Generation Cedar

We’re reading Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (David Platt) as a family and I’m finding myself more convicted than ever before. Questioning, pondering and trying to see through this hazy American life that so easily blinds us to the real Jesus.

David reminds us that one man came to tell Jesus he wanted to follow Him. We say, “Yes! Come to Him…it’s so easy and wonderful!” Jesus said, essentially, “Look, the animals have homes but I don’t even have a place to lay my head….are you prepared for the possibility of that kind of life?” He was giving this man every opportunity to turn away.

Radical.

I would love your thoughts on these quotes, just to name a few, and I encourage you to grab the book!

“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”

“My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus’ words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to Him. ”

“God beckons storm clouds and they come. He tells the wind to blow and the rain to fall, and they obey immediately. He speaks to the mountains, ‘You go there,’ and He says to the seas, ‘You stop here, and they do it. Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, ‘No.”

“Should it concern us that the bible never calls us to ask Jesus into our hearts. Should it concern us that the bible never mentions such a superstitious sinners prayer and yet that is exactly what we have sold to so many as salvation.”

 

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44 Responses

  1. Yes, the Bible says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. It is a matter of believing and living out that faith. I have often wondered about that last quote. It sure isn’t in the Bible.

  2. Those first couple of quotes can sound like a lot of Christian rhetoric I hear, unless you sit down and really think about what it means. I remember in high school and college youth groups hearing a lot of words like that used to get middle class Christian kids on kind of a spiritual high and then we’d all go on a Mission Trip somewhere, “minister to the poor” and come back “changed”, but that change only for a couple of weeks. What is “radical obedience” supposed to look like? How do I really “abandon myself”?

  3. I heard something similar to that last quote a few years ago and really thought about it…there are so many people living with false security and thinking they are “safe” because they repeated a prayer, but do not repent and change their lifestyle at all. That’s scary.

    That’s why we are told to “test everything” including from the pulpit to see if it goes with the plumb line of scripture.

  4. Ok, if I’m not mistaken, (which I have been before so ok if I am now) Romans 10:9-13 refutes that last quote about salvation. I enjoy Platt’s books, though. I believe “radical” will look different for each person. Ultimately, it is not our will but submitting to God’s that appears “radical” to many in our society.

      1. Thank you Kelly. I will check out the link. I just thought it was interesting that I read your post yesterday evening and then went to do my Bible study and those verses came up. I do not believe in a sinners prayer per se. It’s not a one-time act that saves us. Confession of sins is a daily act. Conversion begins in the heart; loving Jesus and living out the fruit of the Spirit that dwells in each of us. God bless you and your family!

  5. That last quote kinda scares me. My husband and I have talked about this so many times. I grew up in a church that taught and screamed from the pulpit that you knew the place, the time, the day, that you “got saved”, or you weren’t. I went forward, to the alter, as a 4 or 5yr.old, scared to death that I was going to fall into hell. So I repeated the prayer that the pastor’s wife and my parents said. Then the pastor’s wife wrote ithe place, the time, and the day in the front of my Bible like it was my ticket into heaven, and to me, that’s kinda what I understood it to be. Until I lost that Bible. And as I small child hearing that preached from the pulpit and taught in Sunday school, etc, I “doubted my salvation”, over and over. I’d be crying until I threw up, at church for hours after the service was over,scared to get into the car to go home for fear we would have a crash and I’d go to hell….and I couldn’t remember when I had “gotten saved”. Still don’t. On into my adult hood I still feal almost scared when I hear this sort of thing. I know I “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”, and I strive to be like Him, to live my life for Him, but I don’t have my Bible with my “ticket” all ready to be allowed in.

  6. His quotes is SPOT ON! SO many folks teach it like it is a magic ‘abra-cadabra’ that is immediate salvation. Being saved is an ‘end’ term, some pivotal point in the future when you’ve run the good race and stayed the course. While salvation is not EARNED, it must be maintained by obeying the commandments and living a most radical life. May I suggest that Yeshua(jesus) was a Nazarene…do you really understand what that meant?(not just FROM Nazareth) And being truly radicals calls for us to step away from man-made pagan based holidays and walk in the truth that only Biblical Holy Days can provide. Yes, I understand radical, for it is the very narrow path that not many will chose to walk.

