Providing gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care.

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T4A House Conference II (Phoenix)

by Dan Cruver Published Mar 28, 2011

If you live in the Phoenix area, you may now register for our March 24th house conference. It’s free! Sign up soon. Only 5 more seats are available.

Together for Adoption’s house conference initiative aims to “bring a T4A conference to a living room near you . . . for free.” Our second house conference is 7:00 PM PST, tonight (Monday), March 28th, in Phoenix, Arizona. We can only accommodate 5 more outside guests for this second house conference. Seats will be reserved for the next 5 who sign up online. Directions to the conference location will be emailed to those who sign up.

Here’s a little information about our house conferences:

Objective: Deliver the theology of adoption (and its implications for orphan care) through face-to-face connections (“theology in your living room”).

Format for tonight’s House Conference: 20-20-20

  • 20 minutes of teaching: The Story Behind the Story of Adoption – Sparking the Conversation
  • 20 minutes of discussion: In-House Interview (with Vermon and Dennae Pierre) – Continuing the Conversation
  • 20 minutes of questions – Expanding the Conversation

Our hope is to use house conference to spark continuing conversations about orphan care that move Christians/churches toward greater collaboration and implementation. Why are these conferences hosted in homes? Because the orphan crisis is something that Christians should grapple with in their living rooms. It should be that personal to us.

Tonight’s House Conference will be video captured and uploaded to our Vimeo channel later this week. Stay tuned.

House Conference #1 is a Wrap!

by Dan Cruver Published Mar 25, 2011

I’m sitting here at a Starbucks in Scottsdale, Arizona, reflecting upon last night’s house conference, our first one. Our primary reason for holding these mini-conferences in homes is because the orphan crisis is something that we as Christians should grapple with in our living rooms. The plight of orphans around the world should be just that personal to us.

What I especially enjoyed about our first one-hour mini-conference is the diversity of people who attended. We had singles, couples (some of whom had already adopted and others that were just beginning to explore the possibility) and others who just wanted to dive deeper into the theology of adoption. The ethnic diversity of all those present was a special highlight for me, too. As far as I’m concerned, it was a wonderful evening.

I spent the first 20 minutes (yes, only 20 minutes!) talking about the Story behind the story of adoption that Galatians 4:4-6 presents. After our 30,000 feet look at the theology of adoption, I conducted two 15-20 minute interviews. The first was with Tyler Johnson about his family’s wonderful adoption story and the second was with Craig Juntunen, President and Founder of Both Ends Burning, about their innovative campaign to reform international adoption. Not only are both interviews well worth watching but they (as well as my 20 minute talk on adoption) will be available on our Vimeo channel next week. Once they are uploaded and ready to go, I’ll announce it on the blog.

So, house conference #1 is a wrap and house conference #2, Lord willing, will happen this coming Monday night, once again in beautiful Phoenix. I’m eager to see what God chooses to do through this simple grassroots initiative.

T4A Down Under!

by Dan Cruver Published Mar 21, 2011

I was recently asked why Together for Adoption was heading to Australia this coming fall to hold a November 18-19 conference. My short answer is that Scripture’s teaching on God’s work of adoption (Ephesians 1:4-5; Romans 9:4; Galatians 4:4-6; Romans 8:15 and 23) sends out lines of implications that penetrate the boundaries of every continent and country on the globe. As a matter of fact, vertical adoption (i.e., God’s breaking into human history to accomplish his mission of adoption; see Galatians 4:4-6) is bigger than the universe itself. It begins with the Communion of Love that the Triune God has forever enjoyed in His own being and climaxes with God renewing the heavens and the earth (Romans 8:20-23) where the Father’s multi-ethnic children will forever participate in the Trinity’s love. The good news of our adoption is that through Jesus Christ the Triune God has enlarged the eternal circle of communion to include us, those who entered this world without hope and home (Ephesians 2:12-13), and will one day renew the earth, making it our eternal home.

That good news has profound implications for how we as Christians care for our society’s most needy, whether they live inside or outside the womb. Together for Adoption has the wonderful privilege of partnering with The Babes Project to explore Scripture’s teaching on our adoption by God and its implications for caring for the fatherless and at-risk children in whichever continent or country they are found. We believe that exploring a subject like this with other Christians is worth traveling across the globe for. This not only accounts for why Together for Adoption is going to Australia but also why we are excited to do so.

