Platt has a serious message for Christians. We have done well in feeling compassion for and ministering to the hurt and mistreated. But what about controversial issues like homosexuality and abortion, issues where we might be criticized for our work?
Rather than focusing on the rightness or wrongness of such issues, Platt concentrates on bringing the gospel to them. His goal for the book is the application of the gospel to social issues. He encourages Christians to a self-sacrificing commitment to go, give, and serve. He desires we “seek how individually as Christians and collectively in our churches the Spirit of Christ is leading us to compassionate action in our culture.” (21) To that end he has included First Steps to Counter Culture at the end of each chapter, with suggestions for prayer, participation, and proclamation.
Topics covered include poverty (and our attitude toward money), abortion, widows and orphans, definition and practice of marriage, sexual immorality, sex slavery, ethnicity and immigration, religious freedom and intolerance. In the end he reminds us that mankind's most urgent need is the gospel.
Platt's suggestions may be surprising. The purpose in addressing sexual immorality, he writes, “is not to rail against the dominance of sexual sin in the culture around us but to expose the depth of sexual sin that lies within us.” (166)
I liked that he set the record straight on “legislating morality.” He writes, “The state not only has the right but also the responsibility to legislate morality.” (70)
You will not be encouraged to picket abortion clinics in this book. You'll be encouraged to work at a pregnancy care center and befriend a pregnant teen. You'll be encouraged to adopt orphans and sponsor orphan care. You'll be encouraged to live out the gospel, not just talk about it.
This is a great book for church boards, pastors, and directors of Christian organizations to read. There are teaching videos available as well as personal study materials. You can go to www.CounterCultureBook.com to find out more.
Food for thought:
Referencing sinful indifference, “Moral and political neutrality here is not an option.” (71)
David Platt is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board. He previously served as the pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, as New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary dean of chapel and assistant professor of expository preaching and apologetics, and as staff evangelist at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans. He is the author of several bestselling books including Radical. He and his wife have four children.
Tyndale House Publishers, 267 pages.