Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You're Not Going to College?!?


In a culture saturated with the presupposition that a college degree is necessary to adulthood (though it is being desaturated, I think), there are some who step back and reconsider if the piece of paper with the alphabet soup is really all that and a box of crackers. In the circles that I swim in, it's common to see the expectation that girls will stay home instead of going off to college. Online alternatives like CollegePlus! are also very popular among homeschoolers.

I guess I go a step further. More on that in a bit.

I have no intention of going to college, at this point, nor of getting any manner of degree (other than a high-school diploma). Which isn't to say that if I got a scholarship to Julliard or Patrick Henry I would just turn it down.

Why? I'm so glad you asked!

Girls


First, though, I'm going to talk about girls going to college (because I've been asked to clarify my stance). In family-integrated, homeschooling circles it's not rare to see people taking a philosophical stance against girls going to college. I agree with these people- specifically because of the Biblical principle of male headship, I would be very reluctant to give my blessing on my daughter/sister going away to college (unless she went with her brother, maybe..?).

I mean, really- why would I send the precious daughter that God has entrusted me with off to a temple of humanism to learn from educated fools (Ps. 14:1) and fellowship with boys stuck in manly bodies who would love to take advantage of her and girls who like it that way?

Yeah, that's a grim picture which I paint of college. And right you are- not all colleges are like this! Just most of 'em. So now that we've ruled out the majority of colleges...

To any girl going to Patrick Henry college or Bob Jones University or another such respectable establishment (and to her father!), I ask- how are you playing out Numbers 30? How are you as a father protecting your daughter? How are you, as a daughter, being held accountable, protected, loved, instructed, familied?


Maybe you are, that's between you and The LORD. But the principles must be dealt with, one way or t'other.

I certainly have no desire for my daughters (LORD willing, one day) to go to college.

I'm not saying that no girl should ever go to college, but that any girl that does go to college needs to deal with the principles that God gives us to live by. I'm sure there are exceptions. But I'm tired of pursuing exceptions. I'd rather seek what it is that God gives us as a normative pattern, and let Him take care of the exceptions.

Guys

Here, though, I go even further. Not only am I "against" girls going to college- I'm "against" guys going to college.

Hear me out.

Let's look at some Biblical principles:

  • Family
  • Accountability
  • Time Stewardship
  • Financial Stewardship

Family


Throughout Scripture God works through families. Whether it's blood relatives or relatives by The Blood, we're called to be in fellowship with one another. Christianity is not a religion of loners. From the very beginning, God instituted the family. It's the assumed normative throughout Scripture. (Ps. 68:6, Heb. 10:25)

It's a good thing.

So why would I want to leave my family and my church family to go somewhere else for so long? Is it really worth it?

Accountability

This is closely tied to family. When I'm living together with my family and my local brothers and sisters in Christ, I don't have the luxury of hiding things. Sure, it's possible, but it's hard. It also puts a block in relationships that I treasure. While it is indeed possible (and, I say, necessary!) to set up accountability in a college (or other such) situation, it's not as organic and unavoidable. (Jas. 5:16, Pr. 27:17)

Add to that all the temptations that come with being alone on a college campus among myriads of peers who, with the exception of the exceptional colleges, are more likely to tempt than to help against the temptations, and you have a recipe for trouble.

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." (1 Cor. 10:12)

It is by God's Grace that we stand at all, even protected in our homes. Let us not presume upon God's Grace and throw ourselves in the path of temptation.

Remember the young man in Pr. 7.

Time Stewardship

I would want to spend 4 years of my life in college why exactly? During those 4 years, I could start a business, or study my craft, or any number of things, while in the context of my own family and church. Indeed, I could start my own family. 4 years is a lot of time. Would it really be a good investment to sink it all into college? (Eph. 5:16)

Financial Stewardship

I know there are cheaper options than just the standard (extraordinarily expensive) college fare. I'm not talking about those right now.

Scripturally, debt is slavery. (Pr. 22:7) I cannot see how I could justify going into years worth of debt for a degree. Furthermore, even if I had all that money and could pay out-of-pocket, would that be good stewardship of God's money?

Please note that I'm putting these out not as a list of rules, but as a list of principles. These are my thoughts (which are, to varying degrees, undergirded with Scripture, but my interpretations aren't infallible). I'm not trying to start a fight- these are some of the reasons behind what I believe about college, and I hope some of you find them edifying.

Why?

I can see Biblical allowance for college much better if it is a local college or, especially, something like CollegePlus! which is done (mostly) from home.

Even allowing for something like CollegePlus! or a local community college, though, I would like to know this.

Why would I want to go to college?

Here are some of my reasons why, and then my reasons why they don't convince me.

Networking

Networking is hugely important, especially for someone in my line of business. For my part, though, I'd rather do that on websites like ChristianFilmmakers.org or at gatherings like the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. In the former case, it's free, it's ongoing, and it's focused on my industry. In the latter case, while it's away from home and costs- it's only for a week, and that's a week of condensed and intense networking. If I'm diligent enough.

Knowledge

First off, "the fear of The LORD is the beginning of knowledge." So if I'm going to a pagan institution which will teach me things rooted in a heathen worldview, I'm going to need to filter all that out.

Secondly, with all the technology we have today, why would I want to pay so much money and spend so much time going to an institution to learn when I could study from home at my own pace on only the subjects most important to me? This allows me to still learn from the wisdom of others- whether it's via books, websites, or even local mentors. It also allows me to learn my craft by doing it- not by studying about it in a classroom setting.

Diploma


It's just a piece of paper. If I can do my job and do it well, then I'm not really worried about whether I have an official stamp of approval.

That isn't to say that a college degree isn't helpful, or, at times, necessary, but rather that it isn't always necessary and is often overrated.

Hats of Awesomeness

It's hard, but I think that I'm willing to sacrifice my chance to get one of these babies for the reasons stated above.

(Again, my point isn't that college is inherently evil or that college is not an option for Christians- my point here is that I really don't see why, as a general rule, it is beneficial enough to justify all the costs.)

One More Time

Again, yes, I'm sure there are exceptions. Again, I'm not worried about exceptions. I'm not looking for them right now. I want to find the principles that God has given which direct normative Christian life. If He leads you or me to pursue a path that falls under the category of "exception," than may we be ever willing to follow!

In either case, however, we must deal with the principles given in The Text.


Well, there you have it. This concludes my doctoral thesis on why I don't think The LORD is calling me to go to college at this point in my life.

I guess I'm forever condemned to being classified with other diploma-free people like Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Andrew Jackson, and Henry Ford.

Bummer.

123 comments:

Corey P. said...

Even though I'm not certain I completely agree with all of your points, I appreciated reading your thoughts on the subject. But I will say this: College, on the whole, is overrated.

Here's an excellent post on "avoiding the college trap". You should give it a read:

http://americanvision.org/2688/avoiding-the-college-trap/

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing the link, Corey. :-)

And that college is overrated is really one of the biggest points I was trying to make. Thanks for stating it succinctly. :-D

amy said...

Thanks much for this post. Obviously, I was looking forward to it :-)

I certainly agree that college is overrated...at which you may be thinking that I can't really be in agreement due to the fact that I'm in college. Not so :)

One thought/question:

I'm studying graphic design at a school very nearby my home. I also have a scholarship making this possible.

Studying graphic design (at a two year college, and no plans to transfer elsewhere), my in-classroom classes include things like Photoshop, film photography, and web design. These classes have are not ones where I have to sit listen to someone lecture about, say, evolution or something of that sort that is decidedly un-Scriptural.

By going to a local college, I’m still completely under the authority of my father, and am being held accountable, familied, etc. My dad knows all about what I do at school, the acquaintances I have made, and the people I spend my time with.

College debt is obviously another problem with college. However, my brother and I found that local colleges often (at least in our town) have scholarships available. Certainly, if debt were to be in the picture, I wouldn’t be in school.

But anyway, what do you think of a situation like that?

My concern with writing this is that is probably sounds like I’m just trying to justify my position--it certainly wasn’t a thoughtless decision, but that isn’t my point here. Nor is my point isn't to get your vote of approval on my situation, per se. Rather, to present a situation which I believe may be overcoming some of the problems with college. If you have time to answer, I'd be interested in hearing your thought on this.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I think that if it was going to be done that would be the way to do it! Thanks for giving that example.

I think you are in a great situation!

Ultimately, it's between you, your family/father and God, but it sounds like you have both the right heart for it and the right hands, so to speak.

My opinion- you're going about college in an admirable fashion.

Might I ask how much time those courses take up?

Taralyn Rose said...

Thank you, thank you for dealing so strongly with this subject!!

College is so over-rated, even in some of my conservative circles. When I was only thirteen, a friend asked me which college I was planning on going to. When I told her that I wasn't and that I'd rather get married and be a mother, I got the mute, wide-eyed stare. :-D And this friend was only ten herself.

Ah well, it's nice to know someone who, not only takes a mutual stand on the whole thing, but also who knows their own worldview enough to defend that stand on every level :-)

Your argument was laid out clearly so that I'm even more convinced about the ethical danger of those popular, pagan institutions and of the clever fools who teach there, so thanks again :-)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Just another thought, Amy- you've obviously dealt with the Scriptural principles. That's huge. So long as we deal with Scripture, we don't have to look identical in the way we apply It.

Taralyn- heehee. I love it when my sisters answer "what do you want to be when you grow up?" with a similar response. :-D

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Oh, another point that someone brought up on Facebook- there are times where getting a degree is a good idea/necessary. Like if you're going to be a brain surgeon.

Just wanted to throw that out there and see what comes back and smacks me in the head.

Corey P. said...

I'm not sure that really contradicts what you said in your post, Gabriel. There are, indeed, some careers that require college - if you wanted to go into the medical profession, for instance. But I would still say that college is given far to much reverence in today's society.

Corey P. said...

There's ana phenomenal scene in Good Will Hunting (1997) that goes hand-in-hand with this dicussion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymsHLkB8u3s

(Before you watch it, be warned that it does contain brief strong language.)

Taralyn Rose said...

I totally agree. I wanted to add that. There's nothing wrong with going to college for a specific reason (emphasis on 'for a specific reason'):-)
No, it doesn't contradic with what you said, Gabriel.
To have an excuse to go to college (like to learn to be a brain surgeon), the guy must have a clear vision, so that he can focus on the thing he intends in the first place to acomplish (not just to 'find himself').

