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


What role should the church play in addressing the global orphan crisis? That’s the question I’m answering in today’s post.

As I argued in parts one and two of this series, vertical adoption will ultimately do what horizontal adoption cannot do, namely, solve the global orphan crisis. Horizontal adoption provides families for children who have been bereaved of their birthparents by HIV/AIDS, genocide, or natural disaster. What it cannot do, though, is prevent the causes of bereavement. Only God through his work of “adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5) can do that.

When Jesus returns and we, the sons of God, are revealed through the redemption of our bodies, all of creation “will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19, 21, 23). The end result of that great day is no more sin or suffering, no more sickness or death, no more murder or abandonment. In other words, when creation is set free by the revealing of the sons of God, there will no longer be any orphans. Not one.

True, our adoption of children won’t (can’t) solve the global orphan crisis. It just doesn’t (can’t) address the causes of bereavement or the reasons for abandonment. But what horizontal adoption cannot do, our adoption as sons through Jesus Christ can and will do.

Now don’t miss this: not only is the consummation of our adoption how God will rescue this curse-ridden creation from its cosmic bondage to decay, it is also what should motivate us to be agents of rescue and healing in the here and now. The church is not only the community of those who have been adopted by God, it is also the community of those who are waiting eagerly for God to put the world to rights through the consummation of our adoption. As a result, we should be a people who live now profoundly influenced by what will be.

The church is the now community of what shall be.  By God’s design, the church gives the world a foretaste of the renewed creation through its words and actions. When our words speak of the good news of the gospel and our actions intersect with the needs of orphans and the causes of bereavement and the reasons for abandonment, we point the world to a reality that cannot yet be seen.  We point to the day when all things will be made new by the consummation of our adoption through Jesus Christ.

So, what role should the church play in addressing the global orphan crisis? We should play the leading role. The church is the only group of people on the face of the earth with hope and a future. By God’s grace, we are the only ones who have an inheritance that neither moth nor rust can destroy. We are the only community in the world that possesses an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, an inheritance that is being kept for us in heaven until we experience the redemption of our bodies.

Who is better equipped to address the global orphan crisis than the church is? No one. We are the only people who not only have been entrusted with the life-giving words of the Gospel, but who also have been given the privilege and responsibility of living now in light of what will one day be.

Read parts one and two in this series.

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