If you could see what your prayers looked like . . .

[Posted by Dan Cruver]

To be adopted by God is to be in union with Christ. You can’t have one without the other. When God adopted us, He adopted us “in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:5-6). There is nothing that is more life-changing or destiny-altering than the reality of being in union with God’s Beloved Son — and that is a gross understatement!

Jesus changes everything for us, not the least of which is our prayer life. Have you ever considered the fact that when you pray to your Father, you literally pray in union with Jesus?

To pray in union with Jesus means that your prayers are not carried to God by your merit. If God’s reception of our prayers were dependent upon our merit, our prayers would crash and burn before they could even be formed in our minds. No, our prayers are carried to the Father by the altogether lovely and acceptable merit of Jesus.

“If you could see what your prayers looked like to God [because of Jesus], no one could stop you from praying” (Brian Habig, quoting an unnamed theologian).

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Greenville, South Carolina: Together for Adoption

It is always overlooked! Many times in life the highest blessing of the gospel can easily be forgotten throughout the years and travels of the Christian walk. However, a dear friend of mine, Dan Cruver, has put together a ministry called Together for Adoption that reminds us of this blessing. You may be wondering what Together for Adoption is. I’ll rob Dan’s own answer by quoting him as he explains,

“Together for Adoption (T4A) sponsors regional adoption conferences that focus primarily on vertical adoption (i.e., God adopting us in Christ), with a secondary focus on its implications for orphan care and horizontal adoption (i.e., couples adopting children).  In fulfillment of our objectives, we desire to see conference attendees walk away from a T4A event understanding why it is that vertical adoption is the highest blessing of the gospel, rejoicing afresh in the gospel, and moved to act on James 1:27 both locally and globally.”

The importance of constantly preaching the gospel to the believer is seen through the value of knowing and understanding adoption as beautiful as it truly is, and living the truth of being heirs with Christ every day. From the day I first met Dan, I saw clearly that his passion and love is always the gospel first and foremost! His love for the cross, Christ, and relaying the climax of the whole Scriptures to those who sit under his ministry is easily seen. When it comes to adoption, it is no different. Dan’s passion is always evident throughout his conversation and teaching, as he desires to see believers today grasp this essential doctrine that is so influential to the gospel and work of Jesus Christ. The truths of adoption that lie in the gospel and are blessings to the true believer’s life are the very heart and core of the gospel, given for the believer to fully and everlastingly enjoy it. Truths like:

1.     When we are adopted, “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” We have intimate fellowship with Christ and God because of this. (Gal. 4:7)

2.     When we are adopted, not only is there this intimate fellowship, but there is also the blessing of the guidance of this Spirit that cries “Abba, Father.” This is how one knows he is a part of the family of God. (Rom. 8:14)

3.     When we are adopted we are given another blessing, as the Spirit gives His presence to always assure the believer of their status as a child of God. (Rom. 8:16)

4.     When we are adopted, it is a blessing to the believer who bears the Spirit that their heart is in perfect relationship with the Father, God. (Rom. 8:14)

5.     When we are adopted, the utmost privilege for the believer is that they have now become heirs with God, which is a joint heir to Christ. (Rom. 8:17)

6.     Sixthly, God’s adopted family will bear the likeness of Christ in glory. (1 John 3:2)

7.     Lastly, the blessing that the believer receives in adoption includes the inheritance of all things since the believer is adopted in being a son of God. (1 Cor. 3:21-23)

As people study the Scriptures today they often try to look deep into theology, care most for history, or aim to become language scholars. But it is vital that simple but beautiful truths like those noted above be preached to every believer so that they may enjoy the work of Christ above all else. At times it seems that even believers tend to go elsewhere to look for enjoyment. They seek enjoyment of this world in friendships, a buzz, a new kind of fad, clothes to look cool… anything that the world has to offer in a tangible way, so that they can enjoy their own life. However Christ’s cross has made the availability for the believer to enjoy Him in a way that lasts eternally, like nothing that this world may have to offer. So how does adoption help this? The answer is simple: Focusing on Christ as your brother and God as your Father, is far superior than any enjoyment that one can feel, see, taste, hear, or know about in this world.

