Quoting Quiverfull: Simple Test?

Quoting Quiverfull: Simple Test? May 3, 2013

by Vaughn Ohlman of Persevero News

Pornography, contraception, and abortion. The modern church condemns pornography and abortion, yet yawns at contraception, calling it an exercise in wisdom on the part of the couple… and will even rejoice that the fornicating couple (at least!) uses contraception.
The church historical, however, condemned these things together, along with fornication and adultery.[1] They were all tarred with the same brush… until recently.

‘Here is a simple test: Look at history and if you see God’s people agreeing for 1900 years…” RC Sproul Jr.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Naomi

    So by that logic, the earth really is flat and it’s also the center of the solar system. Finally have that one cleared up.

  • Wow! So I am a ‘noted Quiverfull leader’?? Cool.

  • Lynn Grey

    Using the argument of “people throughout history have always believed this!” is something we do only when it’s convenient for us. No one would use that argument to defend oppression and racism, things that have been proven scientifically wrong, barbarism and child abuse. There are a lot of things history got wrong.

  • Nightshade

    Like ‘God’s people’ have actually agreed on ANYTHING for 1900 years…

  • >>Using the argument of “people throughout history have always believed this!”

    Wow, Lynn, don’t think you understood RC’s point here. He isn’t saying that something is true because people historically believed it. GK Chesterton addresses that issue. What he is saying is that we moderns have suddenly invented a new interpretation for a verse.
    Imaging that for several hundred years people had always take a given line of Shakespeare as a sexual reference. And then suppose that some modern ‘interpreter’ of the Bard comes along and says, “Oh, no, he’s just describing some furniture in the room.” You might forgive me if I doubt this ‘interpretation’, eh? Especially if it turns out the guy is a bit of a prude and hates sexual references?

  • texcee

    What people have believed for 1900 years … hmm … That paints with a pretty broad brush … Besides the aforementioned flat earth and geocentric solar system, people have “always” believed that slavery is okay, that the Pope and the Church spoke directly to and for God and were infallible, that science was equal to witchcraft, that women and children were chattel, that beating both/either was acceptable, and that the Bible was inerrant and could be used as the end all and be all answer book for any situation you cared to name. Oh, wait — some people still believe most of that! Guess this isn’t the 21st century after all!

  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news but according to Wikipedia Birth control was being used as far back as 4000 years ago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_control#Ancient_Mesopotamia.2C_Egypt_and_Rome

    As long as humans have been having sex, it seems they’ve been looking for ways to limit the number of offspring sex can produce. Neither God’s people, or anyone else has agreed on this in a very long time.

  • Um.. except they weren’t. There’s no mention of contraception or abortion or pornography in the Bible even though all 3 existed and were in popular use at the time. Not to mention that contraception and abortion(until quickening in most Christian countries) wasn’t super effective but perfectly legal. So yeah.. lets take the opinions of people over the last 1900 years, too bad even they disagree with the likes of Sproul.

  • Kristen Rosser

    Evangelicals were not opposed to abortion until the early 1970s. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/30/my-take-when-evangelicals-were-pro-choice/

  • Saraquill

    (tease) Since Judaism has been around for much longer than Christianity, by this man’s logic, Judaism is the way to go. Well, time to go convert…

  • aim2misbehave

    If I recall correctly, throughout most of history, Christians have had no objection to abortion before “quickening”, ie, when the fetal heartbeat/movement could be detected from outside the woman’s body, as they didn’t consider the woman to truly be pregnant until that point. Also, it was something private and almost entirely involving women and midwives, and it wasn’t something that men felt concerned them or society in general.

  • Except God’s people HAVEN’T agreed for 1900 years. The history of Christianity is one long study of schisms, splinter groups, and heresies. Even going back to the Bible, where Paul spends as much time justifying his right to be called an apostle as he does in instruction; most likely because others thought he shouldn’t be called an apostle. I realise these schisms weren’t about contraception and abortion.
    Incidentally, Australia had a large number of migrants arrive in the 1950s from eastern Europe. Many of the women where appalled to discover contraception and abortion were frowned on, as they were routine and church sanctioned in their homelands. But of course these would have been eastern Orthodox churches, which Sproul would view as “heretical.”
    (used to post as “Christine” or “Christine in Australia”)

  • Hey Vaughn – Welcome to NLQ 🙂

  • Baby_Raptor

    The “modern church” doesn’t condemn anything collectively. About the only thing that Christianity agrees on as a whole is that anything that challenges their privilege is “persecution” and a violation of their “rights.”

