Bible mandate that Christians have children?

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

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  1. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I didn't mean "work" so literally. Part of being a good steward of your food is not eating until you vomit.
     
  2. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Rubbish - my point is that it is apples and oranges. It is not a strawman issue at all, it has to do with the accurate exegesis of scripture and nothing more.
     
  3. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, which is why there are injunctions against gluttony and greed. Where are the injunctions against procreation and the birthing of children in a marriage? There are none.

    Also, the NFP site talk about breastfeeding as a natural system of birth control. This I agree with as it is part of the natural rhythm of childrearing. The mother breastfeeds, is (usually) not fertile during this time, and it gives her body time to regenerate and heal itself. Part of God's plan. :up:
     
  4. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I am not student of church history and I will confess to not believing it necessary to be one to understand the bible. If we look at it in context 'present' indicates to me something that was occuring at the time when Paul was writing. Looking at the book of 1 Corinthians, whatever was happening in Corinth, the christians there;

    1) still had access to courts of law, since they were having lawsuits against one another (ch 6)
    2) Still were able to sit down in an idol temple to eat meat (ch8-10)
    3) Still could shop openly in the pagan meat-markets (ch 10)
    4) maintained good enough relations with the pagans that they were from time to time invited to eat dinner together (ch 10)
    5) still had enough luxury that some of them were able to turn the Lord's Supper into a drunken feast (ch 11)

    In fact, in his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul while extorting them to give, describes them as being relatively rich (2 Cor 8:14) in comparison to other christians.

    So while I do not know exactly what Paul was referring to when he said 'present distress' I do not believe persecution of holocaust type proportions in necessary to activate the principle.

    In any case, I am not sure how the potential death of a woman in childbirth (which I believe was the context of our discussion) is considered an inconvinience.
     
  5. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I think this is the crux of our disagreement; where exactly has the Lord said that he objects to us 'taking the wheel' in the matter of childbirth? God opens and closes the womb, but as I said, he is in control of every little detail that happens in the universe. Where has he said that he wants exclusive control over childbearing?
     
  6. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Sorry, what I was replying to was your claim that it was OK to forego marriage because of troubled times, not the context of a mother dying in childbirth - two very separate issues.

    And the English use of 'present', as we use it now, is not what it used to be. If I said that "Mark will be along presently", it means that he will be along soon. When we look at the Greek, (and this is a commentary, I am no Greek scholar) it says impending. Thus I cannot accept your argument in post #65 - it is not in context.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2007
  7. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    He wants exclusive control over every facet of our lives - Kuyper said that upon His return, there will be one word on the lips of Christ: "MINE". Why is childbearing exempt?
     
  8. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    There are some things "nature" teaches, and which Scripture simply builds upon. Let's ask a related question: Where has God claimed exclusive control over the gender of children? Nowhere, He simply has that control in virtue of "nature," notwithstanding the attempt of modern medicine to wrest it from Him.

    But let's move the debate up one level. Do the Scriptures regard the body of man as instrumental or essential to human personality? Essential. Hence the Christian doctrine of resurrection. If essential, it may not be treated as if it were something apart from us, and modified to suit our own good. The wholeness of the body itself is a part of the good we seek for ourselves.

    Now, what are children, according to the biblical presentation? Seed. Seed is an extension of one's own personality, and thus the fruit of union between two persons. Children therefore are a natural extension of the marital bond and a part of that wholeness which the individual seeks from marriage. This is why, when God takes a person into covenant with Himself, He takes also his children, 1 Cor. 7:14. This being the case, the ability to have children cannot be regarded as open to modification in the quest to seek one's own good, because children themselves are the essential good of marriage.
     
  9. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Agreed. However giving him control does not equate to 'let go and let God'. We use means in many, many areas to change God's providence. I see no indication from the bible that childbearing is special, or that all BC methods are sinful.
     
  10. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    That's fair enough - I guess. I can't say either way regarding the greek.

    However, I do not believe that affects my argument too much. I don't believe the bible teaches that we need severe persecution to chose not to marry, or indeed, that I need to track down the date when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and then research what happened to the Corinthians soon after in order to understand the bible. I see no issue in taking 'present distress' simply as representing trouble. So yes, if I was struggling financially, I believe I would be perfectly within christian limits to chose to postpone marriage - unless I was 'burning' as Paul would say.
     
  11. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Kevin,

    Even if we understand 'present distress' as 'coming distress', would you accept my logic for the purposes of the severe situation above?

    In your own personal situation would you feel you could (not will, just could) use birth control without sinning?
     
  12. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    And would you apply the same to childbirth? I.e. "I can't afford it, so my wife and I will wait to have children until we can afford it."
     
  13. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Kevin,

    Even if we understand 'present distress' as 'coming distress', would you accept my argument for the purposes of the severe situation above?

    In your own personal situation would you feel you could (not will, just could) use birth control without sinning?
     
  14. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Kevin,

    Even if we understand 'present distress' as 'coming distress', would you accept my argument for the purposes of the severe situation above?

    In your own personal situation would you feel you could (not will, just could) use birth control without sinning?
     
  15. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I will have to get back to you on this - time to pick my dad up from the airport! Cab is at the door...

    But in brief - this is exactly the issue that we are struggling with and why I am so interested in this thread. Blessings, brother. More later.
     
  16. Answerman

    Answerman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Actually my wife and I have always had the opposite kind of questions. We have always been curious why Christian don’t ask if it is wrong to want to have as many children as humanly possible. When our family reads the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we all seem to agree that they were trying to have as many children as possible even to the point of it sounding obsurd, so would we be wrong to want as many children as my wife and I could possible have? Should we be afraid that we could not afford more children? Should we be afraid of over populating the earth? Should we fear being accused of being Postmillenial Theonomic Christian Reconstructionists for having such thoughts?

