The Hole in the Gospel is written by Rich Stearns, President of World Vision. His main point is that our hole in the gospel is not caring for the poor and needy.
And here’s my conundrum: I wanted to like this book. I wanted to go along with what he’s saying – mainly because every other kind, sensitive, new “missional” Christian loves this book. And I totally agree about helping out the poor and needy as he describes in the book. We are sponsors of a child through World Vision. However, I cannot support Stearns’ theology. He suggests that caring for the poor will usher in the Kingdom of God on earth and continually quotes scripture out of context to support this idea. (Forgetting that the Scripture he’s using are the words of Jesus spoken to the Israelites – yes, if they accepted Him as their Messiah, the Kingdom of God would have been ushered in immediately. However, they did not.) Also, I hesitate to say that caring for our neighbors or the poor is a hole in our gospel. It might be a hole in the way we reach others, and it might be a hole in the way we respond…but it’s not a hole in the gospel. Assuming you see the gospel as the message of Christ coming to earth to die for us and be resurrected in order to save us from our sins…I think the way we reach people with the gospel – whether they be rich and well-fed, or poor and needy – is not part of the gospel. It’s like here’s point A – the gospel…Here’s sub-point 1., 2., 3. “how we reach others with the good news.”
Now…that being said, of course I enjoyed his biographical chapters and found his leaving his presidency of Lenox to be the president of World Vision to be inspiring. I also thought he gave good ideas for what we can do as our part of reaching the poor and needy and appreciated his insight. And using Bono as our spiritual leader in all things socially spiritual…well, how can any of us stand up to that? (wink, wink)
(The other book similar to this is Wess Stafford’s book, previously reviewed. Just my own humble opinion, but I’m going to side with Stafford on why we reach out to others.)