The Gospel of Wealth & the Genial Suburban Dude Jesus

If you have not read David Platt’s book “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream,” it is worth your time. It caught David Brooks’ attention as you will see below. It impacted Brooks enough to make the book central to a recent op-ed piece in The New York Times.

The article led me to the book. I finished it two weeks ago. It is spot on in most places especially in challenging one to see how, unfortunately, the discipled life has become almost inextricably intertwined with the American Dream. The principles are sound but need balance. If Americans move to Rwanda where do Rwandans go to fulfill what must be a universal call?

For balance pick up what will likely be famed Anglican John Stott’s last work, “The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of our Calling.” The work is just as compelling but lacks the depth balance of someone who has lived the faith for nearly ninety years. What has Stott ever written that was not worth the time to read it?


From “The Gospel of Wealth” by David Brooks
See the entire article here:

[Church of Brook Hills Pastor David] Platt grew uneasy with the role he had fallen into and wrote about it in a recent book called “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream.” It encapsulates many of the themes that have been floating around 20-something evangelical circles the past several years.

Platt’s first target is the megachurch itself. Americans have built themselves multimillion-dollar worship palaces, he argues. These have become like corporations, competing for market share by offering social centers, child-care programs, first-class entertainment and comfortable, consumer Christianity.

Jesus, Platt notes, made it hard on his followers. He created a minichurch, not a mega one. Today, however, building budgets dwarf charitable budgets, and Jesus is portrayed as a genial suburban dude. “When we gather in our church building to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshipping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead, we may be worshipping ourselves.”

Next, Platt takes aim at the American dream. When Europeans first settled this continent, they saw the natural abundance and came to two conclusions: that God’s plan for humanity could be realized here, and that they could get really rich while helping Him do it. This perception evolved into the notion that we have two interdependent callings: to build in this world and prepare for the next.

3 Responses to “The Gospel of Wealth & the Genial Suburban Dude Jesus”

  • Dice Wyllie Says:

    I have read Platt’s book “Radical.” As a committed and, I thought, mature Christian I found myself occasionally unable to continue reading the book because of the unease I felt. Platt challenged not only my preconceived notions of an acceptable version of relational Christianity but of my role in the “church.” His narrow, but probably correct, reading of Matthew 28:19,20 has left me realizing that my monetary contibutions to organizations dedicated to worldwide evangelism are woefully inadequate. Now I struggle with where to go from here.

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