Is An Economic Downturn A Good Reason to Stop Having Kids? – Voddie Baucham Ministries

June 12, 2009

I found this blog post on Voddie Baucham’s website and thought that it would be interesting to share.  I would also encourage you to visit Voddies website at  http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/home.htmlVoddie Baucham Ministries

Thursday, June 11, 2009 The news has not been encouraging lately. Between job losses, bankruptcies, and government takeovers, it is hard to be optimistic about the future from a financial standpoint. Even China appears more capitalistic than America these days (see here). As a result, many Americans are making very hard choices. There are even commercials on television depicting families sitting around the dinner table talking about difficult decisions they must make and dreams they must defer. My family and I have had similar discussions as I have had a few events cancelled on account of “the economy”. Things are indeed tough.

One of the overlooked consequences of the current economic downturn is the increasing number of people who have decided to forego having children. All over the western world people are deciding that now is not the time to get pregnant. As a result, the vasectomy industry is experiencing an economic boom. As evidence of this, there was a recent article in Bio-Medicine titled, “With the Economy Down, Vasectomy Rates Are Up.” The author notes that, “Doctors around the United States are reporting a sharp increase in the number of vasectomies performed since the economy soured last year.”

The numbers are actually quite astonishing. One article reported more than a thirty percent increase in vasectomy rates in Canada.Things are even worse in some parts of the United States. The Bio-Medicine article reports: Since November, Dr. Marc Goldstein, surgeon-in-chief of male reproductive medicine and surgery at the Cornell Institute for Reproductive Medicine in New York City, said his practice has seen about 48 percent more vasectomy consultations compared to the same time the previous year.

large familyThis is especially discouraging news in light of the already astonishingly low birthrates in the industrialized world.  Russia, for example, is expected to see their population cut in half (from 140 Million to 70 Million) between 2005 and 2050. As Michael Specter of the New York Times put it, “Driven largely by prosperity and freedom, millions of women — here and throughout the developed world — are having fewer children than ever before. They stay in school longer, put more emphasis on work and marry later. As a result, birth rates in many countries are now in a rapid, sustained decline. Never before — except in times of plague, war and deep economic depression — have birth rates fallen so low, for so long.” And that was 1998! Things have gotten progressively worse since then.

Many European countries have already reached the “point of no return,” and are in danger of becoming Islamic Republics. Unfortunately, most people view having children as a purely financial endeavor. This attitude was summed up well by Dr. Harry Fisch, a professor of clinical urology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City, who said:

“The issue about kids is often a financial one, and, if finances are low, it makes sense that people would be less likely to have more kids. And if they’re thinking about it, this is the time.”

Interestingly, things have been good (from a financial perspective) over the past few decades, but birthrates were still in decline. Thus, the current problem is not one of healthy birthrates becoming unhealthy in light of the economic downturn. Instead, greedy materialistic people who already saw children as a burden when they were ‘filthy rich” (which includes Americans at the “poverty line” if you look at things from a global perspective) are now in a panic because they are slightly less rich.

But what does the Bible have to say on the subject? Is an economic downturn, or a set of difficult circumstances a good enough reason to stop having children? I do not believe that an economic downturn is a sufficient reason to prevent pregnancy.bible

I base my argument on four key factors. First, children are a blessing. The Bible is clear on this issue: “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” (Psalms 127:3-5 ESV) I love the ESV translation of this passage. Here we see an important nuance in the Hebrew text. It is not the man whose quiver is filled that is blessed, but the man “who fills his quiver.” In other words, we should seek children. We should desire them.

Second, we are commanded to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen 1:28; 8:17; 9:1, 7; 35:11; Jer 23:3) One of the principle purposes of marriage is procreation. Of course, this goes beyond merely having children to actually bringing them up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4) in an effort to spread the image of God (and the gospel) throughout the earth. As such, it is unthinkable for Christians to attempt to enjoy the benefits of marriage and avoid the responsibility of having and raising children to the glory of God. R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY said it better than most when he wrote:

Christians must recognize that… rebellion against parenthood represents nothing less than an absolute revolt against God’s design. The Scripture points to barrenness as a great curse and children as a divine gift… Morally speaking, the epidemic in this regard has nothing to do with those married couples who desire children but are for any reason unable to have them, but instead in those who are fully capable of having children but reject this intrusion in their lifestyle.