Follow the @t4aAustralia twitter account to track what’s going on with T4A Down Under.

On a side note, we have been very encouraged by the number of our friends in the U.S. who have mentioned that they are seriously considering joining us in Australia. Let’s see if we can fill a plane!

Register for Our First House Conference Now

by Dan Cruver Published Mar 18, 2011

If you live in the Phoenix area, you may now register for our March 24th house conference. It’s free! Sign up soon. There are less than 15 more seats available.

House conference details here.

Note: Due to technical difficulties, our first two house conferences will not be video live-streamed. They will be video-captured and uploaded to our Vimeo channel, though. We will let you know when our first two house conference videos are available.

If you wish to get a better understanding of the complexity of the global orphan crisis and learn from churches and Christian organizations that are working toward viable solutions, the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ monthly webinar series is an invaluable resource. Each month the Alliance brings in national experts to address various aspects of a holistic approach to Christian orphan care. Previous webinar topics include: “How to Help Without Hurting,” “The Safe Famillies Model,” “The Post-Placement Journey,” “Partnering with the Local Church to Care for Orphans in Haiti,” “Starting and Growing a Church-Based Orphan Ministry,” and “Help Wanted: Protecting Orphans from Human Trafficking.” If you have missed any of these excellent webinars, the Alliance has made all of them available on its webinar page.

On Wednesday, March 30th, at 2:00 PM EST, Daniel Bennett (author of A Passion for the Fatherless: Developing a God-Centered Ministry to Orphans) and I will lead a webinar entitled “Rediscovering a Theology of Adoption and Orphan Care.” Here’s our webinar’s description:

There are two movements within evangelicalism that are not only experiencing significant growth, but are also wonderfully merging together: the orphan care movement and the reemergence of a deep interest in the theology of adoption. This webinar will explore both how Scripture’s teaching on adoption can inform, shape, and empower evangelicalism’s orphan care movement and how it already is. Join us as we rediscover a theology of adoption and orphan care for the sake of orphans all around the world.

Let me invite you to join us as we consider this important subject. Visit the Alliance’s webinar page to register. It’s free.

Announcing T4A House Conferences

by Dan Cruver Published Mar 16, 2011

We are excited to announce that we are launching a new initiative at the end of this month: House Conferences. Our house conference initiative is an effort to bring teaching on God’s story of adoption and its implications for the global orphan crisis to living rooms in select cities across the United States. Obviously, not everyone can fly across the country to attend a T4A conference. So, in part, our house conference initiative aims to “bring a T4A conference to a living room near you . . . for free.” (there will be no charge to attend these events!). We have already scheduled house conferences to be held in Phoenix (March 24 and 28), Houston, NW Arkansas, and yes, Greenville, SC (more cities will be added soon). Here’s a little information about our house conferences:

Objective: Deliver the theology of adoption (and its implications for orphan care) through face-to-face connections (“theology in your living room”). Note: each House Conference will be video live-streamed. Stay tuned for details.

Format: 20-20-20

- 20 minutes of teaching: The Story Behind the Story of Adoption – Sparking the Conversation
- 20 minutes of discussion: In-House Interviews – Continuing the Conversation
- 20 minutes of questions: Online Questions (via twitter, email, Facebook) – Expanding the Conversation

Our hope is to use house conference to spark continuing conversations about orphan care that move Christians/churches toward greater collaboration and implementation. Why will these conferences be hosted in homes? Because the orphan crisis is something that Christians should grapple with in their living rooms. It should be that personal to us.

We will be providing more information about house conferences the beginning of next week. Also, our first two house conferences this coming March 24th and 28th in Phoenix will be a great introduction to the March 30th webinar that I will be doing for the Christian Alliance for Orphans (the webinar will be a more in-depth look at what I will discuss in Phoenix). You can sign up for the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ webinar here.

Stay tuned for house conference details!

Once again, Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAO) is providing a number of wonderful opportunities for us to be better equipped to care for orphans. In addition to Summit VII (May 12-13), CAO is also offering several Pre-Summit Events on Wednesday, May 11th; and with Summit VII just around the corner, let me encourage you to check out these opportunities sooner rather than later.

