Before you read this post, I’m going to go ahead and clarify a few things for you. This blog post is about what my wife and I believe regarding birth control, the biblical support for our beliefs, and the way we choose to live our lives. I made these points of clarification because I posted this blog post on Facebook and had a number of off topic opinions posted as comments. This post is not to condemn or persecute anyone. It is about our beliefs and the way we choose to live our lives. If you feel conflicted about this post, I would love to have a healthy discussion with you about it.
Novels can and have been written on those topics and the controversy that man has created involving them. I fully intend to write in depth about Mariah and my beliefs on the two in later blog posts; however, the scope of this post will be constrained to our belief on the openness to bear children… not “bare” children or “bear children” as in bear cubs. Haha!
Think about how often have you heard these questions whether asked of you or someone else, “When do you two plan to start having kids?” or “How many kids do y’all plan to have?” followed then by the answers of “We are going to wait 2-3 years before we start” or “We are only going to have 3 at the most.” Well, we were asked those questions… and here are our views:
It all started with an audio cd titled “Green Sex” by Jason Evert and I’ll go ahead and say this now… BUY IT! It’s well worth listening to 100 times. We’ve listened to it at least 5 times so far and intend to continue to do so. It really opened our eyes to how terrible birth control really is. When I say “terrible,” I’m not just talking about the effects it has on your body and believe me, the facts that are given light to in Green Sex scare the heck out of us and I’m sure would do the same to you. I’m also talking about the effects it has on your marriage and your relationship and marital covenant with God.
Sadly, it’s now becoming more common for people to shun the words of The Bible if The Bible doesn’t support what they “think” is right for their lives and some people also have no clue what God wants for us when it comes to a marriage and bearing children.
In this post, I will:
1. Shed light on what The Bible holds for bearing children and
2. I also want to share a conversation I recently had with a newly “commissioned” non-denominational minister. You’ll want to read this!
TAKING A LOOK AT SCRIPTURE AND THEN SOME:
Let’s take a look at some scripture:
We all know the story of the Great Flood, but do you know what the FIRST command God gives to Noah after He dries the earth? The Lord tells him to be fruitful and multiply. In Genesis 8:15-17 God said to Noah: “Go out of the ark, together with your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you—all creatures, be they birds or animals or crawling things that crawl on the earth—and let them abound on the earth, and be fertile and multiply on it.” There’s more… Genesis 9:1 – “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.”
In fact, it’s also the FIRST thing God commands Adam & Eve to do. In Genesis 1:28, it is written that after God created Adam and Eve, “God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”
Many may see these as “commands” from God, but the “command” to bear children may be viewed as more than just a command as J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann stated in their “Luther’s works” writings in The Christian in Society II.
“For this word which God speaks, “Be fruitful and multiply,” is not a command. It is more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore. Rather, it is just as necessary as the fact that I am a man, and more necessary than sleeping and waking, eating and drinking, and emptying the bowels and bladder. It is a nature and disposition just as innate as the organs involved in it. Therefore, just as God does not command anyone to be a man or a woman but creates them the way they have to be, so he does not command them to multiply but creates them so that they have to multiply. And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice.” (Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds., Vol. 45, p. 18)
Or as Phillip Henry wrote in his Exposition of the First Eleven Chapters of Genesis:
“Be fruitful and multiply. This is not a command, of which they are transgressors that never marry, or that have no children; but a promise that they should be fruitful.” (Henry, P. (1839). Exposition of the First Eleven Chapters of Genesis (p. 240). London: J. Nisbet and Co.)
Let’s take this a little bit deeper. We’ve covered commands from God to bear children, but what are children exactly? What does God see them as?
Let’s say God is giving you the gift of wealth or your chosen soulmate or anything you desire for that matter. Would you tell God, “I don’t want Your gifts. Thanks, but no thanks God. I’m good?” Of course not. So when The Bible clearly states that children are a gift from God in Psalms 127:3 “Certainly sons are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward,” would you decide then to tell Him you don’t want His gifts? I for one am not going to refuse a gift from God. That’s one of the many reasons I married my wife. There’s no doubt she is the greatest gift God gave me in my 33 years of being on this earth and I’m not blind to that.
