One Ministry Churches Are Neglecting That They Need to Adopt
This past Monday night, President Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his choice to fill the vacant spot on the Supreme Court. This decision is one that came with a high degree of attention, even finding its way to the top trending list of Twitter, particularly because of the implications the Supreme Court nominee position has on Roe v. Wade. As a result, many have been posting their strong feelings either for or against Roe v. Wade and whether or not abortion should remain in this country or be stricken from the law.
The topic of abortion is a tricky one to navigate, though not because of a lack of information. Abortion is a difficult subject to discuss because it comes with a great degree of cultural baggage. Men who engage in the discussion are often told to butt out because abortion is a “woman’s rights issue.” This however is not the biggest divide that takes place on the subject. No, the greatest divide is seen between those conservatively minded individuals and progressively minded individuals.
When a politically conservative person brings up the subject of abortion, their ideas are often ignored because they “only care about life inside the womb.” Once that life is on the outside, however, conservatives are told they do not care. Since they don’t care for the poor or the refugee, the opinions on abortion from conservatives does not matter. Conversely, when someone who is politically progressive brings up the subject of immigration or the treatment of refugees, they are often shut down because “they support abortion.” Since they support the ending of a life within the womb, their opinion on lives outside the womb are disregarded.
This pattern of talking over one another continues for several days only to end with an exchange of angry comments and a further entrenching in our previous viewpoints. True or not, there is a perception within our culture that those who are pro-life care only for the lives in the womb and that those who are pro-choice couldn’t care less about the life in the womb.
This dichotomy got me to thinking about where Christians fit in all of this, which then led me to the conclusion that there is one ministry churches are neglecting that they must start funding, not merely for the sake of shattering the culture’s perception, but because the gospel demands it.
Where Do Christians Fit In?
God’s people have always been called to care for life, no matter the background or character of the life. The Law of Moses contained a number of laws pertaining to the treatment of foreigners (Lev. 19:33-34; 23:22; Jer. 22:3). This tradition of caring for the fatherless, the widowed, and the orphan is continually addressed throughout the rest of the Bible. When the disciples prevented children from coming to Jesus He rebuked them saying “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 19:14). When asked what the greatest commandment was Jesus replied:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt. 22:36-40)
Love God and love others. It is one these commandments that all the Law and the Prophets “depend,” a word which means “to hang up or suspend.” Looking for a summary of the entirety of the Bible, it’s found here in loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself. This is further seen in Jesus’ discussion of His return:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left” (Mt. 25:31-33).
What divides the sheep from the goats? The sheep were actively involved with “the least of these.” They fed them, clothed them, visited them…they loved them, and by doing so loved Jesus himself (Mt. 25:40)
(NOTE: this does not mean doing good things gets you to heaven, if you aren’t with Jesus you aren’t getting in – see Mt. 25:1-13; 7:21-23).
Christians took this to heart in a major way. Throughout their history, Christians were seen going out of their way to love God by loving others. In his letter to the Pagan High Priests Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate said the following about Christians:
“These impious Galileans (Christians) not only feed their own, but ours also; welcoming them with their agape, they attract them, as children are attracted with cakes… Whilst the pagan priests neglect the poor, the hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity, and by a display of false compassion have established and given effect to their pernicious errors. Such practice is common among them, and causes contempt for our gods.” (Epistle to Pagan High Priests)
Rome is noted through history as being very loose and progressive in its morality. Enemies of the state were killed in barbaric ways, orgies and homosexuality were regular parts of pagan worship, and unwanted newborns were left by their parents to die out on the streets. In the midst of this savage culture, Christians loved. They invited others into their home, they took in the children left on the streets, they fed the hungry, clothed the poor, and healed the sick. God’s people throughout history have stood for life at every stage. If we are going to be truly Christian this must be true with us now.
The Ministry of Adoption
As a general rule, I believe that Christians care about life, though this is often expressed only in regards to abortion. This is understandable from the standpoint that abortion is subject we see most often discussed and there’s a natural tendency to push back against the things put in front of us that we believe to be wrong. That being said, Christians have often times been, I believe, rightly accused of being too focused on the life in the womb and not focused, and thus “not caring,” of life outside the womb. Do I believe that Christians don’t care about life outside the womb? Absolutely not, in fact our history with children’s homes clearly shows this, but I can understand why that perception has developed like it has.
So what’s the answer? How can we change this perception? How can we better fulfill the commands of God to “visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27)? We need to start supporting the ministry of adoption.
Many turn to abortion because they cannot afford or are not ready to take care of a child. You may be thinking “well then, don’t have sex.” You are not wrong, but you are too late. Those looking to abort a child don’t need to be told why they shouldn’t do what they’ve already done to create the child, they need to be told, and better yet shown, that there’s a better way. This better way is adoption. Before you object saying “I don’t think I could adopt a child” understand that I do not mean that every Christian should go out and start adopting children. You may not personally be able to adopt, but...
You could spend more time talking about adoption as an option.
You can support a family that decides to adopt a child.
You could help financially or materially provide for the needs of families who have adopted a child.
The process of adoption is ridiculously expensive and very difficult to achieve. This, however, does not make it any less important in the eyes of God. How many churches do you know have a fund for members looking to adopt a child? How many have food and clothing drives for families who have adopted? How many sermons has your preacher preached on abortion and how many has he preached on adoption?
Church, we have before us both the opportunity, and the means by which to achieve it. Imagine what would happen if abortion numbers began to drop because Christian families approached those considering abortion to consider giving their child to them instead. Imagine the impact on the culture, and on the mother, and on that child.
Christians, if we truly care about life in all stages, we need to start discussing the subject of adoption more seriously. Preachers need to preach about it, churches need to budget for it, and Christian families need to start considering the prospect of adopting a child. If we want to change lives, let’s begin by taking them into our own hands and teaching them to know Jesus.