Bible mandate that Christians have children?

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

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  1. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I hope you are not lumping me into that group. I stand by my post. It was a sin for me but I balk at calling it a sin for everyone.

    My point was to make sure that young men seek the Lord for direction in these matters.

    For those of you who favor birth control, tread carefully. Make it clear that you believe what you believe for Biblical reasons because there are plenty of our enemies out there shouting for birth control for evil reasons. When I was faced with this decision it was during a time when my 1 year old was near death in the hospital. No one even questioned whether I should have a vasectomy! Everyone from my church to my family said in not so many words, "Of course you don't want to have any more children! Are you crazy? Isn't 4 enough? Do you really want to go through this ordeal again?" I wish I had had even one Godly tell me to seek the Lord on my decision. I wish even one voice had pointed out that the Bible says that children are a blessing from the Lord.
  2. polemic_turtle

    polemic_turtle Puritan Board Freshman

    You could try what one of our Christian friends did. When someone said "You know, they've discovered what causes that", she said "Yes, and I'm gooood at it". ;-) It might quiet some people up.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    In other words, theonomy was normative for most of Christendom. That's cool.
  4. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    See my response in the thread where Mangum announces his 5th child ;) One lady I know looked at the rude person very blankly and said, "Really? Could you explain it to me?" (blink, blink) It was an elderly woman that was rude and she just sputtered and walked off :lol:
  5. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    I don't mean this to be a smart-alek question but, what about people that are mentallly challenged. Non-christian health care people who take care of these people go out of their way to make sure these people do not get pregnant. Again, refer to the first line, why did not Christ as a man get married and have children if it was a covenant requirement in order to fulfill some sort of obedience. Again I am not trying to be blasphemous or contrary.
  6. jbergsing

    jbergsing Puritan Board Sophomore

    Every life God creates is of His divine will, regardless of man's desires or opinions. Should man decide to kill an unborn child because they are going to require more effort and resources is something that I believe will be addressed at judgment.
  7. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    Why do you think Christ didn't marry?
  8. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    Birth control is a whole area I did not expect this discussion to go. Using this logic, should not a woman go on having children until she drops over dead. If either the husband or the wife cannot get pregnant should they then institute a surrogate mother in their place as Abraham tried to do.
  9. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    You're serious?
  10. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    I have the same question for the people on this board. I just found out about this when my pastor told me we were basically in sin for not having children and needed to seek counseling. He told me having children was a way to help sanctify the individual and he said "It's one of the ways Christians transform culture- godly offspring." This is a direct quote. That is why I wondered if it had more to do with a belief system that follows Theonomy, Christian Reconstructionism and Postmillennialism.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Most of the people on here who argued for large families are neither postmill, theonomy, or CR. I happen to be theonomic and agree with much of your reasoning (except for the poisoning of the well)

    Yes, many Christian Reconstructionists are naieve on this point, but that does not discredit the zeal for large families. Similarly, the secularists birth rate is declining at critical speeds (see Europe). While I am not postmil, if I were I would argue that Christians will win culturally simply by having only 1 or 2 kids: that would easily beat the secular rate.
  12. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    I have much in my head to say about all this, but know better. :eek:)
  13. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Adam, I believe your quiver just keeps on expanding :) You and your wife have MANY to call daughters.

    No one is saying that those UNABLE to have children or only able to have so many children are in sin. God alone (should) determine that. It's when someone goes out of their way to destroy or damage what God has called good and say, "don't curse me with another" that their thinking is called into question. There are MANY MANY women out there with 6-10 children and they are not dropping like flies. If the mentally disabled were PROPERLY taken care of within the homes of their family, parents or extended...there would not be the concern mentioned above, at least not as great a one. I happen to have a stepaunt that has NEVER and will NEVER mentally be older than 12, she has been married twice and born three children. Her first child died because there was NO FAMILY around to assist. The second child I helped raise till he was adopted out and he is such a blessing to his family. The second marriage is to a man like herself. They have a child together and he has daughters. Because of the help of FAMILY they are able to function as a normal family unit. They work, own a home, FAMILY assists with the bank accounts and shopping, their son is brilliant and will one day take care of his parents. He will be a blessing to them in their old age. My youngest brother is like this as well and it is already determined that his older whole brother will take care of him after our mother is gone. I don't encourage, but I HAVE seen the positive in these situations. Simple-minded people have married, bore children, and survived like everyone else throughout history.
  14. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    Ignore my last comments I made them out of anger and frustration due to conflicts I have with this particular pastor. I appreciate the help I get from the Puritan Board.
  15. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I would like to comment that back on page 1 those who are 'unfit' to be parents and who should therefore desist from having children for this reason are also usually 'unfit' for marriage. The addition of children to a marriage, I've found, helps you mature and removes selfishness. When it does not, that is a big red flag. :2cents:

    Also, Adam, I would LOVE to hear what you have to say. Don't keep your light under a bushel, brother, there is too much value in especially your perspective. Adoptive parents take an extra step in the process that biological parents don't have to.