Just my thoughs.

Lisa said...

Awesome post! I love your sense of humor and ability to communicate things in such a concise and clear way.

I agree...now. I didn't use to, but God used "Return Of The Daughters" and some awesome Godly friends to change my opinion. I think your points are great.

Thank you!

amy said...

"Nor is my point isn't to get your vote of approval on my situation, per se."

Did I really say that? *groan* I didn't mean to use a double negative there and end up saying that my point was to get your vote of approval.

Typos are terrible.

I'll comment actually replying to you, Gabriel, tomorrow or something. Thanks for your replies...At the moment, I just wanted to correct my mistake :-)

Aubrey Hansen said...

Excellent, thoughtful article, as always, Gabriel. I appreciate your taking the time to write these up from your convictions, and I enjoy reading them.

My parents have actually told me that college was an option should I desire it. I was a bit surprised, because I'd never even considered it. It would have to be local/online, so I could live at home, for the security reasons you mentioned. However, at this time I see no reason to go to college.

I'm a self-proclaimed indie rebel, so I'm always in favor of people going DIY. Personal preference aside, however, I think it would be unnecessary and unwise for me to go to college to get a writing degree. Why spend four years and a great deal of money to have someone teach me to write, when I could spend that time and money actually writing? Add in the fact that a degree requires general ed. classes, and the fact that I might not agree with my professors on religion OR writing style, and I'm not left with a lot of reasons to go! I expect the same would be for a music degree.

Gods Country Boy said...

Ah yes, the phony belief that everybody who ever went anywhere went to college in finally being shown to be absolute baloney, even by the outside world. Voddie has an excellent message on it, which you should look up.
I have heard several times that a college education is just about a mandatory requirement *just in case* you ever need something to fall back on.
I think if I fall back on my diploma it will rip. :) (In more ways than one).
I totally agree on why go learn something from someone if their whole worldview is 100% antagonistic to yours?
My stance on college is only do it if it is ABSOLUTELY required to have for your vocation, and make it as cheap, Christian, and fast as possible.
Butchers and ranchers aren't required to go to college - so I aint gonna. Nuf said.

Bailey said...

I know you said you're not concerned with exceptions, so I hope this question doesn't derail the conversation.

You made the Scriptural case that going to a brick-and-mortar college -- or basically, just going anywhere away from family and accountability -- violates principles that God laid out for our own good. Obviously, a principle is something general enough to cover all bases and indeed powerful enough to redirect our plans. So why then would there even be allowable exceptions? Why would God call someone away from what is best? Why would He contradict His own principles which He obviously set in place for a reason? Wouldn't saying there can be contradictions/exceptions open up dangerous ground for fantasizing what God's will is instead of directly gleaning it from Scripture?

Again, I hope this isn't too off-topic!

Jennifer said...

Indeed, college is a must for medical purposes. I think by the time you're an adult, and if the college isn't known for being ultra-liberal (and especially if you're not living there), you're old enough to deal with people who don't share the faith. People in colleges are young adults, and while listening to parents is important, I've already shared my thoughts on women relating to their fathers as though they're still children.

My sister's living in Tallahassee where she attends FSU, and I attended community college here.

Bush Maid said...

Hurrah! Another anti-uni supporter, I salute you sir! :D Though I'm not sure where I stand on girls going to college, I entirely agree with your own reasons for not going.

There is one thing about this society that gets my temper flaring, and that is: talented people with the capacity to fulfill an occupation are overlooked for others who carry a "piece of paper". The fact that - to the world - my worth and my chances of success are measured by a worthless certificate is the height of injustice in my mind. It also gives me the desire to work hard at the things God has given me to make a way in life - *without* the grand old piece of paper.

I did two certificates in business studies via distance education (from home), and the things I learnt from it I could count on one hand. yet, if I wanted to get a job, those mere slips of paper would double my chances of obtaining one, regardless of my actual abilities.

Also, most people who go to college don't usually end up with the dream job they were hoping for when they initially arrived there. My Dad likes to say, "We have the most highly educated McDonalds workers than ever".

So I shall sum this up by repeating everyone else: I too, think that college is overrated. :D

Andrew Eaton said...

Well, I must say your main point is good, and true. College is overrated and not always needed.

Most every one "thinks" that you need a collage degree to get a job, but you don't always.

Now for a specific job, or a very hard job college is very useful.

I don't think all things can be learned from a library or online, and even if your taught by "clever fools" who might want to belittle your faith and just get your money, there still "clever" and there is still a LOT I could learn from them.

I will most likely continue on a course to college, because it REALLY helps to have a degree in engineering if I want to become an engineer.

Agree or disagree, I believe that man was made to work, and how one goes about that is up to you and your view of God's word, and you own common sense of course.

Keep up the good job brother.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Great point on "finding oneself," Taralyn.

Corey, yes, I agree, it doesn't contradict, but I was on my soapbox so I think I came off a bit over-strong on the college-is-never-necessary side.

My apologies for that, everyone. I do believe that it has a place- be it a small one, and a temporary one... teehee...

"I'm a self-proclaimed indie rebel, so I'm always in favor of people going DIY."

*like*

Good thoughts, Aubrey. While I'm sure I'd learn a lot from, say, Julliard, I'm not sure that I'd learn anything that I couldn't learn online/through books- and besides, praise God, I'm actually learning by doing it right now, like you are with your writings.

David, you're so funny. And fun.

This: "My stance on college is only do it if it is ABSOLUTELY required to have for your vocation, and make it as cheap, Christian, and fast as possible."

Is pretty much my stance too.

Andrew- yes, for something like engineering I can definitely see how that would be necessary. Just go armed. :-D

Aussie- welcome to the club, apparently. :-)

Bailey and Jennifer- I shall do a separate comment for you two, because this is getting rather long.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Jennifer: amen that we should learn to defend the faith on our own. I would not, however, take that to mean that we can then be "loners," as I contend that God works through relationships. Gender roles aside (and that's a big disagreement between us, as we both well know ;-), things like accountability and family/church relationships are important to consider, even for those who are "old enough."

Would you agree?

Bailey, no, you're thoroughly on-topic, and you ask a very good question.

"Wouldn't saying there can be contradictions/exceptions open up dangerous ground for fantasizing what God's will is instead of directly gleaning it from Scripture?"

That's a beautiful way of putting that.

Like that picture says, "There are exceptions to every rule, and most people think that they are it."

Let's see if this helps. I don't believe that there are exceptions to the principles. Everyone must deal with God's Word. I do believe that there are exceptions to the normative outplay of those principles.

Does that make sense?

Pinecone said...

1. Right. Right again. My take: unless you can pay for it, you shouldn't do it. It's a back-breaking burden upon a family to end up with one (let alone two!) people with 9,000+ of debt.
2. You should not (as a general rule) get married while in college. It's not a certain recipe for disaster, but it's the next best thing.
3. Utilize online college and CLEP. This works wonders with your time and energy.
4. Totally agree with the girls portion of your statement. Adding one thing more: if the young lady has a decrepit father and/or mother, she will be looking for love just about anywhere. There's no question as to the usual result.
5. Keep up the good (controversial) work!

amy said...

“So long as we deal with Scripture, we don't have to look identical in the way we apply It.”

That’s awesome. I think it’s easy (well, it is for myself anyway) to become caught up in just doing what looks right because everyone else in a particular circle is doing it that particular way. The reality is, I think, that everyone must study issues for themselves and follow the principles laid out in the Bible, even if that looks a lot different in your life from others in your circle. Just because everyone else is doing something, doesn’t make it right for you (even if it is a perfectly acceptable option).

Also, thanks for your comments about what I’m doing :-)

Certainly, you may ask…I’ll even answer ;) I never really time how long homework takes me, so this is sorta estimated.

Obviously, college takes time. If you’re aiming to do it fast, it takes even more time in the present. I’m taking fifteen credit hours this semester, 6 of which are online. The online ones take several hours (3-4?) weekly to complete, but the eliminate in-classroom time. The others I’m taking at school are speech, photography, and drawing. Speech involves 3 hours of in-class time a week, in addition to completing homework/writing speeches. Having only had one class so far, I can’t say how much time that will take to do each week. Photography takes 6 in-class hours weekly, and relatively no homework. Drawing--6 in-class hours weekly, and a quite a bit of homework.

If you’d like that related into a typical week, it looks like this:

Monday/Wednesday—at school for digital photo & drawing. Between those classes I do history and math homework.
Tuesday—speech homework, take photos (if assigned), drawing
Thursday—Bible study and Bible class (church studies)
Friday—3 hour speech class. Finish up uncompleted homework.

That’s roughly what a school week looks like for me. I try to keep evenings and weekends free for more time with the family, housework, personal Bible study, etc. Drawing, however, may need to be worked on during the evenings/Saturday, because it can be pretty time consuming.

Does that answer your question?

Jennifer said...

Of course, and those who attend college or any area of life must maintain strong bonds with church family and blood family.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Pinecone, many homeschooling methods like those espoused by the Vision Forum are very expensive too: have as many babies as nature allows, homeschool them all, then keep all females at home and fed out of your pocket until they're married. Between that and college, guess which one most families couldn't afford?

Jamie T said...

Very good post, Gabriel! I couldn't have said it better and I agree completely.

Jennifer: It's not really a matter of expense or money... it's a matter of what pleases God more. :)

~Jamie

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

I've often heard people say that, and they're usually the ones who can afford it. That is good, but not the path for everyone.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Ah, but are they really being fed out-of-pocket, Jennifer, if they're a productive force?

Jamie- awesome point. Excellently said.

Amy- OK, thanks for the info!

Bailey said...

That makes sense and is an excellent way to put it. I agree with your points on money, accountability and the general uselessness of what's peddled as education today.

So do you think that a daughter who lives away from home at college -- outside her father's protection -- is sinning and her father too, since they're violating what you see as clear Scriptural principles? Because obviously, a girl going to the local community college is playing out the principles differently -- attending in an entire other state is breaking them. I don't mean to pin you against the wall; I'm just curious.

Jennifer said...

