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← Is It Sinful for a Married Couple to Not Have Children? - Ask Pastor Tim

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Showing Revision 6 created 12/10/2017 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. "I read an article that said
  2. that it is moral rebellion
  3. to deliberately not have children
  4. when you're married.
  5. The article said that to think
  6. that you could have marriage and sex
  7. but no kids is to defraud God's design.
  8. Are we doing anything wrong
  9. by not having children?
  10. And as a result, not dealing
  11. with the pain and challenges
  12. that can come from having kids?
  13. Is it the motive that must be questioned?
  14. I'm worried."
  15. So what do you think?
  16. Children? No children?
  17. If we marry,
  18. a man marries a woman,
  19. are they commanded
  20. that if physically possible,
  21. they should have children?
  22. Let me ask you a question.
  23. (Incomplete thought)
  24. Let's suppose this.
  25. Let's suppose you get married,
  26. and you have seven children,
  27. and then the doctor says to the wife,
  28. if you have any more children,
  29. you're probably not going to make it.
  30. It's probably going to kill you.
  31. Is it ok to stop having kids?
  32. On what basis?
  33. Because you've got to be careful here.
  34. Because whatever basis you say it's right
  35. to stop having them...
  36. (incomplete thought)
  37. Let's take the seven down to two kids,
  38. or down to one or down to none.
  39. So, is that basis for which we stopped
  40. having children at seven,
  41. does it also work for
  42. not having any at all?
  43. And if my wife's health
  44. and so maybe both of our health
  45. should be taken into question,
  46. is it that it might cause premature death
  47. to have children?
  48. If the chances are high enough of that?
  49. And when does the reason become invalid
  50. and who sets that standard?
  51. So Pedro, you're nodding up and down.
  52. Pedro: No, I wasn't.
  53. Tim: Oh, you were. So come on.
  54. Look, I'll just tell you,
  55. if I have seven children
  56. and the doctor tells me
  57. your wife probably isn't going to make it,
  58. somebody could come along and say
  59. well, brother, you've
    got to live by faith.
  60. Well, yes, I do.
  61. But living by faith -
  62. I have faith in that doctor
  63. and what that doctor told me
  64. seems to line up with
    the physical evidence
  65. that I'm observing in my wife,
  66. and the reality is I believe him
  67. because it's not like
    I'm looking at my wife
  68. and she looks like a specimen of health,
  69. and yet he's telling
    me she's deathly sick.
  70. I'm looking at my wife
  71. and I'm seeing what he's saying is true.
  72. My wife isn't what she used to be.
  73. My wife is declining physically.
  74. I recognize this.
  75. Would I stop having children after 7?
  76. I would.
  77. On what basis?
  78. See, we're not just a
    checklist kind of people.
  79. It's not just show me in the Bible
  80. where it says that.
  81. It's like love your wife
  82. as Christ loved the church.
  83. So, look, I'll let you men define
  84. what love to your wife looks like.
  85. In my estimation,
  86. that would be love for my wife.
  87. But ok, let's say we don't have any kids.
  88. And my wife says, oh honey,
  89. can we just not have kids?
  90. (incomplete thought)
  91. There's going to be so much pain
  92. and so many challenges
  93. that would come from having children.
  94. Can we just not have any?
  95. Ok, if you're going to say
  96. well, that's not loving your wife
  97. if you let her get away with that.
  98. On what basis would you say that?
  99. (Incomplete thought)
  100. If somebody was going to say
  101. that we're defrauding God's purpose,
  102. what do you think they're alluding to?
  103. Genesis.
  104. Be fruitful and multiply
  105. is what was told to -
  106. who was it told to?
  107. Adam, Noah, Jacob...
  108. at least those three I know
  109. that it was said to.
  110. Be fruitful and multiply.
  111. Ok, well let me ask you this.
  112. Do you take that as a commandment?
  113. If you say yes,
  114. then how is marriage optional?
  115. Do you see what I'm saying?
  116. Be fruitful and multiply.
  117. If that's a command,
  118. then that sounds like it's a command
  119. for every man to get married.
  120. And in fact, if you go a little ways after
  121. it talks about being fruitful and multiply
  122. it says some words concerning marriage
  123. that sound pretty much like the same kind
  124. of command.
