Not Quoting Quiverfull: When Even Conservative Christians Think Quiverfull is Wrong

Not Quoting Quiverfull: When Even Conservative Christians Think Quiverfull is Wrong November 24, 2014

missingmarkby Wade Burleson from Ethics Daily – Missing The Mark: Eight Flaws in Quiverfull Theology

Found this gem through Von Ohlman’s True Love Doesn’t Wait – Eight Leaps of Illogic where he attempts to take down this piece by Burleson. Obviously this is written from a conservative Christian point of view, but it looks like even the more conservative branches of religion are starting to realize what a dangerous theological bend Quiverfull is.

To help others know that there are evangelical, conservative Christians who reject quiverfull theology, I offer the following eight holes in the theological position of quiverfulls from a conservative, evangelical (Calvinistic) Christian point of view.

  1. Quiverfull theology is based on an Old Covenant that also had other precepts, commandments and laws from God that we Christians no longer abide by. The Old Covenant laws were “shadows” or “types” to teach us of Christ, and when Jesus came, He fulfilled and abolished the Old Covenant types. The Old Covenant command was to “go, be fruitful and multiply.” The New Covenant command, under which we live, is “go and make disciples.”
  1. The notion that anyone “prevents” God from naming the number of kids a family has is anti-biblical, anti-logical and anti-God at its core. Contraception no more “prevents” God from creating a baby who “could have cured AIDS” or “been the president of the United States,” etc. than a man shouting at the sun can keep it from shining. God ordains the creation of each human soul, and nobody prevents Him from accomplishing His plans. The sheath of a condom, or the dissolution of a pill, is no more an obstacle to God in the creation of a human being than the lack of matter was an obstacle to God in creating the universe.
  1. Holiness or righteousness is obtained by faith in Christ alone. We are declared perfectly righteous (justified) by a holy God. The woman with faith in Christ who tries her entire life to have one child, and cannot for physical reasons, compared to the woman with faith in Christ who could have multiple children, but does not for contraception reasons, compared to the woman with faith in Christ who does have 20 children because of her quiverfull theology and refusal to use contraception – are all equally holy, equally blessed, equally loved by God and equally honored. To say anything less is a denial of the gospel itself.
  1. There are cities full of children who are abused, abandoned, in need. The Nov. 20, 2009, major motion picture release “The Blind Side” will demonstrate for the country what happens when an evangelical Christian family adopts a needy inner city child. It is as Christ-honoring to be naturally childless and help the needy children in the city as it is to have a dozen of your own naturally born children.
  1. The idea that Christians should have more children because we are losing the “culture” wars and by having more and more kids one day we will “out-populate” the Muslims, the cults and other pagans is to lose absolute sight of the New Testament truth that entrance into the kingdom of God is not based on flesh and blood (or culture, color or creed), but faith in the good news that is proclaimed about the unique Son of God. We do not need an army of Christian children separate from the world; we need an army of Christian witnesses as salt and light in the middle of a decaying and dark world, leading lost children to knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  1. It is true that a woman who marries, stays at home, bears children and nurtures them in the ways of the Lord is to be honored. But it is also true that the woman who marries, but doesn’t stay at home (she works outside the home) and doesn’t have children, is to be honored just as much. Christian honor should be given for who a person is, not what a person does or doesn’t do. We are always cautioned in the New Covenant Scriptures against honoring people based upon the amount of their “blessings” or the “size” of their wealth. We are to honor people because they are people. Period.
  1. We Christians are “pro-life” – that is, we believe in the sacredness and sanctity of every human life. Our “pro-life” arguments, however, ring hollow when we remove our churches from inner city neighborhoods where our presence could help those with poor qualities of life; when we leave our states backlogged with tens of thousands of foster children on the rolls, forcing states to often give multiple foster children to unfit foster parents; and when we do little or nothing for those lives that are trapped in hospitals, prisons and community centers. The blessings of a culture and a community might soar more when God’s people put more money, more focus and more energy in caring for the lives already born than talking about those lives yet to be born.
  1. Quiverfull theology, if followed logically and consistently, leads a husband and a wife to confusion about one’s true and eternal identity in Christ. Confusion about who we are on earth is not good preparation for eternity. There will be no marriage in heaven. There will be no procreation in heaven. It is the individual’s relationship with God that is preeminent, and the notion that a male is to be “the covering” for the female, and the female’s role is to simply procreate the progeny of the male as a helpful subordinate to the male, is to abdicate the New Testament teaching that every believer in Jesus Christ (male or female) is a “priest” unto God. Only when full equality of males and females is comprehended and experienced on earth will we ever have a taste of what human relationships will be like in heaven.


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  • Saraquill

    Not a bad rebuttal against Quiverfull, though it ignore the flagrant idolatry going on with a husband or dad being a stand in for G-d. Rebuttal number 4 also bothers me, as I’ve heard of too many conservative Christian adoptions gone horribly wrong.

  • Mel

    I have many fewer concerns about conservative Christians who adopt through either the state directly or through private organizations that have state licensing because, as annoying as governmental bureaucracy can be, an adoption of a highly special needs child into a family of more than 5 kids who are not biological relatives will be road-blocked.

