Disability and the Way of Jesus – Review

Disability and the Way of JesusTwo of the biggest interests in my life are biblical studies and disability theology. Disability and the Way of Jesus by Bethany McKinney Fox satisfied both those needs.

This is a very important book for developing a biblical theology of disability. There are a lot of helpful passages in the Bible about disabilities but some of the most complicated are the healing of people with disabilities in the Gospels.

What do the Gospels say about disabilities? They say that Jesus heals them.

How does a person with a disability hear those passages? I have read passages about Jesus healing the blind, while looking into the pews and seeing two ladies who are blind. I have read passages about Jesus healing the lame and seeing my colleague in a wheelchair.

One option is to ignore the passages. The Gospel writers and Jesus were not as enlightened as we are. They didn’t know better and so they dealt with disabilities in unhelpful ways.

Another is to insist that these healings should be the normal Christian experience. We should grab every person with a disability we find and insist on praying for their healing. Any lack of healing could be blamed on sin or unbelief.

There has to be a better way. What I liked about this book is that Fox does a careful reading of the Gospels and their context. As a person trained in biblical studies, I appreciated her interaction with scholars.

What Fox finds are helpful principles that explain what Jesus was doing and guide us as we attempt to places of healing (rather than curing). Fox fills this in with interviews with pastors and other Christians who have wrestled with these issues.

The result is a biblically sound, pastorally sensitive and theologically rich reflection of the words and deeds of Jesus when it comes to disabilities. I highly recommend Disability and the Way of Jesus for all pastors, Bible students and people interested in disabilities.

 

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