A powerful challenge for those critiquing universalism—we must fight not only “intellectual universalism” (taught by “others”) but also “functional universalism” (modeled by many of us):

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136 thoughts on “David Platt: “Do We Really Believe What We’re Saying?””

  1. Looselycult says:

    So why don’t we all just drop all of our calling’s, vocations, and “secular professions” and leave for the mission field or go to seminary and become pastors? I mean isn’t that what it really takes. I mean if we want to really be consistent with this conclusion, why are we just sitting here blogging at our computers and not selling all of our possessions and going out into the street and preaching to everyone we see. I mean if that’s what it takes why not? Seriously if we follow this initiative to its most logical conclusion we have to maintain that the Reformed tradition of calling, sphere sovereignty and common grace is all just one big joke. Because if you are working as an architect, a composer, an artist a filmmaker or a graphic designer it is really nothing but a big waste of time, because in reality you should be in India handing out tracts and preaching in the street.

    1. Wesley says:

      I think the answer to your problem is found in your understanding of the great commission in Matt.28: the main thrust of Jesus command remember is to “make disciples” NOT to go. Further, in considering Acts 17, those architects and composers and businessmen, etc. have been placed sovereignly by God to share the gospel with the person right next to them (you didn’t think God gifted you like that for your OWN benefit did you?) Now, are there those who are called to foreign missions who are not heeding that call? Absolutely. But are there also many who are surrounded by the “perishing” at their job or in their families who are not “making disciples” too? You tell me!

      1. DJ says:

        Wesley,

        Is it my job to be making disciples at my place of employment? Or is it my job to do the work assigned to me by my boss? I’m pretty sure, making Christian disciples isn’t on his list. And if I read the Apostle Paul correctly, I am to be working at work, and not proselytizing.

        1. jake says:

          I don’t think Jesus or the Apostle Paul would say that they are mutually exclusive.

          That is like saying I am supposed to do my job at work and not obey God who has commanded me to make disciples.

          Obviously you don’t need to be the wacky guy handing out tracts but you can’t separate the gospel from vocation, you have compartmentalized the Christian life at that point.

        2. Will says:

          DJ,

          Why does it have to be one or the other? Of course your job when you are at work is to be working, but do you have to be not working to share your faith? Can you not share your faith by how you work? The Bible has called us to work in such a way that people will come up to you and say: DJ, why are you always working so hard? Don’t you know you get paid the same amount if you don’t bust it all day? Why are you always so joyful and such a servant to everyone? Ya know DJ, I have always noticed that when everyone else is gossiping and complaining you always have something encouraging to say and you never take part in their slander of the boss or company.

          Trust me, I am convicted of my own work ethic and behavior as I type this, but I think this is ONE way we can make disciples at work without ever saying a word, but if the opportunity presents it self, how can we keep from speaking.

          1. DJ says:

            1. Does my boss want me to proselytize? no.
            2. Can I work in such a way as to bring glory to God? yes
            3. Can I speak of the Truth when the opportunity arises (on breaks, during down time)? Yes.
            4. Is that the main focus of my job? No.
            5. The main focus of the job is to bring glory to God by working hard for my boss (which in reality, is the Lord).

            If God chooses to open doors for witness, then great. But it’s not my “job” to make disciples at my job. I do not see how is it possible to “make disciples” of fellow employees who are non-believers. (??) That seems very convoluted to me.

            1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

              DEAD ON DJ!!!

            2. Steggz says:

              DJ, this is the thing: Like so many things in life, we’re actually called to do BOTH things! There’s no priority given to one over the other, we’re called to be salt and light AND work as if our boss at work is God.

              1. DJ says:

                Can you demonstrate where I have said anything that would contradict what you just typed? My whole point is that it is not my job to make disciples at my work. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe we are to be salt and light.

              2. Steggz says:

                What I’m trying to say is that there is no prioritisation of these aspects. You are called to make disciples, and be salt and light, and work to the glory of God, and none of them have a higher plane than the other.

                What I’m reading you say is “My work is more important than speaking to my colleagues about Christ.” I could be reading you wrong, but that’s my impression. What I’m trying to say is that there is no one that’s more important, especially when our manner of work can be a witness.

              3. DJ says:

                @ Steggz – concerning your later post… I see what you’re saying. I’m not saying my work is more important than the other. I’m simply saying that there is a time for everything, no? Otherwise I should be giving the gospel to every patient I come in contact too (I’m in health-care). That’s not what I am called to do *at that particular moment*! I am to work quietly, and work hard, glorify God and serve my neighbor. At the same time I am to be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within. And those opportunities tend to pop up on there own. No? When I am on break, or if everyone (including the boss – my doctor I work for) is enjoying some downtime and conversing/joking around, then I have a great chance to talk about the gospel. But even then, I am not making disciples! There is a difference between 1. gospel proclamation and 2. the making of disciples! One has to embrace #1 before #2 can apply!

              4. Steggz says:

                Is there to be a distinction between Gospel proclamation and disciple making? I feel as if they live on a continuum, rather than being 2 separate events

            3. Chris says:

              DJ:

              “I do not see how is it possible to “make disciples” of fellow employees who are non-believers. (??) That seems very convoluted to me.”

              I saw it like this, too. I worked at Walmart through college, and my breaks were spent reading and in prayer. Then, over a period of time, a friend of mine broke down and started weeping in the back room. I actually asked to use the GM’s office to talk with him, and the Father did a miracle through the Holy Spirit as I shared with him. He subsequently accepted God’s provision for him through His Son.

              This began my friend’s new life, and he still gives glory to God today. It can happen, DJ. Your light can shine on the top of the hill in the Produce Department!

              1. dj cimino says:

                Steggz – you know what, I think I see what you are saying. Please forgive me. Growing up KJO, I am more used the the commission in Mark – “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” my mind defaults to this reading (which is probably not in the originals). In MT, to disciple the nations is the same as preaching the gospel. Thanks for pressing the issue.

              2. Steggz says:

                No need to apologise. As a theological student, all I try to do in discussion like this is ask questions and put ideas across and engage in healthy dialogue. This is a tough issue and we should continually be evaluating where we are.

