"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Monday, December 27, 2010

David Platt on CNN Blog: A Pastor Truly Practicing What He Preaches, Making a Difference

In case you didn't read it, CNN's religious blog on December 23rd featured an article by Dr. David Platt, pastor of the 4000-member Church at Brook Hills entitled "Why My Church Rebelled Against the American Dream." Please click on the hyperlink and read it.

By now most WD readers have heard of Platt - he is a 31-year old graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (after earning a Bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Georgia, earning two Master's and a PhD from NOBTS), who has written a best-selling book entitled "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream."

In this CNN article, Platt explains how as a pastor he looked at a world of hurting and starving people and asked: "What are we spending our time and money on that is less important than meeting these needs?", and then led his church to do things like:

- jetisson their plans to spend millions on buildings to expand their "campus ";

- gave away their $500,000 surplus fund to assist churches in India where 41% of the world's poor live;

- trimmed $1.5 million from their church budget to "...build wells, improve education, provide medical care and share the gospel in impoverished places around the world."

- led his church in helping needy, at-risk children in their county by providing adoption or foster care for 160 kids.

In a word, Platt believes that chasing the "American Dream" and following the teachings of Jesus Christ are incompatible. And he doesn't just preach it from the mountain top or from behind a gated community; Platt in fact sold his home in the 'burbs that he bought when he became the youngest megachurch pastor in the SBC several years ago, and instead moved into a two-bedroom house in the inner-city to minister among the more lowly of Birmingham.

Some may disagree with Platt's assertion that most American Christians have morphed the Jesus of the Bible into a "middle class Jesus" who doesn't mind at all our materialism and consumerism. But one thing that you really can't argue with: Platt practices what he preaches and he leads by example. Most wealthy mega church pastors have been trained to justify from scripture their infatuation with more buildings, higher staff salaries and bonuses, newer pews and jet-setting lifestyles and six-figure housing allowances and church marketing consultants.

The typical mega church pastor has helped create this "twisted version of Jesus" that Platt calls it. But while the typical mega church pastor is trying to guilt that extra 1% tithe from their peeps who have little or no margin while they themselves live high on the hog...Platt is actually saying the way to become generous is through true sacrifice of one's American lifestyle, and he dares to LIVE IT. Your average mega church pastor can't preach this, as they would stand the most to lose in lifestyle if they actually called for true sacrifice as Platt does.

It is just so incredibly refreshing to know that one of the premiere SBC megachurch pastors who is making a difference at the end of 2010 is one who is NOT calling for his church members to just give 1% more in 2011 and sign a committment card, nor is he leading his church members to lop off a chunk of their assets to give to his building program, nor is he trying to architecturally lead people to Jesus through a glorious water fountain.

Platt is trying to show American Christians a different way, a different Jesus, a Jesus of the Bible. I hope we all will listen, and take action.

--------------------

Note: Kudos to Mac Brunson and First Baptist Jacksonville for inviting Platt to be one of the speakers at the 2011 Pastor's Conference. Also, if you want to read some interesting perspectives on Platt , The Wartburg Watch has written some excellent articles on Platt here.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Francis Chan is even more radical than Platt. He gave up the power, position and wealth to be a nobody laboring in the kingdom.

the big boys long knives are coming out for him. They are accusing him of monk behavior saying it is as much of a sin.

But Chan knows the sin trap that celebrity is. It is not only about the money. The celebrity will kill your soul.

Don't follow Platt, either. Follow Christ.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, David Platt! A preacher to admire.

The last time a religious figure said such things to challenge the character and underpinnings of pious leaders, they whacked him but good.

Maybe Mac Brunson, et al are beginning to see the writing on the wall but I don't see them jumping on the humble-lifestyle bandwagon with any great relish.

Perhaps I'm too cynical but I expect to see some form of sabotage, character assassination, or worse. For too many years, I've seen the guile dripping from "anointed" eyes.

I hope I'm wrong. Thank you, WD for helping to hold their feet to the fire.

