Archive for the ‘Adoption’ category

Sappy Assurance from the Spirit

February 2, 2012

I don’t know of any contemporary author who lays open the heart of God to us like the Puritans. I know they get a bad wrap from some circles today, but perhaps no other literature has affected me more outside Scripture than the writings of the Puritans. To give you a taste of what I’m talking about, let me provide you a brief excerpt from the man who succeeded Richard Sibbes at Holy Trinity Church, Thomas Goodwin.

In his book, The Heart of Christ in Heaven Toward Sinners on Earth (first published 1651), Goodwin writes about the heart of Christ being communicated to us through the comforting work of the Spirit indwelling us.  Of the Spirit, Goodwin writes, “he is the greatest token and pledge of Christ’s love that ever was” (18).  Consider the following words from the pen of Goodwin on the heart of Christ opened to us through His Spirit.

“Him I (Jesus) shall send on purpose to be in my room, and to execute my place to you, my bride, spouse, and he shall tell you, if you will listen to him, and not grieve him, nothing but stories of my love.

[ . . .] All his speech in your hearts will be to advance me, and to greaten my worth an love unto you, and it will be his delight to do it.  And he can come from heaven in an instant where he will, and bring you fresh tidings of my mind, and tell you the thoughts I last had of you, even at the very minute when I am thinking of them, what they are at the very time wherein he tells you them.

[. . .] He dwelleth in Christ’s heart, and also ours, and lifts up from one hand to the other what Christ’s thoughts are to us, and what our prayers and faith are to Christ. So that you shall have my heart as surely and as speedily as if I were with you; and he will continually be breaking your hearts, either way with my love to you, or yours to me, or both; and if either, you may be sure of my love thereby.

[ . . .] He will tell you, where I am in heaven, that there is as true conjunction between me and you, and as true a dearness of affection in me towards you, as is between my Father and me, and that it is as impossible to break this knot, and to take off my heart from you, as my Father’s from me, or mine from the Father” (18-20).

I know this sounds a little sappy, but that’s the point. I believe Goodwin knows something of the succor of Christ’s love that I have not tasted, and instead of getting embarrassed by his writings, I should be overwhelmed by Christ’s love and embarrassed of how little I have truly known and experienced it.

Goodwin is right to elaborate on the communicative nature of the Spirit’s comforting work, so as to daily assure us of Christ’s love and our status as no longer orphans but adopted sons and daughters of the greatest lover the world has ever known.  I want to be known as the greatest recipient of the greatest love the world has ever known.  And Goodwin is, especially for that aspiration, a worthy guide.

Reclaiming Adoption Book Endorsement

December 15, 2010

I have had the privilege of knowing Dan Cruver since the first Band of Bloggers in 2006.  He has consistently championed the gospel and its implications in our lives, especially as it relates to adoption and orphan care.  So when he asked me to read his forthcoming book and consider writing an endorsement, I was honored and excited.  Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father includes various authors such as John Piper, Scotty Smith, Rick Phillips and Jason Kovacs.  You will definitely want to get this book.

Here’s my official endorsement:

“I have heard it said that our adoption in Christ is the excellency and apex of God’s salvation. In fact, we’re told that this adoption has cosmic implications as all creation awaits the revelation of once flagrant rebels now glorified children of God (Rom. 8:19). I’m greatly blessed—and I know you will be as well—by the capable guides in Reclaiming Adoption who propel us to the breathtaking views of God’s Trinitarian work of adopting us as His own. Not only that, but this book causes you to take it in chapter by chapter. Having been thrilled by God’s adopting love, you are set free to live from God’s acceptance of you, not striving for it; to go on a rescue mission after rebels because God’s missionary heart has included you.”

To see the rest of endorsements, go here.

Father

March 30, 2010

For the Christian in prayer, the most powerful word is his first word – Father.

Far too often, if not always, we hurry past the fact that we are addressing God as Father to get on to the things on our mind and heart.  But when was the last time that you were staggered by the reality that, if you are in Christ, you have been adopted by God and given the rights and privileges that come with being in the family of God?

