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The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World Paperback – May 4, 2010

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The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World + When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself + Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Probable 1st edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849947006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849947001
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Stearns has served as president of World Vision U.S. since 1998, having formerly been the CEO of Parker Bros. Games and Lenox, Inc.  He and his wife, Reneé, have five children of their own and millions more around the world. 

Customer Reviews

PLEASE read this book!
M. M. Aguilar
Stearns makes a passionate plea for a paradigm shift among individual Christians and entire churches.
This book is very well written.
Ron Blake

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Blumer on May 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Richard Stearns, the current president of World Vision, tells his compelling story of the typical American dreamer, achieving heights as two-time CEO, but being drug by God to give it all up and pursue this position that he knew nothing of. His own personal struggle of this sacrifice is highly relavent to today's typical American in this materialistic and segregated world. I, myself, currently living in an under-developed African country was pushed to examine my actions in which convinced me to give a shoe-shiner a $20 bill instead of the $1 typically asked for, and think about how to involve local wealthy businessmen to form a club of something similar to the "secret santas" known in Kansas City. According to his aim, this opens many doors and is the first step to show them Christ. But his overall plausibility and reasoning were not so convincing to support his idea of the title, A Hole in Our Gospel. The second half of the book is more of a bible study and preaching session for Richard to bash, in my mind, the church even from its conception, since it did little to change and alter the society around it. Therefore, I believe he is perplexed greatly by this need to save the poor from their poverty, that he misses out on the reality of reality, things we can't change - we live in a fallen world and the battle is not ours. I was moved and compelled by the first half of the book, but lost motivation and became bored by the second half. He should have stopped while the going was good.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com ([...]) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <[...]> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Dean A. Anderson on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I agree completely when the major thrust of this book, God through Scripture has called us to care for the poor and the Western church in particular needs to respond to this call from Scripture.
If you haven't read this book, stop reading this review now. Not because there are spoilers, but because I want now to talk about quibbles I have with the book. And I would hate to think my quibbles would keep someone from reading this fine book with this important message.
But I do have quibbles. There are issues of emphasis and particulars that bothered me. I'm writing this partly to help me think through these issues and decide if my objections are reasonable.
The book does omit some facts and Scripture that I think are important when considering these issues.
Let me start with a famous quote that Stearns frequently refers to from Bob Pierce, "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God". Bob Pierce was the founder of World Vision (the organization that Stearns now leads.) He did great things for God and World Vision now continues to do great work to care for the poor throughout the world.
And that quote has truth in it. As much as we can, we want to see things through God' eyes and feel things through His heart. But we are finite creatures that serve an infinite God. We can't take on the entire burden of God's work in the world. And I believe that Bob Pierce had issues in his life because he tried to take on the full burden of suffering in the world.
It is now common knowledge and well documented that Pierce neglected his own family and was at time verbally abusive with his staff at World Vision. Stearns (understandably) make no mention of these flaws in the life and ministry of Pierce.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JunkyardWisdom on January 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns is one of those books that everybody was raving about, so I decided to read it. I was hesitant about doing so because I read so much stuff about poverty, justice, and missions that one more seemed like overload. But since a lot of people I know swore by the book and even more people were talking about it, I decided to dive in. A bit like watching a TV series that you don't really care for but don't want to feel out of the loop.

I'm glad I read the book. The message that Stearns shares in the book is extremely important, he shares that message very well, and it's a message that needs to be told over and over and over. I am fond of the folks at World Vision (many of whom are friends and partners in ministry) and Stearns writes well. Most of all, he writes with passion, which oozes from the book.

But ... and I want to be very careful here because I do not want to sound like a cynical curmudgeon ... the book doesn't say anything new. Many of the stories and metaphors (e.g. "how would the media react if 100 planes carrying 265 children crashed all at once") are old and have been around for decades. The theology about helping the poor is nothing new to me and I've studied it since the 70's. The insights about the current plight of the poor can all be gleaned by reading the news. So the book is solid and valuable, but it doesn't break any new ground or offer any new insights.

And that's okay. This book wasn't written for me. It was written for the millions of people who just don't understand the need to care for the poor. It's written for the stuffy pastors and lazy churches who have ignored the plight of the world's poor. It's written for the people who want to make a difference, but don't know how.
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More About the Author

Richard Stearns brought nearly 25 years of corporate experience to World Vision when he became its president in June 1998.

Stearns holds a bachelor's degree form Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His professional career began in marketing with the Gillette Company. From 1977 to 1985, he held various roles with Parker Brothers Games, culminating in his appointment as president in 1984. In 1985, he became a vice president at The Franklin Mint, then joined Lenox in 1987 as president of Lenox Collections. In 1995, Stearns was named president and chief executive officer of Lenox Inc. As president of World Vision Inc., Stearns is responsible for U.S. operations, which include fund raising, advocacy, and program development.

Stearns and his wife, Renee, have been World Vision supporters since 1984. The couple has five children and live in Bellevue, Washington.