Well, so are college kids, esp. ones with jobs.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"So do you think that a daughter who lives away from home at college -- outside her father's protection -- is sinning and her father too, since they're violating what you see as clear Scriptural principles?"

Not as-such. Not as a hard-and-fast rule. That's between them and God!

(Though I would be curious as to how they play out the Scriptural principles... or get around them.)

ACR said...

Gabriel, you're dead on, my man. If I had the money for an expensive college degree there are a lot of other ways I would spend it first, not to mention that the greco-roman nature of the college model really creeps me out.

Jennifer, Doesn't God provide for the blessings He gives? I mean, is He going to bless people with children and then not give them the money to support them? Besides, what's money for anyway?

Moreover, with a biblical approach to family economics, the home supposed to be a center for productivity-and that includes financial productivity. I don't see that daughters staying at home is going to be a knock on the financial state of a family.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Bailey said...

I totally get your reluctance to "play God" in the sense of defining what is and isn't sin. I'm a little confused, though, that you would define the principle but won't follow through with the word for dumping the principle: disobedience. Sin. If disobeying the principle (not just living it out differently but violating it completely) is okay in some circumstances, then God is inconsistent and/or His principles aren't as binding as assumed.

Just to be fair, I'm planning to attend a secular private college a state away from home, out from under my father's authority and protection. But even I'm spotting the inconsistency of saying something is clearly a principle yet God could possibly call someone to be an exception or someone could violate the principle and get away with it as "not sin."

With obeying principles (not the living out of principles, as we both agree), there's all or nothing -- otherwise it's not a principle. It's appropriate to say, for instance, "Most girls, since protection and accountability is a good thing, choose to stay home" and allow exceptions to the rule. That's just stating the status quo.

However, if one says that girls Biblically must be under their father's immediate protection and authority (a reasonable argument), then that should determine the status quo. A girl cannot say, "God called me to college eight hours away" if it violates a Biblical principle. And certainly, we must not applaud her for dumping Scriptural command or tell her anything but that she is emphatically wrong about God's will.

I think, though, that you recognize -- as all Christians inherently do -- that God does not work in a box and that each person is called in different ways. You are rightly reluctant to determine what is and isn't sin; I think you ought to equally be reluctant to set hard-and-fast-with-an-exception-on-the-side rules for all Christians.

I say this not to justify my own position or convince you to abandon your own and go to Julliard. I once wrote a post exactly like this. We could have shared a brain. Nobody pointed out to me the inconsistency in my position, and I'm left with the knowledge that I "played God" to others with my mishandling of Scripture. If you still believe that Scripture teaches a daughter must remain under her father's authority and protection as a God-given principle for the good of the daughter and His glory, that's fine. I only exhort you to be consistent, lest we misrepresent principles, sin and God to others.

Racheal said...

Interesting discussion here. I'm in college (Whitefield College, a long distance school). I really wasn't too keen on the idea, but since I was offered a discount, I figured it wouldn't hurt. (And my parents thought it would be good.) I'm doing a Bible degree that in many ways is just a continuation of my high school work.(Worldviews of the Western World from Cornerstone Cirriculum) Since it is a continued grounding in Scripture, I view it as useful and time well spent. I can work on my own schedule (no due-dates! Yay!!) which is nice since I do other things too...like working on my documentary and continuing to train my horse.

Over all though, I agree with most everybody else here that 'normal' college is a waste of time, money, and energy. While I don't believe girls should be preparing for a career outside of the home, I wouldn't say that they should never go to college. Who knows, she might just need that accounting degree :)

As an a side note of interest, my grandpa used to hold very firmly to the belief that everybody ought to go to college. However, in the last couple of years he has changed his mind on that issue. While he still thinks higher education is a good thing, he sees that the modern college exprience does nothing to improve people and is in reality just a waste of time and money. To bring a little prespective to it, he's 89 year old Depression kid and was a farmer, a commerical fisherman, and a bee-keeper. The Army paid for his education during WWII. For those of his generation, college wasn't a 'right'...it was something you earned.

Jennifer said...

ACR, there are many people with children they can't afford. I wouldn't hold it as a fast rule.

Jennifer said...

You're a very wise person, Bailey.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"[T]here are many people with children they can't afford."

*weeps*

Too busy to respond to the rest, but that was to heartbreaking to pass up.

To the rest- hopefully in the next few days I shall respond! I'm in crunch time on a film project. Prayers appreciated!

Bailey said...

Happy crunch time! I'll keep you in prayer.

Gods Country Boy said...

Jenifer, I know families that have 8+ kids, and are barely managing to struggle along, and are the happiest families on planet earth! Kids are not something you have only when you can afford them. They are a blessing from God, not another mere mouth to feed. Besides, what would you rather have for eternity? Another soul with you in paradise, or the $15,000 it took you to raise that kid from cradle to graduation? Money has no eternal value. Children do. The Bible makes it very clear that if we obey, He will bless us. God doesn't bless us if we think that our way is better and try to do our own thing.
Another aspect of not having lots of kids, is that people who don't believe in having enough kids don't last very many generations, because they all die out due to not having enough kids to replace them and refill the populous. The whole feministic "have as few kids as possible, none preferably" idea will eventually die out because the people who believe in it die out with nobody to replace them. They kill themselves off - literally. Having as many kids as God allows is the only way to go to take dominion of the world as God commanded. Feminism doesn't cut it.

Lisa said...

Jennifer,
I will echo what David says...

I knew a family with 8 kids in a 2 bedroom house with barely enough money to squeak by from month to month. The dad worked stocking shelves at Frys and the mom stayed home to homeschool the kids. But they were raising them for the glory of God and they were the most joyful, blessed family I know. Yes, they had hard times. But God always, always made a way.

I know another family with one child, and they're living in luxury. But...they're living for themselves and they are miserable and lost.

If you obey God's commands, He WILL bless you. If we are faithful, He will add. He says "be fruitful and multiply," "children are a blessing," "a heritage," "a reward," and if you embrace that, He will make a way for you to raise those blessings.

Honestly...what other blessings from God do we refuse? If He offered unlimited money would we refuse? NO! But if He offers unlimited children, we come up with all sorts of ways to refuse.

Gabe...praying for you! Keep up the good work.

amy said...

Hope the film project goes well. Praying for you, Gabriel!

Jennifer said...

"Too busy to respond to the rest, but that was to heartbreaking to pass up"

It's true: many can't afford to properly feed their children.

"Kids are not something you have only when you can afford them"

I think they should be. Your comment about money not having eternal value misses my point, and I'm speaking of very poor families, not ones who pass up college. Feminism has nothing to do with the necessity of birth control when money won't support more kids, or the mother's body is worn out.

"Having as many kids as God allows is the only way to go to take dominion of the world as God commanded"

That's not true at all. Do you not think God can make do with the children we have already? I love large families and those who support themselves and are happy are wonderful, but it angers me to see women who regulate their wombs shamed. And yes, there are many times when cutting back may even be vital. We have to be careful with many heart attitudes: are we having more kids because we really aren't satisfied with the ones we have already? Do we doubt God's ability to work with the number we have? These are as important questions as whether we're being greedy or seeing kids as burdens.

Michelle Duggar is a wonderful woman, and I love how she snubbed many non-medical MALE opinions I've seen, in fact, which arrogantly declare that women should be done with childbirth before 40! Humph. But because of her doctor, and not her age, I think she's reached her limit. Her doctor told her it's risky to her body, and she became pregnant again anyway, only to lose the baby. I hope she is cautious now, and considers how much the children who already exist need her.

Taralyn Rose said...

Hi Jennifer!

"[A]re we having more kids because we really aren't satisfied with the ones we have already? Do we doubt God's ability to work with the number we have?"

We never should doubt God's ability, but we as God's children have a responsibility. God commanded us in the very begining to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it."

And it is not that the Godly woman is unsatisfied with the number of children she has, she is only obeying the most important command God gave to woman after the curse.

"To the woman He said, 'I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children...'"

I think it is shameful to prevent childbirth:

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 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! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

It's good to always look to scripture.

This verse seems to show what God holds as good:

"So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander."

I hope this helps!

Jennifer said...

We have been fruitful and multiplied, and this means making believers as well as having babies. If it meant having babies nonstop, would there ever be an end to it before she hit menopause?

Taralyn Rose said...

God opens the womb and God closes it. It's upto Him.
But He clearly tells us that children are a blessing from Him.
To be barren is a curse.

"Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, 'God has taken away my reproach.' And she called his name Joseph, saying, 'May the Lord add to me another son!'"

We see from scripture that when a nation loves God and lives according to His law word, He blesses it by increasing the fruit of the womb.

"None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days."

As a side note, I believe that by nutririon and being healty, childbearing is much, much easier on one's body. Health, too, is a blessing from God. All these things, like health and fertility, are very much connected our own and our nation's obedience to God.

And it's true- childbearing is painful, because of sin. Pain in childbirth is the woman's curse.

In Christ.

Jennifer said...

Nevertheless, there are times avoidance measures should be taken. One similar woman almost killed herself trying to have more; should Michelle Duggar keep trying as well?

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Jennifer- why should she not?

Jennifer said...

I already said why, Gabriel. You didn't see my earlier post, a few posts back? It's risky to her body and any child she would carry.

Taralyn Rose said...

You know, Jennifer, this is actually tricky.

Having a baby is taxing on a mother's body. She uses up her reserves and her own health, giving to the baby, so if a mother does not renew her body through nutririon (by putting the used-up nutrients back into her body so that she can heal), it may not be good. I believe if it comes to compromising one's health and the baby's health, then it may be a bad thing.

I am hesitant saying this, but I have to think it through.

I'm NOT saying that taking birthcontrol is the soloution (because that is murder).

We've also got to realize that health has a lot to do with the spacing of children. When a mother is having a baby a year, it think that indicates a health problem. A mother's body cannot heal in one year. Babies are supposed to be spaced two to three years appart, or so I've heard.

As I said, I don't believe the pill can be an option, moraly, but there are natural herbs and things that help to regulate pregnancies and even prevent them for some time.

I'm sorry, I'm don't sound clued-up on this. I'm just rambling random things I've heard from my sis.
But, they are things to think about and to consider (according scripture, of course).

What do you think, Gabriel?

