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4 Stars Out Of 5
Faith without works is . . .
December 3, 2010
Review of "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns and narrated by Tommy Creswell
Review: 4 Stars (out of 5)
Richard Stearns is a very inconvenient man. He is of that dangerous sort who comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. "The Hole in Our Gospel" is an inconvenient book. It actually has the temerity to assert that Jesus Christ of Nazareth meant what He said about His mission "to proclaim good news to the poor . . . proclaim liberty to the captives and recover of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Stearns presses his point home to challenge the average American Christian's "easy believe-ism" and to ask whether we even believe if our faith is not backed up with works of charity, social justice and compassion. Well read by Tommy Creswell, this is not a book that you "enjoy." This is a book that challenges you. This book would get a 5 star rating, however, there are instances where the book simply seems redundant or stalls out on a point already made. Well worth the listen. "The Hole in Our Gospel" will challenge you to move beyond intellectual assent into action. And that IS the Gospel.
A special thanks to the folks at christianaudio Reviewers Program for the advance copy for review. http://christianaudio.com
How does the president of a company that produces fine tableware find himself at the helm of a Christian organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and its symptoms? This is the story of Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision, Inc. and the author of The Hole in Our Gospel (audiobook read by Tommy Creswell).Stearns book is a detailed account of his personal journey leading to his position at the head of World Vision. While the book does trace his career path, the narrative has more to do with the change of heart that occurred over time to bring him to such a role.The authors compassionate heart is present in every chapter. Listening to Stearns describe the current state of poverty in our world, it is hard not to be drawn in emotionally. Perhaps this was part of his purpose in writing this book, to tug at the heart of those who might otherwise be oblivious to the living conditions that many outside of our context know as normal.While I did find much of the book very interesting and engaging, I have to admit that I am somewhat distracted by the books title. With the subject matter of the book it could be easy to leave someone with the impression that compassion for the poor is an essential element of the gospel. A person could wonder about his status in Christ if he doesnt share the same level of concern for the things Stearns and others do. The hole isnt in our gospel, it is in our understanding of how the gospel moves us to love our neighbors as ourselves.If in the all this book does is to poke a hole (no pun intended) in our Christian bubble so that we become more aware of the economic state of the rest of the world, then I think Stearns has done his job. The authors argument and presentation isnt flawless but it is still very engaging and is worth a read (or listen in my case).Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of their Christian Audio Reviewers Program.
I received a free copy of The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns from Thomas Nelson publishers, for the purpose of review. I received no other compensation. I was not required to write a positive review. My opinions are entirely my own."Have we embraced the whole gospel or a gospel with a hole in it?" This is the question that Richard Stearns faced in a mud hut in Uganda a decade ago, as he listened to the story of an orphaned child. Eventually, God called Mr. Stearns to leave his comfortable life, his position at one of America's most prestigious organizations, and walk with the poor.This compelling true story challenges all that the American gospel of prosperity has ingrained into its followers. God expects more from us than to warm pews, study our Bibles, and be good people. The Hole in Our Gospel takes that challenge and puts hands and feet on it - challenging us to be the hands and feet of Christ - no matter what we must sacrifice.It is a deep, thought provoking, and challenging read that resonated in my heart. I will definitely keep this one in my library, and refer to it often when I need a push out of complacency or selfishness.