The orthodox Christian theology of Hadley Robinson

Radical: Taking back your faith from the American Dream

by David Platt

review by Hadley Robinson

Review Synopsis of Radical1

Platt mixes Christian pop-theology with humanism, egalitarianism, and socialism in order to mass-market his version of the Christian gospel. The book is filled with condescension towards ordinary and godly Christians. He attacks them for no other reasons than a.) the prosperity they have earned from lives of honesty, hard work and thrift and b.) their unwillingness to fund his vision on how to fix/evangelize the world. Not all aspects of the "American Dream" are wrong from a Christian point of view. Platt should have made this clear. To receive all the fruits of one's labor and personally decide who is worthy of charity are not intractable evils – unless you are a socialist. Jesus did not come to implement social justice in the world – He came to save sinners from Judgment. However, those who are humanists and socialists first will never agree with the latter statement. Platt also holds to the false view that everybody is an evangelist just like the Apostles. In his view the Church becomes a huge mouth with legs instead of a normal body with many parts that work together, as depicted in Scripture. According to Platt, if you do not go along with this, you have flunked Christianity. He finds extreme cases in the churches to prove his points. Platt's heroes are just like him, including C. T. Studd and Jim Elliot.  Suffice it to say, ordinary American Christians are some of the most generous people who have ever lived. But this fact is lost in Mr. Platt's book and among socialists and other busybodies.  As they did with the best selling Prayer of Jabez, Multnomah Books will print most anything that is "Christian" in some way – and that sells. 

Review

It is impossible to correctly understand Radical without recognizing our western worldview and its dominant influence during the last few hundred years on all western thought.  It is composed primarily of two paradigms:  Egalitarianism and humanism which have largely directed the course of Christian thinking from the Reformation period on.  Neither Protestants nor Roman Catholics have been immune to this influence.  It is evident with the former in the creeds and doctrinal writings, including the Book of Common Prayer and the Westminster Confession.  It is less evident with the latter.  To oppose these paradigms – both non-Christian – is to take on every institution in the west including the visible church. 
 
What is amazing is that they are as popular as ever among the peoples of the west – despite the overwhelming evidence that they both fail over the long-haul.
 
It might be possible to sum them up this way:  God wants us to be happy, free, and have lots of stuff even if we have to do not so good things to others to reach those goals.  Everybody is equal to everybody else regardless of sex, ethnicity, skill, character, or age – unless of course, you are among the ruling elite, the high priests of these “isms”.  They focus the individual on this life and not on the life to come.  Nowhere else in Scripture is this better rebuked than in Jesus’ words: 
“I'll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’  …you fool!" Luke 12:19
When I purchased Radical, I had hopes that David Platt was going to challenge the reader to return to some form of historical Christian orthodoxy.  Specifically, that he would exhort God’s chosen people to demonstrate by their daily lives the incomparable grace they have received through Christ:  Forgiven sinners leading lives of holiness and charity towards all, especially towards their wives or husbands, their children, and their brothers in Christ, all being done by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within them.  The name Radical envisioned a challenge to the worldly status quo of the Church in our time – or so I had hoped. 
 
Instead, we encounter a syncretistic mix of the Christian faith with socialism, humanism, and egalitarianism.  For someone with advanced degrees, Platt’s theology is shallow and feckless.  The overall tone of the book is one of condescension and self-righteousness towards the average but godly Christian, i.e. “I gave all this to [fill in blank]. What did you do???”  Rather than take glory in Christ for what He did, Platt & Co. take glory in what they do.
 
Radical contains page after page of insults directed towards the Bride of Christ, an insufferable departure from the godly exhortation of His people given by true and faithful shepherds.  Paul the Apostle did not address the Church the way Platt does.  For him, the words of the Apostle are often ignored so that he can build his own New Testament understanding of the words of Jesus.
 
The book is not about Christ and His Kingdom, it is a testimony to American evangelical narcissism and exploiting people’s wanderlust.  It is difficult to take the testimonies of some of his followers seriously, especially as they abandon relationships and responsibilities due to urges and passions largely founded not in the Bible (and a verifiable call from the Holy Spirit) but from movies, novels, and carnal appetites.
 
Year after year I am puzzled why we rarely hear about brothers being called to south central Los Angeles or places like Juarez or Tijuana, Mexico.  Are ministries there just too unexciting?
 
