The MSM has been checking out the Quiverfull movement a bit, and I always get a kick out of Upper West Siders trying to get their minds around the existence of such insane people. Moreover, I find it a relief to be Lutheran. The quotations hereinafter are from yesterday's NPR story.
"We just started thinking, 'God is sovereign over life and death. God opens and closes the womb,' " Kelly says.Note the sovereignty talk, denoting Calvinism. Strangely, Kelly gets something a lot of Lutherans don't. She says God is sovereign, yet stops using contraception, not falling prey to the argument I cringe to hear from otherwise intelligent Lutherans so often: if God wants you to have a baby, you'll get pregnant whether you're on birth control or not! Cringe! Cringe! Cringe!
Anyway, the Quiverfull movement is all about law and human effort:
Misty says she'll have as many children as possible.The difference between Misty and a Concordian Sister is that we aren't out to have as many children as possible. We'll take what we're given and do our best to be thankful, whether we've got more than we think we can handle or we never have need of that minivan we picked out.
Some commenters in these parts have had personal interaction with bona fide Quiverfillers, and I've been amazed at the "race against time" mentality our separated sistern seem to have, even to the point of weaning early so as to get pregnant again. This is motivated by more Calvinism, the desire for the kingdom of God to come temporally on earth:
"The womb is such a powerful weapon; it's a weapon against the enemy," Campbell says . . ."My greatest impact is through my children. The more children I have, the more ability I have to impact the world for God."If the Quiverfillers have their way, the NPR report goes on, San Francisco will become Calvin's Geneva. I wouldn't want to live in either of those places, thanks.
[Click here for really hilarious image owned by someone else of what appears to be a Quiverfull baby obliging its pregnancy pursuant mother.]
For Lutherans, being fruitful and multiplying is certainly evangelical, but that is because Christian life is by definition evangelical. We baptize our babies and raise them in the Church, and that is [part of] evangelism. Evangelism for us is not political, authoritarian, or militaristic. It happens over the course of our normal lives that the Gospel is confessed to all people with whom we interact, because the Gospel has changed us in noticeable ways. For example, we go to church, don't shack up, and have a lot of kids. Those things are evangelical. Evangelism is not pragmatic in Lutheran theology (current Synodical confusion notwithstanding). It is simple obedience to the Word of God, and it occurs naturally (albeit imperfectly) in the lives of the regenerate.
My children are not primarily my work, they are not how I impact the world for God. They are not a tool or a means to an end. They will have an impact of some sort on the world, but that is not their primary value. They are souls for whom Christ died and inherently priceless handiworks of God. Their "impact" is that they exist, that they are eternal creatures bought with the blood of Jesus.
I think their second greatest impact is on their father and me. More than anyone else, we benefit from them because they make our family a truer icon of Christ and his Church. That would be true whether we had one or 20. God uses them to change and discipline us. Through them, he calls us to greater repentance and obedience (whether we respond favorably is up for grabs). They will change no one--besides their own children, DV--more than they have changed us.
Beyond that, hey, if they do something or other in the world, whatever. I certainly hope it won't involve imposing theocratic rule on San Francisco or anywhere else. My prayer for them is just that they cling to the promises God made to them in baptism as they traverse this vale of tears. The Quiverfull vision for taking over the world is plain silly. Big family types like to talk about how they'll outnumber everybody before long. If that were true, it would have happened a long time ago. Not every child of a big family goes on to have a big family. They wither, they are eaten by birds, they are choked out by weeds. Lord, have mercy. Our hope is in Christ, not our sinful children. God's kingdom comes in Christ, not through us.
Incidentally, one plank of the Quiverfull platform I haven't seen mentioned in MSM reports is their opposition to fertility treatments, even simple and non-medical ones such as temperature charting for the purpose of tracking ovulation. Sovereign God didn't create you with a basal thermometer in your mouth, see. While many fertility treatments are immoral (IVF and surrogacy being the most obvious examples), opposing all investigation of personal reproductive function shows a complete misunderstanding of the First Article, natural law, whathaveyou. This is more fundamentalist than Calvinist, but either way, it ain't us, and it is abusive of God's Word and people.
So that's my take on Quiverfull. I'm sure others have more and deeper thoughts. I wish the Quiverfillers well, but I'm glad to be where I am.