Too Hungry for Words
Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Gospel
There is no question, Chapter 2 of Radical by David Platt needs to be read a number of times. The first time through the skeptic in me reads a certain boastfulness in Dr. Platt regarding his awesome teaching abilities. Then in the second reading I’m wondering about the awesome teaching abilities of Dr. Platt and why we experience that in our own pastors so rarely? I’m frankly stunned that The Truth in Chapter 2 has taken until this moment to reach me. How does this happen? Why have all the learned pastors and teachers I know missed passing these messages along? Kept this teaching secret? After reading Chapter 2, I’m having a hard time wondering who exactly is living in a country where the bible isn’t truly taught?
“This is the question that often haunts me when I stand before a crowd of thousands of people in the church I pastor. What if we take away the cool music and the cushioned chairs? What if the screens are gone and the stage is no longer decorated? What if the air conditioning is off and the comforts are removed? Would his Word still be enough for his people to come together?”
“Fundamentally, the gospel is the revelation of who God is, who we are, and how we can be reconciled to him. Yet in the American dream, where self reigns as king (or queen), we have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and our desires. As a result, we desperately need to explore how much of our understanding of the gospel is American and how much is biblical.”
‘The modern-day gospel says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.” Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, “You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.” The former sells books and draws crowds. The latter saves souls. Which is more important?’
“We are saved from our sins by a free gift of grace, something that only God can do in us and that we cannot manufacture ourselves. But that gift of grace involves the gift of a new heart. New desires. New longings. For the first time, we want God. We see our need for him, and we love him. We seek after him, and we find him, and we discover that he is indeed the great reward of our salvation. We realize that we are saved, not just to be forgiven of our sins or to be assure of our eternity in heaven, but we are saved to know God. So we yearn for him. We want him so much that we abandon everything else to experience him. This is the only proper response to the revelation of God in the gospel.”
Frankly, I need to digest this a bit more. I see the logical truth in the depth of these words but my heart isn’t feeling them, understanding the impact yet. I also end the chapter with questions.
- Is there room to understand people are God blessed different and need to absorb, learn, Worship differently according to their means, traditions, culture? I don’t think that is just American. I think the Bible understands this too.
- I’m not sure I understand why physical comfort matters if the Word is studied with an exemplary teacher? Distractions are distractions, if a cushion distracts one from study of the Word, it should be removed. If sweat, hard seats, and poor light keep an American from solid study, why is it wrong those things are provided?
- Is study and worship different, or the same thing?
- Bible teachers, where are you?
From an organized church point of view some of what offends me about what Dr. Platt is saying is true! I personally know that worship services are cut short by announcements, special music, and special ceremonies that are more about vanity than anything else in my opinion. If we come together in His Name, should we be focused on Him and His Word? My answer is yes. This also explains why I’ve gotten to this stage not having seen in plain print the above secrets of the gospel.
This post is part of a book study hosted at the blog of Marla Taviano. She also hosts the Facebook discussion as well and you can find the link on her webpage. Radical response (chapter 2)