Will the Church Arise in the Ashes of Roe?
The Fall of Roe
In the 8th century, Saint Boniface was implored to not cut the tree of Thor down. This mighty oak was believed to be a tree belonging to Thor, the god of thunder. The people pleaded with Boniface to not cut down the tree or else bring curses, fire, and destruction to the people. As he approached with an ax, the people shouted piercing screams till they saw the ax thunder into the tree’s side.
When the tree finally fell, many in the town immediately repented at the proclaimed Gospel of Jesus Christ. The story goes that the same tree was hauled off to be used to build the first church for the town. Saint Boniface watched the mighty oak of a pagan god be brought down, and the sound of its thunderous fall is still rolling today.
Another pagan god’s mighty oak has come down: Roe v Wade. For years children have been destroyed on the altar of human autonomy. The church of Christ has been fighting for this moment. You can read more on that here, but my hope in this article is to describe one way we must take this fallen oak and make it into a work of the Lord. The answer is for the church to arise and adopt and or care for all these children.
Three points on this:
1. A Crucial Work
My wife asked me, after we celebrated the overturning of Roe, what happens to the children who won’t be killed now? The answer is a difficult but simple one. Christians must fill the gap and embrace the weight of these children’s needs.
I give no qualifiers to this statement: if you are a Christian, you are called to care for the orphans in our society (James 1:27). I do not mean that you must adopt a child tomorrow, but every Christian must care for the fatherless at some level. Jesus calls the children to himself without hindrance because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them (Mark 10:14). So, now the church has a supreme opportunity to care for children born to mothers who would have previously killed them. Will the church follow her Savior and bring the children into her arms? Or will we let the state do our God-given assignment?
With the falling of the great oak of Roe v Wade, a superior tree must be planted in its place: the charity of the local church. One of the main points for abortion has been the argument that these children will have a horrible life, be subject to the foster system, or be unwanted. These outcomes only happen because of sin. When men and women have sex outside the God-given bounds of marriage—consequences ensue. The irony is that no child is a consequence. Instead, children are a blessing. The church must embrace this blessing and adopt the gift as her own.
My wife and I became foster parents in 2019, and our first placement has become our oldest son. He is a dancing miracle. My son is one of the greatest joys in my life, and I cannot imagine the world without him. The process was, at times, exceedingly difficult. Nevertheless, the blessing to our family of him in our home is far superior to any other outcome. The Church is missing this blessing today.
Here are a few ways to evaluate your life as it relates to picking up the burden of fostering and adopting children:
- Have you ever considered fostering or adopting a child in America? Why or why not?
- Are you supporting or starting a ministry at your church to care for the children of this country?
- Even if you are single, older, or unable to presently care for a child: how are you supporting those who are fostering or adopting?
- Are you making excuses or letting the fear of the arduous work of fostering or adopting stunt your action to serve Christ?
2. The Church Has Always Done This Work
Until recent history, Christians have carried the burden of society’s orphans and the needy. Since the earliest days of the Christian church, the reputation was that the church would meet the needs of the orphans. Early Christians would routinely save children abandoned to die on a dung heap and raise them as their own. Many historical Christians founded orphanages, hospitals, and schools for these adopted children. Adopting and caring for children is not a new call on the church but a renewed call.
Thankfully the Apostle Paul gives us clarity for our mission: present yourself as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1–2). The church must present herself as a sacrifice by doing the work that our brothers and sisters of old have always done. To see the end of abortion, we must witness the church reclaim her beauty in caring for the least of these.
Historically the church has championed the care and adoption of the lowly. Only in recent memory have we neglected this call and given it to the state to strangle. But we read that God has taken it upon Himself to care for the afflicted (Psalm 10:16–18; Deuteronomy 10:18). Furthermore, you are not a Christian until you have experienced His adoption by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:12–17).
The Christian is saved by God’s grace. This abundant mercy means that God forgives our sin at the cross of Jesus Christ, but He also adopts us as children (Galatians 4:4–7). We were children of wrath, but now because of the power of adoption, we are sons and daughters of God (Ephesians 1:3–14, 2:1-10). The Christian is adopted, and now the question is: will we correspondingly care for the needy children? Will the Church rise to her former glory and stand in the gap for the children of this nation? I believe, by God’s power, she must.
3. If the Church Will Not Rise, Who Will?
Consider what our nation has just done for almost 50 years: we have slaughtered 60 million babies. Do you trust our government to fix the solution? The answer for 50 years has been to kill the problem of “unwanted” pregnancies, not love them. Instead, the call is louder than the sound of a tree falling in the woods. The church must rise and overwhelm the adoption and foster systems with the love of Christ.
Adoption and foster care ministry is demanding but abundantly worthwhile. The children in a Christian home will be loved, cared for, and taught the gospel at every age. Every church that proclaims the true gospel of Christ must see the end of Roe as a tremendous opportunity to reach the lost. Our people must fall in love with adoption and foster care, and we must encourage everyone to strive in these endeavors. Every church and her members must pick up the cross and care for the needy.
Till Every Child Has a Home
May 24th, 2022, is the day our son took my name as a Jr. and became a Lago. It was one of the best days of my life. I had been in courtrooms before for tragic events, but this was a joyous occasion. We were adopting our son.
Immediately before we stood before the judge, we were told that we had to give a reason for wanting to adopt our son. What would you say? Matthew 10:19–20 came into my mind at that moment, and I asked God for wisdom in this historic family moment. I said (if I remember correctly because it was so nerve-racking) what I hoped you would say, “I am a Christian. I love Jesus Christ because He first loved me. I want to adopt this boy because God has adopted me as a son because of the work of Jesus Christ. God gives us this call to care for the needy. All the praise goes to Christ.”
Countless children, like my son, need a Christian to stand before a judge and advocate for them. The church must stand up and adopt these children in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God.
 Radiant: Fifty Remarkable Women in Church History By Richard M. Hannula
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