Are Christian couples biblically mandated to have children? John Piper answers

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Theologian John Piper believes Christian couples are biblically called to have children unless God “makes it crystal clear that the self-denying path of Christ-exalting obedience is childlessness.”

In an episode of the podcast “Ask Pastor John,” a listener asked the 74-year-old founder of DesiringGod.org, “Is it permissible for an ordinary Christian couple to simply choose to not have children?”

In response, the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota first argued that there’s “no such thing” as “simply” choosing to have children. 

“There are always realities, in our hearts and in our minds and in our experiences, that shape our so-called ‘simply choosing,’” he explained. “We are not ‘simply choosing.’ We are choosing because of who we are, because of deep realities that have shaped our hearts, our preferences, our desires, our wants, our inclinations.”

Piper then offered five observations that he said “may reveal some of the hidden things of the heart.”

He stressed, first and foremost, that Scripture defines children as a “blessing.” 

“[Children ] are a gift; children are a blessing. When they are withheld, it is a heartache — sometimes even a judgment,” Piper said. “What a sadness when many modern women, shortsightedly I think, choose to forgo that blessing, while millions would…

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