Are Children Always a Blessing?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by jpfrench81, Jan 4, 2011.

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  1. Grace Alone

    Grace Alone Puritan Board Senior

    I agree as well! God has ordained who our children are and how they arrive before the foundation of the world! And His ways are perfect!
  2. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Exactly. Why is that difficult, or even controversial among Reformed folk?
  3. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Oh I know the reference, but I am at a loss to understand the relevance. Should we then have no children, or not even marry, so Christ won't tear the family apart? :confused:
  4. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Prov 10:1 - A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
    Prov 17:25 - A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him.
    Prov 19:13 - A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
  5. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't believe the argument has been made in this thread, but I've heard it before... The argument from Ps 127:4-5 and the pious sounding question "How could you not want as many arrows in your quiver as possible?"

    But I can assure you, it is entirely possible to go into battle so weighed down with ammo that the good thing becomes a handicap.
  6. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    But Ben, aren't women in your analogy the wagon train? (and all the women here say *WHY IS TIM STILL SINGLE?* ) :)
  7. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Wannabee found many posts helpful, but still doesn't have a button. :(
  8. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    But then my question to you is this: who put that desire in your heart? It was the Lord. If it was just a personal 'choice' it is likewise of the Lord's leading, if it is something that was prayerfully considered (which I have no doubt it was). I am not talking about a road-to-Damascus experience in a 'calling', I am just talking about the Lord's leading. Some children grow up simply knowing they will be missionaries, others do have the 'experience' later in life. But however you come to it, it is a calling nonetheless, and it does take a certain 'something' different to adopt - I know many good godly folks who simply could not do it, they're just not wired that way. They're no better and no worse, they're just not 'called' to it.
  9. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    I think having children is a blessing from God to any parents in that they can better (though not fully) grasp the dreadfulness of God's sending His own blessed child in the midst of raving wolves. Not that I can comprehend this myself, since I'm not a parent (yet). Nevertheless, I believe there is great blessedness in parency, when accompanied with a high view of God.
  10. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Quote from Lynnie
    The whole human race is God's natural family, it's just that each one of us is estranged by our sinful nature and have aligned ourselves with the Serpent's family, and any that are brought back into God's family are so by adoption.

    I think if it was always wrong to use contraception we'd expect something saying that.

    As it is it must be down to sanctified common sense.

    Maybe we could have a thread on sanctified common sense.
  11. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Nonetheless, a child is always a blessing - the examples above are not apparent at birth. I don't think anyone ever looks at their newborn and says "uh-oh, this one is a vessel of wrath!"

    If abortion was always wrong, you think there'd be something saying that. Sometimes, there's a fine line between murder and justifiable homicide.

    So the wisdom of two millenia of church practise can be tossed on the secular developments of 80 years. That's an odd flag to rally around...
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
  12. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    So I thought of an instance where a barrier method would have to be appropriate. If one spouse contracted HIV, surely they'd want to use some sort of protection in order to continue in their marital relationship without risking infecting the other partner. That barrier would likely prevent childbirth.
    I don't see how that could be sin. Though, of course, this whole scenario would be a result of sin (even if the one who got HIV got it innocently, ie: transfusion or something), so it is hardly the anecdotal scenario to base a moral imperative on. BUT, it leads me to think that perhaps it is really the heart in question and not the method used. Which I'm sure is obvious and what everyone else had been thinking, but it just dawned on me.

