Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guest Post: Does Scripture Matter in Adoption? Engaging Orphan Care Theologically (Part 1)

I wanted to start this post by thanking Rachel for the invitation to post on her blog, and also for the amazing commitment she and my little brother Jacob have made toward orphan care. If all goes well, and with Rachel’s continued invite, I will hopefully contribute to her blog more than just this one time.

Rachel requested that I write specifically on “adoption” from a theological perspective. Though her blog distinctly deals with issues related to foster care, adoption and foster care fall under the larger umbrella of “orphan care.” In an effort to communicate some of these things clearly, I would like to share a little bit about myself.

My wife, Elisabeth, and I had always had a desire to adopt. Even before we were married, we knew that the question was not “if” we would adopt, but “when” and “how.” Our motivations at this point were perhaps a bit mixed. I cannot speak for Elisabeth, but my motivations in the matter were sourced in simple compassion. I felt bad for orphans I saw. I had Christian compassion on them. I hurt for them because I knew their life was hard. And I knew that one day, I would help.

After Elisabeth and I were married, we began to explore how God would have us build our family. Since adoption was something we were both committed to, we began to research with great diligence. It was during this time I ran across some major evangelical figures that were engaged in orphan care. Together, Elisabeth and I began to reconsider our motivations for being involved in orphan care. As believers, it was vital for us to understand properly what Scriptures teach about the issue.

As we looked at passages like James 1:27 (“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” [niv]), we asked ourselves if this is why we were adopting… Was it because we saw it as something that believers ought to do… as a responsibility placed on us from the “father to the fatherless”… from God himself….

Needless to say, the Spirit began to rip off old “band-aids” of Elisabeth and I together, as we contemplated our own status before being saved by the God of Heaven. What kind of state were we really in when God saved us?

Over my next posts, I want to unpack some of what the Bible teaches about orphan care and some of the motivations to be involved. A careful distinction that I will try to be sure to reiterate from time to time is this: God is calling believers to be engaged in orphan care. By this I mean that those who are not “children of God” cannot understand the spiritual things of God (1 Cor 2:14) and they cannot obey the commands that God has given because their relationship with him is nonexistent. I do not say this to be mean; I say it because it is the truth. A relationship with God, through Christ, is the only way to have true hope. Hope that this life has meaning, and that the life to come will be spent with the God of Heaven, the Creator of all things, the “Father to the fatherless.”

For those believers that may read these posts, my hope is that you will (1) come to appreciate the salvation you experience because of our great God, and (2) that you will seriously consider becoming involved in orphan care.

For those of you that may read these posts who do not have a relationship with God – I beg you to consider what I say. This life is so short: please grant me an audience to communicate to you what the Scriptures say about God. There are an estimated 145 million orphans worldwide. In most cases, their situation is dire. But for all men, a much more grim reality must be addressed. Without Christ, there is no hope for this life, nor the life to come. Please listen to what Scripture teaches about being a “child of God.”

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