    There are quite a few churches who have no issue with abortion or birth control…But I guess they aren’t “real” churches because they don’t agree with this dude.

    Also, look at the statistics. The highest rate of pornography use is in the bible belt.

  • Madame

    I can’t see the comments!

  • I’m beginning to get a swelled head! First I get mentioned on the Christianity Today’s website and now you call me a ‘noted Quiverful leader’. Quiverfull I understand, but when did I become ‘noted’ and a ‘leader’?
    I suppose the CT mention counts as a ‘note’… but I’m still working on the ‘leader’ bit.

  • >>Except God’s people HAVEN’T agreed for 1900 years.

    Actually on the interpretation of these passages they pretty much have. You are welcome to post sources, respected commentators that posit a different interpretation of the various passages. You can even do so on my site if you wish.

    (BTW: Math check: 1950 is about, say, 50 years after the ‘1900’ years that is mentioned. No one doubts that by 1950 many churches had stopped teaching the historic view. Indeed the article referenced actually mentions that.)

  • >>I hate to be the bearer of bad news

    Were you under the impression that someone didn’t know this? Birth control is actually mentioned in the Scriptures about that long ago (I’m not really good on my dates. When did Onan live?). Mentioned, and punished.

  • John Calvin, commenting on Exodus 21:22-25:

    The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being (homo), and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.

  • >>There’s no mention of contraception

    See ‘Onan’.

    >>There’s no mention of abortion

    See ‘thou shalt not kill’

    >>There’s no mention of pornography

    See Job: “I have made a covenant with my eyes, why then should I look upon a maid?”
    See also David, sitting on the roof checking out the naked bathers.

  • Vaughn – I recently discovered PerseveroNews, a site which, in my Quiverfull years I would have considered an amazing and encouraging resource. Even though I am no longer a Christian and I believe Quiverfull is a delusional worldview leading to a demeaning and dangerous lifestyle, I find myself drawn back to PerseveroNews over and over. I guess it’s because I’ve been out of the “biblical worldview” headspace long enough now that it seems totally whack and I can hardly remember why the ideals ever appealed to me …. reading PerseveroNews makes me think, Yep – that’s what I used to believe, and yes – it really is seriously messed up. So glad I got away.

  • So my posting there makes me a ‘noted Quiverfull leader’?? Cool. Can I tell my elders 😉
    Glad P!N keeps drawing you back. ND will be encouraged.

  • Vaughn, you say the church historical condemned contraception, and with the Sproul jr. comment you imply it was this way for at least 1900 years.

    To start to show me that, can you give 4 or 5 quotes against contraception from at least 4 sectors of the church (with sectors I mean Catholic, Protestant, Coptic, etc.):

    At least 1 quote from the first 500 years of the church (AD plus minus 30-500), at least 1 from the next 500 years (AD 500-1000), at least one from the next 500 (AD 1000-1500). With your Calvin quote on your blog, you gave a Protestant statement from the last quarter of church history. Of course, that is not enough to convince me.

    (Even the amount of evidence I ask cannot really prove that the church historical had a certain view, as there are outliers in every era. But it will be a start, making it more likely.)

  • Don’t get too much of a swelled head over my adding your site to the other poisonous thinking exhibited in Quoting Quiverfull. It’s not exactly an honor, more a warning.

  • I can give you Onan- that is mention of contraception. But your interpretation, to believe from that contraception is wrong, is your application and not in the text. Another interpretation was that he was in trouble for heartlessness – his brother’s widow wanted a child, and according to the laws of the time he should have helped her. Yet another is that he was in trouble for fraud: She slept with him in the hope of getting pregnant, but he used her without giving her what she should have got. Your interpretation – he was in trouble because contraception is always wrong – is just one interpretation.

    About abortion – Trollface is right, abortion is not mentioned. I too, would apply a commandment on killing to abortion, but that text does not mention abortion. The closest thing to abortion mentioned in the Bible is accidentally killing an unborn, which carries a much smaller (money) penalty while accidentally hurting a pregnant woman is ” life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

    Pornography – no it does not. The text talked of actual woman, not photos of women or photos of couples. I can see why it would be applied to porn, but to say the Bible talks of porn there, the writer thought of porn and wrote of porn, is to not respect what the Bible actually say.

  • >>Pornography – no it does not.

    Well, I was giving the author credit for being rational. Surely they did not expect the Scriptures, written to people who did not have photographs, to mention photographs.

