What Are Your Thoughts on Christian Men Having a Vasectomy


1: This is an issue that is very personal, between a couple and their Lord..and it appears that alot of people are contemplating one.  I am not trying to persuade you either way, I am not a pastor or a counselor, I am just one Christian dad and I am just giving my two cents 🙂

2: Because there has been a lot of disagreement with this post, and a lot anger and hate-filled emails directed at me personally, I am asking that you please be respectful in your comments or they will be removed and your IP address will be banned from commenting on future posts.  Thank you!  

3: If you have an “anger reaction” while reading this please do not take what I write personally. I am not judging anyone, I am simply trying to stimulate conversation.  

4: In all things we should seek to make Christ central, read this article with that mindset, not a mindset of “this guy is telling me how to run my life.”  I am not trying to tell you how to run your life.  

5: No I am not removing this post – so please stop asking me.


A reader asks me this question. “What are your thoughts on Christian men having a vasectomy?”

Well, it’s better than abortion!  That is my initial reaction, but I am sure that is not what the reader was asking me. 🙂

This is a very touchy subject.  For one, there are some special circumstances to consider. Second we live in a postmodern world and even Christians have fallen prey to the postmodern mentality: “Do what you think is best for you and your family.”  That is a far cry from my answer.  No, that is the answer of our world that says we should do what we think is best, what feels good, what fits with our lifestyles.  Let me just say; what you think is best is not necessarily what is best.

First off, if you simply want a vasectomy so you can cheat on your spouse without fear of an illegitimate child, then that is purely sinful and should not require any further clarification. Likewise, if you want a vasectomy to simply stop having children in your marriage then that is also sinful. You might think this is best…but it is against Gods will for marriage.

I do believe that vasectomy is permissible in some cases.  For instance, I know a man whose wife almost died twice during childbirth.  She was ordered to not have any more children as she would not likely survive another pregnancy.  He had a vasectomy to save his wife…I do not think this is wrong.  At the risk of sounding vulgar, if he did not have a vasectomy, sex for them would be like playing with a loaded gun. Pregnancy would most likely kill his wife, or result in the death of the child through abortion.  So it is better to induce sterilization than to cause death either by abortion or by pregnancy.  In this case it certainly is justified for a Christian man to have a vasectomy.

Is it ok to have a vasectomy if you are having trouble financially?  What if you are already living paycheck to paycheck?  What if you were unemployed?  What if you live in a poverty stricken area and cannot afford to feed your family? Wouldn’t having a child just put added pressure on you, your family and your marriage?   In this instance I have to say that having a vasectomy is sinful. Why?  If you are a Christian you believe that God providentially cares for his covenant people, don’t you?    If we all waited for financial stability not many of us would ever have kids.  To have a vasectomy in this instance is sinful.

What about those who have children and have reached the age of 30-ish and feel that they have “been fruitful” enough?  I certainly believe that this is not a good reason for vasectomy.  Dr. W.G. de Vries proclaims:

“Women with two or at most three children think they have done their share. They let themselves or their husbands be sterilized so that they can “confidently” enjoy the pleasures of sexual life. They are indeed eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of man, rather than for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The kingdom of man.  Is that why you want a vasectomy? If you are considering vasectomy is it because you are lazy?  Is it because you want to have freedom of sex without having children?  So your wife can focus on advancement at work to increase your standard of living? Maybe having more children means that your wife will have to quit her job and your standard of living will decrease dramatically. This says that you do not trust in God’s providential care, it says that you place pleasure and this life above God and the kingdom of heaven.

Vasectomy may in itself not be wrong or right.  The motives and circumstances must be taken into account.   Having a vasectomy is wrong if it is for self-convenience.  With my view of scripture, in only one type of case should vasectomy be permissible for a Christian. For medical reasons; if pregnancy would threaten the life of the mother, or so severely disable her for life that she would not be able to fulfill her duty in the family, there is then a reason for preventing pregnancy. As an alternate to contraceptives and especially abortion…sterilization is the best course of action.  Any other reason, in my mind, is purely sinful.  But of course I encourage you to speak up if you disagree with me, after all I am simply a blogger!

As a reformed Christians I believe in the 5 sola’s of the reformation. One of which is Soli Deo Gloria.  If you read this blog you know how much importance I put on this…the glory of God alone.  Everything I do, every decision I make, I weigh on this question: Does this glorify God? Or will this glorify God?  Or how does this glorify God?  So when I look at men today, having “vasectomy on demand” to simply permit their lavish lifestyles or to sleep in on Saturdays or to have an “easier life,” I know that God is certainly displeased because this does not glorify God.  In fact it does the opposite by refusing to trust in God alone.  In this instance a vasectomy certainly does not glorify God.

