Have Baptists Embraced China’s One-Child-Mindset?

China one child policyLast week, the people’s republic of China announced that it will end its “One-Child-Policy. The days of government agents forcible pulling babies out of the womb while are over. Very soon, Chinese couples can start having two kids!

A One-Child-Future

And though the news is welcome by demographers and many in China, the policy is probably too little too late.  The policy change will not resurrect the 336 million children that were aborted nor will it return fertility to the 196 million people that have been sterilized since 1971. The Chinese population bubble is still on track to burst within the next few years. By 2050, China’s million-man army will be a million-man nursing home. Roughly a quarter of its population will be over 65 and the nation’s average age will be 67. China’s days as an economic and political juggernaut are numbered.

To prevent this nightmare from coming true, China needs its families to start having more kids. To maintain its population, a nation needs to have a birth rate 2.1 kids per couple. China’s current birth rate sits at 1.7 kids per couple. To thrive as a nation, China needs its birth rate to climb by at least half a kid per couple. Hence, families are now permitted to have two babies.

But the fertility jump is stil not coming anytime soon. As one Chinese woman told the Wall Street Journal, “For a second child, my answer is no, no, no. Doesn’t matter what the policy is…I can’t imagine who would have the energy to raise another child.” When the China tested the Two-Child-Policy in the Jiangsu province, a majority of those women still preferred a one child home. Today, most women aren’t avoiding birth because of the government policy. They are avoiding birth because they don’t want to expend the social, physical, emotional, and financial capital to needed to raise children. Chen Feng told the New York times, “Before I had my first child, I was hoping for the relaxation of the one-child policy…I changed my mind after I gave birth to my daughter…It takes a lot of energy to take care of a child.” Simply put, Chinese women no longer want two kids.
This is the biggest news story of the day is that China has successfully transformed its culture. And Chinese women have bought into the anti-kid philosophy. The One-Child-Policy is gone, but its residue remains.  The way Chinese families think about kids has been radically altered.


Americans can relate. The average American couple has 1.8 kids. And the average Southern Baptist couple has around 1.9 kids per couple. Even though we never had a One-Child-Policy, Baptist families had their thinking transformed during the sexual revolution. And now, no one wants kids.

Americans, Chinese, and Baptist share similar birth rates because we all share a similar worldview. No, we are not all communists. twins-775495_640But we all have adopted an anti-kid worldview. We all have decided to live for the pleasure of now. We want nice cars, clothes, and houses. We want to be able to experience the best that life has to over via vacations, parties, and good health. Kids threaten all those things.

And there is no amount of financial incentives or government programs that can convince us otherwise. Both Japan and Singapore have been trying for years to increase their birth rates.  When the Singapore government offered women $18,000 to have two kids, the women said, “No, thanks.” Today, their nation’s birth rate sits at dismal 1.1 kids per couple. There is no monetary benefit that can truly compensate a woman for all the things she sacrifices for her children.

Kids drastically interrupt the life, especially the one lived for pleasure. This morning, my toddler woke up me up an hour early. Our morning routine ended with him trying to bite my big toe. I’m not alone.

Instead of designer clothes, parents spend thousands on miniature plastic tubes for ear aches. Instead of vacations, parents get sleepless nights. And instead of healthy bodies, parents become worn and tired. As one author rightfully said,

“Children won’t change your life. They will utterly and completely destroy it.”

This is hardly the life most couples envisioned on their honeymoon. And so, we pleasure seeking Baptists start avoiding kids. We tell our young couples to enjoy life. Avoid pain and sorrow. Above all don’t have kids.

And little by little our tiny, country churches evaporate away as their nurseries sit empty. We Baptists wonder were all the people went. But we never stop and ask, “where did all the babies go?”

If our Baptist churches are going to end their defacto One-Child-Policy, we have to return to a biblical view of pleasure. Happiness for the Christian is not defined by personal peace and affluence. The Christian’s pleasure comes from glorifying God through worship and obedience. As John Piper often says, “We are most satisfied when God is most glorified.” Happiness comes from focusing on Christ. Because joy is not defined by our stuff or our physical health, Christians can and should do the hard things God commands. We should love our neighbors, travel for far away countries and  have kids. We should stop living for earthly treasure and lay up treasure in heaven by having, raising, and evangelizing the next generation. The vitality of our churches depends in part on our birth rates. The vitality of our personal faith depends upon it.

