Illegitimate Children

Status
Not open for further replies.

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
Well, we can celebrate something very important in all this ...... she did not abort the baby. So instead of a "baby shower" how about a "non-abortion party."
 

Knoxienne

Puritan Board Graduate
There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.
But the problem is, covenantally those children are represented by their parents, just as an adopted child is represented by those parents who adopt him.

Children born of an unlawful sexual union is what makes children illegitimate. :2cents:
 

Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
But if the sin aspect does not register then why do they need to come to Christ?

CT
Until the Lord does the work in their hearts, they do not see what they are doing as sin.
So then a person is not a responsible for their sin until they become a Christian? So what does a person go to Hell for doing/not doing?
They go to hell because their sins were not atoned for since they were not elect and they hated God. Good works will not get them into heaven.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Until the Lord does the work in their hearts, they do not see what they are doing as sin.
So then a person is not a responsible for their sin until they become a Christian? So what does a person go to Hell for doing/not doing?
They go to hell because their sins were not atoned for since they were not elect and they hated God. Good works will not get them into heaven.
So sin is breaking a rule that they did not/could not know about?

CT
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
How should we as a people interact with and address the scores of illegitimate children within our communities?

How should we best condemn illegitimacy societally while loving the illegitmately-born in our midst?
We should interact with them as the children they are. How to address them? By name I imagine.

Preach the Gospel. Live the Gospel. Address the societal concerns during the prayer, small groups, and one-on-one discipleship. Have the youth leaders bringing up issues that the parents are deficient. Have the elders address the deficiencies of the parents to the parents. Make efforts to bombard them with as much of the Gospel and how it is to be lived out as possible.

Our youth are not blind nor stupid. They see no difference between us and the rest of the world. The only difference is we have some place to go dressed up on Sunday while they get to sleep in...otherwise we are identical.
I'm guessing you mean that "to them, the only difference is..." right?
Not really. We can pretend to be all holy here but this is not the real world. 87% of America claims to be Christian and we have just as much adultery, divorce, fornication, and abortion than our secular counterparts...so what is the difference?

Unless there is a true difference that can be seen in our lives the only difference is we get dressed up on Sunday. Kids need to see the difference. They are the best BS detectors and contemporary Christianity has some of the best BS.
 

Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
-----Added 3/18/2009 at 07:52:14 EST-----

So then a person is not a responsible for their sin until they become a Christian? So what does a person go to Hell for doing/not doing?
They go to hell because their sins were not atoned for since they were not elect and they hated God. Good works will not get them into heaven.
So sin is breaking a rule that they did not/could not know about?

CT
They are sinning regardless of whether they know the "rules" or not. However, I don't see that one is going to be cognizant of that sin until they are regenerated. I just don't think going around accusing unbelievers of sin is a particularly effective form of evangelism, but you certainly may disagree.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
We should interact with them as the children they are. How to address them? By name I imagine.

Preach the Gospel. Live the Gospel. Address the societal concerns during the prayer, small groups, and one-on-one discipleship. Have the youth leaders bringing up issues that the parents are deficient. Have the elders address the deficiencies of the parents to the parents. Make efforts to bombard them with as much of the Gospel and how it is to be lived out as possible.

Our youth are not blind nor stupid. They see no difference between us and the rest of the world. The only difference is we have some place to go dressed up on Sunday while they get to sleep in...otherwise we are identical.
I'm guessing you mean that "to them, the only difference is..." right?
Not really. We can pretend to be all holy here but this is not the real world. 87% of America claims to be Christian and we have just as much adultery, divorce, fornication, and abortion than our secular counterparts...so what is the difference?

Unless there is a true difference that can be seen in our lives the only difference is we get dressed up on Sunday. Kids need to see the difference. They are the best BS detectors and contemporary Christianity has some of the best BS.
Who are the "we" that you are addressing? The professing Christians in the US, the reformed, the what?

