There is a rather execrable lie being told by certain would-be leaders in our church. I’ve heard it from district officials in other districts, seminary professors and so-called church-growth gurus.
It is that births in the US increased between 1970 and 2000. Now, strictly speaking, this is true. But it is misleading. The birth rate did not increase. Only total number of births increased. And it did so very meagerly.
In 1970 there were 3.7 million births. In 2000 there were 3.9 million births. AN INCREASE OF 5%! But the population went from 205 million people to 282 million – an increase of 37%. So the actual birthrate fell – dramatically. It doesn’t show up in most statistics as a dramatic fall because the usual measure of birthrate looks at females of child-bearing age. And the population has been aging rapidly. So, increases in population are still occurring for a time – but the number of children each woman has in her life has been on a downward trajectory in practically every nation on earth – and has been so since 1900. We are living in an world of declining births, and have been for a century.
And the people who are peddling this statistic know it. And continuing to peddle the statistic hurts the church, because it encourages the false teaching (promulgated in colleges, the media, etc.) that the planet is in a crisis from overcrowding, and that couples are better off waiting many years to get married and (maybe if you’r selfish) have children. The biblical doctrine is that children are a blessing from the Lord, and the truth is that God’s creation is so ordered to support the marriage of young adults and the raising of children. The place of marriage and the family was actually a disputed point in the Reformation between Rome and the Lutherans. It’s why Lutherans have never had much interest in Romanist visions of natural law, but prefer our own more scriptural and God-pleasing view.
So why are they suddenly so interested in the total birth statistic between 1970 and 2000? Because President Harrison has been encouraging a godly reconsideration of our practice regarding of getting married (late!) and having children (not more than 1.8!) And they know he is correct. But they hate him (and the Word of God he brings) so much that they are willing to mislead and harm the church just to undermine this one talking point.
The result – if they succeed – is that they can continue with their papistic views of marriage and the family and their arminian views of evangelism. (Marriage is not as holy as being in full time church work – preferably guitarist for the praise band!)
I find it rather disgusting. Being in Wyoming, we don’t get too many folks spouting that sort of cow-by-product here. Which is good. Because if they tried, their talk would be interrupted by earnest pastors and laity telling others to watch their step.
As for those outside of Wyoming – now you know to be careful as well. And if you hear this whopper, be sure to hand a shovel to your neighbor so you can both keep things from getting too deep. Our synod doesn’t need that sort of mess tracked everywhere. We’ve got problems, and President Harrison is not perfect (a fact he noted in his acceptance speech). But in this case, he speaks the truth and brings the Word of God to the church. And those who oppose him out of spite will find their time better spent pondering the words of Psalm 4:4. “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.”