Guest / Limited Access /

I expected to see a burly man with blazing eyes barreling toward me down the hotel hallway. Instead, a blond Southerner in blue jeans greeted me with the easy warmth of a middle-school Sunday school teacher.

"Thanks so much for your time," gushed a fellow interviewer, who like me was trying to snag 20 minutes with the Alabama preacher. "After reading Radical, my wife and I sold our home. This year we left for Thailand to preach the gospel." A second interviewer repeated the theme: Reading Radical meant good-bye to the suburbs and hello to the mission field. A third proudly handed the strikingly young pastor a button inspired by his book. It boasted: I rebelled against the American dream.

As I quickly learned at this year's Urbana conference, where 16,000 totally-on-fire-for-Jesus college students descended on St. Louis to worship and discern God's call on their lives, David Platt has attracted quite the fan base.

The irony of this fandom—evidenced by best-selling books and speaking engagements and Radical testimonies like the ones above—is multilayered. For one, Platt regularly lambasts the very consumer Christianity that allows believers nationwide to hear his teaching, via book sales in the millions. And then there's his teaching itself. Here's a smattering:

  • "Your life is free to be radical when you see death as reward" (Radical).
  • "We have reduced Jesus to a poor, puny savior who is just begging for us to accept him into our hearts" (Urbana talk).
  • "I'm convinced there are scores of people who culturally identify themselves as Christians who are not followers of Christ" (to me).

It's ironic, at least striking, that ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Tags:
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueBigger Than We Think
Subscriber Access Only Bigger Than We Think
The doctrine of Creation goes deeper than just explaining how the world began.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Giving It Everything
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.