Once the church was seduced by Margaret Sanger, the angel of death and founder of Planned Parenthood, to embrace birth control, which separated sex from procreation, it paved the way for the world to embrace abortion on demand and all its adjacent evils (homosexuality, child molestation, the rape culture, and other deviant immoralities).
Sex with no commitment produces a people who treat their spouses or sinful partners (sex outside of marriage) as mere sex objects. Most, in this compromised state, refuse to muster the responsibility necessary to raise children.
Perhaps, it is past time for Christians to put the ax of God’s truth to the root of this bloody idolatrous tree. The church must first repent of the anti-child mentality inspired by the Devil himself, who came to kill, steal, and destroy.
The same reason why the world murders their offspring is the same reason why some Christians do the same or falsely believe that a barren womb is now the blessing and a fruitful womb is now the curse.
The American church, for the most part, rejects the Biblical truth that children are gifts, blessings, and God’s reward to faithful parents (Psalms 127:3-5). No, they believe children are burdens that interrupt our hectic American lifestyles that seeks personal fulfillment without being encumbered by the sacrificial love necessary to advance God’s Kingdom in the earth.
Sincerely held beliefs have consequences. This is especially true when it comes to Calvinism and the belief that God is the sovereign ruler and king over all. Simply put, Calvinists believe God is in control of everything. If God commands us to do something, we should do it without doubt or delay. God always knows what is best. To disobey God’s commands brings chastisement and judgment.
As my wife and I immersed ourselves in Calvinism, we came to believe that we should recognize God’s sovereignty in every area of our life, including the number of children we had. The Bible was clear, as were the books we read, that God wanted us to have a quiver full of children. Psalm 127:3-5 says:
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
We stopped using birth control, believing that it was God who opened and closed the womb. We believed we would have exactly the number of children God wanted us to have. Two months later, Polly was pregnant, the first of three children she would bear from 1989-1993. You see, Polly was a fertile Myrtle. It seemed that all I had to do was look at her and she would get pregnant. We were well on our way to having ten or more children — the Duggars of Appalachia.
The first child born after our decision to let God control our family’s size was a redheaded girl with Down syndrome. While Polly’s mom was grateful that she finally had a granddaughter, she was adamantly against our plan to have as many children as God wanted us to have. She rightly argued that we were in no financial position to have the children we had, let alone any more. This led to family conflict and verbal warfare, which we ended with a long letter we wrote to Polly’s parents — complete with a book on the subject — asking them to mind their own business; that we intended to follow God’s will on the matter regardless of their objections.
Our next daughter — another redhead — was born two days after of first daughter’s second birthday. We had just learned that our oldest daughter had Down syndrome. Her facial features were mild, so doctors missed that she had Down syndrome. One night, we were at a Bible conference near Dayton and a nursery worker asked about our baby with Down syndrome. I was incensed! “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with our child!” Except there was. She was sixteen months old before she learned to walk. We were worried she had some sort of disability. Our Catholic family doctor, suspecting Down syndrome, sent Bethany to Ohio State University for genetic testing. Sure enough, she tested positive for Down syndrome.
Our doctor had us come to his office after it had closed, and sat and talked with us for an hour. We were devastated by Bethany’s diagnosis. Our doctor, with great love and compassion, helped us to see that Bethany was actually a blessing from God. This, of course, played right into our Calvinistic beliefs. It was God who gave us a child with Down syndrome, and it was up to us to trust him, believing that he knew what was best for us. (Please read What One Catholic Doctor Taught Me About Christianity.)
In May of 1993, Polly gave birth to our sixth, and last, child. Her four previous pregnancies had been relatively easy, but this one not so much. Polly struggled during delivery. The obstetrician said she was worn out and, in his words” “to pooped to pop.” He told us in no uncertain terms that another pregnancy could kill Polly. Theologically-speaking, this posed a huge dilemma for us. We believed it was God alone who opened and closed Polly’s womb. She wouldn’t get pregnant unless it was according to God’s perfect plan. Shouldn’t we just trust him?
For the first time, we realized our beliefs had consequences; that trusting God could lead to Polly’s death. We had to ask ourselves whether we were willing to follow God no matter what. In time, the answer came. No, we weren’t willing to follow God no matter what; no, we weren’t willing to put Polly’s life at risk; no, we weren’t going to risk me losing the love of my life and our children losing their mother. This, of course, meant we refused to obey the Word of God; that we put reason and science before God and his Word. Welcome to cognitive dissonance.
For those in the quiverfull movement, we were sellouts, but to everyone else, it seemed we were acting reasonably and responsibly; that it was right and proper for us to listen to our doctor’s advice. This put an end to my preaching on quiverfull beliefs. Prior to this, I had excoriated church women for having tubal ligations or using birth control. To this day, I regret some of my preaching, especially when it came to family matters. I put my preacher nose in places where it did not belong, regardless of what the Bible said.
Our hillbilly mansion. We lived in this 720 square foot mobile home for five years, all eight of us.
Having three children in the space of four years caused increased stress on our older three children. Money was already tight, and even more so now that our family size morphed from five to eight. We lived in a 12’x60′ mobile home — a hillbilly mansion if there ever was one. If weren’t for food stamps and Medicaid, along with the Earned Income Credit, we would have been destitute. As it was, we lived from hand to mouth, and sometimes the hand didn’t quite reach to the mouth. Had we been consistent Calvinists, we would have “let go, and let God,” but we refused to allow our family to sink further into poverty. Did this mean, at the time, that we weren’t trusting God as our Calvinistic beliefs demanded we should? Yes. Few Calvinists actually live according to all of the commands, precepts, and teachings of the Bible. Oh, they like to give the appearance of obedience, but Calvinists are Cafeteria Christians® just as other believers are.
By the late 1990s, I had begun to move away from the strident Fundamentalist Calvinism found in groups such as the Reformed Baptists, Sovereign Grace Baptists, and the Founder’s Group among Southern Baptists. While my theology would remain influenced by Calvinism until the day I left Christianity, I no longer took it to the extremes detailed in this post. This has led some Calvinists to allege that I was never a “real” Calvinist. I laugh when I hear such criticisms, asking, “how many children do you have?” “Do you use birth control?” That’s what I thought, hypocrite.
This concludes the six-part series on why I became a Calvinist. I hope you found it helpful.
Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
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Before feminism and birth control, children were valued in America. The woman’s place in the home was valued and so was the man’s place as protector and provider. America was founded upon biblical principles and this is what made it great for many years because God’s ways are good, and acceptable, and perfect. Most today, even Christians, don’t value children and think that having only a few children is all couples should have.
