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It's not easy to make the Church at Brook Hills, Alabama's second-largest congregation, look like a slum. But in 2010, the church collected trash all over Birmingham and set its stage in corrugated metal, scrap wood, plastic tarps, and other ...

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Displaying 1–81 of 81 comments

audrey ruth

November 13, 2013  3:23am

Jim, Cal Thomas is a Christian who's politically conservative, and he is quick to call things as they really are, regardless of "side". His columns are well worth reading. Your post was a prime example of "talking political smack" because you did not address both sides equally. I am not a member of the Tea Party because I am not politically inclined, but my impression is that it was primarily formed for the purpose of calling for fiscal responsibility in our government. I'm sure that some members are Christians, but I've never viewed it as a Christian movement because I have nonChristian neighbors who are passionate Tea Party advocates. It is a simple fact that no one can spend his way out of debt, whether it be an individual, a family, a company, or a government. It should not be a problem for taxpayers to legitimately express concerns - after all, taxpayer money runs the government. IMHO, it is a real shame that Tea Party-ers are demonized for this.

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audrey ruth

November 13, 2013  3:11am

Crab Grass, surely you haven't read Francis Chan's books - if you had, you would not falsely characterize them as "works-based". For example, have you read Forgotten God? It's the very opposite of works-based. As for women in the evangelical / conservative church, I've just finished a bio of Isobel Kuhn. Decades ago, she wrote a number of books which were very well-received. She was highly lauded for her missionary work in China. The same was true of other missionaries who were women. It seems you have quite a chip on your shoulder. I seriously hope you'll allow the Lord to heal whatever has caused it, be it hurt or anger, etc.

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Crab Grass

September 18, 2013  12:14am

@ Maegan Keel. I sympathize with you, in that evangelical / conservative Christianity most certainly does ignore or minimize the work of women which is wrong and sexist, but, if your female author is citing the same type of sentiments that Platt, Chan, and Idleman are - which is to basically present a works-based type of Christianity, or to shame middle class Americans into selling all they have to go work in soup kitchens every day of their lives, and such - then I'm rather glad her book was not given more publicity. Now if only the views and books on this issue by Platt and Idleman, et al, would go away too.

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Crab Grass

September 18, 2013  12:10am

Christopher Brown said, "So I only need to be Jesus to those I come across in my normal path??" Yep, that is correct, because if you step over them on your way to do the "Great Commission" you are no better than the priests in the story Jesus told of 'The Good Samaritan' who stepped over the bloodied man on their way to Temple, and you are also in violation of Galatians 6:10, "let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." - that's right, you're to help other Christians first, before spreading the Gospel to the unsaved. If Jesus wanted you to minister to pagans in the Rain Forest, the Holy Spirit either would have told you so at some point, or God would have arranged for you to be born in the Rain Forest. If you are living in Detroit, I doubt God is sending pagans from the Rain Forest to your city to minister there.

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Christopher Brown

July 22, 2013  12:35pm

So I only need to be Jesus to those I come across in my normal path??? So I can get up drive to work go home and go to church on Sunday and not worry about the rest of the world? The author's words make the Great Commission seem as if it was only meant for the original disciples. Read Matthew 25:31-46 and it is quite clear if we claim to be Christian our lives should look different than those around us. It does not take much effort to become the "radical" that Platt believes we can all become - that "radical" was normal for an Acts era Christian. We should be focused outside the walls of our churches and lift our eyes out of our Bibles to see that the world needs us now more than ever! If you do not see that you need to look around, talk to the neighbors that live on either side of you, pray for them, share a meal with them - doing just that makes you more "radical" than most who visit church on Sunday.

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Jeff Chalfant

May 23, 2013  12:14am

The passage that came to my mind as I read this article was Hebrews 11:32-40. If you read this passage, there is a distinct shift from those who found apparent "success" in this life (conquering kingdoms and stopping the mouths of lions and such) and those who "lost" (at least in human terms - flogged, chained and destitute). I know it is easy to glorify suffering as well, and that is not my point. I just wonder if we are really OK with silently carrying our cross daily, wherever we are that God calls us to. I LOVE the city, but am living in the suburbs . . . even sacrificially, trying to use my resources and position to honor God and asking God to use me where I am. I have a friend moving to the city to help plant a church, 3 young kids and I wife. I am praying that God will "establish the work of his hands." I wonder if we are willing to carry our cross in both the mundane & the more apparently "sacrificial". God calls each of us in the BODY of Christ to a different function.

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Maegan Keel

May 22, 2013  8:26am

I apologize if this comment has already been made, I didn't take the time to read all 75 comments. My question is, why are no women mentioned as a part of the New Radical Movement? Where is discussion of Jen Hatmaker, the author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess? Jen's book, which is being read by women in droves, discusses these exact principles of excess and complacency in the church. She cites in her book the influence of Claiborne, Platt, and Chan. I'd hate to assume that the author ignored women in his assessment of the New Radicals, but they are strangely missing from this piece.

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Ryan Connor

May 21, 2013  4:40am

This article hits the nail on the head. Thank you! I wonder how much the new radicals would have to say without their "American Church" straw-man as a whipping boy. Do most people in America attend a mega church with tens of millions in property? Do they attend church just for entertainment but are not "really committed" to discipleship? Sure, there are some churches like that. But, less than 2% of churches in America are mega churches. Most churches are small churches with less than 100 members led by a solo pastor or bi-vocational minister. The real American Church is the one down the street where real people worship together, study the Bible, find fellowship and support, and serve together in their local communities in simple but important ways. The Christian woman who serves in the church's clothes closet and faithfully attends worship and women's Bible study is no less a disciple than the woman who goes on short-term mission trips and adopts children. Thanks for some balance here!

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Jeff Mountcasel

May 11, 2013  10:24pm

It's amazing how Christians slam each other so quickly. We need to be challenged by people like Matthew in order to stay on our toes. I heard it said from an old preacher, we can dot all the I's and cross all the t's, and still spell the word wrong. Who is it we are living for again. Really

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Jeff Mountcasel

May 11, 2013  10:15pm

We are the body of Christ. Everyone of us has different gifts. Such as Matthew, David Platt, & myself, a 42 year old truck driver. Our confidence comes from Christ Jesus, our very being is in Him. When we find out who we are in Christ by seeking him diligently through his word & prayer, we find out why we were created& where we are supposed to be. Do I stop being an American? No. I began to serve right where i'm planted. Growing in Him all along trusting Him for everything. books like "Radical" help me to press on in a world that has backslidden. In a world that doesn't want to here about Christ& His free gift. To be bold enough step out in faith to follow Him. Body we need each other, we need encouragement to get out of our comfort zones& tell the world about Jesus. Jesus said in Luke 9;23 "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself & take up his cross & follow me."When the body, begins to build up instead of tear down maybe then we can get somewhere. Thanks David & Matthew.