Pre-Summit Events:

REFRESHMENT AND RENEWAL FOR ADOPTIVE MOMS

Open to all Summit attendees – To attend this seminar, add this event when you register for the Summit.

Time: Wednesday, May 11th, 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Price: $20.00 (Soup and Salad dinner included)

Where: Southeast Christian Church (the conference venue)

MORE INFORMAITON TO SHARE!

(To save flyer to your computer: Right-click link and select “Save target as”)

For those women who feel they need a retreat for rest and restoration to complement the conference, this half-day pre-Summit retreat is for you. During our adoption journeys, we are often bombarded with statistics, overwhelmed with hoops to jump through and deadlines to meet.  It also often seems there are few people around who truly understand the roller coaster we climbed into beforehand, never realizing it would not stop.  Before, during and after our adoption we often realize that what we most need is a retreat:  but not just any retreat…a retreat with other women who have been there, who can understood and encourage us in the journey ahead that fulfills God’s dreams!  We invite you to join us for a time of refuge! A time of rest! A time ofrestoration!  We will reflect on living at the well, finding strength in the Lord as a busy mother, and walking in the Lord’s presence.  We will leave renewed, entering Summit with a fresh energy for the call of God on our lives. Come enjoy refreshment in the Lord’s presence, encouragment from women who have been walking this adoption road in the Lord for 15+ years, and fellowship with other mothers who will understand your heart at the level of your deepest joys and tears.  We invite you, come to the well of living water;  you’ll be glad you did.

ADOPTING FOR LIFE PASTORS’ AND LEADERS’ DINNER

Hosted by Southern Seminary

Open to all Pastors and Ministry Leaders – To attend this seminar, add this event when you register for the Summit.

Time: Wednesday, May 11th, 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Price: $20.00

Where: Southern Seminary

Join us for the inaugural Adopting for Life Pastors’ and Leaders’ dinner, to take place on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 in conjunction with the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit VII annual conference. The Adopting for Life Pastors’ and Leaders’ Dinner, to be held on the campus of Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., will provide an opportunity for Christians—and especially ministers and their wives—to think theologically about adoption and orphan care, as well as adoption’s practical implications in the lives of believers. The evening will include a catered dinner, teaching and a panel discussion on your questions. We hope to see you there!


LIVE IN THE STORY: REDISCOVERING ADOPTION FOR EVERYDAY LIFE

In Partnership with Together for Adoption

Open to all Summit attendees – To attend this seminar, add this event when you register for the Summit.

Time: Wednesday, May 11th, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Price: $15.00 (includes copy of Reclaiming Adoption)

Speakers: Dan Cruver, Together for Adoption; Jason Kovacs, ABBA Fund

Where: Southeast Christian Church (the conference venue)

Join us as we go deeper into God’s story of adoption. God’s work of adoption is a story that encompasses all of human history, from its pre-temporal beginnings when God predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to the eventual renewal of the heavens and the earth. From the Apostle Paul’s perspective, adoption is the story that makes sense of the universe, that gives our lives and the existence of all creation ultimate meaning. This half-day pre-Summit event will provide in-depth training in the theology of adoption and its implications for daily Christian living and the care of orphans. Please join us as we consider how to live bolder, more intentional lives for the glory of God and for the sake of orphans through the rediscovery, the daily fresh discovery, of God’s extravagant love for us.

ALLIANCE MEMBER LEADERSHIP FORUMS 

Open to Leadership of Alliance Member Organizations – To attend these forums, email your RSVP toElizabeth Wiebe with your name, title, and organization.

Time:  Wednesday, May 11th, 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Price:  FREE to Member Summit attendees

Where: Southeast Christian Church (the conference venue)

Leaders of Alliance member organizations (Director level and higher) are invited to join their fellow executives to engage together key challenges in their field.  This invitation-only forum will allow frank discussion of complex and controversial matters—enabling leaders to learn from, challenge and encourage each other.Discussion topics available soon!


PROJECT 1.27 START-UP SEMINAR

Open to all Summit attendees – To attend this seminar, add this event when you register for the Summit.