If you are using the professing Christians metric, then why should that apply to those here on this board? If I am not living as those in the world, then why should I be in the line of fire for others living wildly? Should I go around and make those living wildly, recant their Christian profession?

CT

-----Added 3/18/2009 at 07:57:54 EST-----

-----Added 3/18/2009 at 07:52:14 EST-----

They go to hell because their sins were not atoned for since they were not elect and they hated God. Good works will not get them into heaven.
So sin is breaking a rule that they did not/could not know about?

CT
They are sinning regardless of whether they know the "rules" or not. However, I don't see that one is going to be cognizant of that sin until they are regenerated. I just don't think going around accusing unbelievers of sin is a particularly effective form of evangelism, but you certainly may disagree.
I guess my question to you is to justify your position that they cannot be held responsible for knowing that their actions are evil until they are regenerated.

Or put another way, was John the Baptist being ineffective when he called out King Herod for taking his brother's wife. I do not think there was any reason to believe that the King was a Christian.

CT
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
I'm guessing you mean that "to them, the only difference is..." right?
Not really. We can pretend to be all holy here but this is not the real world. 87% of America claims to be Christian and we have just as much adultery, divorce, fornication, and abortion than our secular counterparts...so what is the difference?

Unless there is a true difference that can be seen in our lives the only difference is we get dressed up on Sunday. Kids need to see the difference. They are the best BS detectors and contemporary Christianity has some of the best BS.
Who are the "we" that you are addressing? The professing Christians in the US, the reformed, the what?

If you are using the professing Christians metric, then why should that apply to those here on this board? If I am not living as those in the world, then why should I be in the line of fire for others living wildly? Should I go around and make those living wildly, recant their Christian profession?

CT
Do not begin to tell me that Confessional Reformed Christians here on this board are immune. Living wildly? We are called the "frozen chosen" for a reason. We not only do not live wildly we do not do anything wildly.

Focus on the issue being that professing Christians regardless of holding to a Confession have "baby mama drama." I know of more than one elder who has left to a more liberal denomination because his daughters fornicated and were later discovered to be pregnant. Were these men weak? In this situation it is all about weak men. Weak pastors, weak elders, weak fathers, weak sons...all pointing the finger back at Eve.
 

forgivenmuch

Puritan Board Freshman
There are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents.
But the problem is, covenantally those children are represented by their parents, just as an adopted child is represented by those parents who adopt him.

Children born of an unlawful sexual union is what makes children illegitimate. :2cents:
Maybe we simply disagree over semantics, I don't know. Yes, there is a sense in which "illegitimate" children truly are illegitimate (going by your definition). On the other hand, it is is the parents who committed the sin, and bore the child, hence what I termed illegitimate parents. I prefer this because the child did nothing to determine his/her lot. There is often already a sense of unwantedness among them, without labeling them as such.
Anyway, now that I re-read your post I realize that maybe I am confused by what you were trying to say.
 

Grace Alone

Puritan Board Senior
I'm guessing you mean that "to them, the only difference is..." right?
Not really. We can pretend to be all holy here but this is not the real world. 87% of America claims to be Christian and we have just as much adultery, divorce, fornication, and abortion than our secular counterparts...so what is the difference?

Unless there is a true difference that can be seen in our lives the only difference is we get dressed up on Sunday. Kids need to see the difference. They are the best BS detectors and contemporary Christianity has some of the best BS.
Who are the "we" that you are addressing? The professing Christians in the US, the reformed, the what?

If you are using the professing Christians metric, then why should that apply to those here on this board? If I am not living as those in the world, then why should I be in the line of fire for others living wildly? Should I go around and make those living wildly, recant their Christian profession?

CT

-----Added 3/18/2009 at 07:57:54 EST-----

-----Added 3/18/2009 at 07:52:14 EST-----

So sin is breaking a rule that they did not/could not know about?

