Regular Contributor to Purple WomenTM
It’s supposed to be every little girl’s greatest hope: to grow up, marry her Prince Charming, buy a nice house in the suburbs, and finally find ultimate fulfillment by becoming a mother. Ah, the American Dream.
And apparently, it’s supposed to be the Christian Dream too – just ask Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and prominent Right-Wing Evangelical commentator. In his popular article on what he calls “deliberate childlessness,” he asserts that,
“The church should insist that the biblical formula calls for adulthood to mean marriage and marriage to mean children.” Okay…but when it comes to adopting a “biblical formula,” I think it’s wise to actually refer to the Bible and see what the Scriptures have to say.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul advises the Church on marriage. He discusses two options – getting married or remaining single. The Bible doesn’t directly address the issue of being married and childfree, because at the time the Scriptures were written, no one could have dreamed it would be possible. After all, reliable birth control didn’t exist. To be married was to have sex, and to have sex was to have children. So when Paul speaks of marriage in verses 25-28, we can assume he is also speaking of parenthood:
“Now I write about people who are not married [don’t have children]…The present time is a time of trouble, so I think it is good for you to stay the way you are…But if you decide to marry [and have children], you have not sinned…But those who marry [and have children] will have trouble in this life, and I want you to be free from trouble.” Hmmm….
Marriage is not the only option, and the ability to remain single is actually a gift from God. And children aren’t a requirement either, since when Paul advises not to marry, he is inherently advising not to have children.
So where would Paul stand on being married and childfree? I would never dare to put words in his mouth or assert my opinion as Biblical Truth. But personally, I know that God uses my husband to help me grow, and that I’m a better person because of him. And I also know that the ministry God has given us as a couple would not exist if we had children, because they would become our priority. We could not invest in others at the level we do today.
Based on Corinthians 7, I think Dr. Mohler’s statement is a bit of a stretch. I’m certainly no theologian, but I think that when the Bible is vague on an issue, it’s probably best to let God decide how to work it out in individual lives and not assume the responsibility for yourself.
According to Dr. Mohler, the Apostle Paul, who was personally visited by God, was responsible for bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, and wrote the majority of the New Testament, was "morally rebellious and did not fulfill the responsibilities of adulthood". So who do I believe – Paul or Mohler…Paul or Mohler…?
Technorati Tag: Childfree
September 01, 2007