Family Planning in Christian Culture

The world sees the population of this world in a negative light.  From an environmental perspective, we are each creating what they call a carbon footprint.  Every human exhales CO2 and thus is causing global warming as well as creating an unnecessary strain on infrastructure they say.  To exemplify the typical secular perspective, Bill and Melinda Gates are on the forefront of family planning in the USA for example and supposedly love children, yet spend a fortune in abortion funding.  Totally inconsistent.  The very people who say that humans are a burden to the planet are by nature selfish in their thoughts since they too fall under the hand of their logic.  A recent study done showed the Green Police/eco friendly croud to be some of the most selfish and uncaring people in the world.  It goes to show the true motives of the movement.  Sadly, this is the perspective of many Christian families as well to take up a very pagan belief, “We are waiting because it doesn’t make financial sense right now.” Children in this view have thoughtlessly become seen as an economic burden when God has called them good.  God is a provider for His people or have we so quickly forgotten?

Before getting into the body of the argument let me make a couple of things clear, the issue is not with the methodology; ie. whether a person uses a condom or not. The issue is with the heart and the avoidance of responsibility and of what God has called good. Consider also the biological view of sex since we have just introduced economics.  What is the function of sex?  The biological function of sexual intimacy is procreation.  In as much as we cannot escape the fact that food serves a biological function so also we cannot escape the fact of sex.  The purpose biologically is for procreation.  Keep that in mind as you read through the argument.

The liberal movement in action results in abortion on the extreme end with contraception being the “gateway drug” if I may use the absurd parallel argument most use for marijuana leading to worse behavior.  Take a look at a couple of reasons given for abortion and see if they don’t match up with your reasons for utilizing contraception in your marriage.  According to Christian Life Resources; 73 percent of people say they can’t afford to have a baby and thus get an abortion; 38 percent said they didn’t want to have any more children.  Since 1973 52-million unborn children have been executed for selfish reasons.  How many more have been prevented in Christian marriages by use of contraception for the very same reasons?  The question comes down to attitude.  What makes a Christian any less guilty of abortion if in his heart he has prevented the unborn from being conceived for any one of the selfish reasons above?

It has always struck a funny chord with me when I talk to newlyweds or marriages that are only a couple of years old and the issue of children comes up.  I always get the same responses and to date no one has given me a well thought out response.  They are always short, very quick to respond, reasons given as to what they are thinking.  The conversation might go something like this after formalities, “so no kids yet?”  “Nooo.  Nooo.  We are going to wait a couple of years.”  Or “I’m definitely not ready yet.”  “My spouse is going to finish grad school first.”  “No way we can afford it yet.”  “We want to enjoy each other first.”  “Got to finish the house first.”  What is interesting is the very same people will raise an eyebrow at the family who hasn’t given a second thought to “family planning” or even attach a negative or humorous stigma to a young family that has grown quickly. Why?  It certainly bears no resemblance to what the bible calls negative or humorous to have children right away.  So, can we assume it is because secular culture has invaded Christian thinking?

It must be the case that Christian culture has been so infiltrated by secular culture.  Consider the wedding ceremony.  What comes to mind?  Bridezilla?  The Wedding Crashers staring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn?  Extreme stress?  Extravagance and huge strain on the family finances?  If any of the above reasons come to mind consider how culture has influenced your view of a glorious thing, the wedding.  What if your view of the wedding ceremony included children running up and down the isles?  What if your view of the ceremony encouraged the whole family to come out and celebrate?  Not just a privileged few so you could have the extravagant venue of your choice?  I had parents come to me shocked because I invited their children, all of them, to my wedding feast. Why?  Isn’t that what the wedding ceremony is about?  Family?  Isn’t that you are uniting with another before God to do?  Start a family?  or perhaps it is for your unthought out selfish reasons of being lonely and needing physical companionship only?

There is a great movie out there called 17 Again.  You might laugh because of the reviews, but consider the plot.  Mike falls for the argument that life is about him.  He wants a second shot at it after pouring his life into a job and meanwhile neglecting his family for 20 years.  He is on the verge of losing his family to divorce.  After he realizes that his second shot at life is about pouring his life into his family he wins their hearts and especially the heart of his wife, who at the end of the movie tells him “I missed you.”  His marriage fell apart because he was unhappy with his life.  His marriage came back together again when he poured his life into his children and lived selflessly. Throughout the movie there are themes of pro-marriage and pro-life.  I was shocked to say the least as I watched it in my hotel room in December.  “Isn’t making love about making a baby?”  Watch the movie if you get a chance.  There is more to it than meets the eye and oddly enough a Christian understanding of being a dad.

Anyway, the reason I bring it up is that our culture is saturated with “me”.  We live in a very egocentric world.  The great American dream is about you.  The purpose of life is the pursuit of happiness.  You have to get the job you always wanted.  You need to make it big and be a success- nevermind what a success is just go out and be one.  That is the kind of pressure we battle with every day.  Husbands have got to stand up for what is biblical.  The church doesn’t have a problem with the leave and cleave part of marriage.  The church, like the rest of the world, gets lost in this idea of family planning. The church takes all of the arguments of Calvin and Martin Luther to the point of almost worship and then avoids those little arguments they have on masturbation and contraception.  The Onan incident is all but glossed over.  Children are not viewed as blessings, etc.  God struck Onan dead for failing to do his duty!  “Oh, that was just a cultural thing.”

