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In December, Christianity Today editor at large Collin Hansen put evangelicals' growing attention to adoption as number six on his "Top Ten Theology Stories of 2009" for our website. It made a lot of sense: The Blind Side put the spotlight on adoption for moviegoers, while Russell Moore's Adopted for Life created buzz among Christian nonfiction readers.

The way 2010 is going, adoption is likely to rank higher than sixth place by year's end. Rick Warren devoted this year's Saddleback Civil Forum to orphans and adoption, joining popular conferences like Together for Adoption, the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit (which will be posted next week), and Moore's own Adopting for Life.

The trend goes beyond dedicated gatherings, however: Nearly every conference we've attended recently devoted attention to orphans, adoption, the fatherless, and so on. Church leadership conference Catalyst gave a major push to adoption at its main gathering in October and continues to highlight it at regional meetings. The keynote presentation at Q (a conference for Christian culture leaders) focused on fatherlessness, with calls to establish foster-care ministries, support adoptive families, and build orphanages abroad.

Adoption even became a main issue at this year's Wheaton Theology Conference, which was somewhat unlikely since it focused on the work of N. T. Wright. But theologian Kevin Vanhoozer argued that the theology of adoption was the key to reconciling Wright's views on justification with his Reformed critics'. The law court that finds us justified in Christ, Vanhoozer said, is less of a criminal court than a family court.

Socio-political reasons abound for why we're hearing more about orphans and adoption today. I have friends who, faced ...

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