Disability and the Gospel [eBook]
How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace
Michael Beates’s concern with disability issues began nearly 30 years ago when his eldest child was born with multiple profound disabilities. Now, as more families like his are affected by a growing number of difficulties ranging from down syndrome to autism to food allergies, the need for church programs and personal paradigm shifts is greater than ever.
Working through key Bible passages on brokenness and disability while answering hard questions, Michael offers helpful principles for believers and their churches. He shows us how to embrace our own brokenness and then to embrace those who are more physically and visibly broken, bringing hope and vision to those of us who need it most.
Michael S. Beates (DMin, Reformed Theological Seminary) is the husband of Mary and father of seven children, one of whom lives with profound disabilities and two others who face challenges. Mike has served on the International Board of Directors at Joni and Friends since 2000 and has been involved in Christian ministry for 30 years. He also serves as dean of students at the Geneva School in Winter Park, Florida. Mike has written more than 50 articles for publications such as Tabletalk magazine and the Orlando Sentinel and has contributed chapters to several books focusing on disabilities and hope.
“Disability and the Gospel tackles head-on the spoken and too often unspoken questions about disability. Well researched and at times provocative, Michael Beates digs beyond the surface in search of reconciliation among the realities of suffering, disability, and the teachings of Scripture. Disability and the Gospel is an important work that reveals not only a biblical worldview on physical disability, but gives comforting confirmation that God is indeed always sovereign, always in charge, and all purposeful.”
—Doug Mazza, President, Joni and Friends International Disability Center
“Mike Beates has been a good friend for twelve years, and I’ve observed his godly character as well as heard and read his insightful teaching. I have read Disability and the Gospel at several stages, and I recommend it highly. The church needs to be awakened to the presence of the disabled in our communities and, as Mike stresses, to the disabilities we all have as sinners in need of God’s grace. The book contains excellent exegesis, theology, and historical studies that make a powerful case. I don’t know a better place to hear God’s Word on this important matter.”
—John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“Why should the church embrace people with disabilities? Because they need us? Perhaps. But in Disability and the Gospel, Michael Beates reminds us that the transforming power of the gospel can only be ours when we, the able-bodies, admit our own brokenness and weakness and learn the truth that God uses the weak people of this world to confound the wise. The church has as much to learn form people with disabilities as she has to give to them.”
—Dawn Clark, Director of Disability Ministries, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois
“Disability and the Gospel is a wonderful book! It’s biblical, profound, practical, and challenging. It is also a book written at the right time and by the right person. Every Christian in America needs read this book, and every church should study it, underline it, and live it! What a gift Michael Beates has given to us and to those to whom the church is called to show mercy, understanding and compassion. I rise up and call Mike Beates blessed. Read this book. You will too!”
—Steve Brown, Host, Key Life Radio Program; author, Three Free Sins: God Isn’t Mad At You
“In Disability and the Gospel, Michael Beates urges Christians to invite people with disabilities into our churches and our lives not because they need our help, but because worshiping and ministering alongside people with disabilities helps us to recognize our own brokenness and learn that God’s grace is most apparent and powerful when we are most weak and wounded. While my own theology of disability differs from Beates’s in significant ways, I recommend this thorough, accessible book for pastors, congregations, and individuals who want to engage more fully with those in their communities living with disabilities, and thus live out the Gospel in new and transforming ways.”
—Ellen Painter Dollar, author, No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction