Monday, July 26, 2010

THE HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL by Richard Stearns * Book Review

The Hole in Our Gospel: The answer that changed my life and might just change the world by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision International, U.S. explores the concept that there is something missing in our "Americanized" Gospel.  He suggests that as a whole, the American Christians have, perhaps in their zeal, left out the social revolution part of the Good News that Jesus brought.  Throughout the book, Richard brings out the statistical references that should make all who proclaim to be followers of Christ fall on our faces in shame.  Fortunately, he also shares in his own struggles to live out what he knows to be the "Whole Gospel" and in doing, encourages us all to to take a second look at what it is we profess and how we live out our faith.  Do we embrace the whole gospel that Jesus proclaimed, and if we would, how radically would it change our world?  Instead of letting others outside the church lead in social revolutions, we ought to be like Jesus and be the leaders!

This book was extremely wonderful and terrible to read.  My passions are ignited, and to that I am excited!  I am also heart-broken and horrified to not just read statistics, but to hear stories of how "we" are dropping the ball on so many of our brethren.  I never felt that Richard was trying to "guilt-trip" anyone into doing more or giving more; instead he had an encouraging style where you felt caught up in his passion and excitement to become involved.  Because his story includes so much of the World Vision organization, there is a lot of reference to them, but again, no pressure to choose them exclusively with which to invest.  I felt as though he was trying to open the eyes of those who simply do not realize the extent of what is going on in our world and to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds."  (Hebrews 10:24)

I would recommend this book to anyone who claimed to be a Christian, and even those who do not.  It is an eye-opening book to the struggles of the poor and the effects of non-action, both real and perceived.  In a culture who's greatest goals seem to be to take care of our "own," and to simply walk by, Mr. Stearns reminds us of who our neighbors really are, and what we do or don't do reveals who we are as well.

*This book was provided to me at no cost by Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of reviewing.  All thoughts are solely my own and I receive no benefits for positive reviews.

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