On the Doctrine of Adoption

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

John 1:12

.

.

Subsections

God is Father to All People by Creation
Union to Christ: Fount of Adoption

.

.

Order of Contents

Articles  6
Books  4
Historical  3

.

.

Articles

1600’s

Ames, William – ch. 28, ‘Adoption’  in The Marrow of Theology  tr. John D. Eusden  (1623; Baker, 1997), bk. 1, pp. 164-67

Ames (1576-1633) was an English, puritan, congregationalist, minister, philosopher and controversialist.  He spent much time in the Netherlands, and is noted for his involvement in the controversy between the reformed and the Arminians.  Voet highly commended Ames’s Marrow for learning theology.

.

1700’s

à Brakel, Wilhelmus – 35. ‘The Adoption of Children’  in The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 2  ed. Joel Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout  Buy  (1700; RHB, 1992/1999), pp. 415-39

a Brakel (1635-1711) was a contemporary of Voet and Witsius and a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation.

.

1800’s

Buchanan, James – ‘The Spirit’s Work as the Spirit of Adoption’  being pt. 3, ch. 2 of The Office & Work of the Holy Spirit  (Edinburgh, 1842), pp. 454-88

Girardeau, John – ‘The Doctrine of Adoption’  being the last chapter of his Discussions of Theological Questions

Girardeau’s contribution to the discussion throughout church history regarding the Doctrine of Adoption is worth the price of the book.  Girardeau is persuasive in arguing that Adoption is a distinct act from Justification and that Adam was naturally a son of God by creation (as well as unbelievers), following Thomas Crawford in his prominent Scottish debate with Robert Candlish over the Fatherhood of God.  For a systematic exposition and Biblical defense of Girardeau’s doctrine of Adoption, see this article by Travis Fentiman.

.

1900’s

Murray, John – ‘Adoption’  29 paragraphs

.

2000’s

Fentiman, Travis – ‘John L. Girardeau’s Doctrine of Adoption: a Systematic & Biblical Defense’  (2014)  20 pp.

This is a systematic exposition and Biblical defense of Girardeau’s doctrine of Adoption.  It argues that Adoption is both distinct from Regeneration and Justification, that Adam was by creation naturally a son of God (Luke 3:38), and that unbelievers are as well (though not spiritually), as God is the Father of all people by creation (Heb. 12:9, Eph. 3:15).

.

.

Books

1800’s

Crawford, Thomas – The Fatherhood of God: Considered in its General & Special Aspects, & Particularly in Relation to the Atonement  (1868)  392 pp.

Crawford, of the Church of Scotland, debated the Fatherhood of God with Robert Candlish of the Free Church of Scotland.  Crawford was for God’s Fatherhood towards man by Creation and Candlish was not.

Kennedy, John – ch. 1, pp. 21-38, ch. 2, point 2, pp. 50-52 & ch. 4, section 3 of Man’s Relations to God  Buy  (1869), pp. 147-75

Kennedy, a famed minister of the Free Church of Scotland in the Highlands, here discusses whether Adam was by creation a son or not in the Garden in chapter one and whether this relation remains under the fall or not in chapter two.  In chapter four Kennedy expounds the grounds of our Adoption in Christ, its relation to justification and its relation to Christ’s unique Sonship.

.

1900’s

Webb, R.A. – The Reformed Doctrine of Adoption  Buy  (1947)

Webb was a Southern Presbyterian and theological professor.  He was the son-in-law of John L. Girardeau.  Both of these men took the basic view of Crawford above, though refined it.

.

2000’s

Beeke, Joel – Heirs with Christ: the Puritans on Adoption  Buy  (RHB)

Includes an extensive puritan bibliography on the subject.

.

.

Historical

Article

Trumper, Tim J.R. – ‘The Theological History of Adoption’  in Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology

.

Books

Trumper, Tim J.R.

An Historical Study of the Doctrine of Adoption in the Calvinistic Tradition  Ref  (Univ. of Edinburgh, 2002)

Abstract: “The main aim of the study is to narrate and critically analyse for the first time the theological history of “the good news of adoption” in the Calvinistic tradition – from John Calvin to nineteenth-century Scottish and American Calvinism…  In Section One of the first part there is provided the most substantive treatment to date of Calvin’s theology of adoption.”

The Good News of Adoption: a Comparative Study of Calvin and Nineteenth Century Scottish & American Calvinism  Ref  (Univ. of Edinburgh, 2002)

Abstract: “As the overarching purpose of this thesis is to heighten the profile of Paul’s doctrine of adoption (huiothesia), the study begins with a confessional and literary survey of its widespread historico-theological neglect, together with an enumeration of what the author believes are the fundamental principles under-girding the Pauline doctrine.”

.

.

.

Related Pages

God is Father to All People by Creation

Justification

Sealing of the Spirit