FTNCI 033: Pastors Emasculated: How David Platt’s “Death to Self” Makes Men Too Weak to Fight Socialism

For the New Christian Intellectual is an online community and publication dedicated to equipping intellectual activists with the principles and tactics necessary to reform the church and nation.

In this episode, we look at why “selflessness” from the pulpit leads to socialism in the pews.

This means: If a pastor believes in pathological altruism, he will have a hard time helping his people reject collectivism and socialism.

“Death to self” has become a key slogan within the self-effacing “gospel-centered” movement in Southern Baptist churches.

The slogan is especially heard from conferences and organizations such as Together for the Gospel, The Gospel Coalition, and the seminaries and publishing companies associated with these groups, known informally as “Big Eva.”

Prominent within that group is David Platt, who has been the pastor at two Southern Baptist mega-churches. He is known for his book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream, and for his Secret Church Bible study simulcasts.

For several years, David Platt was also the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board. In sum, the man is widely considered to be a thought leader within Big Eva.

David Platt is famous for the slogan “Death to Self,” which, in his understanding, is connected with the Christian concept of self-denial for the sake of the mission of evangelizing the world and making disciples.

One of David Platt’s best known quotes comes from his book Radical:

“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.”

Platt makes a bold claim. Can he back it up?

Platt seeks to summarize the central message of Christianity. Is it true that the central message of Christian is about abandoning ourselves?  Is Platt’s concept of “abandoning ourselves” even defined clearly enough that we could evaluate his statement?

Whether true or false, Platt has summarized the ethic of his movement. It is this ethic that we hear preached in church after church, across the nation.

In effect:

“You American Christians need to be less individualistic. Become global Christians. Sacrifice for others. Abandon yourself. Live for the sake of those who are more needy than you.”

This video explores the agreements and disagreements we have with Platt’s “Death to Self” belief system.

We consider Platt’s view to be a version of pathological altruism, which FTNCI rejects in favor of Christian Egoism.

Many otherwise solid pastors have left foundational Christian truths about personal reward unrecognized. They have left Christian motivation undefined. Some have even rejected these truths and fervently taught against them.

FTNCI exists to show Christians that this is a terrible mistake.

Key Resource:

Clash of Titans: Atlas Shrugged, John Galt & Jesus Christ, by Chad Brand and Tom Pratt

Join Our Patreon:

As a $1/mo. Podcast Insider, you get access to the Full-Length Exclusive Version of the podcast.

As a $10/mo. Philosophy Club Member, you can attend our monthly podcast recording sessions via webinar and submit questions either live or beforehand + get access to our exclusive culture war training.

Video Version

Click here to watch this episode on YouTube.

About the Podcast

For the New Christian Intellectual is a free show created for Christian thinkers and communicators.

We focus on classical (and overlooked) Christian principles such as reason, rational self-interest, individualism, and individual rights.

Subscribe to the show through Apple Podcasts to automatically get every episode.

How to Help

The best way to help more people find out about the show is to subscribe through Apple Podcasts, download several episodes, and leave us a review.

Click here to subscribe.

Become a Patron and Get Full-Length Exclusive Podcasts

Click here to learn more.

Listen to the Podcast