The Hole in Our Gospel
- Product Review (submitted on April 20, 2010):
The Hole In Our Gospel is the detailed explanation of an idea which the Western church desperately needs to hear: ministry to the poor is missing from our presentation of the gospel. Stearns, CEO of Worldvision, begins this book with his own story before turning to the Bible's attitude to the poor. He then looks at the current state of the world before facing the American church and giving it a good telling off.
The message behind this book is a timely one. The church really does need to wake up to social action, and Stearns presents it well. At times I felt a bit uncomfortable as his presentation of social action seemed to present quite a liberal theology, but he did not hesitate to underline his deep biblical convictions, which are clearly strong.
His communication is very good, but I'd have to question one part of his language, and that's his use of the word 'mission'. It would seem to me that 'mission' for Richard Stearns means travelling abroad to provide clean water, food, housing, medical attention, jobs, and education to those that need it most. I'd rather he included all this stuff within the wider category of mission which would incorporate ministry to the poor at home as well as actually preaching the gospel of grace.
I think there would be a danger in a new or pre-believer reading this book for only one reason: the difference between being saved by good works and being saved for good works is not defined as clearly as I'd like it to be.
Overall, I must say that this book is a good one. It's theologically accurate, written well, and carries with it a big challenge. I'm not sure it's the best book out there about social action, but if you're looking for one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. The audio version I listened to was presented well and clearly, with good emotion throughout.
I got this audiobook for free as part of the christianaudio.com reviewers programme. I'm not required to give a positive review.