                I’m doing a subject on the doctrines of salvation at the moment, and something that I found very useful was the idea that the Christian life as a whole is better viewed as a continual process rather than staged. Our Western viewpoint prefers things to be disjointed, discontinuous.

                Great to talk with you DJ. God bless and may we all continue in love and service of the Lord, seeking to be salt and light in the world around us, being missionaries wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, in whatever way is appropriate to our context.

        3. henrybish says:

          DJ,

          I know the feeling. I think you might find this piece by Doug Wilson called ‘Guilt-free Evangelism’ helpful and freeing:

          http://www.credenda.org/images/stories/pdf/14-6.pdf

          (article is the one on page 10)

          1. DJ says:

            I enjoyed reading this. Thanks

          2. Mitchell Hammonds says:

            This was a fabulous article Henrybish! Thanks

            1. henrybish says:

              Kevin DeYoung also had a helpful review/response of Platt’s book ‘Radical':

              http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/05/25/getting-to-the-root-of-radical/

    2. Michael says:

      Here’s a very fair critique of how Platt tries to make foriegn missions normative for every Christian.

      http://media.shepherdsfellowship.org/2011/SC1116.mp3

  2. Michael says:

    I understand the point Platt is trying to make, but I’m wondering what exactly he means by “sacrifice everything”? Does “sacrifice everything” mean 100% of one’s income, as in Justin Taylor should live on rice and beans in a cave and send everything else to India for missions? If so, what Biblical texts are used to support this?

    1. Greg Amerson says:

      By “sacrifice everything” I think he means that there should be nothing that we hold onto so tightly that we wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice it for cause of Christ. So many Christians think “I’ll follow you Jesus with my whole heart, give of my money and time, just don’t ask me to move away from my family”.

      My takeaway from this video is like what Piper says “You must either be a goer or a sender, pick one”. Too many people in the church are content to be neither.

      1. Will says:

        Greg, I understand and agree with what you are saying, but I would even go as far as to add to the Piper quote and say that we are all called to be both goers and senders, just in different capacities. Paul, for example, was definitely a goer with multiple missionary journeys. He was also a sender, by making disciples like Timothy and encouraging him to teach to other reliable men who would also teach more.

        I think we are called to minister with everything we have, which will inevitably include evangelizing where we are at and also sending others to places we aren’t by donating money or other resources. I hope this serves as an encouragement and not a nitpick. :)

  3. Vocations not withstanding we are called to 100% where ever we are…The level of indifference to missions and evangelism by many evangelicals is astounding. Many rarely engage the lost with in their sphere. The issue of functional universalism is well taken. Thank you David Platt.

    1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

      Standing in contrast to what Platt is calling “all” to do is NOT indifference to missions and evangelism. I know people who are absolutely in everyone’s face at work with the gospel and by NOT waiting on a proper opportunity to speak have become the offense rather than the Gospel.

  4. RC Cunningham says:

    I’ve got the same questions that you guys have. Sometimes I have a hard time understanding the specific application of things like this (based on what the ‘logical conclusion’ would be). Sometimes the message that is conveyed seems more guilt-motivated producing bondage than gospel/grace-motivated producing freedom. I understand that we are to count the cost of following Christ, that there will be persecution, that whoever loves his life will lose it and whoever hates his life will keep it, but it is also for freedom that Christ has set us free, that He calls the weary and heavy-laden to Himself for His yoke is easy and His burden is light, etc.
    Certainly we want to be so moved by the Gospel (Good News about what Christ has done for us) that we are propelled outward in a response of gratitude. As we more deeply understand and experience the Gospel, the hope would be that we would cherish Christ all the more and desire to make him known through word and deed.
    I’d love for more to share their thoughts on this or at least talk about the ‘tension’ that seems to be there (though that might not be the correct word to use). I want to maintain a holistic view and not get caught on one end of the spectrum: either being so focused on things like a high view of calling, God’s sovereignty, common grace that I see no need for mission (practicing functional universalism) or being so focused on ‘doing’ (‘doing the Lord’s work’ as many say) that I become calloused to the cultural mandate and the unconditional love that we have from God in Christ as His sons.
    I’m young and I’m learning…would love some thoughts on this.

    1. Will says:

      RC, It seems like you have a pretty good grasp on the two ends of the spectrum and the dangers that can come from each of them. IMO I think that tension is a good word to use, but that we shouldn’t assign tension a negative connotation. I think that is one of the beauties of the Gospel. That we can embrace the tension of being in the middle of two ditches so to speak and admit the probability that I will end up in both ditches sooner or later, but that through doing (reading my Bible, sharing my faith, disciplining myself, fighting sin, memorizing scripture, staying in community with other believers) and resting (Holy Spirit’s guidance, God’s sovereign plan, and Christ’s finished work and intercession for me even now) God will bring me safely into his arms when all is said and done.

      A helpful thought for me as far as avoiding functional universalism (aside from God commanding me to take the Gospel to all nations, which is reason enough) is to realize that God is going to save people apart from me and that I am not needed for God to accomplish his sovereign plan BUT would I not love to be there to see God work and to be used as the creator of the universe turns hearts of stone into hearts of flesh? It is like the dad that asks his little boy for help, knowing that in reality he doesn’t really need his help and if anything his son might slow him down, but the father gets joy in seeing his son want to help and the the son feels joy because he gets to help his dad.

  5. Looselycult says:

    Maybe one of the reasons why so many evangelicals have become indifferent (I’m not saying the only reason, just one of the reasons) could be due to the frustration that they have felt because of the lack of teaching and struggling through this very issue on the parts of churches and pastors. What I mean is maybe churches and pastors are not teaching how to the think through the biblical approach to the apparent dichotomy that exists between the reformed view of calling and vocation versus the view that preaching and teaching is a necessesity for all Christians and they all should be involved in some kind of “full-time Christian service” i.e.: being a pastor or missionary, and that anything else is just another form of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    1. Probably right. The Eph 4:11 ministries are to equip the saints. When is the last time you saw someone take another by the hand and say “lets go out and engage and evangelize” or “come help me disciple this guy”? We spend our time doing our big evangelical shows on Sunday and lose focus on our mission. As we rediscover prayer and proclamation by EVERYONE, we in God’s Kind providence, will see the progress we all desire. That’s is a big part of the 100% stuff.