Jennifer said...

Very true, Taralyn. But I don't think the pill is automatically murder (depending on the brand), and even if it washed something out of the body, it would be an egg that hadn't even attached itself yet. Believe, me, it's nothing compared to even early-term abortion; I've read deeply detailed stuff.

But back on the topic of BC in general, yes, I think Mrs. Duggar has had a baby a year for the past 20 years now. She needs to think of her other children. In my mind, I don't like it when people say things like Mr. Botkin's comment that, "I think of all my preschool classmates that never came into existence." Please; many BC methods prevent pregnancy, not end it, and in that case we're not talking about souls already in existence. Making a non-occurance into a tragedy by what-if guilt trips is very faulty thinking and reasoning. A woman who's sick or can't afford another baby needs to think of her children who already exist, not imaginary ones that may or not have come into existence. Otherwise, she puts the what-if kids, non-existent beings, above real people.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

I think the question we should really be facing here is this: is God sovereign over the fruit of the womb, or does man get to exercise sovereignty over the womb? The question ultimately is, do people make children, or does God make children? Yes, there are bilogical processes involved, but we still believe that when God says that children are a blessing from the Lord, that's not merely something nice to put on your fridge. It's the truth of God's word.

God perhaps could "make do" with the children we have already, but if He's giving us more children that's apparently not His intention. It's not a matter of discontentment or distrust of God-it's a matter of surrendering ourselves into the hands of God for HIm to do with us as He sees fit. If God is richly blessing us, it's not greedy to be thankful for that.

Let me put it this way. Is God ever going to give us children that He doesn't want us to have, or that He would prefer that we not have? Does He go "oops" when he gives us too many children?

Now there may be times when we don't see where the money's going to come from, and we have to "step out on the water" in faith to God. But that our faith is thrown on something a lot stronger than a whim, and it reaps a joy that is beyond comparison-there is nothing like the blessing of God on unfailing faith.

That being said, I would agree that having as many kids as God allows is the only way to take dominion over the world as God commanded, because we can't do the Lord's work without surrendering to His sovereign hand in our lives.

God gave Mrs. Duggar the child that she later lost. Mrs. Duggar did not irresponsibly create that child. She had no power over it-at least, no power that she had the right before God to exercise. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

God does not give children as a burden to prevent women from doing what they would really would enjoy the most. He created a woman's soul to be fulfilled in the work that He has given them. And He intends that women be keepers at home and disciple their children. "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." (1 Timothy 5:15)

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Jennifer said...

Children are a blessing, but this doesn't mean they're not a LOT of work that not everyone can afford. They're people; eating, consuming, growing, functioning people, not gems that can be easily maintained.

"I think the question we should really be facing here is this: is God sovereign over the fruit of the womb, or does man get to exercise sovereignty over the womb?"

A woman using PC does not cancel out God's control of her womb.

"God perhaps could "make do" with the children we have already, but if He's giving us more children that's apparently not His intention"

If you believe God's sovereign over everything, and take this to the enth degree as Calvinists do, then I can also say that a woman practicing PC and it's being effective is God's will. Does God go, "Oh no, she popped the pill, nothing I can do now" when this occurs?

"She had no power over it-at least, no power that she had the right before God to exercise"

A woman has every right to watch and take care of her own body, and this is what Mrs. Duggar should do; 20 children in 20 years, for pete's sake, what more does anyone want of her? As of now, she has no child in her womb, but the TWENTY that already exist, and they need to be the ones thought of now and put first. If anyone tells me, "She's not done getting pregnant, she's still assigned to make babies just because she CAN", I will indeed think that they operate on an "it's never enough" basis.

Taralyn Rose said...

Jennifer- Are you not someone's child?

Pinecone said...

1. God's Word is the most important thing that we can teach our children. An expensive math, science, english, etc curriculum? Perhaps. But I have my own theories that there isn't a lot of difference between 3rd and 5th grade. Do we really need 12 years of in-depth schooling, or should we try to give our children a more well-rounded education? A long walk with Mom or Dad discussing how to deal with corporate success is better than an hour spent on addition or subtraction problems. I think we have some misconceptions on what a perfect education should look like. Don't get me wrong: my children will probably go through the even grades: 2, 4, 6, 8, etc, and finish school at least a couple years ahead. If they require more time, that's fine, too.

2. Our job is to create future Moms and Dads that will train up their children in God's ways and continue to build His kingdom.

"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come." Hebrews 13:14.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

OK, Bailey, here goes.

"If disobeying the principle (not just living it out differently but violating it completely) is okay in some circumstances, then God is inconsistent and/or His principles aren't as binding as assumed."

Right. But if these people are playing out the principle differently, even if it's in a way that I think is a violation of the principle, it's not for me to decide whether they are in sin.

"However, if one says that girls Biblically must be under their father's immediate protection and authority (a reasonable argument), then that should determine the status quo."

Right.

"A girl cannot say, "God called me to college eight hours away" if it violates a Biblical principle."

Right- if it violates the principle. But the principle isn't "don't go to any college that is more than 8 hours away"- the principle is patriarchy (yeah, I know, scary word) and protection.

"I think you ought to equally be reluctant to set hard-and-fast-with-an-exception-on-the-side rules for all Christians."

Could you point out what rule you're talking about? Or do you disagree on the principle of the thing? I'm OK with that, too. It's not as clear cut as principles like "thou shalt not murder." So long as we can argue over Scripture, that's where it starts.

Jennifer- sorry, no I didn't see the earlier post.

"It's risky to her body and any child she would carry."

Pregnancy is always risky.

Taralyn- I say let God be sovereign over the womb. He knows how much each woman's body can take, and He is the one that gives life.

Children are a blessing- let's take all that He gives us!

I don't think it's right to try to prevent children- nor, for that matter, to worry (too much) about having them. God will give life as He wishes.

It's not a race or a trophy collection but rather gifts from our Father that we are receiving. May we ever be found ready to receive them with open arms!

(Though I would be interested to look into Biblical law and see what kind of uncleanness periods and such were prescribed.)

"The question ultimately is, do people make children, or does God make children?"

Huge and awesome point. We sometimes act and speak as if we can have kids or not have kids at will. But children truly are a gift. We can follow the biological principles of childbearing, eat right, take herbs, whatever, but only God can give life. We also act like He gives it incessantly and it's up to us to keep it in control.

How is that Biblical?

Taralyn Rose said...

Thank you, Gabriel.

:-)

Bailey said...

Thank you as always for your thoughtful and gracious response, Gabriel. I do disagree with the principles of patriarchy and protection, but we can argue that a later time. ;o)

You said this: To any girl going to Patrick Henry college or Bob Jones University or another such respectable establishment (and to her father!), I ask- how are you playing out Numbers 30? How are you as a father protecting your daughter? How are you, as a daughter, being held accountable, protected, loved, instructed, familied? You clearly laid out that you believed in the moral duty of fathers protecting their daughters and daughters staying under their fathers' authority. You equate that with daughters staying home, which is logical. Protection isn't possible if a daughter is away from her father's home -- period. Patriarchy doesn't work eight hours away. We have to say these women and their fathers are in clear disobedience to Scripture if we're going to hold the truth of the principles.

One thing that I've encountered in patriarchal circles and strongly believed in myself is that we're very bold at painting the clarity and importance of the principle. But when questions of women missionaries or girls going states away to college arise, we give the cop-out exception answer. We have to be consistent -- phone calls home, weekly emails and a father's blessing is not patriarchal protection. If it was, I doubt you'd felt the need to write this post and the stay-at-home daughter movement would collapse. ;o) We need to call it like it is. If the principle is clear, the disobedience of it also should be clear. There are not different ways to live out "thou shalt not murder" -- you either do it or you don't. If the principles of protection and patriarchy aren't so clear, why unequivocally state that you wouldn't send your future daughters there?

Hope your crunch time is going/went well!

Mademoiselle Renadae said...

Good post darling! :xo

Agree completely.

~ Renadae

Jennifer said...

"Pregnancy is always risky"

It's a little different when it's a woman in her 40's who's had complications, cautions and a miscarriage, don't you think? Surely you'd agree that this is different from a 23-year-old having babies?

I am someone's child, Taryn. And after my second sister, my mother prevented herself from getting pregnant again, and I do not feel that there are non-existent children who were cheated out of a chance to live because of this.

I appreciate your thoughts, Bailey. This is why it's easier on me and many others, spiritually, who either don't believe in grown daughters being under male rule anymore or never did. It's easy to practice the idea that daughters must stay home, until a daughter feels called elsewhere, then a great burden descends. Either current doctrine must be wrestled with, or the parents may decide their daughter's in sin and tell her she couldn't have heard from God. I believe that everyone needs a father, and that it's natural for there to be more men in government than women, simply because most women at one point have children and therefore lack the time for such jobs. And I have no problem with adult kids living at home, in a different fashion than they did as children. But other than this, on an individual level, God is the only Patriarch I need.

Jennifer said...

"Jennifer- sorry, no I didn't see the earlier post"

No problem, thank you for your patience.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"It's a little different when it's a woman in her 40's who's had complications, cautions and a miscarriage, don't you think? Surely you'd agree that this is different from a 23-year-old having babies?"

No, I don't agree- or, at least, I don't agree that it's different enough to justify trying to control birth.

amy said...

Interesting discussions around here, y'all :-)

Taralyn— I had a question for you. You said: "But He clearly tells us that children are a blessing from Him. To be barren is a curse." The first half of that—Amen! Children are a blessing. Where are you getting the second half, though (“To be barren is a curse”)?

I have a dear friend who is suffering from cancer. As a result of this, she and her husband will never be able to have children together. Am I to take this to mean that she is under God’s curse because she is suffering from this cancer? I’m having a hard time stomaching the fact that you might be saying that.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Hope your crunch time is going/went well!"

It did! Thanks, all, for the prayers. :-)

"Patriarchy doesn't work eight hours away."

Quote awesomeness. But not quite true, because that's still an interpretation of the principle.

Maybe it does work eight hours away- I would just like to be shown how.

"If the principles of protection and patriarchy aren't so clear, why unequivocally state that you wouldn't send your future daughters there?"

OK, this one is easier. Because, as the leader of my own household, I cannot justify it- for a myriad of reasons. So as far as *my* daughters go, it's a bit simpler.

