An “American gospel” has taken over our hearts, warns Pastor David Platt. Platt joined the Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast to share why he believes this false gospel “has led to all kinds of division and discouragement and disillusionment with the church.”
“The biblical gospel exalts Jesus above everything in this world,” said Platt. “And we’ve exchanged that biblical gospel for an American gospel that prostitutes Jesus for the sake of comfort and power and politics and prosperity in our country. And I think the effects of that are all around us.”
Listen to the full interview with David Platt below:
David Platt: ‘I Am a Different Person’
David Platt is the pastor of McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C., and the founder of Radical, an organization that equips Christians to live on mission. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.” During the podcast, Platt shared why he wrote his latest book,“Don’t Hold Back: Leaving Behind the American Gospel to Follow Jesus Fully.”
“Having pastored in metro Washington, D.C., over the last five years, especially amidst everything going on in our country,” said Platt, “I’m convinced that it’s not just an American dream that was consuming our lives. It was an American gospel that was hijacking our hearts.”
Platt sees a variety of evidence that many American Christians are embracing a false gospel. Instead of being eager to pursue unity with one another, he said, we are “quick to divide over the idolatry of personal political convictions.” Instead of embracing and celebrating our ethnic differences, churches remain segregated by race. We often treat God’s Word as a “weapon against enemies” instead of “water for friends in a spiritual desert.” We are apathetic about pursuing justice, but enthusiastic about debating what justice means.
As a result of these problems, we are cynical and divided. “If we would get back to the beauty of the biblical gospel and who Jesus is,” said Platt, “it would have major effects in our lives and the church and in the world around us.”
Platt’s rallying cry to the American church is as much for himself as it is for anyone else. His views on unity and justice have changed over the past several years as he has sought to learn from God’s Word and from his fellow believers.
“I am a different person than I was five years ago,” said the pastor. “And that’s because I have been in the Word alongside brothers and sisters in Christ from very different perspectives than me, other leaders from very different perspectives than me. And they have challenged me, they’ve stretched me, they’ve encouraged me, they’ve helped me, they’ve humbled me.”
Platt mentioned the racial and political tensions of 2020 as an example of a catalyst for growth for him and his church. “We called our church—and hundreds were involved—in saying, we’re going to fast, we’re going to pray, we’re going to open our Bibles, we’re going to walk through and define justice biblically,” he said. “We’re going to think through how that applies to issues of race and ethnicity. And we’re going to do this with the gospel at the core and learn how to be the church to each other.”