  6. Wesley says:

    This is just ‘money’ – i’m appreciating Platt more and more as i hear him in various places. As i said to “looselycult”, if we remember that the main thrust of Jesus’ great commission in Matt.28 is to “make disciples” and NOT “to go”, and consider Acts 17 that says we are all sovereignly placed for a God’s purpose, we can see all kinds of opportunity for ministry and personal sacrifice right in front of us that we are not being obedient to! These calls to sacrifice are usually not specific because often the sacrifice will be individual to you. As Jesus said to Peter when he asked about John at the end of John, don’t be looking for some formula or at your brother and what he’s sacrificing – be in prayer and the Word and see where God is asking YOU to sacrifice; then be obedient.

  7. Mitchell Hammonds says:

    1Cor7:24 says let each one remain as he was when called of God. I assume this to mean our vocations as well. If David Platt feels called to abandon everything I applaud him in that endeavor. However, not everyone is gifted to answer this call. I find Platt’s insinuations to be a bit insulting… that I’m not serious about the Gospel of Christ unless I vow a life of poverty to spread the Gospel. There seems to be nothing of God’s sovereignty in this type of thinking. Acts 17:26-27 says God has placed all people where they are in order to seek Him. I may be corrected but I know of no verse that places guilt upon us in this fashion with respect to evangelizing.

    1. jake says:

      That would mean there would never be any missionaries or pastors. If you take 1 Cor. 7 to mean we need to stay in our vocations, the logical conclusion is that no one becomes a missionary or pastor because they weren’t one when they were called.

      Sounds like a bad justification for not being involved in missions.

      I don’t think he is heaping guilt but pointing out the obvious, if we really believe that the gospel saves and people are going to hell, it should shape the way we live.

      That doesn’t mean you quite your day job, but it does mean you shape your life and money and time around the mission of the church. At home, and in India.

      1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

        You and Platt are making the assumption that the rest of us aren’t involved in missions/evangelism. IT JUST ISN’T IN SOME OTHER NATION. Furthermore, I shouldn’t feel guilty for not jumping on his bandwagon or yours. If you feel justly called to engage missions there or wherever, then GO. But don’t assume the rest of the Christian community doesn’t have they’re own place to serve. We simply live the life given to us quietly without a platform. I am a Christian and serve vocationally in my community as a firefighter. I am deeply interested in the things of God and try to communicate the Gospel where opportunity presents itself. I do not believe “in your face evangelism” is biblical…in most cases.

        1. jake says:

          Mitchell,

          I am not assuming the rest of the Christian community doesn’t have a place to serve. I am glad you are working as a firefighter and seeking to communicate the gospel when the opportunity arrises. I also don’t agree with “in your face” evangelism.

          The problem is that most Christians in America literally spend more money on dog food than missions.

          Is that statement “heaping guilt” or pointing out that there is a huge disconnect between what we say we believe and what we believe, just as Platt pointed out.

          Of course not everyone is called to India, it would be ridiculous to think that. But we are all called to be involved in the advancement of the gospel both globally and locally.

          When 90% of Christians don’t care/give for/to missions, there needs to be someone standing up and pointing out that this is not right, like Platt has.

          I think he is striking a chord that needs to be struck, even if he strikes it too hard sometimes.

          1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

            Jake,
            I’m not against the idea of missions. My issue is the way in which he presents it. The gospel needs to be taken to India, China,… even these United States. I agree with you, we spend too much on many things in the church besides missions but there are better ways to make a point than ‘blanket guilt.’

  8. mark says:

    I appreciate this message. What I don’t understand, is why many commentators seem to be putting the burden of proof on Platt to “prove” why they should be sharing the Gospel with these people.

    isn’t the burden on us to ask ourselves why we aren’t sharing the Gospel with them? If your life and job is so important to eternity, explain why it is more important than sharing the Gospel with these people. Some may have a Biblical answer, most I fear, will not.

    1. Michael says:

      Mark, you are building a straw man. No one said the issue was over “sharing the gospel”. The issue is over how that is done and who we share it with. The burden is on Platt explain what he means by “sacrifice everything” and where that is found in Scripture.

      1. Jared O says:

        Michael, I don’t know what Platt would say, but to give an answer of sorts I would point to Jesus telling us, “Whoever does not renounce all that he owns cannot be my disciple” as well as other places where He tells us to take up our Crosses daily.

        Many people are too quick to jump to the conclusion that we have to go to seminary and become pastors, etc. and so on. But there are ways to be a part of the nations no matter who you are and where you live. I have a regular vocation, and I give to my church, and I also give to an independent organization that specifically focuses on missions to the unreached. I pray once a week with a group of believers for the Missionaries and the lost in Southeast Asia and Afghanistan. We learn about those areas. We have contact with some of the Missionaries there. And I disciple three men in my church. Part of our discipleship is training in evangelism. We open up our home for Small Groups at our church. We’ve had our neighbors over and shared the love of Christ with them, one of them being a Czechoslovakian non-practicing Jew who survived a concentration camp when she was a teenager.

        There are ways all over the place to get involved, with the unreached, the poor, and the lost and never even go to a foreign country (although I have done that too).

        I’m not sharing these things to brag. Indeed, I often feel discouraged and wish I was doing more. That is a guilt that I have to fight by the grace and mercy I have in Christ, and “freedom” as another put it. But frequently, we are waaaay too quick to defend our lack of action, rather than to be challenged and ask ourselves, “how are the different areas of my life lifting up the name of Christ to those that are perishing?”

        1. Michael says:

          Jared, I agree that Jesus did say, “Whoever does not renounce all that he owns cannot be my disciple”.

          Yet is “being a disciple” the same thing as spreading the gospel in India?

          1. jake says:

            You are not a disciple if you are not being actively obedient to the great commission (part of the all that Jesus commanded in the great commission) so you must in some way be involved in missions, whether or not that means India is for you to discern.