So on a personal note…Some people would ask, “What about you?”  You are in your mid 30’s and have 2 kids and your wife works. Is it not time for you to also have one? Shouldn’t you focus on your job and your future? Yes we have endured financial hardship due to mistakes made in our youth.  Yes I like sleep and would not mind financial freedom. But my response to you is that I would give up my job for another child. I would give up my wife’s job for another child. I would give up both jobs., I would give up my tv and my house and my van and this blog and my computer, and I would eat Kraft dinner for another child.  I would give up sleep for another child!  If it is God’s will to bless us with another child… I will rejoice.  I will rejoice in the midst of financial hardship.  I will rejoice in the midst of sleep deprivation.  I will rejoice, because my Lord is good, and in His goodness He has seen fit to bless my family with another child.   You see, I thought Teresa and I were unable to have children for the first 5 years of our marriage, so perhaps I have a different perspective on kids than most people.  Children are a blessing from God and he will providentially provide for my family, and yours.

So I am not entirely sure I answered the question.  But in the end I do believe it all comes down to matter of how we view the sovereign providence of God, and how much trust we place in His promises.

I accept your thoughts and comments! 🙂

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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  1. anon says:

    Thankyou, your post brought tears to my eyes. Children are a blessing from the Lord.

    I often think of the hardships the Israelites suffered under the bondage in Egypt and yet God blessed them with many children as when they left Egypt they were a great nation.

    • Thank you for your response. I Initially did not respond as you were “anonymous” and I sadly had to “defend” myself on other comments. Thank you for your heartfelt response…it truly means a lot to me. May God bless you for your faith and grant you all you need!

  2. Jennifer Campbell says:

    I respect your opinion Ryan, but I have to disagree with you on this one. To say that the only circumstance where a vasectomy is acceptable when the mothers life is threatened is quite narrow minded on the subject in my opinion. What of the mothers or fathers mental health? And I’m not just talking about wanting to sleep in and such. There are some women that get very serious post postpartum depression and having more children would put her and her other children at risk. And then there are some fathers who simply know themselves well enough to know that they could not handle more children. I believe God does not intend for every family to have 15 children. Some mothers and fathers thrive at having very large families, but our Heavenly Father also gives each of us limits, and recognizing those limits are important. A vasectomy is a serious decision and one that requires a lot of prayer, but that being said it is a decision between God and his children on a individual basis. Everyone’s family circumstance and abilities is different and that is to be respected I believe.
    Thanks for the blogs, I do so enjoy reading them:)
    Jennifer C

    • Hi Jennifer, I did not say that the only time a vasectomy is acceptable is when the mothers life is threatened. That was an example I gave. What I said was If pregnancy would threaten the life of the mother, or so severely disable her for life that she would not be able to fulfill her duty in the family, there is then a reason for preventing pregnancy. Disability can be either mental or physical. I hope that will clear up that misinterpretation. And thank you for reading!

      • Jennifer Campbell says:

        What about the mental health of the father?? It does after all take two;). Or what I’d there is already a child in the family that has special needs and the family feels at capacity with their ability to function. We are not all called by the LORD for the same purposes. I believe it is okay to feel content with your family and to decide to stop having children at some point. If the couple feels a peace from the LORD than who is anyone to say they are sinning??

  3. Katherine says:

    Ryan I too have to disagree with you on this point, as a teenager I attended a Ring kring and a minsister in the valley spoke there. He was talking to us about marriage and families and told us that if we are ready to get married we are ready to have a family, that we should be prepared for children. But he also said that God created us in a special way and that He gave us brains, He did not create us as animals such as dogs, cats and rabbits etc……. We are to use the brains God gave us to prayerfully go to Him to make such decisions. Possibly dying is not the only reason couples may prayerfully decide that they may have a quiver full, there are so many circumstances that we do not always know about. We to on that note may not judge anyone as to why the husband O the wife have chosen to stop having children. Like the above response not every family needs to have 15 children, for some families two or three is enough for some it is more. And as I remember the minister saying we are called to care for the children God has given us already, take care of our spouse and take care of ourselves, if we can not do these things because we are to busy having baby after baby that to is sinful.

    • I absolutely agree everything you said Katherine. But again, like I told Jennifer, I did not say possibly dying was the only time to consider a vasectomy. Teresa and I have not had another child in the past 3 years because we believe the timing is not right. We may not intend to have any more kids period…but does that give me the right to intentionally alter my body from the way God created me in order to stop having children? For thousands of years families have stopped having kids without vasectomies. Could we not use alternate forms of contraception?

      • Jennifer Campbell says:

        Ryan, contraception is contraception. How is being on birth control acceptable in your opinion but a vasectomy not? Doesn’t add up to me:)

    • Rob Schouten says:

      Ryan, you do take on some challenging topics here! As usual, you write with clarity and boldness. I hope that believers can talk about these things in a peaceable manner. I also hope that we are truly open to correction by fellow Christians. Personally, I’m not about to leap into the fray here.

