This is a guest post from Jeremy Berg.
You have heard the Christian slogan: “Christ is Lord of all or not at all.” Right?
National Public Radio had a featured story tonight on the Quiverfull movement. If you’re unfamiliar with this movement, Wikipedia defines Quiverfull as “a movement among conservative evangelical couples…Its viewpoint is to receive children eagerly as blessings from God, eschewing all forms of birth control, including natural family planning and sterilization.”
Their own website provides the following mission statement:
“We exalt Jesus Christ as Lord, and acknowledge His
headship in all areas of our lives, including fertility. We exist to
serve those believers who trust the Lord for family size, and to answer the questions of those seeking truth in this critical area of marriage.”
What do we make of this movement?
Where do they fit into the broader evangelical movement? To be honest
for a moment, I have always been challenged in the area of sexual
ethics by our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. There is a certain
consistency in their faith at this point. They refuse to bar God from
the bedroom. God is sovereign over every area of our lives, and sex
and childbearing are enormously important areas. Catholics are
passionately pro life not to be politically subversive and
countercultural but because they believe with all their heart that God
is pro life and they are being obedient to his will in protecting the
Likewise they are passionately against the use of
contraceptives; not to be socially unpopular and to make life
difficult. Rather, they believe God alone is sovereign over when and
how new life is born. We
evangelicals proudly wave the banner of God’s sovereignty and strive
tirelessly to influence so many areas of public morality with Biblical
teachings and values: Prayer in schools, Ten commandments in
courthouses, same-sex marriage, abortion, etc.
Yet I often wonder if
their is a huge blind spot when it comes to God’s sovereignty over our
personal decisions regarding the details of family planning. Is there
a gaping inconsistency when it comes to giving God control over such
things as when we have children, how many children we’ll have, how we
space them out, which income bracket we need to reach before we start
trying and so on? Such decisions seem to be based more on practicality than faithful obedience, prayer and God’s will.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am
not ready to “take sides” on this issue, throw out birth control and
begin judging other couples’ decisions on how, when and how many. But
I do want to at least give these folks a hearing, admire their devotion
and humbly admit that I find myself challenged, a bit convicted and
inspired by one core conviction of these Roman Catholics and
QuiverFulls: They are striving to give God lordship over this area
of life as well, and willing to go against the grain of the culture —
even the Christian subculture — in order to remain faithful.
What are your thoughts on God’s lordship over family planning? Are
evangelicals less consistent in this area of faith than Roman Catholics
and the QuiverFull movement? Is there a middle ground on this issue?