While adoption has been going on for a long time it has enjoyed a recent spike in attention within Evangelical circles The accompanying wave of recent books on adoption has been good for both to be adoptive parents and families as well as the children whom they adopt Parents can be better equipped and children can be better cared for with their varying needs.In 2011 Daniel J Bennett wrote A Passion for the Fatherless Developing a God Centered Ministry to Orphans Now in its 2nd printing, the book seeks to provide a robust theology of adoption along with many practical applications, specifically as it pertains to families considering adoption and churches having adoption ministries Bennett writes from the perspective and heart of a pastor and adoptive father This enables him to write in such a way as to reach ministry leaders and adoptive families.Being an adoptive father myself, I have read numerous books on adoption by both secular and Christian authors While all of these books have their benefits, there are several reasons why A Passion for the Fatherless is the best book on adoption that I have read yet.First, Bennett s book has some of the best theology of adoption in print He treats aspects that other books simply do not He roots adoption in the glory of God saying, What makes a Christian orphan ministry unique is its focus on the glory of God 37 He continues, Our primary desire for orphans is to see them burst forth in worship of God 53 While acknowledging that many non Christians adopt, he stresses that they do not do so for the purpose of seeing God glorified in the process and the life of the adopted child It is because of what the gospel has done for us that we adopt and it is for what the gospel can do for the orphan that we adopt.On page after page Bennett dives into Scripture and applies it to adoption He draws attention to the compassion of God for the orphan as the source of our compassion, he explores the aspects of suffering, reliance on God, good and bad reasons for adopting, the role of the family and church in adoption and wise decision making in adoption.Second, Bennett rightly roots the logic for adoption, especially international adoption, within the Great Commission Both proclaim the gospel 91 This is one thing I keep returning to in my mind every time someone asks me why we adopted internationally and not domestically in the US The answer is the same answer we give for overseas missions because the spread of the gospel calls us to it When we take the gospel to the world we bring their needs back home with us God is not color blind when it comes to evangelism and neither is He when it comes to adoption Through our salvation God adopts people from every tongue, tribe and nation into His family If we properly root our theology of adoption in the adoption we receive in salvation then we will come out with the same thoughts towards adoption.Third, Bennett brings to the forefront the reality of suffering that is involved in adoption While it is good to talk about the joys, blessings and rewards of adoption, there needs to be discussion on the suffering and heartache in adoption We need discussion on the suffering of the orphan as well as discussion on the suffering experienced by families who do adopt That s right, there is suffering on the other side of adoption It is the reality of loving anyone, especially those who have had to live for years without a loving father and mother Just like a spouse who brings baggage into a marriage, orphans come into your home with baggage that will take years to unpack.Bennett points out that it is our worship of the idol of ease that prevents us from caring for the orphan 115 For Americans who believe they need to give their kids everything, buy them a new car when they go to college, give them an extravagant wedding, take expensive family vacations and subject them to as little suffering and hardship as possible, they will have a very hard time being convinced that they should consider adoption But adoption involves suffering This is no less than what Christ did for us on the cross He suffered that we would live in Him When you adopt you bring suffering and hardship into your family for the sake of giving life to another This is what God did for us in Christ.Finally, Bennett gives great detailed advice on the aspects of an orphan ministry for your church Here is one place where his role as a pastor shines He discusses how to approach your church with the ministry idea, how to use parachurch ministries and how to structure the ministry itself There are several helpful outlines of forms for churches and prospective adoptive parents to use for things like applying for aid and figuring out the projected costs of adoption I have filled out many of these myself and Bennett s content is up to date.A Passion for the Fatherless is the best book I know of for prospective adoptive families and churches looking to start an orphan ministry in their church The theology is rich and deep and the application is real and relevant The end of each chapter has a complete study guide to