This mindset is from feminism and birth control (Margaret Sanger – an agent of Satan) which influenced women to believe that it was their right to be liberated from the “tyranny” of reproduction and domesticity. Is this belief from God and is it biblical or is it from something sinister and evil; women being convinced they should have full control over their childbearing as the feminist’s leaders who hated marriage and children proudly proclaimed?
University of Oklahoma historian, Robert Griswold, cited an article published in the San Mateo Gazette in the mid-19th century that states, ‘Woman is set in the household and man is sent out into the world.’ Even a woman of modest means could ‘be happy in the love of her husband, her home, and its beautiful duties without asking the world for its smiles and favors,’ the article argued.’”
Women weren’t dissatisfied in their homes up until and through the 19th century, because this was all they knew. They knew their God-ordained role. Divorce was low. Children were plentiful and were being raised by their mothers from intact homes. Children were valued and most grew up to be emotionally stable and secure. Many families weren’t considered “wealthy” in terms of finances but they were considered wealthy in terms of what matters in life. (I am not trying to romanticize this time in history since I know full well that sin existed and was alive and well but simply pointing out a time in American history when roles were clearly defined and culture at large was better and safer since families were much stronger than they are today.)
Is it sinful for married Christian couples to decide they are not going to have children if there are no medical or health problems? Yes, I believe that it definitely is sinful since God commands young women to “marry, bear children, and guide the home” (1 Timothy 5:14). Therefore, if they intentionally decide not to have children, they are disobeying this command. God also commanded His children to be fruitful and multiply and tells us that a man who has a quiverful is blessed. Before birth control, all Christian couples who were able to have children had children and the Church taught against birth control for many years after it became available in America. The Church clearly knew that children were a blessing and to be treasured as such.
Some don’t believe it’s a sin if Christian couples don’t have children. My question to them would be: Is it okay for all Christian couples to not have children then? (No one has answered me with a yes or no on this one when I’ve asked.) Of course it’s not okay for all Christian couples to not have children when one of the main reasons God gives for getting married is to be one flesh and out of becoming one flesh, children are conceived. God is the One who created sex and it is good when saved only for the marriage bed to bring pleasure and to bear children.
The only way that married couples can decide to permanently not have children is to use birth control or abstain completely (which is not biblical according to 1 Corinthians 7:5). Please study the roots of birth control and the desire to eliminate the black population. (Study specifically Margaret Sanger) Hint: birth control has evil roots and is not from God. Birth control has eventually led to the slaughtering of millions of unborn babies and the devaluing of children’s lives. Many mothers don’t even want to raise their own children anymore. They prefer their careers instead.
This is the one hundred and sixty-fifth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip of Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, telling congregants why they should eschew birth control and have lots and lots of Fundamentalist babies.
Just when I think I have heard EVERYTHING, a Christian fanatic will send me an email such as the one that follows. According to the letter writer, contrary to what we know to be true about rape, pedophilia, and sexual assault, most perpetrators are actually angry ovulating females. Let that sink in for a moment. You see, ladies, it is men who are being harassed and molested, not women. It is men who must constantly be aware of their surroundings lest a woman jump out of the bushes and rape them. Birth control, according to the letter writer, has turned women into predatory animals who seek to sexually dominate men.
I suspect the letter writer is a Roman Catholic. What better way to deflect attention from the Catholic church’s sex scandal than to suggest that most sex crimes are perpetrated by women, not men. Countless children and teenagers have been sexually abused by Catholic priests, yet, according to the letter writer, the REAL scandal is sexual abuse at the hands of birth-control-using women.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter writer’s three-thousand-word tome:
(To Eliminate Majority of Rape Just Ban Birth control)
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (the statistical agency of the injustice department) states: “Approximately 95% of all youth reporting staff sexual misconduct said they had been victimized by female staff. In 2008, 42% of staff in state juvenile facilities were female.”
This disproves the idea that women are more likely to molest children just because they are around them more often and have more access. No. The statistical data shows that even when the pagan women have less access to children and are less than half of the staff in juvenile prisons they end up committing a staggering 95% of child rapes. So shocking is this statistic that journalist Laura Burke of the Texas Observer out of curiosity decided to contact the justice bureau of her home state of Texas concerning the figures of female victimization of youth, since she knows that ‘nationally’ 42% of staff in child prisons are females, and that in Texas 50% of juvenile hall staff employees are females (in the Texas Youth Commission, which is the biggest chain of child prisons in Texas and dominates almost 100% of youth prisons there); now this is what she said in regard to her inquiry: “The justice bureau will not release percentage breakdowns of sexual offenses by female employees in Texas, or at individual facilities. The bureau cites confidentiality as the reason.”
Birth control creates the female pagan child predator epidemic. Women who use it are such beasts of impurity that they are driven to murder in the 1st degree in an act of ultimate betrayal the children they conceive. This vicious act utterly permanently destroys their maternal (and feminine) instincts. Contraception murders already conceived children. It prevents them from attaching themselves to the womb after conception when they travel to that place. It would also seem there are tons of female sodomites (no doubt themselves child killers) in action too, because 14% of juvenile hall youth are females and this figure in general has not changed since 1997 and yet 95% of all minors reporting child molestation say female staff did it. So statistically this means male staff are less likely to molest girls than their female staff counterparts, despite constituting over half of the staff in juvenile prisons. This tells us that it’s very much possible the majority of the female pedophiles in juvenile hall are sodomites and that the remainder who are not sodomites are nonetheless guilty of child murder (and that being a murderess of children is what drove sodomite women to be sodomite in the first place). It’s scientifically undeniable, birth control turns women into pedophiles. Young males in detention are being sexually assaulted more so by female guards and caretakers than females in detention by male guards. Female staffers are more likely to committ [sic] sexual assault and rape inmates than male staffers.
Female staff committ [sic] more forcible sexual assualt [sic] than male staff; indeed females committ [sic] 86% of it according to the 2012 BJS report of staff indecent misconduct in juvenile hall. Here is a situation in which women in complete power have no hesitation using it to hurt children. It shows that when presented with the opportunity women will rape and this should raise concerns not only about female staff in juvenile prisons, but women in general because women have much greater access to children than men. This means that people should suspect all contracepting [sic] women of being child rapists or potential child rapists and at the very least, as pedophiles. I repeat; women who use birth control are either active child predators, a developing child molester, or a child molester in training. Statistics do away with the ridiculous notion that sexual violence is always or mostly male-on-female assaults.
The epidemic of woman predators molesting school children is so bad that even CBS News has a well-updated special section on their website dedicated to showing the profile photos of teacher female molesters and briefly mentioning the details of their child molestations.