Third, any decision to avoid pregnancy has to be based on biblical reasons, and a struggling economy is not one of them. While I do not believe that there are many instances where preventing pregnancy would be “biblical”, I do believe that there are some instances where one could make a strong biblical argument for doing so. For example, if a man’s wife breaks her pelvis in an automobile accident, I believe he would be quite wise in holding off any plans for a baby. I know there are some who have argued that it is “never biblical” to prevent pregnancy. Baby in womb

However, I disagree.As a pastor, I would advise a man in the aforementioned situation not to impregnate his wife, and I would base that advice on Peter’s admonition to “live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7 ESV). I believe this goes directly to a man’s role as protector in the home. However, that is a far cry from the, “Things are really bad now” line of reasoning. Anyone wondering if the Bible gives any hint as to whether or not God would advise his people to continue having children in the midst of bad economic, or political times need only look at Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles in Babylon. In the midst of conditions that make ours look like a day at the park, the Lord spoke through his prophet: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” (Jeremiah 29:4-6 ESV) I thank God that my ancestors who were slaves (by the way, that’s worse than an economic downturn) bore children in spite of their difficulties. Had they adopted today’s mindset, there would be no descendants of slaves alive in America today. We would all have been “prevented” in the name of “prudence”.

Fourth, if one has biblical reasons to avoid pregnancy (and this is almost never the case), the next step would be to employ biblical means in doing so. If a couple finds themselves in a situation where avoiding pregnancy becomes necessary, there are other issues to take into consideration. For example, birth control shots, I.U.D.’s, morning after pills, and many birth control pills, are actually abortifacients (they have the potential to cause early abortions when they fail at preventing pregnancy). As such, they should be avoided. Also, bodily mutilation (vasectomy, tubal ligation, etc.) is a serious and morally questionable alternative (1 Cor. 6:19). That leaves barrier methods (though this raises questions of “spilling the seed,” i.e., Gen. 38), and abstinence (which carries with it a whole other set of difficulties; 1 Cor. 7:1-5). In other words, such decisions are far from “cut-and-dry” for those attempting to think and act biblically in this area.

We must search the Scriptures (I also recommend resources like Andreas Kostenberger’s book, God, Marriage and Family).  Unfortunately, most Christians never give such issues much thought. Very often we assume that since the practice of preventing pregnancy is so common, it must be biblical, prudent, and ethical. Moreover, most “Christian counselors” actually advise believers to prevent pregnancy in virtually any instance.

little married coupleFor example, if they 1) are newly married, 2) already have two or three children, 3) have experienced “difficult pregnancies,” 4) had one or more deliveries via c-section, or 5) are in the midst of an economic “crisis” (i.e., can only afford one new car and a 2,000 sq. ft. house). If you don’t believe me, start listening to call-in “counseling” shows. I know this firsthand. Regrettably, my wife and I fell victim to such “counseling” after our second child was born.

Suddenly, we had our girl and our boy (the perfect LITTLE family), and the all-too-common excuse of “difficult pregnancies,” (coupled with a Caesarian delivery) so it was time to shut it down. We hired a doctor to take his scalpel and suture, and tell God we no longer needed, wanted, or trusted him in that area of our lives. I talk about this dark episode in Family Driven Faith.

I believe the burden of proof is on those who wish to prevent pregnancy. Search the Scriptures to see if these things are true. We mustn’t simply assume that the old clichés are true. I know we’ve always heard that the responsible thing to do is prevent pregnancy until you are “ready” financially (and there are no complications, or sickness, or dreaded warnings from physicians), but what does the Bible say? And who’s ever “ready” for a baby? Moreover, who knows what the financial scene will look like nine months from now? There’s another issue at play here. Many people who prevent pregnancy today and plan on just “getting back around to it” some other time are in danger of, “tempting the Lord their God.” (Matt 4:7; cf. Deut. 6:16)! pregnant couple

Getting pregnant is not a guarantee. There are plenty of people out there who cry themselves to sleep at night because they’ve been trying for years and God has not opened the womb. People who put pregnancy off until a “more appropriate time” need to bear this in mind. You don’t know when (or if) you will get pregnant. As such, it is quite presumptuous to put it off until you decide you’re ready.

