More Than an Interest Group
The church is the transnational, transgenerational body of Christ, the redeemed of all of the ages. But the church expresses itself in this age in local, palpable gatherings of believers in covenant with one another. When I say “church,” I’m speaking largely of how we live our lives together in these little outposts of the kingdom of Christ.
I’m afraid some people will think I’m referring to the church programmatically as a set of initiatives. In the case of adoption, some of the need is for programs and strategies. But far more important than more “special emphases” is a culture of bringing Christ’s presence to orphans. This has to do with creating a culture of adoption. In many ways, this is carried through more in thousands of conversations in hallways, fellowship dinners around a common table, and gospel preaching than in new initiatives and curricula and plans.
We must recognize that adoption isn’t an issue for individual Christian families.
Most importantly, we must recognize that adoption isn’t an issue for individual Christian families. There’s no such thing as a “Christian family” abstracted from the church. It also is not simply an issue for an interest group within the church—the “adoption people” competing with the “homeschooling people” competing with the “Third World debt relief people” and so on.
Adoption can be a priority for everyone within the church in ways that reflect the diversity and unity of a church that is one body with many members. Adoption can be part of our congregational lives, fully recognizing the differing gifts and callings of individual Christians within the church.
A Transformed Community
If adoption is to be a priority for us, we must transform the local community (the internal ministry of the church) and the global vision (the external witness of the church). In this way, our churches can work together with other like-minded congregations toward a witness that is expansively pro-life, pro-family, pro-orphan, and pro-gospel.
When we adopt—and when we encourage a culture of adoption in our churches and communities—we’re picturing something that’s true about our God. We, like Jesus, see what our Father is doing and do likewise (John 5:19). And what our Father is doing, it turns out, is fighting for orphans, making them sons and daughters.
This article is adapted from Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russell D. Moore.
There seems to be an orphan-making urge among us, whether we see it in the slave culture of centuries past or the divorce culture of today. But where does it come from?