For example, there has been a wholesale exodus of church ministries from Juarez based on the fact that this city is now perhaps the most dangerous in the world.  Does the Holy Spirit base His work on how dangerous a place is?  Did such a thing ever enter into the words of Jesus, Paul, or other Prophets in Scripture?  It is all just more evidence that these ministries were not led by the Holy Spirit but by men (and some women)?
 
Many in the churches do not take seriously the difficult task and responsibility to raise godly offspring.  It is almost an aside to the “more important things in life”, like packing my family in a crate and having an adventure in some dangerous and desperate place on the earth.  It could also be a career for the mom and endless hours away from home for the dad.  No wonder church families are often a mess and Platt is no help in this matter.
 
The long term often boring, tedious, and difficult job of proving genuine faith to the skeptical heathen we live among is just too much trouble for Platt and his followers.  Instead of endless testimonies of wanderlust, he should have urged his devotees to: 
  1. Work hard for a lifetime
  2.  Live quietly
  3.  Maintain rock solid marriages
  4.  Raise godly offspring
  5.  Help their local communities in some way
Such goals the Apostle gives us in Eph. 5 and 1 Thess. 4:11-12, among many other places.
 
To begin, let’s look at some typical quotes – good and not-so-good – from Radical. 
I found myself faced with two big questions.  ..Was I going to believe Jesus? …Was I going to obey Jesus? – p.2-3
 
Our satisfaction in our lives and success in the church are found in radical abandonment to Jesus. – p.3
 
The purpose of the church is to mobilize a people to accomplish a mission.  Yet we seem to have turned the church as troop carrier into the church as [sic] luxury liner.  – p.170
 
American believers have sold their lives to the service of Mammon, and God has His rightful way of dealing with those who succumb to the spirit of Laodicea. – Platt quoting missionary Jim Elliot – p.177
 
…sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby.... – Platt quoting C. T. Studd’s opinion of most church-goers – p.178
 
…the world is not your home. – p.179
Generally, Platt recognizes that the Christian should no longer envision the godly life as a “what’s-in-it-for-me” paradise of entertainment and goodies to pamper himself with.  This is a godly rebuke of our focus on stuff.  But he repeatedly – and incorrectly – makes the case that each and every Christian must be an evangelist, even if it means sacrificing all to insure that the “glory of God” is spread throughout the world.2
 
2. For Platt, the wealth of the American church is a mere demonstration of its descent into materialism.  For him, the church can prove that it has true faith if it generously uses its wealth to: a.) Spread the gospel. b.) Redeem the evil, corrupt, and backward parts of the world from their general poverty and squalor.
 
According to him, if a church has luxurious accommodations, this is proof positive that it has squandered its responsibility on the Devil’s work: The pursuit of Mammon.  To his credit he correctly observes that some Christians make an implicit connection between faith and material prosperity (p.118), a generally accurate assessment – but not entirely.  He fails to note that faithful Christians are thrifty and hard working – critical elements that universally lead to the accumulation of wealth.  How does one explain such a major misunderstanding by someone who claims to have three advanced degrees?
 
In any case, Christians can and should be thankful for material blessings as well as share them with their neighbor, as needed (Rom. 12:13; Eph. 4:28; 1Tim. 6:18).  However, who is my neighbor?
 
Jesus’ parable on the Samaritan gives us some direction.  In particular, it is anyone we come upon who is in need, not just those whom we like or know.  Is that someone in a foreign nation whom we have neither met nor personally know and whom, for example, is in his condition because of the horrific sin of both him and his people?  The intractable poverty of Africa is primarily due less to any natural condition or disaster than to the rampant immorality, greed, and violence of the people who live there.  Nonetheless, some godly Africans do what they can about it, especially in places like Uganda.
 
What are the well-to-do of these nations in Africa doing?  Where are the Christians?  Why are they not taking care of their own?  Where are the fathers of these millions (or, in Platt’s words, “billions”) of starving children?
 
Purveyors of proxy Christianity have much to gain holding their hands out for their endless crusades to end world hunger and AIDS – both impossible tasks that have roots deeper than any tree which ever grew.  Why isn’t the local church preaching the terrible evils of immorality, divorce, greed, and adultery as is done throughout the Bible?
 