  125. Let the man (do something).
  126. Anybody know what it says?
  127. It says that the man is supposed
  128. to leave the father and mother.
  129. And the thing is it doesn't say,
  130. if he gets married.
  131. It just says he's supposed to do it.
  132. So does that mean everybody
    should get married?
  133. Or does that mean that
  134. until Paul came along
  135. in 1 Corinthians,
  136. everybody was supposed to get married?
  137. See, you've got a problem with that
  138. because remember when the disciples said,
  139. Oh, if that's true, we'd be better off
  140. not being married.
  141. And what did Jesus say?
  142. You remember the situation?
  143. Rich, young ruler.
  144. Isn't that where it comes up?
  145. No, where did He talk about that?
  146. Where does Jesus talk about
  147. some are eunuchs?
  148. Is that right after the rich, young ruler?
  149. I think it is.
  150. But He says not everybody can accept
  151. this saying.
  152. Oh, no, it's Matthew 19.
  153. Excuse me.
  154. Matthew 19 after that whole discourse
  155. on divorce.
  156. Isn't that where it is?
  157. And that's when the disciples said whoa!
  158. You know, if this is the case,
  159. we're better off not marrying,
  160. and He says not everybody
    can receive that.
  161. Some are eunuchs.
  162. Even then.
  163. Even before Paul came along
  164. and wrote to the Corinthians,
  165. the reality is there were people
  166. who didn't get married.
  167. So here's the thing.
  168. If be fruitful and multiply
  169. is a command to multiply,
  170. you would think that it would have
  171. by necessity included
  172. the commandment to marry,
  173. which if you actually look at
  174. what's being said about marriage,
  175. it sounds like the same kind of command
  176. that be fruitful and multiply sounds like.
  177. And yet when you move away
  178. into the New Testament,
  179. you find that marriage
  180. certainly isn't required.
  181. In fact, Paul thought people
  182. may be even better off not doing it.
  183. Jesus was never married.
  184. Barnabas was never married.
  185. (from the room)
  186. Isn't it kind of
  187. reminiscent of 1 Timothy 4?
  188. About those forbidding marriage
  189. and requiring abstinence -
  190. like it's kind of the law.
  191. Tim: Well, somebody was laying down
  192. a law forbidding marriage,
  193. because obviously the Catholic church,
  194. demonic doctrines are going to come in
  195. and the Catholic church is a great example
  196. of that.
  197. But I guess the point that
    I'm trying to get at here is
  198. ok, we have things in Scripture said
  199. about being fruitful and multiplying.
  200. You've got something said,
  201. what is it Psalm 123 or 127 or something
  202. about the quiver being full.
  203. Here's the thing.
  204. Women who didn't have children,
  205. wanted children.
  206. Scripturally.
  207. Can you think of anybody in Scripture
  208. that purposely did not have children?
  209. I can think of one person.
  210. And God killed him.
  211. But it wasn't just because he looked
  212. at the commandment:
  213. Be fruitful and multiply,
  214. and said no!
  215. It was: Raise up seed for your brother,
  216. and he said no.
  217. One of the sons of Judah.
  218. You remember him?
  219. You remember Perez
  220. is in the Messianic line.
  221. And his father was Judah;
  222. his mother was Tamar.
  223. You remember the whole
    incident with Tamar?
  224. She disguised herself as a prostitute.
    Got impregnated by her father-in-law.
  225. Well, there were sons there.
  226. The first son, the second son...
  227. and the first son died,
  228. and so Tamar was given to the second son,
  229. and then that son Onan had to raise up
  230. seed to his dead brother,
  231. and he wasn't willing to do it
  232. and God killed him.
  233. But see, that's different.
  234. He wasn't just disobeying the commandment
  235. to have children,
  236. he was disobeying the commandment
  237. to raise up seed for his brother.
  238. So, it's a different situation.
  239. But other than that,
  240. I can't think of any place
  241. in the Old Testament
  242. where people willingly
    didn't want children.
  243. In fact, if anything, it was a curse
  244. if you didn't have children.
  245. It was looked down on.
  246. You remember how it was with Sarah
  247. in her old age.
