Disclaimers

If you enjoyed my recent post on family planning, thank you.  It’s encouraging to have brothers and sisters standing beside us when we take a stance that flies in the face of worldly wisdom.

If, however, you were seeing red by the time you got to the end of the post, you might benefit from MamaArcher’s latest post:

A Disclaimer on Conviction 

MamaArcher succintly answers the all-too-common charges of  judgmentalism, legalism, binding others’ conscience, intolerance, etc.

…Firstly, I think that if we always preface things we disagree with or are not comfortable with by saying, ” the Lord calls some to one thing and others to another,” this really can simply be a cop-out. Where is the conviction in that? There is indeed absolute truth! To say otherwise is to take up the cultural mandate.

Secondly, just because someone shares their beliefs and shares them with passion, zeal, and the conviction that it is truth does not mean that they are being judgmental toward others. To assign that motive to them is just as judgmental in my opinion…

Her post reminded me of a similar post I did long ago.  Maybe it’s time to revisit and update My Standard Disclaimer.

Comments

  1. Thanks for your answer Kim. I appreciate you taking the time to type it all out. I suspected that it would be a “if I had a disease, I would go the doctor” argument but that’s fine. I don’t agree but we can disagree and still love each other. 🙂

    To me, there’s a huge difference between infertility and a life-threatening disease. If I genuinely trust God to open and close my womb, then I trust him with my infertility. Period!
    To me this is a perfect example of why “legalism” on topics such as these, never ever works!

    Thanks again!

  2. Jen,
    Let me emphasize that there are many opinions about infertility even among those who label themselves as “quiverfull.”

    Having said that, I’ll try to explain my own position again. God has designed our bodies to reproduce under normal circumstances. We have a reproductive system that functions rather predictably under most circumstances.

    This doesn’t take it outside of God’s sovereign will and influence; instead, I think it indicates that He has created us to “be fruitful and multiply.” There will always be exceptions, but I think this is His generally revealed will for us.

    But just as we would go to the doctor if we were having trouble walking, hearing, or digesting, I think that infertility is a *malfunction* that can be addressed without questioning God’s wisdom or His plan for us.

    Your own argument is not a bad one, though, and many folks do reason exactly the way you describe it.

  3. Oh, good, I later wondered if you would see the capitals I put in for emphasis and think I was yelling at you. 🙂

    I guess I’m in between–while I don’t see BC alone as a sin, I do not believe the Bible is silent on it, (someone on the previous thread listed TONS of scriptures regarding it) and I do believe that our attitude about it can be sinful. I think our decisions in every area of our lives should be yielded to God’s will, not made according to our personal preferences.

    As for the other areas you mentioned…sometimes it’s not a black and white sin/not sin issue, but a matter of what is more wise, or what is more honoring to God. Again, that our focus should be on bringing glory to Him and not ourselves.

    Those assumptions are tricky though…I can understand you feeling like the families who practice those things probably think you are wrong, but they may be feeling like you probably think they are judgemental. 🙂 I know often when I’m getting to know someone, the minute it comes up that we homeschool, etc it’s like a wall goes up, and they get really defensive, assuming that I think they’re some sort of scum. I don’t. I have a definite opinion on what I think is the best choice, as do they. I think I’m right, they think they’re right. That’s okay. We can still be friends.

    ” I wish they would extend grace to me and admit that God is silent on these things”

    Don’t you see that you are asking for them to “admit” something that they do not believe to be true?

    I’ve enjoyed the discussion too, Jen! I hope you’ll skip on over to my blog and discuss some more sometime.

  4. Jeana, Thanks for your clarification. I did misunderstand. Thanks for setting me straight. I guess to me birth control is not a right or wrong issue though. I don’t believe using it is wrong nor do I believe not using it is wrong. It’s a matter of personal preference and personal interpretation and application of scriptural principles.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that all of scripture is open to personal application and interpretation. God is very clear about what is sin. But evidently, birth control wasn’t that important to him as he didn’t clearly state his feelings on the subject!

