Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father
John Piper, Scotty Smith, Richard Phillips, Jason Kovacs
“I can’t recall ever hearing about, much less reading, a book like this before. This remarkable volume fills a gap in our understanding of God’s adoption of us and our adoption of others. I highly recommend it.”
– Sam Storms, pastor and author of The Singing God
Also endorsed by Russell Moore, Darrin Patrick, Burk Parsons, Shaun Groves, Ed Stetzer, and many more.
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Description & Excerpts..SHARE..
One of the ambitious dreams that Reclaiming Adoption and its authors share with the Apostle Paul is that when Christians hear the word adoption, they will think first about their adoption by God. As it now stands, Christians usually think first about the adoption of children. Reclaiming Adoption sets out to change this situation by providing breathtaking views of God’s love for and delight in His children — views that will free you to live boldly in this world from God’s acceptance, not in order to gain it.
Reclaiming Adoption begins by examining Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son because it ultimately puts God the Father’s love on display — a love that embraces the younger son with uninhibited joy (Luke 15:20) and goes out to entreat the self-righteous older son to come join the celebration (Luke 15:28). The book is premised on the belief that behind the Parable of the Prodigal Son(s) is Scripture’s teaching on adoption. The story of the Bible is that God the Father sent his only true and eternal Son on a mission, and that mission was to bring many wayward and rebellious sons home to glory (Hebrews 2:10) in order to adopt them into His family.
That is the Story behind the story of the Prodigal Sons. It is the only story that gives our stories any meaning or significance.
Dan Cruver and his co-authors are convinced that if Christians learn to first think about their adoption by God, and only then about the adoption of children, they will enjoy deeper communion with the God who is love, and experience greater missional engagement with the pain and suffering of this world. That’s what this book is about. What the orphan, the stranger, and the marginalized in our world need most is churches that are filled with Christians who live daily in the reality of God’s delight in them. Reclaiming Adoption can transform the way you view and live in this world for the glory of God and the good of our world’s most needy.
About the Author
Dan Cruver and his wife, Melissa, are parents of a multi-ethnic family of three children. Dan is the director of Together for Adoption, an organization that provides gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care. Dan is a frequent conference speaker and writer. He has a M.S. in Counseling and 90+ hours toward a Ph.D. in Theology. Prior to directing Together for Adoption, Dan was a college professor of Bible and Theology and a Pastor of Family Ministries.
Table of Contents
1 – Adoption of the Prodigals | Dan Cruver
2 – Adoption and the Trinity | Dan Cruver
3 – Adoption and the Incarnation | Dan Cruver
4 – Adoption and Union with Christ | Dan Cruver
5 – The Good News of Adoption | Rick Phillips
6 – The Freedom of Adoption | Scotty Smith
7 – Adoption and Missional Living | Jason Kovacs
8 – Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel | John Piper
Adoption of the Prodigals
One of my dreams is that when Christians hear the word “adoption,” they will think first about their adoption by God. I am far from alone in this dream. I share it with the co-authors of this book, with those who have attended Together for Adoption conferences, and with innumerable other Christians, beginning with the Apostle Paul.
Because the word “adoption” is rooted in an ancient Greco-Roman legal practice, until Paul everyone understood it as referring to human adoption, what we might call horizontal adoption. But Paul gave the concept a theological underpinning by grounding it in vertical adoption—God’s adoption of sinners. Paul knew something that much of the church today seems unaware of—if we learn to first think vertically about adoption, and only then horizontally, we will enjoy deeper communion with the triune God and experience greater missional engagement with the pain and suffering of this world. That’s what this book is about. We believe:
• the doctrine of adoption has been widely neglected within the church historically
• it remains neglected within much of the Evangelical church today
• a proper theological grounding of horizontal adoption within vertical adoption has profound implications for our understanding of both aspects, and therefore
• to the extent we can recapture theological balance regarding adoption, the church will be transformed and our witness to the world will be radically redefined.
Why is the theology of adoption so neglected? It’s a matter of where Christians have put their attention. It is generally believed that the Church has created thousands of creeds and confessions, with more than 150 being created during the Reformation period alone. Yet in scouring almost 1,900 years of church history, Philip Schaff found only six creeds that contain a section on theological adoption.
