Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Book Review: A Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns

In "A Hole in Our Gospel", Richard Stearns tells his story: a story of leaving a position as CEO of a well-known manufacturer to CEO of World Vision, taking a 75% pay cut and uprooting his family in the process. That story only takes a couple of chapters; the rest of the book proceeds to open the reader's eyes not only to some severe and difficult realities, but to the responsibility of believing Christians to address those realities.

I must confess: about halfway into this book, I was unconvinced. Sure, there is value in helping the poor, but it seemed that Stearns was making a mistake that so many well-meaning Christians make: they work to convince others that their particular passion should be the passion of everyone who claims to follow Christ. By the end of the book, however, the truth is inescapable: we (Christians in America) are the richest church in world history, and we're falling so short of Scriptural directives on this topic that it's heartbreaking.

Stearns makes his case utilizing a combination of Scripture, reason, and compelling stories. It's something that many American Christians simply don't get, and therefore don't act upon: the direct connection between spreading the Gospel and helping the needy.

It's hard to see how anyone who reads "A Hole in Our Gospel" will not be compelled to help. Not only to help, but to make changes in their lifestyle, their spending, and their priorities, in order to meet needs here and abroad.

Perhaps that thought will keep you from reading it, like the old adage of not wanting to know how sausage is made so you can keep eating it. But don't let that stop you. This book is not a guilt trip. It's a challenge to make a difference.

Disclaimer: Thomas Nelson Publishing gave me this book for review purposes, but gives me the freedom to write as positively or negatively as I choose. That said, I highly recommend "A Hole in Our Gospel".

4 comments:

The Weckler said...

As someone already compelled, this one had me in tears all the way through.

As Bill Hybels says, "[Hole in the Gospel] is a game-changer."

Larry Shallenberger said...

Do you think this book would work as the basis of a Sunday School Class?

The Weckler said...

Larry, err, Erie,

Yes! Especially if you were to connect it to actual DOING...like a discipleship program for those ready to begin making their faith tangible in the world around them. Just the idea of it gets me excited!!

Also, there is a six-week study outlined on Stearns' website.

www.theholeinourgospel.com

James said...

thanks, Mel!