There are great examples of Christians, particularly single men and women, who took in the widows and orphans in their own lands and neighborhoods.  This is something we should all do – if we have the opportunity.  Short term medical missions bring a wealth of grace to those suffering in backward areas of the world.  But this is not evangelism in any Biblical sense but works of mercy – a distinction that Platt is unable to make.
 
The rich man of Luke 16 had a personal responsibility and opportunity to share his wealth with the starving Lazarus who was at his own front gate.  But the rich man’s greater sin was that he did not believe nor obey the Prophets – the point of the parable – and something apparently lost within Platt’s scatterbrained theology.  If Platt had the opportunity to edit the parable, the rich man would have heard of countless heathen suffering terribly from their vice thousands of miles away, would have failed to hand over a proper amount to some “worker” among them, and then would have the heathen condemn him at the Judgment for his lack of mercy – or something like that.
 
The primary proxy Christian acts of charity mentioned in the NT are in 2Corinthians where Paul makes an appeal for fellow Christians who are suffering in Jerusalem because they believed the gospel.  They are not suffering as a result of their own irresponsible and/or evil behavior.  Orphans are children who have dead parents, not parents who are alive but uncaring.
 
This begs the question:  Are we to always show mercy and love without conditions?  According to modern Protestant evangelicalism, there are no conditions whatever.  But that is not what the Sacred Text teaches.  Jesus did not desire us to hand over food to a hungry man who refuses to work (2 Thess. 3:10).  Nor did He want us to have anything to do with the unrepentant sexually immoral in the body of Christ (1Corinthians 5:1-5).  We are to have nothing to do with evil because of the danger of us becoming mixed up in it, not because we are somehow better than others.
 
Mercy, therefore, has a test.  Do Platt’s endless appeals to save the starving millions meet that test?.  Television and the Internet have moved people’s attention away from their Biblical neighbors to something else.  According to the Author of Life, our neighbor is anyone we personally happen upon who is in need.  Demonstrating love towards brothers in Christ who are suffering for the gospel is another matter entirely.
 
However, it does not mean that, as Christians, we should not do good as much as we can, as Jesus did (c.f. Peter’s sermon in Acts 10:38).  But it starts at home.  There are some in Platt’s organization who serve locally and this is commendable, especially those who deal with the elderly, those in hospice, and the few things left that government has not usurped from the people.
 
The United States, more than any other country that has ever existed, has spread the wealth of her citizens generously, both home and abroad.  Platt does not take note of this.
 
Then again, we know that this is also the constant tune sung by the Marxists:  We are never quite good enough for the leftist busybodies whose doctrines are mostly about one thing:  How we can have more stuff, especially stuff earned by others.  These people are also in the churches.
 
Platt develops the themes above.  For the first point, we are presented with a stream of anecdotes of “real” Christians who have been burned, skinned, eaten, or beaten for their testimony.  In Platt’s mind, the martyrs have some sort of superior status in God’s kingdom.  But this is not what Scripture teaches.  These brothers did not seek martyrdom, they were appointed to it - “called” if you will. 
 
According to Scripture, those who have everything are those who have love.  Without love, giving our bodies over to the flames and giving away lots of stuff are of zero value (1Corinthians 13:3).  But such important distinctions are lost in Platt’s rabbit-trail theology.
 
Here is another example of Platt’s arrogant self righteousness and condescension: 
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 cold 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 and 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 American Christianity today?  More specifically, is materialism a blind spot in your Christianity today?  Sure this is something we must uncover, for if our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all. – p.111
If we were to go into a political science classroom of a typical western university, this would be the leftist screed we would hear.  Why is this nonsense being taught by God’s elect?  Only the ignorant would impugn all slave owning Christians who lived in the ante-bellum South or during Roman times.  
 
Firstly, Biblical theology is not egalitarian, as Platt and many others in the church culture maintain.
 
Secondly, Biblical teaching on slavery is consistent, clear, and – contrary to Platt’s views.
 
There is strong condemnation of those who steal human beings (1Tim. 1:10).  Unfortunately, English translations, including the NIV, mistranslate the Greek word as “slave traders.”  It should be translated “man-stealers” as is in the KJV.  The obvious reference is to Exodus 21:16 and Deut. 24:7 where the act of kidnapping is prohibited.3  Translators are too often more concerned with making stark and unpopular passages of Scripture palatable to contemporary and heathenish sensibilities than to staying true to the Sacred Text (c.f., the TNIV translation).
 