By the way, miss Jennifer, if my 18-year-old daughter desperately wants to leave the house and go somewhere like I'm currently discussing with Miss Bailey, I have no plans to pin her down and duct tape her bedroom window shut.

But will she have my blessing as her father? Unless God changes my heart on the matter- or shows me how I could better apply the principle of patriarchy to my daughter- no, she won't. And if she's willing to make such a major decision without my blessing then we've got deeper problems than college.

"We have to be consistent -- phone calls home, weekly emails and a father's blessing is not patriarchal protection."

I agree. But I ain't gonna police other households to make sure that they line up with this. It's between them and God.

But here's the crux, I think- even if I believe that they are violating the principle, it's one of those "may you be happy in the life that you have chosen" things.

If they violate the principle of "Thou shalt not murder" and try to kill my family, I'll shoot 'em.

If they violate the principle of patriarchy- may God give them wisdom! I hope it works out well for them. I don't think it's the best playout of His Word, but I hope the best for them anyway. Who knows, maybe their interpretation is right and mine is wrong.

I don't think so, of course.

:-D

Make sense?

amy said...

Would it be too much trouble to get a brief definition of patriarchy from one of you? Please? :-)

Sorry, I should probably already know that. I'm still learning terms...have a idea of what it would mean/encompass, but it would be helpful to hear from someone who's actually familiar with the term.

Thanks!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Taralyn— I had a question for you. You said: "But He clearly tells us that children are a blessing from Him. To be barren is a curse." The first half of that—Amen! Children are a blessing. Where are you getting the second half, though (“To be barren is a curse”)?"

Taralyn can speak for herself, but I would say this: barrenness *can be* a sign of God's displeasure. This is seen in Scripture.

If someone can't have kids, then it is something to check. Are we not walking in obedience to God?

Once that is done, though, I wouldn't say that they should live in paranoia of some hidden sin that is incurring God's wrath. Maybe He wants them to adopt, or to go be missionaries in another country.

Maybe He just doesn't want them to have kids.

I don't think childbearing should be any more a "social status" thing than musical talent or the ability to draw- some are blessed with some things more than others, and we should be grateful for our blessings and happy for others! Make sense?

"Would it be too much trouble to get a brief definition of patriarchy from one of you? Please? :-)"

The good and Biblical patriarchy which I am referring to could be defined something like this: the belief that the state of the husband and father- the patriarch- as the leader of the home gives him a Biblical authority over his family as a loving servant-leader, as well as a responsibility to protect, physically and spiritually, his wife and children.

What Bailey and I are talking about is more about whether daughters should remain under their father's protection- his headship- until they are married. So it's kinda an outplay of patriarchy.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

OK, another freebie- male headship is, as I mean it, the idea that women should stay under the protection of a man- be it a father, a husband (those two cover most cases), a brother, or even the local church elders.

amy said...

In regard to the first topic, I’d agree that barrenness can be a curse. At times. Such is seen in Scripture. I was basically wondering if Taralyn was saying that barrenness means God’s curse in every situation. I agree with what you wrote.

Thanks, also, for the definitions/explanations!

Do I understand your position correctly: a woman should be under her father’s authority until she marries, in the occasion of which this authority is transferred from her father to her husband. If for some reason there is no father/husband in the picture--or perhaps, if the father does not want to take the position of protector & authority figure--(e.g. unmarried and father passes away or unbelieving dad does not want daughter to stay in the home), the woman is now to be under the protection (& authority?) of some other man (brother, elder, etc.)?

If this question is too off-topic, you may feel free to leave it alone.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"a woman should be under her father’s authority until she marries, in the occasion of which this authority is transferred from her father to her husband. If for some reason there is no father/husband in the picture--or perhaps, if the father does not want to take the position of protector & authority figure--(e.g. unmarried and father passes away or unbelieving dad does not want daughter to stay in the home), the woman is now to be under the protection (& authority?) of some other man (brother, elder, etc.)?"

Right. Now, it can get tricky using the word authority. I don't mean to say that her brother now gets to tell her what to do like her dad could, or that she must obey her elders like she should obey her husband- but rather that these men are caring for her and watching out for her- being a covering. And an authority in so far as she would seek advice on major decisions, respect their judgment, etc.

(Which, when it comes to their father or local body of elders, is something that I think guys, too, should do...)

ACR said...

Brothers and sisters,

The question we should be dealing with is not whether three or thirteen or thirty-two (horrors!) children are enough. We should put the question of "enough" in God's hands. We should be content with what God gives us, and when He chooses to bless us even further we ought to recieve that blessing with gratitude and with faith for the future. God knows the number of children He wants us to have. We shouldn't be discontent with what God hasn't given us, and we should leave future giving of blessing in His hands. We should also trust that He will enable us to teach and train as many children as He gives us. God is faithful. He won't give us more than we can handle.

If God gives the Duggars another child, and that child makes it into this world, then the one to accuse of irresponsibility is not the Duggars, but God (which would be quite an audacious thing to do). If God really thinks that the Duggars should stop having children, the biblical answer is, why doesn't He just stop giving them children? (Gen 30:2, Ruth 4:13, Psalm 127:3 and other passages) God will stop giving the Duggars more children when He figures they've had enough.

As Taralyn hinted at, we could have very easily never been concieved in our mothers' wombs if our parents decided that they didn't want children. How can we be grateful for our own lives and yet try to prevent God from entrusting more children to us?

When husbands and wives fulfill the physical part of their covenant relationship, God normally gives children. You have to do something unnatural to ensure that children won't happen. My position is perfectly reasonable. The extreme position is the one which states that it's really a wise and prudent thing for man to intervene with God's good natural processes, to try to prevent Him, who is much wiser than us, from working His revealed will in our lives.

Now, some families do leave the number of children they have up to God and He gives them one or two or a few children. Does that mean that these families are less spiritual? No. A friend of mine who is the father of eleven children put it this way: "It's not a question of how many children you have; it's a question of what's your attitude?" Are we cutting ourselves off from the blessings of God because we are walking by faith instead of by sight or because we love ourselves too much? Or maybe we just don't really believe that it's more blessed to give than to recieve. But until we let a pro-life God decide how many children we have, we're not really pro-life; we're just anti-death. We should still pray for and seek the blessing of God in giving us many children. He gives blessings freely and not begrudgingly, and we should recieve His blessings freely. After all, as Mr. Kevin Swanson says: "Do you think that there is ever such a thing as being 'blessed out?'"

Just a note: I personally know several families with eight, nine, ten, eleven and more children, and by my observation their children are some of the happiest, most contented people in the world. Yes, raising children takes a lot of love, and by that love a lot of good instruction supported by biblical child training, but I don't think neglect is necessarily an issue just because you have a lot of children. Anybody say amen?

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Jennifer said...

"No, I don't agree- or, at least, I don't agree that it's different enough to justify trying to control birth"

Well that's a real shame, because she could be in danger.

Jennifer said...

"But will she have my blessing as her father? Unless God changes my heart on the matter- or shows me how I could better apply the principle of patriarchy to my daughter- no, she won't"

Yes, I've seen that in work. A woman in her early 20's, living with suffocating theology for years, finally left home, and of course her parents didn't pin her down; they rarely do. Instead they told her it was what "worldly" people did, and when she asked for their understanding they would shrug and say, "Hey, we're not holding you here." She's left behind the guilt now.

Jennifer said...

It's not extreme at all to try birth control when the body's worn, Andrew. Yes, God knows if they'll have more healthy children; He also knows whether they'll have three more miscarriages, maybe even too early to have been babies, and whether she'll survive a fourth one. None of this means that trying to protect a worn body is taking control out of His Hands.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

Whoa, hold on; on the one hand, children are a tremendous amount of work, and on the other hand, the Duggars are selfish for wanting to have so many? Your statements are kinda contradictory...

Yes, children are a lot of work. The reason that God made children a lot of work is that love and faith are proved in hardship. Without hardship, where is the test of love and faith? What good are love and faith without being proved? How would we have the opportunity to lay down our lives for others like Christ did for us (John 15:12-13) if living for others wasn't hard, if there wasn't a cost to pay? I know that some people don't want to lay down their lives and carry a few more souls with them to a joyful eternity with God. For my part I just can't figure out how in the world their eyes have become so clouded.

By the way, I take these issues to the enth degree because, yes, I am indeed a Calvinist, and Calvinists are supposed to believe in the complete sufficiency of Scripture (although sadly not all do). But when I speak of God's sovereignty over the womb, what I mean is, quite simply, this: God makes children. People don't. And when people try to get in the way of God creating children, they're cutting themselves of from His blessing. God is sovereign over the fruit of the womb as Creator in time and space. He sovereignly opens and closes the womb (Gen 25:21, 29:31, 30:2, Ruth 4:12-13, Psalm 113:9, 127:3 and much more). This is not the "irresistible grace" kind of sovereignty, it's just God working out His revealed will in our lives. Yes, we can try to put ourselves in the way. But we shouldn't.

Maybe God doesn't go "oops," when the pill prevents a conception, but yes, I think He is grieved. Could He give us children anyway? Yes. Does He? Sometimes yes, but usually no. Why? I don't need to know, because I don't intend to put myself in the way of His blessing, but I think it might have something to do with thanklessness for God's blessings. After all, if we as Christians aren't willing to lovingly recieve children, why should God give them to us?

Now by my understanding, "the pill" can prevent children from being concieved, but the dirty little secret that a lot of people who take it don't know is that just as often the pill takes the life of the children that have already been concieved. Sometimes it's immediate; sometimes it's not such an immediate thing. It might interest you to know that the Duggars have stated on their website that early on in their marriage they weren't aware that using the pill prior to unintended conception could lead to miscarriage, and learned it the hard way. However, I have a singularly strong disposition against the pill that stems from more personal experience, because, sadly, my parents learned the hard way too some years before I was born.

But the pill is not the only birth control method; I know. Nonetheless, I disagree with birth control on principle because I honestly can't see a reason for it except a lack of faith in God, or maybe a twisted selfishness that makes its own blessings rather than joyfully recieving God's.