CT
They are sinning regardless of whether they know the "rules" or not. However, I don't see that one is going to be cognizant of that sin until they are regenerated. I just don't think going around accusing unbelievers of sin is a particularly effective form of evangelism, but you certainly may disagree.
I guess my question to you is to justify your position that they cannot be held responsible for knowing that their actions are evil until they are regenerated.

Or put another way, was John the Baptist being ineffective when he called out King Herod for taking his brother's wife. I do not think there was any reason to believe that the King was a Christian.

CT
Perhaps you are correct, but I am not John the Baptist or a prophet or an elder. I don't think my going around and pointing out the sins of unbelievers is going to have a positive effect. Do you go around your office and accuse your non-Christian co-workers every time they sin?

God will indeed hold them responsible for their sin. Their sins will either be atoned for or they will be condemned.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Honoring her for what? Secondly, there is the question of repentant vs. non repentant?

CT
Regardless of the circumstances of a child's conception, motherhood is an honorable thing. Now, this honor doesn't have to come in the form of a baby shower, but the blanket "no showers" prohibition that's being expressed here makes no sense to me.

Now, if a (supposedly Christian) woman is unrepentant/rebellious/etc, then maybe a shower isn't the best idea, but this thread seems to assume that EVERY unwed mom fits into this category.
Does this not reduce down to honoring her for not murdering her child?

CT
Only if the woman plans to abandon the child after it's born (and I don't think we're talking about such a situation). A baby shower is a celebration of a woman and her impending motherhood, which assumes that she's going to raise her child and try to do so well.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Not really. We can pretend to be all holy here but this is not the real world. 87% of America claims to be Christian and we have just as much adultery, divorce, fornication, and abortion than our secular counterparts...so what is the difference?

Unless there is a true difference that can be seen in our lives the only difference is we get dressed up on Sunday. Kids need to see the difference. They are the best BS detectors and contemporary Christianity has some of the best BS.
Who are the "we" that you are addressing? The professing Christians in the US, the reformed, the what?

If you are using the professing Christians metric, then why should that apply to those here on this board? If I am not living as those in the world, then why should I be in the line of fire for others living wildly? Should I go around and make those living wildly, recant their Christian profession?

CT
Do not begin to tell me that Confessional Reformed Christians here on this board are immune. Living wildly? We are called the "frozen chosen" for a reason. We not only do not live wildly we do not do anything wildly.

Focus on the issue being that professing Christians regardless of holding to a Confession have "baby mama drama." I know of more than one elder who has left to a more liberal denomination because his daughters fornicated and were later discovered to be pregnant. Were these men weak? In this situation it is all about weak men. Weak pastors, weak elders, weak fathers, weak sons...all pointing the finger back at Eve.
At no point did I write or imply that any local church or denomination is immune to anything. However if you wish to make the claim that we are just like the world, then that is just false. The numbers just do not show such.

If you want to broaden the inquiry to professing Christians, then what does that have to do with me or my church or denomination. A person can claim anything they want.

CT
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Do not begin to tell me that Confessional Reformed Christians here on this board are immune. Living wildly? We are called the "frozen chosen" for a reason. We not only do not live wildly we do not do anything wildly.
Hey... don't lump me in with that. You haven't seen "wild" until you've seen me get busy on a rack of ribs!
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
FYI, folks . . . in addition to being an elder at a church in which this situation has been encountered (see my above example), I fathered a child out of wedlock about 6 years ago. Thanks be to God . . . He made a family out of us.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I could be wrong in assuming this but the pregnancy isn't the sin and the sin isn't being dealt with by not giving a baby shower. God planned for that baby before time, it was God who opened her womb. The sex outside of marriage should be dealt with. I'm guessing that is should be dealt with the same way that many other sins are dealt with in the church. The couple or mother should get counseling from people within the church. Then if she is repentant they could set her up with a mentor, an older lady to disciple her.
I am only saying that cake, shower games, and a present opening time may not be the best thing for her. To me, it would be like celebrating someone playing house. I think loving an unwed mother creates a very somber situation. Again, I mention the housewarming party for the people just living together.

