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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are All Christians Mandated to Adopt?

It is the question that I have been tip-toeing around for months. But I guess tonight I feel at peace enough to step on some toes. Please read the following with my grace-filled intentions. My only prayer in all of this is to be a voice for those that have none, and to be an instrument of Jesus Christ. If even one person has their eyes opened, than it is worth me putting my neck on the line. (These are not my words -although I agree with every single one of them, rather they are the words of a very godly, very wise mom who is knee deep in adoption ministry. Please check out her site here.)

Preface: I can't say what every person should or should not do, nor will I judge a person who doesn't supposedly "get it." That's wrong...

1) Scripture says that if we see someone in need and we have something that would fill their need yet DO NOT fill it, we do not have the love of God in us. [We have a family; orphans don't; we therefore should share with the orphan what we have that they do not.]

2) Scripture says that we must do to others what we would want done to us (or our own biological kids, for that matter). If we were orphaned, we would want to be adopted. Period. Not just visited or taken care of in a group home. Adopted into a family. And we would want the same for our biological kids.

3) Jesus didn't just come to visit us or care for us in our orphaned state; He came to lay down His life to adopt us. James 1:27 uses the phrase "visit orphans." The word "visit" there is the same word used for when Jesus came to "visit" us. He didn't leave us as orphans; He adopted us. He didn't see us in our orphaned state of despair and say, "Oh, poor things...I wish someone would do something about that." No, He adopted us. Changed our futures; our destinies; our families. We are to follow Him and do as He did.

4) How can we not? How can we look at the children in the world without families and say, 'No, not worth it.'? Our lives are not our own. We are called to pick up our crosses and follow Him. Not our own plans or desires or conveniences. Ain't nothin' about this whole "following Jesus" thing that is supposed to be convenient. Ask Jesus if the Cross was "convenient" or glamorous.

So, should every Christian adopt? Well, I like to turn that question on its head...What is a good reason a Christian SHOULDN'T adopt? Most reasons are self-focused if we are really honest with ourselves.

[Obviously, many people are not "fit" to adopt right now, but that is usually due to our own messes we've made with relationships, finances, life choices, etc, and not something put in our way stopping us from adopting.]


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11 comments:

Christina said...

definitely something for all of us to think about.

Redeemed1 said...

Please don't misunderstand what I am about to say - I fully support you and your decision to adopt, and I hope to be able to do the same myself some day, but I think we must be VERY careful not to add to the gospel or make laws that God has not given.

I fully understand your heart for adoption and agree that God has a huge heart for adoption - after all WE are adopted into HIS family, but I think we need to be careful not to make laws that God has not given. When Nicodemus asked what he must do to be saved, he told he must be born again, not be born again and adopt.

Are you saying that we aren't really Christians if we don't adopt? Is it really a salvation issue? Why didn't Christ himself then command us to adopt rather then tell us to repent and be baptized?

If God is calling any one of us to adopt, it will happen - and we need to respond to that call. However, it is not is sin to not adopt. God calls us all into different ministries - for some that is adoption. For others it may be bringing the gospel to third world countries. It might be helping troubled teens or caring for the homeless. We all have different roles in the family of God.

My grandfather is one of the most respected Christian men I know. He has spent most of his life giving to others. He has a true heart for sharing the good news of the Gospel with the lost. Has sinned in not adopting? Will he be denied heaven because he didn't adopt but set up a center for troubled teens in his community? Gone on missions trips?

My father is nationally known Pastor and has spent his life preaching verse-by-verse through the Bible, teaching, encouraging and exhorting. Will adoption be the litmus test by which he is judged in the end?

Adoption is a wonderful ministry that many Christians are called into, but it is not something that is required for salvation.

Tiffany said...

Redeemed1 I so appreciate your honest feedback. It sounds like maybe you misinterrupted this post to say that adoption is a test or proof for one's salvation. You are absolutely correct that Nichodemus was not told to "believe and adopt". He was also not told to "believe and submit to those in authority over him or believe and be the husband of one wife or believe and have control of his tongue" etc., etc. Salvation is faith alone in Christ, and you are right. However, I would say that caring for orphans is a major blind spot in the lives of American Christians. Just as there were believers who were slave owners 200 years ago, today there are a wealth of genuine believers missing the boat on the commands of Scriptures to care for orphans and widows and defend the fatherless. Please reread this post, the author is not saying that every Christian must adopt. I am not either. There are legitimate reasons Christians cannot, and I truly do get that. However, I do believe we have to do something, and that many, many, many Christians are being called to adopt and ignoring the call. If we honestly ask ourselves "why not adopt, why not care for orphans, why not give to the poor?", I think we would have very few legitimate reasons not to. At least that is what I am discovering in my own life. I hope this makes sense.

jkseevers said...

excellent post. I've also danced around this elephant in the room with my friends who don't even seem to be emotionally supporting me. Thanks for tackling such a delicate issue.
My favorite book to date on this subject is Adopted For Life, by Russell Moore. He has an excellent perspective... as Christians, we either need to BE adopting, or supporting those who do adopt. I LOVE IT!
Blessings,
Katie

Hyacynth said...