To be fair, there are some good reasons for this. The early church was primarily concerned with defining and defending against attack the doctrines of Christ and the Trinity. Similarly, the Reformation and post-Reformation church focused largely on defending the doctrine of justification. We can be eternally glad and grateful these battles were resolutely fought and won. At the same time, the tight focus on a relatively small number of doctrines unintentionally prevented the Church from developing thorough scriptural teaching on vertical adoption.
This is largely why Christians tend to interpret the word “adoption” first (and often only) in terms of adopting children. This is also why vertical adoption is not on the Christian community’s radar to the extent it ought to be; why God’s Fatherhood and our status as his beloved children are not a regular part of our vocabulary; and why the Church’s missional engagement in the world is not informed and shaped—to the extent it can and should be—by Scripture’s teaching on our adoption by God. Our prayer is that this book will contribute to changing all that, for God’s glory and our good.
Our Prodigal Race
Few stories have the ability to pierce us as deeply as Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15:11-32 (I suggest you read the passage now unless you are already very familiar with it). In recent years, Tim Keller’s teaching on this parable has served the Church well by rightly focusing our attention on the father and his relationship, not merely with the younger son, but also with the older son. As Jesus makes clear at the start, this parable is about both sons, and both are estranged from their father.
The younger son manifests his estrangement by breaking the rules, and the older son manifests his by keeping them. The older son may have been “on mission” with the father externally—doing what he was “supposed” to do—but he certainly wasn’t on mission with him internally. His heart was not aligned missionally with the heart of the father. Once it became clear to him that the father dealt with his sons according to grace and not according to merit, his emotional capital and missional commitment evaporated. No longer was he capable of “serving” the father. Nor did he have any interest in aligning himself with the father’s agenda of welcoming home lost sons. Thus, both sons are prodigals, neither one living in loving communion with the father.
Deep underneath the differing externals of these two sons’ behaviors is the fact that both were “sons of disobedience” and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:2-3). But the beauty and wonder of the Parable of the Prodigal Son(s) is that it puts the father’s love on display—a love that embraces the younger son with uninhibited joy (v. 20) and goes out to entreat the older to come join the celebration (v. 28). In both cases, the father comes to the rebels to bring them into his joy, his home. This father loves prodigals.
We are the prodigals whom Jesus, the true and eternal Son, came to bring home. Some of us are more like the younger brother, and some the older. Look closely enough, however, and most of us from time to time can resemble either one. All of us were created in the image of God so that we could participate in the communion of love between the Father and the Son (as we will explore at various points in this book), but we were cut off from that communion because of our sin and rebellion. We became an entire prodigal race, sons of disobedience and children of wrath. As a result, all of us have what C.S. Lewis calls a “longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always only seen from the outside.”
The door that seems so impenetrable is the eternal communion of love between the Father and the Son. The story of the Bible is that God the Father sent His only true and eternal Son on a mission, and that mission was to bring many wayward and rebellious sons home to glory (Hebrews 2:10). That is the Story behind the story of the Prodigal Sons. That is the only story that gives our stories any meaning or significance.
The Story of Adoption
If we consider the Parable of the Prodigal Sons within the larger context of Scripture, we find that it is really the story of adoption—the adoption of humanity as a prodigal race (Genesis 3:6). Maybe you are thinking, “Jesus’ parable in Luke 15 can’t be about adoption. The two brothers were already the father’s sons; they were just estranged. Adoption is for orphans, not sons.”
That would be a reasonable response, but a misguided one, because the logic starts from human adoption. It takes adoption as we understand it horizontally and tries to force the definition of vertical adoption into the same mold. Yes, the Apostle Paul borrowed the term “adoption” from the Greco-Roman horizontal practice, but he altered and expanded the word, filling it with rich redemptive-historical meaning. When Paul says “adoption” he does not mean it the same way we usually do. We should not try to export the attributes of human adoption to divine adoption, because that is not what Paul was intending to communicate. Instead, we should import into our view of human adoption Scripture’s teaching that those who are outside the Father are without hope and home. Let us allow Scripture to remold our concept of adoption, so we can take on a God-centered view rather than a man-centered one.
The Apostle Paul is the only writer in Scripture to employ the term “adoption,” and he does so in four separate passages. Looking at each passage in turn transports us to four crucial events in the grand story of redemption. Together, these events reveal the adoption of sinners to be God’s ultimate purpose. They also have the power to completely overhaul our understanding of adoption.