I guess where my answer is coming from is this idea, perhaps unbiblical, of natural consequences. I think a negative consequence of getting pregnant before you are married should be shame. I think this is lost in the world, but should remain in the church. I think for the church to throw a celebration of a shameful event, it would lessen the shame. I don't love shame or want to make anyone feel guilty, but if they are guilty, I think shame is an OK thing to feel. I think the shame could lead to repentance and even to the mother and father getting married!

What if it were a lesbian woman who got pregnant by some random guy so that she and her gf could have a baby? Would we throw a shower for her? It's not the baby's fault. Being pregnant itself isn't the sin...etc. But I think it is celebrating a sinful relationship.

Sorry if I sound callous. And again, I have gone to baby showers of unwed mothers, and I have given gifts to other unwed mothers. I am just trying to look at it critically and see ways to not condone premarital s*x.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Again, the event being celebrated (pregnancy and impending birth) isn't a shameful thing. I understand where you're coming from, Jessi, but it seems that you're equating the sin with its consequence (which happens to be a blessing) -- if not explicitly, then at least by implication. Showers usually take place in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy anyway. There's plenty of time during the pregnancy beforehand for appropriate shame to take root and repentance to take place. By the time a shower would happen, it'd be about darn time to celebrate.

At least I'd think so.

Also, are we necessarily talking about the church organizing a shower? I'm coming at it from the perspective of Christian friends. (I've never even heard of a church organizing a shower for a married woman.)
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Again, the event being celebrated (pregnancy and impending birth) isn't a shameful thing. I understand where you're coming from, Jessi, but it seems that you're equating the sin with its consequence (which happens to be a blessing) -- if not explicitly, then at least by implication. Showers usually take place in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy anyway. There's plenty of time during the pregnancy beforehand for appropriate shame to take root and repentance to take place. By the time a shower would happen, it'd be about darn time to celebrate.

At least I'd think so.

Also, are we necessarily talking about the church organizing a shower? I'm coming at it from the perspective of Christian friends. (I've never even heard of a church organizing a shower for a married woman.)
I think I am leaning towards your point of view. Thanks be to God for your family!
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Children born of an unlawful sexual union is what makes children illegitimate. :2cents:
"Illegitimate children" is a very unfortunate term. It's been coined by a sinful secular society (although Christians have, unthinkingly, used the term also) as a way to "blame the victim" thereby throwing the spotlight off the real culprits - those having sex outside marriage.

It's the unlawful sexual union that's illegitimate, not the children who are produced.

The term "illegitimate children" is illegitimate.
 

forgivenmuch

Puritan Board Freshman
Children born of an unlawful sexual union is what makes children illegitimate. :2cents:
"Illegitimate children" is a very unfortunate term. It's been coined by a sinful secular society (although Christians have, unthinkingly, used the term also) as a way to "blame the victim" thereby throwing the spotlight off the real culprits - those having sex outside marriage.

It's the unlawful sexual union that's illegitimate, not the children who are produced.

The term "illegitimate children" is illegitimate.
Thank you. You articulated that way better than I attempted to on the previous page.
 

Mindaboo

Puritan Board Graduate
I think we have to be careful. My sister was confronted by a "Christian" about her having her first child out of wedlock and really confused my sister. My sister was told that her daughter was "sin", not that her having sex outside of marriage was the sin. When my little sister became pregnant, I did all I could to encourage her to persevere in her pregnancy. I was able to tell her that it was not sinful for her to have her baby. Her baby was conceived in sin, but to have her baby was good and right.
And you can bet I was rejoicing over the birth of her first babe.

