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This is a subject a friend and I have tossed around for a while now. And I see it come up a lot in homeschool circles. And, frankly, it really bugs me..

Let me say that I think every marriage should be open to having children. It's one of the primary designs for marriage. I think married people should be fruitful and multiply, to pass on a Christian heritage to their children.

But the "quiver-full" movement says that you MUST, you are COMMANDED, to have as many children as possible (sounds like my Mormon neighbors...) to be an obedient Christian. There is a status, a pride involved here. That's not to say that all large families are arrogant about it, but when parents of very large families look down on or criticize a smaller family as though they are living in sin for not having ten kids, then I think there's a problem.

Thoughts?

10 comments:

Well, you know what my thoughts are on the subject.

I did read somewhere once... a woman who was truly concerned to know what the Bible (as a whole - OT to NT) had to say on this. Her conclusion was that the OT "be fruitful and multiply" meant children because the earth needed to be populated. But in the NT the "be fruitful" command was now towards making diciples (not converts) and not children. The earth has been populated, now the population needs to become diciples of Christ.

I tend to lean towards that idea if one must use the "be fruitful and multiple" argument.

May 16, 2007 at 7:33 AM  

Hello, thanks for the tomato suggestion on my blog!

This is a subject near to my heart, as my husband and I NEVER talked about how many children we'd have prior to marriage. We always thought that it just didnt' really matter, and we'd have as many as we wanted and quit. Then after 2 children, we began to be spiritually challenged to be open to more. Two more children have entered our family since, one by adoption, for a total of 4 blessings.

Now my husband is DONE.

And I have peace. God spoke to my heart on this issue, that while it is not explicit in scripture that we must have as many kids as possible (I realize some would argue with me) it is explicit that we can submit to our husbands with confidence that this is God's will. Whether my husband's methods are right or not, I believe his motives are good. He truly believes that not having more children is the best thing for our family, and while I don't necessarily agree with his decision, I respect it. I am open to God's will for our family size, and at this point, through my husband, his will seems to be no more. Of course I pray for my husband that he will know God's will and obey it, and I have peace and am content and grateful for the 4 children God has given me.

The family size issue is a complicated one. And I totally agree, we must not judge one another. One never knows what is behind the decision to limit family size, or whether it is a decision at all.

God bless you. I'm happy to have found your blog!

May 16, 2007 at 9:02 AM  

Thanks for posting ladies...I think this is an essential issue in evangelicalism, specifically in the homeschool movement.

May 16, 2007 at 10:35 AM  

Are you suuuuurrrrreeee you're not Lutheran?? People who enter marriage with the objective of never having children have a serious spiritual problem. Planning your family, whether small or large, is fine. Being open to children is the key. After all, God IS God - if he wants the kids to come, precautions or not, they'll come :0)

May 16, 2007 at 6:01 PM  

Well, Caroline, I am of a Reformed, Calvinistic (did I say that?) bent...and being originally from St. Louis has exposed me to some good Missouri Synod Luthern teaching, like VBS as a kid...Are you sure you're not a Baptist? Well, except for that infant baptism on mother's day, I guess. :) You crack me up.

May 16, 2007 at 11:16 PM  

Just today I found myself thinking about that family who's expecting baby #17. Amazing!

May 17, 2007 at 12:15 AM  

I heard a good explaination/comment on this recently that might add to your thoughts and discussions.

I know that most full quiver folks use the Er and Onan story in Genesis 38 to support their philosophy. But those verses don't specifically mention family planning issues. Only that Er and Onan were disobedient to what God had called them to do.

If the Bible isn't specific in the should's or should not's, then one's decisions should fall under the teaching of Romans 14 and we each need to make decisions based on what the Bible has persuaded us in our own hearts and not hold others to that same conviction.

"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore" - Romans 14:12-13

May 17, 2007 at 12:57 PM  

Can I pose a question? Are you more spiritual because you choose to homeschool your children and I don't? Or am I less spiritual because I don't?

I'm not even sure what the value of asking questions like that is?!! "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the most spiritual of us all?"

Just curious how you'd respond.

May 17, 2007 at 2:49 PM  

Glad you're curious anonymous...
I homeschool by default, because in our area there is no Christian school and that's what I'd like for my kids. Some of my best friends have children in public school and I don't act better than they are because I homeschool. Each family needs to make their own choices, prayerfully about how to educate their children. I'm thankful we have so many options. I do acknowledge that there are many within the homeschool and quiverful movements who ARE acting like they are more spiritual and that's the kind of attitude I was writing AGAINST. I'm not acting like I am, and I hope you weren't thinking I was. These are topics Christians need to discuss.

May 17, 2007 at 5:36 PM  

Thanks for your gentle response. I agree that we each need to make prayerful choices that reflect the best interest of our families, and thank goodness we have many choices in our day and age. I do react rather strongly to the spiritually superior attitude that is so oftentimes reflected by the homeschool/quiverful families in my community. I wasn't trying to stir things up. And I didn't think you were judgmental. I simply wanted the freedom to pose the question. So thanks.

May 17, 2007 at 10:59 PM  

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