Generation Cedar

I’ve been talking about this for a long time, and will continue to.  The common misunderstanding about God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” is that reproduction is a private choice, affecting only the private lives of each family (therefore, “stay out of my business”).

We fail to understand that many principles of Scripture are not individualized; they are given to “a people” and the obedience or disobedience affects “a people”.  God’s ways are not always meant to be interpreted as a tool to improve or hinder our personal lives, though He is deeply concerned with us on a personal level.  But “His ways are higher than our ways” and we would do well to just trust that.

 What I’m trying to say is, often God is wanting to do something much bigger than the scope of our own lives with our obedience to Him.  And even in His sovereignty, He allows us to reap blessings or curses based on that obedience.

Pay close attention to this verse and keep it close while you watch the following, short video about our changing demographics due to low fertility rates among Christians (it’s a little different spin than “Demographic Winter”):

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God…

However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…

The alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower.”

From Deuteronomy 28:43

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36 Responses

  1. That is just chilling!!! It is something I have thought about, but I had not seen those numbers.

    Thanks for being bold even though I am sure you will surely get some nasty comments 🙂

  2. The jumps in logic presented here are a little overblown. There’s no reason to think that because there are many Muslims in France, France will per se become an Islamic Republic in 20 years. There are more factors to consider. However, the overall stats are ones that I have considered before and thought about often. It really is such a shame that our Western culture has no conception any longer of the impact we are having on the global culture by blocking our fertility. We really are very myopic about it. Anyone who isn’t myopic is thought to be “militant” or else they are “brainwashed” by Church authorities (as we Catholics are often accused of). Even more than the impact on global culture and economics, though, I shudder to think about the implications for what control of fertility has done to our perception of human dignity and the sacredness of life. How can we possibly hold onto any concept of God’s view of humanity when we feel it is our “right” to create and destroy lives on a whim? It is very, very sad.
    ~Bethany

  3. Bethany,

    I liked your accidental pun…”that our Western culture has no conception

    And you’re right, the devaluing of life is quite obvious and devastating in the culture who doesn’t recognize where life comes from.

  4. Just another thought: Doesn’t it strike anyone as amazingly *coincidental* that Islam’s strong stance against secularism may have something to do with its popularity among converts? Western Christians are so preoccupied with being relevant–maybe we’re missing the boat. Islam is offering a lot of God’s Truths about family and everday living, but without Christ. Imagine if Christianity got back to its roots and starting offering God’s Truths about life WITH Christ, again, instead of trying to make everyone feel comfortable and saying “Anything goes!”?
    ~Bethany

  5. Bethany,
    You’re absolutely right – studies have shown that, when Christians leave “establishment” mainline churches for other churches, they tend to go to churches that take strong stands against secularism – witness the growth of Pentecostalism and similar more conservative denominations. The “God-shaped hole” in the hearts of Western men and women can’t be filled in dead churches which mimic the radical liberalism of everyday life. In all the conferences I’ve seen on how to make church “relevant” to individuals’ daily lives, I’ve never seen any recognition of the fact that it’s the liberal trends which so often drive people away… whether to more conservative churches or (sadly) atheism. I’ve seen it compared to “diet” foods v. regular foods. “Diet” foods may seem nourishing, but one ends up hungry just an hour later because the nourishment isn’t real. Likewise, the ethics and politics preached in many (I don’t mean to generalize; this certainly doesn’t apply to all!) mainline churches are “Christianity lite” (at best.) People want real food… and real Christianity.
    One last thought: Western societies demonstrate such psychological turmoil about children. One minute they’re coddled, the next, they’re totally excluded. I pray that Christians will hold fast to real, Biblical models of families… families that will, by their model, provide spiritual nourishment for those seeking to follow God’s plans.

  6. LM,

    “Western societies demonstrate such psychological turmoil about children. One minute they’re coddled, the next, they’re totally excluded.”