      However, below you can find a lengthy citation from an older but still valuable book entitled “Marriage in Honour.” It was written by a wise and compassion Reformed minister from the Netherlands. The entire book is available online at Spindleworks. Here is the link: http://www.spindleworks.com/library/devries/

      And here is the citation. I’m not saying this is the last or even the first word but it gives you some angles for approaching this topic.


      To end all anxiety about having children, one might take the radical step of sterilization. For a man this means that the sperm ducts are cut in a simple operation (vasectomy) that takes little time and brings about no change in virility, sexual desires, and satisfaction. It does make him infertile.

      Until recently this operation was more complicated and lengthier for the woman. But with today’s newest methods, it is completed in ten or fifteen minutes. The procedure consists of melting the Fallopian tubes shut and cutting a little piece out of them. The eggs now end in the abdominal cavity and can no longer be impregnated.

      The motives behind sterilization spring from the same normlessness and lawlessness which lead to widespread birth control. Women with two or at most three children think they have done their share. They let themselves or their husbands be sterilized so that they can “confidently” enjoy the pleasures of sexual life. They are indeed eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of man, rather than for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

      In 1973 more than ten thousand men were sterilized in the Netherlands. In America one out of six (men and women) is sterilized. The stream of requests for sterilization is so overwhelming in the Netherlands that waiting lists continue to grow longer (A. J. Verbrugh).

      This is not hard to understand. The average Dutch woman has her last child when she is twenty-nine. Are you not socially aberrant if you have more than one or two children? Why swallow the pill for 15 or more years with all its possible side effects when the knot can be drastically and literally cut?

      It hardly needs to be said that should his wife die the sterilized man could no longer beget children in another marriage; nor could the sterilized woman ever conceive again. When something irrevocable is done its future consequences cannot be known.

      In only one type of case should sterilization be allowed, and that is for medical reasons. When a uterus must he removed because of a woman’s health, she naturally becomes sterile. The conception of children becomes impossible. Or if pregnancy would so gravely threaten the health of another mother that she would not be able to fulfill her task in the family, there is medical reason for preventing pregnancy. As an alternative to prophylactics, sterilization is a possibility.

      Taking the age and size of the family into consideration, a Christian must decide responsibly before God which operation would injure the marriage relationship the least. Any operation should be performed only because of medical necessity. Even the “best-planned” lives and marriages can be painfully broken by death.

      • Jennifer,
        I love your tenacity. I am trying to get us to think about the means to which take in our family planning. Sterilization is intentionally altering your body from what God designed. That is why it is different from other forms of contraception…

        Hi Rev. Schouten,
        Thanks for the comment. I did actually quote from that book in this article…small world 🙂 I am certainly open to correction after all I am just one Christian dad who works in maintenance what do I know? 🙂 I hope that others are open to it as well. I do not blame for you not wading in on this one. I could not find any substantial articles on the topic from a reformed perspective, so it appears that most people are leery of this topic!

  4. I have to say that i agree with Jennifer. Don’t we all “stop” at some point tho? Wether God in His wisdom doesn’t grant any more or a husband and wife after much prayer and consideration feels that their family is complete and uses other methods to prevent pregnancy…. In my opinion if a couple has prayed much about it and feels no guilt then I see no problem with getting a vasectomy. It is an extremely personal decision, one that takes much prayer!

    • My point is not only to stop having kids…A vasectomy is essentially a permanent altering of a man’s physiology from the way he was created. Is this acceptable? The bible speaks of not cutting or getting tattoo’s…is this not a much more profound altering of a body than that?

  5. Veronica Dehaas says:

    HI Ryan,
    I read this post with a little bit of mixed feelings. I’m not sure where I stand on vasectomies, but you mentioned that if you do it because you don’t have enough money then you just don’t trust God enough. But if we must make other decisions based on what we know, shouldn’t the question of having more children be considered in the same way? As an extreme example, what if you decide to literally spend all of your time in Bible study, that would be ideal right? Except that as a Christian you have to be practical and try to support your family financially and all that. Doesn’t this fall under that same logic? I.E. God will provide what is necessary, but you still have to do your best to be practical about it too. (Which is not to say ‘snip’ once you’ve reached some limit, but more to say be wise about every decision.)
    Re-reading what I just wrote, it sounds a little confusing, but hopefully you can understand it.
    Let me know your thoughts. Like I said, I’m undecided on the topic and this is just my initial reaction.

    • I agree with you Ron, but I think that what most Christians are missing is that there has been a fundamental shift in the “God is creator, ruler king sovereign” paradigm of biblical Christianity to the postmodernist thinking of every man is an island and a god unto himself. We do not like anyone telling us what to do, be it the elders our parents, the bible or anyone…especially a blogger 🙂 So when something like vasectomies comes up, no one will talk about it because it affects no one but you and your family, what we do is not your concern. The overwhelming consensus is that we have been given brains so we can decide when to stop having children and then we can a vasectomy. Is this a bibilcal perspective? I do believe that we are set free in Christ and in that freedom we are free to plan families and to use non abortive contraception…but does that include sterilization? Not so sure about that .