Having been in that situation myself I was able to have compassion on her. She became pregnant again and the second baby ended up aborted. That broke my heart. I would much rather rejoice in a baby's life than go through losing a niece or nephew again. I would gladly go to a baby shower where a woman is giving life than deal with a woman that had an abortion. Abortion hurts the family members that could have been blessed by that child and it was a sad day for my family when it happened.

I think reaching out to women who are alone and pregnant is an important ministry. Most women who are in this situation are probably regretting the mistakes made that led them to this point. I have a great deal of respect for my mom who didn't abort me. She chose to give me life and to me that takes courages. She wasn't and still isn't a good mother, but the Lord has given me one area in my life to be thankful to her for.

I am not saying that calling sin is bad, but I think we can do it lovingly. We could be the tool the Lord uses to bring these parents to repentance.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
Children born of an unlawful sexual union is what makes children illegitimate. :2cents:
"Illegitimate children" is a very unfortunate term. It's been coined by a sinful secular society (although Christians have, unthinkingly, used the term also) as a way to "blame the victim" thereby throwing the spotlight off the real culprits - those having sex outside marriage.

It's the unlawful sexual union that's illegitimate, not the children who are produced.

The term "illegitimate children" is illegitimate.

I don't know the total history of the term "illegitimate" but I image it came into use as a more polite way to say "bastard". I don't advocate either term.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Again, the event being celebrated (pregnancy and impending birth) isn't a shameful thing. I understand where you're coming from, Jessi, but it seems that you're equating the sin with its consequence (which happens to be a blessing) -- if not explicitly, then at least by implication. Showers usually take place in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy anyway. There's plenty of time during the pregnancy beforehand for appropriate shame to take root and repentance to take place. By the time a shower would happen, it'd be about darn time to celebrate.

At least I'd think so.

Also, are we necessarily talking about the church organizing a shower? I'm coming at it from the perspective of Christian friends. (I've never even heard of a church organizing a shower for a married woman.)
First, I have to say that I feel like this is a dumb thing for me to be arguing over. This isn't some rule I live by and it is not something I've ever even practiced. I just gave my answer as a piece of critical thinking about how we could deal with illegitimacy. I do think my answer would be one good way to deal with premarital sex, and I was talking about within the church. Our church has showers for weddings and babies. I think it would send mixed signals to throw a shower if you are counseling the pregnant girl to marry the father.I think most churches do.
So I am thinking of a pretty specific example, I guess, when I give my answer. I'm thinking of a girl who lives with or still sleeps with the father of the baby (or another man) and is continuing the sinful behavior that got her pregnant. I think to throw a shower for someone in that situation would not be most effective in teaching her to repent of her sin.
I believe 100% that children are a blessing from the Lord. I don't think that means the church deals with all prospective parents similarly. I think the girl who is not married will need more counsel than a shower. I think that a shower may perpetuate the idea that what she is doing is OK. Do you give the single mother another shower if she gets pregnant out of wedlock again?

I am dealing in the abstract here, and I think when real people are involved, love may stir you toward various responses. For you personally it was not in the abstract, and I can see how you may be personally offended by my answers. If so, please forgive me. I am honestly just trying to say what I think the most principled response would be. I have never, though, responded thusly when my friends and family have had showers for babies born out of wedlock. I just think I would feel that there was something dishonest if the ladies of my church threw a baby shower for an unwed mother. I think, though, we would be more than required to fill any needs the mom would have.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
I am dealing in the abstract here, and I think when real people are involved, love may stir you toward various responses. For you personally it was not in the abstract, and I can see how you may be personally offended by my answers. If so, please forgive me. I am honestly just trying to say what I think the most principled response would be. I have never, though, responded thusly when my friends and family have had showers for babies born out of wedlock. I just think I would feel that there was something dishonest if the ladies of my church threw a baby shower for an unwed mother. I think, though, we would be more than required to fill any needs the mom would have.
No offense taken. My aim was simply to show that there's a range of circumstances that could surround the singular issue of "illegitimate children", and what's appropriate for one unwed mom might not be for another.
 

