Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why Adopting a Girl from China isn't like the Doctrine of Election

A few months ago I received an email that purported to explain why adopting an older girl from China is like, or illustrates, the doctrine of election.The person who wrote it has not adopted, which really isn't all that important except that perhaps they are not completely familiar with the world of adoption, which types of adoption are really popular, etc.

[Let me quickly say that I am not opening a debate about unconditional election. In fact, it is secondary to a different point I hope to make.]

The gist of the writer's email is that little girls in Chinese orphanages are in a bad place and they need to be removed from that place. Their parents choose to adopt from China and are rather arbitrarily assigned a child. The idea is that these good parents have chosen to extricate a child from a world that otherwise leads to their destruction. Some of the other girls in the orphanage won't be chosen and will face a life apart from parents. On the face of it, that sounds an awful lot like election, doesn't it? God, in a move that often seems arbitrary to us mere mortals, selects those whom He would save, those whom He would extricate from a world of sin that will ultimately lead to their destruction. Those not so chosen are headed for their rightful destruction as sinners apart from grace.

Why do I disagree with this illustration?

Let me explain a tiny bit about the world of adoption, centered in the USA. Hands down, the most popular type of adoption is a healthy, white, female infant birthed from a non-drug user in America. Following closely behind is the same child in a male body. However, due to many factors those babies are not as easy to find as they once were. Enter the international adoption.

As of last year, the most popular country from which to adopt a child was China, closely followed by Ethiopia which has overtaken Russia as of late. Although the supply of healthy Chinese females has dropped dramatically in the last few years, those females are still very popular and much sought-after among international adopters.

What does this have to do with election? The adoption of a Chinese girl is very popular because they are seen as very desirable, very cute, smart, etc. They just need a home and many families are eager to provide that home, thankfully so.

So if the doctrine of election is like adopting a Chinese girl, we are saying that God is choosing some pretty desirable people for His eternal kingdom. That's where I have the problem.

Romans 12:3--For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

We are sinners. Filthy, waste-encrusted, wretched, hateful, mean, lovers of self, blind, deaf, bitter and hard-hearted beyond measure. If you could find such a child on earth and adopt that child, you might get the merest glimpse of the miracle of our adoption by God. And yet God chooses us to be His beloved children, washing us with hyssop so that we are whiter than snow, changing our heart of stone to a heart of flesh, opening our eyes and ears to His truths.
How quickly we forget just how awful, how depraved, how indifferent to others, how sinful we were before Christ came into our hearts. We think we need to be saved from a bad situation when what we need most is to be saved from ourselves and from God's justifed wrath.

How deep the Father's love for us!
How vast beyond all measure!
That He should give His only Son,
To make a wretch His treasure!

We are worse than we ever seem to believe; we are more loved by God than we could ever imagine.

Thanks be to God!


Five Cajuns and a Fundraiser said...

Wonderful post, Jill. You hit the nail on it's dirty, filthy, encrusted head. I love every word!

Rebecca Hoekstra said...

I read this post yesterday and then got to thinking about it after I went to bed. I would almost go one further. God adopted us when we were dead in our trespasses and sins. That would be akin to us extending all our resources to adopt a dying or already dead child. It's something that makes no sense on either a human or divine level, but is how much God loves us. Burying a baby makes me think a lot about death and God's love.

Rebecca (Arnold) Hoekstra

Anonymous said...

Great post!!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, we are still awful, depraved, indifferent, and sinful. We just have the grace and mercy of our LORD Jesus Christ to save us from ourselves. And thankfully, we have loving people like you and John to bring these precious children into our lives. Praise God for you.