    I am probably one of the most “liberal” readers/commenters here. We do not homeschool, we wear pants, we drink, we dance at church, we don’t even own a KJV bible, we don’t “court”, my husband has had a vasectomy, etc. etc. And I don’t feel any conviction whatsoever to change any of these beliefs. However, I don’t believe families that have made these choices are wrong or sinning. I simply feel they have chosen differently since none of these areas, in my opinion, is a sin issue.

    Now, I will say that I feel most of the families who DO practice these things, would say that *I* am sinning but that’s okay with me. I don’t feel judged by them. I wish they would extend grace to me and admit that God is silent on these things and not assume that because this is the way they have chosen, they are right and everyone else is wrong. However, their beliefs don’t offend me. Trying to push them on me and condemn me for not believing the same, sometimes does!!

    That said, even though I disagree with Kim and many other readers on many things, I enjoy her blog and her sweet spirit and her postings and I think she has a lovely family–as I’m sure all of you do!

    Thanks! I am wondering how I got myself into the heat of this discussion! But I do enjoy the dialogue and interaction. 🙂

  5. Thanks Kim. I understand how you feel about them but I don’t understand why you feel that infertility means a woman’s body is “broken”. Hasn’t God in his sovereignty determined that the woman can’t/won’t have children? It seems to me that you are making it acceptable to thwart God’s sovereignty if a woman is infertile but feel it’s sin to thwart God’s sovereignty if she doesn’t want more children? That’s what I don’t get. Why do you feel that God’s sovereignty doesn’t play a part in infertility? Shouldn’t a couple trust God to deal with the infertility or accept that as God’s plan for them rather than interfere with human aid? This is what you are saying God expects from us regarding fertility so why doesn’t it apply from the opposite direction???????

  6. Jen,
    I gave my answer to the question about fertility treatments here; others have also given their answers on the same post.

  7. Jen, you misunderstood me. What I said was this: If one person believes BC is a SIN, and another person believes it IS NOT a sin, one of them is wrong–in their belief, not in their practice.

    BC either is a sin or it is not. The way God views it does not change according to our individual beliefs. I do not believe it is a sin. Kim believes it is. Because our beliefs oppose each other, one of us is wrong in our beliefs. (Again, thank God for His mercy!) And now I see that I’m basically saying the same thing Kim already said, only she said it better:

    “If you disagree with my stand on birth control, I think that you are wrong. That’s alright – I still consider you a Christian sister or brother, and you are probably convinced that I am wrong. I’m OK with that. Give your Biblical defense, and I will consider it Biblically. We each must serve God according to the best of our ability and conscience, and God will forgive each of us for our imperfect service to Him.”

    What I don’t understand, though, is the commenters who say Kim was wrong to express her position. I keep reading comments criticizing her post because she said, “If you think BC is okay, I think you’re wrong” but the same people keep coming back repeatedly to tell Kim that SHE is wrong to post that, or to believe that.

    Do you not see the irony? If it is so wholly unacceptable to tell someone that you disagree with their belief, (I don’t believe it is) then it must logically follow that the critical comments are as “wrong” as the initial post was.

  8. Just for the record, I would like to say that I was not offended by your post. I think you presented your point very succinctly and with grace. If I came across as argumentative, that was not my intent. Of course you are free to say whatever you want on your own blog–everyone is!

    But, (isn’t there always a but?) for the record, I would like to state that Kim DID say that she believed those who practiced birth control were wrong. She didn’t say we weren’t believers or we weren’t going to heaven. To some, that statement alone, comes across as judgmental. I don’t necessarily believe Kim is wrong–just that she has interpreted scripture and applied to her life in a different way than I have. It is offensive to some to be told they are sinning, simply because they have made a different choice–not because they are sinning.

    I guess I do resent being told I don’t have courage or convictions or trust in a sovereign God because we have chosen to limit our family size. I would never say that those who have chosen to have large families are stupid, financially unwise, or hurting their children by having so many. That said, I know I will see Kim (and her lovely large family!) in heaven.