    Oh how true that statement! I’ve thought a lot about that very thing. OR, along the same lines, treat the ones we have like “trophies” (the prettiest dresses, bells and whistles” and then gasp to find we’re expecting again (or someone else is expecting again.)

  7. While I am not disagreeing that Islam is growing at exponential rates for a number of reasons, I think it is wise and prudent to consider the source of this video: “Friend of Muslim” is a 31 year old man from Lebanon. He is a Muslim. It is propaganda, and the stats and figures are not to be trusted. I believe that this is a worthy topic, but for the wise and discerning reader, reliable resources and support would be of great value. Also, the video is demonstrating the dominance of the Muslim religion through “multiplication” and immigration. No mention is made of evangelism. The New Testament clearly states that spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world (Acts 1:8, Matt 28:19-20) is the primary means of multiplying the Christian faith. While large Christian families may do their part in this by training up future Christians, it is not the only means given. And finally, while I value and respect those given to embracing as many children as the womb will allow, the “shifty” stats of the film indicate that if Christian families would simply embrace 3 children (or 4 as opposed to 6 or more), the “odds” would swing in “our” favor. Three godly children evangelizing to the uttermost parts of the earth and making disciples of all nations will always be more affective in multiplying the Christian church than 8 godly children who live near their parents forever and marry and produce another 6 godly children who live near home forever…etc….etc….etc…..

  8. Amy,

    It’s accurate to check the source, and I did notice the author, but two other things contradicts what you’re saying: the video does urge “Christian believers” to consider the population crisis. Not sure how that fits into a Muslim’s propaganda. (Is he a Christian Muslim, maybe?)

    Secondly, this video is one of many sources where similar stats can be found. In fact, this point is such a common one it has become a “no brainer” among population facts.

    Then, I couldn’t help addressing something you said which revealed a misconception among the idea of evangelism.

    You elevated the “small family in foreign missions” above the “large family whose children stay close to home”. This is a grave misunderstanding about spreading the gospel.

    Though foreign missions are needful and wonderful, America–our very backyards–are as needy as any country for the gospel! How can foreign missions be superior to spreading the gospel right where we are?

    If my children all stayed around home (not likely to happen), what makes their living out the gospel among friends, neighbor and community less noble?

    As a matter of fact, we are given so many opportunities to communicate our faith to people because of our “oddness”.

    I urge you to consider that discipling the nations doesn’t elevate foreign missions. We disciple the nations from our homes, at our local grocery stores or in Haiti–it matters little, as long as our lives are a living testimony to the gospel.

  9. Um, Amy – you must not have listened to the whole thing. “Friend of Muslim” – to be a true friend, you need to be sharing the Gospel. And at 7:14 in this clip, the speaker calls on “all believers to share the Gospel, this is a call to action!”. It doesn’t make sense to me for a Muslim to propagate this kind of clip with a call to spread the Gospel at the end. That would be … weird!

    I like how this clip doesn’t talk about trying to “outbreed” the Muslims, but truely says we are to be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

    You have a point, Amy. But the fact is, there is no promise that your first three children will be missionaries and you can stop there. Your second might go overseas, your sixth, and then your eleventh child. Or none of them might, but your grandchidren might flock to another nation. There is no way of knowing how God is going to use someone, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with living near your parents. If that is where God wants you, that is the best place to be.

    So I think it’s quality and quantity needed in this case – and I think as we trust in God, He will move us and multiply us as He wills.

  10. Wow, that is scary to think about. Satan has really used the idea of limiting children and “planning” our family size to do us in. Like you said, it isn’t just a “personal, idividual” choice, it affects our way of life, our culture. Our children need to be prepared for living in a culture hostile to christianity.