  7. When I was younger I taught children’s Bible clubs and I always made it a point to tell the young people that it isn’t the prayer that saves them, but truly trusting in Christ as their saviour and repenting of their sins that saves them. I too struggled with my salvation because I had said a prayer, but never felt changed. Last year in Oct. I finally came to the realization that I had never fully given up my will and repented of my sins. I am SAVED now and it is truly the most glorious feeling of peace!

  8. When so many places in the Bible say that you must be baptized. I will never understand why so many who profess Christ, refuse to do as even he did in such an important example. Before my husband came to Christ that was one of his questions. Why so many only thought you had to say the “sinners prayer” to be saved. We questioned him in that because when you think about it, if a “sinners prayer” for salvation is never mentioned in the Bible, where did it come from. We asked him how many people he thought had gone to Hell before some person somewhere came up with the idea of that prayer. It seems extreme and I don’t mean to offend anyone by saying that but really it is no where in the actual scripture but Baptism is all over.

    1. Rebecca,

      Are you advancing the idea that one must be baptized to be saved? Am I understanding that correctly?

      Cathy

  9. @ Charity if you are concerned about your salvation maybe you should be resaved. I have know several people who have done this if they started to doubt the circumstance behind their salvation. I can’t remember the actual date of my Baptism but I know the circumstances and why I came to Christ and why I stay in Christ so while the date is not so important to me the rest is.

    1. See, that’s the whole problem with the teachings I grew up under. I do not for one second believe that if we can’t remember the exact moment we repeated a prayer, then we should get “resaved”. And I don’t have doubts now, I was just saying that hearing the whole “repeat after me and you’ll be saved as long as you always remember this” philosophy is scary, and leading lots and lots of people astray. I believe we generally over complicate the gospel.

    2. I should also add that each time I was scared or afraid hearing this stuff growing up that I would “get saved” over and over and over and over again. Never made me feel any better, never helped. Being scared into salvation isn’t quite like I think it goes. Again, over complicating…

      1. I completely agree that sometimes people are forced by fear to get saved, which is a completely wrong situation for people… I have even known several people who didn’t make the choice themselves but were told one morning come on you’re getting baptized which I also think is wrong. No one should feel forced into it but should come openly with understanding of what they are doing and why. 🙂

  10. I’m a traditional Catholic, so I believe quite differently than Protestants. My best friend growing up was Baptist and that was my first introduction to the belief that you could say a few words of a prayer and ***POOF*** free ride to heaven. Even as a kid it didn’t make sense to me. I remember asking her what would happen if someone who was “saved” later ended up murdering someone. She said that meant the person wasn’t really saved in the first place because someone who really meant the prayer would never murder someone. And yet, they were very adamant about works having nothing to do with being saved. In the end I decided that they did indeed believe works were necessary, but just didn’t use that exact phrasing due to stubborn adherence to the faith alone doctrine. Obviously they believed that to be truly saved you had to change your life and live (work) like Christ commanded. Still, when pressed on the “once saved, always saved” belief, she never had an answer. Something else that strikes me as odd is that she believed in “Bible Alone” (sola scriptura), and yet the Bible itself doesn’t say Bible alone. I have since met many protestants that do not believe in sola scriptura, or once saved, always saved. In fact, I don’t think she even believes that anymore. She left Christianity and then came back. Now she attends a huge megachurch (another phenomenon that is odd to me).

    Just thought I’d add my rambling 🙂 God bless!

    PS- Kelly: I hope you and family are doing well as the anniversary of the tornado’s approaches. Our town of Hanceville has come a long way, but the landscape is forever changed. And Cullman still has a long way to go. Bit by bit, one day at a time!

    1. Corrie,

      Thank you for thinking of us. We are preparing now to have a time of “remembering” tomorrow, here in our home with about 150 in attendance. Yes, still so, so much to do and long road ahead. Hoping though, that after tomorrow, we can begin to live outside of the memory a little.

  11. My husband and I just read this, and also visted the church at Brook Hills a few weeks ago. It was a great book.. a challenging book. So glad to know that, through his book, so many are questioning what Americans have so long accepted as a Christian life.