    And to Jeana, who said, if some believe birth control is okay and others believe it isn’t, obviously someone is wrong. I believe you couldn’t be farther from the truth. This is one of the “gray areas” of christianity that God, for some reason, chose not to address specifically in scripture. Interpreting God’s principles (not commands!) differently and applying them differently in our lives does not make one person right or wrong, it just makes us different. We must be careful about judging those who have chosen to apply principles differently. Judging SIN is acceptable but God has not called birth control a “sin”–anywhere that I can find in my Bible anyway. (But I also read the NIV and the NLT!) More strikes against me! 🙂 Said all in good fun- so please don’t start a discussion about Bible versions. No one is going to change their minds anyway! 🙂

    I’m still interested to see responses to my question above. All but one person has been extremely quiet about that???? (thanks for your honesty Amy!)

  9. Ooooooh Kim. Just can’t get enough of a sticky situation, can you sister? LOL!

    I didn’t disagree with your first post and I certainly don’t disagree with your disclaimer. I think the problem is the word “Quiverfull”. Or, if you’re really hip, QF. Just to think that two little letters can put fear and anger into so many hearts. I’m not saying that sarcastically either. I do believe it’s true. Just as the example you gave about being a “Calvinist”. Girl, that term can make some people hoppin’ mad and others run in fear of heresy. Not me. I’m just sayin’.

    The internet, especially blogs, can be such a tricky, deceptive place. Words, thoughts and yes, even convictions are taken wrong because we do not see facial expression, hear voice inflections or have the ability to see one’s demeanor on such touchy subjects. I have no doubt that your first post was not meant in a harsh manner as you have been so wrongly accused. You simply stated your convictions and feelings on the subject… on YOUR blog… and then got lambasted. Sigh.

    So is cyberspace, I guess. Personally, from what I’ve read, and I’ve been reading for several years, I think you are a kind a gracious woman. A devoted wife and faithful mother. People who really read your blog faithfully will know this. God Bless girlie. 🙂

  10. We women are a funny bunch. We’re fascinated with people who are different from ourselves. We want to know why they make the choices they do, and what they believe, but when they tell us we get offended because they don’t believe the same things we do; which is what attracted us to them in the first place!

    I don’t agree with your position on birth control, but I wasn’t offended by your post. I thought it was a clear explanation of what you believe and why. It’s not like you’re breaking into our bedrooms and confiscating all of our contraceptives. As far as I know, you’re not seeking out women who use them and proselytizing. As you stated, in common conversation it doesn’t typically come up. You were explaining your beliefs on a topic which, I don’t doubt, you’ve been asked about more than once. You allowed more than once for the possibility that you may be wrong.

    If some believe BC is a sin and others don’t, it’s pretty obvious that someone is wrong. (Thank God for His grace!) But I don’t understand someone who is offended that you “said they were wrong” then coming back to your blog repeatedly to tell you that YOU’RE wrong.

  11. Hi everyone, this is the first time I have commented here, and I’d first like to say how much I’ve appreciated looking through your blog, and how you’re sharing your life with everyone here.

    I guess I feel moved to comment because I just don’t understand why people get so angry about what other people write in their own blogs? A blog is an expression of what you believe and how you organise your own life. This blog is about your own decisions and your own interpretation of scripture.

    Nowhere do I see a hint of you wanting to enforce that interpretation on others – for example you are hardly lobbying for a law change outlawing birth-control! Why do people feel so threatened by you clearly describing your own beliefs?

    I have found it useful when dealing with other peoples’ opposition to my own life choices (like staying at home and not returning to work when my children are small, and perhaps not even when they are big), to think “Well, that says more about them and where they are at than it says about me”. For example, my Co-worker’s cry of “Oh, you’ll just go MAD and be back at work as soon as you can!”, was far more about her own experiences, and her own source of self-value, than it was anything to do with me.

    I appreciate your gracious replies to people for whom you have obviously hit a nerve, may they have the courage to reflect on why they have had such a strong reaction to what you are saying!

    And, for the record (for those people who may feel compelled to respond to my own comment), my husband and I currently do practice a form of birth control. In many areas of my life I am frightened to let God do exactly what He will do! He is gradually working on getting me to let Him have total control – but whether that will eventually extend to the whole child-bearing arena remains to be seen! I do seek to do His will, but He is just so gracious with us, isn’t He?