  11. I believe the other point of the video is that entire cultures will eventually be lost because of the population decline. It is a matter of society’s view of children that causes many people to choose birth control methods. Children are seen as an inconvenience, too expensive, or just not wanted. Because of these views, populations are declining and the economy is suffering because there is no longer enough people paying taxes to support government spending or to spend money to support the number of existing businesses. Having children is more than just a means of spreading Christianity, it is a way to preserve our culture.

  12. You might enjoy living under Sharia, Kelly. They’re not keen on immodest dress, birth control, welfare either.

  13. Anonymous;

    Muslim’s are not keen about Jesus Christ either.

    It is not simply about the outcome (immodest dress, birth control or welfare) but about how one comes to those conclusions. Muslim’s come to their conclusions by the dictates of a man to garner a supposed reward. Christians are to do so by the changed heart God provides (Jer 31:31ff) so that thru Christ and the very Word of God the works that are done are a result of the work of God and not a work to come to God. Work without Christ is simply work.

  14. I have a friend who visited France recently (she happens to be of Indian decent, but is a Christian) who said that when she walked on the street she saw more people of Muslim nations than Frenchman. I have heard others testify to this too.

    These are not just abstract numbers floating across the screen. These numbers reflect reality that is hard not to notice. You can travel abroad and see the evidence with your own eyes.

  15. Wow, some really great comments following up a very thought-provoking vid!

    I especially appreciate the contrast between “diet” denominations and more conservative ones–can we say that uncompromising churches serve “soul food” perhaps? (Sorry, pregnancy brings out the corny side, I suppose.)

    I had to jump in and mention a post I saw on another site that was debating birth control. This poster said “I wish bc had been available to people like my great-grandmother, who ended up having nine children.” Oh yeah, that’s really bright. How does she know her grandmother wouldn’t have been one of the babies who was “prevented?” Anyway…

  16. There are many, many Jews from Morocco in France. They are not necessarily Muslims. I know this as my cousin is married to one!

  17. K.B. – “Soul food”… I loved that! And I really relate to what you said about the “great-grandmother” post. My own aunt is the youngest of seven children. When my cousin announced his wife was pregnant with their fourth child, my aunt turned to me and said, “Don’t you think that’s just too many?” Of course, I said, “No, I don’t…I hope I’m so blessed.” But, I was thinking, if that’s too many, then you wouldn’t be alive today!
    ~Bethany

  18. I am not sure how Fertility *is* Evangelism. Perhaps fertility that ends up “bearing many children”, who are rasied properly and all are gifted with evangelism as their spiritual gift….then this statement could be true.

    From what I understand of the bible, evangelism is a GIFT. We are told to DISCIPLE all nations (yes, I agree, that includes THIS one…in our own back yard)and to share the gospel but it is not my God-given personal calling to evangelize. Even having many children does not ensure evangelism. I am fertile, very fertile last time I checked….but because no life is birthed from my fertility, does that mean there springs no evangelism? Evangelism-*when* its simply telling the story where our path takes us in a day-is soemthing IMO that happens when led by the spirit; a moving toward sharing faith becasue we are connected and present with God as many moments as lie within us to be. I suppose for some people that translates into being moved for other eternal reasons and ‘quiverfulling’ their womb. And I am for that. We all must follow our own convictions.

    There really isnt a power in numbers anyway. That is biblically proven, and eternally will be proven as well. Earthly power? possibly. But not true, authentic power of God. The power of God does not make sense…thats why belief in it requires faith.

    It seems anymore we can find a rabbit trail to support almost any theology we want. I just sometimes wonder how safe or profitable it is to get so caught up in details that we are now doing no more than diverting from The Truth. New ‘truths’ are added daily, and if one can follow the rabbit trail, I even believe it.

    I could biblically prove most things under the sun….by connecting the dots.

