Generation Cedar

I felt it necessary, not only to give an answer, but for other women interested in obeying Scripture, to dispel yet another untruth among Christians.

Birth control inevitably touches a nerve among many. Be assured…I don’t talk about this to “debate my own platform”, as one commenter put it, or to meddle or be pushy. You can’t see my face or know my heart, so I must tell you I speak in love, such as one spoke to me years ago.

We are such a “don’t meddle in my business” church that we forget about who we are and what the Bible says. We are not a church made up of autonomous individuals; we are a body. And as such, it makes sense why the Bible has instructed us–in many places–to teach, exhort, rebuke and remind each other of truth.

I’m not debating whether or not a couple should use birth control, although the question must be asked on a personal level, being so relevant to the issue children.

I am challenging a lie that is being perpetuated in the church. That is my job, as it is yours if you are a believer. To decline is to allow the Word of God to be blasphemed. (Titus 2)

The lie: children are a burden. Yes, that is the prevailing attitude among Christians, even if you would argue that such has not been claimed. We must teach that they are a blessing, or by default we teach that they are burdens. I make no apologies in saying this attitude is anti-biblical and should be taught against with all the fervor in us.

Naturally, the subject of birth control must come up, for it is intricately woven into the subject of children. In teaching that children are a blessing, it is necessary that we ponder the ins and outs of the subject. It is needful to ask questions, search and define this topic if we want to stand before the Lord and say “I have diligently sought Thee.”

But let me state it again, emphatically: it is not meddling to speak against lies in the church. It’s been done for all of history, and those who do it will continue to be persecuted. Nevertheless, we MUST keep our bearing about what we are called to.

If a brother or sister is telling another brother or sister that they should stop having babies, it is our job to ask if that word lines up with the Word of God.

Is birth control for the believer? I’m not going to answer that question. But I will never stop saying that the people of God ought to be speaking the things of God. We are commanded to.

“Children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is His reward….happy is the man whose quiver is full of them…your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table….Psalm 127, 128

The Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.” Malachi 2:14,15

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36 Responses

  1. Hi Kelly……Id like to share on this portion of your post, hoping to understand more fully, or thoroughly, where you are coming from…..helps me grasp the ‘bigger picture’..

    ***The lie: children are a burden. Yes, that is the prevailing attitude among Christians, even if you would argue that such has not been claimed. We must teach that they are a blessing, or by default we teach that they are burdens. I make no apologies in saying this attitude is anti-biblical and should be taught against with all the fervor in us.

    Naturally, the subject of birth control must come up, for it is intricately woven into the subject of children. In teaching that children are a blessing, it is necessary that we ponder the ins and outs of the subject. It is needful to ask questions, search and define this topic if we want to stand before the Lord and say “I have diligently sought Thee.”

    But let me state it again, emphatically: it is not meddling to speak against lies in the church. It’s been done for all of history, and those who do it will continue to be persecuted. Nevertheless, we MUST keep our bearing about what we are called to.
    ***

    But by saying “of course the topic of birth control will come up”…..is that insinuating that because we cant speak lies, i.e., “children are a burden”…thus we can bring this subject up in the church body? How is that also not allowing freedom of everyone to choose with their own free will in life? I would not comment on anothers choice to have 40 kids……..or 1. to use birth control, or not. we can preach a lot of truth, and stand against the principle of lies, without becoming so tedious in anothers life. in our *own* lives; yes, as our eyes are opened.

    I would believe that Christians seeking God are truly growing everyday…….and if we are seeking and truly desiring to be made more aware, we will grow and change. But who is to say every person in Christs body needs to hear the specifics of birth control? because some peopel have determined it is living in lies, or feeding into bigger lies? I am confused that if we arent to meddle, then that would be classified as meddling too.

  2. Thanks for your numerous posts on this topic. It is so often ignored and shoved under the rug. On a personal level, I have noticed that Christian youth are getting harder to find. The question has to be asked, “Is it because they were not trained up in the ways of the Lord?” OR “Were they never allowed to be born?”