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Cinda Swan

May 07, 2013  8:20am

Unfortunately Matthew Lee comes across as somewhat pompous in his critique of David Platt et al in his article, "Here Come the Radicals!" (March 2013 issue CT). I never for a moment thought Platt and his ilk intended their message to be holistic. Rather, I believe the Church would do well to pay attention to the prophetic voices which the Spirit may be raising up as a necessary correction to an indolent western Christian spirituality. Luther said, "We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that remains alone." Our faith must translate into works if it is to be genuine and effective: a muscular witness that confronts an affluent, secular, selfish lifestyle neglectful of much of the misery and suffering enjoined around the world. Spiritual formation is very much "responsive obedience" to the impulses of the Holy Spirit, rather than Lee's assumption that Platt's idea of spiritual formation rests entirely in a legalism ("sheer force of will"). (p23)

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Jim Ricker

April 07, 2013  4:44pm

Xians who view life and Scripture through the lens of politics are not new and they are found both on the left and on the right (and everywhere in between). Always amazed at how those 'left-wing' people are corrupting the gospel but they obvious corruption by right-wing politicians is just as bad but mainly ignored by those who claim to be speaking for God and being 'biblicly-sound.' We have David Barton running around for years waging a false culture wall via right-wing politics and those on the right trying to make God a conservative.We have Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission claiming that the entire Tea Party movement is actually the work of God as part of a "spiritual awakening"the Religious Right to claim the Tea Party mantle are getting more and more blatant (March 2010). If we stop talking political smack and trying to make the other side anti-gospel because of a economic system, we'd be better off.

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Roland Kuehn

March 30, 2013  7:30am

I just had a visitor in my classroom (I teach public school grade who is doing some amazing work in Kenya but it comes at great personal cost and sacrifice. He does it joyfully without bragging or condemnation of others who are living more self or Disney centred lives. Since his talk, my students have been quoting one of the things he said: "if you can't sacrifice for it, you don't really believe it." In our often narcissistic culture (church included), we need to hear this message afresh and if it’s considered radical so be it.

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Roland Kuehn

March 30, 2013  7:29am

Like the prophets of the OT, like Bonhoeffer in Hitler's Germany, like Mother Teresa, and like Kierkegaard, people like Shayne are, by their lives and their words, awakening people from the slumber that comes from reducing the life transforming and world revolutionizing words of Jesus into to a safe intellectual assent/belief/religious cliché while in reality continuing to live for the pursuit of lesser gods such as money or self. Instead we are reminded that trusting in Jesus, that is the Jesus who wants to awaken us into something nothing short of a rebirth (now that's radical), means that we will not just merely believe but rather participate in the transforming, serving others, upside down Kingdom that takes place when we commit to living the kinds of authentic human/God shaped lives that Jesus has called us to. (And it is not hypocritical to publish as suggested in the article or we wouldn't have the words of Amos or Jeremiah or Isaiah or Bonhoeffer or Kierkegaard.)

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Roland Kuehn

March 30, 2013  7:28am

For the Christian living in the 10% of the world that consumes almost 60% of the planet (ie the average Canadian or American), the kind of discipleship Jesus asks for can't help but be seen as radical especially when compared to the dominant culture (secular culture as well as most of Christian culture). We are as a group self-obsessed and obscenely wealthy directly or indirectly benefitting from the poverty of the bottom 40% of the world. When the first disciples contemplated what Christ expected of the rich they didn't just call it radical, they called it impossible. Jesus was presenting a kind of God that couldn’t be bought off by making a 911 call on the way to Disneyland (see last paragraph of article) But Jesus assured the disciples (and us) with the words "with God all things are impossible".

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Christopher Sibley

March 29, 2013  11:39pm

Living the gospel is radical, most especially when lived through actions rather than words. Of course we are saved by grace, but many I fear use Ephesians 2:8-9 to affirm total disengagement from good works or worse, malign the good deeds of others. Passing judgement on our brothers and sisters in Christ is a position reserved for our heavenly Father. I can't help but wonder if the theological issues legitimately raised in this article could not have been reflected upon without raising judgemental eyebrows at particular individuals occupying particular niche's of Christ's body active in the world. We must be so careful not to fall in the trap of believing that salvation and Christian broherhood rest on a check list of correct political and theological answers. A professed belief of and in Christ as the paschal lamb are the only tests needed to establish salvation through grace and to join us in the body of Christ. “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.”

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audrey ruth

March 27, 2013  10:36pm

Ditto what Roger said -- about the churches I've attended for 30+ years (none of them Southern Baptist). However, I do know of churches in this metro area which are infused with left-wing politics -- the kind that label you a bigot, intolerant, etc, if you actually believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God and hold to His teaching.

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Roger McKinney

March 27, 2013  8:27am

Susan, I can't speak for others, but for the Southern Baptist churches that is not true. Almost no preaching about politics takes place in pulpits. Speaking as an economist, we label socialists as those who promote socialist policies regardless of their church affiliation.

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Susan Nathan

March 26, 2013  7:35pm

More Jesus, less analyzing others' relationship with him. The reason so many are open to the radical's message is that the message delivered by U.S. Christian churches for the past several decades has been overly infused with right-wing politics......the kind that labels anyone a socialist if they step outside the box drawn by conservative church 'leaders.'

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Wayne R. Felton II

March 26, 2013  11:48am

This was an very well written article. The critique of; Radical faith only being "available" to those in a middle class context willing to sacrifice, is an very good point. The Gospel is much more about God than it is about us. I whole heartedly believe in holiness of life as a response to God's love, however for many holiness is defined as economic, or philanthropic and not scriptural, or spiritual. Yes, help the poor, but helping the poor is not the only commandment of God. While helping the poor and disenfranchised is important so are all the words Jesus spoke, and His Apostles taught. Unfortunately this message often leaves out salvation for those who are poor. How can they live radically if they have nothing (financially) to sacrifice. The answer is seeking first the kingdom.

