Counter Culture and the Gospel


“Consequently, we must be careful across the church not to minimize the magnitude of what it means to follow Christ . . . The gospel is a call for everyone of us to die – to die to sin and to die to self – and to live with unshakable trust in Christ, choosing to follow his Word even when it brings us into clear confrontation with out culture.”

David Platt Counter Culture, p. 180

I recently read David Platt’s new book Counter Culture. Platt, former pastor of the mega church The Hills at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, and New York Times bestselling author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream, is now the head of the International Mission Board for the Southern Baptist Convention. Counter Culture is an extraordinary book especially within the cultural milieu the church currently is in. His book is a passionate call to rouse a dormant church in the midst of a culture desperately in need of the gospel, urging for faithfulness to that call regardless of the costs.

In the book he discusses nearly all of the contentious issues of the day, not simply by quoting Scripture, but also showing the rationale and ultimately the compassion of the Christian position. At one point near the end, he references Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV)

In this passage, he reminds Christians that a past action (“I have been crucified with Christ) brings a new identity (“I now live by faith”). But with this new identity comes a call that at times the Church seems to minimize, or lessen in severity in a feeble attempt to attract more people to the gospel. That is where the opening quote comes from (please read it again!).

Succinctly, in my view, Platt reminds all Christians that:

  • To minimize the call of the gospel is to distort the gospel;
  • The call of Christ is unmistakable – come and die, so that you can truly live!
  • Obeying this call will bring us into confrontation with culture at large!

Allow me to close by raising a few questions based on these three points:

  • How have you seen the church attempt to minimize the call of Christ?
  • If the call of Christ is unmistakable, and it truly is “come and die”, have you?
  • Why are we so fearful of clashing with a culture that admittedly doesn’t know God?

I pray you’ll wrestle with these questions today as they challenge you to evaluate your call from God, and as soon as you can get Platt’s book, and feast on it!


Author: Randy Allison

I am an adjunct professor and pastor, driven to understand more about faith and how to live that faith in twenty-first century America.

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