Are Children Always a Blessing?

Regardless of how many kids u have, should another be viewed as a blessing from God?


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Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
think adoption is godly. I think birthing babies is godly. I don't think the two have anything to do with each other, as a rule. Sure, as we've seen here, there are cases where they overlap--some prevent pregnancy to adopt and some don't adopt because they are in the midst of birthing babies (hi, there), but as far as holiness goes, the two are not in competition and aren't even related. They are both god-glorifying in and of themselves--not because of what it means regarding the other.
Agreed - you said it so well!
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!
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
And there is NEVER a commandment or even advice for husbands and wives to prevent the natural consequence of that $ex. So it is impossible that, as a rule, it be better for husbands and wives to not get pregnant, regardless of adoption capabilities.
Exactly. Why is that difficult, or even controversial among Reformed folk?
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Matthew 10:34-39 would be my guess as to the reference.
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:
 

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.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
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.
 

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?* ) :)
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
I wasn't going to comment again on this topic, but since it has continued I'll chime in here to add my agreement to much of what you said. MANY people have told us what a "great thing" we did by adopting our first child and again by adopting our second child (which will be completed in about a month). We've never really seen it quite like that. They are our children and nothing more. Adoption is simply the way God has added to our family. From our perspective it is essentially the same as having them by birth.

We never viewed them as some sort of ministry or something unusual for us to do. Neither did we view them as some sort of "calling." When the time came that we desired to have children we immediately chose to adopt. There was never even a consideration of anything else. My wife has never had the slightest desire to "birth" children...it is just something that is not in her. Similarly, I've never felt any desire or need to pass on my seed or live on through my children. My child is my child regardless of whether or not she shares any DNA with me. The need or desire to have biological children is a concept and desire kind of foreign to me. It simply doesn't matter to me or my wife. We had the desire for children, the financial means to become parents to a child who desparately needed some, and therefore we prayerfully considered the adoption location and method to use and then did so.

Our second adoption has been essentially the same story, except that this child has some special physical needs. We desired to have another child and therefore adopted again, but thought it would be good this time to have a child who might be in more serious and immediate need due to her special challenges, which other parents might have a more difficult time dealing with. Again, we had the desire, financial means, and the disposition to deal with the issues and accept and love the child completely. From our perspective it is as normal as can be and we can't imagine feeling any differently.

Intellectually I can see that, yes, God has called us to adopt and sovereignly chosen to give us children this way, and we feel priviledged every day that he has done so. However, we never "felt" called or viewed it specifically as a calling. It has always seemed so normal to us. In the same way that the typical person desires to have biological children we have always desired to adopt children.
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.
 

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.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Quote from Lynnie
I would venture to say that a case could be made that adoption is a more godlike and blessed way to have children than by natural means, and certainly it is at least equal in blessing to natural means.
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.

Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the Son of God. (Luke 3:38, KJV)
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. (Acts 17:28-29)
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.(John 8:44)
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.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
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.
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!"

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

Prior to the 1930s all Christian denominations were united in their firm rejection of contraceptives. The Lambeth Conference of the Church of England (1930) marks the first departure from this unanimous prohibition, by advocating the use of artificial contraception when abstinence was deemed impracticable. The Federal Council of Churches (1931) equally adopted a policy of conservative advocation for artificial birth control methods. Most major Protestant traditions followed suit, and by 1961, the National Council of Churches declared a liberal policy on contraceptive use, subject to mutual consent between couples. (From "Contraception and Religion, a Short History")
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...
 
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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.
 

Peairtach

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

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
We know abortion is wrong because, among other things, we are not to kill unless in certain prescribed circumstances.
True, so then there are times when abortion is OK, right? If the circumstances are such that it is advisable?
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
True, so then there are times when abortion is OK, right? If the circumstances are such that it is advisable?
Most conservative churches allow it under very limited circumstances. My denomination for instance.
 

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...
 

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.
 

Peairtach

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

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.
 

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.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Thing is, the arguments become a collection of extreme exceptions when what we are talking about is a general rule.
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.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
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)
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.

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.
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...)
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
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.
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.

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.
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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Thing is, the arguments become a collection of extreme exceptions when what we are talking about is a general rule.
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.
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.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
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.
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?

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.
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?

Give me even one example where contraception is shown in the Bible in a positive light. Please.
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?
 

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.
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?
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 ----------

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.
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?
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.

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?
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.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
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.
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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