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I was once asked, “Why adopt when you can have children of your own?” To which I replied, “Why go through morning sickness and child birth when there are other ways to have children of your own?”.

The distinction commonly made between adopting and having children “of your own” is neither accurate nor helpful. When we talk like this, we alienate children who have been adopted. What we’re basically saying is that children we adopt are not really ours after all.

I’m told that in some African cultures it is commonly believed that the ancestors don’t recognise adopted children as legitimate. Often, these children are not treated as true members of the family. On the other hand, amongst westerners, there is the assumption that adoption should be a last resort if you can’t have children “of your own”. Someone once went as far as telling us, “I could never love something that’s not my own”. She clearly believes that her genes are more valuable than those of others. This is Darwinism at its worst. Having children by birth is certainly a wonderful thing, and to desire this is both natural and good. However, this doesn’t mean that adoption is any less of a joy or any less legitimate.

In 2010 we had the privilege of welcoming Talita into our family unreservedly and unconditionally. It just so happens that, unlike our first child, she was adopted. However, that is now neither here nor there. Lita is now our real child, and we are her real parents. She has been grafted into our family tree and therefore has the same language, culture, surname and ancestors. She is part of the same story. Our children are equally loved and entitled to equal inheritances. We are deeply grateful for the fact that our own legal system upholds this. We have a letter from the South African government stating that Lita may now be regarded as our “birth child”. In the eyes of the law, then, adoption overrides biology.

The Bible takes the same view of adoption. Jesus himself was adopted. His father, Joseph, was not a blood relative since Jesus was born of a virgin. Matthew begins his gospel by making the crucial point that Jesus was a descendant of David, but the way in which he does this is surprising. Matthew shows that Joseph is descended from David, and therefore, so is Jesus. He could have pointed out that Jesus’ mother too was descended from David, but he didn’t think this necessary. In the eyes of the God, then, adoption overrides biology.

This should be a great comfort to children adopted into a Christian home. It also comes as a relief to Christians in general, as those who have been adopted by God. When God adopts us, we don’t become his “adopted” children, we become his real children. There are no second class citizens in God’s family. On the contrary, God loves us just as he loves Jesus. What’s more, adoption is not God’s “Plan B”. God planned to adopt a people before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1). Adoption is at the heart of what God is doing in his world.

If you are a Christian, God has adopted you. May I then encourage you to consider showing that same love to one of the million-or-so orphans in this country. Adoption alone is not the solution to the orphan crisis, but it is certainly a part of it. Adoption is not the wisest option for everyone. There are numerous ways in which we can show love to those in need, but do consider adopting orphans as one of those ways.

Pierre Queripel

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This year, through various discussions and reading, we came to see the baptising of infants as both biblical and important.  These resources most helped us in this:

The following, together with links, is the best argument against infant baptism that we encountered:

  • Why I am a Credobaptist by Stephen Wellum (a credobaptist is someone who only baptises professing believers and is therefore against baptising infants).

Why It Matters

Our views on baptism should not be a cause of division in the church. This is why my own church allows for elders to hold different views concerning who should be baptised. If an elder disagrees with the practice of infant baptism, he may not insist on rebaptising those who were baptised previously as infants. On the other hand, if he is in favour of baptising infants, he may not require that believing parents baptise their children.

While we should not be divisive over who should be baptised, it is still an important issue for the following reasons:

  • Baptism is commanded, so we should understand what it essentially is and to whom it should be administered.
  • It affects the way we read the bible. Infant baptism tends to emphasise the continuity between the old and new testaments, whereas “believers-only” baptism emphasises the discontinuity. This in turn affects our understanding of a number of things, including the ten commandments, end times and even the mission of the church.
  • It affects the way we raise our children. Infant baptism encourages us to view our children as disciples, just as the Jews did in circumcising their children. On the other hand, “believers-only” baptists are inclined towards seeing their children as unbelievers who first need to be converted.

Pierre

Education is learning to fulfil your purpose in life.  From a Christian perspective, this means learning to glorify God by enjoying him.  Education is learning to love the God of truth, goodness and beauty with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

The Content: Education, then, is not essentially about reading, writing and arithmetic, although it includes these.  Neither is it about learning to change a plug, or learning how to find out how to change a plug – but it does include these too.  Rather, education is concerned with answering three overarching questions:  Who is God?  What is he doing in the world? How are we to respond to him?  We can answer these questions only by God’s gracious revelation – through his word and through observing his world in the light of his word.

The Context: Education is not limited to something that happens for 8 hours a day between ages 4 and 18.  It is a constant, lifelong process.  Whatever we do and wherever we are, we are either learning to love God, or not to love him.  Education happens as we walk down the road, read the newspaper, sit in the classroom or sit in the pub (hence the all-of-life approach to the education of adults and children we see described in Deuteronomy 6).

The Need and Method: This is not a popular assertion, but we all start off life as immature and ignorant.  We are not naturally obedient and self-disciplined, so we need hands-on training.  We are not born wise, and our natural bias is away from the knowledge of God and his purposes.  We can’t figure these things out on our own, so we need deliberate instruction.  Thus, both training and instruction need to be prominent in our approach to education.  We engage in these things dilligently, recognising our complete dependence on the Holy Spirit to produce in us and our children a love for the God of truth, goodness and beauty.

The Agents: In Deuteronomy and Ephesians 6v1-4, parents are the God-appointed educators of their children.  This means that all Christian parents are actually home educators.  That’s not to say that we can’t outsource some of our children’s education.  In fact, all of us do.  For instance, when a homeschooled child reads a book not written by his/her parents, then education is being outsourced.  Having said that, we are still responsible as parents for the parts of education that we outsource.  The issue then is not whether to home-educate or to outsource.  Rather, parents need to decide how much to outsource, what to outsource, to whom and at what age.  There is much freedom in making these sometimes tricky decisions.  What is wise will differ from family to family, but that’s not to say that we should never question each other’s decisions concerning this.

Pierre Queripel