"There are no rich preachers in Heaven"

LA

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with a Pastor living in a nice house? Solomon did

What is wrong with a Church expanding? David did

What is wrong with a minister having a good salary?
Billy Graham did

What is wrong with making a role model out of David Platt?
It's about Jesus and not a man!

No rich preachers in heaven....huh...is that in the Bible?

Junkster said...

Anytime I hear the words "What is wrong with..." followed by something that wasn't true of Jesus, I feel the point is being missed.

Lydia said...

Anytime I hear the words "What is wrong with..." followed by something that wasn't true of Jesus, I feel the point is being missed.

December 27, 2010 6:08 PM

EXACTLY!!~!!!

Anonymous said...

A friend told me about his Book "Radical" about 2 months ago. My eldest daughter bought it for me at XMAS and I finished it yesterday (it is 220 pages or so of very easy but convicting reading).

Here is what I wrote on my facebook when I recommended it to everyone

"Pastors--If your people read and are not stirred, they are lost.

If you read it, and are not convicted, you should be fired!!

If you choose not to read it, you will miss a blessing and are unqualified to lead anyone in anything involving the Kingdom."

It is the MUST READ for ALL CHRISTIANS for 2011.

It sets Christian Ministry aright and rebukes all that is wrong with 21st century so called Christian Ministry.

The cost is $15. Buy an extra copy and give it away. It can be found in Family Bookstores.

May God raise up more David Platt's

Bill

Romans 5:1

Anonymous said...

"What is wrong with a Pastor living in a nice house? Solomon did"

Solomon also had 600 wives. Are you saying that is ok, too? Even after praying for wisdom? You think God was pleased. Solomon did what God wanted him to do but you really think everything else was ok? More of not understanding the OT!

"What is wrong with a Church expanding? David did"

Huh? David also had an affair and plotted to have the woman's husband killed in battle. The husband was more faithful to people than David was.

Typical of folks trying to map characters in the OT to the New Covenant where we have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Hint: The Old Covenant is to point to Jesus Christ. Don't even discuss it if you leave out Jesus because it means you do not get it.

You can get by with murder if you model yourself after OT characters instead of Christ.


"What is wrong with a minister having a good salary?
Billy Graham did"

Actually, that is causing a HUGE problem now. BGEA and SP having huge problems with each other and MONEY. Such are celebrity legacies.

"What is wrong with making a role model out of David Platt?
It's about Jesus and not a man!"

True. How bizarre is it we are stunned that a pastor is doing what he is doing. That says it all about what has become the norm in Christendom. Health, wealth and following man. give more so the pastor can live high off the hog like Mac.

"No rich preachers in heaven....huh...is that in the Bible?"

So what do you think this means? Have you had it so twisted when you read it or taught it, you really don't know?:

Matthew 19: 16-30 (Also in Mark 10 and Luke 18)

Luke 19

Revelation 3: 14-21

Anonymous said...

ANON 5:20

1. God directly dictated the building plans of the Old Testament Temple which is lost in points 1 and 2 of your argument. He has not dictated to us plans for buildings today.

2. The Billy Graham comment still does not prove anything either. In fact, BG and his "revivalism" is much of what is wrong in SBC Life, but that is for another discussion.

3. You are correct, it is about Jesus and not man which is exactly the point that Platt makes in his book entitled Radical. His point is that most preachers of this day are building buildings and trying to establish a name for themselves and are NOT honoring the name of God. His whole premise is that Christian Ministry is about people--NOT buidlings and not flash, glitz, or noteriety.

4. As to the comment, "No rich preachers in heaven" Interesting that you mention that Platt does as well (towards the end of the book).

Happy Reading

Bill

Romans 5:1

Anonymous said...

Do not be overly impressed with FBCJ for inviting David Platt to speak at the 2011 Pastors conference.

FBCJ has also invited Tullian Tchividjian to speak. He should fit right in with FBCJ.....he has practically destroyed the late Dr. D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Church.

Anonymous said...