  12. Tag! You’re it! Find the rules at my blog –

    http://creativecounterpart.wordpress.com/2008/03/09/7-random-facts-about-me/

    Have Fun!
    Vanessa

  13. You are right hm-

    It is kind of confusing to call what we believe “quiverfull” and use verses that refer to “be fruitful and multiply” (because as you have said, everyone who has children has “multiplied”). That is why I do not like labeling myself as “quiverfull”, it seems like an unnecessary term to me, as I feel I am simply practicing normal Biblical behavior- trusting in God’s timing in giving me children just as I trust in God’s timing for other things in my life and try not to push my own agenda/timing when God may have something different in mind (though this is very difficult, and I can think of many times where I have attempted to get things to happen in my timing, not waiting on God’s). The term “quiverfull” comes from Psalm 127:5 where it says, “blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them”. But that is not to say there is a certain number of children that makes your quiver “full”. A family can have a “full quiver” with 1 child, 2 children, 5 children, 10 children, 16 children, or anywhere in between. I think the difference comes in that we do not try to prevent God from giving us children, but those who use birth control are trying to prevent children during the time they are using the birth control. I am so sorry that some of us have been so confusing in the way we are trying to explain why we believe that we should use birth control. I hope this has helped to clarify some things??

    As for God’s sovereignty- I believe that God is sovereign over all things, the Bible clearly shows this. I did see Jen’s comment asking about the issue of infertility treatments and how that meshes with God’s sovereignty. If I were “infertile” I do not think that I would seek out fertility treatments, because I know that God opens and closes my womb, if He has closed it forever, or for a time (I always thinks it’s wonderful when people who were told they were infertile end up having children of their own apart from fertility treatments!), then it just means that He has something else for me, and I want whatever God has for me because I know that it is what is best (and I have to remind myself of this every day, because sometimes it is SO hard to accept what God gives-or doesn’t give- when I think that something else would be “better”).

    Of course, if there is something wrong with my body or health I am not opposed to medical treatment. For example, I have diabetes and I believe that God in His sovereignty has allowed me to have this condition, and I do take insulin to control my blood sugar and see a doctor a few times per year. I do not see how this contradicts my belief in God’s sovereignty (I know that you and Jen were referring to infertility, I am just giving another example of medical intervention).

    So I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would not seek out fertility treatments because I do believe that if God wanted to give me biological children then He would and if He did not I would earnestly pray about His will regarding adoption or other ways I could be involved in the lives of children.

    I hope that all makes sense…please ask more questions if you have them. I would be glad to answer.

    Amy

  14. Amy,
    Then people shouldn’t make the ridiculuous comments on here ‘to clarify your beliefs’ by using ‘be fruitful and multiply’. Everyone who has children are ‘multiplying’. They have already believed God to give them children. They just don’t neccessarily believe in having what you guys refer to as a ‘quiver full’..which there is no specific number for in Scripture or specific command or mandate for in Scripture. I’m with Jen up there…you guys seem to pick and choose what you deem God’s sovereignty in some things and then pick and choose what He isn’t sovereign over in others.

  15. hm states:
    “But nowhere else did I read God telling everyone else in the Bible to have as many children as they could. A LOT of people in scripture only had one or two kids. I don’t think they were condemned upon death for not reaching a ‘magic number’ for their children.”

    It has already been stated in MANY place on this blog and in comments that it is NOT about HOW MANY children you have. No one thinks that people who have more children are somehow holier than those who only have a few or none at all. Of course no one will be condemned based on the number of children they have or don’t have. This is a ridiculous thought and no one is suggesting this is so. Neither are people who don’t use birth control trying to “have as many children as [we] could”. We are simply trusting that God will give us children in His timing, it may be few or it may be many, but we are certainly not sitting around trying to have some “magic number” of children thinking that it’s better than if we only had 1 or 2. It is all about an attitude of submission to God and trust in Him and His timing. This has also been stated MANY times on this blog.

    I agree with you that there isn’t some verse in the Bible where God tells people to go and have as many children as you possibly can- it isn’t there because that isn’t even the point! We are not suggesting that everyone needs to be trying to have as many children as humanly possible, what we are suggesting is that people realize that God is in control of the womb, opening and closing it as He pleases, and that we can trust Him to give us children only when it is best for our family and always at the right time.

    If you are going to make comments disagreeing with what our views are, please at least have the courtesy to really understand what our views are first.

