Friday, July 10, 2009

The Hole in our Gospel, quick review

What does God expect of us? That is the central question resonating throughout Richard Stearns' book The Hole in our Gospel. Personally, I believe the answer to this question can be overwhelming at times, as does the author, but he presents his case with amazing simplicity and a level of personal conviction that you can feel coming at you as you read his words. This book is filled with the pain and suffering that most of us living privileged lives in America can't fully understand. However, Stearns is able to do something very powerful with his story and the information he has to present, he finds a way to make it personal. Stearns is the former CEO of Parker Brothers and Lenox Tableware Co, who left his "American Dream" at Lenox to reluctantly become the President of the US branch of the largest charity organization on the planet, World Vision. For him, this is very personal. For us, it should be as well.

The prevalent view of modern Christianity is that it is a personal relationship between "ME" and God. Examined further, as Stearns does, this view is exposed as surprisingly a new development in Christianity not even 100 years old; but more importantly it is flawed, unbiblical, selfish and most certainly creates a gaping hole in the Gospel, ourselves and the world. Not content to merely shed light on the problem, Stearns offers solutions to fill this hole; starting with the simple prayer made famous by the founder of World Vision, Bob Pierce, "Lord, allow my heart to be broken by the things that break your heart."

Though some would be quick to write this off as just some "social gospel" Stearns painstakingly does not allow for that conclusion to be made. The Hole in our Gospel is full of sound biblical doctrine applied to our modern world, Church, and personal lives. This book is not some TV ad about 'the starving children in the world.' It is an incredibly challenging argument against what modern Christianity has become, and a plea to help bring it back to what Jesus and the early Church genuinely preached and lived. Everyone should read this book. Everyone.