I think it would be impossible to read David Platt’s latest book without taking on something of the weight of burden his heart feels for the issues in its pages. He begins “imagine standing at the height of all the earth and seeing the depth of human poverty” and Platt is no stranger to spending extended periods in some of the world’s most impoverished places. As the former Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills and now as President of the International Mission Board, Platt has travelled extensively around the world witnessing the life-changing (and often life-threatening) implications of countering economic, spiritual, and moral poverty with the gospel in a world where racism, sex slavery, pornography and persecution are worse than any other time in human history. It is from this position that Platt makes a compassionate call to stand for justice and mercy in the world, while proclaiming without reservation that Jesus Christ is the Judge and Saviour of the world.
[Platt says] I don’t want to join the chorus of men, women, and preachers who are content to wring their hands in pious concern over the plight of our culture while they sit back in practical silence and do little to nothing about it.
In whatever area of our broken culture he presses, Platt pleads that it would never be said of our generation that we would be known as those who “sinned through silence”. Ultimately, it’s not enough that we simply hold to the gospel in our own lives and the lives of the family that we’re responsible for; but rather that we speak clearly with the gospel to the most pressing issues of our day.
In ten chapters, Counter Culture delivers a biblically faithful examination of how the gospel speaks to culture, poverty, abortion, orphans and widows, sex slavery, marriage, sexual morality, ethnicity, religious liberty, and engaging the unreached. Each chapter ends with “first steps” on how the Christian can pray, participate, and proclaim the gospel faithfully into these important issues.
For me, Platt’s indictment against comfortable Christians called for the biggest paradigm-shift in our thinking. Not limited only to helping the voiceless, poor, or the disenfranchised; but in raising the alarm to decry the comfortable middle-class Christian, Platt highlights that the entire concept of saving money so that we can live a life of ease and self-indulgence has no biblical foundation whatsoever. Christ makes it clear that the call to follow him isn’t a call to a comfortable life, but a cross. Platt doesn’t point his readers to some special ‘higher calling’ for those Christians whom God has set apart; conversely this is basic, fundamental Christianity. And if you claim to have taken up the call to follow Christ from Luke 9:23, the challenge to counter culture is inescapably meant for you.