Birth control is also ultimately not just about a woman's choice to take care of her body; under the principle of Christian stewardship even our bodies, male and female, belong to God, and we need to put them at His disposal for His work. If that means bearing and raising two or two dozen kids, all glory be to God, however many children He gives us. But let's not put our will in the way of His work. Why should we?

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

ACR said...

Jennifer,

My last comment got posted after your most recent, even though I didn't realize it.

Yes, God knows all that, and I think we can trust Him; if God thinks a woman can't handle it, why would He give her another child? Again, people don't make children. God does.

Stand Fast,

ACR

Taralyn Rose said...

Wow. Lots of talking going on over here. I've been left in the dust!

Amy- Thank you for asking, so that I can clarify. Maybe I should have been more precise (I agree, Gabriel, with what you said).
As Gabriel put it, barreness *can be* a curse, and that is how I should have said it, I'm sorry! I do not automatically think that a woman that cannot have children is cursed because of personal sin in her own life, but God is sovereign and he is preventing childbirth for some reason. It may be, it may not be, for sin.
What I meant more, though, is that one of the things God does when He curses a nation that has turned its back on Him is He curses the fruit of the womb. Does this ever make you wonder about our own nation, America? It does me. I hear of so, so many infertility cases and they are happening to the most beautiful and Godly couples.
I'm so sorry to hear about your friend who has cancer. I sincerely hope that God somehow blesses her with children!
My mother was barren for 10 years before she had me and my 2 siblings and that only by IVF. We don't know why God made it to be that way. Maybe He thought that she needed more maturity before she could raise children, but there was sovereign purpose behind it and I rejoice in that.

Sovereignty- it's a great topic! I could talk about it for hours :-D
Quoting A.W. Pink, "It is the solid foundation of all true religion." And also, "It is deeply humbling to the creature."


Jennifer- Well, it's wonderful that you got to come out before your mom stopped! But, this is sovereignty again. God *is* sovereign over everything, after all- pregnacy, barreness, sin... you name it.

Blessings to you all!

Taralyn Rose said...

"If God gives the Duggars another child, and that child makes it into this world, then the one to accuse of irresponsibility is not the Duggars, but God..."

Beautifully stated!

On the topic of 'the pill.' My mom took the thing for the first year of her marriage. Then my parents stopped that and said, "Ok! We're ready for children now," and they had no such luck. God doesn't work according to man's ways :-P

"I personally know several families with eight, nine, ten, eleven and more children, and by my observation their children are some of the happiest, most contented people in the world."

It's true!
Most of my best friends are from 2 families with 10 kids each :-)
And we have the best of times.

ACR said...

Taralyn,

I'm from Northern Illinois myself. I've picked up that you're from Covenant Reformed Church out in Sugar Grove. I'm guessing you know the Peterson family with ten kids?

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Jennifer said...

I didn't once say that the Duggars are selfish, but if you think people CAN'T be selfish by wanting many children, you're wrong.

"Without hardship, where is the test of love and faith?"

How about in everyday life and marriage?

"Maybe God doesn't go "oops," when the pill prevents a conception, but yes, I think He is grieved. Could He give us children anyway? Yes. Does He? Sometimes yes, but usually no. Why? I don't need to know, because I don't intend to put myself in the way of His blessing, but I think it might have something to do with thanklessness for God's blessings"

Maybe because He designed biology to do its own thing most of the time.

I don't see how in the world we've gotten to the point where an unhealthy woman with 20 children is still being spoken of like she should have more, and how people who don't want children are said to have "clouded eyes" and be selfish. This is getting ridiculously narrow-sighted.

"I disagree with birth control on principle because I honestly can't see a reason for it except a lack of faith in God"

So a woman trying to protect her health is unfaithful and twisted in selfishness.

"Well, it's wonderful that you got to come out before your mom stopped"

LOL I was the first, so no way would I have been skipped out. Don't you think God had control over it, so it wasn't some wonderful thing of luck?

Taralyn Rose said...

Oh! And Gabriel, if you sometime discover anything on uncleaness periods in the law, I'd love to hear!

Andrew- I go to CRC in Elk Grove Village.
Yes, sir! They know everyone, don't they? That's pretty funny.
Do you know the Dove family? They also have 10 kids.
Have I ever met you, myself?

Jennifer- But it *is* wonderful that you are here! Praise God! I did not say anything about luck, only sovereignty ;-)
Do you not see God's sovereignty working throughout your life-the mere fact the you *are* here?

amy said...

Taralyn—Thank you for the response and clarification. Your meaning is clear now—no need to apologize. It’s easy in the blog world to mean something in a completely acceptable way and someone reads it in totally different way :-)

Very interesting point about America.

Actually, I forgot about this when I posted my comment, but my friend actually does have a grown daughter, who was born at a much different time in my friends life (before her conversion) and her father is not in the picture anymore. I’m not going to get into the whole story, but she and her husband will never be able to have biological children. Nor (most likely) adopt. She now has a 7 month old grandson; it’s a delight to see how much she loves him and cares for him :-)

Andrew—“Yes, raising children takes a lot of love, and by that love a lot of good instruction supported by biblical child training, but I don't think neglect is necessarily an issue just because you have a lot of children. Anybody say amen?”

I do!!

Though, I will add, parents must be responsible when they have so many children. I have seen a large family where the children were neglected. The children were hardly receiving any education (in the name of homeschooling), and other such things.

This isn’t to say, people should avoid having large families—only that such blessings from the Lord are a big responsibility and must be treated as such. Of course, I’m sure you believe that, just felt like it could stand to be stated again :-)

Gabriel—And what would a widow do? Go back and live in her father’s home? Stay where she is, but put herself once again under the protection of her father? Protection of the elders?

“if my 18-year-old daughter desperately wants to leave the house and go somewhere like I'm currently discussing with Miss Bailey, I have no plans to pin her down and duct tape her bedroom window shut.”

I laughed when I read that. Your blog readers might think of you in a little different light if we knew you plans to pin your daughters down and duct tape their windows shut ;)

amy said...

Taralyn—Thank you for the response and clarification. Your meaning is clear now—no need to apologize. It’s easy in the blog world to mean something in a completely acceptable way and someone reads it in totally different way :-)

Very interesting point about America.

Actually, I forgot about this when I posted my comment, but my friend actually does have a grown daughter, who was born at a much different time in my friends life (before her conversion) and her father is not in the picture anymore. I’m not going to get into the whole story, but she and her husband will never be able to have biological children. Nor (most likely) adopt. She now has a 7 month old grandson; it’s a delight to see how much she loves him and cares for him :-)

Andrew—“Yes, raising children takes a lot of love, and by that love a lot of good instruction supported by biblical child training, but I don't think neglect is necessarily an issue just because you have a lot of children. Anybody say amen?”

I do!!

Though, I will add, parents must be responsible when they have so many children. I have seen a large family where the children were neglected. The children were hardly receiving any education (in the name of homeschooling), and other such things.

This isn’t to say, people should avoid having large families—only that such blessings from the Lord are a big responsibility and must be treated as such. Of course, I’m sure you believe that, just felt like it could stand to be stated again :-)

Gabriel—And what would a widow do? Go back and live in her father’s home? Stay where she is, but put herself once again under the protection of her father? Protection of the elders?

“if my 18-year-old daughter desperately wants to leave the house and go somewhere like I'm currently discussing with Miss Bailey, I have no plans to pin her down and duct tape her bedroom window shut.”

I laughed when I read that. Your blog readers might think of you in a little different light if we knew you plans to pin your daughters down and duct tape their windows shut ;)

Jennifer said...

"But it *is* wonderful that you are here! Praise God! I did not say anything about luck, only sovereignty ;-)
Do you not see God's sovereignty working throughout your life-the mere fact the you *are* here?"

Indeed, and thank you for your kindness :) I wasn't sure if you were of the mind that I should breathe a sigh of relief because I got out before my mother shut the door on pregnancy.

Amy, I find your questions very wise. You don't doubt God, you just work things through to avoid erring.

ACR said...

Taralyn,

I'm sorry. Elk Grove. I knew that.

The Petersons know the Doves and introduced me to the Doves once.

I don't believe you've met me in person, but you know the way it is with the community of home educators; you hear about just about everybody one way or another.

BTW, I also love A. W. Pink. His writing is really good stuff.

Jennifer, in regards to your objections, I really can't put up any better answeres than that God is sovereign over the womb, and he knows what He's doing. I think there's really nothing more to say. How you evaluate this issue will ultimately go back to more basic presuppositions about God's goodness and sovereignty.

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Stand Fast

Jennifer said...

Andrew, I simply don't believe taking medical precautions is trying to rob God of His rule.

J. said...

I, honestly, had never heard the argument that men should reconsider college. It's certainly interesting, and I'm glad I heard it from a humble "arguer" like you.
I am curious, however, what about preachers? Would you have them have the same level of education as other men in his church? Is that a bad thing? No, of course it isn't. But as a member, I can see sinful nature getting in the way of this. If anything ever came up to disagree upon with the pastor, why should we listen to him? He's just as smart as the rest of us anyways. See what I'm saying? I only ask because I'm a pastor's daughter, and not only does he have multiple degrees from a state university (completed before he desired to preach), he has a master's from a godly seminary. Do you think that not attending schooling and focusing more on us as a family, and whatnot that he would be better prepared as a pastor?
I still live at home with my family, and we live next to our Independent and family-integrated church. Many of my brothers and sisters there agree with you whole-heartedly. Why do I say this? Because I am the one young woman attending a college for a degree.
But why, you ask. Why would I seemingly ignore the opinions of my dear church people?
I'll tell you - I'm not ignoring them. As I said, I still live at home, and have since starting college. I attend an online campus, and often take a walk to the small campus a block away for study days and to "touch base" with some of my teachers. Also, I'm a nursing student. I completed my LPN degree last spring and currently work as such at a local nursing home (part-time). I'm still doing my best, and hope to attain my RN degree the spring of 2013.
I'm curious what you have to say though - is my attending a college while living at home and receiving my family's support an honorable thing? Is my working outside the home as a nurse a poor decision?
Why nursing though? Why college?
As you well know, I'm sure, there isn't always "Mr." or "Miss Right" out there. I started school and still work on it in the hope that I will one day be a married woman. I pray that all of this training and education will be used well in my duties as a wife and mother. However, at one point, I was very much believing that if I didn't do something about my life and wound up single throughout the rest of it, I would be very ill-equipped to care for my parents when the time came. And - even though I and a young man are committed to each other - I still firmly believe that. Because of my training and line of work, I am becoming a better servant. Because of it, I am learning how to care for those who are sick and needy. I am able to reach out into the community and care and show people the light that I have been given.
Going to college, if done right, is a completely and honorable thing. And to toss out the "baby with the bathwater" and just say that it's a poor idea for nearly everybody is hardly just. I - as a woman - am glad that the man I'm committed to is attending college. He also lives at home, and works at his brother's business. College, I don't think, is not overrated. What is overrated is the College experience. Much like the "high school experience". Training and/or an education provided from an outside source can, like many things, be used to honor and glorify God. By taking on that responsibility and still living a life focused on God and the family he has provided you with shows a proven test of character. As a woman, I want to see some proof that the man God has for me will be able to "juggle" many things in life and still focus upon his family and not just the means of supporting them.
I know this is a long post, but it's (obviously) something I've been thinking about for awhile.
Thanks again, Gabriel!

