I think his research has far-reaching consequences in not only transforming the Pentecostal / Charismatic movement; it will also impact the church at large. His question “Was Paul the churches first theologian of disability?” is a good question to answer.
How do we incorporate an understanding of disability and sickness within a theology of healing is another question that we must both ask and grapple with for the answer.
This also leads to more questions about how do we perceive people in the church who suffer some form of disability? Do we perceive them as less than us? Do we perceive them as having less faith than us? Amos turns this type of questioning around by saying perhaps Paul himself is rebuking the Corinthian church; through his own disability.
Therefore, if Paul is writing from experience of ongoing disability…how much have we done Paul a disservice and therefore Scripture an injustice in reading it through the lenses of strength and ability?
In 2007 I was allowed out of hospital on day release; for our churches official opening. I had to go in a wheel chair and I sat up the back feeling very sorry for myself; thinking how can I contribute towards this day? I am useless! I felt the Lord speak into my heart saying
“Craig, your being here is your contribution within the church fellowship! You need to learn how to serve the church in weakness as well as in strength. Your being here allows others to exercise their gifts and therefore your being here is your gifting and contribution in the church”
I wrote a post about the freedom we have in Christ from any distinction from each other. using one of my favourite Scriptures.
Gal 3:28 A person is no longer a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a free person, a male or a female because all of you are one in Christ Jesus. ISV
I think we can and need to add to this verse that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, Slave or Free, Male or Female, Able or Disabled, all are one in Christ.