Description of Hole In Our Gospel Audio by Richard Stearns
Nashville, Tenn. — As president of World Vision, Richard Stearns is aware that nearly 3 billion people live on less than $2 per day, often without access to clean water, food and medicine. But why, he asks, aren't Christians mobilizing to serve the world's poor and tackle the problems that fuel the cycle of poverty? "The Hole In Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World" (Thomas Nelson, March 2009) is Stearns' first book and a call to fulfill God's commandment to help address poverty and injustice. Stearns, who has led World Vision, the international Christian humanitarian agency, for a decade, makes a case for God's heart for the poor while introducing readers to some of the billions of people who daily struggle to survive hunger and disease.
Stearns believes there is a glaring hole in Christianity as it is practiced in the United States. What's missing? An active concern for people affected by poverty and injustice. Quoting extensively from scripture, Stearns illuminates God's commitment to aid the poor and leaves no doubt that God expects his followers to do the same.
The author explains how Christians of previous generations encountered three basic roadblocks to exercising Christian compassion: a lack of awareness (knowing the need), access (being able to reach the needy), and ability (having resources to meet the need). Stearns writes, "For the first time in the history of the human race, we have the awareness, the access and the ability to reach out to our most desperate neighbors around the world. The programs, tools, and technologies to virtually eliminate the most extreme kinds of poverty and suffering in our world are now available. This is truly good news for the poor — but only if we do our part."
As a former CEO for Parker Bros. Games and Lenox, Inc., Stearns understands the challenge of living out the gospel from a safe and wealthy corner of the world. "Filling ‘the hole' in my own gospel — my own faith — has never come easy. I was a most reluctant recruit to this cause — in many ways a coward. But if God can use me, he can use anyone."
"The Hole In Our Gospel" challenges Christians to expand their personal and transforming faith into a public and transforming relationship with the poor. "The gospel, or good news, proclaimed by Jesus was so much more than a private transaction between God and us," Stearns writes. "It was a vision of a changed people challenging and changing the prevailing values and practices of our world." Stearns hopes the stories, scripture and statistics recounted in "The Hole in Our Gospel" will inspire readers to see God's heart for the poor and respond with wholehearted obedience to a complete gospel. He offers numerous examples of Christians who creatively use their influence, skills and money to make a difference and encourages readers to consider how they can do the same. Stearns believes the combined efforts of 2 billion Christians worldwide, each doing his or her small part, can change the world.
"I've seen the hungry fed and people taught to fish and farm. I've watched wells being drilled and cisterns being built — the thirsty given water. I have met refugees who have been resettled, disaster victims who've been restored. I've seen widows comforted, orphans cared for, children freed from slavery and abuse, schools built, clinics opened, babies vaccinated, loans giving the poor a hand up, not a handout. I have been an eyewitness to this amazing, full gospel, transforming the most broken of lives and flooding the darkest of places with the radiant light of hope. So I know it can be done." As president of World Vision Inc., Richard Stearns is responsible for U.S. operations, which include fund raising, advocacy, and program development. World Vision (www.worldvision.org) is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. Stearns is passionate about helping children and families affected by the AIDS crisis and has made this a priority for the organization. Stearns and his wife, Reneé, have been World Vision supporters since 1984. The couple has five children and lives in Bellevue, Wash. At the request of the author, all royalties due to the author will benefit World Vision's work with children in need.