According to Richard Nixon’s Commission on Obscenity for every female prostitute there are 9 underage male prostitutes. Birth control turns women into pedophiles. An extensive study in Canada found that high rates of homeless children are being molested. Staggeringly, 3/4 of the molestations of boys were done by adult women.Arguably, pagan female child killers (among whom are many woman sodomites) are more intense in their child lust than male sodomites.
With prescience Giuseppe Cardinal Siri (His Holiness Pope Gregory XVII) wrote on June 12th, 1960 the epistle “Notification Concerning Men’s Dress worn By Women”. Logically outlining the evil effects of women wearing pants, he said it leads to “the rising of the primary instincts” which “push forward to uncontrolled acts.” For such a change of clothing “helps to diminish the vital defenses of the sense of shame” or “obstructs that sense” and “when this sense of shame is absent because of some obstacle or impediment, then the relations between men and women degrade to pure sensuality devoid of all mutual respect and esteem.” He also says: “Experience teaches us that when the woman is de-feminized, then defenses are undermined and weakness increases.” He added: “What can these women give their children when they have worn trousers for so long that their self-esteem is determined more by their competition with men than by their function as women?”
Indeed, the feminism heresy (of which contraception and wearing men’s clothing is a part) turns women into pedophiles. The statistics robustly go on. Apart from raping boys, pagan women harlots also love raping men, gang raping men, kidnapping and raping them; especially if the male victim is a handicap or blind or immobile or non-verbal or unconcious [sic] or sedated or restrained.
These swine love to abuse the role of “care giver.” 12 years ago one careerist pedophile with the usual indiscretion, candor of snobbery and mockery, said: “Had an incident the other day, a pt. had a tight foreskin. First i couldn’t get the thing to go back, THEN couldn’t get it to go back over!! What didn’t help matters is that there wasn’t much to take hold of. Plus 5 sets of eyeballs watching.” Indeed, one only need peruse the blogs owned by nurses (which will not be named here because they are awful and moreover frequently criticized by doctor blogs and websites and a few nurse blogs as unprofessional and incredibly damaging to the profession) to discover their unladylike strange appetites; their supercilious ribaldry and shocking amount of inappropriate comments they make regarding the physique of boy patients, their belittling comments; detraction, their disturbingly fanatic attraction to minors, their fascination with personal areas of the body, their frank admissions of how they love it when they do “physicals” on boys, how they love to undress them and digitally penetrate the male part of boys with a catheter while the person is drugged under sedation (and in most cases then removing it prior to the child awaking, who never find out that they were undressed and lost their virginity) and this undoubtedly would constitute rape (this also happens to male adult patients). They also constantly love to gloat and bask in their status of total impunity and predation, the wide culture of acceptance of these deviancies, and how co-workers with ogling eyes watch and even participate in it. Any place of care of the vulnerable has always been a magnet for these types of perverts, who take pleasure in the degradation, hurt and humiliation of their victims. Indeed 6 female Minnesota teens at a nursing home raped their elderly patients. I mean, high school girls unleashed their devastating desires on the elderly, presumably after taking birth control.
SHOCKER: MORE MEN ARE VICTIMS OF RAPE THAN WOMEN
“More men are raped in the US than women, figures on prison assaults reveal: “More men are raped in the U.S. than woman, according to figures that include sexual abuse in prisons. In 2008, it was estimated 216,000 inmates were sexually assaulted while serving time, according to the Department of Justice figures. That is compared to 90,479 rape cases outside of prison.”
Sexual misconduct is not an uncommon complaint to state boards of nursing. 38 to 52 percent of nurses report knowledge of colleagues who have had sexual misconduct with patients. The NCSBN reports that in some states sexual activity with a consenting adult patient is considered a criminal offense (since it is statutory rape for a person in a position of trust to use it for lewd activity).
According to individual state boards of nursing disciplinary records; the ratio of female nurses committing boundary violations as compared to male nurses is 26/1. That is for every male nurse that has sex with his patient, 26 female nurses have done so as well.
CONTRACEPTING FEMALE PAGAN (HARLOTS) CAN BE MORE VIOLENT THAN MEN
Contracepting female [sic] are just as violent, if not more violent than their male counterparts: “It has often been claimed that the reason CTS studies have found as many women as men to be physically aggressive is because women are defending themselves against attack. A number of studies have addressed this issue and found that when asked, more women than men report initiating the attack.” According to CDC study: “Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases.”
USA FLAG INSPIRES FEMALES TO BE CHILD MOLESTERS
Another factor driving female pedophilia is venerating the anti-Christian USA flag whose tricolor represents the condemned rebellious masonic slogan “liberty, equality, fraternity” under which millions of Christians were murdered (it represents man against God and the overthrow of Christian order and Monarchy which uphold inequality). This purges all their moral sensibilities, drives them to lust and therefore birth control and child molestation. After speaking to a rebellious foul-mouthed heretic in the South who audaciously pretends to be Catholic, I should point out in regard to the tricolor, that anti-Christian France and the USA republic are masonic creations. Both colonial and French freemasons [sic] collaborated in fomenting the revolution in America (1775-1783) and France (1789-1799); so the significance of the tricolor ‘red, white, and blue’ as representing the heresy ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ remains. When adopted and used by masons, it carries a particular meaning; in the same way that the rainbow though given to mankind by God as a sign of peace and promise that he would never destroy the world again with a flood; when that symbol is used by secular religion it takes on a whole different meaning, namely, the total repudiation of Marriage and the family, which is the lifelong union of man and the woman. When the Cross is used by Christianity it signifies Christ but when used by American religion especially on gravesites [sic] of the USA missionaries (I.e soldiers) it represents the condemned doctrine of ‘universal salvation.’ When Christians use the upside down Cross on the Feast of St. Peter it represents his upsidedown [sic] crucifixion martyrdom, but when used outside that context it represents Satanism. The more pagan woman tries to conform to the women of Christianity (the only authentic standard of womanhood) the better; for pagan women would not generally be harlots and murderesses of innocent children in the 1st place.
I think I can now safely say that women really are to blame for EVERYTHING! Pity us men. It is unsafe for us to even leave our homes with female sexual predators prowling about seeking to drop their pants and ride every man in America. Men must demand action be taken by law enforcement to protect them from angry, ovulating, birth-control-popping, child-molesting, rapist females.
Or we can safely assume that the writer of the aforementioned screed is bat-shit crazy, a Roman Catholic loon who hates women. What say ye, female readers? Has the letter writer exposed the truth about women — that it is women, not men, who commit most sexual crimes? Please share your angry, hormone-driven, birth-controlled thoughts in the comment section.