The fact that we are adopted heirs to God with Christ, through the crying of the Spirit, should stir up a joy that fills our heart at all times, until we are glorified with Him, which will then be ultimate joy forever. This enjoyment of adoption means that the believer – as heirs of God – may enjoy Him for what He did… for Christ dying, the Spirit crying, and what He does in allowing us to be a part of His family. This happiness lies in the simple truth of adoption, and moreover, the One to whom you have been adopted. Those who are a part of the family should be content with something that more than three-quarters of this world may never find in life or know about in life. Think about this. Oftentimes people in today’s world look for their place to fit in, or something that makes them feel well liked. It is often that people try to fit in to a society of people or a family of close-knit individuals that they never actually belong to, just so that they feel liked or loved. However, this leads to only a temporary fulfillment in one’s soul.

In order for the believer to enjoy the family of God to its highest, the adopted individual doesn’t look for other societies or other means of finding enjoyment, besides that of which they were called into. The need for placement in today’s culture seems to be a must. But I must remind the believer that there is no greater place to be than being adopted in this family. The culture in which we live today tries to find their spirituality from somewhere else than in the family of God. But the believer has infinite enjoyment in that he has his spirituality and all of his needs met in this family – God’s family. St. Augustine saw this best in his life when God adopted him. Augustine, having everything he ever wanted, said this after being adopted into the family of God: “Thou hast formed us for thyself. That is our true place. And our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”[1] Augustine makes it clear that all of mankind seeks for this adoption – this partaking in the family of God – and will never find enjoyment and rest in life until they find this. That which Christ has paid for (for His elect), which the Spirit can cry for, and which God allows, is that mankind can become heirs of His – and there is nothing sweeter than that. There is nothing to enjoy more in life than this family. It is the highest blessing of the gospel, that you – a sinner and slave of Satan – can now partake in the greatest truth – which is to forever be a part of God’s family.


     [1] Augustine, the Confessions, I, In the Basic Writings of Saint Augustine, ed. Whitney J. Oates (New York: Random House, 1948), vol. 1, p.3.


Book of the Week- Heirs with Christ, and much more on Adoption

This weeks “book of the week” deals with a number of areas to look into, listed below. 

Adoption Interview with,  

 

Dan Cruver, Outreach Coordinator for Carolina Hope Christian Adoption Agency
 
Dr. Joel Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and Pastor of Heritage Reformed Congregation
 
Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he also serves as Executive Director of the Henry Institute
 
Each of these men shares a common bond… they are all passionate about the subject of Adoption. Listen here
 
You can purchase Dr. Beeke’s new book on Adoption here.
Also, check out the launching of Together for Adoption.

 


Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption

Foreword to Heirs with Christ: 

Earthly adoption is horizontal. It is one human being establishing a relationship with another human being. Heavenly adoption isvertical. It is the eternal God graciously establishing a relationship with fallen human beings, creatures who are by nature “children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2) or “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).

            God is an adoptive Father. Jesus, our Elder Brother, is God the Father’s eternal, only-begotten, natural Son. We believers are His children through adoption. This identity is central to who we are. As adopted children, we enjoy all the rights and privileges of the relationship that God the Father enjoys with His eternal Son. This is an amazing reality and eternal privilege.

            Adoption is heavenly before it is earthly. One is what God does; the other is what we do. Adoption is something God has done and is doing before it is something we have done and are doing. Adoption was invented by God even before He created the world. Adoption is how God brings us into His family.

            If adoption is first heavenly before it is earthly, why do we Christians so often think of earthly adoption before we think of heavenly adoption? Why do we think horizontally before we think vertically? I think one reason for this is the neglect of the doctrine of adoption in the history of the church. In his massive, 2,600-page work The Creeds of Christendom, the church historian Philip Schaff only includes six creeds that contain a section on adoption because they are the only ones he could find while scouring almost 1,900 years of church history.

            The early church was primarily concerned, and rightly so, with the doctrines of the Trinity and of Christ because those doctrines were being attacked within the church. The Reformation and post-Reformation church necessarily focused on defending the doctrine of justification. These battles were all essential for the church to fight in the defense of Christian truth, but unintentionally they resulted in the church’s failure thoroughly to develop Scripture’s teaching on adoption.

            Even though adoption has been relatively neglected in the history of the church, the Puritans have not contributed to that neglect. To my knowledge, no tradition in the history of the church has rejoiced in and proclaimed the truth of adoption as have the Puritans. Though the Puritans, as  f late, have received bad press in their treatment of this great doctrine, their writings demonstrate that they esteemed nothing higher than the incomparable privilege of being God’s children through adoption.