    Please don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to bind your conscience one way or another on this issue, but sometimes families that have as many children as they possibly can get slandered for their wanting to have more children, I have seen it. And in Germany, I have heard that having more than two children is considered taboo.

    Here is one family that had their 17th child and I was elated to hear that they are wanting to keep on going.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20097968/

    Am I wrong to feel elated and ecstatic for these people?

    Is it a sin to want such a thing with all of the global warming and over population scares that we are constantly being warned about.

    All I am trying to say, is be careful of buying into the worlds way of viewing things. I think we all know what China’s policy on this issue is and I would not want to have that same mentality pushed on us.
     
  17. Answerman

    Answerman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Oh, and BTW, I am a postmillenial, theonomic Christian reconstructionist, but please don't hold that against me.
    :D
     
  18. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    I have not stated such a thing nor have I implied it. I would suggest you re-read my posts. :handshake:

    As for issues raised by others in other posts I will reply when able. :)
     
  19. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    I am enjoying this tread. A lot of good debate is going on here. I would say that I fall more or less in line with Mark & Jacob, with a couple of caveats.

    First, all christian couples should be "pro-child". That is we should recognize that bearing children is part of the "essence" of the married state. Rev. Winzers reminder of this fact was timely. This will work itself out in our lives by being open to the idea of having children even if we "try" to plan/space them. An other way that this 'pro-child" idea works itself out in our lives is that we will have more kids. I don't think that everyone can or will have 17 but we will have (a lot) more then the 1 or 2 that are so common in our society.

    Second, I believe that the non-thereaputic surgical alteration or removal of healthy tissue is a serious ethical issue. Many christians (and almost all non-christians) consider the issue of "tubals" & vasectomys only from the consideration of "birth controll". I think we need to back up and look at the bigger picture.

    Third issue I believe needs to inform our view of this issue is the fall & reproduction. The effects of the fall on human reproduction are directly stated. How does this work out? Is the fact that we we can reproduce at the rate we do part of the curse? Is planning/spacing children an aspect of dominion? Is it (possibly) bringing order to chaos?

    Fourth caveat, God callls us to raise Godly seed. He does not say he will count our children to see if we were faithful, he will judge by the result of how many of them follow him. Having 15 children that went to hell would be a curse, having one who served God all her life would be a great blessing.

    :2cents:
     
  20. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    What if a woman chooses not to have children for what ever reason? We are assuming that she is married. Should the husband as the covenant head tell her she nneds to have them and that she is in sin for not having them?
     
  21. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Just for information's sake I think I would agree with all your caveats, Kevin.
     
  22. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    That should've been something discussed BEFORE marriage. And in some cultures (Jewish for example) is considered a "dealbreaker".
     
  23. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    So, would choosing to not having children be a disqualification for an elder or pastor? If a couple is having a hard time getting pregnant, are fertility drugs, since this is technically altering your body and potentially trying to open the womb that God has closed, a viable option? If a couple can't have children, inorder to fulfill the biblical mandate, are they obligated to adopt?
     
  24. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Ladyflint is correct you should know this first.

    BTW I have good friends who ended up divorced over this very issue. The wife prior to marriage said she wanted children "later", he agreed since thy were still in school. Long story short, later never came & they ended up divorced and she left the faith.

    A husband should take in to account the shortcomings of his wife in all areas, and gently lead her to the truth, as he sees it. We all have areas that we hold "sub-scriptural" views we need grace to not make the area that we "understand" the most important issue of the faith. My advice to a husband in this situation would be to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Patiently, self-sacrificingly, and constently if he does this he will be surprised at how soon she is willing to submit to his leadership. Men who major on submission over love usually get neither.

    :2cents:
     
  25. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor


    Medical effort to repair a malfunctioning part of the body, are different in kind from medical efforts to alter a functioning part of the body.

    As for the qualifications to be an elder in my opinion (!) IF the issue is voluntary bareness then it would be a disqualification. Not however childlessness qua childlessness. (my opinion)
     
  26. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Sadly I know many men like this!

    I am living proof of this. My wife and I were evangelicals when we met and married and she wanted NONE of this submission stuff. She came around because I did exactly what you suggested here.
     
  27. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    This is sooo true. They also end up lacking in honesty in their marriage.
     
  28. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    Actually, the word "present" is a perfect active participle, and is often translated "be present, have come, be impending, arrived." Thayer's Lexicon shows that it was used in the phrase "the present war" by Aeschines to refer to a war that was currently taking place, not a war that was some obscure time in the future.
     
  29. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    I have not officially rendered an opinion on this thread yet, but I would like to point out a logical fallacy here. It has been stated that practicing birth control or having a vasectomy/tubal ligation is sin because it is God who opens/closes the womb and we should not take matters into our own hands. Therefore, we should not have that surgery that tries to take control out of God's hands to open/close the womb.

    Then those same people that have made this argument talk about how they have had the reversal surgery. The logical fallacy is that this is once again taking matters into their own hands, in order to re-open the womb that is closed. They are not trusting in God to give them children in their present state, but trying surgery to help matters a bit. This is inconsistent.

    I say this as one whose wife had her tubes tied and we have regretted the decision.
     
  30. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    I tried to use this argument for months with my wife! She wasn't buying it. :lol:

    Honestly, my reversal was done as an act of repentance. Kind of like giving the money back after you have stolen it.
     
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