I had the privilege of spending an hour and half on the phone recently with author Randy Alcorn talking about the gospel, the pro-life movement, and adoption. Randy is the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries and a author of over 30 books covering a variety of topics such as money, pro-life issues, and heaven. Some of his most popular books include, The Treasure Principle, Money, Possessions and Eternity, The Grace and Truth Paradox, and Safely Home. Randy is a man of great wisdom and I am excited to share this conversation with you. Due to the length I will break it down into a series of posts. Here is the first part of our conversation.
Jason: I’ve so highly respected your ministry, including your pro-life work, and also your stuff on treasure and finances. You’ve written and spoken so much on pro-life issues, but I haven’t found anything you’ve written or said about adoption. I’d love to pick your brain on that and get some of your thoughts on adoption, the church, the gospel, and its connection with the pro-life movement.
Randy: Well, I certainly think adoption is hugely connected with the pro-life movement, and of course being known as pro-lifers for many years, we want to be completely consistent with what we’re saying. If we’re saying that these so-called “unwanted children” should be brought into the world, then of course we should be thinking in terms of what we can do to care for those who remain unwanted and who need to be placed somewhere because their parents aren’t ready to have them in their home. Obviously, it would not be in a child’s best interest to grow up in a home where you have drug issues and the extreme immaturity and irresponsibility and that sort of thing. Good for these women whose minds are changed, or maybe they weren’t tempted toward an abortion in the first place, but in many cases they were. They decide, “Okay I’ll have this baby, but I could not raise this child myself.”
So certainly the pro-life movement needs to be there and has been there in many cases, supporting parents who choose to keep and raise the child themselves, offering them support, help, counseling, physical resources, and clothing. It also sometimes offers, when it’s appropriate, financial help. They also bring them the gospel and spiritual community. In the cases where they’re not going to keep and raise the child, what are the alternatives? Of course there is the foster care system. That in itself can be a ministry, but even when the situation is okay, it’s usually not ideal.
So really, adoption is the most obvious alternative and it’s a way of permanently extending the love of Christ to a child, and to do what God does. It’s so interesting that you have all the born again passages in the Bible, and you have the adoption passages. So why does God even bother with that? I mean we are born into the family of God, and it seems that would be the way that scripture would always express it, but it doesn’t. It talks about adoption. Of course, you realize that adoption involves a choice. So here we have a parallel to the divine election in which He looks at us and our need and goes to great lengths and great sacrifice to give of Himself to permanently bring us into His family as His children. He doesn’t distinguish between those who are adopted and those who are born into the family because, in fact, in the family of God we are all born and we are all adopted if we’re part of the family. In a sense, it obliterates the distinction in terms of status and role and the amount of love in the family, yet it makes a distinction since choosing to adopt and someone being born into a family are two distinctly different things in life. Why would God bother to even make that distinction unless He wanted to emphasize some different aspect of what it means to be part of the family of God, and what it means to be a child in relationship to the Heavenly Father.
Certainly there are great theological implications, but even apart from the these it is not just simply to only speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, but to do unto the least of these in the name of Christ, for the sake of Christ as we would do for Christ.
Praise God for his common grace in the lives of unbelievers who feel moved to open their home and adopt a child. I commend them for it. However, it is not the same to be raised in a non-Christian home as it is to be raised in a Christian home. My wife was raised in a Christian home, and I was raised in a non-Christian home. I love my parents, and both of them ultimately came to faith in Christ. I was able, by God’s grace, to provide my children, and now my grand- children, with what I never experienced— the joy and privilege of growing up in a Christian home. So all that is just kind of off the top of my head about adoption. That’s how I feel about it. I have many friends who have opened their home to adoption. We considered it at one point ourselves. We did not go that direction, but not because of lack of belief in it. It’s right, it’s good, it’s honoring to God. It does, of course, bring its distinctive challenges as you know, but then so does every good thing we do in life.
Jason: Would you agree that being pro-life or pro-adoption are two sides of the same coin?
Randy: Sure. There should essentially be no distinction between them because you cannot be pro-life without being pro-adoption, and the reason you would be pro-adoption is because you’re pro-life. Now there are people who open their homes, who work in the area of adoption, who are nonetheless pro-choice, meaning they defend legalized abortion. That is, to me, inconsistent in a very dramatic way. Nonetheless, among Christians who are involved in adoption, I would think you would have nearly a universal pro-life position. Even among many unbelievers there would be a sense of pro-life as well as pro-adoption, but certainly you cannot be pro-life without being pro-adoption. I mean, how could you? It would be unthinkable.