  6. Greg Dehaas says:

    One question I have is why do we have children? My understanding and I may be wrong about this, is that it is to fulfill God’s creational mandate of going forth and multiplying, spreading out on the earth and subduing it. It seems that in this day and age, this mandate has been fulfilled and now we are just waiting for the Lord to return in glory to usher in the new earth. Of course children are a gift from God, but I don’t think that means we should be having as much as humanly possible within this lifetime. Again, perhaps I am wrong and have mis-read or interpreted this, and I would welcome your thoughts and opinions on it. Keep up the good work!

    • I agree Greg….but you did not address the issue of sterilization. 🙂

      • James Kanis says:

        I’m not sure I agree 100% with the creation mandate being fulfilled in our day and age. It’s an ongoing mandate that requires proper stewardship until the Lord returns. Also, the great commission of “making disciples of all nations” includes having children who will take this up when we pass on.

        But, like you said, it’s a different issue.

      • Ok after James comment I re-read your comment Greg and i have to say that I don;t agree with your statement..sorry…in my attempt to answer over 100 comments and emails I obviously misread your comment. The mandate God gave us is certainly is not fulfilled. That statement has no basis. What you have said is that we do not need to have children and we are simply waiting for Christ to return. I will address this with you later…

  7. Rosemary says:

    If a woman’s life will be endangered should she have to go through childbirth shouldn’t she be the one to have a tubal ligation so as to prevent a future pregnancy?

    • Rosemary, In most cases yes that would make more sense, however in the case I mentioned the wife suffered from some sort of blood disorder that made any kind of operation risky…if my friend reads this he can correct me…

      • Helen 't Hart says:

        Sorry to jump into this conversation so late – but I just wanted to add a point. I certainly agree that a vasectomy or a tubal ligation is a huge deal… and should only ever be done with much prayer and thought. Something people may not realise however, is that a tubal ligation brings many issues with it. For the mother who struggles with severe post partum depression to the point that her family or her life is at risk, it would not be wise to have a tubal ligation. I have friends who have experienced severe depression or anxiety post a tubal ligation and there is also literature to support this physical response to this ‘minor’ surgery. It would not be wise for the mother to have to have this procedure done. The father is an equal partner in this marriage, and can for the sake of his wife, the mother of his children, have a vasectomy done. This is not widely known – but can have profound implications.

  8. First off I never said “only” physical reasons…I said “severely disabled,” that includes mental as well as physical or perhaps other reasons.” …Anyway, my point with this article is that far too many people are simply having them because it is convenient – much like abortions. Unlike abortions, however, someone does not lose their life so this is deemed acceptable in our postmodern society. Most of my friends who have had them are around 30, healthy, have 1 -3 kids and have good financial affairs. They simply want to “enjoy” life as they put it. The real reason I wrote this is to simply get us to talk and think about this stuff….which is happening.

  9. doulanic says:

    I have to disagree with you too, Ryan, with all due respect. 🙂 There is much more to this than what you very eloquently write about. It’s pretty difficult to separate the issue of a vasectomy from birth control in general. Based on your arguments, you should be against ALL forms of birth control, including “natural family planning”. Any time we have intercourse as married couples and prevent pregnancy through a) birth control pills, b) condoms, c)withdrawal, d) IUD’s, e) Diaphragms etc etc etc ….we are not trusting in God’s providential care. Right?? And yet, I would wager a guess that the VAST majority of us do indeed practice some type of birth control throughout our married lives. We may avoid sex at a certain time even. Just to avoid a pregnancy. And I would also wager a guess, that most people think this is fine …precisely because of what has been said in other comments already ….because of the brains we’ve been given, – to take some responsibility for the lives we have, for the children we already have etc. Vasectomy takes things perhaps a step further – “permanent” birth control, but someone on birth control pills for 30 years, is in effect also attempting the same thing – yes? Because even a vasectomy is NEVER 100% guaranteed. I’ve known women to get pregnant after vasectomies – whether it’s soon after, or 7-8 years after.

    I’ll be very open. This is something Martin and I struggled with HUGE. My health is fine. His not so much. We love our children, and I loved having babies. But there was more to consider. I dare you to tell me we’re wrong. 🙂

    It is a highly personal decision, and very difficult to paint with black and white strokes. I would encourage caution with this subject! 🙂

    • Nicole, good job! Someone finally caught me in my fallacy. I was wondering who would catch it. With that said I still think that people enter into far too hastily in this day and age.

      • doulanic says:

        I’ve read your replies to others, and more comments as well. First let my express my utter dismay when upon returning to your site this evening, I read your red disclaimer. I’m shocked that you would receive hate filled emails! I sincerely hope that those emails were NOT from fellow brothers or sisters in the Church.