lead a group through the book Bennett gets adoption, its rooting in the gospel and the role of the family and church in adoption I cannot recommend this book enough.I received this book for free from Kregel for this review I was not required to write a positive review The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. What does it mean to have a passion for the fatherless That is the key question in Daniel Bennett s book A Passion for the Fatherless In the answering of this question, Bennett does not merely give the emotional side of the idea.Instead, he develops a robust theological response to the needs of orphans Rather than simply engaging the emotional drive that something must be done , this work recognizes the long term nature of the problem There will always be orphans in need of care.The church, both at large and locally, should always be at the forefront of the efforts to provide that care Yet if we are going to do so, emotion may get us started but we need a better foundation for ongoing involvement Additionally, involving the whole body of faith will include demonstrating why it is necessary to those who are less emotionally swayed And these folks aren t automatically wrong some are emotionally vested in widows than orphans both are important ministries This is where Bennett s work shines Rather than build on a foundation of acting on your feelings, he presents first the Bible case for orphan care through the body of Christ and through individual believers He then goes on to develop specific ideas that can be implemented, paying attention to the various contexts of believer s lives and cultures.As a church pastor, I found the chapter on When Not to Care for Orphans an excellent inclusion Bennett expresses several valid concerns regarding those who pursue orphan care without regard to the cost of their involvement He does so without being a wet blanket on the passion of individuals, instead giving alternate paths to work that passion into an effective outcome.I heartily recommend that a church entering into an orphan care ministry take the time to work though A Passion for the Fatherless along with its small group study guide We need to do this care for the orphan We need to do this right, though, and a solid Biblical foundation is crucial Bennett provides that guidance.I was provided this book by Kregel Academic Publishers They do not insist that my reviews be positive, but I generally find they are selective enough to publish stuff that s almost always good. LOVE IT This book is awesome and really drives home important points regarding orphan care As someone who has hands on experience with orphan care through personal and professional settings, this book hits the nail on the head I 10 10 recommend James 1 27 says, True religion is to care for widows and orphans and to keep yourself from corruption Yet many Christians fail to care for widows and orphans Author Daniel Bennett hones in on care for orphans in A Passion for the Fatherless Bennett is himself an adoptive father He and his wife Whitney have four children the fourth, adopted and live in central Illinois where he is the pastor of Bethany Community Church In A Passion for the Fatherless, Bennett articulates a Christian theology of adoption, discusses practical considerations for those considering adoption and orphan care and offers advice on how to form a orphan ministry in your church.In part one, Bennett begins by showing how Christian orphan care is unique because it is rooted in our desire to bring God glory first That is, a theology of worship undergirds Bennett s movement to the margins Bennett argues that living for God s Glory s impact on our lives should be profound There is no corner of our life that we can point to and tell him hands off He stands sovereign and authoritative over all realms It is to his glory that we engage in all ministries, including orphan care 36 In chapter two, Bennett argues that our engagement in justice ministries should be in conjunction with the gospel message, not instead of it He faults progressive evangelicals for watering down the gospel message 41 But that doesn t mean we aren t called to care tangibly for the little and the least Bennett cites God s care for the disenfranchised in the Pentateuch the poor, the widow, the orphan and the alien In chapter three and four, Bennett develops a theology of adoption which reflects our own adoption as God s children.Part two turns directly towards practical concerns Chapter five describes the valuable contribution missions and orphan care ministries provide Chapter six describes when not to care for orphans Mostly Bennett is focusing on heart issues though he does warn to not care for orphans if you have not counted the cost , In chapter seven he talks about the greatness of godly affliction, which unfolds God s purposes in suffering Chapter eight discusses the problem of Ishmael theology, where those feel called to adopt are paralyzed in their decision making because of anxiety over choosing the child that is not God s best Chapters nine and ten begin to discuss