          2. JRJ says:

            Michael, it appears that you might have a different idea about discipleship. I believe if you define for us what “being a disciple” means, along with Scriptural support, it would help.

            1. Michael says:

              JRJ, a disciple does NOT equate to an ascetic, minimalist missionary-monk.

              As a disciple, our possessions do indeed belong to Christ. Yet Christ has not commanded everyone to sell all they have, give it to missionaries and live as a minimalist. Some may be called to do this, but not all. So in contrast to what Platt said in the video, this is not “the only possible response for people who believe this Book.”

              Contrary to what some commenters have assumed, the issue isn’t whether Christians should be involved in missions. The issue is whether everyone should “sacrifice everything” for overseas missions. Is that the only possible solution for Bible believing Christians?

      2. JC says:

        Hi Michael,

        Platt has done a good job of explaining what he means by that in his book “Radical”.

        I think it’s also interesting to point out that this video was originally posted to his church’s blog. So the intended audience is the people whom he pastors. While it may appear that it is “blanket guilt”, it appears that way because the video was just posted in a vacuum and removed from it’s larger context of his ministry.

        I would bet that Platt is not about guilting people into missions. I definitely didn’t get that when I read his book.

  9. 106hgc says:

    Platt has previously taught that he doesn’t believe God calls “everyone” to give “everything” but he does call some to give everything. We should not rule out giving away all our possessions.

    1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

      And this is between the individual and God. No one should be manipulated into this arena by feelings of guilt.

    2. Michael says:

      Actually, here is what he said in the video:

      “In our lives let’s sacrifice everything we have, our possessions, our plans and our dreams, our safety, our security, and if necessary, our own lives, to make this gospel known to all peoples. That is the only possible response for people who believe this Book.”

      The implication Platt is making is that for people who believe in the bible, the ONLY possible response to evangelizing the lost is to sacrifice everything.

      In most contexts, everything means everything.

  10. In regards to sacrificing everything, it would be more accurate to say we should sacrifice everything for Christ, not necessarily for foreign missions, as that is only one aspect of following Christ that some are called to and others are not. There are many God-honoring things to be done with one’s life and resources.

    Also, Platt makes a false dichotomy. He says the only two views are that all these 597 million people are all going to heaven, or these 597 million people are all going to hell. In reality there is a wide range of views about the fate of the unevangelized and under what conditions a person ignorant of Christ might possibly be saved.

    But Platt seems to be 100% sure that each and every person who is not an Evangelical is eternally damned. He even includes Catholics in this damnation (there are far more Catholics than Evangelicals in India).

    1. Christiane says:

      “But Platt seems to be 100% sure that each and every person who is not an Evangelical is eternally damned.”

      For the sake of his soul, someone needs to mercifully read to Platt from St. Luke 18, this:

      “9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

      13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

      14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

      Humility is not an option in the Kingdom of Our Lord.
      People that don’t understand that need our compassion, and our care.

      1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

        Wow Christiane! Those verses are perfect! Thanks.

      2. Daryl Little says:

        For the sake of his soul?? He is prideful for believing and teaching plain Scripture?

        The Catholic church is a false church, so is the Mormon church, that’s not exactly a newsflash.

        Platt’s whole argument is that unless someone repents and turns to Christ alone (like the tax-collector), then they will be eternally damned. And we act like we don’t believe it.

        That’s puts his soul in peril how?

  11. Looselycult says:

    Your exactly right Mitchell. Which is exactly what Platt and it seems other posters here are doing.Which is just another form of legalism. Plain and simple.

    1. Will says:

      I think everyone’s tendency, including mine, is to argue from an extreme against the other extreme. I think Mitchell’s statement “And this is between the individual and God. No one should be manipulated into this arena by feelings of guilt.” is correct but can be dangerous. This is how I would bring his statement back to a balanced state.

      And this is between the individual and God, as long as the individual is reading God’s word, under the faithful preaching of God’s word and in dialogue with other believers about the issues and questions they have. No one should be manipulated into this arena by feelings of guilt, unless they are guilty. Guilty of valuing their comfort over Christ or their agenda over God’s; then it is not manipulation at all, but rather conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit through the words of another.

      1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

        I agree with you Will but we also can feel guilt (more often than we think) when it isn’t warranted. My point in all of this is God builds His church period…not us. This fact does not warrant passivity on our part but it doesn’t call for me being distressed day-by-day either. I think God does call SOME to a life of poverty… and it may be in my future. But until then I will remain as I have been called.

  12. David Bondeson says:

    There seems to be a lot of push-back against this video. I’m struggling through this.

    Honestly, I wanted to turn it off half-way through, because I find these truths to be terribly convicting and challenging. I have a wife and a daughter – with another a month away. What does it look like for me to sacrifice and give for the gospel? What does it look like for me to trust God and to reach for eternal value?

    I have a primary calling: to follow Christ. That is manifest first and foremost in serving and leading my family toward God as humbly as possible. This includes provision and safety. But personally, I cannot rectify watching Law and Order at night. I cannot rectify rabidly following March Madness. To spend a Saturday watching basketball in my basement, when thousands in my community might be condemned because of their sin and separation from God apart from Christ? How could I begin to even WANT to justify that?

    Personally – intimately – privately… how do you wrestle with these truths?

    1. sean says:

      David, I feel exactly the same way. And my answer is: I can’t rectify it. I have to go. I have to get out of America. I have to GO. Me and my wife are in preparation to go to unreached peoples. Certainly not all Christians are called to this, but I know the feeling that you are describing, that discontentedness,it was the beginning of IT for US.

  13. Wesley says:

    Gotta say, i’m seriously depressed by many of these comments on here. How does someone’s appeal to obey and love the gospel with our whole lives turn into folks whining about their pastors and demanding Platt “explain himself, what he means by sacrifice everything”! Seriously!? This is weak! You make it sound as if your individual pastor is the SOLE place you could ever learn any of this. Sacrificing everything is clearly a heart attitude first that then works itself out in daily reality. It means there is nothing in your life that you can’t say, ‘this is yours God’. Platt is not being manipulative or guilting anyone to do anything. Some of you need to do some serious heart searching and ask yourself why this is provoking you so much and be sure you’re not hearing years of bad teaching on this subject lumped in with what PLatt is saying. Beyond that, as the saying goes: sometimes there’s a reason we feel guilt about something … cause we are! Selah.

