Today’s Book is brought to you by Kregel Academic.
What does it mean to have a passion for the fatherless? That is the key question in Daniel Bennett’s book A Passion for the Fatherless. In the answering of this question, Bennett does not merely give the emotional side of the idea.
Instead, he develops a robust theological response to the needs of orphans. Rather than simply engaging the emotional drive that “something must be done!,” this work recognizes the long-term nature of the problem. There will always be orphans in need of care.
The church, both at-large and locally, should always be at the forefront of the efforts to provide that care. Yet if we are going to do so, emotion may get us started but we need a better foundation for ongoing involvement. Additionally, involving the whole body of faith will include demonstrating why it is necessary to those who are less emotionally swayed. (And these folks aren’t automatically wrong: some are more emotionally vested in widows than orphans—both are important ministries!)
This is where Bennett’s work shines. Rather than build on a foundation of acting on your feelings, he presents first the Bible case for orphan care through the body of Christ and through individual believers. He then goes on to develop specific ideas that can be implemented, paying attention to the various contexts of believer’s lives and cultures.
As a church pastor, I found the chapter on “When Not to Care for Orphans” an excellent inclusion. Bennett expresses several valid concerns regarding those who pursue orphan care without regard to the cost of their involvement. He does so without being a wet blanket on the passion of individuals, instead giving alternate paths to work that passion into an effective outcome.
I heartily recommend that a church entering into an orphan care ministry take the time to work though A Passion for the Fatherless along with its small group study guide. We need to do this: care for the orphan. We need to do this right, though, and a solid Biblical foundation is crucial. Bennett provides that guidance.
I was provided this book by Kregel Academic Publishers. They do not insist that my reviews be positive, but I generally find they are selective enough to publish stuff that’s almost always good.