Beyond Suffering

Beyond Suffering:
A Christian View on Suffering & Disability Ministry

Required Texts:
– The Bible, Any Translation
– Tada, J., Bundy, S., McReynolds, K., Verbal, P., Beyond Suffering Course Reader
(2011) The Christian Institute on Disability.

How could a good and loving God allow such evil and suffering: war, poverty, famine,
and disability? People with disabilities suffer from the evils of the world more than many
other people groups. How could God allow this to happen to the most vulnerable?
Considered one of the largest underrepresented groups, there are over 650 million people
worldwide who live with a disability (roughly 10% of the world’s population). It is also
one of the largest unchurched groups on earth. This is most unfortunate because people
affected by disability have much to teach us about spiritual transformation. Their specific
plight—their sufferings both personally and publically—mirror the human condition and
Christian journey in many unique ways.

The purpose of this course is to explore the problem of evil in general and then to
examine ways in which the disability community provides the church with a dynamic
model of spiritual transformation. The serious student will take away from this course
not only a deeper understanding of the disability community and the church’s obligation
to reach out to those who are most vulnerable, but he/she will also learn to embrace their
own brokenness in a whole new way. This course will benefit those who are majoring in
biblical studies, education, counseling, human services, business, any health-related field,
or intercultural studies.

By the end of this course the student will be able to:
Cognitive Objectives:
1) Identify and define some of the most prominent physical and intellectual disabilities.
2) Interpret and explain some of the major biblical passages which address disability
3) Understand and describe Christianity as a knowledge tradition which reflects the ways
things really are.
4) Explain some primary historical perspectives on the image of God and disabilities.
5) Identify and explain some of the major bioethical issues which affect people with
Affective Objectives:
1) Move to embrace your own sufferings as a way of spiritual transformation.
2) Grow to appreciate all persons with disabilities, to view them with dignity, and to
engage them as equally valuable to the Body of Christ.
3) Desire to stand for justice in order to correct the wrongs that society causes or allows
to happen to those affected by disabilities.
Behavioral Objectives:
1) Develop an integrated biblical worldview of suffering, disability, & your discipline.
2) Put together a model that facilitates the full inclusion of people with disabilities into
the life of the church.
3) Actively seek to bring people with disabilities into the Church in accordance with the
“Luke 14 Mandate.”