Today our church will join thousands of churches across the country in the celebration of Orphan Sunday. I am grateful that my friend, Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, and a fellow adoptive parent, has written a book that challenges the church to have greater involvement in rescuing orphans and welcoming them into believers’ homes. The book is, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, 2009). In the book, Moore makes a theological case for believers to see the earthly adoption of orphans through the lenses of the Cross. He writes:
[Adoption] is contested, both in its cosmic and missional aspects. The Scriptures tell us there are unseen beings in the air around us who would rather we not think about what it means to be who we are in Christ. These rulers of this age would rather we ignore both the eternal reality and the earthly icon of it. They would rather we find our identity, our inheritance, and our mission according to “the flesh”—rather than according to the veiled rhythms of the Spirit of life. That’s why adoption isn’t charity—it’s war.
The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world. As we become more attuned to the gospel, we’ll have more of a burden for orphans….
It is one thing when culture doesn’t “get” adoption. What else could one expect when all of life is seen as the quest of “selfish genes” for survival? It is one thing when the culture doesn’t “get” adoption and so speaks of buying a cat as “adopting” a pet. But when those who follow Christ think the same way, we betray we miss something crucial about our own salvation.
Adoption is not just about couples who want children—or who want more children. Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself. (Russell D. Moore, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches [Crossway, 2009]: 18-19, emphasis added.)
See also Russell’s October 31 blog post, “Racism and the Great Commission Resurgence.”
Let us celebrate Orphan Sunday with grateful hearts for the work of our Lord Jesus, who will not leave us orphaned, but has adopted us as sons. Because of him, in the spiritual war of this life, we, like the Son of God, can say, “Abba, Father.”