Quiverfull Response Letter

by Pete and Corrine Kligmann

When you are asked for the 147th time, "Why do you keep having so many children?", here is a very godly and loving response in the form of a letter. This was written by Pete and Corinne Kligmann, parents of 11.

To our friends and family,

As our family has increased and with each additional pregnancy, many of you have expressed concerns and fears and some of you have expressed harsh criticism of our family size. Because we love and respect you we need to address those concerns as well as defend ourselves to our critics. Our desire is to speak the truth in love and hopefully lay to rest all misgivings. This is an abbreviated version of what we believe and if there is anyone who would like to discuss this further, we will be happy to do so.

We believe that children are an unqualified gift from God.

Psalms 127: Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise up early and in vain you stay up late toiling for food to eat for He grants sleep to those he loves. Sons are an heritage from the Lord, Children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies at the gate.

We further believe that our children are proof of our being blessed by God.

Psalms 128:1-4 Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessing and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is a man blessed who fears the Lord.

Children were the basis of God’s covenant with Abraham and were his reward for his faith.

Genesis 15:1-4 After this the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
But Abram said,” O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate will be Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said,” You have given me no children: so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir; a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”

Abraham was used throughout the Bible as an example of faith and righteousness. He was exceedingly wealthy and yet he considered God’s gift of a child much greater than all of his monetary wealth.

We have been told that God has gifted us with brains, modern medicine, and freedom of choice and that we should use them. We agree wholeheartedly, however, we disagree with the application and context in which this is said.

When we became Christians we made a choice to submit out lives, including our wills to the will of God. As Paul tells us, rarely are our wills and thoughts in line with those of God.

Romans 7:19 For what I do is not the good I want to do, no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing.
2 Corinthians 10:5 ...and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to the will of Christ.

God has a perfect plan for each of our lives. His desire is for us to submit completely to His will; however, because He also loves us with a perfect love, He allows us to make choices which do not coincide with His plan. We believe that God’s first desire for our lives is for Him to be in complete control of our family planning including when and how many children and the timing of their birth. God reserved for Himself alone the rights to birth and death. People have, from the beginning with Cain and Abel, wrestled this right from God’s hands. We acknowledge that it is not only possible, but from a worldly perspective, more desirable to take control of this aspect of our lives. God opened and closed the wombs of nations at His discretion. We believe that He would prefer that we allow Him the same prerogative.

Genesis 20:17-18
Genesis 21:1-2
Genesis 25:21
Genesis 29:31
Exodus 23:25-26
1 Samuel 1:5-6, 10-11, 19-20
Psalms 113:9
Luke 1:5-7, 11-13

While we believe that our children are God’s blessing to us, we also believe that not every family is blessed this way. There are many families that God has chosen to either close the womb before any children were borne, or before the parents were ready. We believe that in those cases God has other blessings in store. Ultimately the choice and action were God’s.

We are daily grateful to God for allowing us to have the use of medicine, to be citizens of a country where medical research and development is the most advanced in the world and where the access to medical help is widely open. We believe that God created us in a very specific way with very specialized biological functions. He has given us medicine, doctors, technology, and knowledge to help us when those functions are not working properly. There is, however, and old saying, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!” God never gave us permission to interfere with His perfect creation and try to improve on what God himself considered complete.

Isaiah 44:2 This is what the Lord says-He who made you in the womb and will help you.
Isaiah 44:24 This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer who made you, who formed you in the womb. I am the Lord who made all things.
Jeremiah 1: 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart...
Matthew 10:30 and Luke 12:7 And yet even the very hairs on your head are numbered.

We have been told that many children in one family is a great financial burden and it is unfair to the other children within the family to have a large family. We believe that this is very untrue. We have already established that children are a gift from God. Why would He bless us with something that was too great a burden for us to handle?

As Christians we need to remember that our priorities are not the world’s. We are called to a different standard than the world has set. The standard of provision as set by our society, and our circle of friends, is distorted in the view of what the Bible says is necessary. God promised that He would provide for our needs, our daily bread, but not necessarily our wants. We do not believe that the “things” that our society says are needs are the same as what God considers our needs. In fact, we believe that they are very different.

How many children are too many? At what point does God’s blessing become too much and not welcome anymore? If there was a tiny church with a small income each month and suddenly God brought increase to the body, would the Pastor tell the newcomers that they could only come back if there were enough money in the treasury, or enough workers in the nursery, or enough coat hooks in the foyer? Neither should we base acceptance of God’s blessing on whether we can supply but rather on whether God can.

God has promised to provide for us and His provision is always the best.

Matthew 6: The whole chapter
Matthew 7:9-11 Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a
Stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then,
though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?

We do not believe that monetary wealth is the only, or even the best, of God’s chosen blessings.

Does a child or a teenager really need most of the things that the world says we “should” be providing for them? Or to go further, does God really want a generation of children that believe that desires are the same as needs?

Giving gifts to our children is a good thing and used wisely is a gift from God to us as parents.

Psalms 128:1-4 Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor: blessing and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is a man blessed who fears the Lord.

The family, as seen throughout the Bible, is very important to God. Although not everyone is blessed with a large family, everyone is called to submit their lives to Him. Even if we were wrong in our interpretation, we know that God will not discipline us for willingly submitting this aspect of our lives to Him. God is our perfect example of a Father. What father, if his son or daughter came to him in complete submission and said, “Father, please plan my life. I know that you know much better than I what would be the best course for me to take,” would take that opportunity to clap his hands and gleefully start to punish his son just to show the child that he shouldn’t have trusted him with his future and happiness? No! Instead the father would move even more carefully, knowing that the child has placed his trust in him.

We recognize that in our society today this is a very sensitive issue. How you plan your family is between you and God and we sit in judgment of no one in this area. We do ask for the same respect from others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. We also would ask that you rejoice with us at the addition of every child that God sees fit to add to our family.

Pete and Corinne

We wrote this letter together about 8 years ago during a time of trial,
(job loss) in our lives when many people were "strongly" questioning why we
were continuing to have children.

We felt led by the Lord to write it all down in as loving a way as we
could to help those around us to feel more at ease with our allowing the Lord control. We are one of those couples who have babies on average every 14-16 months.

I actually carried copies of the letter around with me for a couple of
years to give to those who wanted answers!

Recently, we have found an increased interest in it again. We gave a
copy to a woman at our church and the next thing I knew there were others
asking for copies. Also, we posted a copy of the letter on the MOMYS digest
to help encourage a few of the women who were struggling with the
criticism and then more women wanted copies.

Our prayer is that by publishing it on the QF website that more couples
can use it to the glory of the Lord. We desire for it to be used freely
and modified to fit whatever circumstances may exist.

In Him,
Pete and Corinne Kligmann
Abundantly blessed by the Lord with Kevin-22 and his wife Jennifer and
their son Isaiah born 6/30/02 and a new blessing due in March 2004,
Kenneth-21 and his wife Emily and their daughter Julianna born 5/26/03, Nicholas-19, Amanda-10, Jacob-9, Rachael-8, David-7, Rebekah-5, Sarah-4, Daniel-3, and Katie-born 5/31/03