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    When a Person Wishes to Remain Childless

    February 27, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    There are some who will best fulfill the part they play in the Great Commission without a family to care for. These people are called to singleness. We learn in I Corinthians 7 that Paul wishes that all would remain single, but those who cannot exercise the necessary self-control should marry. Paul explains that there is no shame in a singleness that consists of undistracted devotion to the Lord {and I am sure he would frown on the pejorative “Old Maid”}.

    Paul explains that those who are married are “concerned about the things of this world.” I find this to be true! I am, as Paul wrote, concerned with pleasing my husband. Paul doesn’t say that this is a sin on my part, but rather that this is the nature of marriage. And the natural outcome of marriage is children, who require much time and energy. And because the nature of marriage is so, he offers the suggestion that those who can remain single.

    With the advent of birth control {I know, I know…I really need to quit bringing this up!}, there arose a Third Option. I use the word option loosely, because I think we need to be careful when considering something to be an acceptable option simply because we can {see I Corinthians 6:12 & 10:23}. The Third Option is to marry, but use some artificial means to remain childless for the entirety of the marriage. What was once a “honeymoon use” of birth control for the purpose of enjoying two or three years of alone-time with one’s spouse has become, for some couples, a pursuit of an entire married life without children.

    I am not sure we are free to take the marital act and use technologies to separate it from its consequences. I was once taught that this is not unlike certain ancients who, influenced by Epicurus, would purge during meals to avoid the consequence of becoming full so that they could further indulge in their gluttony. It is rare to find much that is noble about separating any action from its consequences.

    We are free, however, to practice chastity in singleness. This is the method chosen by Paul, and he says that a man who encourages this in a daughter does as well as a man who chooses to have her marry {I Corinthians 7:37 & 38}. In other words, marriage and singleness both serve their purpose and one is not superior to the other.

    There is a certain beauty in a fruitful marriage that offers a loving and hospitable home to their children and those who have need. There is a similar beauty in a chaste singleness spent in a wholehearted devotion to serving the Lord. As I wrote before, God didn’t as much command marriage to produce children as much as He simply created it in such a way that children tend to be brought about, from time to time, when one lives according to His design. The Third Option brings in an unnatural state, where one is not single, and yet holding on to some of the aspects of singleness by purposely avoiding the fruit of the marriage.


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  • Reply Brandy February 28, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Anonymous, saying that my blog has sparked thought in you is the highest compliment I have received yet! My prayer for my readers and myself is that we will not be conformed to this world, but that, through submission to Christ, we will have transformed minds that have ears to hear and minds to understand God’s Word and the beauty of living in harmony with His plan for our lives.

    This is not to imply that I have mastered the Christian life, but to say that I appreciate readers like you who are on the journey with me.

  • Reply Anonymous February 28, 2006 at 7:00 am

    oops, your, not you’re

  • Reply Anonymous February 28, 2006 at 3:46 am

    I love it that you are so good at researching and applying biblical truth. You’re Blog has really sparked thought in me.

  • Reply Brandy February 28, 2006 at 2:17 am

    Wow, Anonymous…I think I should just post a sign on the top of Afterthoughts that says: “Ask hard questions here!” =)

    There are so many questions in this comment that my instinct is to run away and hide from them. However, I think that these are good, thoughtful questions and deserve thoughtful, thorough answers. Therefore, I am going to devote tomorrow’s posting to answering these questions.

    This blog has officially grown a life of its own.

  • Reply Anonymous February 28, 2006 at 12:57 am

    Interesting thoughts. I appreciate your willingness to put your ideas out there. How does this thought process relate to those God has allowed to be unable to produce? If birth can be controlled by fertility monitors, ovulation predictors, and typical birth control, where does this leave those who God has allowed to be infertile and who have no method of controlling birth? Are they not fulfilling God’s design for marriage? Are there cases where God keeps a couple childless to serve his purpose as those he has kept single? Is the only fruit of a marriage measured in children (which could possibly mean we should never stop having them), or are there other biblical fruits from a God designed marriage? Thanks for tackling this subject.

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