Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, by Dan Cruver, John Piper, Scotty Smith, Richard D. Phillips, Jason Kovacs
Endorsed by Russell Moore, Ed Stetzer, Sam Storms, Tim Chester, J.D. Greear, and more.
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.
Reclaiming Adoption 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.
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. 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.
Dan is co-founder of Together for Adoption, and owner and curator of the @JRRTolkien Twitter account. He and his wife, Melissa, are parents of a multi-ethnic family of three children.
“Enriching theology and missional application are beautifully interwoven.”
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The following is just a sample of the dozens of glowing endorsements for Reclaiming Adoption from Russell Moore, Darrin Patrick, Sam Storms, Burk Parson, Ed Stetzer, Shaun Groves, and more.
“Reclaiming Adoption is the best kind of theological work: it sings and it sends! As I read, I wanted to praise the Triune God for his great love. Then I felt the urgency of the call to live that love among the world’s orphans. Completely accessible and appealing to ‘ordinary’ Christians, Reclaiming Adoption is thoroughly grounded in Scripture and flows from the great heart of the Church’s historic understanding of the Word. The authors have uncovered new depths and fresh passion in expressing how adoption clarifies the meaning of our union with Christ. Too much evangelical theology today is shallow and powerless because it arises from an abridged gospel. Reclaiming Adoption expands our vision to the fuller glory of the whole narrative of Christ’s work. Thus, this book can transform the worship, education, and mission of any church bold enough to explore its truth.”
—Gerrit Dawson, Teaching Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge and author of Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation.
“The wonderful good news of our adoption by God is such an important truth for Christians today. Too many of us believe we will be acquitted on the last day, but in the meantime we live as slaves, distanced from God because we do not embrace him as our loving Father. As a result our obedience is reduced to mere duty instead of being animated by joy. How can we put this right? This book is a great place to start. Enriching theology and missional application are beautifully interwoven. The result is a book that will warm your heart and might just change your life.”
—Tim Chester, thecrowdedhouse.org, theporterbrooknetwork.org
“The authors have done an impressive work reminding us of the centrality of our spiritual adoption through faith in Christ. Exploring the extravagant and unmerited love of our Heavenly Father, they inspire a reexamination of the importance of adoption–both in the spiritual and human realms.”
—Kelly Rosati, Vice President of Community Outreach, Focus on the Family
“Reclaiming Adoption won’t guilt you into doing one more thing for Jesus. It merely wants to celebrate the forgotten truth that changes everything: you’re adopted! This book will flood your heart with gratitude, which if you’re not careful, might inspire you to do something really special for Jesus.”
—Mike Wittmer, Professor of Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Cornerstone University, and author of Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough
“This book can make you come more alive to the heart of the gospel and the mission of the gospel. Reclaiming Adoption says better in 100 pages what many have attempted to say in 1,000 pages. This is a fresh telling of the best news in the universe, good news that changes everything: the fatherless receive a Father!”
—Justin Buzzard, pastor, San Francisco Bay Area, author of BuzzardBlog.com
“Younger evangelicals have taken the lead in putting pro-life convictions into practice by leading the way in the modern adoption movement. While this is obviously a cause of rejoicing, even better is when the motivation is not moralistic or sentimental but profoundly Gospel-driven and theologically-grounded. Dan Cruver and his fellow contributors write to reclaim adoption in such a way that the imperative of adopting is grounded in the indicative of God’s adoption of us in Jesus Christ. The result is a Gospel-drenched book that leads us toward active care for the world’s orphans and unwanted in response to the often surprising and always transforming grace of God. Not to be missed!”
—Sean Michael Lucas, Senior Minister, The First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, MS
“ As the US head of an organization that ministers to thousands of orphans and vulnerable children around the world each year, I was deeply impressed by Reclaiming Adoption‘s excellent Biblical exposition and call to action on behalf of the ‘least of these.’ Dan Cruver has assembled an impressive group of authors who challenge us to fully embrace God’s adoption of us and from that foundation to work in tangible ways to bring more fatherless and motherless children into loving and committed families. I highly recommend this book to all who have a heart or want to have a heart for the world’s orphans.”
—David Evans, US President and Global Executive Officer, Food for the Hungry
Blog Review –
“Perfectly positioned at the intersection of the practical, the spiritual, and the doctrinal…”
A revival, is happening right now in evangelical theology…..it looks like it may have the momentum to reinvigorate evangelical systematic theology….The most promising sign I’ve seen so far is the new book Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father. This is a short, readable, popular-level introduction to the theology of adoption, and it is perfectly positioned at the intersection of the practical, the spiritual, and the doctrinal. It’s published by the innovative little publisher Cruciform Press….
A book like Reclaiming Adoption is carrying out the theological task of catechesis, teaching Christians in mid-mission to think more, and think better, about the gospel they are living in. That is going to pay off in the quiet halls of evangelical theology.
Fred Sanders, First Things
Blog Review –
“Another solid contribution to Cruciform Press’ effort to provide gospel-centered reading for gospel-driven living…”
“Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.” — J. I. Packer in Knowing God
Dan Cruver’s Reclaiming Adoption affirms Packer’s statement but goes on to show that not only our understanding of Christianity but also our individual and corporate practice of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of the biblical doctrine of adoption.