  3. authenticallyme,

    I am disturbed by a few of your comments. Such as:

    “How is that also not allowing freedom of everyone to choose with their own free will in life? I would not comment on anothers choice to have 40 kids……..or 1. to use birth control, or not. we can preach a lot of truth, and stand against the principle of lies, without becoming so tedious in anothers life. in our *own* lives; yes, as our eyes are opened.”

    First of all, we have free will, the will to choose Christ or not. Once we choose Christ we no longer belong to ourselves and our sinful nature but we belong to him and are called to abide in Him. Which also means we follow Him and his word. So the question really is, does He have anything to say about children? If he does, we are called to follow what he says, not indulge our free will.

    Secondly, in regards to growing and having our eyes be opened. God uses more than one method to accomplish this. Perhaps He is using a sister in Christ (kelly) to “open” our eyes. It is not meddling to speak God’s truth and rebuke those Christians that are not following His ways, it is Biblical.

    So I guess the real question is, is Kelly speaking the truth? Is is supported by Scripture?

  4. I work with the result of your “scripture.” The children born to those who are not equipped either mentally, physically or financially to deal with all of them. Those that are left by men who are too immature to handle the many children that are born to them. These children are not plump and blond and happy – they are drug-addicted and angry. They are brain-damaged.

    In the best of all possible worlds, children are wanted and loved. But this is not the best of all possible worlds. I think – as a Christian – you might want to consider that.

  5. Anon,

    If you will notice, I have addressed my teaching to Christians…we know that lifestyles of sin produce heartache and sorrow and negative consequences.(All of which God ultimately uses for His glory.)

    Those results can’t be blamed on “my scripture”…the results can be blamed on disobedience to those Scriptures.

  6. AM,

    This subject has been one of discussion in the church body since it’s artificial use was first made public.

    You would be shocked (if you think I’m bold or “meddling”) to hear what early church leaders had to say about it. (Stay tuned…I may post some quotes.)

    The core of this discussion (to teach or not to teach) lies in whether you believe we are instructed to teach truth to others within the church.

    The “new church” with it’s “stay out of my business” philosophy sounds great, but isn’t Scriptural.

    Yes, there are areas of personal freedom–sure! And there are areas we just leave for each person to decide.

    But the area of children is one the Bible speaks clearly about. It’s not a neutral subject that doesn’t affect others. If the church is embracing a “doctrine” of children that is not Scriptural, we would all be remiss to let it go, because as a body, we all suffer from that wrong doctrine.

  7. While pregnant with my second child, I asked the doc about an iud. She was very vague and patted me on the back and said “good choice.” But I pressed her about how it works. She finally admitted the abortative qualitied of it and looked very sheepish. I then researched all birth control methods and found, to my horror that oral contraceptives (the pill) also have abortifacient qualities. I had put that poison in my body for 5 years and had no idea what it was doing. There are definately lies, misinformation and omissions about birth control out there. I discovered natural family planning and have also formed strong opinions about birth control. I have a circle of Christian friends with no one else having more that 2 kids and no desire to have anymore. I often feel like the weirdo bc I have 4. When the subject of kids come up I have to hold my tongue. I don’t know how to convey my beliefs without sounding preachy or judgemental. That’s why I like to read posts like these, it helps to know others share my attitude and can express it more eloquently than me!!

  8. Thank you for these many posts of yours on birth control, I find they speak right to my heart and are are writen so beautifully. Thank-you for such an inspiring blog.

  9. Has it occurred to anyone that the Bible and other scripture was written before there were a LOT of people in the world? LOL!

    You’re awfully literal about it – that’s all I can say. Maybe God could send a revised version? 🙂

  10. Anon,

    Yeah, all the “smart people” said we better stop having babies so the world wouldn’t overpopulate–you know, because God obviously forgot about that minor detail…anyway, that’s why all the smart people recently gathered and did a film called “Demographic Winter”, in which the final anlaysis is, “Oops…we’re killing our own civilization because of de-population.”

    So if we’re not smart enough to listen to, perhaps you could see what the experts are saying. Looks like God knew what he was doing after all! He always does.