As per slaves and slave owners, the Word of God teaches that it is neither here nor there.  Has Platt ever read Philemon?  Unless you are a modern redactor of the Bible, what is the difference between the owners of slaves impugned by Platt and Philemon?  The epistle is devoted to making an appeal to a slave owner that he might have mercy on a runaway slave, not to necessarily free him.

Is slavery, in general, something to be preferred?  According to Scripture, the , answer is “no.”  If we can by honorable and peaceful means, take this particular yoke off, it is good – that is the sum of it.  It must not to be taken off by rebellion (Eph. 6:5-8; 1Cor. 7:21).  Like wars and the havoc they cause, slavery of a people is a judgment upon them.  It was often so with God’s Bride, Israel.
 
Paul was a man of uncommon courage and he would not have shirked at overturning the practice of men owning other men.  To the syncretistic Christians of today, statements in Scripture about remaining in slavery are dreadful and incomprehensible: 
Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to. 1Cor. 7:24
Is slavery a calling?  Is being a parent and spouse a calling?  Scripture teaches that they are.
 
The Bible is full of warnings to slave owners on how they must treat the slaves they own.  It was generally a good choice for people who were conquered in war:  become slaves or be killed.
 
Platt is smug that he is not some hideous “slave-owner”  and, by implication, encourages us to lift up our noses at Philemon as some inhuman creature.  Does he have any idea of how the ancients – from Abraham to Augustine will condemn – on Judgment Day the abortion, contraception, immorality, divorce, and adultery that is rampant in nearly all churches in the west?  Americans, in general, are not stingy, as Platt maintains.  We are, however, largely immoral and no one seems to care.
 
Platt encourages husbands to severely bend the covenant they made with their wives by dragging them and their children off to some “mission field” rather than fulfill their primary purpose: To love their brides as Christ loved the Church and give Him godly offspring. (Eph. 5:25 ff.; Mal. 2:15).  This is a Biblical calling but apparently not according to Platt.
 
A recent and tragic example of how mixed up the true calling of an evangelist has become was the New Tribes Mission sex-abuse scandal in their schools for the (abandoned) children of missionaries.  It was not just some singular occurrence but happened over decades.  Teachers like Platt share responsibility for these holocausts visited upon the children of Christians.  If one feels called as an evangelist and he is a married man with a family, he missed it.  He took an oath and should keep it.  No one can serve well in the Kingdom where travel is required if he is a married man.  Who will raise the children?  Who will love the wife?
 
Some wives go willingly but it is not where they belong – according to Scripture.  The norm should be single men receiving a well defined call from Christ to go to some land and evangelize, not for family men to do such a thing.  Is “success” the proof that what they are doing is right?  Why would Paul and others, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, write what they did if that were not what godly married people should be doing?
 
These habits have been around since shortly after the Reformation period and are hard to break.
 
We live in a land of a dying Church that is in shambles.  What is left of the Church in Europe suffers greater pathology.  Who is paying attention to what lies ahead?  The people are aborting and contracepting themselves out of existence and no few care.
 
It is doubtful that more of the same humanism and egalitarianism that has failed in the past is going to fix the endemic problems we face.  In the end all “isms” correct themselves.  Most share King Hezekiah's sentiments.  It won’t happen in my lifetime, therefore so, what?   (See 2 Kings 20:19.)
 
Single women may serve in the same way as they did Jesus during His earthly ministry – taking care of the men (Mk. 15:41).  In what church in the west are these good women honored and made examples for the single women in our churches?

Platt rejoices at silly young women being “called” to witness among Yemeni tribesmen.  One wonders how that is going?  Whatever happened to the godly teaching that the younger women are to be good homemakers, godly wives who love and serve their husbands (Titus 2:4-5)?  Where is this encouraged?  The common attitude is, "We are going to obey God's Word as long as it agrees with me."
 
Suffice it to say, the translations of the Bible often do not help.  The NIV, for example, translates the Greek noun here in 1 Peter as “master”.  In similar contexts it is translated “lord”.  The KJV correctly translates it “lord”.  Has anyone ever heard an exhortation for wives to call their husbands “lord”, much less “master”?  But this is what the Word of God commands.
 
Here is a new plaque for wives to post in the kitchen: 
My husband is my lord
It is ironic that this would make perfect sense to the ordinary Muslim, Hindu, or Asian woman, including the great and beautiful Sarah – the first example of all godly women who shall ever live.  But suggest this to your average Christian woman in America and she will recoil in anger.
 