  248. Or you remember how it was with Rachel
  249. when Leah's bearing all sorts of children,
  250. and Rachel can't have any.
  251. They all wanted children.
  252. Or you think about Elizabeth
  253. when you come into the New Testament.
  254. It just seemed like it was the norm.
  255. It was the blessing.
  256. The idea of somebody not wanting children
  257. was like just unheard of.
  258. So, here's the thing.
  259. Again, we don't just live by a checklist.
  260. What I would want to know -
  261. even in the New Testament,
  262. having children is assumed.
  263. Like, you get the qualifications
  264. for elders and deacons,
  265. it's just assumed that they have children.
  266. It doesn't mean they
    have to have children.
  267. But it's just assumed that they do.
  268. Or you know you get the older women
  269. teaching the younger women
  270. there in Titus,
  271. and it's just assumed that older women
  272. are supposed to teach the younger women
  273. to love their husbands and their children.
  274. The children are assumed.
  275. (in response to comment): Right,
  276. the widows being enrolled in 1 Timothy 5,
  277. it's assumed that they raised children.
  278. They were the wife of one husband.
  279. And they raised children
  280. and they showed hospitality
  281. and washed the feet of the saints.
  282. But it's just assumed.
  283. But here's the thing,
  284. Paul comes along and says,
  285. in this present distress,
  286. I would say that it's better
  287. if you didn't even marry,
  288. and obviously if you don't marry,
  289. you're not having children.
  290. (Incomplete thought)
  291. What's the present distress?
  292. Let's say there was a severe persecution
  293. taking place right at that time.
  294. Paul says, look, in light of the distress,
  295. in light of the fact that Christians
  296. are being chased all over the place,
  297. and they're being hunted down...
  298. I'll tell you, it's best not being married
  299. because if you have a family
  300. in that kind of situation,
  301. let's say you already got married
  302. and then you hear Paul say that.
  303. And it's like, well, we're married
  304. and so we're going to keep our vows here,
  305. but in light of this present distress,
  306. we do think it's best
    not to have children;
  307. not to bring them into this.
  308. I don't want my wife pregnant.
  309. Jesus even said something about
  310. you should hope that you're not with child
  311. or it's not on the Sabbath
  312. at certain times when the Romans
  313. are going to come in.
  314. Why? Because it's difficult to travel.
  315. If you're in a time of
    heavy duty persecution,
  316. Christians are on the run.
  317. You've already gotten married.
  318. You've got to keep those vows.
  319. But you come to recognize,
  320. you know, it might not be
  321. in our best interest.
  322. Here's one of the things to consider.
  323. Back in those days,
  324. maybe you can correct me on this,
  325. I don't know anything about birth control
  326. in those days,
  327. but I can tell you this,
  328. that if a man and a woman are married,
  329. one of the first things that Paul says
    in 1 Corinthians 7 is that they
  330. need to not withhold their
    bodies from each other.
  331. Well, back in those
    days, I don't know
  332. what forms of birth control they had,
  333. but you're not supposed to
  334. withhold yourself from each other,
  335. and so, you know, the
    birth control thing -
  336. when did that come in?
  337. I don't know.
  338. I don't know.
  339. I've never researched it.
  340. I don't know the issues.
  341. Obviously, those things come into
  342. the equation now maybe in ways
  343. that they didn't 2,000 years ago.
  344. I can tell you this,
  345. you better not be killing your children.
  346. Any type of birth control that is abortive
  347. even as a third or fourth option
  348. of preventative is (incomplete thought).
  349. I will tell you that if it is ever
  350. found out in our church
  351. that somebody is using that form,
  352. it is a disciplinary matter
  353. undoubtedly, unquestionably.
  354. Any form of birth control
  355. that even remotely can be abortive.
  356. For the life of me,
  357. I can't figure out why in the world
  358. things like this even come up for debate
  359. among genuine Christians.
  360. Maybe they don't.
  361. Maybe genuine Christians would
  362. abominate the idea of
    murdering their children.
  363. Maybe there's ignorance too.
  364. But I think birth control
  365. ends up being part of the equation.
