Bible mandate that Christians have children?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by shackleton, Aug 15, 2007.

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  1. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    Does the bible mandate that Christians have children? God told Adam and Noah to, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth," but that was to two individuals who were alone on the earth. Does that command still apply to us today?
    Or in reality is this more a command to help fulfill "Christian Deconstructionism" and Theonomy?"
     
  2. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Do you see anywhere that the command was revoked? Has the means of procreation of the results of intimacy changed? Is it not still our natural, God created and ordained, desire to bear and have children?
     
  3. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    I believe that that command is perpetual and it is a Christian's duty to have children if they are married. Now I am not saying it is sinful if the wife or husband are unable to have children due to some physiological reason but abstinence withing marriage (save for the reasons listed by St. Paul but then only for a minimal period) and birth control are sinful.

    A married women shows her obedience to Christ through good works one of which is child bearing and nurture.

    1 Timothy 2:15 "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
     
  4. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    :):up: Beautifully stated, brother.
     
  5. Reformed Baptist

    Reformed Baptist Puritan Board Sophomore

    My wife has given birth to 4, and is bearing #5! Soli Deo Gloria!!!
     
  6. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    :amen: and congratulations :)

    Psalm 127 "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

    Psalm 128 "Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel."
     
  7. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    So you say it is sin to control births? Or have a vasectomy or tubal ligation apart from health reasons?
     
  8. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    My wife and I had four children and then I had a reversal without any Biblical reason for doing so. I have since had a reversal which did not take. We are in the process of adopting more and considering another reversal. (Which is not a pleasant experience)

    My wife and I believe we sinned in getting a reversal since we had no Biblical mandate to do so. I am not going to make our convictions necessarily binding on everyone, but...

    To all of the young men on the board, before you go down the road I did, consider carefully your steps. Does the Bible give us the freedom to choose? Does the Bible give us the freedom to perform elective surgery on the bodies that God gave us? If children are truly a blessing from the Lord, do you really want to cut that blessing off? If children really are arrows in your quiver, do you really want to go into battle without every advantage possible? Who is telling you to protect yourself from more children? Is it the world? Because the world hates children. Is it Satan who does not want any more children raised in Christian homes? Is it your flesh which is just lazy and doesn't want the extra work involved?

    I did not have any one ask me those questions when I had surgery and my wife and I are now paying the price for our sin. I was a weak Christian at the time and the voices of my enemies were deafening.
     
  9. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, those voices can be deafening. Typically moms of many get to hear it regularly (don't you know what causes that? Is this the last one? How are you going to afford another?...all very nosy and rude questions/comments...some go so far as to say we are sinning, where the bible calls it a blessing?!)

    Geoff, congratulations! When is she due?
     
  10. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Westminster Confession of Faith, Chap. 24:

     
  11. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    The bible command to have children was given to Adam and Noah and I see no indication it extended beyond them. The command to multiply is not to my knowledge repeated to anyone else, whether in the New Testament epistles or the Law of Moses, or anywhere else. It is worthwhile to note that those two had the unique position of standing on an empty earth.

    If there is indeed a command to all Christians to multiply and be fruitful, it applies to singles as well, who must make all haste to get married, a proposition in direct conflict with 1 Corinthians 7. If single Christians can chose for sober and godly reasons to forgo marriage, than I believe by application of principle, married couples may for sober and serious reasons chose to limit the number of children they have for a time or permanently, in extreme circumstances.

    Paul told the Corinthians they might chose to forgo marriage either to concentrate on serving the Lord, or because of the present distress most probably persecution or other trouble that a married man or woman would find more difficult to cope with an a single person. Likewise, I believe that if the wife’s health is at stake, or the couple is having genuine difficulty in coping with their family situation, be it financial or in terms of child-training, they are justified in using non-abortive birth control. Again, Paul says he would have the Corinthians without carefulness – for it is easier to serve the Lord properly with less commitments than with more. I am sure, and I apologize, that many will react with anger at having such language applied to children, but the fact is that Paul here uses it in reference to marriage. I see no compromise in saying that it is easier to take care of your family properly when you have four children instead of eight. That certainly does not mean those families who want eight or more children are wrong in doing so, but we should not condemn those who many soberly and prayerfully decide they should make do with less.