Once again, Cruciform Press has jam-packed a little book with lots of gospel truth for the sake of gospel transformation. Reclaiming Adoption is a fountain welling up with a biblical theology of our vertical adoption in Christ that overflows with missional living in our horizontal relationships with our neighbors, the nations, and the next generation.
As a man who is adopted by God, who has adopted two children, and is the Director of Together for Adoption, Dan Cruver writes as one whose entire life is wrapped up in adoption and orphan care. Cruver opens the book with a brief biblical theology of our Father’s adoption of prodigals and then explores other fascinating aspects of our adoption in the next three chapters:
Adoption and the Trinity: “Through adoption God graciously brings us to participate in the reciprocal love that ever flows between the Father and his Son. Not only is this the very heart of adoption; it is also the very heart of the gospel” (page 27, bold emphasis mine).
Adoption and the Incarnation: “Through the incarnation, Jesus (fully God and fully man in his one Person) became not merely the means but the place—the locale—where communion with and obedience to God happens in all its unimaginable fullness. It is only in the Person of Christ that God and man meet in loving communion. The understated good news of the gospel is that the humanity of Jesus has become our communion with and obedience to his Father. Only in Jesus can true radical obedience and unending communion be found” (page 43, bold emphasis mine).
Adoption and Our Union With Christ: “This means that, at its source, missional engagement is not really what we do at all. It is what Jesus does. God is always the initiator. Jesus engages us in mission; we do not engage him. Our missional engagement as Christians is not an imitation of Christ and his mission. It is a participation in Christ and his mission” (page 52, bold emphasis mine).
And as if Cruver’s own practical theology of biblical adoption is not enough (and his chapters are surely worth the price of the book), he has invited other noted pastor-theologians to fill out the final four chapters by weighing in on the subject: John Piper, Scotty Smith, Jason Kovacs, and Richard D. Phillips.
As one who loves the cruciform image of a life that is shaped by the cross into the shape of the cross, I love the book’s emphasis on how our vertical relationship with our Father impacts our horizontal relationships with people, especially the fatherless. This book makes a great companion to Nate Palmer’s Servanthood As Worship as it explains how our service to God and others flows from our sonship. These two books are serving me well as I finish writing my forthcoming book, Cruciform: Living the Cross Shaped Life (stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks).
Perhaps the greatest personal endorsement I can give is to say that Cruver’s book has convinced me and my wife (and even my three children) to seriously pray, asking our Father if He would provide the means and method by which our family might live out of our adoption as Abba’s children by adding another child to our family or giving us the opportunity to care for orphans. I’m excited to see what He does with this.
Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father is another solid contribution to Cruciform Press’ effort to provide gospel-centered reading for gospel-driven living. Each new release makes me happy that I signed up for a monthly subscription, and I’d recommend you do the same (this is one of the very few ways I’d ask you to imitate me, but it’s worth the risk).
Jimmy Davis, Cruciform Life Blog
Blog Review –
“Takes us deep into the heart of Abba Father for his children…”
There is a unique phenomenon sweeping across America right now. A groundswell of Christians and entire churches are stepping up to care for and adopt orphans. Many of the most influential pastors in this country, like Rick Warren, are devoting significant time at the pulpit to getting the word out — that God calls us to care for those without hope and without families (James 1:27).
The writers of this book, Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living Through the Rediscovery of Abba Father, provide a possible explanation for this: Christians have a perspective on orphans and adoption through the gospel that the rest of the world does not.
An understanding of our own adoption in Christ enables us to rightly understand and appreciate human adoption. Grasping the scope and weight of our vertical adoption provides the biblical foundation we need to comprehend and respond to God’s call for us to adopt horizontally.
Essentially a collection of essays by leading evangelical thinkers and adoption advocates, Reclaiming Adoption takes us deep into the heart of Abba Father for his children. Authors John Piper, Dan Cruver, Scotty Smith, Jason Kovacs, and Richard D. Phillips provide an intentionally theological perspective on adoption that manages to be simultaneously inspirational and practical.
As an adoptive parent, what I appreciate most about this book is that it puts words and clearly articulated theology to something I have known intuitively for a long time.
The ultimate purpose of human adoption by Christians, therefore, is not to give orphans parents, as important as that is. It is to place them in a Christian home that they might be positioned to receive the gospel, so that within that family, the world might witness a representation of God taking in and genuinely loving the helpless, the hopeless, and the despised.
The purpose of adoption, as editor Dan Cruver explains, is primarily evangelical, both to the adopted child and to the community that witnesses the adoption. Through Christ, we are drawn into communion with the Trinity — we are adopted — and from that place we are called to invite others into the Family of families as well. Human adoption gives us a chance to join God is the redemptive work that he is already doing through Christ in us and in all of humanity.
Adoption and our care for the fatherless provide a visible demonstration of the gospel. Our adoption of children serves as a window into Christ's rescue of us. Adoption displays gospel-justice. Adoption displays the patient, persistent pursuit and sovereign choice of God for us. Adoption displays the heart of God for rescuing a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Because of what God has done for us in Christ, adoption and orphan care are signs that God's kingdom and rule are present in our world and will one day come in all their fullness.
Reclaiming Adoption is an invaluable resource for those who desire to better understand what it means to be adopted in Christ. It is also vital for anyone seeking to comprehend or advocate for human adoption as one of the most powerful ways we can proclaim the good news of the gospel to a world desperately in need.