    I’ve also been thinking of families like yours as tomorrow has approached.. We’ll be traveling to Tuscaloosa to spend time with friends there as we remember those that were lost and celebrate life and God’s grace.

  12. Yahshua (Jesus) came to this earth to teach us the Word of YHWH. He came to embody the instructions that the Father gave us written down in the so-called Old Testament. If the Father never changes, and the Son is a mirror of the Father, then why do modern Christians reject the very lifestyle that our Messiah taught? Matthew 5 tells us that the Messiah came only to bring a fullness of meaning to the law, not to destroy it or take away from it.

    It is an embarrassment to our Faith that those who have chosen to walk in the path YHWH has set for us from the beginning are called “radical” rather than the norm.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents on the subject. 🙂

    Blessings to you and yours,
    KallyLyn

  13. That book (and “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan) rocked our home by encouraging, admonishing, and challening us to look at our walk with the Lord.

    And, thank you Rebecca Fulcher. I am astonished by the same thing. In fact, I recently discussed it with a dear friend and it caused me to wonder how often I let my perspective of God (or the doctrine I believe in) determine whether or not I’ll “believe” something God has clearly laid out in His Word. In fact, I think that’s a premise of Platt’s book: do we love God enough to live out the life He outlines in His Word…or do we love the words of a famous teacher (for instance, one who denies God’s stand on baptism), our own comfort, looking cool, vacations in Hawaii…do we value those things more?

    Thinking of the Crawfords and the Lees and keeping you close in our prayers!

  14. thank You Jesus, for Your everlasting love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. and thank You Jesus, for saving my life. You died for me, I live for You. by YOUR grace, having faith, in You, that You will complete something wonderful in me. thank You, thank You, thank You, Jesus Christ.

  15. LOVE that book! One of those books that knocks everything on its head and makes you question how and why you do things. I also love that you’re reading it as a family. Way to go!

  16. A thought came to me several weeks ago, that perhaps should have come to me years ago! We are born into a pit of sin, correct? Accepting salvation is like God reaching down into the pit and pulling us out. However, as the Scripture says, we can be known by our fruit. So though works aren’t the means of salvation, they are the fruit of salvation. The problem is, everyone’s fruit looks different, and we get into this nit-picky mindset that everyone’s fruit should look just like mine, or they can’t possibly be as “spiritual” as myself! I know that in one church I used to attend, they used to teach the children that you become Jesus’ “forever friend”, and yet that isn’t what the Scriptures say! Yes we should be God’s friend, but through our repentance,(turning from sin) not the warm fuzzies of sentimentality! Americanized culture of over-security, instant everything, and a lack of real relationships have skewed our thinking!

  17. Jesus gave us 2 commandments… Love Him with EVERYTHING we have and love each other. They will know we are Christians by our love, as the song goes. As the Lord has sanctified our family, we have learned to give up “things”, to simplify our menu, accept as many children as the Lord chooses to bless us with, etc. We have been blessed beyond what we ever thought or imagined. And we have had to repent of a judgmental spirit when others weren’t doing the same thing. Those things that the Lord has worked in our lives are the equivalent of shining the outside of the coffee cup with the stains covering the inside if we do not love our fellow Christians, if we allow outward appearances to separate us. Like Laura said above, “I’m more “spiritual” than you BECAUSE _____.” As we purpose to lead quiet lives, to love one another, to love our enemies :/, we will draw others to the Christ they see in us.
    And unfortunately, Mr Platt’s last quote about a “sinner’s prayer” or the focus of “how many got saved this week?” has caused many churches to be filled with false converts because they have not been taught that Jesus said, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” “Die to yourself.” AND HE MEANT IT! And we wonder why the church is so powerless.

  18. Go to http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/597 for an indepth explanation of what it means to “call on the name of the Lord”. It doesn’t mean to say a prayer. David Platt is right, the sinner’s prayer is found no where in the Bible. For a short explanation of what it means, read Acts 2:21, 36-41 and Acts 22:16.

  19. Good Post Kelly,

    I have not read the book yet but have heard alot about it.Will be back to comment on some of the things I have read here after I look up some scriptures..