    Does the bible say children are a blessing and a good thing from the Lord? Absolutely. That, however, does not mean it is a sin to limit your number after sober consideration. Marriage is a very good thing, but I just showed above how a christian can, without sin, chose to forgo this good thing. Wine is a blessing from God, but we control its use and some may chose to forgo for various reasons. Rain is a blessing, but we dig ditches and use umbrellas and would not want an unlimited amount. Sunshine is a blessing, but we wear sunglasses, sunscreen and go indoors. Riches are often described as a blessing, and God often rewarded his saints with earthly wealth, yet wise men may pray against them (Pr 30:8-9).

    From pass experience, many will declare it impious to compare children with those things. I will grant that it ‘feels’ like it might be so, but I have yet to see a biblical explanation for why. How is controlling childbirth different from controlling wine, rain, sunshine and wealth? And even if those examples are not convincing, I point again to the fact that Paul said marriage itself, without which childbirth is impossible, could be restricted due to difficult circumstances. My simple point is; all because God has said something is good, does not make limiting or controlling that thing a sin.

    I am aware I am probably in the minority on this issue on this board. However, I would urge others to try to consider the issues without getting emotional. Arguing for the use of birth control by Christians in certain situations as I have done is not in any way supportive of abortion or women who forgo children to chase careers, anymore than arguing for moderate use of alcohol is promoting drunkenness, or arguing for gun ownership is promoting murder (wink wink at my American friends).
     
  12. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Steve - I noticed your question wasn't answered directly. I'd like to take your specific questions and make them part of a larger category. Is birth control sinful? Is there liberty in the matter? Is the bible clear on it or not? I don't want the OP to get too far off track. If this post results in that I'll start a separate thread.
     
  13. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Indeed I would although I am not aware what health reasons would necessitate a vasectomy or tubal ligation and I am not sure what the latter is anyway.

    As an aside, I would point out that the commande to multiply was given to man an not Adam as an individual as such hence we should see the command as binding upon all men everywhere, let us not forget that Adam was our federal head.

    Genesis 1:27, 28 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
     
  14. beej6

    beej6 Puritan Board Sophomore

    At the same time, we are one body in Christ. Those with no (or fewer) children, or those who remain single, may still find their role in God's kingdom, yes?
     
  15. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Mark, that was well stated.

    I think the issue of surgical modification is broader then birth controll. However, if a couple said "NO" to the possibility of children then that would be sinfull. That does not mean however that many of the reasons Mark raised above are not valid Non-sinfull reasons to "space" or "plan" your family.

    in my opinion this is a "on-the-one-hand" yet "on-the-other-hand" typeof issue.
     
  16. Answerman

    Answerman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sure sounds like it, doesn't it.

    I would start another thread if you want to bring Theonomy into it. And Christian Deconstructionism, which is the current majority position in Christendom would probably float right down stream with the secular humanists view on this matter, after all we let them educate us.
     
  17. TexasBerean

    TexasBerean Inactive User


    I agree. There is a definite difference between family planning and having a vasectomy. Those who believe in family planning may still acknowledge god's gift in the children they have, and even use planning to increase their enjoyment of this gift. Those who don't believe they can properly nurture children when they are born less than two years apart may wish to use family planning to create a better environment for their children to be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. However, using birth control to without planning and simply because you "don't want a baby right now" is selfish and as such must be sinful. Many say this as if a baby just doesnt fit into their plans and never worry about fitting into God's. This behavior is also calling God a liar; he has said that children are his blessing, a blessing we deny when we seek to forbid our bodies from bearing children. Though I do understand people wishing to plan their families, I myself do not wish to do so, because I would rather let God do that, he is the master planner after all. He knows what is good for me even if I don't know myself.
     
  18. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    This topic really can branch off into a thousand areas. What do we say about couples that may not be fit to raise children? Do we encourage them to bring children into the world knowing that they may be unfit parents? Obviously if a pregnancy happens the child is to be born. But what about these type of people. We all know some.
     
  19. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    And who is going to determine what is "fit"? I've had people say we weren't "fit" simply because our religious beliefs and parenting practices were different than theirs or because my husband is a blue collar worker instead of a white collar worker. Have had a friend called "unfit" because she's "had too many and must surely be tired out". Should we now have to procur permission to marry (yep, licensure is a double edged sword) or a permit to bear children?
     
