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


My intention in part two of this series was to consider the church’s role in God’s work to put the world to rights by adoption through Jesus Christ. But in response to part one of this series a comment was made yesterday about the relationship between vertical adoption and horizontal adoption that I thought deserved to be addressed in its own post. I’ll consider the church’s role in part three.

There certainly are points of correspondence between vertical adoption and horizontal adoption. I write about them often on this blog. But my big point in part one was that vertical adoption is unique in that its scope is cosmic, that is, it affects all of creation. Paul focuses on the cosmic scope of adoption in Romans 8:18-23 (see verse 23 in particular). As amazing and wonderful as horizontal adoption is—changing the world for a child, it can’t change the world.

God’s cosmic work of vertical adoption, though, will ultimately solve the global orphan crisis because it is how he’s putting the world to rights. When that day finally comes, when God’s work of adoption is consummated, there will no longer be any orphans. The word “orphan” will be a thing of the past. If you’re like me, you can’t wait for that day to arrive.

Unlike vertical adoption, horizontal adoption can’t solve the orphan crisis. This is one of the major differences between vertical adoption and horizontal adoption.

Think of it this way: Horizontal adoption is reactive. It brings a solution to a child who has lost both parents. Vertical adoption is proactive. It’s God’s work to renew the earth and banish the curse forever.

Vertical adoption is cosmic in that it will one day completely solve and eliminate the global orphan crisis.

Horizontal adoption is cosmetic in that, though it brings beautiful redemption to particular children, it cannot solve the global orphan crisis. What it does do, though, in addition to bringing an orphan into a family, is point to the great day when God will make all things new and the word “orphan” will belong exclusively to the history of the old creation.

So, while we eagerly await that great day of Redemption, let’s bring little “r” redemption to as many orphans as we can in the name of Jesus.

Read parts one and three in this series.

« « Does Adoption Adequately Address the Global Orphan Crisis? Part One | Serving Orphans Out of Joy in the Gospel » »

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