    1. DJ says:

      Wesley,

      Maybe you should be a little more gracious to those that take issue with Platt. Some of us have been in unhealthy and unbalanced churches that over-emphasize the imperatives (what we must do) and totally leave out the indicatives (what God has already done for us through Christ). In my experience, people like this are burnt out. And once they learn about grace-motivated obedience, they are very wary of anything that resembles motivation by guilt or compulsion.

      1. Wesley says:

        Agreed. You’re right of course. I apologize for not being more gracious. It does seem like people are having difficulty differentiating btwn. bad teaching from their past and what i feel Platt i clearly saying. Just feeling indignant in my soul but i agree my approach may have been too heavy handed.

    2. Mitchell Hammonds says:

      Wesley,
      It is the very words of Platt that incite a rebuttal. No one is against missions or evangelism. I am not ashamed to present the Gospel but I believe God in His sovereignty calls through the presentation of the gospel. Now this does not mean we go into a mode of passivity but it does mean God is in control. You make assumptions that you are in no place to make. I am not against giving for the sake of Christ but as a father and husband I do have cares that are of this world and by doing this I am not guilty of any offense. My children and those in my community are my field of influence and I will work as God permits in that community. God will call those into the Kingdom and He will also commission those to take the Gospel as well… without guilt.

      1. Daryl Little says:

        Mitchell,

        I don’t see how Platt is disagreeing with you.

  14. confessional says:

    what would really be “radical” is if Christians spent less time getting pumped about the idea of “selling out for Jesus” and more time building up their local churches by studying and practicing sound Reformed theology

    the effects on evangelism and missions would be incomparable

    1. jake says:

      I think there are plenty of churches that study reformed theology heaps and their extent of mission is outsourcing the great commandment to third parties or some fund.

      I think it is more about really believing the gospel. A gospel culture creates missional living.

      1. confessional says:

        “Reformed” is a whole lot more than a church that preaches TULIP

        there is nothing Reformed about a church that pays para-church organizations to do its evangelism and church planting

    2. Dan says:

      “confessional” – Right, IMO. I do believe that a deeper understanding of the faith creates a longer-burning fire.

      Why? Because a greater level of mind renewal occurs, if indeed our academic pursuits are not ends in themselves. Rightly applied, the quest to know and to understand will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, work through our lives. It is not that we never receive exhortations in Scripture, but much of the modern exhortation, I would speculate, comes out of a desire to see visible results or a bias as to what a more committed church looks like. Personally, I believe that the building up of the church with sound biblical doctrine from childhood through adulthood, with the Scriptural means of grace, is the surest way to create bonds of unity that effect themselves in the world.

  15. DJ says:

    Don’t care for the guilt trip, so I’m not gonna watch the video. Had enough of it reading Radical. I’d rather soak in the Gospel, and be motivated by grace.

    True – I may not be convicted to give “everything” as I might if I got worked up by guilt-motivated preaching. But what I do give, in response to the grace of God in my life, will bring a smile to the Lord. He loves a cheerful giver… not one on a guilt trip.

  16. Looselycult says:

    Oh well I guess I will have to give up my writing gig on “Law And Order” and Stop playing college basketball to go to India since that’s way more of a Godly profession than being a writer and an athlete.

    1. jake says:

      Or keep writing and playing ball and support missions. I can give you some suggestions :)

    2. James says:

      Who do you play for? and you write for law and order? really? you are one interesting person.

  17. Well, I find the comments to this video amazing. Almost incomprehensible, unless I’m missing something. My ‘life’ is being a wife and mother of four children. My days are taken up with homeschooling them; I’d like to think they are being drawn to Christ by my example and witness, but that must be left with the Lord. But… there are others who are called to go to foreign lands as missionaries, and I *know* I don’t do enough to support them. Yes, this video made me feel guilty… and so I *should* feel guilty. I ought to be willing to sacrifice more resources to aid the work of spreading the Gospel, more time to pray for those who are doing this; more effort in finding out about what’s going on in our world…

    I have to admit to life being too comfortable, and although I know I am where I am supposed to be (in terms of where I live and what I do), I still could be doing a whole lot more for lost souls in this world.

    An elderly man from our village, who was a self-acclaimed atheist, once asked my grandfather if he really believed the Bible and that all unsaved were going to hell. My grandfather replied that he did (although he himself was not a professing Christian). The atheist said to him, ‘Well, if I believed that, I’d be on my knees and never come off them until I knew I was safe’.

    He had a point.

  18. Shannon says:

    While I watched this, my seven year old stood beside me, patted my back, and said, “Don’t cry, mom.” But I think we need to cry more about this. Thanks so much for MAKING me cry today.

  19. DJ says:

    Tullian had a great message on the Gospel and the Christian at his Gospel Centered Life Conference (with Mike Horton). He mentioned his concerned with the whole guilt-motivation stuff. Please listen to that message!

    1. confessional says:

      that doesn’t give me the emotional high i am looking for though

    2. henrybish says:

      DJ,

      can you give us a link to that message from Tullian?

      thanks

    3. Bob says:

      oh yeah, great message.

  20. Looselycult says:

    Thank you DJ. I think Tullian always has good things to say about this stuff.

  21. Christiane says:

    Humility is not an option in the Kingdom of Our Lord . . . we are to learn of Christ and to practice Christian humility in this world

    arrogance is not an option, not for David Platt, nor for anyone who is a follower of Our Lord . . . arrogance comes from the sin of pride

    1. henrybish says:

      Christiane,

      I think it is very inappropriate for you to come and accuse David Platt of arrogance and quote Luke18 implying he is looking down his nose at sinners. Where on earth does he do this in the video? Did anyone else think this!?!?

      Your post seems to be the one suffering from pride, you are the one looking down your nose at David Platt with patronising comments like “for the sake of his soul, someone needs to mercifully read to Platt from St. Luke 18″ and “arrogance is not an option, not for David Platt, nor for anyone…”.

