May 22nd, 2009
Moore, Russell. Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 230 pp. $15.99. Purchase at Westminster books.
Dr. Russell Moore is the dean of the School of Theology as well as the vice president for Academic Administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as the editor of the journal Touchstone and is a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also authored Crossway’s The Kingdom of Christ among other books.
More germane to the topic of this book, he and his bride, Maria, have four children, two of which are adopted. However, he will be the first to tell you that he has four sons without any qualifying terms. In other words, he writes as a man who has been in the trenches and has lived what he writes.
Summary of Adopted for Life
I have arbitrarily divided this book into two parts. The first part consists of chapters one through three and is the theological foundation for the book. The second part is from chapter four through nine and is along the lines of “I wish someone would have said this to me.” As I said, this division is merely an arbitrary division created by me. On one hand, the entire book is deeply rooted in the theology of our adoption as sons through our faith in Christ alone. On the other hand, the book is deeply rooted in one man’s experiences of adoption and wishing he knew then what he knows now.
Chapter one begins with an exhortation to read this book…especially if the reader really does not want to read it. His exhortation is really an invitation to a conversation. In chapter two, we peer into the heart of Dr. Moore as he shares how he struggled with all of the questions he received after he and his wife first adopted Benjamin and Timothy. He ultimately points out that through our adoption into Christ as sons (he argues for the use of “sons” as opposed to the inclusion of “and daughters”) of God, the term “brother” actually means something. Chapter three explains what is really at stake when discussing adoption. Dr. Moore actually preached a sermon similar to what he wrote in chapter three during a chapel service at SBTS. You can listen to that sermon here.
The fourth chapter is the linchpin of the book. It is in this chapter that Dr. Moore bears his heart and soul (as if he hasn’t done that already) regarding adoption. This chapter is worth the price of the book in my estimation as he offers up advice to those considering adoption. He offers advice to those considering adoption who fear they may be (or are) infertile, to those who know someone who is infertile but really does not know what to say to them, and for those who are considering adoption even though they already have children “of their own.”
As I stated earlier, chapters five through nine offers up counsel as one who wished he knew then what he knows now. Chapter five deals with the practical elements of the process of adoption. Chapter six deals with potential uncomfortable questions. The seventh and eight chapters helps the pastor and member in the local church to begin to cultivate a life of adoption in both doctrine and life application. The ninth chapter ends just as chapter one begins—with an invitation to continue the conversation.
Whenever I read a book for the purpose of writing a review, I do some preliminary reading on the back cover and in the first few pages. While reading the blurbs on this book, I began to think that what was being said about the book was too much. Words like “compelling,” “powerful,” “wonderful,” “tremendous,” “incredible,” and “remarkable” were being used over and over again. I truly thought that these comments must be over the top. I could not have been more wrong. Turns out, they forgot to use a word—”phenomenal”. Dr. Russell Moore has written a phenomenal and worldview changing treatise on adoption for all of Christendom.
This book is a must read even if you are not considering adoption; after all, he tells us that not everyone is called to adopt just like not everyone is called to go on the mission field. But, just as we are all called to be a part of missions work, we are called to be a part of adoption. Every pastor must read this book. I dare say that anyone who calls upon the name of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior needs to read this book. Never before has the glory of the doctrine of adoption been laid out in such practical terms of the adoption of children. I personally believe this book is the beginning of a work of God to move His bride back toward a pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27). Evidence of this is his resolution On Adoption and Orphan Care that Dr. Russell Moore has submitted to the Resolutions Committee of the 2009 Southern Baptist Convention.