David Platt's "Radical" is a great book. There are numerous references in his writing that throw the flag when it comes to Mac Brunson/mega church operations.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled onto this website a few weeks ago. I go to FBC Orlando, and thankfully, I have never felt guilted or shamed about giving money since I first started attending in 2007. I've been to several churches growing up where plenty of outlandish things about money were said. None of those churches were megachurches. The comments by the pastors reported on in this blog that I have read so far are nothing to some of the crap I've heard over the years.

WishIhadknown said...

“What is wrong with a Pastor living in a nice house? Solomon did”

Solomon was a King; he was a head of state, not a pastor. A pastor is to be a man of the people and a wealthy man cannot be a man of the people, he simply cannot relate to ordinary sinners.

“What is wrong with a Church expanding? David did”

Nothing is wrong with a church expanding if it is needed. If, on the other hand, you are only building a memorial to the preacher then that is sin.

“What is wrong with a minister having a good salary?
Billy Graham did”

Billy Graham was not a pastor and as I recall his salary was not very unreasonable.

“What is wrong with making a role model out of David Platt?
It's about Jesus and not a man!”

David Platt is exhibiting Christ like behavior, which is totally contrary to the behaviors exhibited by a number of the men who call themselves “pastor.”

No rich preachers in heaven....huh...is that in the Bible?

None of us can know who is going to heaven or not but one verse comes to mind: 1 Tim 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

WishIhadknown said...

Ok, WD posted a positive topic so I guess WD’s critics will compliment him for it now, right?

Anonymous said...

I have met David and think he is a good pastor and says some things that need to be heard.

I also think it is good that the SBC pastors' conference and/or the convention (can't remember which) have had him speak at the last 2 conventions.

My hope is that his example and the questions he asks will provoke more strategic service from SBC and other churches.

There is the danger in making Platt and his emphasis the next "thing" in the evangelical world. So we don't need to worship him or do exactly as he has done. The prinicples are good, but the application may be different in different lives.

But having said all that, there are worse young pastoral examples out there. It's good to see a good one promoted.

Finally, be careful, too, when any news organization starts patting a Christian leader on the back. Not that Platt has done anything wrong. But media folks have an entirely different agenda, and it is not always benign. For example, is Platt going to be asked by CNN to be on a "panel" discussion of spiritual leaders in America to talk about "tax cuts for the wealthy" or "how much the wealthy should pay etc."

It could be real easy for this young man to get sucked into the media machine. And if he is not grounded, Platt could end up saying some things that would detract from what he is trying to accomplish.

Louis

Anonymous said...

"Finally, be careful, too, when any news organization starts patting a Christian leader on the back. Not that Platt has done anything wrong. But media folks have an entirely different agenda, and it is not always benign. For example, is Platt going to be asked by CNN to be on a "panel" discussion of spiritual leaders in America to talk about "tax cuts for the wealthy" or "how much the wealthy should pay etc.""

Why would he want to do this? Most of the financially in this country are now government bureaucrats and mega church pastors. The bureaucrats do not have to worry about the market. Their incomes come from taxes...even their pensions.

By the way, Louis, do you have a link to this announcement or information?

Anonymous said...

WishIhadknown said...
Ok, WD posted a positive topic so I guess WD’s critics will compliment him for it now, right?

December 27, 2010 11:43 PM

You wish.

Anonymous said...

King David was a Celebrity

Abraham was Rich and Powerful

Jesus had thousands of followers

So....when a Pastor is blessed by God and becomes well known and lives in a nice home and has people that he influences...what do we do?

We start a Blog against Him

Anonymous said...

This is the type of people we need to blog about:

"The Dallas pastor facing felony charges of burglarizing a church member’s home on Christmas Eve said Monday she had no criminal intent.
Sandy McGriff, 52, said she was trying to protect valuables at the home of her longtime friend Serita Agnew and made a horrible mistake.

Police accuse McGriff of stealing more than $10,000 worth of fur coats, designer purses and electronics from a home in the 2200 block of Village Way near Kiest Boulevard and Lancaster Road. She was also charged with resisting arrest.

She told her story from her living room couch, where she was surrounded by her nine fur coats. She said she has no reason to steal Agnew’s coats or anything else.