Recently, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker struck down an Alabama law that “enabled judges to put minors seeking abortions through a trial-like proceeding in which the fetus could get a lawyer and prosecutors could object to the pregnant girl’s wishes.” (CBS News)
Alabama legislators in 2014 changed the state’s process for girls who can’t or won’t get their parents’ permission for an abortion to obtain permission from a court instead. The new law empowered the judge to appoint a guardian ad litem “for the interests of the unborn child” and invited the local district attorney to call witnesses and question the girl to determine whether she’s mature enough to decide.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker sided Friday with the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, writing that the law unconstitutionally and impermissibly imposes “an undue burden on a minor in Alabama who seeks an abortion through a judicial bypass,” and violates the girl’s privacy rights by enabling a prosecutor to call witnesses against her will.
Both the judge and the ACLU said they were aware of no other state with such a law.
Every state requiring parental consent for abortions involving minors must also have a “judicial bypass” procedure so that girls can get a judge’s approval in a way that is effective, confidential, and expeditious, the ACLU said.
The state had argued that the law was intended to allow a “meaningful” inquiry into the minor’s maturity and the process was still a “confidential, and expeditious option for a teenager who seeks an abortion without parental consent.”
The civil rights organization said it had the opposite effect, by enabling lawyers for the state or the fetus to subpoena the minor’s teacher, neighbor, relative or boyfriend to testify she’s too immature to choose an abortion, or that continuing the pregnancy would be in her best interest.
It is unclear how many such proceedings have happened since the law was enacted. Walker noted that a district attorney this summer opposed the abortion request of a 12-year-old girl who had been impregnated by a relative.
That Alabama legislators — most of whom worship the Evangelical Christian God — enacted such a draconian, anti-woman, anti-abortion law should surprise no one. Anti-abortionists will not rest until they have banned abortion, criminalized its practice, and granted personhood to human zygotes. In fact, most anti-abortionists object to abortion for any reason — including rape and incest. Some anti-abortionists even go so far as to oppose abortion even if the life of the mother is at stake, believing that God is the giver and taker of life, and if he wants the mother to live he will make it so.
Not only do anti-abortionists oppose abortion for any reason, an increasing number of them object to the sale and distribution of birth control, believing that God alone opens and closes the womb. These zealots, knowing that access to birth control reduces the need for abortion services, choose to let their peculiar interpretations of an ancient religious text trump what is best not only for women, but for the unwanted children they will bring into the world if they don’t have access to birth control.
Previously, I wrote that I no longer use the phrase pro-life to describe those who oppose abortion. The reason is simple. Anti-abortionists are only pro-life when it comes to the unborn. They will go to the ends of the earth to protect human zygotes and unborn fetuses, but once babies are born, anti-abortionists lose all interest in their welfare outside of throwing a few diapers and cans of formula the way of new mothers. Anti-abortionists are overwhelmingly Republican, supporting policies that harm countless people, including mothers and newborns. Anti-abortionists are overwhelmingly pro-war, pro-capital punishment, anti-euthanasia, anti-single payer/universal health care, and a host of other things that should, in my mind, be consistent with people hold a pro-life viewpoint. While I am sure that more than a few anti-abortionists are not as I describe here, the loudest voices in the movement support policies that are anti-family.
This is why it is impossible for those of us who support a woman’s right to an abortion to find common ground with anti-abortionists. Theologically driven, anti-abortionists will accept no compromise. Supporting abortion rights is, in the anti-abortionist’s mind, akin to supporting murder. I find it hard to work with people who think that, because of my views on abortion, I am a murderer. Even my support of morning-after drugs is viewed as advocating murder. In the eyes of anti-abortionists, the moment sperm and egg unite in the wombs of women, the results are human beings that should have the same constitutional and legal protections as I have. Insane! you say. Yes, but make no mistake about it, if anti-abortionists have their way, aborting a fetus will be considered premeditated murder, worthy, ironically, of the death penalty. Currently, anti-abortionists, as they continue their incremental assault on Roe v. Wade, are attempting to pass state laws that require burials for aborted or miscarried fetuses. According to the Guttmacher Institute, anti-abortionists continue to make it harder and harder for women to receive abortions. Currently:
Physician and Hospital Requirements: 38 states require an abortion to be performed by a licensed physician. 19 states require an abortion to be performed in a hospital after a specified point in the pregnancy, and 19 states require the involvement of a second physician after a specified point.
Gestational Limits: 43 states prohibit abortions, generally except when necessary to protect the woman’s life or health, after a specified point in pregnancy.
“Partial-Birth” Abortion: 19 states have laws in effect that prohibit “partial-birth” abortion. 3 of these laws apply only to post-viability abortions.
Public Funding: 17 states use their own funds to pay for all or most medically necessary abortions for Medicaid enrollees in the state. 32 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the use of state funds except in those cases when federal funds are available: where the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. In defiance of federal requirements, South Dakota limits funding to cases of life endangerment only.
Coverage by Private Insurance: 11 states restrict coverage of abortion in private insurance plans, most often limiting coverage only to when the woman’s life would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term. Most states allow the purchase of additional abortion coverage at an additional cost.
Refusal: 45 states allow individual health care providers to refuse to participate in an abortion. 42 states allow institutions to refuse to perform abortions, 16 of which limit refusal to private or religious institutions.
State-Mandated Counseling: 16 states mandate that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer (5 states), the ability of a fetus to feel pain (12 states) or long-term mental health consequences for the woman (6 states).
Waiting Periods: 27 states require a woman seeking an abortion to wait a specified period of time, usually 24 hours, between when she receives counseling and the procedure is performed. 14 of these states have laws that effectively require the woman make two separate trips to the clinic to obtain the procedure.
Parental Involvement: 37 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. 26 states require one or both parents to consent to the procedure, while 11 require that one or both parents be notified.
Here in Ohio, most abortions are banned after twenty weeks. As of April 2017, Ohio law requires:
A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion, and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided. Counseling must be provided in person and must take place before the waiting period begins, thereby necessitating two trips to the facility.
Health plans offered in the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion if the woman’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape or incest.
Abortion is covered in insurance policies for public employees only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
Medication abortion must be provided using the FDA protocol. The use of telemedicine to administer medication abortion is prohibited.
The parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.
Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
Most women will undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; since the provider must test for a fetal heartbeat. The woman will be offered the option to view the image.
An abortion may be performed at 20 or more weeks post-fertilization (22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period) only if the woman’s life is endangered or if her physical health is severely compromised. This law is based on the assertion, which is inconsistent with scientific evidence and has been rejected by the medical community, that a fetus can feel pain at that point in pregnancy.