        I wanted to challenge you and others who agreed with you on the issue of sterilization and altering of the body. You linked it with not cutting and tattoos …..perhaps you could do some research and blog about tattoos??? You may find information that will surprise you. 🙂 Anyways ….about the altering of bodies. We do that in other ways. On a small level, we (mostly women) pierce …ears, noses, belly buttons ….and men do to …it’s a reversible alteration….but then again, tubal ligation and vasectomies are reversible these days too. One HUGE topic I’d like to challenge you on is…….drum roll……………CIRCUMCISION. Now THERE’S a PERMANENT (absolutely NO CHANCES of reversal) alteration of the body as God designed it!!! Do ya dare?? 🙂

        • I certainly will writer on that if you want lol! My most recent topic has become the second most read and the most responded to since I started this blog. When I evaluate the comments for all the hot button topics I have written about in light of scripture and in view of the backdrop of the postmodern society we live in I am beginning to see a very disturbing trend. let me ask a question…why is it when I write about prayer, evangelism, having a personal relationship with God, being involved in the church, devotions…only a few read? But when i write about having accountability partners, vasectomies, sexuality, and other things that would infringe on a persons postmodern “right” to privacy and individualism, all the Christians get fired up? I know the answer but…well…anyway… 🙂

      • Jennifer Campbell says:

        I think Ryan why you got such a response today is because people disagreed:). When I read your blog I often agree with what you say and don’t feel as motivated to respond. Perhaps I should give you a “shout out” when I agree as well:).

        • But I can;t keep up lol!!!! Especially with you Jen! Alright enough already! Do you know what Teresa said to me tonight? She read this post and basically said that she had no idea I thought this way about this issue, and we have not discussed it yet…so I guess I am going to have to discuss this in the future lol I told her that she can read my view of it right here…that may have not been the right thing to say 🙂 I never expected this response. I don;t think I am wrong..still I really don;t but I am going to re-evaluate what i said here due to the 100+ responses I have received lol

      • doulanic says:

        I would agree with Jen. Many times I read your blog and it’s well written, and there’s nothing to necessarily agree or disagree with. But “hot button” topics are called that for that reason. They fire people up. If you did a post on the wondrous grace of our Saviour Jesus — it’s not going to “fire” people up for a big motivating “discussion” ….know what I mean? It’s not that people don’t feel passionate about Jesus, faith, prayer, devotions, personal relationships etc …..it’s just that many of your readers likely nod their head and agree. But when you blog about potentially divisive issues – that perhaps in some way should be discussed – then you should expect a heated response. You may not agree, but there are definitely GREY areas that are not black and white in Scripture. For instance, you said in one of your comments that you and Teresa are not having another child right now, because you feel it’s not the right time. Now, just as easily as you believe that a vasectomy is wrong for anything other than a valid medical reason, I could find someone who believes just as strongly that your reason is wrong too ….simply because you are not trusting God to provide for you – you are not trusting God to give you the strength to have another child at this time. But who’s right? Is this not a grey area? A black and white issue is hardly something to discuss ….”murder is wrong”. Yup. Okay. Enough said. Even “adultery is wrong”. Yup. Good. Moving on then …… the whole issue of birth control is a grey area. For all the reasons people have been sharing. It isn’t because of your perception that only 11%/conservative people agree with you! It isn’t that birth control/vasectomies is a post modern issue! It’s because it’s a grey area. And it has to do with motivation of the heart. There are many valid reasons to use birth control and/or a vasectomy or tubal ligation. The Bible does not explicitly command anything in particular about it. It DOES have to do with Christian freedom – because in and of itself, birth control/vasectomies is not forbidden. I’m rambling, and probably not entirely coherent ….it’s 12:34 am after all, but I just felt compelled to respond to your comment.

  10. Shawn says:

    My 2 cents (and 2 cents doesn’t have a lot of value in todays world so don’t expect much).

    Vasectomies for health reasons are legit – God gave us doctors and we don’t have a problem with using them to keep our health in good order.

    Vasectomies to prevent pregnancies (other than for health reasons) – I would disagree with. I say this because there is the option of natural family planning. Yes, it requires abstaining for a few days per month and being wise keeping track of which days those are – but I think that’s a good thing to consider for those who are looking at some form of “birth control” – if we stick to family planning method instead of condoms, birth control, etc it eliminates some of the grey areas that can be involved with pills, condoms, etc. Another benefit of the family planning route is that during our time of abstinence we can devote ourselves to prayer – 1 Cor 7:5 style (perhaps even prayer about our sexuality and how we should use it best to glorify God). I think 1 Cor 7 has some application to this topic because it suggests that not everybody is even meant to get married, let a lone have kids, and so we have to be careful not to overemphasize “be fruitful and multiply”.

    Too many people get vasectomies to go the “easy route” so they don’t have to plan, or think about anything.

