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Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father Paperback – December 9, 2010
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About the Author
Dan Cruver and his wife, Melissa, are parents of a multi-ethnic family of three children. Dan is the director of Together for Adoption, an organization that provides gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care. Dan is a frequent conference speaker and writer. He has a M.S. in Counseling and 90+ hours toward a Ph.D. in Theology. Prior to directing Together for Adoption, Dan was a college professor of Bible and Theology and a Pastor of Family Ministries.
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Back to Reclaiming Adoption. It's true, that when we speak of adoption, we automatically default to earthly adoption (horizontal) rather than thinking of eternal adoption (vertical). I would agree that our understanding, appreciation, and focus on vertical adoption are the best way to understand, appreciate and focus on horizontal adoption. We are born in a state of lostness with no home and no Father, but through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Father adopts us eternally and leaves behind our lostness. We are found. We are adopted. We have a Father.
Cruver correctly argues that the church has endured struggles over doctrines such as the Trinity or Justification and the doctrine of Adoption is worthy of struggling and "reclaiming." This book is worth your time whether you are involved in adoption or not and whether you are a Christian or not, remembering that "he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will" - Eph.1:5.
It settles some deep principles with a sound mind application but without developing to much its roots.
It also adresses the subject of how can 'this adoption' to God's family and kingdom affect in an effective way not only our life and choices but also our mission view and the way we relate with others.
For what I have read I strongly recomend this book which deals with one of the core aspects of our christianwood that has been often neglected by the church, which is our position and mission as adopted sons of God.
Neverthless all I have written above, I also must say that this book can funtion as an apetizer or introduction for the subject and it is far from deal with the fullness of this doctrine, especially if you are doing a deep academic research on this matter; but it can really stir up the necessity of going deeper into this important aspect of Scripture teaching.
As a minister I found out the first and the last chapters very challanging, but I must also admit that some parts of the book are a litle dry for such amazing subject.
(I am a researcher of this subject and even doing academic dissertation on this matter)
In short, the book walks you through the various aspects of the theology of adoption and its implications. The essay chapters are pretty short but they pack a lot of information into them. This book really deserves to be twice as big because a lot of the ideas merit being fleshed out a good deal. (Note: I suspect this is not entirely the authors' and editor's faults. Cruciform Press, the publisher, attempts to keep its books in the 100-page range. The authors work well within these constraints.) While the doctrine of adoption itself is sorely undertaught or mis-applied in our churches and this book attempts to "reclaim" it, the book also takes some things for granted. For example, Cruver's chapter "Adoption and Our Union with Christ" says this:
Personally, I suspect that Paul intentionally used "adoption" as a shorthand or code word for our union with Christ. Adoption and union are that closely joined.
If we can be adopted without being in Christ, there is no need for Jesus.
If we can be in Christ without being adopted by the Father, there is no Trinity.
If adoption and union with Christ are not essentially the same thing, there is no gospel.
Now those are some very bold statements but, unfortunately, the ideas aren't fleshed out - at least not fully. The context helps me understand what he's getting at but these statements almost seem as though they are just tossed in there to support his larger point (the prominence that adoption should have in the gospel). On the other hand, maybe I'm just being lazy. The book did cause me to pause and process it on my own rather than nodding my head through it. Even so, I found myself nodding anyway!
The book is loaded with some insightful gems and causes you to look at the gospel and your relation to it in challenging ways. In that same chapter, Cruver says, "Our missional engagement as Christians is not an imitation of Christ and his mission. It is a participation in Christ and his mission." (p. 53) Several pages later, Richard D. Phillips says, "If we will fully embrace what God's Word teaches about what we have been saved to [not just from] - the structure, content, privileges, and obligations of our personal relationship with God - our experience of the gospel will be revolutionized... We have been saved to God through adoption." (p. 58) These types of statements, really, are quite life-changing because, like any gospel-saturated statement, it places the emphasis squarely on the person of Christ. They change how you look at your salvation and your missional calling.
Generally speaking, adoption is given a hand-wave in our churches. We really just don't quite "get it" - what it means that we were spiritual orphans, brought together under one Father as a family, and called to engage in his family business. It's given so little attention that, at first, it's hard to swallow how ingrained it is in the gospel but the authors do a good job of bringing that truth to light. Reclaiming Adoption explores what it means to adopted, to understand our identity as a child of God, and the impact that should have on our view of "true religion" - caring for orphans and widows.
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If you're like me, your mind first goes to adopting a child.Read more