“I don’t stand in the need of anything,” she said.

Different name

The police report lists McGriff as Kathy Robinson. McGriff said that’s a fake name she used during her troubled youth. A Dallas police spokesman said in general that any previous names used when someone is arrested would stay with that person’s record. A public records search lists 14 name variations and six birth dates for McGriff. She said her maiden name was on there along with her daughter’s name and the fake name she thought she’d put behind her many years ago.

“Since 1988, I have walked the straight and narrow path,” McGriff said.

She acknowledges having a criminal record, including a prostitution conviction in 1975. But she disputes the convictions from the 1980s for illegal use of credit cards that turn up in a search of public records under her name. She said she’s fought with a credit bureau about being confused with a woman with a similar name and Social Security number.

“When it comes to credit cards, I don’t play around,” McGriff said.

She said she hopes to continue to expand her church, which she started in September. The congregation numbers about 30. She said she sees herself as a messenger for the word of God. At Sunday services, she told everyone what happened.

“My church was full for support,” she said. “The people that come to support me brought tears to my eyes.”

The woman whose home McGriff is accused of burglarizing said Monday she loved her as a pastor and a friend but hasn’t returned McGriff’s phone messages since the arrest. Agnew said she had recently stopped going to McGriff’s church and doesn’t plan to go back.

“I’m hurt. I’m devastated,” she said. “My neighbor saw her break into my house. What is there to explain?”

Agnew said she’s trying not to be angry but has no doubt her pastor was trying to steal from her.

“I hope she finds her way,” Agnew said."

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I do not think I have ever seen a blog about Billy Gramham....

WishIhadknown said...

No, when a man who calls himself pastor represents himself as preaching the word but does not then people will object! Additionally, if a man who calls himself pastor uses his position for personal benefit then people will object. In the modern world that may very well be with a blog. In case, you have not noticed this blog has expanded well beyond WD and Brunson.

Anonymous said...

Anon:

There is a link in the blog post re Platt on CNN.

My reference to a panel on CNN was a hypothetical. There is no link.

Louis

Anonymous said...

"My reference to a panel on CNN was a hypothetical."

Dangerous thing to do. Not very nice.

Platt is shaking things up a bit and some do not like it. One SBC sychophant came on TWW and make reference to what Platt was doing was sinful because he was trying to be a sort of monk or aesthetic.

The establishment is going to take pot shots while promoting him because he is so popular right now. they cannot ignore him. I noticed that some did the same with Driscoll a while back. They know where their bread is buttered.

Anonymous said...

francis chan stepped down from his church in part because he was becoming "too famous." he went to Asia to get away from it all and to learn about the house church movement.

but i honestly don't understand that if he was too famous, then why would he speak at major conferences like catalyst and passion. seems like the fame comes from those things, not in faithfully leading a congregation over a long period of time.

that just doesn't sit right with me. what do you think?

Lynn said...

I think it's nice that this pastor is trying to put the wealth of his church to better use. It seems he's trying to think up ways to help real people in real ways.

Very different from a church near me that just built a brand-new gym. I can't see how that could possibly be for anything other than the benefit and comfort of the people who attend that church. They are spending lots of money on themselves-not poor people or children who need loving parents.

The scary part is how I'm sure they can justify this in their minds as being very spiritual. The human mind is quite talented at that kind of thing.

Thy Peace said...

Wade Burleson > Is the Radical Jesus of Michael Moore and David Platt the Real Jesus?

Anonymous said...

"but i honestly don't understand that if he was too famous, then why would he speak at major conferences like catalyst and passion. seems like the fame comes from those things, not in faithfully leading a congregation over a long period of time."

Good questions! Chan once said he was grieved that at the mega he heard his name from people more than Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.

The mega church tends to be insulating and one is a big fish in that pond. One is revered and everyone wants to be seen with you. it is heady stuff and will kill the soul. There is more but you get the picture...being the chief guy, you are listened to and your every word is someone elses command...just because of your position.

