But there’s more. You see, sex not only brings a bit of God’s joy to married men and women, it brings babies. And babies have souls. You see, a very human action creates one more soul with the potential to spend eternity in heaven. Sex thus is especially sacramental — and therefore is an act of worship (except when performed in rebellion to God’s design).
In fact, other than evangelism, nothing has a greater impact on God’s creation than the making of new souls — especially when Christian couples bring children into a home already filled with God’s Spirit. What greater gift could anyone give back to God?
Ironic, isn’t it, that one of the most basic human instincts can be redeemed by the gospel into becoming one of the highest acts of worship.
Therefore, we really need to encourage our married members to have children. I’m not going to go so far as to say this is a command. It’s not a sin to remain childless — but doing so deprives God and the world of a generation of Christians raised in Godly households, with strong nuclear families and with great parenting skills. That’s something to think about — and to preach about.
Now, many couples try to have children and fail. And others are poor candidates for parentage because of genetic issues and such. Sometimes there are some very good reasons not to have children. But God and his church desperately need our members to have children — and lots of them.
And God needs those who can’t bear children to adopt. We need to grab up all the kids we can and bring them to Jesus through Christian families. (Of course, many couples desperately try to adopt and yet are unable to find an available child.)
And, like I said, there are good reasons not to have children — but selfishness and materialism don’t make the list. The fear of responsibility isn’t a good one either. Nor is a lack of faith. It takes tremendous faith to ask God to entrust several little souls to your care — but faith is the essence of who we are supposed to be.
Two summers ago, I read The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out without Selling Out, a fascinating book by Mark Driscoll, who founded the Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I tried to write a review for the blog, but it’s a book that defies summary.
Mars Hill has grown dramatically by reaching out to the very secular, very un-churched Seattle community in unconventional ways. Driscoll has to face some problems that we Southerners don’t — at least not to the same extent. But those problems are coming this way.
Near the end of the book, beginning on page 184, Driscoll writes about the problem with “men in our kingdom culture.” He writes,
In Seattle, the young men are, generally, pathetic. They are unlikely to go to church, get married, have children, or do much of anything that smacks of being responsible. … If there is any hope for a kingdom culture to be built in Seattle, getting the young men to undergo a complete cranial-rectal extraction is priority number one.
While the rest of the organizations in the city are busy trying to clean up the messes made by these young men, including unwed mothers, fatherless children, and crime, we focus our efforts on converting them and training them in what it means to be a godly man. So far our training on everything from how to study the Bible, get a job, invest money, buy a home, court a woman, brew beer, have good sex, and be a pastor-dad to their children has been very successful for hundreds of young men. We now have unmarried men buying homes in faith God will give them a wife, and we have childless college men starting college funds in faith that one day God will have them a wife and children. …
In our kingdom culture, children are welcomed as a blessing from God because they will ensure that reformission continues well into the future. We value children not simply because they are cute or teach us life lessons but also because a reformission legacy matters. We believe that we should multiply and have lots of children, and then cultivate those children to live fruitful lives that include one day having lots of children who live fruitful lives.
Read the book. If you don’t think Seattle’s problems are coming, well, you’re right. They’re already here — just not as severely. You’d may as well get started.
You see, Driscoll presents a fresh approach to the gospel shaped by living in a city where very few are practicing Christians. Therefore, for him it’s easier to distinguish the world from the church. And having children — or not having children — solely for selfish reasons is worldly thinking. Planning your family self-sacrificially, rooted in the gospel and love for God’s work through the church, is Christian thinking.
We in the Southern churches have so incorporated worldly thinking into our lives that we think the decision of whether to have children or how many children to have is purely private and of no concern to Jesus or his church.
But sex between a Christian husband and a Christian wife is worship of God — it’s receiving a blessing from God. And bearing children is worship of God times a thousand. It’s human action that calls on God to make an everlasting soul to send to your care. And where would we want new souls to be if not in Christian families?
It’s a fact that as societies become more affluent, even though they can better afford children, they have fewer children. Europe is not producing children fast enough to replace the Europeans who are dying. Parts of America are in this sad state as well.
Why would wealth lead to fewer children? Well, it’s just plain old materialism and self-indulgence, isn’t it? We want the same stuff as the couple next door — and kids are expensive. And as more couples choose to buy beach houses and ski trips instead of school books and Legos, other couples follow suit.
Well, Driscoll has it right. We need to fill our churches with kids — and train our young couples on parenting and marriage and finances. And encourage sacraments in the bedroom. And for those who can’t have children, well, it’s no sin, but they need to roll up their sleeves and be heavily involved in ministry some other way. It’s all worship, you know.