Over the course of my Christian life, I have been influenced by many people. Many lay people and many pastors have greatly influenced my life as a believer. These influences have varied between positive influence and negative influence. And then there have been those who have rocked my world, my faith, my theology, and my life. Two men have gripped me through their books and sermons more than any other and I truly thank God for their ministries and commitment to the gospel of Christ. It is a bit unorthodox, but the best discipleship I have received has been through the teachings of these men. These men are John Piper and David Platt. I am among a vast number of “young, restless, and Reformed” guys who have been forever changed by the grace of God. But personally I must give more credit to David Platt in my own sanctification. Through daily sitting under his teachings via podcast, I was like a kid at a candy store and a little boy listening to his dad tell the coolest story ever told. David Platt was the first one to challenge me to take Jesus at his word and to seriously and radically (no pun intended) study the Word of God. Platt lead me to the Word and walked me through it like no one else ever has. Looking back I now see the sovereign hand of God over me as I was desperately seeking God. I was a justified saint, but still finding my way. I was seeking to know God more in a culture that wanted fire insurance without the burden of having to follow a risen Savior. I live in a religiously saturated culture who wants no part of the Jesus of the Bible until the Day of Judgment. David Platt helped me to realize that true joy was only found in totally submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Glorifying God therefore trumps all success and comfort this world has to offer. And in this glorifying of God, true joy and satisfaction is found (a little Piper flavor).
Part of this discipleship experience, at times in which it was as if David was actually in the room talking with me, was the reading of his best-seller Radical. This book along with the study of the passages the book expounded changed the way I viewed Christianity. I proceeded to lead a Bible study through the book and it was through these teachings that my theology was shaken and I began to realize my own call from God into the ministry–a process which has taken me nearly two years to submit to. David fed me the gospel daily and this work gave me a whole new vision of the American church and what it means to follow Jesus. I began to see the evil culture of consumerism that engulfed me. I began to see that following Jesus was a radical call, but one that was empowered by God’s grace. I saw that grace is not cheap and the gospel is not weak. And while this call to follow Christ is radical, his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). David Platt captivated the minds and hearts of millions of Americans with this book that still remains a top-seller in Christian circles. I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read this great work.
Follow Me: Classic Platt Excellence
Needless to say, I was ecstatic to see that Platt had written a new book. I have been anticipating its release for months now and cannot wait until my copy arrives. His third book following Radical and Radical Together, is entitled Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live. While I am inclined to agree with Tim Challies in his review of this book that it probably will not outsell Radical, I also believe that this book will be slightly better. This book will express the heart of David Platt as it highlights his attack on nominal Christianity. Platt can be summed up as a man who desires more than anything to glorify God through disciple-making. And in this work, he will exalt the glory that comes with dying to self in order to truly have life. From my experience sitting under David Platt’s teaching, I foresee this book being one that exalts the biblical teaching on what it means to follow Jesus and how this call is one of temporal sacrifice for the sake of eternal gain. My advice is definitely biased, but I would urge you each to order this book as you carefully consider your own life and how you are following Christ. Before you do, take a look at Tim Challies’ review of this book of which I will include an excerpt below. And if you would like more information on David Platt and his ministry check out these very helpful websites: RADICAL and The Church at Brook Hills.
Follow Me is essentially a brief theology of Christian living and mission, extending from the response to the gospel’s call to being the one to then extend that call to others. So many books of this kind come from outside of our theological stream, and it is almost as if we need to translate or contextualize them. Platt’s, though, is consistently biblical and gospel-centered in the best sense of that term. He does not introduce anything new or, dare I say it, radical to the equation (which I say as praise, not critique). He does not try to be clever or witty or original. He just teaches what the Bible teaches…Though I would suggest that Follow Me is an objectively better book than Radical, my guess is that it will not sell as well. There is something about the call to be radical that appeals to us more than the call to simply follow. Yet this is the one I would prefer to hand out and the one I would prefer to have people read. It may not hold out the excitement and anticipation of doing something radical, but it does something far better and far more lasting than that—it calls us to follow Christ, to lose our lives for his sake. As Platt says, it is a call to die and a call to live. It is a call to die in order to really live.