the role of the church in orphan care ministry while Part three describe the components of orphan care and adoptive ministry in the church.I appreciated the places in this book where Bennett unfolds his own story in caring for orphans personally and ecclesially I think my favorite part of the book is, part one where he unfolds a theology of adoption This makes this book meatier than many other Christian treatments on adoption Bennett also does a good job of addressing some of the personal issues that come up for people interested in adoption and orphan care.Nevertheless this book fails to address orphan care and adoption systemically Orphanages particularly western orphanages in the majority world fail to adequately address issues and are fraught with ethical quandaries and cultural insensitivity It isn t that Bennett is unaware of some the difficulties, he does offer advice for personal discernment but I wish he brought his theological lens to bear on some of the cultural and systemic issues that intersect orphan care.I would recommend this book for any Christian interested in adoption as Bennett does a great job of setting the issue within a theological frame Further his emphasis on God s glory as the motivation behind our work for justice is appropriate However I recommend reading this book alongside others which explore some of the ugly side of the adoption industry such as John Donelley s Twist of Faith I give this book four stars Notice of Material Connection I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. An excellent place to start when considering the need and struggles pertaining to adoption The author is brutally honest as to the necessity of orphan care as well as the difficulties surrounding it While it is loaded with application he bases the majority of it in sound exposition. Daniel Bennett s Passion for the Fatherless Developing a God Centered Ministry to Orphans is a book that highlights the Gospel s call for the Church to embrace care for orphans as one of the central parts of the Church s mission With a theological perspective and a pastoral heart, Bennett has given the Church practical advice for how local churches and individual Christians care for orphans in whatever form that care might take Orphan ministry is anything but easy, precisely because that ministry embraces so much brokenness But Bennett points beyond that brokenness, and all the tragedies upon which that brokenness is based, to the Good News of Jesus Christ The worship of the Incarnate One, Bennett says, begins when we care for the least of these And it s built upon the Christian hope that one day, those broken children s lives will find love and healing in our love of them The goal of orphan ministry, Bennett rightly claims, isn t creating nuclear families It s the worship of the Triune God Every church s ministry to orphans will look different But every church will find in these pages a beautiful exposition of the whys and hows of that ministry This is a book for every church leader and pastor and Christian family I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review here. A Passion For The Fatherless Exposes Believers To The Scriptural Mandate To Care For Orphans, Helps Them Understand Why God Has Issued That Call, And Equips Them To Joyfully Respond To That Call Bennett Provides A Sturdy Theological Foundation For A Ministry To The Disenfranchised The Orphan And Then Shows How Churches Can Build On These Biblical Foundations To Implement Or Improve An Orphan Care Program And To Equip Care Givers With How To Practicality, This Book Focuses On Total Orphan Care Ministry And Not Just Adoption, Including A Wide Range Of Activities Intended To Get The Whole Church Involved Domestic And International Adoption, Foster Care, Counseling, Congregational Funding, Overseas Mission Trips, Prayer Ministry, And So On The Temptation In A Church Can Be To See Orphan Care As A Ministry For Couples Of Child Bearing Age This Approach Fails To Make Wise Use Of The Incredible Resources Of Energetic Young People, Empty Nesters With Newfound Freedom, Or Older Saints Who Have Some Time With Which They Desire To Be Good Stewards A Passion For The Fatherless Includes Practical And Encouraging Stories Of How Other Churches And Believers Have Cared For Orphans, And Each Chapter Contains A Study Guide So That A Group Leader Could Use The Book In A Small Group Bible Study It Encourages The Church To Retain Its Strong Biblical Philosophy Of Ministry While Simultaneously Being Obedient In So Called Social Ministries, Like Orphan Care This Book Is Based On A Careful Study Of What The Bible Has To Say About Orphan Care And The Answer, Is Plenty , And Why We Cannot Ignore The Most Helpless And Abandoned Of God S Creation Without Grieving The Heart Of God All Who Are In Christian Ministry Should Read It And Ask How Should We Get Involved Dr Erwin Lutzer, Moody Church, Chicago Good book
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- A Passion for the Fatherless
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- 10 October 2019 Daniel Bennett