  20. TexasBerean

    TexasBerean Inactive User

    If I were the Judge of who was and was not fit to have children, I would forbid any who would not raise their clildren in the church and in a christian home. But this is an impracical suggestion. Those whom we would deem unfit for parenting may simply be in need of the sanctifying effect of child rearing by which God has deemed to make them fit. It is not our place to determine who is fit to have children because god alone knows the heart, and god alone knows how to change and sanctify it. Someone who thinks they are unfit to raise children should not have a vasectomy because that would be denying God's ability to change them and make them fit to raise children. This also would preclude them from using birth control for the same reason. Who knows if God will not use their bearing of children as a means to sanctify and ready them to be fit for it? Birth control is not the solution. We must have faith in God's providence and pray to God to give us wisdom, and by wisdom and understanding and faith, make us fit. Consider James 1:4-6 "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth unto all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering."
     
  21. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    My question was purely speculative. If someone is going to advocate not having children and endorse birth control why not put stipulations on who can have children? Folks may have thought my mother was unfit because she was divorced and had to raise my sister and I on welfare for a few years.

    The burden of scripture seems to fall on having children, not on finding creative means not to have them.
     
  22. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    :ditto: and congratulations!
     
  23. jbergsing

    jbergsing Puritan Board Sophomore

    :ditto:
     
  24. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I have a friend whose wife recently had to have a tubal ligation. She would have died without the operation and left her husband to take care of four children alone. It's sad that there are some who would label her as being in sin. Many thanks to Mark for being a voice of reason in this discussion! Aside from that, I do think that Christian couples with the physiological ability should have children but disagree with the notion that the woman must have them until she's killed by it or the family resources, both tangible and intangible, are run into the ground.
     
  25. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Is not the first purpose of marriage companionship? “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen 2:18) The gracious command came afterwards, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…” (Gen 1:28) As there were no other humans on the earth at that time, the command was timely.

    As mentioned by Mark above, if that command – physically understood – is to be taken for all time, then marriage ought to be compulsory. Was it only the remarks of the Lord on eunuchs (Matt 19:12) that reversed such a supposed command? Was a B.C. Jew in sin if he remained single? Jeremiah remained so (he did have the LORD’s command for such), and perhaps Daniel.

    Some 6,000+ years later the earth is abundantly populated. Not only so, but it is increasingly filled with violence, as in the days of Noah. During the time while the Lord was on the earth, in His Olivet discourse, foreseeing the calamitous days ahead for the Jews, He said, “…woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” (Matt 24:19) Paul echoed that when he, lauding the virtues of singleness, said, “I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress…” (1 Cor 7:26)

    Is it not primarily for companionship, and sexual intimacy in particular, Paul exhorts single believers who need a mate to marry? (1 Cor 1:2)

    Are those who consider the world too wicked to bring children into, and opt instead to labor to give birth to spiritual children, violating any command of God? Are they not multiplying for His Kingdom? May there not be a spiritual fulfilling of the command to replenish the earth?

    If a couple already have children, and choose a vasectomy or tubal ligation to limit their capacity for more, by what mandate are they to be yoked in the breeding house? We limit our cattle; may we not limit our children if the tooth and claw of violence prowls rampant in the street, and we choose instead physical barrenness that we may bear children unto the Lord, plucking multitudes of them out of the fire? May not our physical regenerative capacity, now made desolate, reap us more children than the children of the fertile married? (Isaiah 54) May not a husband and wife become eunuchs of sorts – child-wise – for the Kingdom’s sake?

    If the Lord is the one who opens the womb (and we know He is), does this mandate that to trust Him we must forsake our choice to cease physical childbearing, and to labor instead to bear spiritual children?

    Will those who deny this blanket all who practice birth-control of some kind with the condemnation of sin?
     
  26. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Yes, that is exactly what many on the board assert.
     
  27. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Well, David, there are those who disagree, and understand the Scripture to support them.
     
  28. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I was just answering your question. Sorry if I sounded cynical. :(
     
  29. MamaArcher

    MamaArcher Puritan Board Freshman

    Any time we are called to give control over to GOd and we refuse it is sin, we are to be in submission to the Lord in ALL things. My hubby has had a vas. reversal, we have 8 children thuxs far, 3 of them are reversal babies. One thing I find interesting in the church today is that we are trying to subdue & have dominion upon the earth via evangelism mostly..but we are not doing things God's way..be fruitful and multiply and have dominion. Why is Islam such a strong force? Why do the mormons have such a strong hold? They are using biblical principles and they are coming closer to dominion of the earth than Christians are! Imagine if EVERY Christian lived in a manner that allowed God to bless them with as many children as He so chose to do and those children we raised to love the Lord their GOd with all of their heart mind soul strength..and raised their families as such, if we had a generatioanl vision..how different would the world look?
     
  30. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Those commands are so in the Old Testament. We're under grace now.
     
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