UKPuritan40

Puritan Board Freshman
Please forgive me for the length of this response…It is an issue I have much experience with. I don’t know how to cut quotes yet so I’m not replying to any specific post unless mentioned specifically. God bless you all for wanting to figure out what the biblical way is to handle this matter.

Most of what I have written is more to raise questions for thought. I don’t have specific scriptures but I would point strongly to considering at the foundation what is the role of the church, elders and discipline and where do baby showers fit in.


Brothers and Sisters, please think carefully and tread lightly when you discuss these matters in your homes and before your children. I have known oh so many girls, more professing Christians than not, in the reformed churches, who have been pregnant out of wedlock, and I will promise you, none of them were thinking they should get themselves in the same way because mom and dad were just “too compassionate” toward some pregnant girl at church. I know far too well that watching parents take just a tiny blush of prideful glee in the statement “not my daughter” or a little moment of tsk tsk too fondly relished over another’s sinful fall , has seemed to set a hardening seed and a loathing of hypocrisy in the young of the church. By all means, teach and proclaim God’s word about chastity, purity (not “just” virginity which can be “technically kept” without true purity) and marriage, but with humility and “there but for the grace of God go I and my sons and daughters” on our hearts and tongues. It is all too easy to make pregnancy the sin.


1. The throwing of baby showers for married or single women is not a “function” of the church. I understand the women often get together and throw such things, but I for one would keep them out of any remote sense of their being a “church event.” In addition, they can bring all sorts of quandaries such as the one in question? Do showers only get thrown for members and how is this made clear to visitors who aren’t members so no one is confused or hurt? If they only get thrown for members and the young women in question has not been excommunicated, you have your answer.


2.Having been on the receiving and giving end of showers, I’ve yet to see them as “honoring the mother” for herself as seems to be suggested by some of the writers (perhaps male?) They are meant to help feather the nest, in preparation for the baby. Yes I know many women love the games and such but I’d rather see that skipped on ALL showers not just the “illegitimate” ones. (now I’ve really offended) The women in puritan times made ready to die when they were “brought to bed” (term for giving birth) and were very sober minded at the anticipation of such. I’m not suggesting horror stories of birth and death, but could we not keep to a prayerful“Lord willing” frame of mind about the impending birth and child? Each birth is still travail and can yet have very uncertain outcome.

3.One cannot have God open one’s womb and be an illegitimate parent, God doesn’t do illegitimate. As has been mentioned by some, fornication is the sin, not conception. And there is a father to share the guilt regardless of his presence or not.

4.I understand that there are consequences of sin. However, is it not the responsibility of the session to make and carry out the consequences that the church court has instituted?(And I believe that discipline is it’s own form of compassion btw) When it is, in essence being suggested that one of the reasons we wouldn’t give a shower is to “remind the women who is pregnant out of wedlock of the consequences of her sin”, I have to ask, since when is the job of the body at large, to remind others of their sin and its consequences?(Is this not primarily a function of the pulpit ministry and teaching and discipline of elders?) Are we not to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn? Are we not to rejoice in those who are repentant and long to see them fully restored? In the case of the repentant and potentially submitting to discipline pregnant unmarried woman in our congregations, is there not cause for both weeping and joy? Do we feel a need to remind other’s of sin’s consequences more for some sin’s than others? If so why?

Do we discipline our children at home and then go on about it for weeks to come, how they have fallen? Or do we discipline and instruct them, and then watch them as they move on from that place prayerful and hopeful that they have learned. When does the statute of limitations run out on our “reminding” the single mother of her downfall? 9 months, when the baby has arrived? When the baby turns 18? (Again, I am assuming you are not asking about a shower for a girl/woman still living in sexual sin)

The single mother, who has presumably already been repentant and is undergoing discipline and instruction from elders, is she not going to live enough real world consequences from this and the reality alone, without us adding to it by our continued “refusal to rejoice in any way shape or form” over the impending baby?(I suggest not smiling at the baby for the first year if you really want to get the message across) Should she not, be able to tell her child when it is older, of the practical help and love the saints administered after the sting of the rod? Or should she rather have stories of how everything was very hush hush and cloaked in scorn to help her learn her lesson.