  366. But here's the thing,
  367. if a Christian couple said
  368. that they didn't want to have children,
  369. if they told me it was because of
  370. the present distress,
  371. and they're on the phone with me,
  372. and they happen to be over in North Korea
  373. and they're on the run
  374. and they're living in the marshes -
  375. ok, I understand that.
  376. I'm not going to fault that.
  377. If they say, you know what?
  378. God just pressed upon us to adopt,
  379. and we've adopted 14 children,
  380. and we've always believed
  381. that's what God wanted us to do.
  382. There's so many children without parents.
  383. You know what?
  384. I would not question that.
  385. But if somebody's like,
  386. just give me the easy life.
  387. Yeah, you know what,
  388. you probably need children.
  389. I mean, I would probably pastorally
  390. be encouraging them to have them.
  391. And we've run into that situation.
  392. James may remember a situation
  393. we ran into several years back
  394. when somebody that most of you
  395. probably know -
  396. he and his wife weren't having children,
  397. and just looking at the normalcy of it
  398. in Scripture,
  399. it's like why would you not?
  400. But, you know, if somebody's
  401. in a ministerial position of some sort -
  402. they're a pastor or deacon,
  403. I think it's good for men
    in those positions
  404. to be married and have wives -
  405. not that it's absolutely mandatory,
  406. but I think it's good.
  407. It tends to set a good example.
  408. And look, it's not like
    you have to have kids
  409. to be able to counsel on kids.
  410. It's not like you have to be married
  411. to counsel on marriage.
  412. Paul wasn't married and he gave counsel
  413. on marriage and on kids.
  414. So, you know, you don't want to say
  415. you can't tell me anything about that.
  416. Look, truth is truth,
  417. no matter who's telling you.
  418. But it is helpful to have experiences.
  419. There's no question about that.
  420. But you know, if I'm getting the feeling
  421. that somebody's making that decision
  422. because they just want ease,
  423. oh brethren, through much tribulation...
  424. So if you opt out of children
  425. because you're looking
    for the easier path,
  426. and you're truly a child of God,
  427. don't believe you're on the easy road.
  428. The Lord will see to it that
  429. that's not going to happen.
  430. Pastorally, if I was sensing
  431. that somebody was not having children
  432. because of some kind of worldliness;
  433. some kind of selfishness;
  434. I would probably want to
  435. put my finger on that.
  436. Any other thoughts?
  437. (from the room)
  438. I don't remember if you
    hit on this or not
  439. but as far as the verse:
  440. Be fruitful and multiply.
  441. Is there a way we should view that
  442. in the New Testament.
  443. I mean Israel is a physical nation
  444. taking this lineage to have Christ,
  445. a physical people.
  446. We're now looking to not just
  447. make physical children
  448. but spiritual children.
  449. Is there any way we could take
  450. that text and view it
  451. in the New Testament through that lens?
  452. Tim: Well, we could just spiritualize it,
  453. much like marriage has all these
  454. spiritual realities.
  455. We could spiritualize it.
  456. (from the room)
  457. For people who do spiritualize it,
  458. are you comfortable with that?
  459. Or do you feel like they don't
  460. actually have biblical grounds to do that?
  461. Tim: Well, I think Jesus basically
  462. was saying be fruitful and multiply
  463. in His Great Commission.
  464. But whether it's taken from that
  465. and if somebody took it and said,
  466. well, that's all that means to me
  467. today as a New Testament believer.
  468. Well, really, I would just say this:
  469. The fact that Paul tells people
  470. not to marry is indirectly a call
  471. to not bear children too.
  472. And so, I guess that's
    the tension I feel there.
  473. (Incomplete thought)
  474. Just think with me here.
  475. He's clearly indicating that
  476. for the sake of serving the Lord,
  477. it would be best not to be married.
  478. You can be more fully
    devoted to the Lord then.
  479. I would say if a married couple
  480. didn't have children,
  481. and seriously they were concerned
  482. about serving the Lord,
  483. and they weren't having the children
  484. in order to serve the Lord
    in a certain capacity,
  485. is there a place to use
    Paul's same argumentation
  486. to make that case?
  487. It's an off-handed way,
  488. and I recognize he
    directly did not say that.
  489. And then I recognize you also have
  490. the other aspect
  491. that you have a man and a woman
  492. and the two are supposed to be
  493. giving their bodies to one another.