Before Time: Ephesians 1:4-5 >In this passage, Paul states that God the Father “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” Thus, we see that God’s first work of adoption happened even before He created the universe. God did this, Paul emphasizes, “in love.” Before the first molecule was formed, God marked us out with incomparable care—he predestined us—for the great privilege of being His beloved children through adoption. Adoption was not a divine afterthought. It was in God’s triune mind and heart before the first tick of human history’s clock. Adoption therefore predates the universe itself. Only God and His triune love are “bigger” than adoption.
Israel: Romans 9:4 >Here, Paul identifies adoption as one of the great privileges Israel enjoyed as God’s chosen people: “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.” Scholars believe that Israel received adoption—that is, officially became God’s corporate son—when God declared them a nation at Mt. Sinai, three months after He delivered them from Egypt. Thus, God redeemed them before He adopted them. He redeemed them in order to adopt them.
Of course, Israel repeatedly failed in its sonship by rejecting the Father’s love, thus replaying the story of Adam’s rebellion. God’s mission to bring many wayward and rebellious sons home to glory seemed doomed. Yet through Israel, God’s corporate son through adoption, the eternal and perfect Son would be sent to redeem humanity, thereby preserving God’s perfect plan.
Jesus: Galatians 4:4-6 >“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Here, Paul identifies adoption as the grand purpose or objective of redemption, and he could not have written it more clearly: “…so that we might receive adoption”! Once again, adoption shows up at a watershed moment within the unfolding story of redemption. Just as God redeemed Israel in order that He might adopt them, so also has God redeemed us in order that He might adopt us! Redemption is not the end of God’s work. Adoption as sons is.
New Heavens & New Earth: Romans 8:15,22-23 >Finally, adoption is central to the end of redemption’s story. In verse 23, Paul writes, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Paul identifies the glorification of our bodies as a final outward manifestation of our adoption. When the story of redemption reaches its intended goal, the Bible calls it “adoption.”
So we see that Paul teaches that God does not merely redeem us—through adoption he brings us into the warmth, love, and gladness of His own family. Redemption was never intended to be God’s “be-all and end-all” work of grace. God redeemed us in His Son so that He might love us and delight in us even as He loves and delights in His eternal Son. As we shall see, adoption is God’s act of making room within His triune love for prodigals who are without hope, and providing them with homes in this world and the world to come. This is the story of adoption.
Now it is easier to see why the Parable of the Prodigal Sons is truly about adoption. From God’s perspective, adoption is not essentially about orphans at all. It is essentially about estrangement. Adoption is about God taking into his home those who have rebelled against him. All humanity is naturally estranged from God. We are all rebels, all disobedient sons, for we are all made in his image and created to worship him, yet we have rejected him—as did Adam, as did Israel. Adoption is about the reconciliation of the rebellious. Our confusion comes when we look at human adoption and end up focusing on the fact that a child needs parents. God focuses on the fact that a lost person needs saving.
As we shall see later in this book, the ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians, therefore, is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel, and so that within that family, the world might witness a representation of God taking in and genuinely loving the helpless, the hopeless, and the despised.
Adoption and Mission
Today, God seems to be awakening his people to the importance of Scripture’s teaching on this subject. The authors of this book are convinced that such an awakening will strengthen the Church’s involvement in God’s mission in the world. Our goal here is not to define or explain the mission of God in any detail. We want to further equip you for sustained, joyful engagement and participation in that mission. These first four chapters, therefore, explore the interwoven stories behind God’s work of adoption in the world and its implications for Christian mission. The chapters by Scotty Smith, Rick Phillips, Jason Kovacs, and John Piper then focus on various implications of adoption for missional living.
As believers, particularly in the West, it is easy for us look at the decline of Christianity’s cultural influence, the spread of a secular mindset, a volatile political climate globally, and our own internal struggles with sin, and conclude that the sky is falling. It’s easy for us to look at the world and ourselves through the narrow lens of what’s wrong with both, rather than through the wide-angle lens of what God has done, is doing, and will do in the world for His glory and our good. The narrow lens hinders Christian mission. The wide-angle mobilizes and serves it. Making sure that we are looking at our world and ourselves through the proper lens is critical for Christian mission. I would contend that adoption is the proper lens through which to view the entire story of redemption.
