A Passion for the Fatherless: Developing a God-Centered Ministry to Orphans by Daniel J. Bennett
Actively involving yourself in the care of orphans is part of the Christian life, but for some it is not essential. Pastor Daniel J. Bennett, in his new book A Passion for the Fatherless, builds the case that orphan ministry is central to the Bible’s teaching and to the Christian life. Not just vocalizing his passion for orphans, Daniel also writes out of a deep experience caring for orphans. Yet, this book is unique in that it combines a theological richness and biblical fidelity that is uncommon.
Daniel opens the first chapter with an outline of God’s glorious grace found in Ephesians 1.3-14. In the opening lines of Paul’s one long sentence in Greek, we find that God is the source of grace, we receive his grace, and that we see his graciousness in the provision of his grace. Not only this, but in line with John Piper’s vision, “God’s greatest passion is for his own glory,” therefore, out of this glory God’s love for children is evident all around (35-36). Christian care for orphans is unique than all other avenues of orphan care because God’s glory is at stake, and, those sold out to live for His glory are motivated not by ultimately selfish-ends but godly ends.
In Chapter 2, Daniel opens up to us the four disenfranchised groups in the Bible. The foreigner, widow, orphan, and the poor are all evidenced in the panoply of Scripture (Ps. 68,72; Hos. 14.3, etc). Connecting this theme in the Bible, Isaiah 61 speaks of the good news being proclaimed to the poor and their wounds being bound up. There is a connection here between gospel healing and physical aid here that we shouldn’t miss. Orphan care is much the same, orphans need the healing grace of God for their sinful hearts but they also need the compassionate mercy of people who meet their immediate physical and social needs. The compelling compassion of God for orphans should compel believers to love the orphan as God does.
Near the end of the book, Daniel pieces together some very good thoughts on decision making in orphan ministry. He encourages believers to search God’s word, seek godly wisdom from godly people, and to seek God’s wisdom in prayer (140-143). Also, knowing that God is sovereign is a great benefit to those seeking to care for orphans, yet not knowing his will in all things can be a difficult thing. Daniel admonishes those involved in this process to understand that God’s will is not blast over the intercom but many times secret.
Overall, this book was a huge blessing to read, a challenge to care for orphans but also a great reminder of God’s compassion for his children.
Thanks to Kregel Ministry for this book in exchange for an honest review.