  494. Typically, the natural result
    of that is children.
  495. And obviously some unnatural action
  496. has to be taken,
  497. to prevent that from happening.
  498. It's the kind of thing that I think
  499. we all have to wrestle
    with these questions
  500. and we have to come to a place
  501. (incomplete thought)
  502. It's kind of like Romans 14
  503. where Paul is saying that
  504. let everyone be persuaded in his own mind.
  505. We want people that are convinced.
  506. And so you want to wrestle through.
  507. And the thing we have to be honest about,
  508. is really seriously looking
  509. at what Scripture says
  510. and what God's will is -
  511. not just what our will is.
  512. Not just going in with our will
  513. already made up
  514. or our lifestyle already determined
  515. in our own minds.
  516. And then we're just looking
  517. for the way to validate our lifestyle.
  518. This doesn't just end.
  519. It's be fruitful and multiply.
  520. And so, the question doesn't only come up
  521. with whether you have any children;
  522. it comes up again after you've had one,
  523. or two, or three, or four...
  524. Every family in the church
    is wrestling with this.
  525. And look, this question comes up
  526. and all you have to do is talk
  527. to the men and the women,
  528. and what you're getting is
  529. some families, they're going
    on to six and seven;
  530. And some you see four, five, six...
  531. they stop.
  532. And there's no more.
  533. Why?
  534. Something happened?
  535. And not only has something happened,
  536. decisions are being made.
  537. And people are wrestling with God's Word,
  538. and they're wrestling with the truth here.
  539. I would say in our church
  540. those who believe that you should
  541. keep having children until God stops
  542. giving them to you
  543. are the exception.
  544. I personally only know of like 2 or 3
  545. that have taken that position.
  546. It's just something we all
    have to wrestle with.
  547. I can tell you this,
  548. when I got to the point where
  549. I wrestled with it,
  550. it's like the Lord just gave me
  551. a sense of peace.
  552. And I know that's very subjective,
  553. but look, I wanted ten children
  554. from the very beginning.
  555. My wife can tell you that.
  556. And when the time came
  557. and I sought the Lord in the matter,
  558. it wasn't like there was even a wrestling.
  559. As much as I wanted ten children,
  560. it was like the Lord just affirmed it
  561. that it was right to stop there.
  562. And I know that's very subjective.
  563. But a lot of this is going to be.
  564. We have to wrestle
  565. through these things,
  566. and we have to take it before the Lord.
  567. I'll tell you this.
  568. If you go before the Lord,
  569. and your will is surrendered,
  570. you really want His will.
  571. You really do.
  572. That doesn't mean you
    don't have preferences.
  573. But you're really surrendered.
  574. The Lord's going to guide you.
  575. The Lord will take you in the path
  576. that you need to go.
  577. The Lord will make things obvious.
  578. He'll bring the right counselors.
  579. He'll bring the right Scripture
  580. to bear on your conscience.
  581. You just cry out to Him.
  582. You keep your conscience guided
  583. and immersed in Scripture all the time.
  584. Scripture, Scripture, Scripture...
  585. the last thing you need to be doing
  586. is talking to your worldly relatives
  587. or your worldly co-workers.
  588. That's not what guides conscience.
  589. It's Scripture.
  590. It's God's Word
  591. just washing your mind,
  592. washing, washing, washing.
  593. Being renewed, being renewed.
  594. Being guided by a sense of God's will
  595. and God's purpose.
  596. And you know, I'm studying Scripture
  597. all the time.
  598. I can tell you from the
    time that we had Joy until now,
  599. I would have liked to
    have had more children.
  600. But I've never second guessed
  601. whether we did the right thing or not.
  602. After all the studying of Scripture,
  603. it's not like, oh, you know this cloud
  604. that we did the wrong thing.
  605. We sought the Lord.
  606. I believe the Lord guided us.
  607. (from the room)
  608. You don't need to give details,
    but weren't there objective reasons?
  609. Not just subjective?
  610. Tim: Yes, there were.
  611. I mean I went through all the objective -
  612. the objective reasons.
  613. Basically, we had a newborn,
  614. a one year old, a three year old,
  615. and a five year old.
