The Hole in Our Gospel. It's the arresting title of Richard Stearns’ important book . It captures a troubling truth for many of us who do ministry in city churches. There is a “hole" in our Gospel. Stearns was an executive in corporate America (with a conservative, evangelical theology) who became President of World Vision, Inc. in 1998. Traveling the world, learning and doing the good work of World Vision, Inc. (the world's largest nonprofit), Stearns experienced a “conversion". While observing and working with desperate global poverty, battling the absence of potable water and the massive presence of waterborne diseases, and ministering to a portion of 12 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Stearns came to a radical conclusion. He determined that something fundamental is missing in the contemporary understanding of the Gospel. He knows (as do we) that the word gospel literally means “good news".
Stearns found himself haunted with critical questions: What is the “good news" for three billion people in poverty?? What is the “good news" for millions of Africa's AIDS orphans?? Or, to ask some of our questions: What is the “good news" for hundreds of invisible people in our cities who are enslaved in human trafficking for sex? What is the “gospel" for children in our cities who have little or no access to human rights, be they impoverished or homosexual or children of "illegal" parents?
Behind such questions, we must ask ourselves a prophetic question: Just what Gospel is it that most of us embrace today? The answer is found in the title of Stearns’ book: a Gospel with a “hole" in it. The “whole” Gospel means much more than personal spirituality. It also means a “social revolution”.
Now, we must ask if the churches with which you and I are engaged are doing the work and ministry of social transformation? What would some faces and forms of the “good news" of social transformation look like in your cities?