Book Review “The Hole In Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns

“When our churches become spiritual spas in which we retreat from the world, our salt loses its saltiness, and we are no longer able to impact the culture” (pg. 180)

As I turned from page to page in Richard Sterns amazing book “A Hole In Our Gospel,” I couldn’t help but to be continually reminded of one person, a little boy named Ramadan, who lives in a little village in Africa, and was our sponsored child through Compassion International for several years.  If you want a book that will tug at your heartstrings… this book is it. If you want a book that motivates to action… this book is it. If you want a book that presents a stark picture of the realities of this fallen world… this book is it.

After reading the book and then taking several weeks to digest what I encountered I can say that this is a book that probably shouldn’t be read by the average Christian. It shouldn’t be read by the average Christian who wants to remain average. If you’re one who’s comfortable with your present spiritual position this book will summarily kick you right in the face. The book presents us with the issues and then does what so many others don’t – tells us what we need to do about it.

I very much appreciate the fact that this book doesn’t do what many related to this topic often do. All too often Christians take one of two positions on issues of social justice. They either ignore it all together or they try to replace the true message of the gospel with it. These are the extremes, and Stearns does a good job of avoiding both of them. The church is called to be active in areas of social justice, to help those who are in need. Meeting physical needs is extremely important but that task shouldn’t ever be placed above meeting spiritual ones.  

Now I’m an organized person by nature, being that I like my information presented in a clear, concise, and understandable fashion. Being that I function in this way, the book was right up my alley. I didn’t have to wade through mountains of needles filler information to get to the heart of the matter, from both the perspective of the world and of the church. The format is simple, yet extremely effective;

1.       The Hole In My Gospel – And Maybe Yours

2.       The Hole Gets Deeper

3.       A Hole In The World

4.       A Hole In The Church

5.       Repairing The Hole

As the storyline of this book comes to life from the pages of this book there were three things that continually hit me as being central to Stearn’s task in writing the book. First and foremost, each hurting person is not only created in the image of God, but is loved by Him. Secondly, each one of these seemingly insurmountable challenges has a solution. And finally that each and every one of us can make a difference; we just have to be willing to do it.

This book serves as a call to action and a reminder to all Christians that we were saved for good works not just for our own personal enrichment and comfort. Stearns does a phenomenal job of portraying our modern world and our modern church for what it is and shows us what it needs to be. I was personally convicted by what I read in this book, and I know that anyone who reads it will have the same response if they take it at face value and don’t rationalize their own actions as somehow being completely compatible with the needs of the world. In reading this book I was led to ask two questions, to myself and to others (1) Are you moved? (2) How far?

NOTE: If you’re from our church family, you are free to borrow this book from me. Just let me know and I’ll get it to you.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers for the review copy of this book.

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About Jim

I'm currently the Communications Director for Missouri Operation for Vigorous Evangelism [MOVE] A Church planting ministry located in Jefferson City, MO. I believe that the church is the primary means through which God works in a community to love and redeem it. Here at MOVE we’re discovering new ways to be used for this purpose as God leads us and lights His path for us. As God forms this organization and shapes it for a new kind of world I want to be right in the middle of what He’s doing, traveling on this road of a disciple’s journey.

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