            Dr. Joel Beeke offers a great service to the contemporary church by examining the Puritans’ substantial and worship-filled treatment of the believer’s adoption by God. Beeke does a masterful job of setting the record straight on behalf of the Puritans. He has extensively studied the Puritans and is uniquely qualified to write on this most important subject.

            The church today should richly benefit from this exposure to Puritan teaching on the biblical doctrine of adoption. If we as Christians even begin to approach the Puritans’ love of heavenly adoption, we will be spiritually richer for it. Therefore, I highly recommend Dr. Beeke’s book Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption.

By: Dan Cruver, Co-Founder of Together for Adoption.

Pre-Order: by calling 616-977-0599 or clicking here


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Timothy Trumper on the Theology of Adoption

This is the final part of Dan Cruver’s interview with Dr. Timothy Trumper. Because of the length and richness of his answers, his interview has been posted in six parts. You can read the full interview here. If you are interested in deepening your understanding of the doctrine of adoption significantly, you will want to take the necessary time to carefully read his answers.


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Timothy Trumper about Adoption

As part of Carolina’s Hopes adoption interview series, Dan Cruver is interviewing several theologians and New Testament scholars about the doctrine of spiritual adoption and its implications for earthly adoption. The 5th part of Dr. Trumper’s interview can be read here.

Dan says, “Because of the length and richness of Dr. Timothy Trumper’s answers, his interview is being posted in six parts (see Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4). If you are interested in deepening your understanding of the doctrine of adoption significantly, you will want to take the necessary time to carefully read his answers.”


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Trevor Burke on Adoption

Carolina Hope’s next interview of a theologian is with Dr. Trevor J. Burke. He was originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Trevor earned his Ph.D. from University of Glasgow, Scotland. He has taught New Testament in seminaries in Nigeria, Wales, and the Fiji Islands and is currently professor of Bible in Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. One of his research interests is in the family expressions in the letters of the apostle Paul. He is author of the recent title Adopted into God’s Family: Exploring a Pauline Metaphor. You can read the interview that Dan Cruver has done with Dr. Burke here.


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Timothy Trumper on Adoption: Part Four

As part of Carolina Hope’s adoption interview series, Dan Cruver has interviewed several theologians about the doctrine of spiritual adoption and its implications for earthly adoption. Dan believes that the practice of earthly adoption will be significantly enriched as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be adopted by God.

Because of the length and richness of Dr. Timothy Trumper’s answers, his interview is being posted in six parts (see Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3). If you are interested in deepening your understanding of the doctrine of adoption significantly, you will want to take the necessary time to carefully read his answers.

In part 4 Tim addresses what Dan Cruver believes is a very important issue.

Dan syas, “Many who preach, teach, or write about theological adoption combine John’s new birth model of entrance into God’s family with Paul’s adoption model. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons, one being that it prevents us from recognizing the full significance of Paul’s doctrine of adoption.”

You can read part four of this interview here.


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Robert Peterson on Adoption

Carolina Hope’s next interview of theologians is with Dr. Robert Peterson, professor of systematic theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to teaching on the seminary level, Dr. Peterson has extensive experience as a pastor, including church planting efforts, and has preached in Uganda and Peru on short-term mission trips. His pastoral experience is reflected in the practical emphases in his systematic theology classes. Dr. Peterson is the author of Adopted by God: From Wayward Sinners to Cherished Children. In it he considers the beauty of God’s grace through the lens of the wonderful doctrine of adoption. You can read the interview that Dan did with Dr. Peterson here.


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Timothy Trumper on Adoption: Part Three

As part of Carolina Hope’s adoption interview series, Dan Cruver is interviewing several theologians about the doctrine of spiritual adoption and its implications for earthly adoption. Dan believe that the practice of earthly adoption will be significantly enriched as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be adopted by God.

Because of the length and richness of Dr. Timothy Trumper’s answers, his interview will be posted in six parts (see Part 1 / Part 2). If you are interested in deepening your understanding of the doctrine of adoption significantly, you will want to take the necessary time to carefully read his answers. You can read part three of his interview here.


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Timothy Trumper on Adoption: Part Two

As part of Carolina Hope’s adoption interview series, Dan Cruver is interviewing several theologians about the doctrine of spiritual adoption and its implications for earthly adoption. Dan believes that the practice of earthly adoption will be significantly enriched as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be adopted by God.