    Amy

  16. I have been thinking about this and have a question about how you seem to pick and choose what God is sovereign over. You have stated that infertility treatments are acceptable because they are fixing something that is “wrong”. However, if you truly believe God is sovereign, hasn’t he planned for these couples not to have children? Isn’t their infertility part of his sovereign plan for their lives? Wouldn’t infertility treatments be interfering with his sovereignty just as birth control “interferes” from the other direction? After all, God’s plan is not the same for everyone??

    I am not writing sarcastically or in contempt, just truly curious how you can “excuse” infertility treatments but feel birth control is sin? It would seem that, given your other perspective, the both are human interventions that “thwart” God’s sovereignty?

  17. I know I alreayd commented, but I read your disclaimer and I have a question. :0)

    You say that you believe God is soveriegn. I do to. The question is this: If God is soveriegn then doesn’t He already know everything we will do. This includes, but is not limited to how many children we will have? So, are people really limiting the amount of children they are to have, if God already knows?

  18. Sorry, I didn’t mean to get on a soap box… especially on your blog.. I’ll keep quiet now, but it is something I feel quite passionate about.

  19. Kim, it seems you are still stepping on toes… not mine though. I never really did “get” birth control, although to honor my husband I started using it after baby #5. He is a new Christian and just isn’t there yet. But I got pregnant anyway. 🙂

    Again, it just seems to come down to an issue of faith and trust. Do we really believe that God is the ONE that opens and closes the womb and if we do, would He ever make a mistake?

    Something else a family we are friends with said has always stuck with me. Most people would consider a million dollars a blessing and not many people would refuse it if given by God. But they reject the child that God calls a blessing and gift. Our thinking is truly messed up! We constantly need to go back to His Word to straighten us out.

  20. Honestly, as Alicia stated above…a disclaimer does NOT help when it’s obvious you are saying “i’m right and you’re wrong” with your post. That YOUR interpretation of scripture is right and other’s interpretations are wrong. That is YOUR opinion only…not an absolute truth. There ARE absolute truths, but nope, birth control wasn’t one stated in the Bible. Yes, God told Noah to be fruitful and multiply…for good reason! There was NOONE else on the planet except for their family! But nowhere else did I read God telling everyone else in the Bible to have as many children as they could. A LOT of people in scripture only had one or two kids. I don’t think they were condemned upon death for not reaching a ‘magic number’ for their children.

  21. Bethany says:

    I think other ladies that have commented so far have said it well – in a world that accepts anything and everything, it is good to have strong, distinct convictions about things and to voice those things, even when it’s not the popular thing to do. This is what you did – stated what you believe and why you believe it to be right – that’s not being judgmental at all. It was a wonderful, to-the-point post and I thank you for voicing your beliefs. How else are we to learn from others if others don’t speak up about their way of doing things?

    But we need to be careful what we designate a “principle” and what we designate a “method.” In your disclaimer, you reference an article by Nancy Wilson. She says this, “Christian women need to distinguish between principles and methods and cease looking for a simple list of “how to’s” as the guide for Christian living. Nor should they look down on fellow Christians who employ a different method in applying the same principles.”

    As Christians, we all should have the same principles, but we definitely don’t all have the same method of applying those principles.

  22. May I just say that disclaimers don’t seem to help often anyway. In not all but many cases, if someone is riled by what you believe to be true a disclaimer often flies to the wind. It’s just saying you are not doing what they still believe you are.

    Secondly, I don’t believe birth control or lack thereof is the core issue. The issue as I see it is the heart towards God and it’s priorities and values. These will be seen from a close examination of the “why” more so than the acts.

    I appreciate your posts and also enjoyed your disclaimer. 🙂

  23. I also liked and agree with what Amy Scott said on her blog.

    That being said, I have enjoyed reading your blog. :0) I don’t come to here to read about the “QF” issue, but to see any frugal ideas, meal planning, ect…. of another mom. You are certainly entitled to state your opinion on things, after all it’s your blog! When I read I take what is needed and leave the rest. I think we can all do that with books, blogs, ect… The only book that I know is true in the Word of God. I believe that God is big enough to convict me of what is needed and I hope and pray I’m humble enough to receive it.

