When we ask Christians what they think about ending sex trafficking or poverty or the helping the orphans, most will agree that these causes are worth fighting for. Most will voice their opinions about how we as Christians should do something about these things and most will not expect much rebuttal or disagreement. But why does the conversation get a little tense and the lines get a little blurry when those same Christians have a conversation about same sex marriage and/or abortion?
In his book Counter Culture, David Platt challenges us to be passionate not only for the issues that are popular or where everyone is on the bandwagon, but also for those issues that may ostracize us from our friends and family and maybe even our church.
Mr. Platt starts off the book stating the obvious that we seem to forget when dealing with any sin and that is that we have a problem with a statement like: "There is a God who sustains, owns, defines, rules, and one day will judge you." (pg. 3) The natural man's reaction to this is to be offended by such a statement. Deep down we just want to do what we want and we will collaborate, manipulate, interpret, make excuses, etc just to be our own god and get our own way.
Mr. Platt speaks on all the issues (easy and difficult ones) and lovingly and respectfully explains using God's Word and other information where Christians need to start when dealing with them. Like all the books I have read by him, he uses examples to help the reader understand how important it is for the Christian not to idly stand by as so many evils are happening. At the end of every chapter he guides the reader on what to pray for, where to get more information and what he/she can do start doing something. He also includes eye-opening statistics that made me cringe some times.
Here are some excerpts I highlighted and wanted to share with you:
Regarding abortion he gave this statistic: an estimated 92% of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. (pg 67)
Regarding orphan, widow and foster care: "For we are not rescuers giving our lives and families to save orphans and widows in need; instead, we are the rescued whose lives have been transformed at our deepest point of need." (pg 104)
Regarding racism he cited this verse: "From one man (God) made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. Acts 17:26 NIV"
Regarding illegal and legal immigration he says: "The gospel compels us in our culture to decry any and all forms of oppression, exploitation, bigotry, or harassment of immigrants, regardless of their legal status. These are men and women for whom Christ died and their dignity is no greater or lesser than our own." (pg 205)
Regarding religious liberty. David Platt along with other religious leaders of different faiths (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism) signed a document expressing their convictions of religioius liberty. This is what part of the document said. While Mr. Platt strongly disagrees with them, he joined with them to protect our religious freedom. The end of the document these men signed says this:
"We will not . . . bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstance will we render to Caesar what is God's." (pg. 222)
Regarding religious liberty: Tolerance implies disagreement. I have to disagree with you in order to tolerate you. (pg 225)
Life for the Christian living in the U.S. has changed. Mr. Platt warns: Gone are the days when it was socially beneficial to be in church at the beginning of the week. Gone are the days when it was publicly accepted to follow Christ every other day of the week. 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. (pg240)
I strongly recommend this book!
We should love our enemies, we should bless those that persecute us, but we should not dilute the truth that ALL OF US are in need of Savior. That ALL have sinned and fall short. That ALL struggle with sins that are heinous to a HOLY God. And that the Gospel IS GOOD NEWS.
Mr. Platt does make an interesting statement towards the end of his book. He speaks about the overflowing amount of Bible knowledge that the U.S. has and how even with so many Bibles, so many seminaries, so many churches, we seem to be more blind and more deaf to the Gospel. He speaks that maybe it is because we need to go OUT of the U.S. and into other countries where the Gospel seed will land on fertile soil. I couldn't help but ask myself if God is allowing us to wallow in our sin and has hardened the hearts of many?
The last sentence of the book is this: He (God) has called you to himself, he has saved you by his Son, he has filled you with his Spirit, he has captured you with his love, and he is compelling you by his Word to counter our culture by proclaiming his Kingdom, not worried about what it will cost you because you are confident that God himself is your great reward. (pg. 254)
There is so much more in this book that I could share! Like every other book of his, I was challenged to do something with my faith. This book will not make you feel good, or will not help someone with low self-esteems or make you richer. It doesn't give you advice on how to make friends. On the contrary, it challenges you to go against the grain, to counter the culture that has normalized so many things God calls sin.You will lose friends, you will not be popular, you will "lose" money. But what do those things matter, it was never about you (me) anyway.
You can buy this book here