The Capitulation of Bethany Christian Services

The Capitulation of Bethany Christian Services

I like to keep this blog positive, uplifting, and compassionate. Yet, there are times when it is not merely appropriate, but necessary and right to firmly reject something out loud. I don't mean to be harsh.

Let's begin with the obvious: I am a big believer in adoption, and until recently, Bethany has been a champion in the adoption space. In our fallen world, children sometimes have no parents to care for them. We should take them in. No question. Yet, as we take children into our homes, it is also vital that we take them into homes that will honor the Lord Jesus and His Word.

You've probably read that Bethany Christian Services (a Christian adoption agency) has formally changed its national policy on the adoption of babies and children. Simply put, their board has officially opened the door for LGBTQ families to adopt children through their organization. You can read this here and here and here.

What should we make of this? I think this is a classic case study in Christian Ethics. Let me set the stage. First, Bethany's decision is complicated by the word "Christian" in their name. Had their name simply been "Bethany Adoption Services," they wouldn't directly declare that they represent Christ. But, they do.

Second, a Christian organization has two options in making such decisions:

  1. They can ask, "What will be the consequences to these children if we don't open up our policy to include all types of potential parents, including LGBTQ adopters?"  This is the direction Bethany has chosen. They are focusing on consequences, independent of God's revealed truth in the Scriptures.  (I.e. "Nevermind that God does not condone gay marriage, these children need a home quickly ... and the government will finally get off our back.") Ironically, while considering short-term consequences, they're also ignoring potential long-term consequences – the impact such a placement will have on the lifelong flourishing of this baby, to come to know the One true God.
  2. Or they can ask, "What does God want for these children, that comports with His revealed will in His Word?" This runs the potential risk of some babies not being placed in a permanent home ever. Is this somehow worse? Again, the answer to this difficult question is made simpler: "By examining the Scriptures, would God condone the placement of this baby into an LGBTQ family?"

This is Ethics 101 for the believer. Sadly, I'm discovering many believers are consequentialists first, who trust their own wisdom to predict future outcomes, without primary regard for God's Word. Instead, I strongly believe Christians must be deontologists first, who submit to the authority of God and His Word as their primary allegiance, regardless of apparent consequences. In essence, they obey God's Word and let Him handle the potential consequences (in this case, they do not place children in LGBTQ homes and trust God with the consequences).

So, when I read the news that Bethany changed their policy, I thought I could no longer be surprised by the decisions of Christian organizations, but I was. My initial reaction felt like a thesaurus of synonyms flooding my mind. I was shocked. Thunderstruck. Apoplectic. Dumbfounded. Shaken. Grieved. Aghast.

Then my thoughts wandered to stories in the book of Daniel. When the King commanded them to "eat this or die," Daniel and his three friends said, "No." When the King ordered, "Bow down to my 90' gold statue or die," Daniel's three friends said, "No," and got tossed in the furnace. When the King declared, "No one can pray to anyone but me," Daniel said, "No," and got tossed in the lion's den.

Then I thought of Bethany. Today, when the King (government) says, "You must place babies and orphans in sexually immoral family situations," Bethany says, "Ok, we'll do it for the children. All hands-on-deck."

My questions for Bethany's Board of Directors:

  1. Is it really better to place a child in a same-sex family home, when God's Word gives no legitimacy to this definition of a family? What are the hidden consequences to these children in the long run?
  2. Why did you commission the Barna Research Group to do a survey of what Christians think about sexual orientation as a prerequisite for adoption? Why survey Christian opinion at all? Why not simply survey God's Word? Does an aggregate of Christians somehow hold more authority than God's voice in the Scriptures? Isn't His opinion the only one that matters?
  3. Why did your VP say (regarding adopting the new policy): "Bethany was ready and Christians are ready." But Is God Ready? Can you document your answer to that?

We all seem to forget: God's eyes are watching us. As Hebrews 4:13 states:

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account."