MY CONVERSATION WITH THE MINISTER:
Now, let’s discuss my recent conversation I had with that non-denominational minister I stated earlier. We were in a hotel lobby. He was drinking his coffee and I my Spark. He opened his computer to take a theological test, but before turning his computer on, we began conversing. I asked him what made him want to go into ministering? He proceeded to tell me that his parents raised him Methodist and then he began attending a non-denominational service and liked it. From there he followed a passion to minister to people.
I’ll go ahead and throw this out there, I’m VERY strong in my faith and my intention for starting a discussion with him was not to make small talk. I wanted to know what he believed on certain topics and why he believed it. I began by asking him why he chose to minister in the Methodist church and that led to us discussing Protestant beliefs, which gave me an opportunity to share my Catholic faith.
I threw a couple topics out there to see which one he felt comfortable discussing by saying, “One of my issues with the Protestant church is that they don’t take a stand on a lot of controversial issues. For example, the early Protestant church not only disagreed with abortion and forms of birth control/contraception, but they harshly condemned it. Today, it seems like the only church that hasn’t changed their stance on those issues is the Catholic church. Instead of conforming society to the church, the Protestant church seems to be conforming to society and what’s “popular” today. For example, the Episcopal church, among others, now allows for same-sex marriage.” I gave him a multitude of topics to choose from including same-sex marriage, birth control/contraception, abortion, and any sub topics that could be derived from those.
The topic he chose… birth control. The discussion began…
He told me how he understands that “There are really two forms of birth control. One stops the growth of the child after fertilization begins and I believe that’s wrong. And then, then there’s the other one.”
It was like he didn’t even want to say it. He didn’t want to say that “the other one” prevents a child from even beginning the growth process by preventing fertilization in the first place and he certainly didn’t acknowledge that he believed “this one” was “wrong.” So, I had to finish his sentence for him by saying, “the other one, as in the one that doesn’t allow for fertilization to even occur, right?”
“Well… yes” he said. I told him that although he believes that the first form of birth control he mentioned is wrong, I believe that all forms are.
He began to tell me how he and his wife “have two kids and we use birth control because if we have another it would be tough financially.” That is the oh-so-common belief in society today. Let’s put our plans and our fears ahead of the gifts from God because we don’t want to have a tough time “providing” for our children or struggling financially. Then there’s also the mindset that some people have that they won’t be able to have this car, house, boat, worldly possessions, time to travel, etc. if they have kids because they’d “cost too much” or “get in the way.”
IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS:
God made no exceptions to his commands. He made no exceptions to your receipt of his gift of a child. He didn’t say, “Go forth and bear much fruit unless it’s going to make your life tough” or “Go forth and bear children, but if you don’t think you’re ready or it’s not in your plans, then don’t worry about.” That’s not what He says at all. God clearly wants us to be open to having children, these gifts from God, and to be disciples of Jesus.
Are you sold out to God or are you sold out to society and the wants and desires of worldly possessions of this world? I encourage you to read this portion of an article about St. Josemaría Escrivá, Founder of Opus Dei:
“Later St Josemaría was driven west to Galway to meet a group of married men who were attending a formation course in Gort Ard, the Opus Dei centre in Galway. He encouraged them not to fear having large families, saying that each child brought its loaf of bread under its arm, and that no one should put barriers to life. He emphasized how important it was for them to love their wives very much – just as they did before they were married – and to express that love in many ways. When he heard that one of those present – Jack McGarry – had eight children he gave him a hug and said “May God bless you eighty times – and your wife and your children too.”
Standing on the altar of God, Mariah and I stated our wedding vows to each other and to God. When we were asked “Will you accept Children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?” we freely stated “Yes.” We made a promise to God to be open to children in our marriage. It’s not just a covenant with each other. It’s a covenant between the two of us made flesh and The Lord. A covenant we will not break.