About The Book:
What did Jesus really mean when He said, “Follow Me”?
Is it possible for people to say they believe in Jesus but not truly be born again? Is it possible for people to claim they have accepted Christ into their hearts yet not actually be Christians? Not only is it possible, but according to Pastor David Platt, it’s also highly probable. The author of the bestselling book Radical is convinced that many people in our churches today are misled as to what it truly means to be a follower of Christ. Western culture has drained the lifeblood out of Christianity and replaced it with a watered-down version of the gospel that is so palatable it isn’t even real anymore.
“Follow me,” Jesus calls. Two simple words that change everything. You will never be bored. You will always have purpose. You will never lack joy. But it will cost you. This call is not an invitation to pray a prayer. It is a summons to lose your life. A call to die. A call to live. Have you answered that call?
Over the past few months, there has been a stream of books on discipleship coming out of the neo-reformed/conservative evangelical movement. From Francis Chans recent book Multiply (forward by David Platt), to J.D. Grears "Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart", now comes David Platts new work, Follow Me (forward by Francis Chan) dealing with the issue of what it means for one to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ- a Christian. Now, as I said in my review of Francis Chans Multiply, I am not a fan of "discipleship" books because they tend to push on some very basic and often watered down principles of the Christian life while excluding many others. On one hand, much of Follow Me fits tightly in this category, yet on the other, David Platts teaching here is far from watered down and is a very poignant call to "wake up" to anyone who will pick up this book.
The premise of the book is that there are millions of people living in the world today who call themselves "Christians" but actually have no relationship with Jesus Christ. They have prayed a prayer, checked a box, or come forward in an altar call, but their lives remain unchanged and unfruitful. This book is more of a call to lethargic and nominal Christians to "wake up" with the threat that if they don't get serious about following Christ, they could end up before the throne of God saying "Lord, Lord" and receiving the fateful command- "Depart from me." This basic premise is a good one. It really is. Minus the "fear" aspect, there is truly a problem when, as Dr. Platt points out, 4/5 Americans claim to be a Christian and yet 1/5 actually are involved in a church. There is an issue when people think they're disciples of Jesus because they said a magic prayer and don't take up Jesus' call to live self-sacrificially for the sake of this world and the glory of his name. There is a problem when most people go around calling themselves followers of Jesus and yet live like they have never encountered him or heard his commands. This is a big deal.
My problem is, however, that their are two undergirding themes that this book laces in to that message that distract from its power- one, the idea that evangelical Christianity/Calvinism is true Christianity and are the only true Christians, and two, this principle of fear- Platt actually says that it is most probable that the majority of people in the Church today are going to hell (pg. 7). This for me is hugely problematic. I spent years praying every night for God to forgive me of my sin and make me a Christian again and again, fearing that if I fell asleep without reading my Bible I would surely be damned. Now Platt himself would reject this and agree that my lifestyle then was terrible. But his message based on fear is what causes this kind of mindset. It is not a fear of not truly being "in" that motivates a disciple of Jesus to follow closer to Christ, it is the joy of knowing that God desires you, loves you, and has forgiven you completely and is now expecting you to live as a beacon of this light of His kingdom to the world. I think that when we fundamentally change our perspective from fear to grace that we will be, in fact, more motivated to follow Christ with our whole lives. For the non-reformed reader who is not used to this type of speaking about the Church, one may be turned off to the broader and more important meaning and message of this book.
Aside from these two objections, I truly felt like the content of the book was practical, concise, and incredibly biblical. Platt writes with a sense of urgency calling Christians to a life of work. Active obedience of the commands of God to spread the Gospel of Jesus and build his Kingdom on the earth. A call to die to ourselves and live unto Jesus and his Kingdom. I can't think of a more important message for the lethargic Western Church today. This book will cause the Christian reader to really reflect on how we are following Christ and call us to a more radical (no pun intended) submission to his Lordship in our lives.
At the end of the book Platt drives home the message of the book by asking the reader to answer a few questions:
- How will I fill my mind with truth?
- How will I fuel my affections for God?
- How will I share God’s love as a witness in the world?
- How will I show God’s love as a member of a church?
- How will I spread God’s glory among all peoples?
- How will I make disciple makers among a few people?
These questions cause the reader to reflect and digest the content of the book which gives it a more lasting impact on our lives.
Overall, I was very pleased with Follow Me and had the honor of chatting with David Platt about some of the sections I had some questions about. This book is a powerful reminder that the Christian life isn't one of relaxation or laziness, but one of action, work, and even at times suffering- for the sake of the Kingdom and the Glory of God.
I give "Follow Me" by David Platt a 3.5 out of 5 Stars!
For more of this interview, visit out YouTube Channel Here.
Review for the Patheos Book Club Roundtable Discussion
For more information about the Patheos Book Club, click here.