A while ago I heard about this book. Since I knew it would fit into the current Living Red emphasis I decided I should now read it. I am so glad that I did. Richard Stearn’s book, The Hole In Our Gospel, has become the favourite book I have read in the last year. I wish I had read it earlier. I encourage you to read it too … as soon as possible.
Stearns begins his book by describing how he was called, almost unwillingly, by God to move from being a corporate CEO of a high end dinnerware company, to leading World Vision in their mission to combat global poverty. The premise of his book is that for many Christians there is a glaring hole in our Gospel, in that we have missed much of the heart of Jesus’ message. He argues that being a Christian is more than simply going to church on Sunday, studying the Bible and gathering for fellowship. He argues that God expects much more from us, that He has given us rich blessings that are meant to be shared with the poorest of the poor.
This book is packed full of insightful information about poverty and all the stigmatic issues that go along with poverty. However, it is not a guilt trip. It actually inspires you to make change and do something to help people.
Ultimately, Stearns challenges his readers to pray and act upon the short prayer of Bob Pierce (founder of WorldVision) who prayed, Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.
The book never feels like a commercial for World Vision but rather the passion of one man who belives the gospel is incomplete (it has a hole in it) if we do not follow through in a life of service to the poor. This is certainly congruent with the anabaptist theology that we teach in our church.
I will add that this book could be useful to a House Church as a study. Although not laid out for that purpose it has many scriptural references based on the premise that God wants us to help the poor. A good leader could easily use chapters from this book for a very thought provoking discussion.
I highly recommend this book but be prepared to be highly challenged.