Few things hinder action within the Christian life more than being unsure of God’s love for us personally. Returning for a moment to the story of the prodigals, in Children of the Living God, Sinclair Ferguson sheds a particular kind of light on the prodigal son who left home. As he was returning to his father, the prodigal planned to say that he was no longer worthy to be called a son, which was certainly true. Convinced that, in the depth of his rebellion and rejection of the father, he had lost all hope of receiving the father’s love, he intended to offer himself as a slave, hoping merely to survive. Little does the prodigal know, however, that his father eagerly awaits his return. Ferguson sees something in the prodigal’s thinking that parallels how we as Christians often think of God and His fatherly love for us:
Jesus was underlining the fact that—despite assumptions to the contrary—the reality of the love of God for us is often the last thing in the world to dawn upon us. As we fix our eyes upon ourselves, our past failures, our present guilt, it seems impossible to us that the Father could love us. Many Christians go through much of their life with the prodigal’s suspicion. Their concentration is upon their sin and failure; all their thoughts are introspective (Children of the Living God, 27).
When the prodigal son says, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants’” (Luke 15:18-19), he is thinking in terms of wages earned rather than extravagant love and grace received. It’s as if he is thinking, “I ended up in the far country by squandering my father’s wealth, so maybe I can earn my way back into his house.”
When we as believers relate to God the Father as this prodigal son relates to his father, we are slow to return to God after we sin. We don’t anticipate—let alone expect—his fatherly embrace. And when we do return to him, we think of him primarily as our master and not our Father. As a result, real Christian joy is absent, passionate Christian living is lacking, and Christian mission is severely hindered.
Christians who doubt God’s love for them will not mobilize for mission. Unless we know that the Father delights in us even as He delights in Jesus, we will lack the emotional capital necessary to resist complacency and actively engage in missional living. The only people who can truly turn their eyes outward in mission are those who knowingly live within and enjoy the loving gaze of their heavenly Father.
I believe that a biblical understanding of God’s Fatherhood will cause us to be better able to look outside ourselves in service to others. If we are not confident of His love, our eyes will turn inward, and our primary concerns will be our needs, our lack, our disappointment, rather than the needs of those around us. As a result, we’ll be afraid to take risks or do the hard things even if they are necessary. Or we will do the externals of missional living as an attempt to earn God’s acceptance or to keep Him and our fellow-Christians off our backs. We will relate to Him as if we are wage-earners rather than as His dearly beloved children, the ones in whom He delights.
The logic of wage-earning does not flow out of the gospel of grace. The gospel is joyful news because it speaks to us of the Father’s love that has come to us freely in Jesus Christ.
endorsements & reviews..SHARE..
The following is just a sample of the dozens of glowing endorsements for Reclaiming Adoption. Read all the endorsements — from Russell Moore, Darrin Patrick, Sam Storms, Burk Parson, Ed Stetzer, Shaun Groves, and more — here.
“Reclaiming Adoption is the best kind of theological work: it sings and it sends! As I read, I wanted to praise the Triune God for his great love. Then I felt the urgency of the call to live that love among the world’s orphans. Completely accessible and appealing to “ordinary” Christians, Reclaiming Adoption is thoroughly grounded in Scripture and flows from the great heart of the Church’s historic understanding of the Word. The authors have uncovered new depths and fresh passion in expressing how adoption clarifies the meaning of our union with Christ. Too much evangelical theology today is shallow and powerless because it arises from an abridged gospel. Reclaiming Adoption expands our vision to the fuller glory of the whole narrative of Christ’s work. Thus, this book can transform the worship, education, and mission of any church bold enough to explore its truth.”
Gerrit Dawson, Teaching Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge and author of Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation.
“The wonderful good news of our adoption by God is such an important truth for Christians today. Too many of us believe we will be acquitted on the last day, but in the meantime we live as slaves, distanced from God because we do not embrace him as our loving Father. As a result our obedience is reduced to mere duty instead of being animated by joy. How can we put this right? This book is a great place to start. Enriching theology and missional application are beautifully interwoven. The result is a book that will warm your heart and might just change your life.”
