Foreword – ‘Be Fruitful & Multiply’ Review

Foreword – ‘Be Fruitful & Multiply’ Review January 20, 2015

befruitfulNLQ Book Review of Nancy Campbell’s “Be Fruitful & Multiply” by Suzanne Titkemeyer

Originally I was not going to do a chapter of my review on the foreword. But then I took a look at who actually wrote the foreword,  one Doug Phillips of Vision Forum. Vision Forum, that huge Evangelical Christian Quiverfull ministry devoted to making sure women were treated like inferior second class citizens in the kingdom of God, only fit to be walking uterii that could cook, work a vacuum cleaner and homeschool a huge passel of children birthed through quiverfull practices. No minds,no independent thought, no free agency, no freedoms. Only constant service to the Lord (her husband and/or father).

Doug Phillips is something of a pariah in fundamentalist and evangelical circles now, ever since it came out he’d been sexually harassing a young woman by the name of Lourdes Torres over the course of some years while she took care of his children.She is suing him right now and right before the lawsuit happened Phillips gutted and closed Vision Forum before disappearing from public view. His liquidating everything seems like some sort of dickish move to prevent Ms. Torres from receiving one penny from him or the ministry. Reality television’s most visible Quiverfull families the Duggars and the Jeubs were big supporters of Doug and the entire Vision Forum  extreme submission of women theology.

So here we have a foreword, written by a guy that wants all women to be under the extremely controlling headship of men who act like they think they are God before he’s outed as a sexual offender. What does it focus on? The penis, of course, in coded Christian language, the reproduction of children via the magic of some guy’s penis is how all of this boils down in my mind. Oh, and that all sexual gratification without the possibility of conception is sinful.

He starts with this scripture:

Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy see possess the gate…

Can you imagine attending a wedding where families and friends offered the above blessing to a new bride? Yet these words of encouragement once offered to Rebekah on the advent of her marriage to Isaac (Genesis 24:60), beautifully communicate the heart of God’s command to Christian husbands and wives that they be exceedingly fruitful and raise children who will influence all of culture and society for the Glory of God.

Yeah, since that has worked out so well for Doug in a personal sense. Where is the Glory of God in his mess?

The Bible begins with a mandate for conception. The first great commission given to man was to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ This commission to bring forth many children for the glory of God and through them to subdue the earth was first given to Adam and Eve and their progeny, and was later renewed to Noah in the days following the Great Flood, and remains our standard for today-a fact that is clear from the affirmation by the Lord Jesus of the Genesis marriage mandate upon which the fruitfulness and dominion commission rests (Matthew 19:4 – 6).

Let’s look at Matthew 19:4 – 6 and see what it actually says – 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

No where in that scripture does it mandate shooting out babies like candy pieces out of a Pez dispenser.

It also doesn’t advocate the things guys like Phillips and Vaughn Ohlman like to claim, that the father is in control even of grown children who have married and moved off the family property. It reads like once you marry you’re an equal part of a pairing without having to answer to your parents.

He goes on to claim that economic circumstance is not a good reason to limit the number of children you will have because there is no example of poor couples in the Bible limiting the number of children they had. God will provide. I’m betting if you were to ask him about those in the poorer areas of America having many children while living on the social safety net his answer would be entirely different.

In contrast with our modern society which promotes barrenness, population control, and abortion, the Bible consistently associates the inability to conceive with sorrow, a decrease in a nation’s population with judgment, and the careless and harmful treatment of babies with paganism and witchcraft.

Victim blaming those that are infertile is just so loving, isn’t it? This is just more evangelical mind control tricks and fear mongering to keep their masses trembling and conceiving without any real data to back it up. Infertility isn’t judgment.

I don’t know how witches, warlocks and pagans treat their babies but I’m not seeing any news stories on them physically disciplining their children to death, like we see in the world of Fundigelicalism. The few stories that end up in the news about child sacrifice have nothing to do with paganism.

In Romans 1, we learn that God is not pleased when people do that which is ‘against nature’ with their bodies for the purpose of sexual gratification. The common denominator in all acts of perversion is that they go against the natural design of God for our bodies, they separate life from biblical love, and they attack the procreative goals of the institution of marriage.

He’s really tiptoeing around what he means to say here but doesn’t because it might make Nancy’s readers clutch their pearls and reach for the smelling salts at the very thought of oral sex, anal sex and masturbation, all sexual activities that go against conception that many people do because they find that this acts can be so darn much fun. Say it after me, Doug, oral, anal, masturbation. See, it’s not so scary now, is it?

How does that jibe with what he supposedly did around Lourdes Torres?

He goes on to bemoan that a big part of the problem is that Christians on a whole are not embracing the idea of quiverful whole-heartedly, that they are using birth control and abortions and surgeries to keep babies out of the world.

We are the problem. And judgment must begin with us. As long as we continue to abort our babies, or cut off our seed, or abandon our children to the world. we can never expect blessing and joy within our households, let alone our culture. As long as we view children as a burden, we will not experience the victory of multi-generational faithfulness. Judgment begins first in the House of God. That means us.

A couple of things. First, how does limiting the number of children you have so that you can given each proper care, and the best life possible translate into viewing children as a burden. It seems to me that this is the exact opposite, in fact a case of putting the needs of the children first.

My own mother grew up in a Catholic Quiverfull household and to this day (she’s 74) she speaks of feeling like she didn’t receive enough one on one time and love from her mother because of the large number of children in the family. She’s told me many times of the sacrifices and just plain old doing without that happened in the confines of her childhood. My grandmother died in childbirth during my own childhood, leaving a large family of living children with no mother to take care of them and leaving a pile of dead babies whose births eventually led to her own death.  I’m still trying to figure out from the years of family fallout caused by her death how the ‘Glory of God’ was manifested because I’m sure not seeing anything more than my many aunts and uncles dealing with emotional problems caused by the death of their beloved mother from a preventable medical condition. Phillips makes no allowance for those this system turns into literal maternal martyrs.

Second, this type of evangelical fear mongering that says if we don’t do a) some action that b) there’ll be no blessing from God, seems to be standard operating procedure now in the church. It’s extra-Biblical, many times nowhere in the scriptures does it say you’ll not be blessed if you don’t do a certain thing. It’s the type of mind control practiced by cults.

Plus, if being a mother of so many is so glorifying to God then where the heck are all those African adoptees that Nancy took on and later abandoned without any explanation? I’m sure the answer isn’t in this book.

Next time: Nancy explaining what she thinks marriage is supposed to be about instead of love and wanting to be with that other person the rest of your life.

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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

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

 

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