*Zach Nielsen published this interview with me January 06, 2011, shortly after my book, Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, was released. The reason I’m reposting this interview is that I think it indirectly speaks to some of the concerns that the critics of evangelical orphan care movement currently have.
There is a new book out from Cruciform Press called, Reclaiming Adoption with contributions from Dan Cruver, John Piper, Richard D. Phillips, Scotty Smith, and Jason Kovacs. Dan Cruver was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book here on the blog. I would greatly encourage you to pick up a copy.
1. There have been a lot of books out lately about adoption. What is unique about this one?
Reclaiming Adoption is more about Adoption (vertical) than it is about adoption (horizontal). In other words, it’s more about God’s adoption of us in Christ than it is about our adoption of children or our care for orphans. Or, to put it another way, Reclaiming Adoption is first about Adoption and second about adoption. Actually, the primary focus of the book’s application is on missional living in general and then (and only then) on orphan care and horizontal adoption as particular aspects of faithful Christian living in the world.
2. Adoption is becoming more “sexy” in the evangelical world. What is good about this and what are some potential challenges?
For me, the upside of adoption and orphan care becoming “sexy” within the evangelical world is that “sexy” creates awareness. Now obviously awareness does not automatically translate into active and meaningful engagement, let alone long-term engagement. So, one of my hopes for Reclaiming Adoption is that this awareness will increasingly become the occasion for applying the gospel to the global orphan crisis in thoughtful and strategic ways. Increased awareness is good and necessary, but it must be accompanied by gospel-proclamation, by gospel-truth. Ultimately, it’s the gospel that should make us aware of the orphan crisis and not celebrity, Christian celebrity or otherwise. We become aware of the physically and spiritually needy in our world because God first saw our affliction and met our need in Christ. The temptation, though, is to get caught up in the orphan care movement without continually centering ourselves in what God has done, is doing, and will do in Christ. Not only do the gospel and Scripture’s teaching on adoption remind us that the orphan care movement is an opportunity to participate in what God is doing in the world, they also empower our participation. This is the mindset I had as I wrote the book and it’s the mindset I would encourage people to have as they read it.
3. Who is this book for? What is your target audience?
My primary target audience is Christians in general. Now I realize that the book will likely be read initially by those who are currently involved or interested in orphan care and adoption, but my hope is that it will eventually reach a more general audience within the Christian community. I wrote the first four chapters with a general audience in mind. Reclaiming Adoption is really a mini-theology of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Gospel, that shows believers how to daily live in Christ and actively participate in his mission.
4. What will it take for a culture of adoption to endure generation after generation and not just be a fad in this generation?
If a culture of adoption is to endure generation after generation, it will be due to the sustained centrality of the gospel in the church. Martin Luther stressed, “it is through the gospel alone that the church is conceived, formed, nourished, born, trained, fed, clothed, adorned, strengthened, armed, and preserved.” Therefore, if the practice of true religion (James 1:26-27) is to flourish within the church over the next many decades, it will be due to the functional centrality of the gospel within the church. The gospel must be faithfully preached and appropriated by faith within the community of faith, that is, within the church from generation to generation.
Visit Zach Nielsen’s blog.
Thank you for reading.
Together for Adoption has consistently led the way in telling God’s story of Adoption for a broken world.
So, one significant way you can help strengthen the evangelical orphan care movement is by joining us October 4-5 in Louisville, KY for our national conference at Southern Seminary. This year’s theme is “The Story that changes everything—for us and the fatherless.”
This is an especially exciting time and strategic opportunity to attend our national conference —learn more today. Your presence will help strengthen the evangelical orphan care movement for the sake of the fatherless, wherever they are.
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