Love > Power: Pat Robertson, the Gospel and Why I Love Adoption.
For those of you who don’t know Pat Robertson, he is the host of a Christian TV show called, ‘The 700 Club’. The show consists of guest interviews, music, news reports, testimonies and sometimes Q&A with the hosts. You know the kind I’m talking about, one of those shows on the high-channels where people ask for money, they cry a lot and they all have really big hair.. or something like that.
Recently a woman wrote in with a situation which she was in and explained that most men she dates are apprehensive about continuing to date her when they find out that she has three adopted daughters, all from different countries (meaning that they do not have any child support or such thing). His co-host Kristi Watts immediately referred to such men as dogs and said, “That is just wrong on every level.” While Mr. Robertson said, “No that’s not wrong, a man doesn’t want to take on the United Nations.” He goes on to say, “You don’t know what kind of problems these kids have.” He then relates to a story of a friend of his that adopted a boy from Columbia. The boy, Mr. Robertson says, had brain damage and grew up “weird”. And with that said he adds, “You never know what kind of things have happened to a child before you get it: sexual abuse, cruelty or food deprivation. So you’re not a dog because you don’t want to take on that responsibility. You don’t have to take on somebody else’s problems.” He then starts to backtrack slightly by talking about his ministry and how they feed, clothe and love orphans all around the world.
But the damage has been done Mr. Robertson and you are dead wrong.
2000 and something years ago there was a man named Joseph who worked as a construction worker. He took a shine to a girl named Mary and they decided they were going to get hitched. As they are planning their wedding, Mary comes to her soon-to-be husband and says something like this, ‘I love you, you’re my one and only guy and I can’t wait to be married to you but you need to know something, I’m pregnant.’ After he’s told that Joseph decides, because he is a just man, I need to quietly separate from Mary before we are wed so that this does not bring shame on her. But after that he is visited by an angel and told that Mary conceived a child by the Holy Spirit and that this child will be the Savior of humankind. Joseph then marries Mary and they raise their son, Jesus.
Joseph didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to adopt a son as his own and raise him but he did because Joseph loved God and God loves adoption. In fact there are many places in the New Testament where the Apostle Paul refers to us as heirs with Christ, being adopted by God as His sons and daughters. In Paul’s cultural context of the middle-east adoption is more like foster care. Your name isn’t changed, you don’t become a son or daughter, you’re just a ward of those whom look after you. But what the God proclaims over Christians is this: You are mine.
We aren’t just foster kids that are hanging around till we turn 18. We’ve become part of God’s family, the church. In Romans 8:15 Paul says that we have ”received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” and in Galatians 4:4-7 we are told we are “No longer slaves, but sons.” And in Ephesians 1:3-10 we are told that God “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” How happy those verses make me! That God knew and loved me in spite of all I would do before He created time? This is the Gospel! The Gospel is the story of adoption. It is the story of kids that would have grown up “weird” if it hadn’t been for a Father that loved us.
In the mathematical title of this blog post I said that love is greater than power. I explained this in my post on the Trinity when I showed that God is three persons that are in constant adoration of each other and love flows perfectly between all of them at all times. Therefore, love came before power; loving community came before God used His power to create the universe. I think this idea is central to Christianity. We must get it into our heads that it is love that we must show the world, not power. It’s not about how many cars we can pray into our garages and it’s not about how much money we make or how long we live, it is about loving people and sometimes loving people leads you into places where there are no cars for your garage and there isn’t a place to spend your money and you probably aren’t gonna live that long because the people you’re ministering to are sick with contagious diseases. If you love power, wealth and health.. perhaps the Gospel isn’t for you. None of those things are promised to you in and of themselves because something so much better is promised: Adoption by a Holy and Good God that wants to use you to bring glory to His name and share in His joy forever.
In a further note to those men like the woman on the TV program described, if you call yourself a Christian and you love Jesus with your whole heart and you want to make much of Him while you’re here on this earth then there’s a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t marry a person and those need to be carefully looked at and you need to pray and seek God during the whole process but none of those reasons shouldn’t be because you are going to have to work really hard, be a really good dad that prays for his kids and shares Jesus with them or the fact you feel uncomfortable with kids that are not yours by blood or are worried that they won’t come to you in perfect condition (which by the way, no one is perfect).
There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t embrace adoption with big wide open arms because that is exactly how our Father has adopted every single one of us.. “weird” ones especially.