  11. As an engaged woman many years ago now, Christian leaders immediately pointed me in the direction of birth control. Because other Christians endorsed it, I assumed it was ‘okay’ and didn’t consider not using it, even though I never felt particularly comfortable about the fact. Then I had my first child just one year after marriage and was astounded at how we were accused of being immature, irresponsible and even selfish to have children so soon after marriage and not to have waited! It was then that I realised that just because Christians say it’s right, doesn’t mean it is!

    I must admit that the idea of family planning is something I’ve continued to struggle with. I’m honest with my children – because I don’t know how to advise them but we talk about all the issues and how our bodies have been made and the fact that God says the purpose of marriage is to raise godly children.

    I now work with children and I often hear parents complain about their children (and not just nono-Christian parents either) as if they are a burden. I suspect that the use of birth control is partly to blame. When we continually use birth control we’re subconsciously telling ourselves, “No babies. We don’t want babies.” What then happens when we decide that we do want babies? I suspect there’s still some remnants of that voice saying “no babies” in our subconscious that forces us to see children as a burden rather than as a blessing.

  12. Okay Kelly, I am waiting for part two of your post about this subject.

    I am still trying to learn that children are a blessing and not a burden. I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t learned that one just yet, but I’m working on it.

  13. Anon,

    I’ve actually read that article and several like them. I’ve also researched the contributors behind Demographic Winter.

    I fully expect the liberals to come up with this opposition since the reality of what DW reveals flies in the face of so many of their agendas.

    Many who presented their research of DW were atheists or other religious-affiliates–not Christians.

    The trend is obvious to anyone with a shred of sense when you consider that the population is increasingly becoming an “aged” population with a declining young one to hold it up. We didn’t see this coming? A child could undertand it. Proves how blind we are to common sense when “our agendas” are at stake…though this is very off topic.

  14. I love your blog and agree with you on just about everything. But ever since having #4 I’ve been questioning so much of this myself. Right now, I can truly relate to the “world” in that children do, in fact, feel more like a burden than a blessing much of the time. They do. Even though I am SUPER diligent about training them, they honestly kick my butt. One is crying, the other one is begging for their lunch, the next one just finished lunch and wants a snack, the other one spills their milk, then the one who was asking for a snack starts crying because his brother took his toy or I said no snack, or whatever. Then with the training, right when you think you deal with one issue, another one comes up, or the next child starts dealing with the same issue, and on and on. Right now, I honestly just want to cry. I am so tired of all of this. If we keep having babies, we will keep dealing with all of this over and over and over and over again and at what point do children become more blessings than burdens? I feel bad speaking in this way, but I can honestly relate to much of the world right now :*(

  15. Like one anonymous commenter, I, too, used to work with children considered inconvenient, unwanted by the world. These precious children are very much wanted by the Lord.

    Ms. Kelly, to your response–

    “Those results can’t be blamed on “my scripture”…the results can be blamed on disobedience to those Scriptures”

    I say,

    Excellent.

  16. Kristi,

    When the days are tough, like what you are describing, it is hard. Sometimes the days seem like a blur. What helps me is to focus on the Truths of God. When my emotions are telling me one thing, I meditate on the Scripture that counteracts the lies. The enemy is the great deceiver, and he wants to give you all the lies. Without focusing on the Truth, we are likely to believe those lies.

    The world (and unfortunately the church) believes and communicates that children are a burden from a hundred different directions. Your emotions and tired body want to believe it. Trust God and His Word. Our emotions aren’t always trustworthy, but the Lord is ever faithful. He can be believed.

    Kelly, thank you for sharing again on this.

  17. Kristi,

    I think they’re a blessing on a number of levels, but maybe not all “one big party” during the early years.

    They are blessing as they are each an immortal soul, another disciple given to a couple to raise for the Kingdom.

    They are a blessing as they will “speak with the enemies in the gates”.

    They are a blessing as their godly heritage will extend throughout the generations.

    They are a blessing as they will “rise up and call you blessed” when they are older.

    The will be a blessing to you as they get older, both in your home and possibly when you are feeble and need there care. The years you toil and sacrifice in their lives will likely be returned to you.

    By our toil we teach them “life is worth sacrificing for”. Because if we don’t teach them that, then what about when our health or conditions make us a “burden”?

