I admire Justin Peters for a few reasons. Most importantly, he takes a strong stand for Biblical truth against the Word of Faith teachers that dominate “Christian” television. Although his concern for refuting these false teachers stems from his youthful attempts to receive physical healing from his Cerebral Palsy, he minimizes references to his disability in favor of upholding God’s Word and encouraging people toward sound doctrine.
In short, Justin Peters’ ministry isn’t focused on his disability. It’s bigger than that.
At various times in my life, people have suggested that I involve myself in disability ministry, just like Joni Eareckson Tada. After all, I’m a Christian writer in a wheelchair. Couldn’t I write articles and books about how the Lord helps me cope with Cerebral Palsy?
Yeah. I probably could. But to be honest, disability doesn’t really interest me.
Don’t get me wrong. My Cerebral Palsy seeps into every area of my life. Without it, I would most likely have never met and married John. Without it, many things in my life would have been vastly different. And many of the frustrations and aggravations I presently struggle with wouldn’t exist. (As I type this, we’re having a frustrating problem related to disability.) Being married to another wheelchair user, I can assure you that disability constantly clamors for my attention.
Yet there’s so much more to my life (and to John’s) than wheelchairs and Personal Care Attendants. And I care much more passionately about upholding God’s Word and confronting false teaching than I do about speech defects and toileting routines.
Maybe disability ministry has a place. Certainly, churches should equip themselves to minister to people with physical, intellectual and emotional disabilities. But as much as possible, those same churches should encourage members with disabilities to move past their disabilities to place their minds on serving the Lord.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ~~Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV)
Whether you’re able-bodied or disabled, you need to keep your mind on more than your immediate circumstances. Disability may affect how you serve God, but it should never limit you to serving Him exclusively in disability related areas. The Christian life involves so much more than your struggles and sufferings, and developing other interests will probably make you more effective for God’s kingdom.
Justin Peters used his disability as a launching pad to develop his ministry, but his ministry is about so much more than his Cerebral Palsy! That’s an example I want to follow. How about you?