    Like abortion the problem here is that they are painting a broad ‘not mention’ issue where they really mean ‘in the words I want it to say, or the specific case I want it to cover.”
    The Scriptures do not say, specifically, that we cannot murder left-handed people living in Canada who enjoy eating yoghurt. It says ‘thou shalt not kill’ and expects us to be intelligent enough to know that that includes the one person on earth a mother is supposed to protect at all costs… her own child.
    Similarly when God told us not to covet our neighbors wives, He kind of expected us to man up and realize that that means not to stare at a picture of his wife and sexually fantasize about her.
    God created intelligent people, and expects them to read with their intelligence.

  • >>” life for life
    I wish that the penalty now was ‘life for life’, but it seems odd to call that a lesser penalty.

  • Given that, by your own admission, you are not a Christian your warning is not exactly relavent, is it?

  • I never called life for life a lesser penalty??? I said the punishment for killing the unborn carries the much smaller penalty, while killing the mother is “life for life.” Read again.

  • But we may actually agree if you meant what you said: I wish the penalty for someone who hurts a woman was “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth,” (and “squashed plan for squashed plan”) unlike the heartless advice that tell women to submit even to abuse.

  • So… Omnipotent God with all his great omnipotent powers who sought it wise to explicitly ban eating shellfish and wearing mixed fibre clothing can’t come up with a less vague statement on abortion than “thou shalt not kill?” I mean, abortion was there, it was popular, and yet no mention of it? Clearly God needs better proofreaders and a legal team.
    And Onan was more about a guy bilking a widow out of her legally entitled support that it ever was about contraception or masturbation. If anything, it condemns people like child support evaders not teh dirty sluts you want dead for deciding what happens to their bodies.

  • Pornography pre-dates Jesus. Your argument is invalid as a result.

  • Where did I ever say I was no Christian? I am still a Christian, but I no longer belong to a restrictive cult that would have made Jesus puke by its blatant disregard of his words. You know what they say about assumptions, right?

  • persephone

    Except that the Jews, as well as many other religions, did not consider the fetus to be alive until it quickened, i.e., began to move. Judaism allows for abortion, especially in the case of the health of the mother.

  • persephone

    Once again, Onan was not punished specifically for using contraception, but because he took advantage of his sister-in-law, among other things.
    Also, if Onan knew to use the withdrawal method, then plenty of others did also.
    And, while the Jews were in Egypt, they must have learned something about Egyptian contraceptive methods, yet none of the judges, prophets, kings, priests, etc. ever said anything about not using it, or condemning it as something the gentiles did but the Jews should not.

  • persephone

    We have, why don’t you?

  • persephone

    John Calvin was not a true Christian. And most Christians do not follow his teachings.

  • persephone

    Your writings make it pretty clear you’re not a true Christian, Vaughn. You are certainly not Christ-like.

  • Kristen Rosser

    From the author of the same link I cited above:

    “In fact, though some early Christians, such as the writers of The Didache, Tertullian and Basil, and John Calvin did think abortion kills a person from conception, and occasionally used the Bible to support their views (though Tertullian’s position was condemned as heresy and Calvin’s, articulated only in passing, was abandoned by most of the Protestants who followed him), the dominant view in the Christian tradition has been that moral life begins when the body acquires a human form, rudimentary organs, and/or substantial brain activity.” Jonathan Dudley, Broken Words. He goes on: “Augustine and Aquinas, who articulated the mainstream Christian position before the split between Protestantism and Catholicism. . . set the stage. . . ” And then he quotes Augustine as writing, “If what is brought forth is unformed but at this stage some sort of living, shapeless thing. . . then the law of homicide would not apply, for it could not be said that there was a living soul in that body, for it lacks all sense, if it be such as is not yet formed and therefore not yet endowed with senses.” Augustine believed abortion was thus acceptable in the first trimester. The fact is that the Bible never actually says at what point the fetus becomes a living human soul, nor has the Church universally agreed on this issue. To quote Calvin as representing all of evangelicalism on this issue is disingenuous.

  • Kristen Rosser

    Suzanne didn’t say she wasn’t a Christian. Vyckie did. Women are not actually interchangeable.

  • Killing the unborn is ‘life for life’.

  • They seemed to interchange on this thread, at least. First I’m talking with one, then the other…

  • Vaughn, the text is Exo 21:22-24. “Fruit departing” specifically did not get life for life, but the life of THE EXPECTANT MOTHER merited life for life. Really, Vaughn, learn to actually read the Bible before teaching it to anyone. Your take on “men should marry if they cannot sexually control themselves, without considering all the other things too that the Bible say should be done with sin (including marrying in the Lord, so a Christian woman should not marry a man with no evidence of the power of Christ overcoming sin in him) is more evidence that you really learn what Christianity is, before teaching it.