    The big thing with “grey” areas is that we do consider how to glorify God in all that we do, and to study up on what scripture has to say about the things we are considering in our life. We really have to consider and pray about what God has to say about sexuality, children, and His will and be open to having our hearts and minds changed to what He desires. Too often we’ve made a decision before we’ve even prayed – we go into it with a bias based on our will and not His.

    • Pennies are going the way of the Dodo so you better ante up to a nickel! 🙂 Shawn This is a well thought out response and I certainly agree. I do agree with your statement that not everyone is called to be married. I would take it a step further, the bible speaks of a man being a eunuch for the kingdom of God, but never a eunuch in a marriage. Sterilization is essentially making oneself a eunuch – but is it or the kingdom of God or of man? Again I am just putting that out there and do not really have an answer. This is probably the most mature and scriptural statement I have heard (aside from Rev. Schoutens quote of course 🙂 )
      “The big thing with “grey” areas is that we do consider how to glorify God in all that we do, and to study up on what scripture has to say about the things we are considering in our life. We really have to consider and pray about what God has to say about sexuality, children, and His will and be open to having our hearts and minds changed to what He desires. Too often we’ve made a decision before we’ve even prayed – we go into it with a bias based on our will and not His.”

      Thank you for your response.

  11. busyquiltmom says:

    Well Ryan, you sure stirred up the pot today didn’t you? 🙂

    Without weighing into the entire thing I’d like to make a comment. There are those who feel very busy, frazzled even with several small children. It sure feels like you have more than you can handle and “mentally” you may feel like you are “done”. I totally get that. Totally. But you may not feel that way in several years.

    Also, there is so much more to this that you can’t even fit into a blog post. Like, why do we have smaller families than we used to? Why are 3 or 4 children a nice family and 5 or more “just crazy”? (That is within the church) Just some more ideas for blog posts. 🙂

    • Yes I did stir the pot. I need some bay leaves and then i will have a tasty soup…Do you have bay leaves? i will certainly entertain any ideas for blog posts. Thanks for your comment Alisa.

  12. Garrett says:

    Ryan, very bold of you to bring up such a personal issue, good on ya! My opinion in regards to family size planning has been changed dramatically in the ten years of my marriage. At first I was along the lines of agreeing with birth control so that we could enjoy each other as husband and wife for at least a year or two before children came. However something changed my mind, i do not recall what, but my wife and i were given a desire for children in our first year. We did not get pregnant for nearly four years. When it happened we were overjoyed, however, the LORD saw fit to take our daughter home to glory at 27 weeks gestation, we never expected that, now 6 years later the LORD has seen fit to bless us with three children at home with us and two more at home with him and one on the way. Our journey has made us realize that He is in control, not me not my wife. I know people on both sides of the birth control/sterilization debate and although you have mainly address sterilization in your post I think the same arguments/discussion points should be applied to birth control.

    I understand that there are instances when it is a life and death situation and then the decision is between the couple and the LORD. I am the youngest in my family for this reason and that decision haunted my mother for nearly 20 years before she was at peace with it, I know it is not an easy choice. So for those facing it, I pray for you that the LORD will grant you understanding, and peace.

    So perhaps we should look at it this way:

    How many blessings would you tell the LORD “no thank you” to? Would you say no to a better marriage, more friends, a strong faith, good health, a bigger house or that acreage you always wanted? Yet the LORD tells us in His words that children are a blessing! Someone once put it this way, “If you worked for a company and after one year your boss comes to you and says ‘John you are getting a promotion and a raise, congratulations!’ you would most likely say ‘Thank you sir I really appreciate this.’ A year or two later the same thing happens, then again a couple of years later, so in 5 or 6 years you have received 3 big promotions and raises, the 8th year the boss comes to you again ‘John, you are going to receive another promotion and another pay raise.’ Would you say ‘No thank you, the three you have given me are enough!’ What do you think your boss would say?” If we would not do that with our earthly employment, why would we do that with our Heavenly one?

    Someone commented earlier about the command to be fruitful and multiply, is that command now not over? No it is not, if Adam and Eve had thought well the Lord is going to send a redeemer, so lets not have any more children after Cain and Able, where would the world be now? In the OT times families were of all sizes, from Abraham and Sarah’s 1 to Jacobs 12, all of them were waiting for the coming of the Redeemer. If we just sit back and wait we will be doing the same mistake that Paul (I think it was Paul) speaks out against in the New Testament. So why do we have children? Is it not to glorify God and to raise the next generation of (the Lord Willing) godly heaven bound citizens. Why do we not let the Lord decide how big or small our family will be and when the family will or will not grow. (sorry question mark button of the fritz)