I can’t understand how Christian culture, being at the forefront during the great Revolutionary War, has dwindled so far as to think “everyone is alright” on Sunday mornings.  A recent blog I read that was passed on to me by some of my old friends, who by the way were afraid to comment on it (not sure what else to say or maybe they are still pondering on it), asked the question as to whether America was a Christian nation and whether it should be.  The conclusion was that a Christian nation would lead to moral decline and that places like China have a flourishing church.  I suppose there is some truth to the argument of “Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monster” as Hugo Victor put it, but is that what we really want?  Do we need to feel God’s wrath to wake up and be men? If we are asking that question there are obviously serious problems in the church and it would seem the church is ripe for judgment.  I think of the church I came out of.  That place had the most difficult time in getting participation for the various ministries, children’s Sunday school, etc.  What is strange is the phenomenon is not isolated to my old church.  Why is that?  Is it because the structure is confining to letting the Spirit work?  Perhaps it is the liberalism that has infiltrated?  Family planning?  I think we are on to something here.  It boils down to the heart.  What a vile and foul thing man has.  The heart and its motives.  If a man doesn’t have the balls to have children and has instead chosen a path of financial success as a goal what makes you think he will have the balls to be a man inside that church building? Why should he participate there if he isn’t participating at home?

A good friend recently challenged me with a book titled “The Bible and Birth Control” by Charles D. Provan.  It is not a very long read.  Maybe forty-five minutes and your done.  At first glance I immediately was annoyed by “the more the merrier” philosophy, but eventually worked through to see the truth to his argument.  Consider the following excerpt from the text, “Christians of today have been so influenced by our godless materialistic culture that their view of children is the same as that of the world: “children are an economic drain — they make you poor — they limit economic progress — they prevent women from reaching their potential.”  This is not what the Bible says.  The Bible says in 1 Chron. 25:5 that “God gave fourteen sons and three daughters to Heman” “to exalt him.”  (It does not say, “to degrade him” or “to make him disgustingly poor”, which is what our modern birth control advocates might have written, had they and not the Holy Spirit been in charge of writing the Bible!)  The Holy Spirit also wrote in 1 Chron. 26:5 that “God had indeed blessed” Obed-edom by giving him eight sons!  Planned Parenthood or some of our modern so-called “Christian Sex Manuals” might have used Obed-edom as a horror story for “overpopulation”” (pp. 7-8).  The book goes on to point out the perspectives of all of the church “great ones” like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Wesley, etc.  The list is fairly staggering as are the statements regarding planned parenthood by these men.  Martin Luther called spilling your seed worse than incest and adultery, Calvin said that contraception was the same as murder as it prevented a future life..  What if that was our perspective of children?  That we held the blessings of God in such high regard.  The text also points out the Scriptures showing that bareness and childlessness was a curse.  For some reason we see it as a blessing, a freedom, and even joke about it here in modern day American churches.

Another book I picked up again after letting it sit for so long is “Reforming Marriage” by Douglas Wilson.  Another great read that touches on the issues in marriage.  Apart from pointing out that men need to act the part, Douglas Wilson has a section that addresses birth control.  His approach discusses the attitude behind the decisions.  “This entire issue must be understood in the light of our motivations, and our submission to the scriptural view of family.  It is also true that in the area of motivations, we are answerable to God and Him alone. . .Parents are stewards before God, and God entrusts the children to them. . .When Jesus told the parable of the talents, He did not refer to any quarrel between the man who had ten talents and the man who had five.  The one who got into trouble (with his master, and not with his fellow-servants) was the one who feared to be entrusted with any responsibility.  He buried what he had in the ground and was condemned by his master.  And this is what many Christian couples have done and are doing.  They don’t want the responsibility of parenthood, but God has said that He made them one for the purpose of godly offspring (Mal. 2:15)” (p. 128).  Douglas Wilson argues that no where in Scripture does it say man shall not use a condom and he argues that the methodology ought to be avoided in debates.  It is a well written piece I recommend readily.

In closing, I want to encourage my fellow brothers and students of Christ to think critically why it is that you are waiting to have children.  No good thing can come of it, though, you may argue for financial stability, or some other reason.  My friends, if you continue to wait and put off what God has called blessed are you not falling for the arguments of the world, the flesh, and the devil?  When has God ever let you down?  Or not provided for you when you are acting in accordance with his Word?  I say study the Scriptures diligently and always be prepared to give an account of what you believe.  What we have done is procrastinated those issues we are not ready to talk about and that is a very shameful thing before our God and before other men who see us as ambassadors.  I see very little in the way of outward differences between those families who are in the church and those who are not. What separates you from them in your thought process of family?  If the answer is something other than biblical planning I encourage you to take a second look at what God’s Word has to offer.  Why put a Cadillac, brand new house, or man made degree in front of gifts from the Lord?

Children are a blessing from the LORD, not a curse.

~ by Majestic on February 19, 2011.

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