|“Here are the days when holding fast to the gospel, actually believing the Bible, and putting it into practice will mean risking your reputation, sacrificing your social status, disagreeing with your closest family and friends, jeopardizing your economic security and earthly stability, giving away your possessions, leaving behind the accolades of the world, and (depending on where and how God leads you) potentially losing your life” (Platt 240).
Wow! Am I really holding fast to the Gospel of God? Am I ready to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel? Furthermore, what is my place in spreading the Gospel to a lost and broken world? These questions and many more ran through my mind as I read David Platt’s new book, Counter Culture: A Compassionate Call to Counter Culture in a World of Poverty, Same-Sex Marriage, Racism, Sex Slavery, Immigration, Persecution, Abortion, Orphans and Pornography.
As in his previous books, Platt emphasizes the Gospel and its place in our lives. However, in this book he applies the Gospel to the tough issues Christians face today; issues ranging from abortion to religious freedom. As the book begins, Platt gives a clear explanation of the Gospel, upon which the rest of the book is founded. However, since you can read the book yourself, two of his most powerful points will be noted here: our comfort and the definition of tolerance.
Platt states, “On popular issues like poverty and slavery, where Christians are likely to be applauded for our social action, we are quick to stand up and speak out. Yet on controversial issues like homosexuality and abortion, where Christians are likely to be criticized for our involvement, we are content to sit down and stay quiet” (xiii).
We often find ourselves speaking out on issues that are popular and will not offend anyone, but when the issues get controversial, we suddenly lose our tongue. Why is this? Why are we afraid to stand out? In response to this question Platt says, “Our picking and choosing normally revolves around what is most comfortable — and least costly — for us in our culture” (xiii). However, as Christians, the Gospel is the basis of our lives, not comfort.
Platt refutes the idea that Christians are to live comfortable lives, rather, he calls us to something higher, to give ourselves totally to Christ for the sake of the Gospel! Followers of Christ are called to stand on what the Word of God says, whether it is popular or not. We are called to suffer, just as Christ suffered for us.
What is Tolerance?
In his chapter on religious liberty, Platt gives a clear definition of tolerance which is important to understand. Often when our culture tells us that we are intolerant, they are saying that we have no choice but to affirm their worldview. For example, the leaders of the LGBT community are telling Christians that in order to be tolerant, they have to accept lesbian/gay sexual identities as right and true.
However, according to Platt our culture has lost the true meaning of tolerance. He explains that one must disagree in order to be tolerant. For instance, in the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Tom (a slave) deeply believes that the slave trade is evil and wrong. However, because of Christ, he is willing to humbly, gracefully serve his indifferent and harsh master despite their drastic differences.
The example of Tom perfectly illustrates what Platt is saying. Tolerance means that we “treat one another with equal value, honoring each other’s fundamental human freedom to express private faith in public forums” (225). This does not mean that we have to agree with or accept every idea or belief as equally true. Scripture is our foundation for truth, not popular opinion.
A Higher Call
Throughout the book, Platt turns again and again to Scripture as the highest authority, and he carefully applies it to the issues he addresses. Furthermore, at the end of each chapter he provides readers with a list of prayer requests, Scriptures which apply to each issue, and ways of participating in the fight against the cultural problem addressed.
Finally, he leaves us with a call to something different, something eternally rewarding. Ladies, why do you spend hours cruising Pinterest, rather than praying against the evils of abortion? Men, why do you lust after pornographic pictures, when those very pictures fuel the market for sex slaves? Platt urges you to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. He calls you to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ (Mark 8:34-38). He calls you to show Christ to the world by fighting for the lives of unborn babies, sharing the Gospel with the unsaved, and caring for the orphan.
However, he warns us that unless our social work is coupled with the Gospel, in light of eternity it is worthless. Yes, we are to bring food to the hungry, freedom to the slave, and clothes to the naked, but as Platt reminds us, without the Gospel all that is worthless. May God forgive us for our apathetic response to the evils of the world and give us grace to stand up and fight! Amen, let it be so.
|Aaron Beery and his wife, Sadie, live in Elnora, Indiana, where he serves as the Administrative Assistant at the Elnora Bible Institute. He enjoys playing the piano, singing, reading and horseback riding. He hopes to use his counseling training to speak into people’s lives in this sin-cursed world for the glory of God.