Because of the length Dr. Timothy Trumper’s answers, his interview will be posted in six parts (you can read part 1 here). If you are interested in deepening your understanding of the doctrine of adoption significantly, you will want to take the necessary time to carefully read his answers. Part Two can be read here.


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Timothy Trumper on Adoption: Part One


As part of Carolina’s Hope’s adoption interview series, Dan Cruver is interviewing several theologians about the doctrine of spiritual adoption and its implications for earthly adoption. Dan believes that the practice of earthly adoption will be significantly enriched as the believer grows in understanding of what it means to be adopted by God.

Dan’s fourth interview on adoption and the theology of it is with Dr. Timothy Trumper (you can read the others here). Dr. Trumper is a native of Wales (UK). He was converted at the age of 15 and felt constrained to preach God’s Word while he was as a student of politics at the University of Wales. He then trained for the pastorate at the Free Church of Scotland College, Edinburgh (1989-1993).

While studying theology Dr. Trumper he was captivated by the doctrine of adoption (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:4-6; Rom. 8:15, 23; 9:4). As a result, he enrolled in doctoral studies at New College, University of Edinburgh. It is there that he gave himself to a concentrated study on adoption. His dissertation is “An Historical Study of the Doctrine of Adoption in the Calvinistic Tradition” (Ph.D. thesis: University of Edinburgh, 2001). Dr. Trumper taught at Westminster Seminary from 1999-2003. He is presently Senior Minister at Seventh Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI. You can read the interview here.


Dan Curver Interviews Dr. Sam Storms on Adoption

Carolina Hope adoption agency has a series in which Dan Cruver is interviewing several theologians about the doctrine of spiritual adoption and its implications for earthly adoption. Dan believes that the practice of earthly adoption will be significantly enriched as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be adopted by God.
Carolina’s Hope’s thrid interview done with another theologian (you can read the first and second interviews here and here) is with Dr. Sam Storms, the founder of Enjoying God Ministries. Dan Cruver had thought about interviewing Dr. Storms about spiritual adoption after Dan’s Brother Steve Cruver reminded Dan that Dr. Same Storms had written about it in his book The Singing God: Discover the Joy of Being Enjoyed by God (Creation House, 1998). You can read the interview of Sam Storms here.


Dan Cruver Interviews R. Scott Clark on Adoption

As part of Carolina Hope’s adoption interview series, Dan Cruver is interviewing several theologians about the doctrine of spiritual adoption and its implications for earthly adoption. Dan believes that the practice of earthly adoption will be significantly enriched as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be adopted by God. You can read the interview here.

The second interview with a theologian (you can read the first interview here) is with Dr. R. Scott Clark, Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary California since 1997. Dr. Clark has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson), and Concordia University (Irvine). He is also presently Associate Pastor of the Oceanside United Reformed Church, where he preaches and teaches regularly.


Dan Cruver Interviews Dr. Dave Garner on Adoption

Dr. Dave Garner is the Vice President for Alumni Relations & Educational Advancement at Westminster Theological Seminary. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the doctrine of adoption. It’s entitled “Adoption in Christ” (Westminster Theological Seminary, 2002). Dr. Garner agreed to allow Dan Cruver to interview him about Scripture’s teaching on the theology of adoption and its implications for the earthly practice of adoption. The interview can be read here.


God’s Story of Adoption

Here’s the audio from Dan Cruver’s address at the Adoption & Orphan Weekend sponsored by Colonial Baptist Church, Cary, NC. The message given is only 31 minutes long.
God’s Story of Adoption (right click / choose “save target as” to download)


Adoption Radio Interview

Here of recent Dan Cruver, Voddie Bauchamn and Carolina Hope’s director Laura Godwin were interviewed on “Calling for Truth.” The discussion was about theological adoption and its implications for orphan ministry and adoption. This can be listened to here.


Transracial Adoption and the Gospel

Recently my friend Dan had the chance to interview Thabiti Anyabwile on “Transracial Adoption and the Gospel.” You can read the article on Carolina Hope Adoption’s blog.


The Theology of Adoption

Recently a friend good friend of mine (Dan Cruver) has begun a new job at Carolina Hope Christian Adoption Agency where he serves as the Ministry Outreach Coordinator. Dan was interviewed here of late by a radio station “Calling for Truth” about the topic of the Theology of Adoption.
You can also read more about adoption and the agency that Dan works from their web site.
Or from Dan’s blog.