    Ryan you started this post with this: 2: Because there has been a lot of disagreement with this post, and a lot anger and hate-filled emails directed at me personally, I am asking that you please be respectful in your comments or they will be removed and your IP address will be banned from commenting on future posts. Thank you!
    How sad it is that you had to add this to your post, as Christians we should be able to discuss things like this with love not hatred how the devil enjoys hatred among brothers! May the Lord forgive us this sin and may we be filled with a Spirit of Love. I often wonder if the anger and hate filled response is the fruit of a guilty or unsettled conscience

    God Bless

    • Garrett it is always good to hear from you. You may be the only one here who is more conservative than I am 🙂 That comment is worthy of a blog post on its own! I certainly respect your opinion as it is usually very biblically grounded and overflowing with love for God and your fellow believers. Thanks for your comment

  13. Janneke S says:

    Im still in the ‘young children/frazzled’ stage of life.. it’s beautiful, not always easy… but beautiful. not sure entirely where I stand… also on the birth control issue… but I find birth control in itself incredibly complex… a very fine line between what is playing God, or ruining new life etc. Instictively my gut just says be careful when you imply vasectomy’s are only permissable when the health of the mother is at stake… I find as a wife (and I have the most amazing husband ever I might add) there’s a lot of pressure… we have so many wonderful women and mother’s in our church to look up too that it’s easy to feel frazzled and stressed.. wondering how we’ll live to the standard set by the former mother’s of our church and still have more children. What about how God calls you to be as a mother. I pray daily to be a Godly mother…hypothetically.. if my plate is beyond full and I’m not fullfilling my duties to my children.. I’m negatively reflecting Christ’s love to them so where does birth control play in then? to me then I think a form of birth control should be used before the extreme’s take place.

    this being said I admire your approach as we do need to try tackle the more difficult issues as well, and I can definately see that your reasoning comes with a sincere and Christ filled heart.

    on a side note We’ve been blessed with 2 beautiful children and our second wasn’t exactly in our ‘plan’ but he’s the best page God added to our book. “His ways are better then ours” Can’t imagine life without all the blessings of family and friends that God’s provided.

    Im a babbler to begin with and Im writing this as I just tucked another blessing back to bed.. hope it expresses what I meant to say:)

    • Janneke, I am probably 10 years older than you and I am still in the young children/frazzled stage… 🙂 remember that I am not the final authority on this. You are more than welcome to disagree with me. I have my beliefs and I have laid my cards on the table so to speak…perhaps I am right and maybe I am wrong…maybe I even stretched what I really believe about this…but at the end of the day all I want from you and Andrew, and all the other Christians out there is to simply seek to glorify God in everything. That is it. I am sure you are doing that! So am I. And we all have struggles, we all fail, we all suffer. We are not called to a life of comfort, we are called to a life of suffering, bearing our cross, and denying ourselves for the sake of Jesus Christ who so exceedingly loved us that he laid his life down and bore our sin and shame, cursed by God on the cross. My goal with this post is achieved, we are talking about this stuff, which is way more than most of us were doing a few days ago…

  14. Rob says:

    Angry responses – sorry to hear that Ryan, I have been wondering the same thing as Garrett, could it be from an angry heart over past choices? Usually that’s when I get upset; I know I’ve made wrong choices but don’t want to admit it. I hope people will come to see that working with eachother out of love makes us stronger than standing alone in anger.
    Where I stand – My wife comes from an average dutch family of 8 siblings, I come from a small family of 6 siblings 🙂 We were under the impression when we got married 10 years ago that we’d like to have 5 or 6 children. Boom, we had our first one, then, 4 years later we had our second. Now? We would love to have another.
    Opinion – My understanding of the previous peoples difference in opinion is between accepting children as a blessing from God or a biological equation, 1man+1woman=5 children. Due to advancements in science, many mysteries are being revealed. We now understand the process of conception. People have used this understanding to protest abortions, this is good. People now think they have control over whether or not they should have children, this is not so good. we say we trust God, but should we not also then trust Him in directing the course of our family’s life? “God, not my will but Thy will be done.” There are stories in the Bible about birth control: spilling seed on the ground, not providing children for siblings’ widows, people tearfully praying to God for children, God’s message to people that He has granted them a child. Even, and especially, a virgin birth. This above all should illustrate for us how God retains ALL power over having children. ( I do not have all the texts handy at this moment, but if requested I will provide)
    Alternatives – Ryan, your alternate forms of contraception stance? I am not sure I really understand it, we should accept with faith our lot from God, but try to influence His will in passive ways?
    How we treat ‘grey areas’ – God didn’t specifically say no, so I’m allowed to do it? I am of the opinion that these area’s are the ones where our love for God and neighbor should drive our decisions. This is where our study of the Bible and prayer will provide an answer.
    alterations – permanently altering a man’s physiology…vasectomy, loss of limbs, plastic heart valve, tatoos, it would be an interesting blog. (not that you don’t have interesting ones already)
    Wow, hopefully I didn’t mix anything up. Keep up the great work Ryan, and as for not a lot of comments on mundane issues, maybe we should have a ‘head nod’ button.
    Rob S.