Time:  Wednesday, May 11th, 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Price:  $20.00

Where: Southeast Christian Church (the conference venue)

Project 1.27 has received national attention for helping foster children find adoptive homes in Colorado. This successful ministry model has been presented in several states and at the White House. This seminar is for people and organizations around the country ready to start a similar effort in their area. Learn the basic tools, philosophies and systems required to jump-start a dramatic increase in foster care adoptions in your state! Meet with your peers from around the country with the same goals and share ideas! The presentation will be led by Chris and Sarah Padbury, the original Co-Developers of the Project 1.27 Model. The Padburys are currently writing a book on the national adoption movement.  Learn more at the Project 1:27 website.  For more information please email Chris Padbury.

T4A Phoenix Conference Update

by Dan Cruver Published Mar 11, 2011

Together for Adoption Conference 2011 will be held October 21-22 in beautiful Phoenix at Redemption Church. Join 1,200+ people as we explore the theme Missional Living, the Gospel and Orphan Care.

General session speakers include: Darrin Patrick, Tullian Tchividjian, Tim Chester (coming from England), Bryan Loritts, Juan Sanchez, and Jeff Vanderstelt.

Worship Leaders: Shaun Groves, Aaron Ivey, and Jimmy McNeal

General Session Hosts: Shaun Groves and Johnny Carr (National Director of Church Partnerships at Bethany Christian Services)

Current list of our Featured Bloggers: MegMiller, Lindsey Nobles, Reformissionary (Steve McCoy), JoeThorn.net, Julie Gumm, Brent ThomasZach Nielsen, Missional Thoughts (Josh Reich), and Michael Robinson. More will be added.

There will be 50+ breakouts to equip you and provide you with opportunities to meet others who share your same passion for orphaned and vulnerable children. Over 40 organizations involved in orphan care, adoption, and foster care will also be there to serve you as you seek to live out James 1:27.

We are also planning a few exciting pre-conference events. Mark your calendars!

I got this idea from Tad Thompson, a fellow Cruciform Press author. It’s fascinating (and helpfully instructive) to see which parts of your book touch readers the most. Here are the some of the most popular Reclaiming Adoption highlights by Kindle users:

“To live missionally means to live each waking moment in light of the gospel so that it increasingly affects every part of our lives for the glory of God’s grace in our fallen world.” ~Highlighted by 21 Kindle readers

“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.” ~Highlighted by 17 Kindle readers

“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.” ~Highlighted by 16 Kindle readers

“Our missional engagement as Christians is not an imitation of Christ and his mission. It is a participation in Christ and his mission.” ~Highlighted by 16 Kindle readers

“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.” ~Highlighted by 13 Kindle users

“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.” ~Highlighted by 12 Kindle users

“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.” ~Highlighted by Kindle users

Believe it or not, I’ve read Reclaiming Adoption on my Kindle, too. Here are a few of my own highlights (at no extra charge to you!):

“Ultimately, adoption gives us the very thing for which we were made—the triune God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Augustine once prayed, ‘You made us for Yourself, and our heart is restless until it finds its place of rest in You.’ The only alternatives to finding our satisfaction in the triune God are for us to seek our main sense of identity, significance, and rest either in loose living or in what we do religiously (or missionally)—that is, what we do for the poor and marginalized, for those we consider less fortunate than ourselves.” ~Highlighted by this Kindle user

“The gospel begins with the incomparable good news that when the eternally existing God ‘predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 1:5), God was an impenetrable closed circle of loving communion. No one could get in and no one wanted to get out. Amazingly, God made the pre-temporal decision to adopt us when all that existed was Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” ~Highlighted by this Kindle user

“At the heart of God’s Triune dealings with humanity is the incarnation of the second Person of the Trinity. To neglect this fact—especially when confronted with a ‘frowning providence’—is to set ourselves up for personal and missional paralysis. Our eyes become locked in on ourselves and it becomes nearly impossible to move outward in genuine mission. But even through the greatest trials, the profound reality of the incarnation can overcome our paralysis, empower us to persevere, and move us forward in love to others.” ~Highlighted by this Kindle user

“God’s original intention for humanity—his original intention for us—was that we were to be his beloved sons, his cherished children. As God’s image-bearers, we were created in the beginning to participate in the love that ever flows between God the Father and God the Son, and to participate in that love on the earth as our happy home.” ~Highlighted by this Kindle user

You may purchase a Kindle version of Reclaiming Adoption here.