“The authors have done an impressive work reminding us of the centrality of our spiritual adoption through faith in Christ. Exploring the extravagant and unmerited love of our Heavenly Father, they inspire a reexamination of the importance of adoption—both in the spiritual and human realms."
Kelly Rosati, Vice President of Community Outreach, Focus on the Family
“Reclaiming Adoption won’t guilt you into doing one more thing for Jesus. It merely wants to celebrate the forgotten truth that changes everything: you’re adopted! This book will flood your heart with gratitude, which if you’re not careful, might inspire you to do something really special for Jesus.”
Mike Wittmer, Professor of Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Cornerstone University, and author of Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough
“This book can make you come more alive to the heart of the gospel and the mission of the gospel. Reclaiming Adoption says better in 100 pages what many have attempted to say in 1,000 pages. This is a fresh telling of the best news in the universe, good news that changes everything: the fatherless receive a Father!”
Justin Buzzard, pastor, San Francisco Bay Area, author of BuzzardBlog.com
“Younger evangelicals have taken the lead in putting pro-life convictions into practice by leading the way in the modern adoption movement. While this is obviously a cause of rejoicing, even better is when the motivation is not moralistic or sentimental but profoundly Gospel-driven and theologically-grounded. Dan Cruver and his fellow contributors write to reclaim adoption in such a way that the imperative of adopting is grounded in the indicative of God’s adoption of us in Jesus Christ. The result is a Gospel-drenched book that leads us toward active care for the world’s orphans and unwanted in response to the often surprising and always transforming grace of God. Not to be missed!”
Sean Michael Lucas, Senior Minister, The First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, MS
“ As the US head of an organization that ministers to thousands of orphans and vulnerable children around the world each year, I was deeply impressed by Reclaiming Adoption’s excellent Biblical exposition and call to action on behalf of the ‘least of these.’ Dan Cruver has assembled an impressive group of authors who challenge us to fully embrace God’s adoption of us and from that foundation to work in tangible ways to bring more fatherless and motherless children into loving and committed families. I highly recommend this book to all who have a heart or want to have a heart for the world’s orphans.”
David Evans, US President and Global Executive Officer, Food for the Hungry
“Perfectly positioned at the intersection of the practical, the spiritual, and the doctrinal…”
A revival, is happening right now in evangelical theology…..it looks like it may have the momentum to reinvigorate evangelical systematic theology….The most promising sign I’ve seen so far is the new book Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father. This is a short, readable, popular-level introduction to the theology of adoption, and it is perfectly positioned at the intersection of the practical, the spiritual, and the doctrinal. It’s published by the innovative little publisher Cruciform Press….
A book like Reclaiming Adoption is carrying out the theological task of catechesis, teaching Christians in mid-mission to think more, and think better, about the gospel they are living in. That is going to pay off in the quiet halls of evangelical theology.
Fred Sanders, First Things
“Another solid contribution to Cruciform Press' effort to provide gospel-centered reading for gospel-driven living…”
“Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.” — J. I. Packer in Knowing God
Dan Cruver’s Reclaiming Adoption affirms Packer’s statement but goes on to show that not only our understanding of Christianity but also our individual and corporate practice of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of the biblical doctrine of adoption.
Once again, Cruciform Press has jam-packed a little book with lots of gospel truth for the sake of gospel transformation. Reclaiming Adoption is a fountain welling up with a biblical theology of our vertical adoption in Christ that overflows with missional living in our horizontal relationships with our neighbors, the nations, and the next generation.
As a man who is adopted by God, who has adopted two children, and is the Director of Together for Adoption, Dan Cruver writes as one whose entire life is wrapped up in adoption and orphan care. Cruver opens the book with a brief biblical theology of our Father’s adoption of prodigals and then explores other fascinating aspects of our adoption in the next three chapters:
- Adoption and the Trinity: “Through adoption God graciously brings us to participate in the reciprocal love that ever flows between the Father and his Son. Not only is this the very heart of adoption; it is also the very heart of the gospel” (page 27, bold emphasis mine).
- Adoption and the Incarnation: “Through the incarnation, Jesus (fully God and fully man in his one Person) became not merely the means but the place—the locale—where communion with and obedience to God happens in all its unimaginable fullness. It is only in the Person of Christ that God and man meet in loving communion. The understated good news of the gospel is that the humanity of Jesus has become our communion with and obedience to his Father. Only in Jesus can true radical obedience and unending communion be found” (page 43, bold emphasis mine).
