Friday, May 29, 2009

Review: The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

26,500 children died yesterday. 26,500 died today. 26,500 will die tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, all due to poverty-related causes (lack of food, lack of clean water, lack of medical care, etc.). And yet each one of these deaths is preventable, provided that those with means – you, for instance – each do a part to combat the poverty and hunger that is rampant in many parts of the world. This is the message that Richard Stearns is trying to bring to our attention, a wakeup call to Christians everywhere. Something’s missing in our modern vision of the Gospel, the “Good News” that we (the church) are supposed to spread to a lost and dying (in more ways than one) world. Somewhere over the last 2000 years we’ve lost sight of true religion, God’s religion: “to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world,” (James 1:27b, NKJV*) and “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17, NKJV*)

“The Hole in Our Gospel” is not a book about statistics, it’s about people, individuals; but the statistics in the book are quite astonishing and eye-opening. However, the numbers presented are justly used to show the quantity of suffering, while the supporting text shows the effectiveness that a single individual’s contributions have. Through his own personal experiences, Stearns shows how the Gospel, in its entirety, can truly change the world. That “whole Gospel” includes not just the telling of the good news, but the providing and caring for those in need.

Having just finished “The Hole in Our Gospel,” I can confidently say that this is a book that should not be read by the average Christian. That is, it should not be read by the average Christian who wants to remain average.

It is very difficult to write a review of this book without going in-depth into its content; suffice it to say that it is very engaging and very personally challenging at the same time. This book serves as a call to action and a reminder that we were saved for good works (see Ephesians 2:8-10), not just for our own personal gain. Richard Stearns does a phenomenal job of portraying our modern world and our modern church. Time after time I was personally convicted by the words in this book. From tears to anger, shame to sorrow, emotions are stirred by the portrait of those suffering in parts of the world that are not necessarily next door to my house, but are reachable through a variety of methods easily at my disposal.

* New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version® is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.


Tony M said...

I would gladly give you my copy of this book, except that I've already promised it to someone. However, if you can't (or don't want to) afford to buy it for yourself, let me know and I'll try to get you a copy.

jkuntz said...

Thank you for commenting on Rich Stearns’ new book, The Hole in Our Gospel. This book has already had a tremendous impact on many Christians. Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Church, just bought 10,000 copies of the book to give to his congregation. Hybels told his church, “This is one of the finest books I have ever read. It is my goal to get every member of Willow Creek Church to read it.” To find out more information about the book and Stearns, you can visit You’ll find on this site a lot of great resources and supplemental material to the book. You can also read Rich’s blog and engage in a forum discussion there. It’s a fantastic site – I encourage you to check it out!