    They are a blessing because through the hard work we must invest being mothers, God shapes us into His image.

    “For this present suffering is not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

    Those, just off the top of my head 😉

  18. Yes, you are right. Thank you. Sometimes I just need to slow down and think about eternity, and the big picture. They are blessings.

  19. Kelly, come off it. Demographic Winter was made by a Christian pro-family group. The fact that some atheists contributed does NOT make it unbiased. Everything that went in was chosen for a pro-family slant.

    By all means promote it, but it is highly disingenuous to suggest it’s not a Christian source, as you have done in the past – not your fault, as it doesn’t advertise the fact it’s a Christian movie (which I find very dishonest of it) and you have to go looking to find that it was produced and paid for by Christians.

  20. Mrs. W I haven’t even seen DW and I find your comments inappropriate “it doesn’t advertise the fact it’s a Christian movie (which I find very dishonest of it) and you have to go looking to find that it was produced and paid for by Christians.”

    What, should we all wear scarlet fishes on our bodices? So you can automatically look at us and say, oh, well, they obviously have a slant. We should ignore everything they might have to say.

  21. Rachel….I personally do not see what warrants my post being called ‘disturbing’. I find that rather harsh.

    I was bringing up to Kelly, that I interpreted incongruencies in her post, at least to MY perception (emphasis placed, “MY perception”)…I was confused as to this statement:

    ***I’m not debating whether or not a couple should use birth control, although the question must be asked on a personal level, being so relevant to the issue children.***

    and then this statement:

    ***Naturally, the subject of birth control must come up, for it is intricately woven into the subject of children. In teaching that children are a blessing, it is necessary that we ponder the ins and outs of the subject.***

    The way I was perceiving it was- on one hand, Kelly was saying we arent to outright tell another person about their choice for their womb…(Ive also seen her/others repeat the likeness in older threads) …and that christians who are quiverful minded, or whatnot, dont really go around ‘preaching’ it at others. OK. Thus, I wondered how the second portion I copied and pasted…where it says this topic will inadvertently come up…so does this mean it SHOULD be talked about? THIS was what I was asking Kelly about.

    Kelly, I dont mean to speak in third person with your name as if you arent here, but for the sake of answering Rachel, I was just trying to explain to her….what I was asking.

    The portion of free will..well, Ill disagree. We do have many choices, on an hourly basis…..in this life. Many times, there will be a myriad of choices…..like WHERE to go to school, like WHICH job to take, like WHAT to eat for breakfast…..whereas several answers that come to mind could all potentially be within the framework of Gods will. Since God knows the future, and what we *will* end up choosing, yes a perfect will is written down in the books…..cause He can see it in “Past Tense”. However, there are no #1 answers and one-and-only answers for where i should go to school……thus, free will as I interpret it. For some of us, birth control or lack thereof, is another issue that falls within the framework of Gods free will.

    But that was not even my point. I was needing clarification on those 2 points of Kelly’s, being understood in my brain, and thats what I was asking her help with.

    Rachel said, ***Secondly, in regards to growing and having our eyes be opened. God uses more than one method to accomplish this. Perhaps He is using a sister in Christ (kelly) to “open” our eyes. It is not meddling to speak God’s truth and rebuke those Christians that are not following His ways, it is Biblical.***

    I come out of a quiverful camp. I used no birth control for all of my children, and was ready to have as many as were given, or not.

    But, i agree with Kelly that it doesnt constitute ‘meddling’ over the chief principle, that children ARE blessings. that IS biblical. I have no problem with that…..i think its truth. lets broaden iteven further….PEOPLE are blessings. this concept is all over the bible.

    Where I differ, is that it IS meddling in my mind, to tell other Christians it is Anti-God to use birth control. It is not meddling to say from a position of strength, that children are blessings.

    The discrepancy for me was where on one hand, posts say that some people here, though they may choose to *write* about it, dont go *pushing or preaching* it…..then OTOH, now it is (“possibly”…..being emphasized)said that its really just rebuking if we tell others about the truth about birth control. I was wondering, which is it? That was part of the question(s) I was trying to pose to Kelly.