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audrey ruth

March 26, 2013  1:15am

It has occurred to me recently that the REAL RADICALS in today's churches are those who HOLD TO GOD'S HOLY WORD, refuse to compromise His Word in any way, refuse to exalt their thoughts over His in any way (Isaiah 55). The REAL RADICALS are those who remain humble before the Lord, realizing by the illlumination of His Spirit how much greater He is than any mere man, and that we will all soon stand before Him at the Judgment. I fear for the "radicals" today who are radically re-writing and flaunting and disobeying God's Word, disregarding the call of His Spirit. I pray they will turn back to the truth and mercy of God while there is still time. We are all 24 hours closer to the end of the age than we were this time yesterday. It is entirely possible that His judgment will fall on America before then. He owes us nothing; we owe Him everything!

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Roger McKinney

March 25, 2013  8:13am

Rick, sorry about that! I must have been reading too fast. Good posts!

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Rick Dalbey

March 25, 2013  1:17am

Roger, pleeeeease don't get me mixed up with Jim Ricker. I'm with you, remember. Jim is the one who said "There are nations where the gospel has never been preached let alone disciples made." But I concur with you Roger. From the research I've done, there is no nation out of the 196 on the planet that does not have a Christian church and had the gospel preached in it. As of 2012 there are 196 independent nations in the world. The Christian Almanac reported that the Gospel has been preached to over 4 billion people (as of 1990, 23 years ago), and Christian churches now exist in every nation of the world. That does not mean that every single person in a region has heard the gospel preached, but it does mean that all nations have heard.

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Roger McKinney

March 24, 2013  9:52pm

Platt's follow-up book, Radical Together, brought it to the surface: "[J]udging by what we hang on to in our churches, convenient programs and nice parking lots are still more important than [impoverished and orphaned] children and their families." That’s the sort of statement I refer to when I say the “radicals” think they have God’s power to read every heart in the church. They should be more humble. And which verse in the Bible says that we are to spend for our families and church only the barest of necessities and give all of the rest to missions or the poor? If you don’t have a verse, then where does the idea come from and how can you make it equal to God’s word? I will be anxiously awaiting references to that verse.

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audrey ruth

March 24, 2013  9:40pm

IIRC, Job was the wealthiest man of his generation; he was also the Godliest. The Lord says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. If people love God above all and use their money and possessions to glorify Him and bless others, they are not to be denounced and God will not denounce them. The Good Samaritan was obviously a wealthy man, or he could not have done what he did. Many poor people love money, believe it will solve all their problems. Other poor people love God above all and are content with what they have. God sees all hearts and He is the Righteous Judge.

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Roger McKinney

March 24, 2013  9:38pm

Rick, history tells us that the gospel reached almost all of the known world in the first couple of centuries after Christ. Most nations have Christians today. I can't say that they all do, but I have heard and read dozens of stories of missionaries going to place they thought had no Christians, only to find a small, thriving native church. There may be small people groups who have no believers, but I seriously doubt any nation has none. I've spent 40 years studying missions and can think of no nation without a witness, only ethnic groups within nations which are very resistant to the gospel.

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Rick Dalbey

March 24, 2013  8:27pm

Jim, you brought up the $50,000 limit on cars. You brought up that no believer should drive a Bentley brand or a Lambroghini. You brought up the plasma TVs. They are your red herrings not mine. I agree they are useless and unrelated. My point again. Job and Abraham and Boaz and John are examples rich men who use their wealth wisely to advance the kingdom, which was my point. I have no problem with Platt or Chan. Peter Chan has made presentations at our church. I just wish they advocated more strongly being filled and led by the Holy Spirit before throwing oneself into mission. However, Shane Claiborne is a marxist who advocates Herbert Marcuse and Naom Chomsky, radical pacifism, de-militarism, protesting in the parks against the mythical 1% and is more purely a political radical.

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Jim Ricker

March 24, 2013  6:28pm

Job and Abraham do not apply because that is NOT what 'the radicals' are talking about nor what I have written about. NOWHERE in Scripture is Abraham or Job described as storing up treasures on Earth or filled with avarice as I SPECIFICALLY referred to. So please, put your red herrings and straw men back in the closet or better yet, throw them in the trash for they are useless and unrelated.

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Jim Ricker

March 24, 2013  6:24pm

Rick, 1. The 'radicals' haven't made judgements on particular people and particular circumstances of real people. Unless you can point to them doing so, you're throwing dirt around. 2. Notice I wrote about avarice and storing up treasures on Earth and it was the BASIS of my quoting Scripture about greed and about God's judgement on those who do not look out for the poor. Nowhere has anyone shown how 'the radicals' have violated this same principle from Scripture (except Claiborne but since he isn't anywhere near the same as Chan or Platt, it is foolish to put them all together anyway except out of ignorance or disingenuous political thought versus dealing with reality). Please quote where Chan hsa stated a maximum income level for a believer. Please show where Platt has done so. Plain and simple, there is no need to quote a specific verse in reference to how a goodly portion of the Church has succumbed to materialism and forgotten their duty to the poor. Nowhere have I implied more.

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Joanna Shumaker

March 24, 2013  5:36pm

Good perspective! It is refreshing to hear someone laud the simple faithful living a Christian must do to have an "experience with God" - (to use a popular phrase). Walking through life with Christ as the center and sharing Him as an outpouring of your day to day life whether to your neighbor or the downtown slums, seems to be walking as Jesus did here on earth. Thank you for your well-written article and the light you shed on "radical" evangelicalism.

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Andrew Varvoutis

March 24, 2013  3:52pm

As a member of Brook Hills I have to say the the author did a poor job communicating David's message and provided zero Biblical basis for his criticism. I don't see what this article does to promote Jesus.

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audrey ruth

March 24, 2013  2:55pm

Very thoughtful and balanced posts, Rick. IIRC, Job was the wealthiest man of his generation; he was also the Godliest. The Lord says the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. If people love God above all and use their money and possessions to glorify Him and bless others, they are not to be denounced and God will not denounce them. The Good Samaritan was obviously a wealthy man, or he could not have done what he did. Many poor people love money, believe it will solve all their problems. Other poor people love God above all and are content with what they have. God sees all hearts and He is the Righteous Judge.