Do children not listen to stories of before they were born, and what was done in preparation for them, as awaiting “THEM”…and if so how can having loving if not “exuberantly party like” preps not be a good way to show that the child is welcome.
I suggest you ask the question as well, are we treating a fallen covenant young woman’s out of wedlock pregnancy differently if we had an unregenerate visitor in our midst? E.g., if we had a girl sent over from a pregnancy rescue center to fellowship with us for a few months, would we rejoice in her baby and give her a shower? (after all we’d be keen to show her how nice Christians are and how we love those who don’t abort their babies)

Someone suggested asked if it’s come to throwing showers for those who don’t abort, well has it?(Great Chris Rock illustration btw) Maybe, depends on if the mom is regenerate or not, but I ask you how would you explain to your children/church youth, if you treat a visiting crisis pregnancy girl different than a covenant crisis pregnancy girl. (ie showers for the former, gifts after the baby given on the down low for the other)

Please feel free If you want clarification of this, I’m writing late at night with my proof-reader snoring away next to me.
With warm Christian regards,
Susan Nye Ferrell (Member Sovereign Redeemer OPC Boise Idaho)
 
Last edited:

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Susan,
Thank you for that post.
I think there are too many variables to give one answer.
A scenario-type I had specifically in mind is a young girl who lives with her boyfriend but she has been attending a church. The women are trying to help her see that she is in sin, but they are rejoicing that she is having the baby (the first time she was pregnant, she aborted). Since she is not a member at the church, what do you do?

I thank you for your point on it not being the church's job to shame people. I wasn't really considering what that meant. I do not think that it is my job to point out people's sins. But all the same, I think shame should be present in our lives for unrepentant sin. How is it there, if we as a church look no different than society?

No one wants to "not smile at the baby," or punish the baby at all. The few people who agree with me here are simply saying that a party may not be the way to go with an unwed mother. I personally am not speaking of a repentant unwed mother. Or a covenant member of a church. I am thinking of the crisis pregnancy-type! And I think that you can love someone without ribbons and bows.
 
Last edited:

Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
Please forgive me for the length of this response…It is an issue I have much experience with. I don’t know how to cut quotes yet so I’m not replying to any specific post unless mentioned specifically. God bless you all for wanting to figure out what the biblical way is to handle this matter.

Most of what I have written is more to raise questions for thought. I don’t have specific scriptures but I would point strongly to considering at the foundation what is the role of the church, elders and discipline and where do baby showers fit in.


Brothers and Sisters, please think carefully and tread lightly when you discuss these matters in your homes and before your children. I have known oh so many girls, more professing Christians than not, in the reformed churches, who have been pregnant out of wedlock, and I will promise you, none of them were thinking they should get themselves in the same way because mom and dad were just “too compassionate” toward some pregnant girl at church. I know far too well that watching parents take just a tiny blush of prideful glee in the statement “not my daughter” or a little moment of tsk tsk too fondly relished over another’s sinful fall , has seemed to set a hardening seed and a loathing of hypocrisy in the young of the church. By all means, teach and proclaim God’s word about chastity, purity (not “just” virginity which can be “technically kept” without true purity) and marriage, but with humility and “there but for the grace of God go I and my sons and daughters” on our hearts and tongues. It is all too easy to make pregnancy the sin.


1. The throwing of baby showers for married or single women is not a “function” of the church. I understand the women often get together and throw such things, but I for one would keep them out of any remote sense of their being a “church event.” In addition, they can bring all sorts of quandaries such as the one in question? Do showers only get thrown for members and how is this made clear to visitors who aren’t members so no one is confused or hurt? If they only get thrown for members and the young women in question has not been excommunicated, you have your answer.