  20. I have not read the book, but have been truly struck my some of his sermons on YouTube. Truly living everyday in the free grace and acceptance of the Lord, WHILE, remembering that we are now slaves to Christ, no longer slaves to ourselves 🙂 thanks for the post Kelly.

  21. Thinking and praying for all of you today…

    …and I liked this book. It was eye opening in many areas. Every time we come home from China, we have a hard time getting back into the American swing of things. HARD. It’s hard to walk through Walmart at the plethora of choices for oatmeal, for goodness sake, after seeing the plight of orphans and the poor and needy. Oh my. I asked a friend who also goes on frequent mission trips how she copes with re-entry back into the “land of plenty”. Her reply was life changing. She said “You bring that love back home, to your family and friends and neighbors and whoever else. Continuing to love on people the way I learned how to love in China, has helped me tremendously.” Of course you can substitute China for any place one might go on a mission trip. What is significant is that we must love those around us with the same “radical” love.
    What a privilege to love the people around us, even people thousands of miles away, with the love of Christ.

    I know you must have experienced some very big love through the suffering and loss of the past year. We got to witness some very radical loving and living Believers all around our area, didn’t we? Even more, we all got an opportunity to live out our faith as we met needs and loved on those affected by the storms. What a privilege to LOVE!

    Praise God!

  22. I LOVE this book! My mom gave it to me for Easter last year, three days before the tornado, and I devoured it in the days after. It is something I need to read over and over again. We had a guest speaker last Sunday who spoke from Acts 2 about the believers having everything in common and selling their possessions and giving to each other as they had need and how the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. This is how we should live, giving to the uttermost and loving as Christ. I felt so convicted, asking myself again how much I really needed. We are clouded by the American Dream and live to be safe, comfortable, with our 401ks and our big homes, etc. when we truly require so much less and can give the rest away. I was reminded last week of when I was in college and I spent a couple of weeks three summers in a row in San Jose, Belize. Those people had so little, but I envied them, because they truly had everything – a slow pace of life, close-knit families, contentment. I was always overwhelmed to come home to the fast paced,loud, American lifestyle. I love this book because it is the dose of reality, about why we’re really here, that I need to be reminded of daily.

    1. Jennifer,

      “Those people had so little, but I envied them, because they truly had everything – a slow pace of life, close-knit families, contentment.”

      Isn’t the irony amazing?! It truly seems impossible to really *see* the important things in life when we are so immersed in our prosperity culture. When we believe paying for all our children a car, the latest electronic gadget, any activity they desire and 4 years of college is a “necessity”, we heap on ourselves a load of problems. Good thoughts!

  23. Peter says in Acts 2 that we need to repent and be baptized.
    That does not contradicts the so-called “sinner’s prayer” if it is done whit a truly repented heart. The important thing is the what, not the how.
    God can use the “sinner’s prayer” for salvation if He chooses to. He did it with me and with many people I know.
    I wish we Christians were more flexible in the things that are not black over white in the Bible, and would realize that our way is not always the only right one.
    A friend of my husband gave us RADICAL sometime ago. I am looking forward to reading it… after I finish something I have to read first.

    1. Carolina –

      “The important thing is the what, not the how.” I would have to disagree with you here, Carolina. The “how” or the methodology is quite important – methods are not neutral – biblically speaking.

      I would say that you were saved inspite of the sinner’s prayer, not because of the sinner’s prayer. You are most certainly correct that it was “your repetant heart” that brought you to faith in Christ.

      Not directed toward you now, but most Christians in general, too many put their “faith” in either a “prayer” or their own “sincerity” of that prayer for salvation. It’s is Christ and Christ alone that saves. His finished work on the cross and His bodily ressurection. It is Him and all Him who has done the work. “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to your cross I cling.”

      1. I did not say that the sinner’s prayer -or any prayer- saves you. Of course, only Jesus’s work does!
        But a prayer like that can be used to articulate what is in a person’s heart, can help a person have the right perspective towards it.
        Balance is necessary in most things in life. It is not right to give the “sinner’s prayer” a place that does not have, but it is not right to reject it either.

