Only a few years ago Ability Ministry was an exhibitor at a large missionary conference where we had the opportunity to engage with different missionary leaders from all over the world.
Conversations with missionaries were eye-opening as stories about the mistreatment of people with disabilities were shared from all over the world. Most were heartbreaking.
The one conversation that stood out above all the others did not happen with a missionary but rather with a senior pastor who was attending the conference. After we gave him our “elevator speech” about what we do he gave us a bit of a backhanded compliment. He said: “I commend you for what you do, but I don’t know why you waste your time with it?”
His statement sent my head spinning. I felt frozen in time trying to figure out what he meant. I asked: “What exactly do you mean?” Without flinching, he shot back: “Why waste your time with this ministry when you know that God is going to give all the retarded people a free pass into heaven.”
I had a hard time processing that statement at the moment and probably looked like a deer in the headlights. It was more than just his curt usage of the “r-word” it was just the whole idea of the free pass. I was searching my mental database of scripture tying to compute what just came out of the mouth of a senior pastor.
Is it possible the scriptures have been misread throughout the millennia? Has The Church missed several asterisks in the Bible? The obvious answer is, no. There are no asterisks in the Bible. God makes no exceptions. He is absolute. There are no get out of jail free monopoly cards presented in the pages of Scripture.
Look no further than the Bible’s most well-known verse John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Last I checked I did not see an asterisk for an IQ score under 70.
What about people that might not understand the Gospel message? Try Romans 1:20:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” The Apostle Paul makes it clear that even without a Gospel presentation and a formal confession of faith that people can see and understand God.”
So the whole FREE PASS argument is not only a headscratcher but also total hogwash. If I had the opportunity to go back I would have written down this senior pastor’s name and started a GoFundMe page to raise funds to send him back to seminary for some theology courses. Geesh!
How about you?
What is the craziest thing you have heard working in the field of disability ministry or about disability in general? It does not have to do with theology. I want to hear some crazy stories or statements! Share them and help us to dispel some myths surrounding disability. The craziest story wins a prize. Submit your story to us: . Make sure to put “Crazy Story” in the subject line. We will reshare some of the selected stories submitted in future posts about dispelling myths about disability.
It is Ryan’s passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan’s commitment to life and ministry.