by Rod D. Martin
December 13, 2012
Very important. The Gospel IS adoption: the New Testament repeats this again and again. Christ did not die to make us servants only, but sons and daughters, of whom He Himself is the first, the “only begotten” (or natural) Son. We are co-heirs with Christ, we have access to the Father which is precisely like that of a little child and his daddy, and indeed, when Jesus teaches us to cry out to “Abba, Father”, He uses the Aramaic (“Abba”) for “Daddy”. Christianity is not just reconciliation of rebels, sinners, to their God, but an adoption: of hostile children of the devil as princes and princesses of the loving, faithful King.
If Christians understood this properly, there could be no racism, no classism. We are saved from our depraved state — purely by grace, the unearned favor of One who owes us nothing but contempt and judgment — not simply to some state of neutrality, or of judicial compliance, or even of pardoned criminal, but literally to a state of adoption by a loving Father Who takes care of our every possible need.
That being so, Christians should take seriously the care and even adoption of orphans more than any other people; and indeed they do. While the left slanders them and claims they’re “only pro-life to the point of birth”, in fact, Christians adopt more children than all other groups combined, and American Christians adopt more children than all the rest of humanity combined.
But it’s never enough. There are between 132 and 150 million true orphans — no mother, no father — in the world today. Many of them can never be adopted: local laws prevent it, frequently for pernicious and wicked reasons. It’s very difficult to adopt a child today, and tremendously expensive. The perversity of this is manifest. But it just calls on Christians to do more.
Russ Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, has been championing the cause of orphans for years, not least by adopting two of them himself. His Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches is a marvelous introduction and clarion call, and he has sparked a large and growing adoption movement in Baptist life.
Last week, Russ spoke on recovering a Biblical view of adoption at the Family Research Council. You may watch the full lecture here; in addition, I’m reprinting the Baptist Press coverage of the lecture below. Please take the time to read it.
Moore urges biblical view of adoption
by Craig Sanders
Posted December 12, 2012
WASHINGTON (BP) — Understanding what the Gospel is about is at the heart of recovering a Christian commitment to adoption and orphan care, said Russell D. Moore in a lecture at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.
“Christians ought to be listening to and attuning to the cries of the vulnerable because we understand our adoption in Christ,” Moore said.
Moore, dean of the school of theology and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, presented the lecture “Adopted for Life: Orphan Care and the Christian Mission.” Moore is an adoptive father.
Reflecting on the Christmas season, Moore in his Dec. 4 lecture bemoaned the negligence many Christians show toward Joseph, who adopted Jesus as his son. Moore illustrated this by sharing how, as a young boy, his role as the cow in a Christmas play received more attention than Joseph.
Moore emphasized that Joseph acted in Jesus’ life as a true father by naming him and giving him an inheritance in the line of David, saying that “Joseph was putting his life on the line by caring for this child.”
“[Adoption] creates a real family and a real relationship with a new identity and a new inheritance and a new future,” Moore said, opposing the view that adoption is not quite as authentic of a relationship as biological parenting.
Rather than issuing a command that all Christians should adopt children, Moore cautioned instead that all should care for orphans and widows in certain ways according to their giftedness.
“The task of caring for orphans is both Gospel and mission,” said Moore, highlighting the role of adoption in both biblical doctrine and Christian practice.
Moore spoke from experience when he said that caring for orphans is not an easy project because it entails a sense of self-sacrifice.
Referencing the Christmas story again, Moore contrasted Joseph’s humble adoption of Jesus with King Herod, who viewed the birth of Christ as “a threat to his kingship.”
“Every orphan situation represents a tragedy,” Moore said. “When we join ourselves in the mission of Christ to the life of someone else, we are taking on all that hardship and risk.”
Church congregations willing to embrace the risks involved with the blessing of adoption are better equipped to live in biblical community, Moore said. This involves evaluating how “the rescuers became rescued” and understanding each member’s role in caring for the vulnerable.
Contrary to secular opinion, Moore reminded his listeners that the needy children of the world are not some burden to manage, but are the brothers and sisters of Jesus, who will one day hold his followers accountable for how they cared for orphans.
Christians must open their homes and churches, proclaim with clarity the realities of the Gospel concerning adoption and welcome the unwanted, Moore said.
“We’re walking in the steps of a Middle Eastern day-laborer [Joseph], who taught his son by adoption how to speak the words ‘Abba Father,'” which brings good news for those in need,” Moore said.