A Review of
THE BIBLE, DISABILITY, AND THE CHURCH: A New Vision of the People of God.
By Amos Yong.
Reviewed by Bob Cornwall.
[This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog and is reprinted here with permission.]
Why do churches sometimes try to evade the American Disabilities Act? Does this evasion suggest a lack of concern for persons with disabilities? When it comes to reading Scripture, do we read it in ways that perpetuate stereotypes and stigmas? And does our language exclude rather than include and welcome persons with disabilities?
I must admit that until I began reading Amos Yong’s book The Bible, Disability, and the Church I hadn’t thought much about these kinds of questions. Reading this book was a consciousness-raising experience that forced me to look at biblical texts and the church in a very new and different light.
I became acquainted with Yong’s work as I reviewed Who is the Holy Spirit? (Paraclete, 2011). Being that I’m interested in the Holy Spirit, this was a natural book for me to read, and I was impressed by the quality of his theological work. So, when this book appeared, I requested a review copy to see what a Pentecostal theologian might have to say about this topic. Although Yong is a Pentecostal teaching at a divinity school sponsored by a famous TV evangelist, his perspective might surprise some readers, especially non-Pentecostals living on the left side of the theological divide. But whether one is surprised or not by the author’s perspective, the reader will be transformed.
As an evangelical Yong has a high view of scripture. It is for him the Word of God and thus needs to be taken seriously. But, he also understands that how we interpret that text has important implications for how we live out the Christian life. Although as a Pentecostal he believes that God heals, he also knows that God is not healing curing everyone or removing the disabilities experienced by people. Thus, perhaps there other ways in which healing occurs – including the removal of stigmas that isolate and exclude persons.
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