Since 2011, Ohio governor John Kasich has signed into law more than a dozen anti-abortion laws, resulting in the closure of half of Ohio’s abortion clinics. Showing that they will not be satisfied until ALL abortion is outlawed, Ohio anti-abortionists are attempting to pass a fetal heartbeat bill which, if enacted, will effectively ban all abortions in Ohio. Late last year, Governor Kasich vetoed the latest heartbeat law, saying that it would not survive constitutional challenge. His veto brought the ire of anti-abortionists. Never mind that Kasich has done more to advance the anti-abortion cause that any governor, all that matters to anti-abortion zealots such as Janet Porter is that the governor refused to support their latest bill. This reveals, yet again, that it is impossible for pro-choice advocates to find common ground with anti-abortionists. Adopting a scorched earth policy where no quarter will be given, anti-abortionists despise anyone who dares to deviate from their extremist views. If Governor Kasich is now in league with Satan, those of us who support a woman’s right to choose have no hope of finding ways to meaningfully work with anti-abortionists to reduce the number of abortions. So, we go it alone, advocating for easy, free access to birth control and comprehensive sex education in the public schools. Realizing that there will always be unwanted/accidental pregnancies — for whatever reason — we believe that access to morning-after drugs is essential.
Dark is the hour for those of us who support a woman’s right to choose, but we must not give in or lose hope. We must continue to fight, pushing back at every turn, until the gains made by anti-abortionists are overturned — either through legislatures or the judicial system.
If I were to ask you what it is that Independent Fundamentalist Baptists value most, many of you would say things such as: Jesus, the B-I-B-L-E, hard preaching, and potlucks. However, these four articles of the IFB faith pale in comparison to the one thing valued above all others: the virginity of teen girls and never-married women. Valued above Jesus? Yes, even above Jesus. Intact hymens are the holy grail of the IFB church movement. This fact is best illustrated by a dating couple who came to an IFB pastor and asked if they only had butt sex would that mean the woman was still a virgin? The pastor, of course, told them that anal sex was the same as vaginal sex. But why would this question even be asked? Why would anyone think that anal sex (or oral) was not “real” sex. Because in IFB churches the only hole God made for sex is judiciously protected against insertion of anything besides tampons. No penises, fingers, vegetables, or battery operated devices allowed. (And on the extreme end of the IFB church movement, there are pastors who believe that married couples should only engage in vaginal sex, missionary position, while thinking how wonderful it would be if Bro. Billy Bob’s sperm hooked up with Sister Mary Lou’s eggs.)
From their teen years forward, IFB girls hear repeated warnings about having premarital sex and losing their virginity. These girls are told that only whores have premarital sex and that those who let boys score with them are like dirty rags fit for the trash. I have heard countless sermons — and preached a few myself — that focused solely on causing fear, guilt, and shame. While the young horn dogs of IFB churches, along with their wandering-eyed fathers, hear purity sermons from time to time, most of such sermons are directed at what IFB churches believe is the weaker sex. Women are reminded that they are the gatekeepers. It is up to them to protect not only their own holy virginity, but that of the boys and men. This is why there are so many rules about how women dress. The goal is to destroy their visage and beauty, those things that cause teenage boys to have wandering thoughts about youth group girls instead of their pastor’s weekly Biblical tirade.
Despite the Baptist burkas, hot-and-heavy sermons, and puritanical rules governing dating and male/female interaction and physical contact (there are no gays in IFB churches), unmarrieds do have sex. And thanks to Just Say No sex education, some girls do become pregnant.
In IFB churches, there’s nothing worse than one of the church girls getting pregnant. Whether the girl is fourteen or twenty-three, it matters not. Becoming pregnant without the benefit of marriage is a deep black stain, not only on the mother-to-be, but also the church, the girl’s parents, and her pastor. By spreading her legs before marriage and “allowing” Deacon Noah’s son to plant his seed, she has repudiated everything her church, parents, and pastor believe about the sanctity of sex.
With such extreme thinking, wouldn’t it be best for all sexually aware IFB girls be put on the pill? This way, the threat of embarrassment and scandal for IFB churches, pastors, and parents is eliminated. Makes sense, right? Why not take preventive measures, especially since any honest IFB preacher knows that more unmarrieds than not will eventually do the dirty deed. When I was asked this very question years ago, I told the questioner that allowing girls to use birth control was akin to saying to them that it was okay to have sex. This same logic was used for drinking alcohol, using drugs, and other behavior deemed a sin. JUST SAY NO was the only proper response to temptation and sin. It didn’t matter that most married adult IFB church members failed to just say no. All that mattered was maintaining the virginal illusion that when young IFB couples walked down the aisle, their lives were living testimonies to the rightness of the IFB doctrine and practice.
I want to conclude this post with several anecdotal stories from my days as a student at Midwestern Baptist College and as a young IFB pastor.
As many of you know, the college I attended in the 1970s had (and still has) a strict no-contact-with-the-opposite-sex policy. If you are not familiar with this policy, please read Thou Shalt Not Touch: The Six Inch Rule. While an infinitesimally small number of unmarried students kept the six-inch rule, the rest of us broke the rule with gusto. While some students were able to keep their virginity intact, other students scampered around the bases and slid into to home. Those caught breaking the six-inch rule were usually campused (not permitted to leave campus) on first offense. Further offenses, pregnancy, or whispers of sexual romps in cars, motel rooms, or the dormitory laundry room were harshly met with immediate expulsion. Not only were offenders shamed in front of their fellow students, many of whom were guilty of the very same sexual “crimes,” they were shipped home to their IFB churches, parents, and pastors to be face further humiliation.
My first ministerial position post-college was as the assistant pastor of a General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC) congregation in Montpelier, Ohio. During my seven-month stay at Montpelier Baptist Church, one of the girls in the church became pregnant. The pastor decreed that she and the father of the baby were to immediately wed. (My sister went through a similar circumstance, marrying at the age of fifteen.) Not only were they to wed promptly, but only immediate family could attend the wedding and the girl would not be permitted to wear a white dress. The pastor told the pregnant girl that the color white was reserved for girls who were virgins on their wedding days. Her mistake was confessing her sin. Had she quickly and quietly run to the altar as other church women had done, she could have worn white and maintained the virginity illusion.
Years later, I attended a church service where a “loose” pregnant teen was brought before the church congregation and made to publicly profess her wickedness. Once she was sufficiently shamed, church members came to the weeping, shaking girl and embraced her, praising God for cleansing the girl from her sin. I have no doubt that many of these hugging super saints were guilty of the very same sin years ago. Sufficiently distanced from their own mortal sins, these holy saints of God likely felt no irony or guilt as they continued the shaming ritual.