    • Rob I can always count on you for a juicy burger. “Alternatives – Ryan, your alternate forms of contraception stance? I am not sure I really understand it, we should accept with faith our lot from God, but try to influence His will in passive ways?” Alternative forms of contraception are very different form altering the physiology of a body. Anyway…read my next post on birth control…we’ll see where I stand after that. …BTW I don’t see you running after 8 kids… 😉

  15. Bryan G says:

    Great post as usual, Ryan.

    I remember hearing a study that was published a few months back – did a bit of googling and found a reference to it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/predict-odds-of-getting-pregnant_n_1948517.html
    “[W]omen who are 25 and have been trying to get pregnant for three months have an 18 percent chance of getting pregnant in their next menstrual cycle. By contrast, women who are 40 and have been trying for three months have only a 7 percent chance. After one year of trying, 25-year-old women have a 10 percent chance of getting pregnant in their next cycle; 40-year-old women have a 3 percent shot.”

    The take-away: God has already given us the means to do proper family planning, no procedures necessary – just a calendar and a calculator…. =)

    Slightly off-topic, but seeing as how some comments have been made on this already – I came across something today in reading a book about John Calvin’s legacy. When interpreting the Law, Calvin saw a positive and a negative in each:
    “If one was not to steal, then he also should protect his and others’ property. If one was not to lie, then he was called to tell the truth…Calvin believed that we must reason from the positive command to its opposite in this way: ‘If this pleases God, its opposite displeases; if that displeases, its opposite pleases; if God commands this, he forbids the opposite; if he forbids that, he commands the opposite.’ (Institutes 2.8.8).” (The Legacy of John Calvin, Hall)

    I wonder if that reasoning should be made about the command to be fruitful – it pleases him, so it follows then the opposite must displease him. (I just thought of this when reading your blog and the comments, so I haven’t thought it through yet – hope I don’t get hate mail! =)

  16. Brother! says:

    I concur with your sentiments; I too cannot see how a vasectomy can in any way glorify god – nor his design of creation/procreation. I think putting any socialized-modern era HALT to creation – ESPECIALLY from those who considering themselves as walking/living in faith – is objectively against God. I can say “objectively” because a vasectomy is basically a ‘statement to god’ that ‘although you designed me to have potentially [more] children, “I” feel that your design was flawed is ME as “I” should have no more children’. The proclamation “your will be done” which is what we are called to be lead by – as CHRISTIANS – is not followed by means of vasectomy.

  17. JennInGeorgia says:

    My husband had a vasectomy when he was single and not a Christian. I wasn’t a Christian either when we started dating. Once we became Christians, we were convicted about this and we looked into reversal. When we found out his original procedure was very complex (thus would be very complex to fix and would yield little chance of actually resulting in pregnancy) we wondered if the $10,000+ debt we would have to incur just to reverse the surgery (not including travel and post-op costs) would be a wise use of God’s money. We prayed. He asked God to forgive him for the mistake he made. He has told me that if we had been together he would have never gotten it done.

    We have had Christians tell us that his asking God to forgive him isn’t enough, in terms of repentance. That only a reversal surgery would sufficiently atone for his sin. I find this is to be untrue and an unfair accusation. God sees the heart and not necessarily outward acts. Yes, having a reversal would be an act of obedience, if it were possible. We had saved up money for a less expensive reversal procedure when our only vehicle broke down. How much did it take to fix? Nearly the exact amount we had saved. So, we saved again, only to have the fuel pump go out in our car. Again, the amount to fix it nearly drained our reversal savings account. When we had the consultation and found out that doctor couldn’t do the reversal, we took it as God’s way of telling us He was closing that door – for now. The only other option was IVF, which not only is it more costly than the more expensive reversal we would need, but I also don’t agree with harvesting embryos on moral and ethical grounds.

    We have prayed and left it in God’s hands. Had we been married and Christians at the time, this would have never been an issue. We see children as a blessing, a heritage from the Lord. We’re sad we cut off that possibility, but I know God can do as He sees fit. I would never counsel a Christian couple to undergo sterilization, save for extreme medical cases, but I also wouldn’t condemn those who did it prior to accepting Christ. God knows our openness to children and He can work around a sterilization procedure, if that is His will. Sometimes God blesses His own with children through fostering or adoption, an option my husband and I are praying about.

  18. Rose says:

    I’m just throwing this in here. Did you know that the Pill is an abortifacient? Having a vasectomy is not causing an abortion while being on the Pill can cause one.

  19. Jane Willsie says:

    I believe what the Bible says about being fruitful and to multiply. God does not add nor take away from this statement. Throughout the Bible we see that children are a blessing from God, if we trust God completely and believe that HE knows what is best for us we do not need birthcontrol. God will grant us everything we need if He grants to us more children. he willl also close the womb when he desires to. It really is about giving your life to God completely and trusting Him with this life.