Before reading Disability and the Gospel, I was a bit skeptical. On the one hand, I was fearful of yet another “gospel and ____” book. On the other hand, I was afraid that the book would not apply to me, since I’m not exactly “disabled.”
I was in for a surprise.
Book Review of Disability and the Gospel
- Title: Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace
- Author: Michael S. Beates
- Audiobook narrator: Arthur Morey
- Publisher: Crossway and Christianaudio (audio version)
- Date: June 2012
- Length: 192 pages, 6.43 hours
The Big Idea of Disability and the Gospel
This book is a theology of disability. The author discusses biblical texts dealing with the topic, surveys disability from a historical perspective, and provides practical advice for dealing with disability in church and life. Beates does not answer every question about disability, but he does provide a discussion that is challenging, biblical, and, I believe, necessary.
Thoughts on Disability and the Gospel
- This is an important issue. The author does a helpful job of explaining how the disabled are marginalized and excluded from many Christian and evangelical congregations. Obviously, few churches would actively resist the attendance of disabled people, but the lack of proactive outreach to these people is a testament to their exclusion. If, as Beates asserts, 10% of the population has a physical or mental disability, then why do our churches not reflect this percentage?
- The treatment is thoughtful, biblical, and well-informed. Beates did his homework. This book is a helpful resource because of its excellent research. Not only does Beates deal with the biblical passages in a thorough way, but he also takes the reader on a historical journey through church history to see how Christian thinkers and writers throughout the ages have understood the topic of disability. Although thorough, the book is also very accessible for any layperson.
- We are all weak, broken, and, in a sense, disabled. I was born with a congenital heart disorder that was, by God’s grace, corrected in two procedures when I was ten and eleven. Apart from a few bumps and bangs (and a really painful splinter a few weeks ago) I’ve never been “disabled,” in the conventional sense. But what does it mean to be “disabled?” Michael Beates makes a case for the fact that we’re all disabled, in one sense or another. We may not have a debilitating physical condition, but we all have weaknesses. Rather than resist our weakness, we ought to embrace it (2 Corinthians 11:30). Our weakness is an opportunity to display God’s power and grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).
This is not a specialist book, only intended for those who are disabled or who have a disabled loved one. It is a book for every Christian. The challenge to humility, to bold engagement with the marginalized, and to more intentional service is a call that each believer would do well hear.
See the book on Amazon.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this review copy for free as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program of christianaudio.com. I was not required to write a positive review, even though I did…this time. 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.”