Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel (Nashville, TN: Nelson, 2009). $22.99, 303 pages.
Richard Stearns is the president of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization. Prior to that, he was the CEO first of Parker Brothers Games and then of Lenox, Inc., maker of fine china. The Hole in Our Gospel is, in part, the story of how God called him to leave the business world and embrace the work of helping the world’s neediest people.
But in greater part, this book is about the hole in the gospel preached in many American churches. American evangelicals believe that God forgives our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, enabling us to live eternally in his presence. Stearns strongly believes this message himself.
A close reading of the Bible reveals, however, that the gospel is more than just a message promising individual salvation. “[B]eing a Christian,” Stearns writes, “or follower of Jesus Christ, requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.”
Skillfully blending personal memoir, biblical study, international statistics, and heart-wrenching stories, Stearns challenges evangelical Christians in America to use their tremendous material and financial blessings to serve the world’s neediest people rather than themselves. It is a prophetic message, but Stearns delivers it with humility, love, and an inspiring call to action.
The book is written for the average reader, and it comes with study questions, which will enhance its use by church small groups and Christian book clubs.