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Rick Dalbey

March 24, 2013  2:12pm

I would never defend people who build up treasure only to squander selfishly on themselves. Abraham was one of the wealthiest men in the middle East but he used it to support Lot, build the nation of Israel, support his extended family and tithe to Melchidek. Solomon “made gold as plentiful as silver in Israel” and built a fabulous temple. The wealthy Boaz was used by God to preserve Ruth and Naomi. Jesus asked the apostle John to care for His mother because he had servants, multiple boats, a large house and a thriving fishing business with his partners. It is the Pharisee spirit to identify and denounce the brand of the boat, prescribe the number of servants or the size of the house. Our wealth belongs 100% to God and is at His disposal to do good with. Those who got rich by cheating others is always criticized in scripture. But I never mentioned Bentley’s, Lamborghinis or multiple 48” plasma screen TVs or any car over $50,000. It’s wierd to even focus on those.

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Rick Dalbey

March 24, 2013  1:58pm

Jim, how did you get from me agreeing with Roger that “If you don't have a verse from the Bible giving the right size of house and car for each family, then you are putting your preferences equal to God's word and harshly judging other Christians. The radicals are no different from the Pharisees who multiplied invented rules for Godliness and gave their inventions the same authority as God's word”, to having three 48” plasma TVs, a Bentley and a Lamborghini? You apparently like to argue and have put words in my mouth. Paul instructed “those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good.” That's only common sense. Peter, James & John kept their large houses, John had servants and several boats in the fishing business which they used to support family, protect Mary, provide a home for Jesus and promote the gospel.

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Jim Ricker

March 24, 2013  11:50am

Rick, Seriously? Specific verses about people who build up treasures for themselves here aren't in the Scriptures? Are you trying to tell us that you don't know the difference between the OBVIOUS need of a car and the WANT of having a $50k vehicle to commute in style like the world? Seriously??? Having multiple plasma flat screens in your home is a NEED? Are you really trying to defend this as a 'need?" Maybe Matthew 6? Maybe Luke 12 where the one building bigger barns is decried by the King? Jeremiah 5.27-29 speaks of the EVIL of those who did not see to the RIGHTS of the needy. We know that those God was determining judgement on were those hoarding wealth and enjoying well past their needs (otherwise you can't be hoarding wealth and/or spending it on wants and desires). Please, trying to defend the obvious sin of caring about your wants more than the needs of others is not following Christ. To demand a verse that says "3 plasma screens are thus a sin" is just plain sin apologetics.

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Jim Ricker

March 24, 2013  11:30am

Roger - Unfortunately, we have not made disciples of all nations. There are nations where the gospel has never been preached let alone disciples made. That is a fact so the job is certainly not completed. As to needs and wants. People do not need a Bentley or Lamborghini. That is a want. We may need a car we may need a quality car or maybe an SUV in order to complete tasks (such as a farmer needing a truck, etc) but there is no NEED for a Bentley or a Lambo (although I do have to admit to truly loving a Lambo). We do not NEED 48" plasma TV's for our homes either - let alone multiple plasma sets in our homes. IN those cases, one can easily make the judgement that those are not needs but fulfilling selfish wants. To try to deflect the obvious is just plain silly. Trying to label people who state the obvious as Pharisees is even more silly.

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Rick Dalbey

March 23, 2013  8:51pm

Roger, I think your comment is directed at Jim Ricker, not me, Rick. I agree completely with your statement "Who are you to determine what a family needs? If you don't have a verse from the Bible giving the right size of house and car for each family, then you are putting your preferences equal to God's word and harshly judging other Christians. The "radicals" are no different from the Pharisees who multiplied invented rules for Godliness and gave their inventions the same authority as God's word." In fact, I agree with all your comments here Roger. They are a breath of fresh air in the stale liberal progressive justice community.

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Roger McKinney

March 23, 2013  6:49pm

Rick, I agree with your interpretation of "make disciples of all nations." And since we have succeeded, I don't see any reason for the "radicals" to have such contempt for Christians today. And the "radicals" judge the lifestyles of others just as you did in your post: "...have focused on having the big house (that a goodly portion couldn't and can't afford), having over-sized vehicles our family doesn't need..." Who are you to determine what a family needs? If you don't have a verse from the Bible giving the right size of house and car for each family, then you are putting your preferences equal to God's word and harshly judging other Christians. The "radicals" are no different from the Pharisees who multiplied invented rules for Godliness and gave their inventions the same authority as God's word. And they have added a from of pagan asceticism. As I wrote before, the "radicals" aren't radical enough in their understanding of grace.

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Rick Dalbey

March 23, 2013  12:44pm

In Matthew 25 Jesus is standing on earth, judging the nations. He is sending some to hell for eternity. The only basis to send to hell is, did you stand with Jesus or not. When Paul was knocked off his horse Jesus spoke from heaven "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Paul was persecuting Christians, but our bond in so close that from God’s point of view, he was persecuting Jesus. Yes, we are supposed to care for the poor, the stranger, the alien, but that is not what is being discussed in Matthew 25. Jesus talking about the future when He is judging people who are alive during the Great Tribulation. He says, “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him.” The problem was not that the persecutors did not know the homeless and the prisoners were Christians (that is why they were in prison), they did not know they were persecuting the Great King Jesus, just as Paul didn’t.

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Jim Ricker

March 23, 2013  6:00am

How does one know a stranger is a Xian and welcome him or her? Also, since Peter tells us in Acts 2 that the end times are already here by saying that Joel prophesied about these days (since Pentecost of the speech), how are we not in the last days? Matthew 24 & 25 may not specifically speak of both the saved and unsaved but we do know that we are commanded throughout Scripture to care for the poor if not in direct command, but the obvious principle taught. "Deut. 26:12. When you have finished paying the complete tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied." - Nothing about only bringing justice to the believers. Isa 48:1-7 speaks of the kind of fast that God sees as holy. Are we only to invite the believing poor and homeless and strangers (believers test at the door?) in during a fast? The principle extends into the NT.

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Jim Ricker

March 23, 2013  5:29am

Hi Roger, Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations, not make all nations 100% filled with disciples or to make the nations themselves disciples. Those are three completely different things. Disciples of all nations literally means making disciples within all nations. The basic context makes the command clear and thus the apostles far from failures. It also eliminates two of those options right away and leaves only one - to make disciples in all nations. This works to Z Jiang's comment very well. Also, exactly where do these radicals judge what you provide for your family (or any other believer)? Providing for some measure of financial security for your family is certainly biblical but if we are honest, most of us have not done so and instead have focused on having the big house (that a goodly portion couldn't and can't afford), having over-sized vehicles our family doesn't need, etc. Avarice and wants-filling (versus needs-filling) is still a sin

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audrey ruth

March 23, 2013  12:21am

Rick, that's an excellent point. Somehow people overlook the words "my brethren" here: "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." Thanks for pointing that out. This reminds me of James 1:27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." This doesn't mean, of course, that we are to neglect giving the Gospel to unbelievers -- we are definitely called to that. At the same time, we need to read Scripture as it is written, not add to it or take away from it. Indeed, Jesus pronounced severe judgment on people who would do those things.