Remember, God is the author of life, and every child is a blessing. Besides, who’s going to fix our ethical, spiritual, economic, and political crisis in the next generation if those of us who know the answer (the gospel) shut it down and stop launching arrows simply because they may require a little financial sacrifice in the short run? VB For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in TRUTH -3 John 3,4 ESV


U.S. Already Bankrupt

March 23, 2009

The stock market has shown 2 consecutive weeks of gains.  Are we beginning to see the greatly anticipated bottom of the market, or is this just the Federal Reserve and the government artificially inflating our economy again?  Unfortunately most of the “pro’s” think that we are still in deep water.   I found the following headlines on CBNC.com stock-market-roller-coaster2

  • US is Already ‘Bankrupt’ Technically

The U.S. is already “bankrupt” because it has a debt that is almost four times the size of its economy, says Puru Saxena, CEO of Puru Saxena Wealth Management. He tells CNBC that the U.S. is at risk of hyperinflation.

  • federal_reserve_board_of_governors1Fed to Buy Treasurys is Not a Good Sign

Stephen Roach, chairman for Asia at Morgan Stanley does not view the Fed’s plan to buy $300 billion worth of long-dated government debt as a constructive sign for prospects going forward.

  • Fed’s Move Unlikely to Help Economy

The Fed pumping money into Treasurys won’t help, says Martin Weiss, president of Weiss Research. He also discusses what can be done to turn the US economy around.

  • The US Stuck in Zero-Rate Mode?

America is arrogant to deny their similarity to Japan’s economy, says Stephen Roach, chairman for Asia at Morgan Stanley. He tells CNBC that the US economy is in a “zero-interest rate” mode, like Japan.

  • Quantitative Easing & the Fed’s Balance Sheet

Thomas Lam, vice president and senior treasury economist at UOB, says the Fed’s latest moves such as to buy long-dated Treasurys will stretch its balance sheet and pump more liquidity into economy.

  • The Fed’s Recent Moves are Right

“This decision to purchase long-term assets, mortgages, long-term treasury securities, is the right thing to do. The Fed would clearly rather err on the side of inflation rather then depression,” said Dennis Gartman from the Gartman Letter. He also touches on the housing market in the US as well as the TALF.

  • Tackling US Economy

Housing problems need to be tackled before the U.S. economy can pick up, according to Adam Carr, senior economist at ICAP.

  • 2010: ‘Real Peak of the Crisis’

“We are going to see real problems in 2010 when the Fed and all the other governments which issued stimulus packages are going to try to reabsorb some of that liquidity,” Nicu Harajchi, CEO & Founder of N1 Asset Management, said Thursday. He considers whether the Fed’s latest move will work.

  • Fed’s Actions Bode Well for Asia china_worker1

The Fed’s bold moves to support the U.S. economy is good news for Asia, believes Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor at MasterCard Worldwide.

  • Redirecting China’s Foreign Investments

China is unlikely to unload their dollar-denominated reserve as such a move will only hurt themselves at this point, says Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor at MasterCard Worldwide. He tells CNBC how its foreign investment strategy may change.

  • China Needs Internal Demand

China needs to change its structure to an internal demand driven economy, says Stephen Roach, chairman for Asia at Morgan Stanley. He tells CNBC that China is hugely dependent on external demand as a major source of economic growth.

  • ECB in “Splendid Isolation”

The ECB should be out there pumping money into the system, says Paul Donovan, MD & head of global economics at UBS. He tells CNBC that the central bank is sitting in “splendid isolation”.

  • More Pain Ahead for Europe

There is no cause for optimism in the medium term, despite the better-than-expected data from the ZEW survey, says Par Magnusson, senior analyst at Danske Bank.

