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Friday, December 11, 2015

Having Children in This Day and Age?

Crisis Magazine has a story about the White House's war on parental moral authority. Centered around the Obergefell decision to redefine marriage over against the vast majority of the states' decisions to the contrary, Caleb Henry warns that the Department of Education and the government in general is aiming to force parents to realign their moral positions with the "new morality". They did so in Illinois when the school allowed a boy to call himself a girl and participate in girls' sports and dress in the girls' locker room, forcing all the actual girls to set aside their own sense of propriety in favor of this one guy's version. Schools are rolling out moral reeducation programs to force kids into new forms of morality over against what their parents believe and have taught them. And, he warns, "this moral reeducation program will inevitably be rolled out against private schools and families." Do you think you're safe because you homeschool? If the Supreme Court can overturn the Tenth Amendment and twist the 14th Amendment to say whatever they want ("Now, Equal Protection means that that which is not marriage can now be rolled into the term 'marriage' and you can't stop it, but this 'Equal' Protection does not extend to babies in the womb because they are not yet 'persons' ... which we'll leave mostly undefined."), what makes you think you're safe in your homes?

In truth, I'm not writing here about that crisis. I mean, I think it is a crisis, but I have another issue to consider. In a recent conversation with a husband, he told me he and his wife weren't in a hurry to have children because of this world in which we live. "How can we bring them into this world?" It is a serious and reasonable question. Earlier generations of Christians in America actually had similar questions. Eyeing the moral decline that they saw, they wondered the same thing. But they had less decline and more security and they brought children into this world. On the other hand, the farther we get from a nation founded by Christians on Christian values with a social structure based on Christian values, the greater the decline and the less security we find. Like the quote I've read, "America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great." America is shifting radically from "good" and her subsequent shift away from "great" is inevitable. So how do Christian couples in unChristian America consider bringing children into this new world? That is the question I'm considering.

Okay, so, first ... you may think the so-called "war on parental moral authority" is a farce and your answer would be, "Stop blubbering and making up problems and just go about your business." You should understand that America is not the only country at risk here. In Germany, for instance, parents are jailed for homeschooling their kids. Why? "'In our increasingly multicultural society school is the place for a peaceful dialogue between different opinions, values, religions and ideologies,' said Berlin's education minister, Juergen Zoellner." Homeschooling is illegal in Germany precisely because they want to challenge parental opinions, values, religions, and ideologies. They consider it "child endangerment". Same thing in "progressive" Sweden. And the European Court of Human Rights. So don't think it can't/won't happen here.

The problem, then, is real. So how are Christians seriously considering children to think about it? Is it wise to bring children into this world? While I think the threats are real and the question is reasonable, I also think that they aren't new. "Can we afford it?" "Is this a good time?" "Is this a world I want to raise my baby in?" To any concerned potential parent it has been a question because, after all, the world has never been a really good place. Some worse than others. Many worse than now. And how the world asks and answers the question will not likely be the same as how Christians would.

So, how might Christians view this dilemma?

There is no shortage of genuine, Bible-believing, well-intentioned Christians who will disagree with me here, but when I see what God commanded Adam in the Garden of Eden, I see a divine fiat that still prevails today. "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion." (Gen 1:28; Gen 9:1) Some might argue, "We've done that." Some would even be glad for the decline in the human population growth in many civilized countries. I see it as a command still in effect. Further, the Bible says, "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" (Psa 127:4-5) Speaking of husbands and wives, Scripture says, "Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring." (Mal 2:15) So, if there is a command to "be fruitful and multiply" and if children are a blessing from God and if God really does desire Christians to produce "godly offspring", it would seem to me that there would really be no question. "Should we have children?" Yes! Now, I'm not suggesting, "It's evil if a Christian couple refuses to have children for any reason." I'm just saying that it would seem reasonable and recommended based on Scripture for married Christians to bear offspring.

That doesn't quite satisfy, does it? I mean, the problems still remain. We do not live in a "safe world". And it's not getting safer. That's when the other answer comes into play. We have a Sovereign God.

Paul speaks of our security in Christ when he writes, "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?" (Rom 8:32) Jesus assured us, "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matt 6:26) There's a particularly pointed passage in Jeremiah where he says, "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land." (Jer 17:5-6) You see, "I got this" is not to be in the Christian vocabulary. "You've got this, God" is the idea. In fact, Paul said, "What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?" (1 Cor 4:7) In the follow-up thought from that Jeremiah passage he says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." (Jer 17:7-8) So we have contrasted "Do it yourself" with "Trust in the Lord" and we see which one works and which doesn't. Ultimately, God says, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isa 41:10)

You see, then, that while the question is valid and real, believers stand in a unique place. Yes, we live in a scary world. Yes, things may look bad and not improving. Yes, conventional wisdom might recommend not having children. But we are not subject to our scary world, the bad around us, or conventional wisdom. We are subject to a Sovereign God who tells us there's blessing in having children and blessing in having godly offspring and that He will not be leaving you to take care of it all. Perhaps that helps answer the question.


Bob said...

the concern as to whether we should bring children into the world has always been on the minds of parents. consider the times of all the world wars, surely parents felt the same way. but this time around it's about the theater of the mind. the battle is for the moral and sociological world view. in their efforts, our schools are creating an ever more fragmented mind. they are blind to the contradiction of political correctness. in their efforts to appear as though they are being considerate to all, they are in fact intolerant to the Judaeo/christian ethic. but since God is sovereign, we should find comfort in his promises.
raise up your children in the way of the Lord and they will not depart from it. does this guarantee that all children of christian parents will be saved? no. but as we can see, there really is no better alternative. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will direct your paths.

David said...

I'm not sure school really is a place for peaceful dialogue of differing beliefs. A) most kids aren't thinking that way, B) school is a haven for like-minded individuals, anyone outside the norm is not welcomed and considered, they are mocked and ridiculed, C) in schools you are free to have different opinions as long as they generally agree with the status quo.

Stan said...

Trust in a Sovereign God. Much better place to be.

Stan said...

David, I hope you didn't think I agreed with the schools arguing they were a peaceful place for dialog of differing views. As you point out, that's simply nonsense.