The Biblical Model of Adoption -- By: John M. Yeats

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 02:1 (Fall 2011)
Article: The Biblical Model of Adoption
Author: John M. Yeats

The Biblical Model of Adoption

John M. Yeats

John Mark Yeats (Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) serves as pastor of Normandale Baptist Church in Fort Worth. In addition to his Ph.D., he has earned degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and from Oxford University. He teaches in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Cultural Engagement and Worldview program. He and his wife Angela have adopted four children. An earlier version of this article first appeared in Southwestern Journal of Theology 49 (Fall 2006): 65-79.

In the spring of 2002, popular talk show host Rosie O’Donnell revealed her lesbian relationship live on her show. In what would become the final season of the program, O’Donnell pushed for multiple political shifts that would grant further rights for homosexuals. In seeking to demonstrate the normalcy of her life and relationships, O’Donnell talked about her adopted children and her fight with Florida’s then-governor, Jeb Bush, over the rights of homosexual couples to adopt. That same spring, Angelina Jolie, noted actress, director, and humanitarian, adopted her first child from Cambodia. After shooting several films in the economically-depressed country, she thought it a fitting complement to her humanitarian aid to change at least one life directly. Jolie, as a high profile star, went on to adopt two other children.

In many respects, adoption went mainstream in the first few years of the twenty-first century as Hollywood brought attention to the growing need for action on the behalf of children worldwide. High-profile adoptions created new interest in the plight of children worldwide and led to further adoptions by other stars as well as raising awareness for the need of families to become involved in adoption.

Where was the church in all of this ? This complex question begs for an answer, but in the West, conservative Christians often fall strangely silent, frequently hiding behind a barrage of evangelical aid institutions that assure us that our money is well spent.

While many Christians have already stepped into the challenging arena of orphan care, there is too much at stake for us to allow the status quo to continue. In the space of the next few pages, I hope to present to you a clear summation of the biblical commands for orphan care. From that general heading, we will then turn to look at the practical, biblical foundation for adoption as one aspect of the scriptural mandate to care for orphans. Throughout the paper, we will reference moments in the history of adoption as well as illustrate ways in which evangelicals in general and Baptists in particular have sought to become involved. I also will draw attention to some of the ethical issues ...

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