Russell Moore and Andrew Walker, Editors
B&H Publishing Group, 2017. 114pp.
Religion/Christian Life/Social Issues
The Gospel for Life Series addresses how various social issues intersect with the gospel and how believers should respond. This particular book, The Gospel and Adoption, looks at how the gospel gives a theological basis for and practical implications of adoption in its various forms (international, domestic, and foster-to-adopt). The various authors of each chapter have all been involved with adoption in one way or another, whether adopting a child themselves, fostering, leading a church to be involved in adoption, and supporting families who have adopted.
The first two chapters address the theological basis for adoption. It is a picture of the gospel—one that reflects our own adoption into God’s family through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. The Bible is full of adoption imagery and is one way we work out our faith, becoming “doers of the word.” (James 1:22). The Gospel and Adoption outlines a sound Biblical basis that serves as a launching point for the rest of the book.
The following two chapters address the practical implications of the gospel on adoption. Scripture tells us to care for the widow and orphan. Involvement in adoption is how we live out the command to care for the orphan. While The Gospel and Adoption is clear that not all people are called to adopt themselves, it lays out various ways to be involved in caring for the orphan. The book does not guilt trip those who do not adopt but offers helpful tips for both churches and individuals on how to support those who have adopted or are in the process of doing so.
The final chapter summarizes and concludes the book with stories from authors who have adopted themselves and an encouragement to pursue adoption even through its challenges.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
A short read, this book is tremendously helpful in its approach. It strikes the balance between theological support and practical ways to be involved in adoption.
The third and fourth chapters make this book a must-read for pastors, as each gives a comprehensive overview of orphan care as a whole and adoption as one specific component of orphan care. Randy Stinson emphasizes the importance of equipping those who are considering adoption using the helpful analogy of an engaged couple seeking pre-marital counseling. Those who want to adopt must consider their motives, manage their expectations, and understand the challenges they may face. He also emphasizes post-adoption care, wherein the local church leadership and members check in with the family going through adoption to make sure they are being cared for and supported. Jedd Medefind expands on this idea in the next chapter, giving helpful tips for where the church can start supporting adoption and how to do so effectively.
While you could probably find similar books on adoption that say roughly the same things about its theological basis, the real value of this book comes from the fact that it does not sugar-coat adoption or cause the reader to walk away with a savior complex, idealizing adoption as a fairy tale. This book is quick to remind the reader that adoption is a beautiful but difficult journey. Readers should walk away both encouraged to get involved in some way, but with realistic expectations (or at least as realistic as you can get without hands-on experience).
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
This Lifeway Pastors review was written by Meredith Cook.