    I know I've posted a link before to a procreation---reproduction timeline. If any of you have seen it, you might remember that the catastrophic change that comes out of changing your view of things from that of procreating to reproducing is the commodity-like status that children become. We have decided to obtain or not obtain children at whatever means necessary, often separating $ex from childbirth. So on the one end of the spectrum we have people who do cut off the possibility of $ex making babies (permanent or surgical BC or abortion), and on the other end we forgo sex to have babies (ie: artificial insemination). Except for abortion, I don't think even those things in and of themselves are sinful, if the heart is right. If I were likely to die if I had another baby, then I'd likely be able to make a pretty guilt-free decision (though that would be made with a lot of sadness and is again the result of death-causing sin) to have some kind of permanent procedure done. But if I wanted to have $ex with out consequences just for kicks, it would likely come from a sinning heart.
    And if a couple were infertile and wanted a baby and used science to help them, that may certainly be God-honoring (if the means themselves are not sinful). But that is different from someone who decides to not need a husband to have a baby.
  13. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I think I can actually agree with that. And I remember the chart - it is very good.
  14. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    We know abortion is wrong because, among other things, we are not to kill unless in certain prescribed circumstances.

    No-one is killed with proper contraception.
  15. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    True, so then there are times when abortion is OK, right? If the circumstances are such that it is advisable?
  16. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Most conservative churches allow it under very limited circumstances. My denomination for instance.
  17. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Thing is, the arguments become a collection of extreme exceptions when what we are talking about is a general rule. Jessi gave a perfect example of when to use contraception, I can't fault it. But these are exceptions, and we can exception things away all day...
  18. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Yes, I agree they're exceptions. But the fact that there are exceptions imply that degree of exceptions need to be viewed through the lens of Christian liberty, and I think we agree on that. In general, people able to, should have lots of kids.
  19. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't know if there should be any exceptions regarding allowing abortion, but the point is that we start with a clear biblical injunction against taking human life unlawfully.

    There is no such injunction on contraception to start off with, so it's a different case.
  20. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    There's no mention of contraception at all, only of the fruit of the womb. We're not Lutherans; silence does not equal permisson.
  21. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Marriage is a blessing, but there are good reasons to forgo it (1 Cor 7).
    Wine is a blessing, but we do not require everyone to drink it.
    Money can be a blessing (Pr 22:4), but there reasons not to want too much (Pr 30:8)

    A new child is always a blessing, but that does not settle the contraception question at all.
  22. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I don't see any basis for allowing these as exceptions. If contracting a virus is a problem then complete abstinence is the only effective means for preventing it. Concerning abortion, it defies the concept of parenthood to suppose that the life of the weaker should be sacrificed for the life of the stronger; parenthood teaches the opposite.
  23. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    The big difference being in all this is that for your examples, there are admonitions for the singleton (ie, plainly saying that marriage is not a requirement), there are admonitions against drunkenness, and there are ordinances against serving Mammon. Nowhere do we see (whether we look at Patriarchs, Prophets, or NT) anyone limiting family size in a positive light. Support for the use of contraceptions just isn't there. It all boils down to how far you want to stretch the concept of Christian liberty applying to this, especially in light of all the references to: #1 God opening and closing the womb (you can have all the fun you want, but God makes it a baby) and #2 children as a blessing. It is just that simple.

    Fair enough. I see Jessi's exception (again, an unusual situation) where you are stopping the spread of death in a marriage situation (otherwise, what happens to 1 Cor 7?) as being legit. I personally don't see how abortion could ever be justified, but maybe that's just me (as for the post above, I had no idea the OPC allowed it - maybe I'm missing something...)
  24. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Although 1 Cor 7 deals primarily with marriage, the principles are boarder than that. One of the reasons given to consider avoiding marriage is that it is good to avoid carefulness in your life (v32), so that you can serve the Lord better.
    And Paul extends the reasoning not just to marriage, but to weeping, rejoicing, buying/selling and using the world (v30-31). So it is not a principle that is limited to marriage, but one of general application.

    I don't see that its much of a stretch to conclude that it may be proper, at some times, to use contraception so you have more time (i.e. less care) with which to address the duties God has already given you, like spouse, your existing children, church, etc.

