I’ve been thoroughly blessed thus far by the Together for Adoption 2009 Conference. Below are a few highlights:
Session 1 – Dan Cruver
Dan preached from James 1:27-28, arguing that there are three facets to “pure and undefiled religion”, namely controlling the tongue, visiting orphans and widows, and keeping unstained from the world. His basic argument was that focusing on one of the three at the expense of the other two does damage to all three and in effect creates something other than the pure and undefiled religion that James speaks of.
The hope that we have comes solely from the gospel, and when we look at the gospel, we have true religion:
The gospel bridles the tongue because it is good news for us
The gospel allows us to visit the orphan because we were visited by Jesus in our orphaned state
The gospel keeps us unstained from the world by freeing us from our righteous deeds AND sinful rebellion
In summary, Dan did a fantastic job of highlighting the essence of the gospel and the centrality of Jesus in orphan care. I’m grateful for the call to focus on Christ!
Session 2 – Scotty Smith
Scotty’s talk had a great outline in three parts:
The Freedom of Legal Rights – adoption secures us in a state of objective blessings
This portion of the talk focused on our theological identity as the children of God, legally adopted into His family. One of his best points was understanding that our legal identity is NOT a metaphor, rather an actual reality of our identity. Additionally, he focused heavily on the idea that as legally adopted sons, we are no longer subject to God as sons, and yet the default mode of the human heart is to behave as a subject of judgment rather than son. Great stuff to ponder!
The Freedom of Personal Delights – adoption calls us into a realm of subjective wonder
This section of his talk focused primarily on the idea that theological understanding alone is an insufficient view, because the theological perspective on our adoption necessarily leads to enjoyment of God and wonder at his grace. This also empowers us to stop behaving as orphans, who often pine after the life of abandonment in spite of the current existing reality of our inheritance as sons. One of the great quotes came from this section:
The quintessential action of the sinful human heart is to act as an orphan.
We act this way either through a rejection of our Fatherly love by returning to squalor, or by vigilantly pursuing the love of the Father through our own action. Again, some great imagery that caused me to reflect on my own life.
The Freedom of a Missional Life – adoption propels us into the world with sacrificial hope
Finally, he focused on the idea that as sons, we have hope that God will indeed bring to fruition a new heaven and new earth, and it is purely our pleasure to participate in that work. The work of the gospel in adoption is not a job to get done, but a privilege to be entered into.
Scotty did an excellent job of focusing on the full implications of a theological understanding of adoption, and I am blessed to have been able to listen to him!