Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reclaiming Adoption (Dan Cruver & others)

Adoption is at the heart of the gospel. This book shows us how and what that means for us. Here's a taste:

"adoption is nothing less than the placement
of sons in the Son." (p51)

"Behind the externals of both
prodigal rule-breaking and prodigal rule-keeping (or any
combination of the two) is estrangement from the Father." (p42)

"The Son of God came into the far country of our
estrangement, not as an outsider or a detached observer,
but as a true man among men" (p43)

"Only a triune God could both refuse “to let go of
God for our sakes” and refuse “to let go of us for God’s
sake.” Only a triune God could lay hold of God and
offer our humanity in himself to the Father. Take God
out of the cross even for a nanosecond and redemption
unto adoption does not happen" (p47)

It's an 'easy' read that will provoke and challenge you to rejoice afresh in the glories of the gospel. It's the fruit of Dan Cruver's persistent gospel-centredness, which I've long benefitted from in his blogging days, and which is now expressed through his Together for Adoption movement. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Dan when I was in the USA 3 years ago.

The book begins with four chapters from Cruver before handing over to his co-contributors John Piper, Scotty Smith, Rick Phillips and Jason Kovacs. The other are great but I enjoyed Cruver's chapters the best.

His material on Adoption and Union with Christ is simply beautiful. He shows how our Christian life is less to be thought of as imitation of Christ but rather a participation in Christ's relationship with his Father, through our adoption in the gospel. Lovely Trinitarian Christianity seasoned with quotes from T.F.Torrance. Cruver writes:

"Our missional engagement as Christians is not an
imitation of Christ and his mission. It is a participation in
Christ and his mission. This is not wordplay. It is a polar
shift of perspective from the false to the true, and from
the self-centered to the Christ-centered." (p53)

The book does what I mightn't have thought to do which is to apply our gospel-adoption to human-adoption, which is a refreshing and demanding application that might well make the church sit up - we're told there are less children up for adoption than there are evangelical churches in the USA, which makes us ask how come the church hasn't take action, and makes me wonder whether at some point adoption is something to consider. John Pipers shares from his own experience of adopting a daughter.

The book is fresh and brilliant and gospel-laden, and not very available in the UK unless you have a Kindle. Longing for the day it'll be easy to get in the UK, in the meantime get a copy by some other means if you possibly can, and the enjoy the wonders of the gospel afresh.

More at Together for Adoption.


  1. The thought there are fewer children (not less children Bish!) to adopt in the US than there are church is staggering, and provocative. Thanks Dave.

  2. Boo, churches, not church. There is my instant grammar police karma.

  3. Figured the numbers might help. P90, Jason Kovacs: "If the U.S. has 130,000 legal orphans, then this nation has more evangelical churches than it does waiting children. So the question is, in a country as wealthy as ours, why are there any waiting children?"

    The good thing is this isn't a guilt book but a grace one.

  4. I'm not sure how PayPal works in the UK, but if it does work you can purchase this book for direct download in three formats from

  5. Good call Keith. Download & Paypal works fine. I just love to have paper to leaf through...

  6. We're working on better UK access for our print books. Talking us up can only help! Thanks.