    ——————————-

    Kelly,

    I didnt say you were meddling, I was asking for clarification, seriously. I was trying to understand…because I am open to the possibility that Im understanding wrong.

    I do know that regarding areas of sin, yes, the church can be passive. I remarked not too long ago, how a church I attended for about 2 years, claimed at yearly business meetings, that “no church discipline issues arose this year”. I knew of situations where there was clear abuse going on, and the elders and pastor knew it. I also dont believe that most churches would lean towards *not ever* have a church discipline issue. I mean, people struggle. They fall. They backslide. It only makes sense, that YES….people dont like rebuke.

    I suppose I differ on where the boundaries lie on which issues are arguable, and which are more personal ones. If someone today would remark about my being pregnant, I would have the fearlessness to say, “Well, this is what Im doing for my life; my husband agrees, and it is what it is”. If they were to prod further, Id get even more tactful, telling them its my life and my body and they arent behaving respectfully by continuing to remark and question me. to me, THAT *IS* rebuke enough. address those in life who are nosy, meddling, and callous to children and personal issues, on the spot. say something; give an answer. But taking it to the church….i dont know. I think if there are people ready to hear about your thoughts on opening the womb, they will ask you on an individual level, and opportunity will arise to be able to do just that.

    Thats just my take.

    So, are or were you saying Kelly, that speaking out about birth control *IS* an issue that should be preached in church…and that if people think its meddling, that it really isnt…that it is ‘speaking the truth, in love”? I am NOT saying you said this; I am merely reitterating the way I read it, and checking back with you if that is what you meant.

    AM

  22. AM,

    I’m working on a post that I think/hope will answer your question (it is a difficult one even for myself to answer.)

  23. Man, its a good thing christ was a jew and no christian or there would be no christian church at all. I never come here without finding that Kelly is determindly explaining that all other christians–all others–are living in error, outside of the body of christ, and doomed (and not only doomed but causing damage to the world.) I would simply never accuse another person of that level of error and I don’t even believe in your version of christ. The arrogance of believing that *all children* are loved and wanted by g-d and that *at the same time* some are “products of sin” and others once they are grown up are not loved by g-d, or discarded by him, or for any error (real or imagined) are to be understood as fallen away from him just strikes me as weird. Can you truly believe that a supreme being brought this world and all its manifold mercies and joys and delights into being and then stands by nodding solemnly and condemning to some form of damnation all but the tiny remnant that Kelly deems saved *because of their unique interpretation of a few lines of scripture?*

    I’d like to point out that Jews,for example, don’t interpret the same lines in the OT at all the way Kelly does. For example, we say that it is a positive commandment for men to “be fruitful and multiply” but it is not a positive injunction for women. Therefore a woman can and should choose how and when she reproduces, and she may do so without committing a sin. In addition, the Rabbis argue that “necessity” can be our guide in such matters. Consider the not unlikely possibility that a woman is told by her doctor that she will die, or be harmed, by carrying another pregnancy to term. Under those circumstances the doctrine of necessity relieves *even the husband* of his religious duty under the positive commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” because by doing so he would cause harm to his spouse, which would be an equal or graver sin.

    aimai

  24. Lori, you are twisting my words. I absolutely don’t think we should discount everything DW says. I just think it is only honest to say that they are a Christian pro-family group who made the film. They are giving the impression they are atheist academics without an agenda but that isn’t true.

    To be very clear – having an agenda doesn’t mean that what you say isn’t true! And it doesn’t mean you should discount what they say. Just that in assessing something, we need to know where the speaker is coming from. It is misleading and dishonest otherwise (and see the confusion it leads to! Kelly has said here that the film is not made by pro-family Christians. I don’t blame her for supposing that, but it isn’t true. She was misled and inadvertently misled others. It’s dishonest. The film is still a worthwhile production even as it’s made by a pro-fmaily group, so why not be honest about it?)

  25. aimai,

    I can only assume by the constant torture you give yourself by reading this blog that you are hurting, desperately searching and starving for truth…keep reading!

