I decided to write this blog after reading David Platt’s book, RADICAL; TAKING BACK YOUR FAITH FROM THE AMERICAN DREAM. A review of his book is the best way for me to explain this new blog. An attempt to begin to restore the true American dream that was developed from the dreams of the first immigrants to these shores. My review follows:

RESTORING The True American Dream
by LeRoy Paul
September 8, 2011

Radical, A critical review.
This blog has been established to examine The True American Dream, its corruption and its restoration. After reading “Radical, Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream”, by David Platt I became disturbed, first by the secondary part of the title, then by Dr. Platt’s basis for writing the book, by citation deficiencies that gave me concern, then by the judgement against the Church in America. I will cover these matters first. It is then my desire to examine in great detail the founding of America and the early years of the republic, how we came to where we are today and what we need to do to restore The True American Dream.

A Secular, Modern Version of the American Dream
On page 45 in his book Dr. Platt, under the title of “Subtle Dangers” states, “To this point, we have seen how the American dream radically differs from the call of Jesus and the essence of the gospel. This differentiation is heightened when we contrast trust in the power of God with reliance on our own abilities.
“As the American dream goes, we can do anything we set our minds to accomplish. There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we combine ingenuity, imagination, and innovation with skill and hard work. We can earn any degree, start any business, climb any ladder, attain any prize, and achieve any goal. James Truslow Adams, who is credited with coining the phrase “American dream, in 1931, spoke of it as “a dream…in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are.”
I will concede, that this is probably the corrupt American dream that Dr. Platt was taught in school as so many others have also been taught. In an article dated June 28, 2011, titled, ‘Americans Are Creating the New American Dream’, George Barna seems to hold a very similar view of the American dream. He goes on to identify failures in it and some remedies that he sees in the future. However, I believe he has also accepted the corruption of The True American Dream. This revisionist view of the American dream replaced over 300 years of The True American Dream which was established in London, England and onboard the Mayflower before either of the original colonies was established in North America. It was clearly stated in two documents, the First Virginia Charter of the London Virginia Company and the Mayflower Compact.
There is no doubt that probably a larger percentage of Americans are following Turslow and fit the corrupted American dream descriptions used by both Platt and Barna, but that doesn’t change the truth of the matter. In my opinion we don’t have to take our faith back from the American Dream, we need to restore the “true” American Dream on the foundation of faith upon which it was originally erected. We must not let unbelievers set the definitions of words and the basis of our discussions with modern claims, i.e. “The American Dream,” origins of our rights as Americans, or the mythical separation of church and state. You will find many who still pursue The True American Dream, in our fundamental churches all over the country and especially in the heartland. I will not allow the enemies of Christ and His Church to determine my perspective on America’s founding and development. Nor will I allow the enemies of Christ to force discussion on corrupted wording or their evil agenda. We must sound a certain trumpet, or we risk everything in which we believe. As Paul tells us in I Corinthians 14:8,

“We also today can speak with the authority of God, if we speak His Word plainly and clearly. But “if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?”” Institute for Creation Research, Days of Praise devotional, April 15, 2011

The First Charter of Virginia
In England, evangelic Christians petitioned King James I for a charter to establish a colony in the area of Virginia in the New World. Their purpose was to be free to worship God without persecution and the interference of government and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the indigenous peoples. That purpose was stated as the first priority of the new colony. Of course, their were some who came for other purposes and the colonists were expected to develop the means to feed themselves and establish trade products to thrive as a colony. But the first priority was clear. The first purpose as stated in the First Charter of Virginia, April 10, 1606, London, England, was, “We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government: DO, by these our Letters Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires;” You will find the whole charter at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/va01.asp This is the foundation of the Virginia colony not the way it is taught in most American schools today, due to revisionist historians.

The Mayflower Compact
After being blown off course, finding themselves off the New England coast, the Puritans realized that their Charter didn’t apply in the area where they had arrived. Before disembarking from their ship they made a covenant that we know as the Mayflower Compact. Unfortunately revisionist historians have removed the Puritans references to God from this great document. Following is the original transcription of the opening paragraphs, without modernization of writing style or other changes,
“In ye name of God Amen· We whose names are vnderwriten, the loyall subjects of our dread soueraigne Lord King James by ye grace of God, of great Britaine, franc, & Ireland king, defender of ye faith, &c

Haueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of God, and aduancemente of ye christian ^faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· doe by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and one of another, couenant,…”

That is what was taught in American schools until the revisionist historians purged references to God and faith from this beautiful convenant. The full compact with a list of the signers can be found at, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/mayflower.asp
These are the foundations of the migrating people to the original colonies that were established in the new world. Yes, there were expectations of finding precious metals and the colonists were tasked to develop resources to provide for their independence and to pay a return on the investment that was made in these ventures.
America has turned out to be one of the richest areas of the world in natural resources. She has not been stingy in the sharing of these great resources with the rest of the world. Have there been failures, waste, and abuse? Certainly! Has it been worse than was recorded in the Garden of Eden, the Promised Land, in the letters to the seven churches, or anywhere else? No it hasn’t, due to the common thread throughout history – the disobedience of  mankind.
The first purposes of the migration certainly would fit Dr. Platt’s statement that, “Disciple making is not a call for others to come to us to hear the gospel but a command for us to go to others to share the gospel.” Radical, page 94. That was precisely the intent of these early settlers.

