tossed out the window. What you have held as the standard for Christianity will be turned on it's head. The standards you held will be lifted to a new level and ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it liked it
I started reading this book based on several people recommending it to me. While Platt does a great job of highlighting the materialism and affluence we live in, I had some issues as to how Platt seemed to present his personal convictions as convictions everyone should have. Throughout the book, there were many instances where it felt like he was trying to "guilt" people to doing what he thought would be the most Christian way of giving radically, generously, and sacrificially, but not taking in ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Radical : Taking back your faith from the American Dream was a challenging read. Initially, there were generalizations that didn’t sit well with me but I continued as I have been listening to the author on Back to the Bible radio program. His heart is about living an authentic Christ-follower. As part of my church’s fasting and prayer I slowly read this. Certain parts ripped the band-aid off my excuses and forced me to commit to making much needed changes. There are gems that every Christian can ...more
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. I thought his assessment of American Christianity was rather accurate and convicting personally. I may not agree with all of his conclusions or methods, but his message (discipling all nations with the gospel) needs to be remembered in our churches. I know I needed this book.
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
David Platt spoke at Urbana 2012, and after hearing him speak I wanted to learn more. If you heard him speak at Urbana, skip chapters 1-2, it's the same material.

Positive: The book revolves around the diagnosis of 'materialism' as a deadly sin of the American church. The 'American Dream' has been absorbed by the American Church, and we've made the pursuit of 'bigger and better' the same thing as the pursuit of Jesus' kingdom. We, American Christians, are not entitled to the wealth of resources a
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This book hits you in the gut about falling into the trap of the American dream and chasing the bubbles that accompany it. Lots of wonderful stories, anecdotes and exegesis that call us to move away from lukewarm comfortable christianity that seems to permeate so much of American Christianity into more of a radical (biblical) one. Loved reading it overall and I love Platt. However, I was a bit uneasy with some of the over generalizations that seem to seem to show that non-American Christians and ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really struggled with the author's tone throughout the whole book, and I've come to the conclusion that David Platt needed to have had a better editor. I really wish that for someone who says we must glorify God in all that we do, that he would follow his own advice in his writing style.

I think he took a few verses and quotations out of context which didn't help matters. I also didn't like how he painted everything with a broad brushstroke. I wanted to stop reading the book after the eighth c
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The author David Platt covers a topic that I have been hoping someone would would write about for a long time! He talks about the complacency of the church today and contrasts it with the passionate churches in other countries suffering from persecution and ready to die for Christ. Our churches today don't have people that are radical followers of Jesus. He also touches on the fact that Christians don't think long-term, but short term. In church, we can listen to a message and decide how to appl ...more
Dave Cruver
David Platt's book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, is an excellent book. I highly recommend it - if only for his assessment of American Christianity; the American Dream couched in Christian verbiage.

His prescription of the problem? Not so much.

The American Dream is what I would call a "secular religion" of which Platt rightly calls us to abandon, but Platt exchanges this "secular religion" for a "religious religion" and not the Gospel.

Let me explain.

"But if Jesus is who
Eric Chappell
Jan 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Review: Challenging. While I don't think that I would say things exactly the same way as Platt, I appreciate many of his thoughts. The book was simple and straightforward and dealt principally with Scripture passages. One thing I liked about this book was Platt's refusal to be dogmatic about how radical obedience to the call of Christ might look from Christian to Christian. He appreciates people's life situation, but not at the expense of sell short the call of Christ to go to all nations. This ...more
Michael Miller
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Radical. Well, almost.
David Platt’s thesis isn’t really radical at all, though it may appear so to some. It’s just the gospel of Christ. Unfortunately, over the centuries Christians have so assimilated the gospel to their host culture and so encrusted it with traditions, that in its purer form it seems radical. The problem is not that Christians aren’t familiar with the gospel that Platt presents, the problem is, as Nietzsche said, “Even the most courageous among us only rarely has the courage
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DAVID PLATT serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical (Inc.), a global missions organization that serves the church for the cause of Christ—to glorify God by making disciples and multiplying churches among all nations. Resources from David Platt and Radical can be found at

Books by David Platt include Radical, Radical Togethe

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“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” 338 likes
“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.” 173 likes
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