Secondly, our failure to spend our free time meditating on the “billions of poor” somewhere out there does not mean we have flunked Christianity, as Platt asserts.
 
The man with three advance degrees begs this question:  What are these degrees in?  Has he ever done any serious study or research?  Did they have any connection with the Christian theological disciplines?  It is embarrassing to read his inaccurate history of the ancient Roman catacombs (p.168) and Christians who owned slaves in the United States (p.111).  His sloppy scholarship discredits his role as a sound teacher.  It also makes Christians look stupid and ignorant. 
 
Per his pop-theology, he states that God is in charge of the world (p.53) and then later makes the ridiculous assertion that the whole world will go to hell if we don’t drop everything and indulge in some sort of sanctified wanderlust (p.64).
 
In later chapters, the screed continues about the lost - billions of them - and that it is completely our responsibility to evangelize every one of them because if we don’t, their blood will be on our heads.  They will spend an eternity in hell because we did not pack some of our stuff, including our wives and children, into a shipping container headed for some earthly hell.  Such is Platt’s loose and careless theology – one that he shares with many other mass marketers of the gospel.
 
There are fine and better works that address the absurdity of such statements.  What follows here will have to suffice.  According to Platt, Paul would stand second in line to have the blood of the heathen on his head because he did not trump the wishes of the Holy Spirit and go to Troas.  The first belongs to God Himself as He was all the more cruel and unfeeling for the lost when He called and blessed Abraham, particularly, rather than all of the heathen of the time.  How unfair it is if we think like David Platt and follow the implications of his rabbit-trails.  It yields blasphemy in the end. 
 
Good churches will have godly mission programs But, for Platt, God forbid it if a church spends more on a building program than on the missions budget.
 
Platt presents us with the lives of some of his heroes who dropped everything and ran off.  Here is a quote from one of them:
“I made the decision to go to Guatemala after seeing in God’s Word that he commands us to go and make disciples of all nations.  I was going out of obedience, not because I had a heart for missions or a passion for the people of Guatemala.  I want you to understand that I’m a wife, mother, and part-time psychologist – I’m not a missionary, and I’m certainly not a preacher.” – p.84
The Holy Spirit has some strong words for those who abandon their Christian responsibilities and vows taken upon entering the marriage covenant.  They are worse than unbelievers (1Tim. 5:8).  How is it that God calls us to be married and give Him godly offspring and then, effectively, dump it all for some new “calling”, as here?  No passion for the people of Guatemala?  How tragic - and does this spiritually sick woman not realize that such works done in the flesh and not from love are destined for the ash heap (c.f. 1Cor. 13)?
 
It is not obvious to Platt.  It is a giveaway that his deeper convictions may not be of Christian origin or he would not have included this anecdote in Radical.
 
God is not a God of confusion but of order.  It is a lot like Amy Grant’s grounds for dumping the husband of her youth, “God wants me to be happy….”  Furthermore, Christianity and psychology are, for the most part, incompatible – but not for the woman above.  Is it any wonder, she is confused about who she is and what her role in life is?  Psychology reduces men to sacks of wheat or bags of potatoes.  Christianity reduces all men to sinners who need to be saved.
 
We know firsthand how an otherwise godly Christian husband rocked his wife by announcing that he was “called” to the mission field – in his case a particular field where it is unlawful to raise and educate your own children.  With tears in her eyes, his wife went along with it all.  He later confessed that he had made a mistake.
 
How is it that God has suddenly stopped calling men to be single?  Such a sacrifice is unheard of among Protestants like David Platt.  “He must be a homosexual…or something.”  But that is precisely how the godly missionaries of ancient times were called – and with miraculous results, as we would expect when the Holy Spirit leads.  The man who dragged his wife off should have considered the calling of singlehood before he married and had children.  God did not tell husbands to love the unsaved as Christ loved the Church.  But, as we see in Platt’s teaching, that appears to be the case.
 
He sounds like an evangelist here: 
Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell. – p.74
There is no question where his heart is, confused as it is about Biblical evangelism.  Like Moody, Graham, Bright, and others, the Church for Platt is about one thing only: reproduction (p.102).  Suffice it to say, this is an extension of the world famous knack that we have at marketing – anything.  From pet rocks to automobiles, we Americans are clever at creating demand.  And so it is with the gospel. 
 
