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Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Updated and Expanded Edition) Paperback – October 31, 2015
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“Russell Moore has given the church a God-centered, gospel-saturated, culturally-sensitive, mission-focused, desperately needed exploration of the priority and privilege of adoption. Readers will find themselves laughing on one page, crying on the next, and ultimately bowing before God thanking him for adopting them into his heavenly family and considering how to show his love to the fatherless on earth.”
—David Platt, President, International Mission Board; author, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
“Adopted for Life is one of the most compelling books I have ever read—both deeply touching and richly theological. You will never look at adoption or the gospel in quite the same way after reading this book. How could the church have been missing this for so long?”
—R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Personal, practical, and rich in theology, this book is a ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in adoption. Dr. Moore reveals the love of God through the redemptive beauty of adoption. Whether your interest is personal or church related, this book is for you.”
—Kelly Rosati, Vice President for Community Outreach, Focus on the Family
“Anyone who has adopted, who is considering adoption, or who has been adopted should read Adopted for Life. And anyone who wants to a get a glimpse of the greatness of the Father’s love for him or her should read it as well.”
—Thom S. Rainer, President and CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources
“This book is for all who have been adopted by God. Moore illumines the beauty and wonder of our adoption in Christ and its profound implications for orphan care. If you want to deepen your worship of the God who adopts, Adopted for Life will serve you exceptionally well.”
—Dan Cruver, Director, Together for Adoption; author, Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father
“This book offers both practical advice and courage to every couple considering adoption. For all readers, it shows how the act of adoption actually reveals core truths about the gospel of Christ.”
—Allan C. Carlson, President, The Howard Center for Family, Religion, & Society; Founder and International Secretary, the World Congress of Families; Distinguished Visiting Professor of History, Hillsdale College
“Dr. Moore draws on his family’s own experience with adoption to help others understand that by adopting orphaned children we can grow in love of God and neighbor and come to appreciate more deeply our own adoption into the family of God.”
—Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University
“Russell Moore has done the church a tremendous service by reminding us of the call of God to meet the ever pressing needs of these little ones. Read with the intent to obey.”
—Johnny Hunt, Former President, The Southern Baptist Convention; Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Woodstock, Georgia
“I know of no other book so biblically rich, so very practical, and so authentic and heart-felt about the beautiful gift of adoption as this one. It’s a powerfully insightful book of how adoption is a beautiful act of love and mission for the gospel. I pray that God uses it to encourage and impact many, many lives.”
—Dan Kimball, Pastor, Vintage Faith Church; author, They Like Jesus but Not the Church
“Russell Moore has out of personal experience and with biblical accuracy produced in this work an understanding of God’s purposes in adoption and its connection with gospel compassion. Every pastor should consider the responsibility he has in making adoption a priority for the church as a viable representation of the gospel doctrine of adoption.”
—John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California; President, The Master's College and Seminary
“Russell Moore invites readers to learn to think of adoption in the light of Christian faith. This is a book not only for those who have adopted, those who may adopt, or those who have been adopted, but for all who know themselves to have been freely adopted by God’s grace.”
—Gilbert Meilaender, Duesenberg Professor in Christian Ethics, Valparaiso University
“Adopted for Life is a well-written rooting of adoption in biblical theology. Moore shows how churches should view adoption as part of their mission and the difference it would make if Christians were known as the people who take in orphans and make them sons and daughters.”
—Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World Magazine
“The care and honesty Russell Moore demonstrates throughout Adopted for Life should inspire every believer to consider God’s heart for children without a family. Just like a parable of Christ, adoption provides a lost world the powerful picture of God’s personal love for his children. The church must take the lead in caring for orphans and at-risk children, so that adoption is once again united with the gospel.”
—Mark A. Tatlock, Provost and Senior Vice President, The Master's College
“God is working to bring revival and revolution to his church through orphan ministry, and this book is a must for those who will receive his invitation to consider a fatherless child or simply love them through missions.”
—Paul Pennington, Executive Director, Hope for Orphans
“Russell Moore’s life has validated every word he has written. In this book he speaks from his heart, mind, and life to ours about the possibility of incarnating adoption as a fleshed out reality in the world of our own families.”
—Michael Card, musician; Bible Teacher; author, A Better Freedom
“Russell Moore challenges Christians to an aspect of Christ’s lordship that many have never considered. His remarkable way of putting our salvation into the context of being adopted into God’s family brings a new perspective on being the recipient of undeserved mercy and grace.”
—Jerry Rankin, Former President, International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
“James offers this injunction to the early church: ‘Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world’ (James 1:27 KJV). Russell Moore offers a compelling account of these and other lessons of Scripture so that our communities of faith may put them into practice and become more like that ‘shining city on a hill.’”
—Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University; author of Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice
About the Author
Russell Moore (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. A widely-sought commentator, Dr. Moore has been called "vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate" by the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including Onward, The Kingdom of Christ, Adopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried, and he blogs regularly at RussellMoore.com and tweets at @drmoore. He and his wife, Maria, have five sons.
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Top Customer Reviews
It might be easy to write off a book like this one, assuming that it only has relevance to families who are actually considering adopting a child. But Moore's ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. "In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption--whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt--can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation." As Moore explains, "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." It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, "as we become more adoption-friendly, we'll be better able to understand the gospel." And so this book is for anyone and everyone.
It is important to note that this is not a how-to book; it does not provide step-by-step instructions for adopting (since there are already plenty of books that do just that and do it well). "Instead I want to ask what it would mean if our churches and families were known as the people who adopt babies--and toddlers, and children, and teenagers. What if we as Christians were known, once again, as the people who take in orphans and make of them beloved sons and daughters?" No one can claim that every person is called to adopt. But it does seem that all Christians are meant to think about the issue since we all have a stake in it. After all, God himself has a stake in it as the "Father of the fatherless" and the One who tells us that pure and undefiled religion is to comfort orphans.
Through nine chapters, Moore first lays theological groundwork for adoption and then turns to matters that are perhaps just a bit more practically applicable (not that I wish to draw too firm a line between theology and practice). In the first chapter he explains why you ought to read the book, even if you do not want to. In chapter two he explains what some rude questions about adoption taught him about the gospel of Christ. After that he turns to what is at stake in this discussion and then gives pastoral counsel on how to know if you or someone you love should consider adoption. He looks to practical aspects of navigating the adoption process (reassuring readers that it is not nearly as bad as most people seem to believe it is) and then covers some of the uncomfortable questions that arise--health concerns, racial identity, and so on. The seventh chapter explains how churches can encourage adoptions and the eighth shows how parents, children and friends can think about growing up adopted. He closes with some concluding thoughts which tie theology and practice into his own family (in which he and his wife adopted two boys before the Lord opened the womb and granted them two more, though he playfully insists he can no longer remember which of his sons are adopted and which are not!). In fact, Moore and his family figure prominently throughout the book as he describes the joys and challenges of welcoming adopted children to his family.
I know from talking to friends who have adopted that there are good books detailing the practicalities of adopting, whether that involves fund-raising or family integration or any other of the many factors involved. I know as well that there are many good books on the gospel and the doctrine of adoption. But I do not know of any that so perfectly put one within the context of the other. This book would make a valuable read for any Christian; perhaps I say that for too many books; I don't know. But I do know that every Christian stands to benefit from reading this one. I believe it is a must-read for anyone who has ever considered adoption and for anyone who has a friend or family member who is in the midst of it. It is a must-read for any young couple, even those who have never thought about adoption. And it ought to have a place in every church library.
When watching sports you sometimes hear a coach tell his players to "leave it all on the field (or on the court or on the diamond)." This coach expects his players to give it their best effort, to walk into the locker room at the end of the day knowing that they could not have done any better. And I really felt this is what Moore did here; I felt like he put a lot of himself into this book, that it took a lot out of him to write it, and that it really does represent a passionate effort on his part. And it shows. The book perfectly combines the theological foundation with the practical outworking of that theology. It has wisdom for the adopter, the adopted and the families, friends and churches of both. It is undoubtedly one of the best books I've read this year. I hope you'll consider reading it too.
Moore's call to action for the church is something that everyone needs to hear...adoption should not be something that Christians turn to as a "last resort" when infertility treatment is unsuccessful. Instead, our churches should wholeheartedly encourage and support adoption. We, the church, should look after orphans, grafting them into our families just as we have been grafted into the family of God.
Adopted for Life is primarily a work of theology, using the doctrine of adoption as a framework for the book. Moore uses the idea that we, as Christians, have all been adopted into a family, leaving behind the filthy orphanages of the world and becoming heirs of the living God.
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God" (Galatians 4:4-7).
Since we are no longer orphans but sons, Christians should have an especially sensitive heart for the orphans in the world. We are told to care for the widows and orphans as an act of justice. This focus is the one in Moore's book, not telling us the best agencies or the most accommodating countries for adoption. We should adopt mainly because we were adopted.
Our worldview leads us into being a part of families and churches where adoption should be the norm, not the exception. Who more should care for the fatherless than the ones who were once themselves fatherless and homeless?
In addition to the powerful content, Adopted for Life is creatively written. Moore has a readable style that is concrete and vivid, funny, and honest. I feel like I know this man after reading this, or, at least, I feel like I want to know him more. Because of this, I highly recommend this, wherever you are in thinking about adoption.
As soon as I closed the book, I was online looking into agencies to see what God has for us because I am grateful to no longer be in the "cosmic orphanage."