Why We Are not Quiverfull

by Mary Stephens
July 2016



NOTE: Some stories used in this series have been altered in detail in order to protect the identities of the people involved.

Quiverfull is the name that has been given to a worldwide Christian belief system that essentially says that it is not "godly" to limit the size of families through any method of pregnancy prevention.  Some claim to permit limiting for some reasons, others are doctrinaire in their belief that any form of birth control is wicked.  There are a number of different shades and variations of this belief system or movement.  Some are deeply connected with the Christian Patriarchy movement, others are involved in church groups that support this belief, while still others are basically "free radicals" who are inventing their own plan as they go.  There are people who more or less follow the basic principles of this mindset but will deny that they are part of the movement when questioned.  For example, the well-known Duggar family denies that they are "Quiverfull" despite the fact that their practice and beliefs line up very well with the principles of the movement.

The name "Quiverfull" or quiver full, is based on  Psalms 127:3-5 - Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.  The idea is presented from this in various ways.  One basic idea set forth is that having lots of "arrows" (children) is a "blessing" and we shouldn't turn down "any blessing the Lord wants to give us."  The second even more zealous factor that is extracted here is that the children of Christians are the weapons of the church which will be used to overcome the "enemy in the gate" - i.e. the world and its culture.  There are some Quiverfull people who I am sure do not realize that their ideas have been heavily influenced by Dominion Theology and the idea that we need to force Christ's Kingdom upon the world.  They apply promises to Abraham's physical seed (the nation of Israel) under the Old Covenant (Deuteronomy 7:12-14) while ignoring the fact that there is no teaching under the New Covenant to Abraham's seed by faith (believers now) to the effect that we are to grow the church through physical childbirth.  In fact, the command Jesus left us was to preach the Gospel.

Some of the people who promote the idea of not limiting births use the logic that we need to "trust God with our families" or "trust God with the female reproductive organs".  I have heard both, but mostly the former. 

For further information on what the New Testament actually says about birth control.
The implication is given that if you limit how many children you have in any way, then you really don't have faith in God.  This is also contrary to scripture as we will discuss. 

To put it rather simply, we end up feeling condemned for not living by their faith.  We are not allowed to have our own convictions or faith before God. Romans 14:22-23 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.  (I know, some people will try to say that Romans 14 is all about food and shouldn't be used for other subjects.  Maybe they need to go back and read Romans 13-15 and give it a second thought.  It is not just about food.  Food is a big deal, so Paul used it as his main example, but there is a lot more there, and many of the thoughts and admonitions hold true for other subjects, including this one.)

I should clarify one thing - I am in no way saying that people should not have large families, nor that anyone is "wicked" in a general sense for just letting their bodies produce however many children they can.  If they choose to call that -- "trusting God with our family" -- that is their business.  They are certainly permitted to have that faith to themselves before God.  It's those who compare and judge and preach Quiverfull that we object to.  Do as you like in the matter, but do not tell the rest of us that we need to follow the dictates of your conscience in an area where God has not given us a direct command.  Furthermore, if the beliefs of Quiverfull are founded upon a wrong interpretation of scripture, we maintain to right to question that and point it out.

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.


Reasons We Do Not Follow Quiverfull

PART 1 -  1. Quiverfull is based on the misapplication and misuse of scripture.

PART 2 - 2. Quiverfull denies the free will and common sense.

PART 3 - 3. Quiverfull can become idolatry and has cultic tendencies.

PART 4: 4. Quiverfull is contrary to nature as God created it.
5. It can ruin the beauty of the sexual relationship as God made it to be enjoyed within marriage.
6. The abundance of children can lead to poor parenting and burn out.

PART 5: 7. Quiverfull can cause suffering of the women and children.
8. Quiverfull May Be Another Gospel

9. Quiverfull has connections with racism. 




Graphics by Mary Stephens