Lest we forget, our sinful disposition did not put us in a favorable position for God to want us.  In fact, our blatant rebellion is the outward manifestation of idolatrous hearts that prefer lesser lovers.  We have offended God not only in what we have not done (giving Him glory) but also by what we have done (seeking satisfaction in other things besides Him).  If there would be any who are children of God, it would be by sheer mercy and grace.  What kind of Father would want to make His enemies to be sons and daughters?  Moreover, what Father would give His own son for those enemies so that their offense would be judged and their acceptance paid in full in the divine exchange at the cross?

(more…)

Our Adoption in Christ – New T4A e-Book

October 22, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, our friends over at Together for Adoption (T4A) published their first e-book called Our Adoption in Christ: What It Means for Us and for Orphans. They write:

This book was written to equip churches theologically in the areas of orphan care and earthly adoption. We believe that robust theology produces robust action. So, our writing objective was to put the gospel at the center of the global orphan crisis. If the church is to be mobilized to care for 143 million orphaned and vulnerable children, then the gospel must be the main thing. Our prayer is that God will use this brief book to equip and empower churches to serve orphans.

Below is the table of contents, and I encourage you to not only download this e-book but also check out their many resources, including the audio from the recent T4A Conference.

1.   The Prodigal’s Suspicion and the Global Orphan Crisis (Dan Cruver)
2.  Adoption in God’s Story of Redemption (Dan Cruver)
3.  Glorifying the Father of the Fatherless (Jason Kovacs)
4.  The Cosmic Significance of Adoption (Dan Cruver)
5.  Creating A Culture of Adoption in Your Church (Jason Kovacs)

2008 Together for Adoption Conference Audio

November 13, 2008

Jason Kovacs recently announced that the (FREE) audio of the Together for Adoption Conference messages are now available.  If you are looking for solid theological reflection and exhortation regarding adoption, I encourage you to download and listen to these messages.

Jason Kovacs and Maridel Sandberg – “Conference Welcome and the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ Vision for Orphan Ministry

Dan Cruver – “Adoption in God’s Story of Redemption

Rick Phillips – “The Good News of Adoption

Carl Robbins – “Adoption and the Multi-Ethnic Family of God

Tullian Tchividjian – “Our Adoption and Visiting Orphans in Their Affliction

2008 Together for Adoption Conference

August 26, 2008

“Spiritual adoption is the excellency and apex of God’s salvation.” – Joel Beeke
“Adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers.” – J.I. Packer
“This blessing of grace (that is, of adoption) rises higher than justification.”  – John L. Dagg

Adoption has always been something I have longed to make a trademark of my life and family.  In fact, before I asked Dusti to marry me, I shared with her my desire to adopt children as part of our future family.  Having moved to Grace here in Cape Coral, the emphasis of adoption is underscored even further with kids being taken into homes on a regular basis.  Just a couple of weeks ago while I was in preparation for teaching on the doctrine of adoption for our Wednesday night Bible study (on Packer’s Knowing God), I read Joel Beeke’s excellent little book entitled Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption.  Incidentally enough, that book was birthed from Packer’s apparent ignorance (believe it or not) on the Puritan literature addressing the doctrine of adoption (which Beeke argues amounts to over 1,200 pages!). I would like to pull a few quotes from Beeke’s book for your consideration:

William Perkins:
“At earthly preferments men will stand amazed; but seldome shall you finde a man that is rauished with joy in this, that hee is the childe of God.”

Jeremiah Burroughs:
“If we did but know what this privilege of adoption is, all the riches of all the kingdoms in the world would be but as filthy dung to us.”

Richard Sibbes:
“All things are ours by virtue of our adoption because we are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.  There is a world of riches in this, to be sons of God.  And what a prerogative is this . . . that we have boldness to appear before God, to call him Father, to open our necessities, to fetch all things needful, to have the ear of the King of heaven and earth, to be favourites in the court of heaven.”

William a Brakel:
“From being a child of the devil to becoming a child of God, from being a child of wrath to becoming the object of God’s favor, from being a child of condemnation to becoming an heir of all the promises and a possessor of all blessings, and to be exalted from the greatest misery to the highest felicity—this is something which exceeds all comprehension and all adoration.”

