We all have blind spots—areas of our lives that need to be uncovered so we can see correctly and adjust our lives accordingly. But they are hard to identify.
I can think of at least one glaring blind spot in American Christian history. Slavery. How could Christians who supposedly believed the gospel so easily rationalize the enslavement of other human beings? Churchgoers with good intentions worshiping God together every Sunday and reading the Bible religiously all week long, all the while using God's Word to justify treating men, women, and children as property to be used or abused.
Not long ago, God began uncovering a blind spot in my life. An area of disobedience. A reality in God's Word that I had pretended did not exist.
Today more than a billion people in the world live and die in desperate poverty. They attempt to survive on less than a dollar per day. Close to two billion others live on less than two dollars per day …. Anyone wanting to proclaim the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth must consider not only how to declare the gospel verbally but also how to demonstrate the gospel visibly in a world where so many are urgently hungry.
What is the difference between someone who willfully indulges in sexual pleasures while ignoring the Bible on moral purity and someone who willfully indulges in the selfish pursuit of more and more material possessions while ignoring the Bible on caring for the poor? The difference is that one involves a social taboo in the church and the other involves the social norm in the church.
We look back on slave-owning churchgoers of 150 years ago and ask, "How could they have treated their fellow human beings that way?" I wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, "How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn't have food or water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn't even exist?"
Is materialism a blind spot in your Christianity today? Surely this is something we must uncover, for if our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to question just how effective we will be in declaring the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth.
Excerpted from Radical by David Platt. Copyright © 2010 by David Platt. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Copyright © 2010 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream is available from ChristianBook.com and other book retailers.
Christianity Today articles related to David Platt include:
Why Johnny Can't Read the Bible | Most Americans—including Scripture-loving evangelicals—cannot name the disciples, the Ten Commandments, or the first book of the Bible. But that's not our biggest biblical illiteracy problem. (May 24, 2010)
'The Word Does the Work' | David Platt discusses how he raises the bar for biblical understanding and practice. (August 10, 2009)
At 28, Pastor Has Five Degrees and a 4,300-Member Flock | Church at Brook Hills leader David Platt may be youngest megachurch pastor ever. (August 15, 2006)
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
240 pp., 9.21
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
More from this Issue
Read These Next
- TrendingDon’t Pretend the Ugandan Homosexuality Law Is ChristianNot everything that’s a sin is a crime—let alone one punishable by death.简体中文繁體中文
- From the MagazineEve’s Legacy Is Both Sin and RedemptionThe first woman tried to get free of God. But when she aligned herself with God’s purposes, she became the ‘Mother of All the Living.’
- RelatedHillsong Says It Is Moving ForwardNew revelations will require increased accountability, but pastor wants to look to the future.
- Editor's PickPCA’s 50th Anniversary Comes During a Season of GriefPresbyterians expect less fight and more fatigue as they gather following the Covenant shooting and the deaths of Harry Reeder and Tim Keller.