Professor fears arrests will hurt adoption
    February 15 2010 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Southern Baptist seminary professor says the arrests of a group of Baptists from the United States accused of trying to remove children from earthquake-stricken Haiti without proper documentation could give a black eye to a budding movement of evangelicals who view adoption as a means of spreading the gospel.

    Russell Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recounted his reaction to hearing the news that 10 Americans accused of human trafficking were members of Baptist churches Feb. 1 on the “Albert Mohler Radio Program.”

    “I thought, ‘Oh no, this is going to cause all kinds of derision to the orphan-care movement and to what the Holy Spirit is doing in churches all across America and all over the world in having a heart for orphans,’“ Moore said, sitting in as guest host for seminary president Al Mohler.

    Last year Moore published a book titled Adopted for Life calling on Christians to adopt children as a “Great Commission priority.” On Feb. 26-27, the seminary in Louisville, Ky., is sponsoring an “Adopting for Life” conference aimed at creating “a culture of adoption” in families and churches.

    “The Bible tells us that human families are reflective of an eternal fatherhood (Eph. 3:14-15),” says a website promoting the event. “We know, then, what human fatherhood ought to look like on the basis of how Father God behaves toward us. But the reverse is also true. We see something of the way our God is fatherly toward us through our relationships with our own human fathers. And so Jesus tells us that in our human father’s provision and discipline we get a glimpse of God’s active love for us (Matt. 7:9-11; cf. Heb. 12:5-7). The same is at work in adoption.”

    Moore, the father of two children adopted from a Russian orphanage, said while all the facts are not in about the motives and methods of the mission team comprised mostly of members of two Southern Baptist churches in Idaho, he has heard from many individuals stirred by images of suffering asking what they can do to help Haitian orphans.

    Particularly following tragedy, Moore said couples seeking international adoption can feel frustrated by the seemingly endless process of filing and processing papers. But he said a certain amount of red tape is necessary to ensure that children have no surviving relatives able to care for them before they are removed from a home and that they receive proper care from their new parents.

    “I’m worried that this news is going to give a black eye to the orphan-care movement in the same way that some of the really rambunctious, lawbreaking aspects of the right-to-life protester movement did to the pro-life movement,” Moore said on Monday’s program. “You had people who were saying for instance, ‘Unless we have a constitutional amendment right now, outlawing all abortions in every situation, then we can’t do anything.’ Well that hurt, I think, the pro-life movement in many ways.”

    Moore said backlash to what is being reported as well-intended but poorly executed action by the church group “is going to cause people to have increased skepticism toward what I think is a genuine movement of the Spirit of God among God’s people.”

    During the segment Moore interviewed Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, and, along with Moore and David Platt, senior pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., one of three keynote speakers at the upcoming conference.

    “I think those of us who care passionately for the cause of orphans and I think a lot of Christian groups that are out there on the ground really are just deeply embarrassed by this, and I think frankly it will have the potential to do some really pretty significant long-term harm to the cause of both Christian care in country as well as the cause of adoption,” Medefind said. “I think some folks who really oppose our approach to caring for children will kind of point to this very mistakenly as Exhibit A of reasons why a focus on adoption is not healthy and why you should leave caring for orphans just to governments and not allow ordinary people in the church to be involved.”

    Medefind, a former aide to President George W. Bush who led the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, now heads an alliance of orphan-serving organizations and churches promoting Christian orphan and foster care and adoption and adoption ministry.

    The group’s mission statement says it exists to “motivate and unify the body of Christ to live out God’s mandate to care for the orphan.” The Alliance’s vision statement is “every orphan experiencing God’s unfailing love and knowing Jesus as Savior.”

    Moore said there are some people, only a few, who comprise “kind of an anti-adoption movement out there that would say every adoption is abduction, is man-stealing.”

    Reacting to the news out of Haiti, Moore said, “I can just see those people saying, ‘See, this is what we’re talking about.”

    In his book, Moore said when he and his wife were adopting their boys they were encouraged by social workers and family friends to “teach the children about their cultural heritage.”

    “We have done just that,” he wrote.

    “Now, what most people probably meant by this counsel is for us to teach our boys Russian folk tales and Russian songs, observing Russian holidays, and so forth,” Moore explained. “But as we see it, that’s not their heritage anymore, and we hardly want to signal to them that they are strangers and aliens, even welcome ones, in our home. We teach them about their heritage, yes, but their heritage as Mississippians.”

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)  
    2/15/2010 5:51:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments




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