      Your comments are totally out of tune with what he actually said in the video. We should be thankful that we have people in the Body like David Platt who feel such a depth of concern for the lost, regardless of our disagreements about what part each of us is called to play in the Great Commission. Please don’t cast aspersions on our brother like that, it is a symptom of concern for your own soul, not his.

      1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

        Henrybish,
        Back off of Christiane. It is Platt’s point, by his presentation, that whoever does not give up all of their comforts to evangelize in India does not take the gospel seriously. What he says is unrealistic to ALL people. He should have directed his comments to those with a heart for foreign missions. We are all missionaries in some respect… it just isn’t in foreign lands. The whole argument is motivation by manipulation whether he intends to do this or not. I believe he is sincere… just misinformed.

        1. Christiane says:

          When people are on a video, talking about the ‘lost’, and smiling the whole time, something about their body-language ‘disconnect’ gives me the creeps.

          1. Christiane,

            Creeps or not, David Platt does not demonstrate any of the characteristics you attribute to him in life or on the video. I have met him, and currently have members of my church that go to his.

            Mitchell Hammonds,

            Henrybish is right on this. You can critique the video all you want, I have critiqued one of his other sermons on this very website. But what Cristiane is saying is not what you are saying. You need to go back and read her comments again. She lumped Platt in with legalistic Pharisees, and that is not what he is. The fact is, that Jesus calls us to give up everything for the sake of the kingdom of God, he once called a rich man to sell everything that he had, he likened the Kingdom of God to a pearl of great price that a man sold everything he had to acquire, he rebuked a rich man for building bigger barns, he told his dicisples to lift up their eyes to the harvest. Platt’s exhortation might have been over-the-top zealous in context, but I’m prepared to cut him some slack considering he was standing in India, surrounded by masses of lost people, and that his heart is broken for them.

            1. Christiane,

              That should be I have current members of my church that went* to his church.

            2. Mitchell Hammonds says:

              Brad,
              Jesus’ call to the rich man to sell all he had was not a ‘blanket call’ for all to do the same it was particular to that individual. This is a misuse of the text. I’m not saying we should not ‘give or do’ for the sake to evangelize. My argument is that Platt is way over-the-top in his characterization of everyone who doesn’t actively participate in his personal commission… and the guilt that he bestows on them. I applaud his commitment to live a life of poverty, if indeed he does, but someone else in the world might think Platt hasn’t done enough and what’s our response to that… They are being legalistic.

              1. Mitchell,

                Platt’s call to death to self in this video sounds like Jesus’ call to me. I watched the same video you watched from my comfy seat in my office. I did not feel like David Platt was trying to guilt me into anything, nor did I feel his words were any more over the top than Jesus’. If you are dealing with guilt over this, deal with it in a way that doesn’t include an errant critique of the messenger. There may be a rich man in the midst that God is speaking to through Pastor David. If his message didn’t lay a hand on you, good for you. But don’t be so quick to insert yourself between the pastor’s exhortation and the “guilty conscience” of someone else. Compared to some of Jesus’ general calls, this message by Platt is lame sauce.

                You do agree that you have to give up everything to follow Christ, don’t you?

              2. Mitchell,

                This comment section is growing at a lightning fast rate, and not all of it is very helpful. If you would like to carry on this conversation, I would be glad to do so at hespeak _at_ Yahoodotcom. Seriously, email me there if you would like. I do not think that you and I are too terribly far apart on this. I would not have even addressed anything on here at all, because I think some valid critiques have been offered. I believed that Cristiane’s critique of Pastor Platt as a person and his motivations were out of line, that was my primary concern.

        2. henrybish says:

          Mitchell,

          I also think Platt is wrong in the implications he seems to make as to what each Christian is called to do w.r.t the Great Commission. That is not my point.

          My point is simply that Christiane’s self-righteous and condescending comments towards Platt are totally out of tune with the Christ-like attitude he displayed in the video, no matter how misguided he may be.

          1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

            Yeah I see that now. Sorry… I spoke as a knee-jerk. I don’t think Platt is a pharisee… but I still hold he is hyper-inflating his position… severely. But you are right on… he is no pharisee.

      2. Steggz says:

        Anyone stop to think that possibly the point of this ‘extreme’ call to action comes out of a desire to counteract an imbalance in the other direction? Maybe the point was we need to be WILLING to give up our comfortable lives as we know them, so that we may have a different role in the Kingdom.

        Mitchell, I don’t think Platt’s desire is for EVERYONE to go to India. But in calling for all to go, there might be some who heed the call.

        Are we really willing to give up anything in our lives for the Gospel? I ask this question legitimately. We cling far too tightly to our possessions at times to allow ourselves to head out in different directions, even if it’s just across the street. I think we need to be aware of this and try to live with a willingness to give anything of what we have, maybe sometimes it will be everything we have.

  22. DL says:

    On a Seinfeld episode several years ago, Elain Benes expressed shock and revulsion when her longstanding boyfriend, David Puddy, was revealed to be a devout Christian. Her shock and revulsion came from the fact that he knew she was going to hell, but he never tried to evangelize her or share his faith.

    Seinfeld got it, people.

    1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

      Seinfeld? You’re kidding right.

      1. Bob says:

        methinks DL has a valid point….about the same as Platt

    2. Dan says:

      Yeah I recall that, but Puddy’s faith as portrayed was about as deep as a puddle of water. Christian radio, the Jesus fish, etc. One would at least have to suspect that Seinfeld & Larry David’s motives really were to belittle the intelligence of evangelicals, and on that note they may have had a point.

      1. DL says:

        Right Dan, that’s the point. Christians who spend every day of their lives with ppl who are going hell and who don’t share Christ with them are a farce. No matter how many Jesus fish they have or how many Christian radio stations are programmed on the radio, etc.., if they don’t care about people’s souls enough to share the Gospel, then they are the type of Christian that is very shallow, perhaps not even Christian..

  23. Brett Davis says:

    Here are my thoughts. http://bit.ly/cF4j5n

  24. Chris Frick says:

    Let’s forsake petty things, give generously, commit to where we are, and be willing to do whatever necessary to obey our Lord and make disciples of all nations.