Judging the American Church
My next problem is when Dr. Platt judges American Christians and the American church. Under the chapter titled “The Cost of Discipleship” he writes, “On the left one headline read, “First Baptist Church Celebrates New $23 Million building. …. On the right was a much smaller article. The headline for it read, “Baptist Relief Helps Sudanese Refugees. … the article said, “Baptists have raised $5,000 to send to refugees in western Sudan.” He disdainfully declares “Twenty-three million dollars for an elaborate sanctuary and five thousand dollars for hundreds of thousands of starving men, women, and children, most of whom are dying apart from faith in Christ.” These two stories have no references as to their sources. A major failure in the requirements when citing statements of fact and the basis of a conclusion.
After a thorough search of the internet, including items about Radical and other writings of Dr. Platt, I have found only two articles that seem to fit.
In The Christian Index, June 8, 2006 I found an article about the new $23 Million Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center. http://www.christianindex.org/2267.article. I have been unable to find any other article that fits Dr. Platt’s description. This building is not a church and has no sanctuary. It has a small chapel for the use of the employees. The building’s purpose is to support the work of the Georgia Baptist Convention in ministry and missions work. This would include major areas of missions and discipleship. Two things that Dr. Platt champions, and rightfully so, in Radical.
According the the Florida Baptist Witness, July 28, 2004, “An initial emergency grant of $5,000 from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund purchased food and grain [strangely omitted] for refugee camps, according to hunger and relief consultant Jim Brown. Another $100,000 will be needed to get clean drinking water into the camps, and long-term plans call for helping repair and dig wells in the area. That article can be found at, http://www.gofbw.com/news.asp?ID=2899. The $5,000 was for emergency food and grain for the refugee camps. It was the beginning of a $100,000 project, under the International Mission Board. The IMB has a solid history of following through on such projects.
Let me repeat, this is what I have found in the absence of proper referencing and citations by Dr. Platt. But, unfortunately this then is the basis of his statement, “Where have we gone wrong? How did we get to the place where this is actually tolerable?” Radical, page 16.
Dr. Platt’s has judged the Church in America as “unbiblical.” I would like to make two points: 1) When did the Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, give this power or authority to a man. Even Paul only addressed specific problems in specific churches. The only judgements on churches were made by Christ himself, through his command, in the Book of Revelation, to the Apostle John to write letters to the seven churches. Unfortunately when men pick up the tar brush many innocent victims get in their sweeping indictments. 2) He does not cite any studies or great investigations of his own to support his harsh judgement. I must reject his authority and his conclusions. There are many great churches all across this land and they all answer to Jesus Christ, and to him only.

The Author’s Purpose
Dr. Platt tells us about the large numbers of unreached and unengaged people groups and closes that paragraph by stating that, “Even worse, no one is currently doing anything to change their situation. No one.” (page 158) My initial research, which I have conducted, because of my recollections that this is not so, has revealed that this matter began to be addressed at least as early as 1989 with the Caleb Project, 1995 with the Joshua Project and Global Consultation On World Evangelization and other endeavors. General information from SBC records indicates that worldwide missions work, which certainly includes the UPG’s and the whole 10/40 Window, has been extensive.

The 2010 goal for the Lottie Moon Offering for foreign missions was $175 million dollars, to fulfill the scripture, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14 ESV). Our focus is worldwide, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV) Any Christian would have to have been living under a rock to not have any awareness of the focus that has been concerned with the peoples in the 10/40 Window. But the 10/40 Window is just one part of our foreign mission field, especially if we consider the word foreign to include all who have not responded to the gospel, including all of the members of our families, churches, schools, and workplaces. We cannot ignore everything outside of the UPG’s.

The Effect on Immature or New Believers and the Enemies of Christ and the Church
In reading “Radical” new believers could certainly be influenced to the point that they have no hope of being a “biblical” Christian or of finding a “biblical” church to serve in. I do not believe Dr. Platt’s has authority to judge the church as “unbiblical” , as those judgments are reserved to Christ, “…the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (Eph. 5:23; ESV).  Nor does he have authority to judge any Christian who is accountable to, “…Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead,…” (II Tim. 4:1; ESV). And, I don’t agree with his assessment of the church and Christians is correct. Of course there are apostate churches and Christians. They have existed from the beginning of the Church Age. The NT addresses this and other shortcomings thoroughly. In the Book of Revelation Christ, through John, warned 7 churches that were in various states of failure. He didn’t judge all the churches with a blanket condemnation.

A Positive Close
It is important in closing this review that I do acknowledge that there was much of value that I did get out of Radical and I certainly share Dr. Platt’s concern that many of America’s Christians and churches are not living up to the standard that we should, but all of this could have been supported in positive and less destructive methods. Overall, I believe the book is not one that I would recommend to anyone. I believe that some may take actions on a basis of guilt rather than responding to the call of the Lord of the harvest to go into the fields. I have been much more inspired by the measured passionate testimonies of Eric S. and Matt D., Mark M. and Bethany B. sharing their call by “. . .the Lord of the harvest. . .” for they have seen how full, ripe, and the harvestis and they have said, “”Here am I! Send me.” (Is. 6:8 ESV).
My mother, grandmother, and my great grandmother often told me the I would catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

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Your Comments
Let me assure you that I will accept, read, and give due consideration to all comments as long as they are presented in a civil way and speak to the matters at hand in this review of Radical. I reserve the total authority over what will or will not be posted.

Coming
My next installment will begin to get into the faith of the founders and the biblical basis of the founding of America. Until then, May Almighty God richly bless you and yours.
LP

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