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Rick Dalbey

March 22, 2013  3:17pm

Amen Roger. There is so much misunderstanding of social justice based on Matt. 24 and 25. The context is the end times, the coming of Jesus and the persecution of believers. “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another”. He judges them based on how they treated persecuted Jews and Believers, saying “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” In Matthew He constantly defines who His brothers and mother is. “And stretching out His hand toward HIS DISCIPLES, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!” Matt. 12:4. He is not sending people to hell for not visiting rapists and thieves in prison or not feeding all the poor of the world, but for ignoring those disciples whose homes and food have been taken and are imprisoned, for not standing with Jesus.

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Roger McKinney

March 22, 2013  12:31pm

We must save for the future as Proverbs tells us. Anyone who doesn't take care of his family, including saving for periods of famine, is worse than an infidel Paul wrote. Only then should we give to others, and we shouldn't give so much that we endanger our family’s future and make them a burden on others. No christian should criticize how well another christian takes care of his family. That is harshly judging the motives of others, which assumes the critic has the same abilities to see into the hearts of others as God does, and that is blasphemy. The "radicals" are guilty of just such judging. No verse in the Bible tells christians how much to give or keep for themselves. That is a grace matter. We are free. Giving is between God and each individual. No "radical" has the right to judge. The "radicals" aren't radical enough in keeping withing the boundaries of holy scripture and preaching grace.

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Roger McKinney

March 22, 2013  12:24pm

Ziang, If one interprets the commands to feed the poor and make disciples of all nations in a literal way (all people are converted and fed), then the Apostles failed miserably. They couldn’t even convert a significant minority of their own people. Jesus failed, too. Yet a literal interpretation contradicts Jesus’ statement that the path is narrow and few people find it, or that men love darkness more than light, or that many are called but few chosen. Jesus fed several thousand people twice, but he never came close to feeding all of the poor and hungry in Israel, let alone the world. He failed, unless we are allowed to take a less wooden interpretation of the command and parable. Converting and feeding every last person is not within our power. But having a willing heart and helping those we can is. Jesus never meant those to be the only command we follow. Working hard is the first priority after salvation so that we can take care of our families, and we must save for the future.

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Z Jiang

March 21, 2013  10:03pm

Besides the patronizing and superficial tone (I wondered if Anderson only skimmed these men's books?), Anderson misapplies the parable at the end. Jesus told this parable to teach religious people (like Anderson and myself) that we don't really love our neighbor, therefore do not fulfill the whole law, therefore cannot justify ourselves before God. He did not tell the parable to excuse his disciples from obeying his command to make disciples of all nations. We cannot say to him, "well, we didn't witness to God's glory, holiness, wrath, love, grace to the over 6000 ethnolinguistic groups that remain without an indigenous church (or to the thousands of children who die for lack of food, clean water, medical care everyday) because they didn't happen to be on our way to Disney World and we couldn't see or hear them from our air conditioned cars on the interstate. Platt and Chan did not make up these realities to induce "good guilt" in their audiences or sell books. These realities exist.

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Z Jiang

March 21, 2013  10:03pm

If we are united with Christ by faith, Jesus paid for all our sins of omission as well as commission on the cross so we have no need to atone for our sins by good works. God will accomplish his purposes in his timing so our obedience or lack there of will neither advance nor retard his Son’s predetermined date of return. But God does give us choices to make every day, opportunities to be a part of what He is doing in glorifying Himself. The opportunities he gives us as individuals, congregations, a generation we will not have forever; the day will come when we will all look back and see if we invested our life in God’s eternal kingdom, or waste it on our own fading kingdoms. If angels rejoice when one sinner is saved, then there is still more joy even beyond knowing Christ's forgiveness of me as an individual. That greater joy is not found in protecting our creature comforts, health, wealth and safety, it is found in showing others the glory of Christ in word and deed.

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M P H

March 21, 2013  7:48pm

I agree with Jim Ricker - reading the comments is much better than the cover story. The major question I found myself asking while reading the article was this: "Who is Matthew Lee Anderson, and why is he qualified to criticize the likes of David Platt and Francis Chan?" After reading his credentials, I am still left asking, "who indeed?" He is not a pastor, he's a blogger and a writer, and isn't afraid to air his opinions authoritatively on a very complex and nuanced topic. Why couldn't CT get someone more qualified to weigh in, especially when it involves criticizing such and experienced group of pastors?

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Roger McKinney

March 21, 2013  12:22pm

I agree with the author’s assessment of the “radicals.” I’ve seen in before, especially in younger leaders. They miss the extreme emotional experiences of their youth and mistake a decline in emotion that comes with age and wisdom with a decline in spirituality. They think that because they just discovered how poor the rest of the world is that the rest of us are as ignorant as they are. Instead of grace, they use guilt to manipulate people into an emotional frenzy and action. They limit the Christian life to witnessing and poverty relief, when they should be helping people see spiritual value in their everyday work, as the Institute for Faith Work and Economics does. I guess Paul was wrong to write “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Jesus said his yoke was light and burden easy.

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Jim Ricker

March 20, 2013  4:33pm

There has been more to learn and contemplate from the commenters on this string than there was in the actual article.

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audrey ruth

March 20, 2013  3:20pm

Since the earliest Church/Body of Christ met from house to house, I cannot see any fault in the existence of house churches. Churches which meet in huge buildings do not necessarily (often do not) look anything like what we see in the NT. Jesus said, "Wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst." I've read Francis Chan's books, have been blessed and challenged by them. I've not read anything in them which is not consistent with God's Holy Word.

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E Dennison

March 20, 2013  1:25pm

...the paraphernalia of modern, megachurch evangelicalism (Chan is planting house churches now, both Chan and Platt are known for being will to worship with and teach very small gatherings of Christians in the US and elsewhere) that Platt and Chan have a low value for the church, when "Follow Me" argues forcefully for local church membership. The saddest thing about this review for those have not read Chan and Platt's excellent books is that the reviewer has totally missed their main point: "radical" discipleship starts with knowing the true God as he truly is (yes, I'm using those amplifiers, as Chan and Platt due, and as Jesus did..."truly, truly I say," "I am the true vine," for the same reason, that there is a real risk of accepting counterfeits, including God in our own image and a tame Jesus) and then, sharing that knowledge of the true God with someone else in an intentional way (aka discipling) through our words, our churches, our money, our life choices. Not new, but radical.