    Why do we need explicit support for contraception if there is no explicit condemnation? The principle to be gained from 1 Cor 7 is that just because a thing is a blessing does not mean that it is always for the best in your life at the particular moment. And Paul is talking about marriage, without which childbirth is impossible.
  25. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    The OPC's position paper is similar to many if not most conservative denominations in that it's permitted when the health of the mother is in danger.
  26. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Mark, one thing that you are carefully tiptoe-ing around is that again, this is an invented option, based on changing secular cultural mores, not on scripture. Why do we seem to be addressing this issue in a false vacuum of sola scriptura when it is only in the last 80 years that the 'church' has seen this as an option????? The fact that it is now more the norm gives no weight to the argument except to show how far we've fallen. It is the entrance of secular culture into the church that has gotten us to this point, not some more perfect hermeneutic or a hidden message from God that the church has been missing for the last 2000 years. People whip out Calvin like gunslingers in everything else we discuss, why aren't they doing it now? Because it was clear as day to him that it was wrong.

    Yes, Paul is talking about marriage. If you go down that path, childbirth is inevitable given 1 Cor 7, or not inevitable given God's closing of the womb. Our monkeying with it doesn't enter into it. Give me even one example where contraception is shown in the Bible in a positive light. Please.
  27. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, abstinence is used by some couples as birth control and is also not to be common in a marriage--and that is explicit in Scripture. So, I have to disagree-if a couple can use protection to avoid the virus, or even likely avoid the virus, I imagine that the marital expression of love is still a good thing.
    I honestly don't know the chances for infection, but I think they're pretty low if care is used.
  28. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Kevin, how is your passage above any different from any number of denominations or teachers who appeal to history or tradition against the bible? Its just distracting from the issue to keep raising this. If the matter is so obvious, why not quote bible verses or arguments instead of relying on history?

    Which verse in 1 Cor 7 says that childbirth is inevitable (or not)? Where do you get that from?

    Which verse says that our monkeying (or actions) don't enter into childbirth?

    You haven't addressed my point at all, which was that the passage says that even though marriage is a blessing, it is not wrong to refuse it at certain times. Why is childbirth different?

    Why would I need to, unless there was some verse, or principle in the bible that spoke against it? I tried to show from 1 Cor 7 that just because something is a blessing does not mean it is wrong to control it, and you have not addressed that.

    You mentioned the fact that God opens and closes the womb, but God is sovereign over everything. He opens and closes the skies for rain to fall, or not to fall. Where does the bible say childbirth is a special category we are not to attempt to control?
  29. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Why do we then have confessions? Why do we have any articles of faith? Because instead of saying that this verse means this or that to me, we all agree that the Biblical passages pertaining to XYZ (whatever that may be, whether it be baptism or the Sabbath or whatever) are to be interpreted as per these confessions or as per these (perhaps not exactly, but at least we're all pretty much on the same page because of this). Along this line of thought, we regularly quote Calvin or other Reformation luminaries when it applies to issues on which they agree with us (like I'm doing now). It is because there are no specific verses that say 'thou shalt not use contraception' that one can even question this standing. I can list, as I have in other threads, the overwhelming evidence that children are a blessing from God, etc. etc. etc. and the complete and utter dearth of references to any sort of contraception ever being practised, and you will say that that you therefore have the right to choose, an argument from silence. That is the reason that I bring the stand of the church into it... When things are not crystal clear, I can say, hey, how have orthodox believers for the past 2000 years seen this issue? The answer is crystal clear.

    ---------- Post added at 12:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:10 AM ----------

    Childbirth is an inevitable consequence of marital relations, if so deigned by God, which are to not be suspended, save for concentration on prayer and fasting. If no child results, it is likewise God's hand at work.

    I have addressed this completely, in an earlier post. It is very simple: there are specific passages dealing with both entering into it and with not entering into it. There is no such completeness with the issue of childbirth; in fact, it is exceptionally one sided.
  30. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    Bravo! I was trying to articulate this same very thought, but couldn't seem to, so deleted my efforts without posting. Glad to read what I think is a definitely true statement.
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