  • UK Due for Inflation Spike?

inflation1The UK economy is facing higher inflation down the road, Andy Hartwill from Quasar told CNBC, as Britain posted its highest ever budget deficit Thursday.

  • Deflation Will Hit Mid-Year

Deflation is a near-term risk that may hit global economies in the middle of the year, warns Paul Donovan, MD & head of global economics at UBS.

  • Preventing Runaway Inflation

When liquidity floodgates open, global central banks will have to sterilize very aggressively and in time to prevent runaway inflation.

Source:     http://www.cnbc.com/id/29769858


Does Bernie Madoff Deserve Hell?

March 17, 2009

He has become the embodiment of all that is evil.  His image has become the latest “2 minute hate” for all who are loosing money in the stock market.  He is Bernard Madoff.bernard-madoff

There is no doubt about it, Bernie Madoff is guilty, he admits it, and he deserves to go to prison.  He knew what he was doing was wrong and he did it anyway.  He lied to his clients, his family, his friends, and to those who loved him and to those whom he loved.  He’s a liar and a cheat.  He’s a sinner and deserves to go to hell.

With all of that said, please allow me to point out some lessons that we can all take from the Madoff scandal and some, antithetical view points.

The Big Fish Story

This scandal is the atypical story of how a little white lie can grow into a white whale.  I’m sure that when he was in college preparing for his career that he didn’t set out to lie, steal, and cheat his way to riches, and then to prison.  It probably started out as a “one time thing” to earn a little extra money, “just this one time.”  He got away with it once, no one got hurt, and thus he knew how to get away with it time and time again.  Before he knew what happened he had a raging river of deceit on his hands that he could not turn back.

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick

Not only was he getting away with it, but he was being richly rewarded for it as well.  He became the investment guru for many stars and they loved him as they thought they were making them money “hand over fist.”  The pressure that he was under must have been great.  In retrospect it is a wonder that he didn’t die from a heart attack before he was caught.

This is what he said in court, “When I began the Ponzi scheme I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from the scheme, however, this proved difficult and ultimately impossible…As the years went by, I realized that my arrest and this day would inevitably come.  I am painfully aware that I have deeply hurt many, many people, including the members of my family, my closest friends, business associates and thousands of clients who gave me their money…I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for what I have done.”

You see that is how Satan works.  He gets you to accept little compromises along the way and before you know it you have compromised everything that you once stood for and believed in.

In Luke 12:3: Jesus says, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in the darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

Is anyone else responsible?

As I have been following this story I have not heard anyone name any other responsible parties.  I would like to take the time now and name some other parties that are also responsible for Madoff’s clients loosing their money.

1.         Madoff’s Clients

Aren’t adult people responsible for their own money?  Shouldn’t  they bare some responsibility in knowing where their money was invested and to get some type of proof?  From what I have read, Bernie would at times hand write an amount on a piece of paper and the clients would accept what he wrote as the gospel.  Now that’s faith!  I have also read that some of the clients have said that they have lost everything, their entire life savings.  Have they never heard that you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket?  Lets be honest, they were greedy.  They thought that they had an inside to making big returns on their money because of their stature in their community.  Yes they were victims, but they allowed themselves to be victimized.

2. The Governmentsocial_security

Social Security is a very large Ponzi scheme, nothing more or less.  He probably justified his actions in his own mind by looking at the social security.

3. Wall Street

Investing in the stock market is risky.  You can loose all of your money.  Everyone knows this, yet most people continue to invest their money into the stock market.  When you knowingly put your money into a vehicle where you can loose it all, this is called gambling.  We can give it proper sounding names like mutual fund, but no mater how you slice it, it is gambling. Wall Street facilitates this type of gambling.  It is driven by fear and greed.  The same emotional states of mind that drive the casinos in Las Vegas

Bernard Madoff is a criminal and will probably spend the rest of his life in jail, and deservingly so.  He sinned against his family, his friends, and against God.  You know, when I think about it, so have I, and so have you.  We have all sinned against our family, friends and against God.  We all deserve to go to hell.

“For we have all sinned, and come sort of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

Salvation and forgiveness is available to us all through Jesus Christ, even to public enemy number one, Bernard Madoff.