    As for birth control, I don't know if this is too personal, but we struggle with this in a BIG way. My wife has only C-sections but we live in China. Thus far she has had three C-sections in less-than-first-world facilities and we fear having more here but simply can't find the scripture to support stopping. We have adopted and will continue to adopt (Habib, Bereket, Sentiyehu, and Dagem should be here before Spring of 2008) because we feel called to it, and would likely do so even if my wife was able to have children naturally.

    There is a huge difference (huge) in being childless naturally and being childless for the sake of convenience or personal choice. If we are sticking to the idea that God opens and closes the womb, how dare we remove the womb by our own hand? I just don't get it.

    We've had plenty of people (family, even) tell me it was time to snip-snip, and that it was dangerous for Elizabeth to continue in this fashion. If we trust him to open and close the womb, and that children are a blessing, will we not also trust that he will protect us in childbirth or take us as His will decrees?
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  16. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hey Erick,

    I am newly Reformed, too, and was equally shocked at the logic used to ban any and all "family planning." The answer to your rhetorical question (the first one, at least...I don't think even those in the anti-BC crowd would support a surrogate mother. :D) is "yes." I have met Reformed Christians who would let the wife die before getting her a tubal ligation.

    The arguments used by the anti-BC crowd sound good on the surface because of the way certain words, etc. are used. Those who don't have as many children as possible as quickly as possible are lumped in with the crowd which hates children and isn't having them at the moment because they think that they in se are inconveniences. Arguments about God's sovereignty and the "blessing" line are thrown out as if the slippery slope and numerous contradictions were nowhere in sight (and if you point it out, of course it's your logic that is faulty. But that's how it goes in any theological disagreement, right?). I've also noted that many people I've met who hold these ideas either a) got married late in life when it's time to start having as many as possible before fertility fades, b) married young and are husbands/have husbands who are already able to work in their career full-time and do not need extra education or c) aren't married yet.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  17. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior


    Just some thoughts for your consideration;

    IF we restrict our discussion to a situation where someone’s health or even life is in danger or possible danger, I would humbly submit we do not need a scripture to justify birth control because a) God never condemns it, b) God never commands procreation in a manner that would conflict with birth control use. I know some or many will disagree with b), but that is my position for the time being, as I tried to explain in my earlier post on this thread.

    The fact that God opens and closes the womb does not, by itself preclude us from using wisdom and prudence in managing childbirth UNLESS God has also said he wants us to keep our hands off. I do not believe such a command is found in the bible. God opens and closes the sky for rain, but we dig ditches for drainage and carry umbrellas based on the weather forecast. God controls sickness and health, but we buy medical insurance and use doctors. God says in Psalm 127 (one of the Psalms that extols the blessing of children) that unless he builds the house or watches the city the builder/watchmen labour in vain. We trust him, but that does not mean we do not build/watch ourselves.

    I believe it is no good simply saying ‘Trust God’. We must trust in a specific promise. God does expect us to use means to take care of ourselves. Again, it boils down to: Is procreation commanded/contraception condemned? If so, then we trust God to look after us whatever happens. But if not, we can and should use prudent medical means to guard against danger.

    Please do not take offence, but since you volunteered information on your personal situation, I very, very humbly submit that it is not wisdom for a woman with a husband and five or more children depending on her to put her life at risk unless she has to. And if God has not condemned birth control, it is right, I believe, to use such means to avoid danger. When the devil invited Jesus Christ to test the promises of God by flinging himself from the top of the temple, the Lord declined because the obvious and wise thing to do would be to take the stairs. Likewise, if a woman is already pregnant and faced with substandard medical facilities we submit to God’s will and trust him. But before that, I see no sin at all in using BC to avoid getting into that situation.

  18. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    But see, the sickness and insurance arguments I see as being null and void since physical illness is not specifically referred to as a 'blessing from the Lord' (if they were, why would Christ have healed anyone? He would have sent them away unhealed and told them to enjoy their blessings!) Children are specifically referred to as a blessing.

    And we have specific instances of the Lord opening and closing the womb in scripture. Do we then say that this ability of God has passed away along with the ceremonial law? Is the spilling of seed no longer a sin? If it still is, condoms are out. The pill can be an abortifacient, so that would be out. What method of mechanical/chemical birth control does not run contrary to scripture in its working? Even abstinence runs contrary to specific Pauline injunctions.

    What's left????
  19. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Mark wrote:
    Very well said.

    Kevin wrote:
    I believe this only applies--and I know many trees have died for the sake of the Onan passage--to Onan's refusal to take his brother's wife, not for ejaculating qua ejaculating.

    For if we apply this case in an absolute sense, we have some very embarrassing and needless guilt. Are nocturnal emissions sinful, since it is spilling seed? What if a man and wife sleep together and she is in her earliest stage of pregnancy, but no one knows it. That seed is wasted. Is that a sin? What if she is past menopause? What if--and forgive the blunt question but it illustrates the Onan principle to a dot--two newlyweds are in the heat of the moment and let's say because of newlywed passion, the seed spills before the consumation. Nothing wrong with that picture. But the seed is thus wasted. Is that sinful?

