The Hole in our Gospel

Just finished reading a book written by the president of World Vision U.S., Richard Stearns. Entitled The Hole in our Gospel, the author attempts to answer the question: What does God expect of us? He believes that the answer changed his life and might just change the world.

Mr. Stearns believes that most of us don’t understand the whole gospel, therefore we have a hole in our gospel. My personal feeling is that he may have the Gospel and the lived-out changes in our lives a bit confused.

The Gospel is not complicated and is, in fact, a gift. No strings attached. Though at great cost. And God’s work. Not ours. We can’t save ourselves (hey, Scripture says that we’re dead…not on life support, but dead!) and only God can bring us to life. We wouldn’t even be interested in His Word if He hadn’t first been working in our lives through His Spirit. The Bible clearly states that NO ONE is seeking Him. NO ONE.

So, the Gospel does not have a hole in it. If we understand the Gospel, we can’t then say that it has a hole in it. The Gospel is the Gospel.

Now, as we are sanctified — growing more and more like Christ — we begin to see changes that need to be made. And work that needs to be done. We can act us God’s eyes, arms, feet. What a privilege. But our works are NOT the Gospel. Our works give evidence that He is at work in our lives.

This book preaches a social gospel, in my opinion, though the author specifically says that it does not. Different definitions, I suppose.

His testimony, specifically how he was led to take the leadership role at World Vision, is interesting and I would guess that many people could relate to his thought process. Not that we’ve all been CEO’s, but many of us have probably walked in his shoes: comfortable home, good job, kids in private Christian school, vacations, donations to worthwhile ministries, church involvement. But God wanted more from him.

It was also interesting to read about our friends Bob and Pamela Snyder who apparently had attended the same church as the Stearns before the Snyders upped and moved the whole family to Hungary! We’re so thankful that they were obedient to that call — we met Bob here in Kyiv and immediately knew we were kindred spirits. His ministry to physicians and medical personnel gave Jim the vision for what could be done in Ukraine. They have been working together ever since spreading the Gospel through International Saline. (To learn more about Bob’s ministry, click International Health Services. Though he is now back in Pennsylvania, he is actively working with select ministries literally around the world!)

The book also gave some staggering statistics regarding HIV/AIDS, drinking water, education, among others. I choked back tears reading several of the stories. The author’s passion to help others around the world is clearly evident, and I would challenge others to consider some of the works that he mentions.

But, again, I would argue with his definition of the Gospel. There’s no hole in it.

Gaping holes in us, but not in the Gospel.


  1. you might be interested to also checkout the companion website to the book – – it has a 42-day online journal with a daily thought or action about poverty & justice. they also have small group resources.

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