NLQ Book Review of Nancy Campbell’s “Be Fruitful & Multiply” by Suzanne Titkemeyer
Now Nancy starts trying to explain the main focus of her book – that God wants everyone to marry and have enough children to qualify for the the hit list of the zero population growth organization.
Here are the three things that Nancy says are the traditional reasons to marry as laid out by wedding vows …
Firstly, it was ordained for the increase of mankind, according to the will of God and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord and to the praise of His holy name.
Secondly, it was ordained in order that the natural instinct and affections, implanted by God, should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate, should continue therein in pureness of living.
Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help and comfort that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
Alrighty then, I know it’s been ages (almost 29 years) since I got married but the only one of those that I even remotely remember from my own wedding vows and the many other weddings I’ve attended through the years is the last one; for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do you part. Perhaps this is because I didn’t have a Fundamentalist Christian wedding, but is it usual to mention having children and bringing them up in the fear of the Lord?
Then again, I could have been distracted by the many crazy things that happened around my wedding, culminating in my mother showing up for the wedding in a low cut red satin dress and shocking everyone. I don’t think I actually ‘heard’ much of what the minister was saying due to the murmuring in the pews about my mother’s dress. But, water under the bridge now.
Then Nancy adds her own three to round out the others.
Fourthly, we need one another to help fulfill God’s command to manage God’s Creation.
Fifthly, it is a powerful force for effective prayer.
Sixthly, it was ordained to portray to the world a picture of the relationship of Christ and His church.
What do we manage? Our households, our jobs, our lives. I’m not entirely sure where Nancy is going with ‘managing God’s Creation’ because there is nothing about her that speaks of environmental concern in her writings.
I will agree that to marry is to need and give more prayer, especially when one of the partners is acting in an irrational or just plain old jerk-like manner. That will lead you to pray more, though I doubt that is what Nancy had in mind.
As far as portraying Christ and His church she’s merely extrapolating out the words of Paul that says men are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. No, Nancy, it’s not the exact same thing, no matter how close to it you think it is.
Next Nancy starts to sort of explain what it is she means, in backwards order with a few oddments on sex thrown in:
To Portray to the World a Picture of Christ and His Church
Ephesians 5:21-23 “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” this greatest exhortation on marriage reveals that marriage is the picture of Christ and His church. If any of these reasons could be more important than the other, this would have to be the reason. Marriage is the outworking on earth of the picture of this glorious theological truth. What a magnificent reason for marriage. This outworking takes a lifetime.
Oh brother! It’s when Nancy carries on like this in her books and on her website that I wonder if she’s actually taken the time to sit down and really read her Bible. It seems like she is seeing things in scripture that aren’t actually there, reading deeper meaning or writing in assumptions, highly embroidering the words. The fifth chapter of Ephesians spells out how followers of Christ are so supposed to behave, most of those rules are also the rules of polite society, don’t curse and swear, don’t get drunk, don’t be greedy, live a life that can stand up to the scrutiny of the light. The final bit breaks down to telling both husbands and wives to submit to one another, wives to respect their husbands and husbands to love their wives. Nowhere does it say that you are to be a picture of Jesus and the church. The bit Nancy is quoting seems to refer back to treatment of the wife and following the general rules of morality and society than reflecting Christ and His church. It’s a stretch at best.
Also, if you see underlining in bit from the book it’s the underlining some poor soul who had the book before me seemed to think were the most important bits. Leaving that in as it speaks to the essential mindset of Quiverfull ‘shoulds’ they have to keep trying to convince themselves are right.
To Have Unity in Prayer
When two hearts unite as one to pray, heaven unleashes mighty blessings upon the earth. This is a great privilege of the marriage union. The oneness of spirit in marriage is a powerful weapon of prayer to God and a powerful force against the enemy.
Nancy also cites Matthew 18:19-20 and Acts 2 as to why it’s better to pray together in marriage, which is not at all what the scriptures are about. Both scriptures talk about when people gather and pray together means God is in their midst. Never mentions that this is the way to ‘mighty blessings.’
Unity is good, but not always possible in marriage. Different people are going to have different ideas, mindsets or ideas of what is and isn’t important. Even in prayer, even in prayer together.
To Take Dominion Together Over God’s Creation
Genesis 1:28, “God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue i: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” This is a big task that God has given to husbands and wives and their families. We cannot accomplish this task individually. We do it together as husband and wife with the help of our growing family.
First of all, Genesis 1:28 was a specific instruction to Adam and Eve, when they were the only two- count ’em – two people on earth. Later when Noah and family emerged from the Ark they were given similar instructions about replenishing the earth. Today? Who do you know that has received this personal specific instruction from God? Anyone? Anyone? Nope. No one I’ve heard of, just those that are trying to take every word of the Bible literally.
The taking dominion over the fish and birds? By the number of each that are now going extinct due to over fishing the oceans, pollution, over development of lands and hunting it seems like mankind has already done this way too much. Seems like God would be more interested in having humans take care of the things He’s created instead of taking some sort of power over them. Preserving what’s left. Someday soon the only place you’ll be able to see some of the animals of this planet will be either in a zoo or in the Natural History Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
To Enjoy Companionship Together
God planned marriage for the purpose of companionship, togetherness, and for husband and wife to help and comfort one another.
The only point in the introduction I cannot quibble with. Why get married if you aren’t wanting that friendship and togetherness that forms a firm foundation of good marriages? I guess even a blind archer sometimes hits the target with an arrow, so sometimes Nancy manages to stumble upon a truth.
The flip side of that goes too. If you are with someone that you really, really cannot stand the idea of hanging out with them for long stretches, even doing nothing, then you have no business marrying them. You really need that desire to be with that person much of the time, it makes marriage so much easier when you like the person you are marrying.
To Enjoy Sexual Unity in the Holy Estate of Marriage
Hebrews 13-4, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” In the confinement of the marriage union, God has created the sexual union for the enjoyment, pleasure and the delight of man. The blessedness of the marriage bed is hallowed, but outside of marriage, God calls it sin.
I have to admit, I was pretty shocked to read that Nancy mentioned anything about sexual being pleasurable, or for any purpose other than to conceive and bear children. Many fundamentalists, particularly the women, speak of sex as a duty, something we do only to increase the family size because admitting it’s fun and enjoyable leads to those same sexual acts that Doug Phillips was decrying in the Foreword that do not lead to having a baby. How very liberal of her.
Her words that sex outside of marriage is sinful seem to echo Vaughn Ohlman’s assertions that you should marry and marry young to keep ‘pure’ and from sinning sexually. Can’t control your own biological urges and might sin? Then hastily make a life long decision that could potentially have disastrous consequences, doesn’t matter if you love the person, have chemistry, friendship or compatibility because naughty gonads might sin.
The rest of the introduction is Nancy talking about how to use the book, the quiz at the end of each chapter and many, many, many random scripture bits to justify everything she’s said so far.
Next Up: Chapter One – Filling the world with babies till it explodes.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin of NLQ and also the wife of a man who had sense enough to recognize their church as a cult before dragging her out. She is a crazy old cat lady keeps busy with her grown children, her rescue animals, foster care animals and her love of all things art. Contrary to Fundy-Belief she’s usually smiling, laughing or smirking while swilling diet coke and dispensing sarcasm. She blogs at What Would Roger Sterling Do? and True Love Doesn’t Rape