    This isn't directed at you specifically, but I wanted to highlight that argument.
  20. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I dealt with the argument regarding blessing in my earlier post. Again, simply because something is described by a blessing does not mean we are in sin if we control it, UNLESS God specifically says so. I mentioned in my post that Paul says christians can abstain from marriage because of the present distress (1 Cor 7) - because of the trouble and hassle marriage would bring in those turbulent times. Is marriage good and a blessing? Absolutely. Did Paul say we can abstain in times when it would bring trouble? Yup.

    As I tried to explain, God's ability to control the womb is irrelevant to the lawfulness of BC. If God has condemned BC, it is out. If not, we can use it soberly even if he is in control of the womb. God is sovereignly in charge of every little thing that happens in the universe. That does not preclude us using means to control them if he has not condemned such means.

    This could be a whole other thread, (and there have been some!) but I do not believe the spilling of seed was ever a sin, under any Testament. If you are referring to Onan, I do not believe there was any indication his spilling of seed was what brought God's judgment upon him, but rather his wicked hatred for his brother. While it is true that sin did not result in death under the Mosaic Law, God is not bound to the physical consequences he sets out in his law. All sins deserve eternal death in hell, and God is free to be stricter or more lenient (as with David) with the physical consequences if he so choses.

    I also note that seed is 'spilled' rather regularly in a natural process, at least by unmarried people. Those who want to say that spilling seed is sin must prove that God has some special view of it that when discharged naturally in that fashion it can be spilled but otherwise it MUST enter into the woman.

    If there are any other verses that would support the idea that spilling seed is sin, I would be interested to see them.
  21. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Natural Family Planning (a.k.a Sympto-Thermal Method/Creighton Ovulational Method/Fertility Awareness Method), which involves neither barriers nor hormones and has been found to be 99%-100% effective when practiced correctly.
  22. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Sorry, could you please explain this one a little further, please? What specific verses do you use to come to this specific conclusion?

    Also, where exactly did you deal with the child as a blessing? Please quote (I'm a bit simple - I need it spelled out for me!)

    As for the spilling of seed argument, does this then means the door is open to scripturally-sanctioned masturbation? Calvin called it murder...
  23. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I don't see how the door would be open to "scripturally-sanctioned masturbation."

    Educated people used to believe that all of the biological components necessary to create a human being were found in the seed. The woman was just an oven to bake the dough. Since they didn't have any idea what was really in the seed it's hard to know just what they thought was in there but it could probably compared what we would say the fertilized egg is, a complete being. It's easier to understand why the "spilling of seed" was seen as so evil when one understands that they basically thought that it contained a tiny person ready to grow in momma's tummy.

    BTW, did you see my link about Natural Family Planning?
  24. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    This is from the earliest post I made in this thread. My basic point is that since Paul allowed christians to forgo marriage [a good thing] because of the 'present distress' 1 Cor 7:26, than to say children are a blessing does not automatically mean it is a sin to restrict childbirth. Note that all the statements I bolded are in reference to marriage. I do believe it is no sin to to forgo a blessing when it would avoid danger to do so.

    I am aware of the strong reformed view regarding 'Onanism' as it is often called. With respect, I have not found the arguments against spilling seed convincing, and certainly do not think it is proved that such an act is equivalent to murder.

    As for masturbation, I assume in the majority of cases it would be condemned by Jesus' rule against lust in the sermon on the mount. Within a marriage, or 'thinking' about your spouse, I really don't know. 1 Cor 7's admonishment for couples not to deprive one another would seem to indicate sexual fulfillment could not be achieved by one spouse by themselves. Beyond that, I can't say.
  25. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    hmmm I keep double posting with people!
  26. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, if the spilling of seed is not a sin per se, it would then just be a matter of Christian liberty as to what you did with it, would you not? Hence, the idea of (convoluted) scripturally-sanctioned masturbation.

    As for nocturnal emissions, I would put that under an "Act of God" - the individual has no control over such things.

    So Calvin's ignorance and lack of biology classes was what lead him to his conclusion? Scripture had nothing to do with it? Forgive me, but that's too much of a stretch for me to mentally assimilate.

    I looked at the Natural Planning site, and while it is not destructive, as the others are, it is still saying that I am in the driver's seat, not the Lord.
  27. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  28. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    As for 'present distress', let's look at context. Paul died, it is thought, in the tenth or eleventh year of Nero - he is speaking, according to Poole, of a time in the near future when the church will experience serious hardship. 'Distress' would indicate persecution the likes of which 99.9% of this board have never seen, let alone experienced themselves. But, and correct me if I'm wrong, you refer to it as though he intended little more than inconvenience in these words. Roman oppression vs. "It's too much trouble/inconvenient."
  29. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    No, because "he that does not work shall not eat." I am compelled therefore to work and be a good steward of what I have been given - I see no contradiction.

    Says who? Who can say this with 100% certainty? Not possible (and we know many who have stood before medical experts and replied that the Lord will take them as they see fit. They've gone on to have many children since.)
  30. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This is the kind of unhelpful strawman argumentation I mentioned earlier.
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