Little-Known Facts about the Christian Reformed Church

I am in a little bit of shock. On my bouncing through the internet, I came upon a message board post by a CRC member who holds to the “full quiver” (holding to the idea that “God should plan our families”) ideology. She stated that our church policy is officially against the use of birth control. Knowing that that couldn’t possibly be true (no way!), I decided to check the CRCNA site –here’s what I found.

She was right. The CRC came out with a statement in 1936 (the article points out that it was in a period of “birthrate decline” –I don’t know what they were trying to point out by saying that; if they meant it that we’re not currently in a birthrate decline, their argument fails miserably …but I digress) that hasn’t since been reversed, although it was challenged in 1971.

In 1936 the CRC spoke out against birth control, stating that married people should follow the biblical mandate to be fruitful and multiply and therefore produce as many children as is compatible with the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of the mother and the children. No subsequent synodical decision has changed this official position. [emphasis mine]

Kinda makes one wonder what else the CRC officially holds to, now, doesn’t it?  Well, it does leave the disclaimer I italicized. That right there would disqualify the CRC as being officially “full quiver” minded, as I understand it, but a whole lot closer to the ideal I see from the Catholics I’ve known over the years. File that in the “things that make you go hmmm…”.

Maybe I’m just remembering incorrectly, but I don’t remember seeing large families as a good thing, or, for that matter, seeing kids presented as much more than an inconvenience in my growing-up years. The idea that God works through families, and that kids are a blessing was a new one to me. I don’t think my heart really changed about that until we went through our course through CCL. Sure, I wanted to have kids someday, I just didn’t really think about why. Our CCL course was the first place I saw the family (even the large family) presented as one of the primary ways God works through people. Sad, but that’s what I remember. Since then, I’ve known several more families (large and small) that have lived out this ideal to be a portrait of Christ and the Church. I just don’t remember feeling all that valuable or important as a child. Value and importance came with adulthood. Childhood was a necessary evil. Did I get that idea of myself, or was I listening to the wrong people? I don’t know. I do know, however, that the spine-chilling terror I used to have about having another kid is pretty much gone now (no, that’s not an announcement), and I’m having a much easier time loving my kids for who they are and not for who I hope they’ll be someday. I’m not counting the days until they’re gone. It grieves me when young parents do nothing but complain about the kids they only see in the evenings and weekends. It bothers me when stay-at-home moms feel they have to constantly assert how much of a sacrifice their lives are. Actually, I’ve been missing Elanor, who’s been gone all day this year, and I’m looking forward to summer. I even refused to put Amaryah in the optional Friday preschool class –and it wasn’t all for financial reasons. Yes, I do dream occasionally about what life will be like with all of them in school. It just came to me that I’d miss having that extra morning with her here. She’ll be gone soon enough. Well, enough rambling for now. I was just really surprised that the CRC was of that position –then again, we used to joke about “evangelism by childbirth” in college. Maybe there’s something to that, after all.