Guest Post by Josh Cousineau. Josh is the Youth Pastor and an Elder at East Auburn Baptist Church. He and his wife are currently adopting a daughter from Uganda. They have been married for 8 years and have two sons who are 5 and 3. Josh’s blog.

One of the most significant things you can do for students in your ministry is to expose them to the fatherless, the widow and those who are in need. As youth pastors, youth workers, and college student ministers, we can spend much of our time thinking through what we want to teach the students. We spend hours crafting our lessons, planing out what series we are going to walk them through etc… Now please don’t get me wrong, these efforts are essential. If we do not teach students the Scriptures, then exposing them to the needy will do nothing but stir up emotions that do not flow from the truth and experience of the gospel. So, read this post recognizing that exposure to the need must happen within the context of faithful, gospel-centered teaching.

As I write this post, I am sitting in a home in Uganda, Africa waiting to go meet my daughter Nya. We started the process of adopting her 3 years ago, so the emotions and excitement are hard to put into words. Yet even though we started the adoption process 3 years ago, God started the process in me 14 years ago, when I was only 12.

It was my first short term mission’s trip, my first real exposure to the world around me. I was sitting in an orphanage in Quito, Ecuador, South America, when God planted a seed in my heart and mind. A seed that for many years did nothing but sit there. What I thought was just a noble cause was in actuality God leading me to have a heart for the fatherless, the orphaned, for children who are exposed to all types of horror. You see, God used that moment when I was 12 to change the trajectory of the rest of my life. Yet that moment would not have come had I not been exposed to the need.

As I sit here today about to see not only my child, who will live in my home, but also many other children who will not go to bed tonight with a father to lead them, a mother to love them, or a family to call their own, I can’t help but wonder what we are doing to expose the next generation of the orphan care movement to the needs of the fatherless. What are we doing to put them in a place where God may plant a seed that will change the trajectory of their lives?

I have been asked by Dan to write about Youth and College ministry and orphan care/adoption movement. I have a ton on my heart that I want to write about. So, over the next couple months I look forward to having a conversation on how we can lead the next generation. I am excited about what God will do in the next generation and how He will use us to equip students to care for the fatherless.

Lunch, Gerrit Dawson, and T.F. Torrance

by Dan Cruver Published Mar 8, 2011

One of my brothers and I have the opportunity to spend some time over lunch today with Gerrit Dawson. I was first introduced to Gerrit Dawson through his excellent book Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation. Up until that point I hadn’t really given serious thought to the relationship between Jesus’ ascension and how he serves us now (and forever) through continuing incarnation. God wonderfully used Gerrit’s book to show me more of the beauty of who Christ is for me now.

My second Dawson book (Editor) was Introduction to Torrance Theology: Discovering the Incarnate Savior. If you have read Reclaiming Adoption or paged through its study guide, you have probably guessed that one of the major theological influences in my life has been the great Scottish theologian T.F. Torrance. After reading some ten plus Torrance books and already benefiting immensely from his thinking on the Trinity and Christ, I finally discovered Gerrit’s really helpful introduction to Torrance’s theology. Some holes in my understanding were filled in as I read and re-read it. Gerrit knew T.F. Torrance personally and, as a result, was well-equipped to oversee the writing of this book. If you’ve not read Torrance yet and would like to (he’s not easy to read!), let me encourage you to begin with Gerrit’s Introduction to Torrance Theology: Discovering the Incarnate Savior. It’s filled with reflections on the glory and beauty of who Jesus is for us (By the way, one of the things I’m looking forward to the most today is the opportunity to learn more about T.F. Torrance as a man who had been uniquely captivated by the glory of Christ’s incarnation. I’ll be asking lots of questions!).

All that being said, if there is one book by Gerrit Dawson that I would most encourage you to read, it is Called By A New Name: Becoming What God Has Promised. It’s good, really good.

What most excites me today about my lunch today with Gerrit Dawson is the opportunity to talk about Jesus. In all of my reading and re-reading of Gerrit’s books, I have been faithfully led to Jesus as the one who lived and lives for me. So, I’m confident it’s going to be a good lunch.