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E Dennison

March 20, 2013  1:18pm

Wow, what a poorly done cover story for Christianity Today. Where to begin? The article begins as though it might be a research-based descriptive article about David Platt and his influence on American Evangelicalism, or else perhaps a book review of his several influential titles. But then the article seems to stray into guilt-by-association (linking theologically Reformed pastors like Platt and Chan with Shane Claiborne and double-baptism Holiness movement, etc.) The article includes various groundless explicit and subtle criticisms (low value for academic study, though Chan founded a Bible College, Platt speaks well of his seminary formation, Radical includes a young woman's "radical" discipleship consisting of completing college to be more useful to world missions), that only obvious fruit-bearing obedience is presented (Platt presents as faithful service the example of a woman who died in a car crash in Egypt before being able to be "fruitful"), that Chan and Platt are enslaved to

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gordon payne

March 20, 2013  11:51am

How about a radical idea - back to the Bible? Lindsell, who understood the 'dynamics' of the Bible, and there from the beginnings of a condition wrought by universal judgment (Gen 3) for inexcusable violation, recognized an 'apostolic succession' in the 'priesthood of believers' derived from not only Christ's metaphor respecting the spirit of the man, but His admonition of forgiveness to 'Simon, son of Jonah' in Jn 21 for the threefold violation of denial, and there to restore a love for those whom He did not entrust to Paul in Gal 2, the unity of His Church founded on no Vicar, but HIMSELF, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with His call to Love, not obedience, the latter obviated by the former in fulfillment, all sufficiently revealed in His infallible/inerrant word. Certainly no call to modernist radicalism founded on a repudiation of basic condition, compounded by human reliance/usurpation, at the very least substituting ther own effort for His, to their trophy claim!

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audrey ruth

March 19, 2013  11:49pm

Rick, thanks for asking an important question and giving qualifying info: "Why is Shane Claiborne included with Francis Chan and David Platt? If you've ever gone to one of his seminars or read his books, Shane is purely political. He agitates for a smaller military, de-militarization and a host of other political causes. He recommends reading Marxist theoriticians like Herbert Marcuse and Naom Chomsky. He de-supernaturalizes evangelism and salvation, making conversion the equivalent of converting to biodisel." Claiborne has also been very involved in the "Red Letter Christians" movement. We should ALWAYS consider the source(s) when weighing out issues such as are addressed here. I've read books by Francis Chan and have been very blessed AND challenged. I believe he is led of the Holy Spirit in his ministry. We are living in very challenging times, and I don't believe it's going to get any easier. I'm reminded of Jesus' words, "When I return, will I find faith on the earth?"

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Matt Malone

March 19, 2013  5:13pm

Trying to wrap my head around Idleman. In my neck of the woods, it is no secret he makes a 6figure income at Southeast (not including royalties and speaking fees) and is selling a 700,000 home and looking to buy something like 85 acres in an upscale county. I am wondering if a huge sacrifice would be to live on say, 80,000 a year which is a good income for here? Where is exactly his big sacrifice? Being a mega church minor celebrity?

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Bruce Emmel

March 19, 2013  1:33pm

Rev 7: 9-17 …. Those around the throne experienced on this earth tribulation, no shelter, hunger, thirst, no protection, heat and tears." Platt, Chan and Idleman (never heard of Clairborne) are bucking against a Christian Culture that walks step and step with American Exceptionalism, Humanism and Materialism. In Rev. 7 we see that the Lamb and God are the ones who deserve all blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power and strength. These ones around His throne, gave up their blessing, glory, wisdom, praise, honor, power and strength. They didn’t just say it in Church, give 11 percent and do a ministry once a week, they lived and died to demonstrate that God is worth their all. That’s what Christ calls us to do. (Mark 8: 34 -37) The adventure for each follower of Christ, is; how do we give to God and the Lamb all our blessings, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, strength, life. It may be radical in the culture we live in, but its the norm in heaven.

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MICK SHELDON

March 19, 2013  12:11pm

Rick I totally agree about Mr. Claiborne . A wolf in Sheeps clothing . Not only reveled in the Emergent Movement and the Red Letter Only Christian organization , his writings apear amongst the anti Christian Evangelical Movement cloned in Sojourners and other so called Christian organizations . George Soros funds Jim Wallis by the way . Redistribution using tax dollars not only supported politically , but difference of opinions treated as though you are watching Chris Mathews and Rachal Madow . Your promoted as anti women , anti gay , and anti God if you do not support liberal democratic party politics. Claiborne is on record speaking to various roads to heaven , I understand that pluraistic view is popular , but obviously Christ did not agree with it or he would not have sacrificed all if He could have just gone along with the other religions .

Phil Hills

March 18, 2013  10:20pm

I just started reading Radical this morning and was impacted by the international examples of the church in the first chapter. I think these men are playing a vital role in linking North American Christianity to the global church. I know and work with people from around the world. My brothers and sisters in the global church know that what we have labeled as radical is just normal. For example one man I know has devoted his life to evangelizing children in a place where it is illegal. He has not been imprisoned yet but the threat is constantly present. He does it anyway. The tide is turning for the North American church and soon we will have to choose between middle class security and faithfulness to our Servant King, just as many of our global brothers and sisters already have to do daily. I believe God has called these young leaders to prepare us to choose Jesus when doing so will mean giving up everything else in this life.

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Ross Graveling

March 18, 2013  9:39am

TALK about casting judgement- Mr. Anderson failed to actually look at the lives of these people. This isn't just something these guys are preaching it is something they are living. Not to mention this is a movement not just a sermon or book series and the heart of this movement is 'making disciples who make disciples' compared to just showing up on a Sunday morning for a service. They are leading and creating a culture. Look at Claiborne, what does his church look like??? It is an apartment building in Philly in one of the toughest areas in the US, his church isn't full of middle class white people. He is living among those people being Jesus everyday to them and inviting others to do the same. Look at Chan, he left his mega-church, not to start another but to live in an apartment building in the the ghettos of San Fran. These guys are just speaking this stuff they are living it & doing that in community with others. They also are inspiring & challenging others to do the same.

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M Adisu

March 16, 2013  10:09pm

"Conquering Single-handedly" would be a fitting caption for the illustration.