I agree with you. We've considered adoption, and we've put it off because it is financially tough. But God is bigger than that. I should believe that He will make it happen. Period.

Christy said...

I was just reading Mary Beth Chapman's thoughts on what she went through when they first decided to adopt. Do you have her new book SEE yet? You would appreciate where I'm at in the book. :)

Erin said...

Hi Tiffany!

I just love your heart and how passionate you are about adoption. I definitley believe God has laid this on your heart and that you are answering His call. I love that about you :-)

However, I disagree with the idea that adoption is for every Christian. I am a Christian and I am not called to adopt...right now. (I am by no means against the idea in my family...it's just not laid on my heart right now. It may never be laid on my heart...and I am ok with that.) I whole-heartedly disgree with the statement that "most reasons are self-focused if we are really honest with ourselves." That is a hyper-critical claim without Biblical support. (So is the very last paragraph.)

We all have our place within The Body of Christ. Clearly, your place is adoption and adoption advocacy. That is a very beautiful and important place to be!!! My place (right now) is in music and financial support of families that need help...both locally and internationally. I am using the tools that God has given me.

We could all find scriptures to support the importance of the talent that God has given us and we could all stand and say that anyone NOT doing these things should check his/her heart. I believe that is legalism and I believe that the enemy could use that to cast doubt on the children of God.

Again, I admire what you are doing and I 100% admire your passion. I would just encourage you to refrain from assuming that everyone should be called to adoption.

This by no means diminishes my excitement for you. I am still one of your most avid readers and love following your story. I also appreciate the fact that these words were not yours.

I hope you don't take offense to my comments.

Redeemed1 said...

Tiffany - thank you for clarifying. I took mandate the equal law - like adoption should have been the eleventh commandment.
You are right, many American Christians HAVE ignored the call to care for widows and orphans, and it is something that we must do, I just think that sometimes that might not always mean adopting. I feel the "mandating" adoption for all Christians is going beyond what Scripture says - though certainly many (or even most) Christians should adopt.

Redeemed1 said...

It looks like I am having typing problems this morning!
I meant "took mandate TO equal law" and later "I feel THAT mandating" - sorry time for some coffee for me!

Tiffany said...

Redeemed1 - Yes, I agree with you, and that is how I read the article to mean. Maybe I misinterpreted it. I really didn't think that her conclusion was that all Christians ARE mandated to adopt, and that is not my conclusion. But rather, as a Christian, I think it is very appropriate for us all to ask why not adopt (since it IS mandated that we care for the fatherless), and God leads us to a legitimate reason not to, we move from there. That was point that I was trying to make, but I am thinking I did a poor job of it, and will need to repost an explanation. I am so happy for the discussion here, though!

Tiffany said...

Erin~
I disagree with the idea that adoption is for every Christian, too. However, I will boldly say that I do think that adoption is for MANY Christians. Since I did not write this article, I guess I cannot 100% say what the author intended by all of it. I agreed with her statement “most reasons are selfish if we are really honest with ourselves”, because that has been my experience. However, maybe that is too blanketed of a statement, although I would emphasize MOST and not say every.

I believe and agree that we all have our place in the body of Christ, and that God has different journeys for us all. However, there are still commands that are the SAME for all of us as believers. I have ignored a lot of these and misunderstood them to be “calls for certain people”. Make sense? No, we are NOT mandated to adopt. I do believe that the author of this article would agree with me on that. However, as I said before we are ALL mandated to care for the fatherless, the orphans. I think it is very appropriate for every Christian to ask himself, “Okay if that is a command, why shouldn’t I adopt?”. And God may bring them to very legitimate, unselfish reasons not to. However, throughout this journey I have witnessed many, many families realize that the reasons they had previously given were indeed selfish, unbiblical, and not legitimate. Again, this is NOT true for everyone, and please, please do not think I am judging people.

I also agree that we could all find Scripture to support a talent God has given us, but I do not see God’s call for us to care for orphans and widows as a talent. It is a command from everything that I have studied in His Word. So having said that this is a command that is how I feel that it is appropriate for us to examine our hearts in this area – not legalistic, merely comparing our life with the Truth of God’s Word. And if we do that and find out that our life does not match up, and we are not doing anything to obey this command than that truly is an issue.

I hope this makes sense, and I really appreciate your thoughts! I am thinking and digesting this all, too. I have not arrived, just merely sharing what God is revealing to me.

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