Let me end with a little Reclaiming Adoption trivia: Gerrit was the first one to send me an endorsement. Here it is:

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, Pastor and author of Called By A New Name: Becoming What God Has Promised

Here’s my first attempt at a CliffsNotes‘ explanation of the Trinity & Adoption Diagram I posted on Friday (Plus, I added a bottom section to the diagram over the weekend):

This diagram looks at the theology of adoption from multiple perspectives, from the perspective of eternity-past when all that existed was the Trinity to the perspective of eternity-future when we will live on a renewed earth as God’s beloved children. Here are brief explanations of each perspective.

#1 - The triangular diagram of the Trinity at the top is based on the ancient “Shield of the Trinity” diagram. The inside of the triangle represents the fact that each Person of the Trinity is fully and equally God and there is only one God. But the circle that cuts through the corners of the triangle tell us that the Father is not the Spirit, the Spirit is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father. Although the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one God, they are not the same Person. They are three distinct Persons. “Scripture teaches that God is a communion of Persons and has never been a solitary individual. The one triune God has always enjoyed perfect loving communion and joy as three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For all of eternity the Father has loved the Son, the Son has loved the Father, and the Spirit has been the personal bond of that communion. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have eternally been and will forever be a communion of Persons” (Reclaiming Adoption, p 26). Perspective #1 teaches us that before God created the world or even “predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:4-5), each Person of the Trinity went out to the others in perfect, reciprocal love, joy and delight. This is the reality that precedes all of human history and the story behind the theology of adoption.

#2 - Before we look at the incarnate life of the eternal Son of God, it is important that we look at the entire history of redemption through the lens of God’s work of adoption. Paul is the only author in Scripture to actually use the term adoption, and his uses of adoption can easily be arranged chronologically. When we arrange them chronologically, we find that they actually serve as very helpful guides through the story of redemption (click on the image below to read the actual texts).

It’s important that we realize that before Christ comes (Galatians 4:4-5), we are predestined for adoption as sons before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5) and adoption first appears within the story of redemption in the story of Israel, God’s first son through adoption (Romans 9:4). A long history unfolds before the Son of God becomes man in order that we might become children of God through adoption.

#3 - When the fullness of time arrived, the eternal Son of God became man (Galatians 4:4-6). As the eternal Son now become man, Jesus lived the life of sonship on earth that we should have lived and didn’t. In the fullness of time, God the Father sent His Son, the One with whom He enjoyed the eternal communion of delight and love, to become man. The Son who always enjoyed the love of His Father in eternity past entered into space and time as man, without ceasing to be fully God, in order that his Father/Son communion might be earthed in Himself among those who have rebelled against His Father. In other words, the eternal Son fleshed out perfect loving communion with the Father within our humanity so that by grace we who have been cut off from that communion because of Adam’s sin might be ushered back in (see John 17:21; 20:17).

It is within this context that the “Abba, Father” cries (as shown on the left and right sides of the diagram) are to be understood. Before the “Abba,Father” cry found its way into our hearts and onto our lips it was found in the heart and on the lips of Jesus. Scripture reveals that Jesus was the first man ever to cry “Abba, Father” (Mark 14:36), and it is very significant that he did so on the eve of his crucifixion. By waiting until Jesus approaches his crucifixion before we hear “Abba, Father” come from his lips, Scripture indicates that it would take Jesus’ death before it could come from our lips. Jesus cried “Abba, Father” and was forsaken in our place that we might cry “Abba, Father” and be accepted in him. If Jesus does not cry “Abba, Father” on his way to the cross, “Abba, Father” never finds its way into our heart and onto our lips, but by doing so Jesus ushers all who believe in him into his loving communion with the Father. This new reality is at the center of God’s work of adoption within the story of redemption.

#4 – One horizontal effect of what God has done in Jesus is that our communion with God as our Father moves us out as a people to care for the weak and vulnerable. I am convinced that it is this reality that is behind James’ words in James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (emphasis mine). It is as the family of God that we are to move out to care for the fatherless. Our objective as we serve orphans is to give them the loving communion of family. What that ultimately looks like for each child depends on the child’s particular circumstances (which are most often very complex).

That’s the CliffsNotes’ version! Questions? Comments? Shoot them my way!

[For more about the inseparable connection between the Trinity and adoption, read chapter 2 in Reclaiming Adoption. I did my best to flesh it out in only 3,600 words!]

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