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Dirk Rodgers

March 16, 2013  7:51pm

While we traditionalists will naturally disparage and disapprove of young upstarts, I can hardly forget that most historical reformers where “radicals” in their day. Luther’s writings were nothing less than revolutionary, and the conservative academics in his time too quickly dismissed his radical charges. Perhaps instead of shooting the messenger, we ought to think carefully about why these young pastors felt compelled to challenge the old guard in the first place. Perhaps we all need to hear a good, radical challenge from some new, fresh voices.

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Jacob Bruner

March 16, 2013  7:34pm

CT, I am greatly surprised you allowed this article to be published, let along be your cover story. While there are some helpful insights, in the balance it lacks an understanding of its subject... or worse, it has a basic disregard for it. Clearly, the voices calling for a more "radical" faith in our Western culture are striking a nerve, and it is only responsible that you bring things into focus, as your articles typically do. But this is bordering on irresponsible. With very little insight into the actual content of the books it critiques, the strange lumping together of disparate authors, pastors and sub-movements, the nebulous analogies to past American movements, and the embarrassing suggestion that the Good Samaritan had the final word on what form Christian charity takes (traveling, apparently), the whole thing feels... unprepared and bewildered. Let's try this one again.

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Bert Warden

March 16, 2013  4:00pm

It is too bad that Anderson, unless I missed something, does not mention Platt's own lifestyle transformation in the light of his radical thinking, selling his luxurious home and buyin only as large a house as he "needed", the same with his expensive personal car, and giving the savings to missonary and charitable work. Not only this but many of the members of his church did and are doing the same thing. Granted that such actions are not a complete solution but they are indeed trnformational.

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DR STEPHEN HASPER

March 16, 2013  3:30pm

Bravo Matthew! Well done--really! I am reminded of the adage, "Weak point, yell louder" with some of the message of the so-called radicals. I recall being at a conference and hearing one of the men mentioned in the article speak (interesting--all males; anyone want to write about male angst?). After much overt expression in worship he entered the spot light to go on ad nauseum about how embarrassed he was to have been recently placed on the cover of a national Christian magazine. Really? Perhaps the pastors who preach the good news this weekend in small, financially strapped churches in tough contexts are more radical than we give them credit for. I do appreciate the call of the “radicals to take up our cross and follow Jesus fully” but we would do well to consider the single moms and lonely men who show up in church Sunday after Sunday and keep believing and serving in spite of their tough and routine lives.

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K scott Schaeffer

March 16, 2013  2:36pm

"Yet the radicals' repeated portrait of faith underemphasizes the less spectacular, frequently boring, and overwhelmingly anonymous elements that make up much of the Christian life." - Great quote! The problem with radical Christianity preaching is that it intends to fire-up Christians and fuel their faith with emotion. However, even football teams can't stay fired up for the entirety of a 3 hour game, so what chance do we Christians have of staying fired up for years to come? Christian life can lack excitement for long periods of time, so those who run on emotion fall away. I've seen it happen all to often. It seems to me that those who apply good logic and sensibility to their faith serve God better in the long run.

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TERRENCE J Sams

March 16, 2013  12:56am

I usually don't comment on things I hear or read out of respect for free speech, meaning everyone has a right to air opinions whether I agree or not, but I'll make an exception here: I enjoyed reading some of the responses and the author's own gentle rebukes (proof to the fact that none of us has a corner on the truth). With that preface in mind I, too, will contribute to the mix: I'm reluctlant to criticize a fellow christian for fear of making an indictment on the Holy Spirit, i.e., in fact criticizing the Holy Spirit, if indeed He is able to compensate for our weaknesses--"By their own Master they will stand or fall, and they will stand, for He is able to make them stand." So the divine judgement cuts both ways--for myself and others. It's easy to point out the deceptions of others while blinded to our own, thereby defending our own blindness. We are always tempted to make others "bad" to make ourselves look "good". More to the point: He subjects us to futility in striving--

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Esther Asher

March 15, 2013  11:55pm

I greatly admire the young who burst out with 'idealistic/radical' conceptions of following the Lord. After 30 years of living the Christian life, it's great to be reminded that I also had once experienced that burning desire to live radically for Jesus and being full of breathless hope of being 'martyred' for His glory. I hope they hang on to that for longer than I did. They'll find out soon enough that for the majority, living the Christian life is really a marathon not a sprint. Us oldies - (aka, battle-scarred Christians) should encourage them in their 'radicalism' for they'll join our ranks soon enough. But their radicalism should be taken as a critique for us who have slid into the comfort of middle-class Christianity.

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Tom Nash

March 15, 2013  11:06pm

Having dabbled in various forms of radical Christianity over the last thirty-or-so years, I've fallen on my face a few times. In fact, there were times I crashed and burned spiritually because I couldn't maintain the pace. I will also say that God had mercy and brought me back into the fold. My current faith is steady and deep, but not radical. I'm a poster child for the ups and downs of process sanctification. The radicals of today would probably consider me a Pharisaical, lukewarm pseudo-Christian. But I'm certain God loves me, has forgiven me, accepts me the way I am and values me as His adopted child. God doesn't require that I perform radical feats to earn His favor. I am favored by God because of Christ's death on the cross for my sins. My faith rests in what Jesus did, not in my human efforts. That being said, we should try to do good to our fellow human beings. Why? Because it's the right thing to do.

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Martin Tampier

March 15, 2013  10:18pm

Very insightful article. I can relate to the dichotomy between the 'faith heroes' who went to Africa to die for the witness, whereas we seem to be comfortably at home. The reminder that we have to simply live out our faith where we are, and realize our vocation may simply be less spectacular than that of some 'radicals' is very helpful. Good observation about our worship practices and great understanding of culture, i.e. how Christianity should create a counterculture that eventually reforms the culture of entire societies! Only, I wonder whether Platts is onto something with his concerns whether people are really saved. The reasons to become a Christian have changed lately, as has preaching. If the Gospel is not preached as Paul did, then Gal 1 might well apply...

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Josh Kelley

March 15, 2013  5:26pm

I would add another error of the New Radicals – they have something of a Neo-Platonic tendency to undervalue the joys of this life. As a result, many of their readers feel that they have to choose between either being a “really” good Christian but miserable in this life or being a mediocre Christian but enjoying this life. In contrast, the Bible is filled with examples of enjoying this life and the next. On several occasions, God's children are commanded to enjoy God's earthly gifts – the wife of your youth, feasting, nature's beauty, etc. The New Radicals have part of the truth, but at the expense of other parts.