Now having children doesn’t save us. We don’t have to abandon breast feeding to ensure our Baptist gals have the most babies humanly possible. But we do need to reattach procreation to sex. We need to realize that God has called us to live lives for heavenly pleasure instead of earthly gain. We need to re-embrace God’s first command to be fruitful and multiply. We need to see children as a blessing and start having some more.

2015 FBCE Biblical Parenting Conference

Parening Conference Facebook

It’s easy to dream about being a parent. Before kids arrive, we can’t stop envisioning what it will be like to see our future, little guys and gals smile, to feel their sweet hugs, and to experience their slobbery kisses.  But then the little person arrives.  After a few moments, the dream becomes a slightly less-than -ideal reality consisting of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, and temper tantrums. All those lofty ideals about being the calm, loving, and always thoughtful parent are replaced by one word “survive!” Although children are a wonderful blessing (those hugs and kisses are real), parenting requires some serious elbow grease.

guide to biblical manhoodTo parent well, we all need to take to time to relax and to be refreshed by the Scriptures. On August 29-30, FBCE will be inviting parents, grandparents, and all adults who are raising kids to come be rejuvenated and encouraged at our second, bi-annual Biblical Parenting Conference.

stinson 2This year, Dr. Stinson will be our featured speaker. A Southern Seminary Vice President, co-author of A Guide to Biblical Manhood, and father of 8, Dr. Stinson will be bringing a ton of biblical knowledge and parenting experience to our conference. On Saturday, August 29, he will be addressing the priority of having a biblical marriage, how to overcome common parenting mistakes, and how to reach your child’s heart with truth. On Sunday, August 30, he will be discussing God’s plan for the family, how to biblically lead blended 2015 Parenting Conference Schedulefamilies, how to raise teens, and how to handle rebellious children. See the full schedule below

Come be a part of the Parenting Conference! We will even have free childcare available for all pre-registered parents. To sign up or to get more information visit fbceastman.com!

What’s your favorite conference, book, or advice on parenting?

The Love Connection To Adoption

AdoptionToday, the church is making much of adoption! I praise the Lord for this trend! Nothing is more exciting than seeing God’s people driven by a love for God.  True religion is not eating potluck dinners; it “is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). The church should seek out orphans, “with a deep concern for their well-being and a clear commitment to care for their needs” (Platt 2015, 82). One of the most beautiful demonstrations of the gospel is a parent lovingly adopting a child.

Are Adopted Kids Better?

But as we talk about adoption, our message can get muddle. At FBCE all the talk about adoption has caused some kids with biological parents to questions their parents’ love for them.  These kids with biological parents know they were never chosen. And now, they can’t help but wonder if they are a little less loved and a little less wanted than their adopted brothers and sisters.

Understanding Love

To help our kids combat their doubts, we must keep adoption closely tied to love of God. In other words, we need to tell our kids that we are adopted into the family of God because God loved us. He demonstrated his love by selflessly dying on the cross for our sins. On the basis of his finished work, we are called his sons and daughters (I John 3:1). While adoption is a product of love, the cross is the greatest actualization of love. As defined by Christ, love is selflessness.

So are adopted kids loved more? No. True love is not tied exclusively to an adoption date or to a birthday date. It is tied to Christ.  It is freely given by a parent to a kid and continues throughout their lives. As parents we love our biological kids who wake us up at three in the morning because we have been loved when we were trouble. As parents, we also love our adopted kids who were once helpless orphans because God loved us when we were helpless.

We love because he first loved us. – I John 4:19

What makes our kids distinctly our kids is our commitment to love them. Any child who has parents that lovingly sacrifices time, income, emotions, and health for them is loved and wanted. Love (and not legal or medical paperwork) is the bond that unites all mothers and fathers to their children.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1 John 4:7

Works Cited

Platt, David. Counter Culture: a compassionate call to counter culture in a world of poverty, same-sex marriage, racism, sex slavery, immigration, persecution, abortion, orphans, and pornography. Carol Streem: Tyndale House, 2015.