Some IFB churches choose to make to pregnant teens disappear. IFB parents who find out their daughters are pregnant will usually immediately (and frantically) contact their pastors to find out what they should do. Knowing that their daughters “sins” will sully church testimonies (and abortion is not an option), parents often choose to ship their pregnant teens to IFB group homes. These homes, which are frequently little more than prisons or reeducation camps, purportedly turned whores, sluts, and fornicators into blood-washed, white-as-the-driven-snow lovers of Jesus, the King James Bible, and the IFB way. Often, their babies are given up for adoption.
I hope readers who were raised in the IFB church will share their own experiences in the comment section. To outsiders, what I have written here sounds out of this world, but these stories and practices are repeated in countless IFB schools, colleges, churches, and homes. Since the IFB church movement prides itself on being the same today, yesterday, and forever (if it was good enough for Jesus and Paul, it’s good enough for me), the shaming rituals and abuse of years ago are often practiced today. As long as church teenagers keep having sex, there will be bastard children and women to ritually humiliate. Indeed, the IFB God is an awesome God.
…However, there is another fact that many young mothers don’t yet realize because they haven’t yet experienced it. And that is that it gets easier to have another child when you have older children. It’s not the mothers of six, seven, or more children who feel so overwhelmed.
What happens is your little children grow, and as you train them, they become such wonderful helpers. When a new baby comes into the home, instead of this little one adding a burden to the home, they bring more joy and blessing, not only to you, but the whole family. When you have children who are growing older, you have so many hands on deck to help–to hold the baby, to goo and gah at the baby and keep your baby smiling and laughing, to bring this and that to you while you are nursing, to help with the dishes and housework, to cook a meal, and to keep the home running smoothly. You are getting to the reward time of mothering…
Campbell reveals the dirty little secret of the Quiverfull movement, that having a large family requires older children to become surrogate mothers to younger siblings. Non-Quiverfull parents look at the Duggar family or the Bates family and ask, how does the mother properly care for all those children? She doesn’t. The real mothers are the older siblings who are tasked with everything from feeding their younger siblings and changing their diapers to educating their younger siblings and making sure they are dressed. While learning to care for younger children is not inherently bad, Quiverfull families often require older children to be full-time caregivers, robbing these children of the opportunity of enjoying childhood. Instead, their workload is viewed as preparing them for their future adult life as a Quiverfull family. From elementary age forward, these children are forced to take on roles meant for adults. Is it any surprise that some of them, as soon as they are old enough to do so, flee the Quiverfull cult?
Polly and I have six children, ages 36, 34, 31, 26, 24, and 22. We have two distinct families, the three older boys and the two younger girls and boy. There is a five-year space between the two groups, at the end of which we adopted the Quiverfull belief concerning children. Devout Calvinists who believed God was sovereign over the womb, we determined to have as many children as God gave us. In rapid succession, the ever-fertile Polly popped out new little Gerencsers every 18-24 months. After the birth of our sixth child, the obstetrician told us that Polly should not have any more children. His words? She’s too pooped to pop. He warned that having another child could kill her.
When confronted with the reality of our theological beliefs, we decided to listen to the doctor and not have any more children. Polly had a tubal ligation and the Gerencser rabbit was killed. Did we betray our beliefs? Yes. Were we hypocritical? Yes. I had preached sermons that asked women who could no longer have children to pray that God would reverse their tubal ligation. I even implored them to come to the altar and cry out to God, asking him to open their womb so they could once again have the blessing of God on their life. I can only imagine the deep pain such sermons caused, a fact that haunts me to this day. Fortunately, God didn’t answer their prayers. Every closed womb stayed closed, all praise be to Jesus!
Our three oldest sons had to grow up in a hurry. While they have wonderful stories about childhood, about playing in the woods, riding bikes, and sword fights, they also have stories about being required to live in an adult world by the time they were ten. While they have accepted and come to terms with the why’s of their childhood, it doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t get to enjoy manying of the things non-Fundamentalist children get to enjoy. Not only were we part of the Quiverfull movement, we also home schooled and I was a pastor. All of our children, but especially our older children, were forced to live in an adult world much too soon. While it has made them mature and wise beyond their years and given them a strong work ethic, I can’t help but feel sorry for what they were deprived of growing up. No, they are not scarred for life, and all of them have grown up to be wonderful, productive adults, but nothing can change the fact that they missed out on a lot of normal childhood experiences because of their father’s job and their parent’s beliefs. I hope someday that several of them will put pen to paper or keyboard to screen and share how they view growing up in the home of Rev. Bruce and Polly Gerencser’s home.
If there is a silver lining for our family it is that Polly and I, along with our six children have escaped the cult and are now free to live our lives as we see fit. None of our children are Evangelical; most of them claim no religion, and those who do are live and let live Catholics. It’s refreshing to know that our ten grandchildren will not be raised under the curse of Evangelical Christianity and the various other beliefs that once enslaved our family. We’re pleased to watch our adult children allow their children to enjoy childhood, while at the same time teaching them the value of work and service to others. There’s nothing wrong with a teenager doing housework, cooking, or learning to change a diaper. After all, part of parenting is preparing children for adult life; and cleaning house, cooking dinner, and cleaning up a baby are all part of the “wonderful” adult experience. The difference now is that our adult children don’t expect their children to be stand-ins for them. Their is a balance that was not part of their life when Mom and Dad were lovers of Jesus, ardent home schoolers, and disciples of John Calvin.
If you are not familiar with the Quiverfull Movement, please read Vyckie Garrison’s article, What is Quiverfull?
Millions of Christians, Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons are praying for the end of the murderous practice of abortion, yet fetuses continue to be aborted. Surely, millions of prayers from millions of Christians would get God’s attention, yes? Why is God ignoring these prayers? If God is pro-life, why doesn’t he do anything to stop abortion? If he is all-knowing, he knows who is going to have an abortion. If he is all-powerful, he has the capability to stop abortion. Millions of prayers prayed by millions of Christians each day to an all-knowing, all-powerful God, yet abortion doctors continue to perform abortion procedures. Why?
It’s been forty years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion and despite non-stop attempts to force Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics out of business, women continue to have abortions. Billions upon billions of prayers have been uttered, yet abortion continues unabated. Pro-life yard signs. Pro-life billboards. Pro-life newspaper ads. Pro-life websites. Pro-life videos. Pro-life pickets. Pro-life marches. Pro-life sermons. Pro-life laws. Pro-life politicians. Yet, women continue to have abortions.