  19. Let me add…..If the planets were aligned…hahaha….I would cheerfully most probably never use BC or control when I got pregnant. But I do not think my submitting to that process, makes me or my children, or their children’s children, more capable of evangelizing. Of modeling God? Perhaps. But there are so many other processes and formulas and paths for individuals….who am I to say WITHOUT A DOUBT that this is Gods Absolute Will for them? I need to hope I am pretty positive before I direct people in how to live, in the unseen things of their bodies, minds, and souls…..and I dont call that relitivism, I call it reality that I am not Ordained to make those calls.

    Often we speak here about people divorcing, over-medicating, etc…..so we must acknowledge that the Christian family “norm’ today isnt two parent families who are ecstatic with each other, mom home, and both parents modeling unselfishness. I am not an exception anymore to the rule……so when I bring up my ideas, it is not about *me* and my *situation*, it is about the myriad of people in real situations.

  20. AM,

    “It seems anymore we can find a rabbit trail to support almost any theology we want.”

    Let’s be clear that the command to “be fruitful and multiply” is not a rabbit trail or a man-made theology–pretty clear, and there are lots more verses and contexts to support God’s plan that “He desires godly offspring”. AND, we’re speaking here TO Christians as the the Word was given to God’s people.

    Apparently I should have been more thorough in the title…I didn’t say “fertility is the only evangelism” as I thought that was just a given.

    My basic point here is that general fertility among Christians should just be a given, and if we did what came naturally, as a part of our created design, AND was obedient in other ways as well (raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, loving our spouses, etc.) by its very nature, there would be more Christians, and therefore more evangelizing.

    Pretty simple, really.

  21. The basic points *are* pretty simple. Its when more and more addendums are created when verses are taken, picked apart, and interpreted to the furthest extreme where it becomes harmful…much moreso when it is now deemed necessary for all.

    Where is there room for the rest of us who feel secure in that we are not doing the things the bible says the way you interpret it?

    I find it frustrating that some bloggers seem to want to tell the rest of us ‘how it is’, not realizing that by default, you do leave us out or are saying in some round-about way, that we arent living up to par.

    To me, that is pretty simple.

  22. Julie,

    I keep thinking of something you said that I think should be clarified…

    “in light of the insulting way you accused Alix of posting “lies” when she merely spoke from her own experience as, presumably, a Christian who happens to hold a different perspective than you.”

    Alix was asserting that my lifestyle was one of “husband idolatry and wife slavery”…she wasn’t speaking from her experience, she was presuming upon mine.

    If you insisted my hair is black and I know it’s blonde, would it be an insult to say you were speaking a lie?

    No insult was intended, and never is when I confront a dissenting commenter. Alix accused me of being in a cult, and presumed to know how I lived my life–the things she spoke were lies…I know, because I’m the one living my life 😉 and the things she projected were SO untrue.

    So in your anger, learn to recognize true insult from a calling out of truth.

  23. AM,

    I guess you’ll have to help me out…what in the post was “picking apart Scripture and taking it to the farthest extreme”? I thought Scripture spoke for itself here???

  24. I’m excited to see this here! Haven’t seen it posted anywhere else except my own blog, and I thought it was so shocking that it really deserves a large audience. Thanks for posting it!

  25. Julie,

    You know what…I’m going to delete all the comments from you, me and Alix on this topic. Reason: it’s foolish and unproductive. I have written a whole post on why I have this blog…you can read it here: http://generationcedar.com/?s=comments+deleted

    I’m not interested in debating with those who enjoy distorting MY lifestyle, though they know nothing about it. It’s disturbing to me, and embarassing to them.

    As soon as commenters begin throwing “cult” around, etc. presuming I’m a slave and worship my husband (by the way, he thought that was hilarious), with no foundation for those assertions, the comments have lost all credibility because, yes, they are LIES, conjured up in someone’s head.

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m persecuted enough for that without additional rumors people enjoy making up. He was grace and love to those searching for truth, but He was brazen with His enemies. I suppose I can identify, though I try very hard to keep a diplomatic approach in my comments.

    Never intending to offend, also intending to DEFEND my Savior…allow me to dismiss myself from this thread.