J.

D said...

Allow me to jump in here briefly with a thought?

>>"Am I to take this to mean that she is under God’s curse because she is suffering from this cancer? I’m having a hard time stomaching the fact that you might be saying that."

Well, we can't let ourselves only agree with the truth when we WANT to. Or when it's agreeable to us. Right? There is such a thing as "hard truths." And we must submit ourselves to the truth, even when it hurts.

Fascinating discussion, everyone. I am impressed with the way you are dealing with these topics more maturely than many adults!

amy said...

"Well, we can't let ourselves only agree with the truth when we WANT to. Or when it's agreeable to us. Right? There is such a thing as "hard truths." And we must submit ourselves to the truth, even when it hurts."

Certainly. My intention in writing that was not to avoid hard truths...actually, my family and I have been dealing with a very hard truth right now, and the Lord is teaching us the importance of accepting--indeed, even embracing--such things as they point us more and more to the holiness of God.

The point of my statement, though, was to say that I don't believe barrenness is always a curse. To make a blanket statement saying such (which was not Taralyn's intention, btw) is a judgement we do not need to make on every situation.

Grace Pennington said...

Wow.

I could say lots of things, but I will only say thank you for the post, Gabriel. :) I have no questions for you about patriarchy or birth control. ;) Sorry. ;)

Very good thoughts! God bless! :)

Taralyn Rose said...

I'm really busy till next week, but I'll be back, if ya'll are still here!

God Bless!

Bailey said...

To be honest, it doesn't entirely make sense, though I think I'm understanding your heart.

One thing, though? Please, please be careful in planning your future daughters' lives without knowing them, their dreams and God's plan for them. I know from firsthand experience how dangerous this can be to girls who want to honor their fathers and their God -- and feel they have to choose between the two. It's the nastiest place to be.

I'm glad your crunch time went well! Thanks for providing such a gracious forum for discussion on this.

Jennifer said...

J, it sound slike you have a great future planned to me! Our pastor's wife is a nurse :) Her daughter met her husband during her missionary work.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Gabriel—And what would a widow do? Go back and live in her father’s home? Stay where she is, but put herself once again under the protection of her father? Protection of the elders?"

Paul says the younger widows should get married. Beyond that, yes, I would recommend returning to a household- maybe of one of her children. Even if she isn't in a household, to be subject to a local body of elders is still Biblical. (For guys too, by the way.)

amy said...

Gabriel--okay, thanks! Glad to understand your position. I'm going to be doing further studying on this whole topic, as time permits.

ACR said...

Brothers and sisters,

A few more thoughts on birth control:

Children are conceived by a creative act of God. When a woman conceives, it's not because she did the right thing, but because God gave her (through bilogical processes over which He is sovereign) a child. When a woman wants to conceive and it doesn't happen, that's because God is sovereignly choosing to not give her a child.

So if ever we were so wise as to know the mind of the Lord in a particular situation, regarding whether it would be good for us have any more children, and we believed that God really didn't want us to have any more children-we wouldn't need to do a thing, because God wouldn't give us any more children! Unless of course, our estimation of what God wanted for us in our particular situation was wrong, in which case we certainly wouldn't want to cut ourselves off from God's blessing.

But we might not understand His heart on the issue and therefore not want to see things this way because we don't see children as a genuine God-given blessing, but as a nice option that's for some people but not for others. In our stubborn 21st century individualism, we are unwilling to believe that God would want everybody to look at having children the same way. We refuse to believe that to embrace the gift and responsibility of life is for everyone, because we don't see the gift and responsibility of life for the blessing that it is, and I think that the main reason is that we have set our hearts on the things of this world rather than the things of God, and so rather than setting our hearts on things of eternal value, we seek temporality and throw away authentic treasures for cheap ones.

Granted, God just doesn't give some people children. Maybe there is some other reason for this; maybe He just wants them to pursue adoption. I'd have to do more scripture study on the subject of barrenness, but I think we have to be careful that we don't find ourselves in the place of Job's friends. Granted, barrenness is not desirable.

If God would give us children that He really didn't want us to have, are we saying that God might "curse" us for our irresponsibility with children we can't handle? 1. That's dangerous ground, saying that God would give children as anything less than a blessing, and 2. We're not responsible for this matter, but He is! Yes, husbands and wives are responsible to for their physical relationship (1 Co. 7:2-5), and they are responsible to care for and provide for the children God gives them, but God has never said that husbands and wives are responsible for the opening and closing of the womb.

Amy, point well taken. Yes, some parents are irresponsible. But I think you see my point as well- parents who have the right heart towards raising children can, by the grace of God, raise big families and the children are certainly not harmed by the environment of a large family. It takes commitment and work and hardship to raise even a few children. But what, really, is more rewarding than raising Godly children?

Final note: If husbands and wives are "one flesh," why do so many people talk as if it's the woman's child only? Yes, she carries the child and endures the different hardships of child-bearing, but let the point nonetheless be made: Husbands and wives are supposed to be working together on this.


Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Jennifer said...

One woman who had ten children suffered severe depression, mood changes, and other health issues with pregnancy, so she chose not to have anymore and was judged anyway for it. That's why I speak with caution on this.

D said...

Amy,

>>"Certainly. My intention in writing that was not to avoid hard truths...actually, my family and I have been dealing with a very hard truth right now, and the Lord is teaching us the importance of accepting--indeed, even embracing--such things as they point us more and more to the holiness of God. "

My apologies. My response was in reaction to a general attitude I thought was being represented in that one comment. And I don't pretend that I have this all down, either. I only responded because it's something that's been on my heart lately, because the Lord has been teaching it to me.
I'm sorry that you and your family are going through a hard situation. [even if we know that God is refining us through something, it's never easy when we're actually in the middle of it] May the Lord strengthen each of you and give you HIS strength to overcome and to endure.

Oh. And I would agree with you and Taralyn and Gabriel that barrenness is not always a curse.

God bless.

amy said...

D--

Thank you for your gracious comment. No apology is necessary. I can see how you came away with the impression from my earlier comment, that I was meaning to avoid hard truths. I should have been more careful in my wording and apologize for that.

I've been a bit vague in some of my comments regarding my stance on the issue--I'm not here to say whether or not barrenness in this particular case is a direct result of God's displease. Ultimately, that's not for me or any other onlookers to determine. It's between my friend, her husband, and God.

Anyways, I appreciate your taking the time to share your concern based upon my comment. It's never a bad thing to be reminded of the truth :-)

D said...

>>"(Though I would be interested to look into Biblical law and see what kind of uncleanness periods and such were prescribed.)"

It may be interesting to note that the Duggars actually *do* follow some of the Old Testament laws (of abstinence and such) for a certain period after a baby is born, for health reasons.

D said...

Amy,

Don't worry about it. Misunderstandings with blog-comments (or stating opinions in writing) are common, I think. That's the tricky part of all this.

You're right. It's not for any outsider to decide. That's another thing I've been learning: I am usually so quick to judge others based on what I believe is truth. But it's usually not so black-and-white as that.

Thank YOU for your gracious receipt of my comment.

God bless.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

OK, all, I'm trying to respond to new visitors (and Bailey, since this is mostly a me-and-you discussion)- the rest of you, enjoy your discussions! Glad they're going on, but I don't have time to keep up with 'em. :-)

Wait- the Petersons? I know a Peterson family with a bunch of kids... was it 10..? What's the oldest child's name?

To the new readers- welcome, welcome, everyone. Thanks for stopping by!

J., great question!

"Do you think that not attending schooling and focusing more on us as a family, and whatnot that he would be better prepared as a pastor?"

I don't think that it is necessary for pastors to attend school, and I believe that it will become even less necessary as generations grow up who have soaked in God's Word for their whole lives. I don't doubt that seminary can be useful and edifying, and I'm not opposed to it, per-se, but I'm certainly not gung-ho about it. I would be curious to see what my Dad thinks about that... I know he got lots from it, so I wonder if he would do it again. Anyway, great question! It's not a Biblical requirement for elders that they have a degree. I don't know whether that would have been theoretically better for your dad, but I'll bet God used it mightily in his life, and it obviously was His Will.

"And to toss out the "baby with the bathwater" and just say that it's a poor idea for nearly everybody is hardly just."

You're right, and I agree that in some situations college can be a good thing.

"I'm curious what you have to say though - is my attending a college while living at home and receiving my family's support an honorable thing? Is my working outside the home as a nurse a poor decision?"

Sure to the first, I don't know to the second. You, too, seem to be playing out the principles addressed admirably. You're being productive, you're not wasting your single years, but you're still in your father's household being protected and loved until you find "Mr. Right," as you put it. So I think that's very honorable, like Amy's situation. Ultimately, may God give you wisdom as you try to best play out His Word!

Bailey: "Please, please be careful in planning your future daughters' lives without knowing them, their dreams and God's plan for them."

I have no desire to plan their lives any more than I desire to plan the lives of every person that I touch- to inspire them to conform as much as possible to God's Word.

"I know from firsthand experience how dangerous this can be to girls who want to honor their fathers and their God -- and feel they have to choose between the two."

This. I'm sorry that you have (or someone close to you has) gone through this.