- Adoption and Our Union With Christ: “This means that, at its source, missional engagement is not really what we do at all. It is what Jesus does. God is always the initiator. Jesus engages us in mission; we do not engage him. Our missional engagement as Christians is not an imitation of Christ and his mission. It is a participation in Christ and his mission” (page 52, bold emphasis mine).
And as if Cruver’s own practical theology of biblical adoption is not enough (and his chapters are surely worth the price of the book), he has invited other noted pastor-theologians to fill out the final four chapters by weighing in on the subject: John Piper, Scotty Smith, Jason Kovacs, and Richard D. Phillips.
As one who loves the cruciform image of a life that is shaped by the cross into the shape of the cross, I love the book’s emphasis on how our vertical relationship with our Father impacts our horizontal relationships with people, especially the fatherless. This book makes a great companion to Nate Palmer’s Servanthood As Worship as it explains how our service to God and others flows from our sonship. These two books are serving me well as I finish writing my forthcoming book, Cruciform: Living the Cross Shaped Life (stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks).
Perhaps the greatest personal endorsement I can give is to say that Cruver’s book has convinced me and my wife (and even my three children) to seriously pray, asking our Father if He would provide the means and method by which our family might live out of our adoption as Abba’s children by adding another child to our family or giving us the opportunity to care for orphans. I’m excited to see what He does with this.
Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father is another solid contribution to Cruciform Press' effort to provide gospel-centered reading for gospel-driven living. Each new release makes me happy that I signed up for a monthly subscription, and I’d recommend you do the same (this is one of the very few ways I’d ask you to imitate me, but it’s worth the risk).
Jimmy Davis, Cruciform Life Blog
“Takes us deep into the heart of Abba Father for his children…”
There is a unique phenomenon sweeping across America right now. A groundswell of Christians and entire churches are stepping up to care for and adopt orphans. Many of the most influential pastors in this country, like Rick Warren, are devoting significant time at the pulpit to getting the word out — that God calls us to care for those without hope and without families (James 1:27).
The writers of this book, Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, provide a possible explanation for this: Christians have a perspective on orphans and adoption through the gospel that the rest of the world does not.
An understanding of our own adoption in Christ enables us to rightly understand and appreciate human adoption. Grasping the scope and weight of our vertical adoption provides the biblical foundation we need to comprehend and respond to God’s call for us to adopt horizontally.
Essentially a collection of essays by leading evangelical thinkers and adoption advocates, Reclaiming Adoption takes us deep into the heart of Abba Father for his children. Authors John Piper, Dan Cruver, Scotty Smith, Jason Kovacs, and Richard D. Phillips provide an intentionally theological perspective on adoption that manages to be simultaneously inspirational and practical.
As an adoptive parent, what I appreciate most about this book is that it puts words and clearly articulated theology to something I have known intuitively for a long time.
“The ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians, therefore, is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel, so that within that family, the world might witness a representation of God taking in and genuinely loving the helpless, the hopeless, and the despised.”
The purpose of adoption, as editor Dan Cruver explains, is primarily evangelical, both to the adopted child and to the community that witnesses the adoption. Through Christ, we are drawn into communion with the Trinity — we are adopted — and from that place we are called to invite others into the Family of families as well. Human adoption gives us a chance to join God is the redemptive work that he is already doing through Christ in us and in all of humanity.
“Adoption and our care for the fatherless provide a visible demonstration of the gospel. Our adoption of children serves as a window into Christ’s rescue of us. Adoption displays gospel-justice. Adoption displays the patient, persistent pursuit and sovereign choice of God for us. Adoption displays the heart of God for rescuing a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Because of what God has done for us in Christ, adoption and orphan care are signs that God’s kingdom and rule are present in our world and will one day come in all their fullness.”
Reclaiming Adoption is an invaluable resource for those who desire to better understand what it means to be adopted in Christ. It is also vital for anyone seeking to comprehend or advocate for human adoption as one of the most powerful ways we can proclaim the good news of the gospel to a world desperately in need.
Meg Miller, meghmiller.com