We’re studying David Platt’s Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream chapter by chapter.
Platt criticizes an implicit assumption within the “American dream” —
The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. … The gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust in his power. In the gospel, God confronts us with our utter inability to accomplish anything of value apart from him. …
While the goal of the American dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God. (pp. 46-47)
Platt then criticizes the modern approach to church (called by many the “attractional” approach).
But what is strangely lacking in the picture of performances, personalities, programs, and professionals is desperation for the power of God. God’s power is at best an add-on to our strategies. … We can so easily deceive ourselves, mistaking the presence of physical bodies in a crowd for the existence of spiritual life in a community.
Platt then describes how church growth in Acts was driven by the power of the Spirit, not marketing and programming.
I cannot help but long to be a part of this kind of scene in the church today. A scene where we refuse to operate in a mind-set dominated by an American dream that depends on what we can achieve without our own abilities. … A scene where the church radically trusts in God’s great power to provide unlikely people with unlimited, unforeseen, uninhibited resources to make his name known as great. I want to be a a part of that dream. (p 53)
Platt then begins to address the Holy Spirit.
This is the great promise of God in prayer. We ask God gifts in prayer, and he gives us the Giver. We ask God for supply, and he gives us the Source. We ask God for money, and he doesn’t give us cash; instead, so to speak, he gives us the bank! (p. 58)
He concludes the chapter,
Our great need is to fall before an almighty Father day and night and to plead for him to show his radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for his glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover that were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of his Spirit. (p. 60)