Based on the evidence at hand, God is either dead, not listening, or is pro-choice. Christians claim that the one true God is the Christian God and that they are God’s chosen people, yet he has turned a deaf ear to their prayers. If abortion is the abomination Christians say it is and God does nothing about it, doesn’t this mean that he is either dead, powerless, or indifferent? Perhaps it is time for Christians to accept the fact that their God is like Baal in 1 Kings 18. Elijah, when challenging the prophets of Baal to a God-duel, had this to say about Baal:
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
Perhaps the reason the Christian God hasn’t answered the earnest pleadings of pro-life Christians is that he is on vacation, sleeping, or using the toilet. Or perhaps the Christian God is a fiction, and that the only way to put an end to abortion is to work to make abortion safe, legal, and rare. Instead of waiting for God to do something, perhaps pro-lifers should embrace policies that drastically reduce the need for abortion. Instead of demonizing those of us who are pro-choice, how about working with us to make sure that teenagers and young adults have a comprehensive sex education and access to free birth control? How about making sure every woman in the United States has access to birth control, thus eliminating the need for abortion? Or, you could just keep uttering prayers that make absolutely no difference.
Faith Baptist Church, Primrose, Georgia, Billy Ball, pastor
Billy Ball pastors Faith Baptist Church (Sons of Thundr), an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church in Primrose, Georgia. Ball and the church are noted for their hatred of Sodomites and abortion. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Faith Baptist as a hate group. As I was perusing the church’s website, (link no longer active) I came across a booklet Billy Ball wrote on the subject of birth control. Here’s some of what Ball had to say:
Do you remember when there was very little difference, if any, between common sense and what the Bible had to say? Well, today the phrase “common sense” seems to be a means of justifying ourselves in satisfying our own selfish plans and living a lifestyle contrary to the life of faith!
The above statement at face value is innocent. As a matter of fact, it is very true in some areas of our lives. There are many things in life for which we should certainly plan, and I believe the Scriptures would even support us in doing so. However, there are also some things in life which God wants us to trust Him with totally. His plan for bringing human life into this world would certainly be placed in this category, if anything would.
Now, let’s think for a moment about this thing called birth control. Even the term itself sounds odd to the ear. Birth control, controlling birth, no matter how you say it, the key word is still control. You will find as we continue on with this study that, Scripturally, the only control that God gives a man or woman concerning birth is the decision to marry or not to marry. Beyond that, the Bible teaches that birth control belongs to God.
I challenge you to search the Scriptures for this ideology that man is to control birth. The only person who ever made an attempt in the Scriptures to control birth was judged in doing so. Other than that one example, the Bible is silent concerning others who held this belief…
…There was a time when people understood that when you got married, you expected children to be the normal, natural result of this union. As a matter of fact, marriage itself was considered by most people to be “starting a family”. So, yes, plan, if you are a Christian! Plan to get married and receive God’s gift of children. Or, on the other hand, plan to stay single if you do not desire children at this time. As far as I see in the Bible, there is no other legitimate way of controlling birth…
…So then, if the Bible teaches us that children are a gift from God, and a reward from Heaven; and if we know that God killed the only Scriptural example of those who support this heresy. And if we also understand the fact that if a man knoweth to do good and doeth it not, it is a sin unto him. James 4:17, KJV “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”. Then based on the above argument alone, can we honestly say that birth control falls under the realm of personal liberty? Please explain how and where, by any stretch of the imagination, that any Christian can use the Bible to justify birth prevention as a personal liberty that is acceptable to God…
…”That’s the reason we have so much welfare now!” Yes, believe it or not, that is one of the common statements made by the modern day birth control advocates. However, this statement is actually a copout for not talking about the real issue regarding a lot of the welfare problems, which is abstinence. A good portion of those people should not be having sexual relationships anyhow! Sex, in the Bible, was reserved for those who were legally married. All other sexual behavior was, and still is, forbidden by the Scriptures…
…We are so used to implementing our “plan B”, while knowingly disobeying God’s “plan A”. So, instead of using man made birth control to solve the unwanted expense of unwanted children across this country, we should repent of the fornication and adultery that refers us to our “plan B” in the first place. That, my friend, will drastically reduce the dollars spent on those who don’t want to take responsibility for their lifestyles.
But to blame the welfare problem on those who let God decide how many children they have in a responsible Christian way is at best ridiculous! This is the same argument used for fixing your pet!…
…”It’s my body, so it’s my choice.” Now we really begin to see the thinking behind the birth control movement. If this statement sounds all too familiar, it is because you’ve heard it before from the abortion crowd. You see, the driving force behind the abortion proponents is this humanistic idea that we are our own gods and that we have the right to make our own decisions about our life and how we use our body. However, as Christians, our attitude should be that we are not our own, but that we have been bought with a price. I Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price:”. The rest of that verse says “therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”. Preventing children can never glorify God!
Now, please tell me how birth control, by any stretch of the imagination, can glorify God? You will say, “But preacher, we’re not talking about a baby, but a seed!” Exactly! But, did you know that the Greek word from which we get the word seed is the word sperma? This is where we get our word sperm. So, if the baby is a gift from God, according to Psalms 127, then the sperm also is God’s gift. God gave you the sperm to be used to bring offspring into the world. Now, we do know that there is a difference between the sperm and the baby after conception. But we must also realize that the potential for life is found in the God-given seed. Therefore, this shows that it is a very serious thing to interfere with His seed in any way.”
Ball wants readers to know that his booklet is straight from the Bible, an unassailable source of perfect truth, but only if it is a King James Bible. Ball wrote:
I know that there will be many who disagree with the contents of this booklet. However, as with any literature which I have written, I challenge any and all to take a King James Bible and Scripturally refute it. I’m still waiting!…
…It is disturbing to see the extent to which humanism has entered into our congregations. The sad part is, however, that many so called preachers will simply discount this teaching as “much to do about nothing.”…
…Finally, let me say that our church and my family have personally suffered for our stand on this clearly taught Bible issue. We know, however, that sound doctrine is about the only thing some men will not endure in these last days…
Poor Bro. Billy, persecuted just because he wants to keep women chained to the bed, submissive, ready, and willing for their husbands to come home and impregnate them. While Ball is not as eloquent as many of the spokesmen for the Quiverfull movement, his views are one and the same.
Faith Baptist Church, Primrose Georgia, members street preaching, calling on sodomites to repent
Brandon Wright from Crossroads Baptist Church, Zirconia, North Carolina, supporting Billy Ball after he was arrested for street preaching without a permit
According to a 2012 news article, Faith Baptist Church has about 130 members (link no longer active).
Wikipedia states the church is IFB. Several other news reports say it is Southern Baptist.
For seven months in 2004, our family attended a vibrant, growing, family oriented church in Central Ohio. We thought we had finally found a church to call home. One Sunday, after the morning service, Polly (my wife) was talking with a group of women who were trying to get to know her a bit better. One of the women asked Polly what she did during the day, and she, without a moment’s hesitation, said “I work.”
