Guest / Limited Access /

Are children a risk or a blessing? Of course children are a blessing, most couples say; then again, many say they're not ready for this blessing just yet. In fact, most married Christians use thermometers, spermicidal jellies, contraceptive pills, and lovemaking techniques to delay this blessing.

Why is that? What happens when we treat childbearing as something to be delayed or avoided? This essay explains how one young couple answered these questions. An accompanying essay by Raymond C. Van Leeuwen reaches different conclusions. Both essays raise theological, ethical, and historical issues that all engaged and married Christians need to discuss. Finally, an article from Jenell Williams Paris debunks pervasive myths about marital sex.

Dearly beloved," the minister began, "we are gathered here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony."

The congregation was silent in rapt attention, except for the occasional cry of a disgruntled baby who had little interest in the sacred occasion.

"Marriage is an honorable estate," the minister continued, "and not to be entered into lightly, but reverently and soberly, duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained."

"First, it was ordained for the procreation of children."

At this point, a guest later reported, the calm was interrupted by a snort of disapproval—"humpf!"—from one of our relatives, who crossed her arms in dismay.

That snort summed up a good deal of modern thought on childbearing. Partly thanks to the wide availability of artificial contraception (along with dual careerism in an increasing number of marriages), married couples these days are having fewer and fewer children. Many Christians see ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedA Thread Called Grace
A Thread Called Grace
How I came to stop hiding and face the biggest secret of my early life.
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickWatch and Wait
Watch and Wait
Tarrying with Christ and the fearful dying.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisNovember 12 November 12

In the Magazine

November 12, 2001

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.