Speaking at a conference, you are one of several. And yes, it can bring some fame but you do not have sychophants following you around and doing your bidding every day. You don't necessarily have your own "people" so to speak.

It could be that speaking at the conferences is how he will support his family and ministry. I do not know. But in any event, your premise is wrong...the only One who should "lead" the Body of Christ is Jesus Christ through the Indwelling Holy Spirit in every believer. Problem is, not all professing believers in the church have it.

Here is a sermon by Chan that is a wake up call...this is from when he was still at Cornerstone. As you will hear, he is very concerned that some of them are not really saved:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X82kjL1hDYU

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace:

Thanks for linking to Wade's piece on all this.

I believe that Wade has done a good job. I agree with what he says.

My short comment earlier on this blog falls in line with what Wade is pointing out.

I admire Platt very much and think he is a great example. But to the extent what Platt has done is going to be urged as THE and ONLY way to go, I disagree.

I also note that Wade picked up on the socialism aspect of this.

As I stated earlier, I am concerned that Platt and others who do similarly need to be very careful to explain their actions as responsive to the call of Christ on their lives, and not get caught up in a movement advocating socialism.

People can argue that socialism is the best arrangement for people. But Christians should not drag Jesus into that debate. That is a misreading of the Bible and Jesus' work and mission.

Louis

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Excellent article by Wade.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see Platt calling people to sell everything to give to the poor as Wade says he is doing, or arguing that those with the capital power to create more wealth should not do so. It would be foolish for someone who has capital to invest for a solid ROI to divest and give it all to the poor.

I don't think Platt is getting close to advocating socialism at all. He is merely saying the wealthy should use more of their margin to do ministry and less of million dollar mansions. The radical nature of Platt's views are not to fork over money to the government for redistribution, but for Christians (and mega church pastors!) to live much more frugal lives to accomplish God's will on earth. THAT is radical. Guilting the poor to fork over 10% when they don't have it, and patting the ultra rich on the back for their 10% - that is not radical.

What I think Platt is teaching and living is for Christians to use more of their margin to do more ministry and less extravagant living. The embarrassing aspect of modern evangelical Christianity today is mega churches being run as though THEY are businesses and the the gains or profit of the church are lining the pockets of pastors and their families.

Anonymous said...

We should all be willing to give up our wealth. We should never love it.

Wealth is a huge snare and I disagree with Wade on a few items concerning this. Scripture actually teaches that it is impossible to for a rich man to get into heaven. Then the Apostles point out they gave up everything for Him and Jesus says, with God all things are possible.

So, God would change the heart if one is saved. That is the point.

Remember, the rich man was giving to the poor, too, because he was keeping ALL the laws. The problem was in his heart...not his legal works.

I think it is dangerous to use the money parables to say that the bible is teaching wealth is something to pursue. It is like me saying the sheep metaphors means I should be a sheep farmer.

Lots of people giving their 10% thinking they are being Holy. They are taught that. And it is a lie. Only the Holy Spirit can tell you where the need is and how much.

Dee said...

Tom
Thanks for the nice comment.

Platt is being used by Brunson and others as like Mother Theresa was used by the rich and famous. Everyone wanted to be near her because somehow it made them look like they gave a darn about the poor in India. Most of them didn't but just liked to pretend because it was the cool thing of the moment.

Platt and Chan are shaking things up and making all of us feel a little less comfortable with our lifestyles.The moment we start feeling complacent, the further we are from being used by God.

Somehow, I think some of these rich pastor types wouldn't have liked the real Jesus very much.

Anonymous said...

I agree with WD with his thoughts that THEY are businesses and the gains or profit of the church are lining the pockets of pastors and their families.
===============================
Email Special Sent From FBCJAX:
(excert)
"There are numerous ways you can give…Cash…Stocks…Bonds…Gold / precious metal… Jewelry…Land…Automobiles…Homes…and other tangible assets. Also, recent tax legislation in Washington has extended the ability of those aged 70 ½ and above to avoid taxes on their mandatory IRA distributions through charitable giving. . . "

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Socialism? Read the Book of Acts and you see redistribution of wealth. We have allowed the fundamentalist and the liberals to strip us of our Biblical Roots. Stop worrying about what your 'tea party neighbors' think and open up your Bible...you may be surprised what you find!!!

