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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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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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