Ask Your Preacher
(This question is a follow-up to “Providing For Your Own”)
If a christian adopts a child, and many years later the biological parents of the child come to believe (based upon 1 Tim. 5:8) that they have a responsibility to be raising the child – what should the christian do?
Does God no longer hold them to be responsible for parenting the child?
Do I have the right to keep the child and keep them from doing what they believe is their responsibility to the child and to God? This is a serious matter. Please advise.
Dear Family Ties,
Once someone makes a vow, they are bound by it even if they later regret making it. When a child is adopted, the adoptive family has promised to take that child and make them part of their family – that is exactly why those parents are required to fulfill all biblical responsibilities of parenting. In like manner, when someone terminates their parental rights, they also become bound by their word, even if they later regret their decision.
People often make promises and decisions that they later regret and cannot change. When Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew, he later regretted the decision but couldn’t change it (Heb 12:16-17). Esau gave it up, and that was that. He had to live with the consequences.
The nation of Israel did the same thing when they made a truce with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites tricked Israel into making a pact with them even though God had warned Israel that this would cause them trouble. Israel murmured about the vow, but they were bound by it (Josh 9:18-20). We are bound by our word even if later we realize we should have done differently.
An adoptive family has total rights to keep the child, and the birthparents have zero rights to take them back. Both have made a vow and are bound by them.
If you have further questions on this issue, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please remember to include an e-mail address.
Why did Jesus have to die for our sins in order to be forgiven by God? Couldn't God have just forgiven man without the sacrifice of His son?
Let’s Make A Deal
Dear Let’s Make A Deal,
Rom. 3:21-26 covers that specific question. Jesus died on the cross because the Father wanted to justify us, and He also wanted to remain just. It wouldn’t be fair for God to simply forgive our sins because He liked us. That would be like a judge that punished the guilty… unless they were his friends. Only a crooked judge would show that sort of partiality. However, God is a righteous God. God doesn’t deny that our sins deserve eternal death (Rom 3:23). The Father sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. It wouldn’t have been fair for God to show partiality, but it is fair for Him to pay the price of our sins for us. It cost Jesus’ blood, but those who trust in Christ have been given the gift of having their punishment paid in full.
(This question is in response to “Embryo Adoption”)
You stated that, "The Bible is very pro-adoption."
Does the Bible support adopting a child that has living biological parents (those that have offered the child for adoption)?
1 Tim 5:8 demonstrates the responsibility parents have to take care of their own children, and adopting these children could place a legal barrier between those parents and their responsibility to take care of their offspring. Please advise.
Dear Family Ties,
There are two sides to an adoption story, the birthparents whose rights are terminated (either voluntarily, involuntarily, or through death) and the adoptive parents that take the child as their own. We have to deal with both groups separately.
First let’s deal with the adoptive parents. The Bible teaches that when christians are adopted by God, they receive full rights as His children (Rom 8:15-17). Using this principle, when a family adopts a child, they become responsible for all of that child’s needs just as if the child was biologically born to them. Therefore, the commands given to parents and children in places like 1 Tim 5:8 and Eph 6:1-4 would apply just as firmly to an adoption situation.
Now, let’s address what the Bible says about birthparents who place their biological children for adoption. The Bible makes it clear that parents do have a responsibility for their children, and when we said that the Bible is “pro-adoption”, we were saying that the Bible condones adopting children who are in need of families. We were not saying that the Bible condones someone turning their back on their parental responsibilities. The Bible has a lot to say about caring for our children, and in most circumstances, it would be the wrong thing for a christian to place their child for adoption. The only times in the entire Bible that we ever read of faithful people doing this is when Hannah gave Samuel to be raised by the priest Eli (1 Sam 1:24-28) and when Moses’ parents sent him down the river to save his life (Ex 2:3)… and it is safe to say that both circumstances were extraordinary.
Should you shoot somebody in self-defense?
Dear Trigger Unhappy,
When the Bible commands us to not kill, the word used for ‘kill’ is the word that we would use for ‘murder’. Some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet David killed many people as a soldier. Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10). The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22). When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14). These are all examples of the difference between murder and self-defense (or war-time killing).
In the Old Testament, God made specific rules that allowed an individual to kill if they were defending their home or family (Ex 22:2). In Lk 22:35-39, Jesus tells His disciples that persecution will begin after He leaves and that they ought to “buy a sword” – this is certainly an endorsement of self-defense. All of these point to the fact that God distinguishes between defensive force and vigilante murder.
What does it mean to be born again?
Womb To Grow
Dear Womb To Grow,
A born-again person is just a christian; it is another way to say that you are saved. The terminology comes from Jhn 3:1-6 when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about salvation. In Jhn 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again in order to enter the kingdom (the kingdom is the church – read “A Kingdom For All Nations” for further details on that). Nicodemus asks how it is possible for someone to be born again (Jhn 3:4), and Jesus explains that we must be born of the Spirit and water (Jhn 3:5). We are born of the Spirit when we listen and obey the words of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible (Jhn 6:63, 1 Cor 2:13), and we are born of water when we are baptized (1 Pet 3:21, Rom 6:4). When we heed the Scriptures and are baptized, we are born again… and we become christians (Mk 16:16, Matt 28:19).