  26. When I read Alix’x post, I thought she was talking about groups of people she encounters, not that she was directly talking to you, Kelly. She was not specifically speaking of your marriage or saying you were in a cult. However, we do know that some people do prctice that type of ‘harmful family dynamic’ Alix spoke about, and sometimes those people are also anti – BC. Nowhere did i see her speaking to you personally.

  27. The Old Testament verses that you mentioned in this post (and the verses frm Leviticus the other day) are, for me, a completely fresh way of looking at God’s word concerning fertility as a blessing both individually and also corporately for Christians. I think the reason this post was such a huge eye-opener to me was that I was raised in the evangelical community where Old Testament laws are considered irrelevant for Christian living today. I think the rational is that if you try to obey some Old Testament laws then you might as well try to obey them all which is both impossible and unnecessary since we are now under grace.
    I am new to the reformed faith and just starting to understand a little bit about covenant theology. Can you tell me your thoughts on how some of God’s laws in the Old Testament should apply to believers today but how other laws (such as the ones relating Israel’s governmental laws of justice like stoning ect) do not? Where do you draw the line? Obviously we want to stay in God’s perfect will to glorify him with our life and also because that is the path of blessing. But how do you read the Old Testament Laws in light of this?

    In need of a little wisdom,
    Sheena

  28. Sheena,

    Such a great question, and one I’ve had too, as far as how to interpret which teaching is “profitable and useful for instruction” and which was done away with. I’m in a hurry this morning, but when I come back, I will try to send you some info that might help 😉

    Of course, we’re not bound by any law as we are now under the covenant of grace, but are still required to seek God’s heart, his wisdom and direction for our lives, much of which is contained in the Old Testament…it’s helpful to remember that when the apostles read the Scriptures in the assembly of the saints, admonishing them to “obey the Word”, they only had the OT in thier hands at that time…

    More to come.

  29. I don’t want to step on Kelly’s toes. But I think what she has said so far about OT law is right on. When we read OT law we can see what God sees as desirable and what he doesn’t. However, HOW we deal with it is different. For example, we know that God looks down on adultery, but we no longer stone the adulterer. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to do.
    That’s all I have right now. I look forward to seeing what Kelly has to say.

  30. I did not have time to read all the postings, but is someone brave enough to credit the Roman Catholic church for refusing, for centuries, to give up its stance on birth control? And then ask the question, “Could they be right about some other things so often criticized by Protestants?” I’m not a Catholic, but at times I wonder if someday, we all will be wandering back to the so-called “mother church.”

    1. “I’m not a Catholic, but at times I wonder if someday, we all will be wandering back to the so-called “mother church.”

      Don’t think so.

  31. Hi Kelly,

    I found your blog through one of my dear friends and it has blessed me to read the Truth and Promises throughout each post on God’s sovereignty and provision in our lives.
    The issue of birth control has just tugged at my heart since my husband and I first got married. I believe the Lord, in His grace, was prompting my heart to walk in obedience and not in this world’s way. Our first child has special needs (a genetic issue) and we were pregnant with baby #2 when our first was 8 months old. I definitely had a lot of fear of what that meant (although we didn’t know it was a genetic problem at the time of our 2nd pregnancy).
    Now we know what we’re dealing with in our first little guy and the Lord blessed us with a perfectly healthy 2nd baby.
    I believe God spoke so clearly to my heart regarding birth control in March. . specifically, that God’s children walk by faith, not by fear. And, GOD decides when He will open or close the womb, NOT us. I am humbled that He would expose the lie and so grateful to have the peace in walking in His way, and not my own.
    I want to be in the center of His will, for in that place is a perpetual fountain of His GLORY.
    Congratulations on baby #8. Praise God for the miracle and beauty of new life.
    Thank you for writing and walking in Truth!
    May the Lord bless you and keep you, and your precious family.
    Love,
    Jeffie

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