  26. If you lived where I do (the Dakotas) you would believe the film Demographic Winter. The population in the Dakotas has been declining since the dust bowl of the 1930’s. We have ghost towns here and near-ghost towns. Our town lost its public school six years ago, and many other towns in these states are losing their schools, due to fewer families living here. A lot of young people move away to get jobs in larger cities. If every young family here had 15 children apiece, (most young families here have about four — more than in other parts of the country) it wouldn’t fill the place up.

  27. Kelly,
    thanks for the very generous invitation to keep reading and posting on your blog. I really enjoy it and I admire you as a parent, though not as a neighbor or a friend or a religious guide. Just as you don’t recognize how harsh and judgemental you seem to be to others–even in your own church, but certainly to those you deem outside of your church I don’t really recognize myself in your assumption that I’m angry or searching for something (like g-d). On the contrary, I really, really, really enjoy theological argument. Always have–my bible studies teacher in high school (a protestant) thought I should study to be a rabbi and I would have loved to do that but I don’t have the Hebrew to do so. Nevertheless, I entertain myself in the evenings reading theology, both christian and jewish with the odd moment of buddhist philosophy thrown in. I love your blog because until I started reading here I really didn’t grasp that there were such unabashed calvinists still among us, or people who swallowed the angry teachings of the mixed church of calvin and capitalism so uncritically. Thanks so much for giving all of us a place to read and think about these important ideas. I disagree with much of what you say but I defend to the death your right to say them, think them, and practice them.

    aimai

  28. “I’d like to point out that Jews,for example, don’t interpret the same lines in the OT at all the way Kelly does. For example, we say that it is a positive commandment for men to “be fruitful and multiply” but it is not a positive injunction for women. Therefore a woman can and should choose how and when she reproduces, and she may do so without committing a sin. In addition, the Rabbis argue that “necessity” can be our guide in such matters. Consider the not unlikely possibility that a woman is told by her doctor that she will die, or be harmed, by carrying another pregnancy to term. Under those circumstances the doctrine of necessity relieves *even the husband* of his religious duty under the positive commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” because by doing so he would cause harm to his spouse, which would be an equal or graver sin.”

    As an Orthodox Jew, I feel I must chip in. In a situation of real, substantial danger to her **life** which might be caused by pregnancy, a woman wouldn’t be “permitted” to use birth control – she would be REQUIRED to use it, as we have no right to put our lives in danger. There can be of course miracles, but Judaism prohibits putting one’s life in danger. There are “gray” areas here (which extent of risk is permitted etc), about which each couple will consult with their rabbi.

    As for the implication that Judaism permits birth control on a whim (“should choose”), and that a woman can just say to her husband, “the commandment of being fruitful is your ‘problem’, not mine” (ridiculous beyond ridiculous), that’s baloney. Children are blessings, and it has been this way in the (typically very large) Orthodox Jewish families even since birth control became commonplace.

  29. Mrs. Anna T

    makes an excellent point. Even within a religious belief system there can be disagreements on how a commandment should or will be interpreted. The thing that I, as a Jew, take away from my studies is that under Jewish Rabbinic interpretation of the law (in all its manifestations from Orthodox through to Humanist) there is an overriding concern with the specificity of the case. That is, with how these rules get applied in people’s actual lives. Having a g-d, or a belief in g-d, or a set of hard and fast rules generated or proferred by g-d or even his representatives on earth doesn’t excuse us as thinking, believing, worshipping creatures from deciding for ourselves among frequently conflicting commandments and imperatives.

    aimai

  30. I was taught in church that children are a blessing, but only two of them, or at the most, three. If you had any more than that, you were “nuts”.

  31. Who cares if Demographic Winter was made by a pro-Christian, pro-family group? If it is true, it is true. Who cares who made it or who paid for it to be made? Hasn’t anybody been to London lately? I have — in December of 2007. It IS “Londonistan” (pronounced:
    Lon-DON-i-stan). I never saw so many Middle-Easterners in my life! There were not that many there in the late-80’s and early-
    90’s when I lived there. I think that the fundamentalist Moslem Middle-Easterners are smarter than Westerners, because they have not been talked out of having children. And, these Middle-Easterners work, pay taxes and contribute to the British economy.

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