But I believe this problem is based on a fundamental misunderstanding.

This goes for guys and girls.

If a young person feels that God is calling them to do something that requires them to not honor their father, then they're feelings are a contradiction to Scripture.

That eliminates a lot of the problems. Now, there's a distinction between honor and obedience somewhere in there. But I firmly believe that God will be faithful to vindicate those who err on the side of obedience to His written Word.

ACR said...

Gabriel,

The first child's name is Shane...then Dakota...Sound familiar?

A lot of good points in your last comment. I wish I had time to compliment you on all of them ;).

This stood out:

"But I firmly believe that God will be faithful to vindicate those who err on the side of obedience to His written Word."

Preach it!!

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Nope, wrong family. :-D

And thanks. :-)

Taralyn Rose said...

Andrew- I meant to ask you: which church do you go to? Is it the one in Peoria?

That's neat that you know the Doves, too!

Yeah, I guess that's the way the homeschool community works. Maybe we'll bump into eachother sometime :-P I also know that you know Peter Bringe.

Well, it seems like this conversation has drawn to a close. It's been great talking to you all - thank you!

God Bless.

The Phil Brown said...

Hey! Ran into your blog, glad to see someone is thinking this through.

Although I definitely agree with your reasons, I would have to disagree with your application. Although we definitely need to use discernment on this issue, I don't think a ultimatum of "We should'nt go to college" is a good idea.

I'm not advocating situational ethics, but it really depends on the situation and the college. For example, I hope to attend a four-year university. First of all, the university in question is 45 minutes away from the family home. It's likely I will end up commuting, but even if I wasn't, distance is not really an issue here. Also, the location keeps me close to many Christian friends and churches.

Second, I am convinced that in my area of study, the program I am looking at is one of the best educations money can buy. It also depends heavily on internships and real work experience, which is total gold for me. There is even a very tolerant atmosphere (towards Christianity), and as my dad used to work there, he knows Christian professors and faculty.

Thirdly, it is a state-funded university, and I wouldn't attend if I couldn't find scholarships or work for it. My parents are not funding this, and I won't be taking out student loans or government money. If no scholarships surface, and if I am unable to raise the money, I will continue working and take classes at a Comm. college looking at transfer.

So, my situation may be different from others. In this case I think college is a good choice for me.

Phil

(It may be someone has shared the exact same thing, I didn't read all 105 comments)

Gabriel Hudelson said...

I know of Peter Bringe- and I believe we've made contact through the internet.

So, anyway, anything I missed? If this conversation has indeed concluded- thanks, all, for your comments!

Gabriel Hudelson said...

"Although we definitely need to use discernment on this issue, I don't think a ultimatum of "We should'nt go to college" is a good idea."

Hey and welcome, Phil!

I totally agree and didn't intend to make that my ultimatum. :-)

Thanks for bringing that up.

Taralyn Rose said...

Lol. Well, maybe it hasn't *entirely* drawn to a close :-)

Taralyn Rose said...

Woah, did we really write 108 comments!

:-D

Carrie said...

Ah, I see I'm coming in on this at the tail end, but I had a few thoughts as I read through the comments.

First of all, of course, Gabriel, I think you had some good points about college. I myself am not going to college, but if I did do it, I would do it from home. I think there is something that can be said for studying the Bible in depth, in a concise, orderly manner (as in Bible college). Or any other subject that interests you (like in CollegePlus!). Of course, much can be learned from others, the internet, and the library. (I liked the clip from 'Good Will Hunting' by the way - very apropos.) If I actually had enough money to pay for a college course, I'd def. consider it (doing it from home, of course).

I find it very interesting that a conversation about college turned into a conversation about birth control vs. letting God choose your family size. =D

quoting ACR "Maybe God doesn't go "oops," when the pill prevents a conception, but yes, I think He is grieved. Could He give us children anyway? Yes. Does He? Sometimes yes, but usually no. Why? ... After all, if we as Christians aren't willing to lovingly recieve children, why should God give them to us?"

I agree. That's what I was thinking of and kept an eye out to see if anyone would make that point. If someone tries to stop God's blessings from coming, why would He want to give them anyway, when He knows they wouldn't be wanted? In general, people don't receive gifts that the giver already knows they don't want.

quoting amy "Though, I will add, parents must be responsible when they have so many children. I have seen a large family where the children were neglected. The children were hardly receiving any education (in the name of homeschooling), and other such things."

I can def. say that neglect is not an issue just because you have a lot of children (anwsering ACR). The problem there (above) is only the parents' method of homeschooling/parenting, not the number of children. The children would've still been neglected, even if there were only 2 or 3, simply because of the parents' methods.

quoting J "If anything ever came up to disagree upon with the pastor, why should we listen to him? He's just as smart as the rest of us anyways."

I don't think a pastor NEEDS more college than anyone else (esp. as now you can just go onto a website like studylight.org and look at the original languages). When there's a matter of disagreement, the issue shouldn't be how much education the men have. That really should be irrelavent in whether we listen to him or not. The issue really is whether what the pastor says lines up with the Bible. There have been many theologically trained pastors that have been way off base, and there have been some that have handled the word of God very honorably. No matter the education of the pastor in question, we should always be like the Bereans and compare the man's word to Scripture. You don't have to agree with a pastor just because he's trained. Only agree if his words match the Bible.

Anyway, many interesting thoughts/opinions/discussions floating around on this comment thread. I enjoyed reading. =)

J. said...

As a general clarification, I just thought that I'd add something.
My church is a very "low-educated" body (at least seen in the eyes of the world), more than once we have greatly benefited from those who truly have taken the time to study out and learn for quite a few grueling years under those who are wiser than they. Those situations were my church body's choice. Not my seminary father.
Also, I asked the question that Carrie quoted because we *have* seen this problem in fellow bodies in our area. We *have* had something come up more than once in our congregation. And, while it may not be clear to some, my father's education helped clear the waters and bring unity in the church. To act like it won't happen because we just need to train our generations possibly fooling ourselves.
In regards to birth control:
I don't want to get into how I think and feel about everything that was said here. I think that - on occasion - birth control could be used appropriately, but I don't want to chase that.
What I do want to chase is something far more serious and troubling.
To assume that a woman might possibly be barren due to a punishment from God is absolutely horrifying. NEVER pretend to know what God is thinking. Could He be doing that? Could he truly be punishing said woman with the punishment of an empty womb? Of course he could! We, like mentioned, see that multiple times in the Bible. But, we have lost that communication that they had. We cannot directly hear from God in any other way but the Bible.
Where do you draw the line? My friend was murdered - stabbed thirty times. Was this punishment? Was God angry with her or her parents, and this was punishment? We cannot say. My patient at the nursing home decides to have chest pain right at the end of my shift - when I'm the busiest. Is God punishing me for nor using my time wisely? Is he punishing that patient for some iniquity in their life? Maybe! But, I will never say so. I can't know the mind of God, and nor can you. I know many godly women who are barren, and would give anything for a child, and I know many ungodly women who have one every year. If we think we can explain bareness by generally pointing out a possible reason, how and why wouldn't we explain why a prostitute had one yesterday?
It's dangerous waters to assume so much of the almighty. And very possibly not showing him the reverence due.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Welcome, Carrie! This:

"The issue really is whether what the pastor says lines up with the Bible."

Was awesome. Amen and amen. Great point.

Jennifer said...

Thank you J, well-put. They'd be neglected anyway? That's a rather hasty judgement of the parents.

amy said...

Okay, so, this--

"parents must be responsible when they have so many children. I have seen a large family where the children were neglected. The children were hardly receiving any education (in the name of homeschooling), and other such things."

Just to clarify, I wasn't saying anything about how many children people should have, that this is what happens in large families, the parents would have done better to have only had a couple children, etc. etc. I was (if I recall correctly) simply pointing out that it isn't enough to simply have a lot of children--there's responsibility involved.

*and* that probably wasn't relevant at all to this conversation.

But I'm going to post it anyway as soon as I prove to Gabriel that I'm not a robot.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

*wasn't thinking that Amy was a robot*

ACR said...

Taralyn,

Sorry I didn't respond to your comment sooner...I didn't see it until today.

I'd answer your question, but our family's church attendance involves matters which it probably wouldn't be prudent for me to address on the blogosphere.

I can let you know, however, that I will be attending the upcoming Family Economics Conference, so I might run into y'all there.

J.,

I would concur that we shouldn't assume that just because something bad happens to somebody, it's a punishment from God. First of all, God doesn't "punish" his children with afflictive providences. He chastens them. I'm assuming everybody knows the difference, but if not, I'll be glad to explain.

But it is not absurd to believe that God could use something like barrenness as an afflictive providence to bring one of his children to repentance for sin. We would be unjust to assume that everything bad that happens to us is the chastening of the LORD; we would also be unwise to assume that nothing bad that happens to us is the chastening of the LORD.

Amy,

Understood. Children=responsibility. Responsibility is a blessing, not a curse, so I don't see why extra responsibility should make us not want more children :).

Stand Fast,

Andrew R.

amy said...

Andrew--agreed.

:-)

Amy K said...

And don't forget Daniel Boon, and Sergeant York! Both homeschooled and diploma free :D

I wrote a similar article on my blog,

http://pleasingaroma.blogspot.com/2012/04/gillians-book-trailer-and-life.html

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Hey Amy! Thanks for stopping by. Just recently watched Sergeant York, actually, so it's funny that you bring him up- very true! Heavily decorated, well respected, and a man of character- all without going to college.

Imagine that.

:-D

Tamara said...

"I ask- how are you playing out Numbers 30?"

How are you playing out Passover, Kosher laws and Saturday Sabbath?

Tamara said...

"I ask- how are you playing out Numbers 30?"

The same way you play out Passover, Kosher laws and Saturday Sabbath. Either Jesus nailed the Old Testament to a cross, or He didn't.

Gabriel Hudelson said...

Tamara, are you saying that nothing from the Old Testament is still binding upon believers?

Ana Baptist said...

Harvard, Yale and other such schools were founded by Christians. They are ungodly environments today precisely because Christians have retreated from being a salt and light in those institutions, the same way Christians avoided politics until Roe vs. Wade woke them up. We cannot afford to ignore any mission field at home or abroad.