    Thanks for posting, JT. This is serious and heartbreaking stuff.

    1. David says:

      This is the most edifying comment that I’ve read on the whole thread. Thank you Chris.

  25. Michael says:

    Other quotes from Platt’s book “Radical”:

    “In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all. In this way we choose to send off other people to carry out the global purpose of Christianity while the rest of us sit back because we’re “just not called to that.”

    “If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all.”

    1. dp says:

      Matthew 25:31-46

  26. dp says:

    Did anyone on this board actually listen to what David Platt is talking about in this particular video? He is talking about functional universialism. If you don’t care or act like the people around you are going to hell then you might as well be an universialist because you are functionally acting like one. From that he simply asks the questions, do you care enough to act or do you just superficially care. How we act shows the world how much we actually believe in the wrath and glory of God. Whether this happens at work or in India it doesnt bloody matter. It’s where God is calling you and under the circumstances he is calling you.

    There are bigger things to worry about than if David Platt is leading Christians wrong in foresaking all things to follow Christ. However, I think he may get in trouble when he actually quotes Jesus (Luke 14:25-35 all in context).

    The rabbit trails this board goes off on would be comical, if they weren’t so very lazy.

    1. Jamie Duke says:

      dp,

      Very good points. I am very concerned that most retorts of this vlog either because of reactionary conviction or lazy thought.

  27. Rob says:

    Platt is deviating sharply from the historic understanding of Christianity in many mainstream protestant circles. There is just one word that can describe my reaction to this radical, over-the-top kind of video that stands in marked contrast to the lived consensus, and carefully chosen language, of respectable American Evangelicalism.

    Convicting.

    Thanks.

    1. DL says:

      Agreed.

  28. David L. says:

    Hi all,
    The concept of living in a people group with a 0.5% – 0.6%. Needing to define who Jesus is, and what christianity is before explaining the gospel is the share of most French speaking of europe and Canada. Living has a missionnary to our neighour and co-worker is our daily bread.

    Therfore remember that when you cross the Quebec border you are entering into a people group with less then 1% of evangelical Christian.

    For some of us, christians, that is our reality.

    Good post!

  29. Danny says:

    Is David Platt going to become the new Derek Webb? Constantly prodding, poking and kicking the visible church. ?We are reading “Radical” in small group and I’m already starting to take deep breaths.

    1. Steggz says:

      Danny I think that’s exactly what the church needs. Someone willing to not let us get comfy with things. Comfort leads to complacency. Complacency leads to laziness. Laziness leads to a loss of the distinctives of the faith. Getting in early means we try to wake people up to the situation now rather than when we’ve become too numb to feel the prod.

  30. Nate says:

    In the appropriate context, guilt is absolutely the correct response. Should we feel guilty if we murder? Of course. What if we’ve become like the people that Jesus describes in Luke 8 who, having responded to the Gospel, then become ‘choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures’? If Platt’s video makes me aware that I fit that description, then feeling guilty is spot on.

    With that said, I didn’t feel that Platt was in any way trying to make me feel guilty…what I watched was an impassioned plea to do what Matthew did when Jesus called him…get up and follow. These ‘hard’ commands are really a demonstration of Jesus’ over the top love for me and His desire that enjoy the incredible joy of joining him in something so much bigger than me.

    See: http://offthepath.wanderprone.com/2011/01/hard-stuff-is-for-me.html

  31. Mike Francis says:

    Justin, I appreciated this post. Thank you.

  32. Mitchell Hammonds says:

    How many folks in this blog actually “LIVE” a life of total wreckless abandonment… and give everything they have to evangelize? I don’t. I also try daily to Love God with my whole being and never… ever… come close. I love God, but not the way he commands. I care for the lost… but not the way I should. I am not a ‘functional universalist’ or any other label given by Platt or anyone else. I am both saint and sinner… saved by God’s grace because of his call. I am a work in progress and will not be manipulated into a call by someone who does not know one thing of my life and my practices.

    1. Mitchell,

      Nobody here lives that way, but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t called to. You are called to sacrifice everything for the sake of the gospel and not by David Platt. How you lay it on the altar will look different from how I do, but everything must go on there. You know that, I think.

      1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

        I sent you an email so we could correspond that way. Or I would be glad to give you a call. Thanks my friend.

        1. Mitchell,

          I messed up my own email address in my comment. (I’m embarrassed.) It is hespeaks _at_ yahoodotcom. I left the “s” off the end of hespeaks. I hope you will resend the email.

          Brad

          1. Mitchell Hammonds says:

            HaHa! I will bro! Thanks.

  33. Paul C says:

    ‘Danny: We are reading “Radical” in small group and I’m already starting to take deep breaths.’

    Translation: please don’t wake us up.

    I am very surprised at the angst being expressed over this video. While I disagree with the ‘hell’ doctrine (lean toward annihilationism), the urgency and the facts of the message need to be heard. Of course, many will reject the message within the church because of the discomfort it illicits.

    1. Danny says:

      I’m still waiting for American Evanglecalism to preach the Gospel. Much talk about what the Gospel does/can do. But, you can’t start a car what ain’t got no engine.

  34. Jamie Duke says:

    I can’t help but think that most detractors of this particular vlog are either missing the point or are struggling with conviction. As I hear Platt, I totally agree with his assertion that we spend so much time arguing doctrine and belief that we neglect to see that our actions are advocating the very heresy that we purport to disparage.

    I believe the way we do this is subtle. We go into debt trying to obtain the American Dream. We become obsessed with achievement, success, and prestige that we neglect the call of our lives to make disciples. We (the Church) become so bound up with financial obligations (cars, homes, etc.) that we “just aren’t able to tithe”, much less give sacrificially to missions. Our lives are so bound up with academic/sports/etc. commitments that our children “just don’t have time” to be with other believers learning His Word and how to be the Body of Christ. What does this teach our children?