Thomas Watson:
“We have enough in us to move God to correct us, but nothing to move him to adopt us, therefore exalt free grace, begin the work of angels here; bless him with your praises who hath blessed you in making you his sons and daughters.”

One of the greatest ways to live counter-culturally in our day of rugged individualism where personal ambition and careers eclipse the call to embrace children is the practical application of the doctrine of adoption.  If our spiritual adoption is the highest privilege the gospel offers, then a gospel-driven response would be to offer the highest privilege to children with the same love our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us.

Having said all that, I want to direct your attention to the 2008 Together for Adoption Conference coming up this November 1 in Greenville, SC.  The registration is minimal, and the line-up looks great.  Below are all the conference details.  For more information and to register, go here.

Registration Fee: $20 for single; $30 for couple

Theme: Our Adoption in Christ: What it Means for Us and for Orphans
Date: November 1, 2008
Location: Southside Fellowship (Greenville, SC)
See Conference Schedule

Sessions and Speakers:

Christian Alliance for Orphans
Maridel Sandberg, Alliance President and Director of MICAH Fund (Maridel will present the Alliance’s vision for orphan ministry)

The Good News of Adoption (Ephesians 1-2)
Rick Phillips (Listen to one of his sermons: How Shall We Now Live?)

God’s Joy in Adoption
Russell Moore (Listen to one of his sermons: But Are They Brothers? The Spirit of Adoption and the Unity of the Church)

Adoption and the Multi-Ethnic Family of God (Ephesians 1-2)
Carl Robbins (Listen to one of his sermons: Union with Christ)

Our Adoption and Visiting Orphans in Their Affliction (Romans 8:22-23)
Tullian Tchividjian (Josh Harris interviews Tullian about his book Do I know God? -Listen to one of his sermons: What the World Needs from the Church)

Q & A with Speakers

Book Alert: Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption

June 4, 2008

Title: Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption
Author:
Joel Beeke
Publisher:
Reformation Heritage Books
Release Date: June 3, 2008
Pages: 134
Format: Hardcover
ISBN 13-digit: 9781601780409
Retail Price: $13.00
Table of Contents: YES (below)
Intro: YES

From RHB:

The Puritans have gotten bad press for their supposed lack of teaching on the doctrine of spiritual adoption. In Heirs with Christ, Joel R. Beeke dispels this caricature and shows that the Puritan era did more to advance the idea that every true Christian is God’s adopted child than any other age of church history. This little book lets the Puritans speak for themselves, showing how they recognized adoption’s far-reaching, transforming power and comfort for the children of God.

RHB for $10.00
Amazon for $10.00
Monergism Books $9.88
Westminister Bookstore $9.88
CBD for n/a

Table of Contents:

1. Introduction: Correcting a Caricature
2. The Greatness and Comprehensiveness of Adoption
3. Adoption Compared in the Two Testaments
4. What Adoption is Not
5. The Westminster Assembly’s Definitions of Adoption
6. The Transforming Power of Adoption
7. Pastoral Advice in Promoting Adoption
8. The Marks of Adoption
9. Transformed Relationships in Adoption
10. The Privileges and Benefits of Adoption
11. The Responsibilities or Duties of Adoption
12. Motives for Pursuing the Consciousness of Adoption
13. Warning, Invitation, and Comfort

Bibliography
Scripture Index

Media:

Calling for Truth recently had a show on “Together for Adoption” where Joel Beeke, along with Russell Moore and Dan Cruver were guests. You can download (MP3) the show by clicking here.

Endorsements:

“Dr. Beeke is well-known for his landmark work setting the record straight on the Puritan doctrine of assurance. Now he comes to our aid again with a superb treatment of the Puritans on adoption. I welcome his expert entry into this important field, and commend his keen insights and careful analysis to all who are interested in knowing ‘what the Puritans really said’ about adoption.”

Ligon Duncan

“In this short but spiritually substantive book, Dr. Beeke—a wise and careful ‘pastor theologian’ in the best sense of both words—introduces us to the Puritans’ comforting and transforming work on spiritual adoption. More than just historically informative, this volume should be warmly welcomed by all Christians who want to learn more about this crucial aspect of our identity as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”

Justin Taylor

About the Author:

Joel R. Beeke is pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and a prolific author.