  616. And you know, a lot of times
  617. when families were like that,
  618. they had nannies and stuff.
  619. We didn't have that.
  620. We didn't have anybody.
  621. (Incomplete thought)
  622. And I was working full
    time as an engineer,
  623. trying to be involved in the ministry,
  624. we lived out in the country
  625. and we were in the woods,
  626. so I was clearing trees
  627. and putting water lines in.
  628. I'd come home from work
  629. and go right out.
  630. A lot of times,
  631. I wouldn't change my work clothes.
  632. I'd just put my boots on
  633. and straight out to try to get
  634. every bit of daylight I could
  635. out of the day.
  636. And Ruby's got, I think,
  637. two in diapers,
  638. plus a three year old and a five year old.
  639. And now, with the five year old,
  640. homeschooling starts.
  641. And she's just wiped out.
  642. She said I have to start
    home schooling now
  643. and can we please stop?
  644. You know, that coming at a guy
  645. that over and over and over,
  646. if she told you how many times
  647. I said we're having ten kids,
  648. I probably said it
  649. ten times ten times ten times.
  650. I'd tell it to everybody.
  651. We're having ten kids.
  652. And so when she came in
  653. it was like,
  654. I don't know if she thought
  655. she was going to get hesitation,
  656. but it was just like the Lord confirmed it
  657. that it was out of love for my wife.
  658. What time do we have?
  659. Brethren, I'll tell you this.
  660. The families in the church
  661. that are convinced that they need
  662. to keep having children,
  663. I don't try to unconvince them.
  664. Those who take: be fruitful and multiply
  665. and they feel like that is a commandment
  666. of God to them to keep having children,
  667. amen.
  668. We all have to wrestle
    though these things,
  669. and what I want is a church
  670. full of people with conviction.
  671. What I want is people who know
  672. why they're doing what they do.
  673. That's Romans 14.
  674. And you know what's interesting
  675. about Romans 14?
  676. Is some people keep the day,
    some people don't keep the day.
  677. Some people eat the meat,
    some people don't eat the meat.
  678. Not everybody's doing the same thing.
  679. But Paul said I want you all convinced.
  680. In other words,
  681. I want you all to be people of conviction.
  682. You say, well, is that safe?
  683. Having a church full of
    people with conviction
  684. when sometimes when their
    convictions aren't right?
  685. Or when their convictions don't line up?
  686. Well yeah, that's healthy.
  687. That doesn't mean you should have
  688. a conviction about the Trinity
  689. that's different from all the rest of us.
  690. It doesn't mean you
    have different thoughts
  691. on justification by faith.
  692. We're not talking about that.
  693. We're talking about number of children;
  694. we're talking about meat;
  695. we're talking about observing days,
  696. not observing a day.
  697. We're talking about things like that.
  698. And we should have a people
  699. full of conviction.
  700. Because what is a
    people full of conviction?
  701. It means they're
    exercising their discernment.
  702. They're finding out the good and the bad.
  703. What that tells you is
  704. you're getting mature people.
  705. And it all the more reflects the maturity
  706. when I strongly believe that I can have
  707. four children,
  708. and you strongly believe
  709. that you should keep having children
  710. till your wife is dead,
  711. and we can both look at each other
  712. and hug each other
  713. and say, "Hi, brother."
  714. And I'm not saying that there's any men
  715. in the church that would go that far.
  716. Ok.
  717. Father, we pray make us a people
  718. of the Word.
  719. Make us people of the Book.
  720. People that it could be said of us,
  721. Lord, I think of Bunyan,
  722. it was said of him
  723. that you could cut him anywhere
  724. and he would bleed Scripture.
  725. And Lord, I know when people have
  726. moved here to our church
  727. they oftentimes are amazed
  728. at how even the youngest believers
  729. among us know so much Scripture.
  730. And Lord, I pray that would just
  731. continue all the more.
  732. Lord, not to puff us up.
  733. But may we know the Scriptures truly
  734. in a way that humbles us;
  735. in a way that we see Your glory;
  736. in a way that our God is big, Lord;
  737. in a way that our lives would be
  738. guided by that lamp unto our feet.
  739. Please, guide us by Your Word, Lord.
  740. We pray in Christ's name,
  741. Amen.