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January 03, 2011

Reclaiming AdoptionEach month Cruciform Press releases 1 new book, and our book for January is one we are very excited about. Reclaiming Adoption brings together some of today’s best thinkers on the subject of adoption, people like Dan Cruver (of Together for Adoption), John Piper, Scotty Smith, Richard Phillips and Jason Kovacs.

Here is a description of what you’ll find:

One of the ambitious dreams that Reclaiming Adoption and its authors share with the Apostle Paul is that when Christians hear the word adoption, they will think first about their adoption by God. As it now stands, Christians usually think first about the adoption of children. Reclaiming Adoption sets out to change this situation by providing breathtaking views of God’s love for and delight in His children — views that will free you to live boldly in this world from God’s acceptance, not in order to gain it.

Reclaiming Adoption begins by examining Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son because it ultimately puts God the Father’s love on display — a love that embraces the younger son with uninhibited joy (Luke 15:20) and goes out to entreat the self-righteous older son to come join the celebration (Luke 15:28). The book is premised on the belief that behind the Parable of the Prodigal Son(s) is Scripture’s teaching on adoption. The story of the Bible is that God the Father sent his only true and eternal Son on a mission, and that mission was to bring many wayward and rebellious sons home to glory (Hebrews 2:10) in order to adopt them into His family.

That is the Story behind the story of the Prodigal Sons. It is the only story that gives our stories any meaning or significance.

Dan Cruver and his co-authors are convinced that if Christians learn to first think about their adoption by God, and only then about the adoption of children, they will enjoy deeper communion with the God who is love, and experience greater missional engagement with the pain and suffering of this world. That’s what this book is about. What the orphan, the stranger, and the marginalized in our world need most is churches that are filled with Christians who live daily in the reality of God’s delight in them. Reclaiming Adoption can transform the way you view and live in this world for the glory of God and the good of our world’s most needy.

The book has already garnered all kinds of glowing endorsements and reviews. You may like to visit the book’s web site to read some of these. And you will want to visit CruciformPress.com where you can buy the book in print, e-book or Kindle formats.

January 15, 2010

I am a day late with this week’s Reading Classics Together. I had something else I wanted to post yesterday, so bumped this back just one day. I trust no one was too bothered! Today we continue in our journey through John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied. To this point he has taught about effectual calling, regeneration, faith and repentance, and justification. Today we come to the great doctrine of adoption, one that has undoubtedly been much neglected.

“By adoption the redeemed become sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty; they are introduced into and given the privileges of God’s family. … We become children of God by the bestowment of a right or by the conferring of authority, and this is given to them who believe on Jesus’ name.” Murray turns immediately to an examination of adoption in light of the other acts of God’s grace. He shows:

First, that adoption needs to be distinguished from both justification and regeneration. Though all are inexorably linked one to the others, we cannot allow ourselves to blur the important distinctions between them. Murray says adoption “is never separate from justification and regeneration. The person who is justified is always the recipient of sonship.

Second, adoption, like justification, is a judicial act. “In other words, it is the bestowal of a status, or standing, not the generating within us of a new nature or character.”

Third, “Those adopted into God’s family are also given the Spirit of adoption whereby they are able to recognize their sonship and exercise the privileges which go with it.”

Fourth, there is a close relationship between adoption and regeneration. So close is the relationship “that some would say that we are sons of God both by participation of nature and by deed of adoption.” Murray, though he admits the possibility, says there is no conclusive evidence to support this. “There is a very close interdependence between the generative act of God’s grace (regeneration) and the adoptive. When God adopts men and women into his family he insures that not only may they have the rights and privileges of his sons and daughters but also the nature or disposition consonant with such a status.” This he does by regeneration.

Murray makes it clear that adoption “is an act of transfer, from an alien family into the family of God himself. This is surely the apex of grace and privilege.” Have you stopped recently to consider what it means that you have been adopted into the family of God? Should this not cause you to pause and to praise him?

A good bit of the chapter concerns itself with the nature of the fatherhood we speak of in adoption. “Adoption is concerned with the fatherhood of God in relation to men.” Here Murray wants to ensure that we realize that there is a sense in which God is Father to all men (as their Creator) yet that adoption is a special kind of fatherhood offered only to those who have been justified. He shows also that the relation in adoption is specifically between the believer and the Father, not the believer and the Son or Holy Spirit. He says, “The people of God are the sons of God the Father and he sustains to them this highest and most intimate of relationships. This fact enhances the marvel of the relationship established by adoption. The first person of the Godhead is not only the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ but is also the God and Father of those who believe in Jesus’ name. … Though the relationship of Fatherhood differs, it is the same person who is Father of the Lord Jesus Christ in the ineffable mystery of the trinity who is the Father of believers in the mystery of his adoptive grace.”

He closes with this great question: “Could anything disclose the marvel of adoption or certify the security of its tenure and privilege more effectively than the fact that the Father himself, on account of whom are all things and through whom are all things, who made the captain of salvation perfect through sufferings, becomes by deed of grace the Father of the many sons whom he will bring to glory?” Ponder that for a few moments this morning.

Next Week
For next Thursday please read the next chapter—“Sanctification.”

Your Turn
The purpose of this program is to read classics together. So if there are things that stood out to you in this chapter, if there are questions you had, this is the time and place to have your say. Feel free to post a comment below or to link to your blog if you’ve chosen to write about this on your own site.