Anonymous said...

Some of the most interesting theology I've ever read has come from this blog.

Why are Christians so focused on pastors? It's as if we are just dying to have someone think for us, and we're so disillusioned when they don't fit into our preconceived mold of what a pastor ought to believe, preach, or earn.

Each believer has total, direct access to the Creator Himself! The role of the pastor should merely be to supplement our walk with Christ - not to determine or even direct it. And if he doesn't do his job as a spiritual encourager, we can and must worship elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly your friend Wade Burleson disagrees with Platt, stating that he is incorrect in his scriptural teachings. See his most recent blog!

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Disagreement is part of the fabric of being a Baptist.

What Watchdog has done on his blog is good for the SBC. He could be right about Platt (that Platt is not calling for every disciple to be like the rich young ruler and sell all his posessions and give to the poor), or I could be right and have interpreted Platt's writing as Platt's insistence that every Christian should practice capital deinvestment (a teaching with which I radically disagree). Either way, both Platt and Watchdog are performing a wonderful service for the SBC and are brothers in Christ.

I will only make one prediction for 2011.

"Watchdog's Blog will continue to be well written and well read."

Tom Kelley said...

Anonymous December 30, 2010 10:14 AM said...
What is wrong with Socialism? Read the Book of Acts and you see redistribution of wealth. We have allowed the fundamentalist and the liberals to strip us of our Biblical Roots. Stop worrying about what your 'tea party neighbors' think and open up your Bible...you may be surprised what you find!!!


Again, more of this strange "What's wrong with ..." thinking.

Socialism is a philosophy and practice of government. You won't find any support for such a system of government in the Bible. What we saw in the book of Acts (on one occasion only, actually), was a voluntary action by a particular group of individuals, not a pattern for government.

Anon, you really ought not assume that people haven't opened their Bibles because they don't agree with your politics.

Anonymous said...

I heard David Platt preach at a youth camp (Crosspoint II) in 2000just before he was heading to seminary. Even then, he presented a radical message that made me want to study and learn more about Jesus'character. I was at the camp as a 42 year old youth leader, so I wasn't really expecting to be challenged by a college aged "youth preacher." (What a sense of humor our God has!) A young man from our church who was attending that camp is now a member of the church David leads and he tells me David really is leading (not just telling) his congregation to get outside their comfort zone and see people around them as Jesus sees them. The fact that this church is located in a very afflulent area makes his leadership even more radically opposite of everything we have been told about the "American Dream."

I see some of the comments about David being worshipped and getting caught up in the media hype but as long as he uses Jesus as his example of how to do it right...I pray he continues to shake things up!

Thanks for sharing this article with everyone. It was refreshing!

Anonymous said...

David Platt is not the standard for our lives. The Bible is our only standard. Platt is a threat to our young people and to the truth. No one can measure up to his high standards. He is a FALSE TEACHER in many areas, plain and simple. BEWARE of this man. Turn to the word of God for the truth and don't buy into what this man in promoting.

Anonymous said...

"David Platt is not the standard for our lives. The Bible is our only standard. Platt is a threat to our young people and to the truth. No one can measure up to his high standards. He is a FALSE TEACHER in many areas, plain and simple. BEWARE of this man. Turn to the word of God for the truth and don't buy into what this man in promoting."
laughable

Danmark said...

David Platt keeps the challenge before us, are we conforming God to ourselves or our lifestyle or have we really sold out to him? Is it our desire to conform our life to Christ. And what does that mean? And what does that look like? By the end of this book you may feel okay about where you are, and yet you may do some adjusting in your lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't be arguing.. Luke 9:49 "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him because he is not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
Out of everyone Christians should not be arguing with one another. Focus on what Christ wants us to do. If anything we should be lifting up one another.

Tabitha Davis said...

Yes cause JESUS was homeless and had no job and his church expansion was the people!!