Our Adoption as Sons: Do We Believe It?

Touchstone magazine has just made available an article in which Dr. Russell Moore talks about what he learned from rude questions about his adopted sons. This is a poignant, punchy piece, and I highly commend it to you. Moore has a profound grasp of the gospel and a unique gift for communicating it. His basic contention is that common misunderstandings about adoption reveal how much we often fail to grasp our very real adoption as sons and daughters of God. Moore writes:

‘We fall for all our ideological idolatries—from white supremacy to genocidal warfare and beyond—because we see our “brotherhood” only in our DNA. We engineer radical reproductive technologies that sever procreation from fatherhood and motherhood, precisely because we don’t want children so much as we want ourselves, our own genetic material living on before us. We identify more with our corporate brands and with our political parties than with our churches because we don’t understand the household into which we’ve come.

‘We dye our hair and Botox our wrinkles, fearing the Reaper, because we don’t really believe that a Father waits for us with a feast on the other side of the Jordan. And we live prayerless lives, paralyzed by our guilty consciences, because someone says to us, as to our Brother before us, ” If you are the son of God . . .” (Luke 4:3).

‘I don’t think about the adoption of my boys every day. But, when I do, I try to remember the rude questions I once answered—and sometimes still answer—about them. And I remind myself that I’ve been just as far from “getting it” as the good-natured questioners I have resented.

‘It is difficult to see before us the day when the graves of this planet are emptied, when the great assembly of Christ’s Church is gathered before the Judgment Seat. On that day, the accusing principalities and powers will probably look once more at us—former murderers and fornicators and idolaters, formerly uncircumcised in flesh or in heart—and they may ask one more time, “So are they brothers?”

‘The hope of adopted children like my sons—and like me—is that the voice that once thundered over the Jordan will respond: “They are now.”‘

Read the rest of Moore’s piece here.

And, by the way, if you do not subscribe to Touchstone magazine, you really should.


  • MatthewS

    Good thoughts.

    I am working through a study of Colossians. Paul’s closing in chapter 4 stood out to me in a new way recently. There, Paul treats a woman, Jews, and Gentiles on par with “brothers.” In a culture in which gender and class distinctions are systemic, this would have been amazing stuff. This, from a man who had not so long ago stood proudly by while families were ripped apart and people jailed and killed for being Christ-followers.

  • Jada Bown Swanson

    Denny, this story resonates with me on an ever-so-personal level being an adoptee. I, too, have gotten these ‘stupid questions’ and sometimes I, actually, give even more stupid answers, just to see people’s looks.

    There are many questions an adoptee goes through and I would be wrong to say that some of those questions have not impacted my Christian life (and life in general) in both positive and negative ways. But you work through the questions one at a time.

    It is ironic that I am adopted, yet, people who meet me say I look like my mom (non-biological mom, of course). And then, there is my 3 year old daughter, who is like a mini-me. And honestly, it is really cool. For the first time in my life, I look at another person and see someone who has my features, my eyes, my nose, my chin, even my passion for music. Yet, as a child of God, I pray that I reflect Christ in all areas of my life–words, actions, thoughts and deeds. Because, quiet honestly, that adoption is the one I most identify–my adoption by God to be His child.

    Great article! Thanks for sharing.

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