    Not all conservative Christians are crazy or bad parents. I’ve known several families from a theologically conservative church who have adopted a sibling group or one older hard-to-place child. They had a decent idea of the amount of work that they were facing going into it, knew the parents were either infertile OR on some form of birth control so as to prevent a new infant from coming, and gladly have reached out for help when needed from genuine professionals like licensed therapist or social workers.

  • Saraquill

    The excerpts I read from “The Child Catchers” and other places leave me concerned for the children adopted by crazy or bad parents.

  • Mel

    I agree. I read “The Child Catchers” and that’s what has caused me to start looking into the loop-holes that allow people like the Campbells or Mussers or whatever that family with 34 kids to adopt even though the families would be barred from domestic adoptions.

    There’s a reason these people were adopting abroad; they would have been weeded out of a domestic adoption in about 20 seconds. The people I know who have adopted and are conservative Christians when through the entire home study / foster care licencing process.

    Some of it is that I need to watch my own assumptions. Is it any better for me to assume that a conservative Christian family is adopting for the sole purpose of conversion than when a conservative Christian family assumes liberals adopt to indoctrinate kids in the liberal agenda? The families I know of tried – really hard – to get the families reintegrated with their birth families. Unfortunately, the parents had some pretty severe drug addictions and couldn’t get clean over a 2-3 year period of time. The adopted kids are still in contact with other biological relatives – grandparents, aunts and uncles – who couldn’t take in the kids because of health or age issues. With some luck, the kids will get the next-best outcome to reunion with healthy biological parents – being raised in a stable family, connected to their biological family and able to integrate into both as they move into adulthood.

    IMHO, the standards for international adoptions should be at least equal to domestic adoptions OR (ideally) more stringent since the family at some point will need to deal with the fact that they removed a child from their entire culture.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I think wanting to avoid the state oversight is another motive for adopting internationally rather than from foster care. Social workers might kick at the news that the APs refuse to vaccinate, or object to obviously inadequate homeschooling. I’ve also heard that fear of biological relatives successfully winning custody– or at least visitation– is another deterrent.

    One Rescue Adoption mommyblogger tersely stated that when you adopt from foster care “too many people want a piece of that child”. CPM ideology is that parents OWN “their” children absolutely. Adopting internationally gives you a lot more control over the child– it’s that simple.

  • Nightshade

    Thumbs-up for number 7. You’re not very ”pro-life’ if you only care about that life until it’s born.

  • gimpi1

    These are all valid rebuttals. It’s good to know that the people selling the particular brand of Christianity that is Quiverfull are getting a bit of push-back from their own market-sector.

  • Catherine

    I’m glad to see more mainstream branches of Christianity speaking out against this movement.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I would have liked to see some mention of how wrong it is to have more and more children while expecting your older kids to take care of their siblings because you’re too busy being pregnant and/or with the newest addition to your brood.

  • You and me both. There’s flaws in this rebuttal, but I’m DAMN glad to see it happening. AND I’m even more glad to see that the focus is on the fundamental worth of each and every soul rather than holding to any particular “roles”.

  • Gypsy Rose B

    The flaws don’t actually bother me all that much. Most of them are theological quibbles I’d have anyway. This is a wonderful step forward.

  • ShinyZubat

    “The blessings of a culture and a community might soar more when God’s
    people put more money, more focus and more energy in caring for the
    lives already born than talking about those lives yet to be born.”

    Ah man, can I get that put on a billboard or something?

  • Mermaid Warrior

    The people talked about in that book actively went for international adoptions that were less well-regulated. An in-state adoption has more restrictions, so you’d be less likely to see shitty adoptive parents going through that.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    It’s harder to regulate international adoptions as a whole because each country has its own laws and regulations, or lack thereof. The trend of conservative Christians adopting large numbers of international children often went after countries that weren’t well-regulated. Many of these countries were poor and had a lot of problems, that the government either doesn’t have the will or ability to properly look over the adoptions.

  • Mermaid Warrior

    Concern about biological relatives coming into the picture seems to be a big reason overall why a lot of people do international adoptions. It certainly does complicate matters, though I do question adoptive parents who apparently want the kid all to themselves. I heard on another website, paraphrasing here, that if adoption really is just another legitimate way to build a family, then adoptive parents shouldn’t try to hide aspects of it, like keeping kids from biological relatives that they might want to see.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I think the “wanting the kid all to themselves” is predicted by the drive to mold the child to their specifications– usually to be a True Christian™ of whatever variety they ascribe to, though in the case of CPM/Quiverfull it can go further into specifying adult occupation and hobbies pursued. There’s a wide range of variation among Rescue Adopters.

    Anyway, the more controlling the APs are, the more they want to specify the exact environment “their” kid(s) are raised in. Visitation or communication with their “sinfull” biological parents throws that off.

  • lodrelhai

    Um… Von’s site is True Love Doesn’t Wait. True Love Doesn’t Rape is Calulu’s blog.