In a split second everything changed. You see, in this church, none of the women worked outside the home. The pastor taught that it was a violation of God’s divine order for women to work outside the home. They could have home-based money-making enterprises, but they were not to work outside the home. From that day forward, the women of the church were stand-offish towards Polly. Never mind that Polly had to work due to her husband’s disability. Never mind her job was the only thing that stood between us and living on the street. All that mattered was that our family was not ordered according to God’s divine plan. We stopped attending this church a short while later.
In the 1990’s, I co-pastored a growing Sovereign Grace Baptist church in Texas. A young woman in the church professed faith in Christ and desired to be baptized. Customarily, candidates for baptism were asked to give a public testimony before being baptized. This posed a problem for this particular woman because her husband not only believed that the Bible taught a divine order for the sexes and the home, he also believed women should be silent in church. (His wife also wore a head covering.) She wanted to give a public testimony but she didn’t want to disobey her husband. This standoff went on for weeks until, one day, the woman came to my office in tears, lamenting that her husband was keeping her from following Christ. I agreed with her and counseled her to disobey her husband. She was baptized a short time later.
This church also believed that “church business” was the domain of men. When the church held business meetings, women were not allowed to speak. If they had a question they had to whisper their question to a man and then the man could ask the question on their behalf. Women were allowed to verbally ask for prayer and sing, but everything else was the domain of men. Very few of the women worked outside the home.
While I found both of these positions to be somewhat excessive and quite demeaning to women, I also believed that such positions could be proved from the Bible. While I didn’t take things as far as the aforementioned churches, I certainly believed that God had a divine order for the family and the church. I believed that God had ordained men to rule and women were to submit to male rule and authority. The highest calling for a woman was to marry, bear children, and be a keeper of the home. Children were to submit to their parents and obey every command given to them.
I believed the Bible taught a hierarchical system that must be kept to enjoy the favor and blessing of God. God, through his son Jesus, was the head over all things. Of course, what this really meant was that the Bible was the head over all things. Christianity is, above all else, a text-based religion. Without the Bible there is no Christianity. (in any meaningful sense of the word) As an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) pastor, I believed the Bible was the inspired, inerrant words of God. The Bible was the final rule and authority for everything.
IFB pastors say that the Bible is the rule for everything, but what they really mean is that their interpretation of the Bible is the rule for everything. I cannot emphasize this point enough. At the heart of the IFB church movement, the Patriarchal movement, and the Quiverfull movement, is a literalist interpretation of the Bible by pastors. Pastors, the under shepherds of the church, under direct authority from God, have the singular responsibility of teaching the church what the Bible says. (or better put, what his interpretations are) The pastor, called by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is the mouthpiece of God.
Practically speaking, the pastor is the final authority in the church. He is the law-giver, and he alone has the final say on virtually everything. The Bible is clear, the pastor is to rule the church and church members are to submit to his rule. Pastors spend significant time reminding the church that God says he, the pastor, is the boss. The common phrase used to define this is pastoral authority. (1)
In a hierarchical system, God and the Bible came first. Underneath God and the Bible is the pastor. Church members are taught that submitting to the pastor’s teaching and authority is pleasing to God and, if practiced, will bring the blessing of God.
As an IFB pastor, I taught church members that God and the Bible clearly defined the roles of men (husbands), women (wives), and children. In my mind, the Bible was clear: the husband is the head of the home and the wife is commanded to submit to the authority and rule of her husband. Like the pastor in the church, the husband is the final authority in the home. It matters not if he is worthy of such responsibility. A husband is disobedient to God if he refuses to be the head of the home. The wife, if she refuses to submit to her husband’s authority, is a Jezebel and risks the judgment of God.
I taught women that God’s highest calling for them is marriage, having children, and keeping the home. I discouraged women from going to college. After all, why waste money going to college if you are going to be busy having children and keeping the home? I taught men that God’s highest calling for them is to be a leader. Men are called to lead the church, home,and the government. The strength or weakness of any culture, church, or home depended on whether men were fulfilling their divine calling to lead. Children are at the bottom of the hierarchical system. They are under the authority of God, the Bible, the pastor, their father, and their mother. (And according to my younger sons, their oldest brother) Children have one divine calling in life, obey!
Polly and I have been married almost 37 years. We have six children. Our older children went to a Christian school for a few years and for 17 years we home schooled our children. For the first 20 years of marriage, we followed the hierarchical system detailed above. For the most part, Polly didn’t work and I was the breadwinner. I pastored churches full-time but, due to the notoriously low pay in IFB churches, I also worked a number of secular jobs. For years on end, I worked 60-80 hours a week,and in doing so neglected my wife and children. Regardless of the neglect, I was still the authority in the home. I was the final answer for every question. I ruled our home with a rod of iron and my family feared me. Of course, I never called their fearfear. I called it a healthy respect for authority. I gave the orders and they obeyed.
For many years, my wife (2) and I followed the general tenets of the quiverfull movement. Our children are ages 35, 33, 30, 25, 23, and 21. Between our 30-year-old and 21-year-old we embraced Calvinism and became persuaded that using birth control was a sin. We believed that God was sovereign and He opened and closed the womb. Who were we to stand in the way of God blessing us with more children?
Our first child born under the “let God have his way”form of birth control was a beautiful redheaded girl with Down Syndrome. Two years later, almost to the day, we were blessed with another beautiful redheaded girl. 20 months later our youngest child, a son (should I call him beautiful?) was born.
Before we could blink, we had three more children, all in diapers. Polly was known in the family as Fertile Myrtle. I was persuaded that if I looked at her she would get pregnant. I have no doubt that we would have had 20 children if we had continued to abstain from using birth control.
Fortunately, Polly’s doctor intervened and told us in no uncertain terms that Polly’s last pregnancy had taken a huge physical toll on her and any future pregnancies could kill her. We decided, God’s will be damned, that we were not going to have any more children. I was considered a hypocrite for not trusting God in this matter, but I had no desire to be wifeless with six children. Sadly, my motivation was selfish. Several years later, Polly had a tubal ligation and the rabbit died.
In a future article, I plan to write about how the thinking mentioned in this post affected the churches I pastored and how it affected my family. I want to detail how this kind of thinking almost destroyed my marriage and how abandoning such thinking transformed my relationship with Polly and our children.
(1) Pastoral authority, IFB style, leads to dictatorial autocrats ruling over and controlling virtually every aspect of church members lives. Some churches recognize the problem with one man having so much power, so they have a plurality of elders or a board of elders or deacons. Sadly, all this does is make a group of men dictatorial autocrats ruling over and controlling virtually every aspect of church members lives
(2) I don’t like using phrases like my wife and my children. While most people see these phrases as harmless, they are a reminder of the past, a past where Polly and the children were treated like slaves and property. I try to avoid using these phrases, but in some instances they cannot be avoided.