But how does one mass-market the Gospel?  Neither the Pharisees nor Jesus embraced easy believism.  Similarly, Platt has an extensive to-do list for the Christian.  But it appears that Platt and the Pharisees have more in common than with the gospel preached by Jesus and Paul.
 
Platt and most other evangelicals are not particularly concerned with repentance, a key element of the gospel.  It is rarely mentioned or required, especially in any Biblical sense (c.f. Zacchaeus).  However, it is essential and critical to the Biblical gospel.  Throughout Platt’s book, we are unsure what the precise content of the gospel really is, especially in regards to the changed lives of God’s elect.  He says nothing of the plain – and often ignored – teaching of the New Testament that the Christian life is a long process of learning the meaning of personal suffering so as to be done with sin (1 Pet. 4:1-2).
 
For Platt, on the other hand, holiness is rejecting the prosperity that hard work, thrift, and the right to private property have created wherever it is allowed.  In this manner, he sounds like a typical leftist.  Like them, Platt plays the guilt card often.  Prosperity is not some proof that we are God’s elect (correct) – but neither is poverty and squalor.  Paul was thankful in all circumstances.  So should we be.
 
We are to put to death the sinful nature and to present ourselves to God as a holy people.  To his credit, Platt does condemn the notion that God wants me to be fulfilled and happy.  Scripture teaches that we are mere aliens and strangers.  Who has traveled alone in a foreign land unable to understand the people who live there?  It is something endured patiently.  It is not particularly a source of either joy or happiness.  We must, he writes, get our focus on others and learn to be a servant.  But then he diverges.  Being a servant means dropping everything and witnessing to Yemini tribesmen....
 
I was hoping that Platt would help the reader take back his faith from some Evangelical sacred cows such as:
 To his credit, Platt does condemn tracts like Bill Bright’s insipid The Four Spiritual Laws but he fails to follow through:
…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 a radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.” – p.32
Not only can I do nothing to save myself or bring it about – but neither can anybody else, including Platt and his army of self-appointed evangelists.  Where people must hear the Word and there is no one about who has it, God will do some miracle, such as: 
I had hoped he would have us focus on the whole Gospel Jesus preached which began with “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15
 
Platt is passionate about evangelism.  But instead of envisioning the Church as a body with many parts (1Cor. 12:14ff), he sees the body of Christ as a huge mouth with legs – a distortion and perversion of the Biblical Church.  Instead, the Holy Spirit says about those who only talk about Christ: 
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. Titus 1:16
It has never been about what we say – it has always been about what we do.
 
Nonetheless, Platt does zero in on the church-growth sacred cow.  On p.2-3, he recognizes that true faith is on a collision course with a church culture that “… is defined by bigger crowds, bigger budgets, and bigger buildings.”  It is also on a collision course with those who mass-market the gospel….
 
Platt's lack of a coherent systematic theology in building his case that all must give their possessions away and for everyone to become an evangelist is unfortunate.  His knowledge of Church history is inaccurate.  His rabbit-trail reasoning does not characterize those who have been disciplined by the pursuit of a real masters or doctoral degree.  It begs the question....
 
The book was a disappointment:  Pop-theology, guilt over our economic success, endless appeals to end world squalor and hunger, and shame for those who do not drop their jobs, families, and marriages to become evangelists.  Evangelism in the Biblical sense is a gift and not all have it.  There are some who, by command of the Holy Spirit, are not to hear the Gospel (Ac. 16:6).  Spirit anointed and led evangelists will discern such things.
 
It is time for Christians to demonstrate their faith by what they do in the day-to-day rather than by words or heroic actions that can harm others, especially wives, children, and the elderly. Our God is not a God of disorder.
Preach the gospel at all times.  When necessary use words. - Francis of Assisi
He probably had 1Thess. 1:4-9 in mind.
ΩΩΩ
1Published by Multnomah Books, Colorado Springs, 2010
2Note: We do not spread the “glory of God” – it is already declared by the Creation.  See Psalm 19 and Romans 1.)  It is curious that Platt rarely mentions the writings of Paul in helping to define a brother’s calling and role in the world.  It is as if his writings are not part of the authority of the Bible.
3One commentator sees the term in an allegorical fashion as referring to the stealing of God’s flock by wolves – “man stealers” – in the church.  With the modern American church in mind, this may be the correct understanding of the text.