    What Platt is advocating is biblical. Matt. 6:33. Christ first in all things. If you are called to “go”, GO. If you are called to “give”, GIVE. If you are called to “pray”, PRAY. If you are called to “promote missions”, PROMOTE. But, for the sake of the Kingdom, pursue things that will matter for eternity! That doesn’t mean that we have to quit our jobs (unless He calls us to), sell all our possessions (unless He calls us to), or move overseas (unless He calls us to). What it does mean is that we invest in the eternal, in whatever way we can.

  35. Matti says:

    Why is Platt so worked up if he believes God has already decreed the elect to salvation?

    I think most of the time we read the Bible out of context. The Great Comission was given to the apostles who were to train more

    1. Matti says:

      … disciples. It’s clear from the New Testament that Paul did not tell all people in the local churches to sell their stuff and go to some remote place to preach the Gospel. Strong local churches and faithful church people are crucial for the kingdom of God as well.

  36. How much radical talk flows from American mega-church pastors who feel guilty for being so successful, even while feeding the consumeristic Christianity they preach against?

    1. Danny says:

      Now we’re talkin’. Gospel preaching never worked for them so why go back to it.

  37. Tim says:

    I also am surprised at some people’s reaction to Platt. I think the 15 week course “Perspectives On The World Christian Movement” (US Center for World Mission) has the potential to do a world of good for many in the reformed community. Study of unreached peoples, demographics, imbalance of missionaries engaging them, etc. There is some disconnect here. The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed to all nations (ethne – people groups) THEN the end will come. Am I doing that or supporting those that do? South America, China & Asia are sending more missionaries to those that wait to hear (the sheep that Christ ‘must bring’). Why? The american church is an untried church.

    1. Good post Tim. My wife and I did Perspectives. It is life changing. We had just returned from serving abroad for six months and it caused the tumblers to fall into place. As one committed to the Reformed faith I believe it completes it to be more fully Biblical. It has propelled us toward church planting here and living a simple, missional lifestyle. No guilt. Lots of joy. Its the pearl of great price thing.

  38. donsands says:

    “Why is Platt so worked up if he believes God has already decreed the elect to salvation?”

    I don’t know.

    I believe God has determined to save all His elect as well, and I am worked up in my heart and mind to share the good news of Christ, because I was a child of wrath: But God, who loved me with His great love, when I was dead in sin, and quickened me with His mercy, has brought me into His light. And so my heart is forever grateful to our Lord, and my heart longs for all to come to Christ to be saved. Yet, I know God will have mercy on whom He wills, and He will harden those He wills to.
    And let’s face it. God should harden us all, if we understand how holy and gracious He is, and how sinful and ungrateful we are.
    Yet, God is great in mercy!

    Have a terrific Lord’s day in His sovereign grace and love.

  39. Danny says:

    Do we really believe what we’re saying? No, not all the time. Jesus did…I believe in Him and what He did. Preach the Gospel PLEASE and watch the Holy Spirit put people to work.

  40. S.Schulz says:

    David Platt urges that a person believe either “the gospel of Rob Bell” or “the gospel of orthodoxy”???

    My confession is that I believe in the Good News of Jesus… I believe in the words of Jesus “If I be lifted up I will draw ( greek: will DRAG) ALL MEN unto me”.

    I believe that as in adam ALL died, so also on Christ ALL will be made alive; each man in his own order.(1cor.15:22-23).
    Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

    What I don’t believe is in the traditions of man that *orthodoxy* teaches…nor the *doctrines* of man that have come from the carnal mind of man instead of the precious Holy mind of the Spirit. Yep, good ole orthodoxy…that has kept the precious people of God stunted and deformed and has taught such grotesque and blasphemous error!

    David Platt has a heart for the lost and every believer in Christ should. It was sad to hear him suggest that those who believe in the Law of Jubilee ( for that is what the restoration of all things through Christ is) ….that they will sit back and let the good times roll and not reach out to the lost. This statement revealed a *works of the flesh* mentality. I share Christ to all those that the Father gives to me.
    It is a Spirit led walk.
    The work is all His and He will finish what He has started until ALL are made alive in Christ!
    Now that is the REAL GOOD NEWS!
    To Christ Jesus be praised and given all the glory!

  41. Ramya Pokala says:

    As a practicing Hindu, I do not understand such a philosophy. I have let myself into a Christian atmosphere and read the Bible, unlike most of you who have not taken the time to appreciate Hinduism or other religions for what it is or even read the Bhagavad Gita or the Vedas. Are you going to tell me that perpetual sinners who seek forgiveness from Christ only to turn around and commit the same sin once again are better than Hindus who never associate themselves with that sin? Maybe it is this close-mindedness that pushes people away from your religion. The Hindu Brahman is just as real as the Christian God. In fact, most Hindus believe that both are one and the same, just that we choose to interpret the same omnipotent God in different manifestations. I am talking to my serious evangelical friend and he even agrees with me that other evangelicals get a bad reputation because of this close-mindedness.

    1. Steggz says:

      Hi Ramya,

      It’s not about ‘being better’. It’s about accepting what Christ has done. If anything, Christians should be more aware of their sinfulness and seeking to grow in godliness. But they should also know that nothing they do can add to their salvation. Only by the grace of God do we receive forgiveness and salvation.

      As for close-mindedness, I’ll admit that a lot of Christians suffer from a lack of awareness of what others believe. I’m a theological student at a Bible college and right now I’m taking a comparative religion class. Christianity makes massive truth claims. Claims which, if true, would make any other religion wrong. Jesus said He is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life, and that no one can come to God except through Him. Hinduism and Christianity, therefore, are incompatible. For you, as far as I understand, Jesus is one of a number of paths to God. Jesus being the only way and one of a number of ways to God cannot both be true.

      Thanks for posting. I’d really like to continue this conversation.

  42. Eric Brightwell says:

    Hello, Im with you, we have to have Jesus as our savior or we will be thrown into the lake of fire. If we read and understand the bible you have to come to the conclusion that there is no Hell and no souls are down there being abused right now. Im not going to go on with all the scriptures but there are plenty that say the judgement of the wicked is RESERVED til the end of the world. But there is a lake of fire that they will go to if they dont accept him. For the wages of sin is death. If it was eternal damnation and torment did Jesus really die for our sins?

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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