Book Review: Counter Culture by David Platt

Counter

Christians advocate social justice, but exactly does this look like? Do we have a tendency to pick which issues we want to address and act upon, while ignoring others? How does this form of social justice counter the culture around us? Is it suppose to?

In David Platt’s new book Counter Culture, the author answers all of these questions in a stunning way, making this not just another “social justice” book. In fact, I would say that this is the social justice book that I have been waiting for a long time. It goes beyond “social justice.” It is a call to be counter cultural. In this book is presented 10 different issues that go against culture, but God calls us to not ignore these things: They are 1. Pluralism, 2. Poverty, 3. Abortion, 4. The poor, 5. Sex trafficking, 6. Gay Marriage, 7. Pornography, 8. Racism, 9. Persecution, 10. Spiritual Death.

What is fascinating about this book is that the author does not just pick and choose which righteous issue to explore. Unlike liberal and progressive Christianity which tends to favor the cause of fighting for poor and racial equality, but is very ambivalent about sin issues like homosexuality and abortion, Counter Culture pulls no punches. If one calls himself a Christian willing to be a light in this world, he must be consistent and committed to all causes of social injustice, which includes defending God’s design of marriage, the unborn who are slaughtered each year in the womb, and purity in light of pornographic influences in society. This is one of the incredible strengths of this book – bringing to light issues that are hardly addressed in social justice books and challenging believers to act upon these things.

However, all of these things would not make sense if it is not for the gospel. Platt uses the first chapter to explain the meaning of the gospel, how that relates to God’s character, and how that relates to us. In fact, if we do not understand the gospel, then we have no framework to understand why marriage is the way it is (and we defend it), why abortion is wrong, why racism is counterproductive, and why ignoring the plight of the poor is unbiblical. The gospel is the foundation which explains why we stand up to these particular issues and why they are wrong to begin with. It also gives us a heart for the lost, seeking to establish righteousness because of who God is.

One of the most impressive things about this book, which puts everything into perspective, is the categorization of evangelism as a type of “social justice.” Although God is the ultimate judge who will condemn unbelievers to hell for their sin and rejection of Christ, it is our duty and responsibility to bring that gospel to as many people as possible until that time. That is the mission of the church (Matt 28:18-20). That is the work of the kingdom. To rescue people from the spiritual disease of sin and its eternal consequence is the most righteous deed we can do for an unbeliever. Failure to do so is in fact the greatest social injustice. Millions of people die of starvation, disease, and abortion, yet millions more die everyday from sin. If we do not bring them the cure of the gospel in evangelism, then all our efforts in helping people and reforming society is pointless.

This book, which is a series of introductory discussions into current injustices in society that needs to be addressed, is a well-put together and well thought out book. It is extremely convicting, challenging, and necessary. It is exactly what the world needs now. As I mentioned, it is not merely a “social justice” book. It is a counter culture book, grounded in the truth of the gospel. That is why it is a book I would highly recommend to any Christian, a book that should be on every book shelf.

 

Note: I received this book as a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishing. I was not obligated to give a good review, but only my honest opinion.