2.Having been on the receiving and giving end of showers, I’ve yet to see them as “honoring the mother” for herself as seems to be suggested by some of the writers (perhaps male?) They are meant to help feather the nest, in preparation for the baby. Yes I know many women love the games and such but I’d rather see that skipped on ALL showers not just the “illegitimate” ones. (now I’ve really offended) The women in puritan times made ready to die when they were “brought to bed” (term for giving birth) and were very sober minded at the anticipation of such. I’m not suggesting horror stories of birth and death, but could we not keep to a prayerful“Lord willing” frame of mind about the impending birth and child? Each birth is still travail and can yet have very uncertain outcome.

3.One cannot have God open one’s womb and be an illegitimate parent, God doesn’t do illegitimate. As has been mentioned by some, fornication is the sin, not conception. And there is a father to share the guilt regardless of his presence or not.

4.I understand that there are consequences of sin. However, is it not the responsibility of the session to make and carry out the consequences that the church court has instituted?(And I believe that discipline is it’s own form of compassion btw) When it is, in essence being suggested that one of the reasons we wouldn’t give a shower is to “remind the women who is pregnant out of wedlock of the consequences of her sin”, I have to ask, since when is the job of the body at large, to remind others of their sin and its consequences?(Is this not primarily a function of the pulpit ministry and teaching and discipline of elders?) Are we not to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn? Are we not to rejoice in those who are repentant and long to see them fully restored? In the case of the repentant and potentially submitting to discipline pregnant unmarried woman in our congregations, is there not cause for both weeping and joy? Do we feel a need to remind other’s of sin’s consequences more for some sin’s than others? If so why?

Do we discipline our children at home and then go on about it for weeks to come, how they have fallen? Or do we discipline and instruct them, and then watch them as they move on from that place prayerful and hopeful that they have learned. When does the statute of limitations run out on our “reminding” the single mother of her downfall? 9 months, when the baby has arrived? When the baby turns 18? (Again, I am assuming you are not asking about a shower for a girl/woman still living in sexual sin)

The single mother, who has presumably already been repentant and is undergoing discipline and instruction from elders, is she not going to live enough real world consequences from this and the reality alone, without us adding to it by our continued “refusal to rejoice in any way shape or form” over the impending baby?(I suggest not smiling at the baby for the first year if you really want to get the message across) Should she not, be able to tell her child when it is older, of the practical help and love the saints administered after the sting of the rod? Or should she rather have stories of how everything was very hush hush and cloaked in scorn to help her learn her lesson.

Do children not listen to stories of before they were born, and what was done in preparation for them, as awaiting “THEM”…and if so how can having loving if not “exuberantly party like” preps not be a good way to show that the child is welcome.
I suggest you ask the question as well, are we treating a fallen covenant young woman’s out of wedlock pregnancy differently if we had an unregenerate visitor in our midst? E.g., if we had a girl sent over from a pregnancy rescue center to fellowship with us for a few months, would we rejoice in her baby and give her a shower? (after all we’d be keen to show her how nice Christians are and how we love those who don’t abort their babies)

Someone suggested asked if it’s come to throwing showers for those who don’t abort, well has it?(Great Chris Rock illustration btw) Maybe, depends on if the mom is regenerate or not, but I ask you how would you explain to your children/church youth, if you treat a visiting crisis pregnancy girl different than a covenant crisis pregnancy girl. (ie showers for the former, gifts after the baby given on the down low for the other)

Please feel free If you want clarification of this, I’m writing late at night with my proof-reader snoring away next to me.
With warm Christian regards,
Susan Nye Ferrell (Member Sovereign Redeemer OPC Boise Idaho)
Thank you for that post, as it has given me a lot to chew on.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top