Disabilities, Christ, and His Church

Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace This is a great book on a subject that should be discussed more: Disability and the Gospel by Michael Beates.  I reviewed it awhile back, and highly recommend it.  I recently opened this book again and ran across a great quote – one that is worth pondering.

“One misconception our culture has about disabilities is that anyone disabled is also de facto unable, but this certainly is not the case.  And even if they are unable to contribute in a verbal, social, or spiritual way, their presence among us speaks words that please God.  Some of the most powerful models for disability-effective leadership and churches are those who lead from their disability.  Whether it is lifelong cerebral palsy, accidental paralysis, or onset of a debilitating condition such as multiple sclerosis or sever diabetes, leading from weakness is, in the upside-down nature of the gospel, undeniably powerful in the eyes of the skeptical world.”

“When this happens, the able-bodied population is allowed to believe, perhaps for the first time, that people with disabilities can be real, intelligent, winsome people.  But the rest of the world is also able to see inside their world, maybe even to get a glimpse in some way of the hardship, the loneliness, and the suffering, and be able to admit – again, in many instances for the first time – some measure of their own internal spiritual and personal brokenness and neediness.  God is in the business of using the weak to shame the strong, the foolish to shame the wise.  But in such a discovery and admission, there follows hope – real hope that if this one, more visibly and existentially broken than me, has confidence in Christ, even through tears, then perhaps there is hope for my tears as well” (p. 138-9).

Michael Beates, Disability and the Gospel.

rev shane lems
hammond, WI

One Reply to “Disabilities, Christ, and His Church”

  1. Sounds like a worthwhile book. Yes, this issue needs to be discussed more. I took a seminary class on the theology of suffering, disability and the church. It was both theological and practical in scope. It was an elective, but I suggested it should be mandatory.


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