Theology is alive. It should be felt, not merely taught. It should reach into all areas of our lives, bringing light and health to them. The heft of God’s teaching transforms both the way we think and the way we live.
Theologians who embody this kind of approach are rare (though increasing in number, I think). One who stands out is Russ Moore of Southern Seminary of Louisville, KY. A systematician, Moore has a capacious mind, a gift for wit and drama, and an imagination that grasps the significance of biblical truth. He is a pastor-theologian, simultaneously the Dean of the world’s largest seminary and a Teaching Pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville. He is a proud and loving father of four.
Recently, Moore authored the book Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, 2009). The book comes highly recommended–no less than sixteen scholars and leaders endorse the book, including such luminaries as Robby George, Chuck Colson, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur. The diversity of this group alone shows the respect Moore draws from the broader Christian community.
The text itself is full of passion, biblical theology, and humor. It is not a straight theology of adoption, a personal reflection on adoption, or a handbook on the rudiments of the adoption process. It is a mixture of all three. As a result, the text simultaneously teaches, edifies, provokes, and moves the reader. Though a text that purports to cover adoption, it ends up covering much more, and stands in my mind as something of a mini-biblical theology of salvation.
I cannot commend the book highly enough. In the face of numerous heartbreaking miscarriages, Moore and his wife Maria traveled to Russia to adopt two boys some years ago, the story that provides the backbone of the text. After beginning with this personal touch, Moore proceeds to cover theological and practical aspects of adoption in midrash-like chapters that set the matter in cosmic perspective. Adopted for Life is a good title, though The Drama of Adoption might also have captured the spirit of the text.
Many Christians are catching a heart for adoption. This is a most welcome trend. I am quite sure that those who are on the fence about adoption will, after reading this powerful book, find themselves irresistibly drawn to contributing to the cause in some way. The image painted by Moore of his first visit to the Russian orphanage where his sons lay in darkness and filth is indelibly printed in my mind. It will be in yours, too, and with the rest of the book, it will drive you to pray and to work to contribute to the culture of gospel-centered adoption as an application of the theological doctrine.
I am deeply thankful for this unique and engrossing book. It is not often that a text incites one to want to thank an author for it. But I am grateful to Russ Moore for Adopted for Life, and also to Justin Taylor and Crossway Books for pushing this project (and living it out in Justin’s case). I agree with Al Mohler’s assessment of it: “one of the most compelling books I have ever read.”
In orphanages across the world, children languish, unwanted, unnoticed, unheard. Their lives have no purpose or beauty. Most of them will suffer through childhood and go on to an early death, fizzling out like comets in a sky that nobody sees. It is my hope and prayer that the book will go far and wide, spreading a culture of adoption in Christian churches, causing families to abandon ordinary, easy, low-cost, low-reward Christianity and drive them instead to take on the challenge of adoption. Whether fertile or infertile, rich or poor, all who live wisely and generously can in some way participate in this outworking of biblical theology.
May we not allow these children to languish and pass away. May we embrace a culture of life that is costly and full of grace. May we spend less on ourselves and more on missions and missional adoption. Let us join the Moores, my own parents, and countless others who have acted on a vision for adoption and make our way into darkened, decrepit orphanages across this earth, bringing light to the abandoned just as Jesus Christ our Lord has brought it to us.