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Sarah Unseth

March 15, 2013  2:46pm

Platt compares American Christianity with the level of sacrifice required of those who worship in places like the house churches in Asia. They are forced underground because of persecution, while we force ourselves out of bed to have a "spiritual" experience on Sunday mornings and then go about living our lives as though the billion unreached don't exist, as though the poor are not our problem. Platt's message is a wake up call to the state of the world and the shallowness of our Christianity. You don't have to have anything at all to start living like a radical Christian - certainly nothing close to an American upper-middle class lifestyle. Why not start with letting God have control over every aspect of your life, and go from there? I don't think Platt needs to give a "roadmap" for change - the Holy Spirit is our guide. The problem is we do not care about the poor and unreached the way that the Lord cares about them. If we have the ability to pray, we can start to change that.

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Samuel Mahaffy

March 15, 2013  12:49pm

The Gospel's call to discipleship is indeed radical by the standards of the majority culture that emphasizes self-satisfaction and materialism. I sincerly believe that the prophets of the Old Testament, if walking down Main Street, USA, would be echoing such a call to justice, peacemaking, and care for those most in need. Let us invite the prophets into our congregations and visit again their message of old that is poignantly relevant for today.

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David Wyrtzen

March 11, 2013  12:41pm

After reading this helpful analysis on the New Radicals, I've decided to found a new organization--"Radical Business Persons for Jesus." The purpose of our organization will be to humbly and honestly keep working in the marketplace so that all our friends going to India and Africa on mission trips to care for orphans and the poor won't fail in their mission for lack of funds. The Good Samaritan had the resources to pay for the care and housing of the man he stopped to help. As a pastor in a small Texas town for forty years, I want to bless, not only all our Midlothian Bible Church members heading to the Philippines, to Columbia, and to Korea the next few months, but all the cement plant workers, fire fighters, law enforcement officers, insurance agents, nurses, doctors, school teachers, etc who will put in over forty hour weeks. They not only flesh out Christ in these places of employment but sacrificially give to those we are sending out overseas.

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DENNIS R KUHNS

March 09, 2013  6:13pm

I want to thank you and the author Matthew Anderson for the helpful article that I believe takes the new radicals seriously and offers a helpful critique. As a member of a much older radical movement known as Anabaptism. I can look back over a long history and see strengths and weaknesses in renewal movements. Many have come and gone. The church remains. The renewal movements offer opportunities to hear God's voice anew as the wind of the Holy Spirit blows across the church, but we should not idolize them. What is today's renewal movement will become tomorrows institution. As Anderson noted at the end of the article, it is institutions that allow us to pass on our faith. I can criticize my church and its institutions, but I can never forget that it was my church, my church related college and seminary that told me the story of Jesus, challenged me to grow in Christ and trained me to serve Him and His church. I thank God for the new radicals and for the institutional church.

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Jim Ricker

March 09, 2013  5:52pm

Hi MC Dixon, Have you had the chance to read, "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan?

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MICHAEL CAREY DIXON

March 09, 2013  8:33am

I think it is a good and timely article. While personal jabs at the "Radicals" could have been avoided, the irony of their pulpit/media success as it relates to their message needs to be noted. Apparently Chan has tried to address this issue to some extent in his move to San Francisco. One good point was to question why the word Christian needs so many intensifiers. There are really only two types of Christians, mature and immature. It is as if the next clever "intensifier" gets the next book! Have we become that shallow? Maybe. Probably. Still, the fact that the Bible has Christian categories based on one's maturity level indicates how difficult it is to measure true faith. The article rightly emphasized the importance of love in the everday life of Christians. The Good Samaritan was mentioned. Jesus used that parable to teach about the Great Commandment. After all, Jesus said love is how the world will identify us as his disciples. Why so shallow? How often do we teach about love?

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Jim Ricker

March 06, 2013  7:35pm

The central point of the radicals seems to have eluded this author. Every one of these radicals speaks incessantly about BEING radical, not ACTING radical. Being radical means we are radical and what we do shows that we are radically for Jesus and not for some sanitized, Americanized, super-sized Churchianity. Radical acts according to Chan, Platt and others are not limited to the 'big' acts but flow out of our radical thinking which allows us to live radically for Jesus and radically different than the culture.Radically following God as you best understand can lead to leaving the local flock God allowed you to undershepherd to a large and influential group - and leave when it is least expected. Radical living means you are far more likely to provide for others than build up your American dream for yourself and your own security. This author seems more worried that someone figured out that Jesus would not be preaching American nationalism if He were today.

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MR DANIEL JEPSEN

March 05, 2013  8:32pm

I thought the article helpful and well written overall. I also thought Anderson's critique was fair. But it seems the New Radicals are open to at least two other criticisms. First, the emphasis on radical actions as proof of Christianity results in de-sacralizing the everyday. Second, the greatest sacrifice we can make for God (giving all I have to the poor, giving my body to be burned in martyrdom even) if not done for love, means exactly nothing (I Corinthians 13:1-3). No service, sacrifice, obedience, or offering can have any meaning unless the heart has been transformed and dominated by love. My concern is that a focus on us offering costly gifts to God can easily become just that: a focus on what we are doing instead of what He has done for us. When that happens, we actually love God less (because our eyes are on ourselves, not His glory and mercy). We also love others less, since their need becomes less important to us than our sacrifice. Third, I believe these speakers do not understand (or at least interact with) how people change. That is, they seem to imply that the primary (or only) only thing needed for lukewarm people to become full disciples is willpower. The discussion centers on getting readers to see that they are not fully committed to the teachings of Jesus, and then encouraging them to become fully committed. There is little discussion about the dynamics of spiritual change, that is, the roadblocks, processes, and means by which a person becomes a fruitful Christian living out a sacrificial lifestyle. In other words, the overwhelming focus is on a call to change, not a roadmap to change.

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THOMAS C Hulsey

March 04, 2013  7:57pm

Another 'author' who wants to be some inside key to the whole 'movemnt.' BS at the least and trash and garbage at the ideal. CT you are losing a paying member for this self enflated ego-centric rant. Pity....

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Rick Dalbey

March 04, 2013  1:44pm

In the words of Sesame Street, one of these things is not like the others. Why is Shane Claiborne included with Francis Chan and David Platt? If you've ever gone to one of his seminars or read his books, Shane is purely political. He agitates for a smaller military, de-militarization and a host of other political causes. He recommends reading Marxist theoriticians like Herbert Marcuse and Naom Chomsky. He de-supernaturalizes evangelism and salvation, making conversion the equivalent of converting to biodisel.

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