  24. Sounds like a good book. My struggle is not so much the “American Dream” in the sense of a house, car, a nice handbag, etc (not that I don’t ever want those things) but more of finding my self worth in personal accomplishments (so distracting) rather than in resting in the fact I’m a child of God and THAT alone being enough. It’s an ongoing struggle.

    We are currently touring the US in an RV learning about US history and not long ago we drove to Tuscaloosa seeing some of the damage. My oh my. What a learning experience/challenge you must be going through. Blessings.

    1. Jenn,

      Touring the US–how incredibly cool and fun! Yes, we celebrated the storm’s 1 year anniversary Friday. It was a bitter/sweet time and 163 people came to our home to share the night. What many people don’t realize is that those tornadoes weren’t just any; they were “historically record-breaking” storms. I’m glad y’all are getting to experience life in so many places!

  25. Jumping in a little late to this discussion, but just had to comment. The Bible says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”-Romans 10:9-10. The sinner’s prayer is just one way to do this. I don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    1. I totally agree with you Jenae. However no matter how many times you say the sinners prayer and do not live the life of Christ,your confession is just what it is “mere words”. Being saved is more than just saying the sinners prayer. Its about your belief and faith in the prayer you just said. Its about giving up yourself, your will and letting the Spirit of God lead you.Its about being transformed by the word of God, and letting the Holy spirit conform your will to his own. Everyone recieves the Holy Spirit at the point of accepting Jesus into their lives, however we must now consciously allow him to do his work in our lives. You are saved only when you say the prayer with belief and faith in it otherwise the prayer is not of any effect in your life. No matter how many times you sin, Jesus is ever ready and willing to forgive you but only if you ask. Our salvation is by grace and not by works,however, we should not take this for granted,(Rom 6 vs 1)because if you die without confessing your sins and asking Jesus for forgiveness, you go to hell. And anyone who loves God and is genuinely saved does not make a habit of sinning 3rd John 3vs 9. Rom 6 vs 14.

  26. This post is older, but I came across a pretty thought-provoking article today that briefly mentioned the book “Radical”, which I’ll admit is a book I have not read yet. I thought I would put some different food for thought out there regarding the concept of being “radical for God”.

    Here’s an excerpt from the article, found here: http://m.nationalreview.com/corner/355935/forget-awesome-lets-settle-faithful-david-french

    “Ever in touch with cultural currents, we Evangelicals have taken the “if you dream it, you can do it” ethic and Christianized it into something like “be radical for God!” In other words, be awesome, but be awesome for others. This exhortation — featured in books like Radical — I fear creates a community of spiritual meteors, burning brightly then burning out.

    Forget radical. Forget awesome. Let’s ”settle” for simply faithful — demonstrating the fortitude to show up each day, diligently discharge your duties, and go to sleep with the resolve to do it again tomorrow. The desire even for radical spirituality, radical service, radical anything creates its own self-esteem trap, as our radical ideas lead us to believe that we have the talent, the drive, the dreams that are big enough to accomplish all we hope to accomplish.”

    That quote is from close to the end of the article, and reading the whole article, which I highly recommend, would give more context. But I like the emphasis in the quote on simply being faithful, serving in quiet humility in the day-to-day.

    Just something I thought I’d mention.

    1. 6 arrows,

      I have read this article or another like it and loved it. Totally agree and I do think we have to so carefully balance every teaching. Except I’m still wondering (I would need to re-read Radical) if some of Platt’s intentions have been misread. By “being radical” I think some of what he means is simply obeying, much like the article implies. However, I do think there’s a tipping point in his teaching that can lead “ordinary” Christians to feel somewhat undone if they haven’t, say, launched into foreign missions. And that, I’m afraid, is a danger.

      Nevertheless, his biggest beef seems to be with “Christians” who are so nominally living, they’re drowning in debt and are more concerned with what the neighbors think than anything related to living for Christ. And I think both authors would agree that’s a big problem.

      1. Thanks for your thoughts, Kelly. I appreciate this: “However, I do think there’s a tipping point in his teaching that can lead “ordinary” Christians to feel somewhat undone if they haven’t, say, launched into foreign missions.”

        I agree. It does seem there can be too much emphasis on doing big things, to the point that the ordinary, not-very-visible-to-the-world ministry of parenthood, for example, isn’t considered all that valuable in the big “out there”.

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