  24. “I’m only saying that our dealings and conversations with individuals in a personal setting are naturally quite different from what we put into writing.”

    Absolutely. Although, I want to throw in that Paul’s exhortation to be grace seaoned with salt didn’t limit itself solely to face to face interactions. Just sayin’… 😉

    Same church different pew, being in person and seeing someone’s reactions are part of the reason I’ve let go of making or keeping close internet buddies. Some of us just do friendship better in person. I need to be able to read people. “Friendship” and the written word are a minefield that I don’t care to navigate. So if I seem aloof sometimes… That’s why.

    So, we should create a banner campaign to make people aware that “plain truth” writers aren’t necessarily “hammers” in conversation in person. 🙂

  25. You are right–there is absolute truth but birth control or the lack thereof, isn’t absolute–not as I read my bible anyway!

    For the record, I didn’t feel judged nor do I judge you. We have different convictions on the subject and I think that’s acceptable. I don’t expect to be condemned when I stand before Christ because I limited the size of our family! 🙂 Family planning isn’t a tenet of the faith–no matter how important it may seem to you. I say, let’s major on the major!

  26. Janel,
    Thanks. I think a big part of the difference is that we can read others’ reactions while we are talking to them in person: If they are misunderstanding us, we switch gears; if they don’t want to discuss it, we change the subject.
    As I mentioned, I think many of our friends have no idea where we stand on the subject of family planning; while I feel free to make an announcement on my own blog of what we believe the Scriptures to teach on the subject, I don’t feel as free to open the topic out of blue while munching cookies with my friend. (“So, Karen…I noticed you only have 2 children so far. Do you and John use birth control?”)
    I also don’t inquire about whether they engaged in premarital relations even though I have strong convictions on the matter and I believe that Scripture is quite clear about it.
    Don’t misunderstand – I am not equating the two in any way. I’m only saying that our dealings and conversations with individuals in a personal setting are naturally quite different from what we put into writing.
    Which is, I think, exactly the point you were making. And you’re right. I’m not a thumper at all. I’m actually rather quiet and shy in person. I only have a big mouth on the Internet.
    🙂

  27. I agree with you one hundred percent. America’s favorite quote from scripture is a warning “Judge Not!” but in reality the Bible mentions that we are to judge much oftener then it warns not to. Judge righteous judgement and By their fruit ye shall know them, are just two. We must stop being offended at truth and welcome the input of our brothers ans sisters in Christ.

  28. Sometimes the absolute truth IS that God calls some to one thing, some to others.

    For example, not all are called to marry.

    There is absolute truth. But on some issues it is dicey to insist that one has total possession of it. Meanwhile I’ll just say I agree more with Amy Scott’s take and leave it at that.

  29. Over the years I’ve come to learn that writing about convictions and personal conversations about convictions can be two radically different things. Let me explain…

    My hubby writes things VERY bluntly. Truth is truth. 1+2=3. Write it plainly. Although I’ve come to appreciate “plain truth” writers like my husband and Martha Peace and others, I’ve been beaten to death with THE TRUTH in my past life and I like a bit more grace with my salt. (Colossians 4:6)

    Presenting truth in conversation can be radically different with the same plain truth writers. When we were first married, for a LONG time, I would cring when Rich would bring up a contraversial topic. I was always waiting for his “plain truth” writing style to come forth in conversation. It never did. That man of mine can present the most contraversial of topics and have half the room converted to his way of thinking. It’s astonishing.

    My question: Why can’t you do that on paper???????!!! Different medium, different opinion on the way to present it. I, of course, tend to be graceful in my writing and more blunt in person, although always sweet and loveable. 😉 lol

    Thanks to Hubby, I realize that you are probably a great person with whom I would LOVE to sit and chat with. You probably wouldn’t even thump me over the head with what you believe. You’d probably be really nice about it. 😉

  30. Hi Kim,

    I am working on a response to your quiverfull post. I wasn’t offended and I hope I did not seem so. I haven’t had time to do much with it though.

    I wanted to ask you to sign a petition to help support homeschooling in California which has been threatened by a recent court decision, and possibly mention it on your blog to help spread the word? There’s more information here.

    Thanks!

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