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


Who will be at our pastors conference?

by Dan Cruver Published Feb 17, 2012

Together for Adoption’s two-part mission is to provide gospel-centered resources that magnify the adopting grace of God the Father in Christ Jesus and mobilize the church for global orphan care. One of the central ways we seek to magnify and mobilize is by recovering the theology of adoption (i.e. God’s work of adoption within the history of redemption) from its neglect within church history. In each of our conferences we have sought to shine a light on the theology of adoption as we explored its implications for the church’s care of orphans.

For our first annual conference for pastors (which is also for the wives of pastors, as well as for seminarians and church orphan care/adoption ministry leaders), in addition to exploring the theology of adoption’s implications for orphan care, we will also explore its implications for other areas of church life and practice. To help us accomplish this objective, we asked Dr. Tim J. R. Trumper if he would lead three breakout sessions (see below for descriptions of his breakout topics).

Dr. Trumper (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is Senior Minister of Seventh Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. A native of Wales, he has preached internationally, taught systematic theology at Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia, and pastored in south-east Pennsylvania. He is a monthly panelist on Total Christian Television’s locally, nationally, and internationally broadcast “Ask the Pastor” program. His doctoral dissertation is titled, “An Historical Study of the Doctrine of Adoption in the Calvinistic Tradition.” Dr. Trumper has published in-depth articles on adoption, chiefly in the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology, covering its general history, exegesis, metaphorical usage, theology, and application, and is the author of When History Teaches Us Nothing: The Reformed Sonship Debate in Context (Wipf and Stock, 2008). He has also written Preaching and Politics: Engagement without Compromise (Wipf and Stock, 2009), and contributed to the Festschrift in honor of Professor John Frame, Speaking the Truth in Love. Dr. Trumper is a member of the World Reformed Fellowship and the Evangelical Theological Society. He is married to Brenda.

Dr. Trumper’s Breakout Sessions:

Session #1: The Theological History of Adoption

Not for the first time in church history, the endeavor is under way to recover the doctrine of adoption. Whereas previous attempts ended up faltering, in part for want of awareness of the extent of the neglect of adoption, the current interest in its recovery already has the benefit of a detailed understanding of its theological history. This has been gleaned from the creeds, confessions, and writings of the church, and brings to light some fascinating trends and facts. These not only demonstrate the reality of the neglect of adoption, they go some way to explain it, and point in the process to the significance benefits accruing to the faith and practice of the church from the recovery of adoption.

Session #2: The Strategic Significance of Adoption

While the biblical teaching on adoption is inherently important, it is also strategically so. Stated alternatively, the recovery of adoption not only promises the filling of a lacuna in the field of theology, it offers to break the impasse of a number of present day debates. The session explains this in regard to one major example, namely the debate over the new perspective on Paul, and demonstrates in particular how a biblically sensitive understanding of adoption can mediate effectively the recent exchange between Dr. John Piper and Prof. N. T. Wright. In making the case, Dr. Trumper builds on his own interaction with the new perspective on Paul dating back to 2002, utilizing in the process insights by Prof. Kevin Vanhoozer from the 2010 Wheaton Theology Conference.

Session #3: The Pastoral Application of Adoption

Working from a summary of the salient biblical features of adoption—chiefly Paul’s exclusive, metaphorical, Trinitarian, redemptive-historical, and eschatological use of huiothesia—attention is given to the rich array of its spiritual and practical applications. Many of these spiritual applications are not new, having been worked out in the sixteenth-century by John Calvin, the theologian par excellence of adoption. Nevertheless, fresh expression is given to them in light of the present, to which are added up-to-date practical applications for personal, communal, and pastoral use today.

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