Celebrity couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar recently announced that they would consider adopting to add to their family of 19 children (plus a handful of grandchildren). Michelle told People magazine that she and her husband have "an open heart" toward the idea.
But can a Christian family ever be too big? Christian leaders' responses are posted below, on a scale starting with "yes" and ending with "no."
"Overpopulation, overuse of resources, human-induced climate change, and pollution should be considered, as should one's physical and emotional health and ability to provide for a family. The decision should be made to promote 'justice and righteousness.'"
Ray Van Leeuwen, professor of biblical studies, Eastern University
"Yes, but family size should depend on each family's gifts and strengths. We have to work out—in our own faith walk—how many kids can we bring into our home and our family and still have them serve the Lord based on our individual capacity."
Michael Chanley, executive director, International Network of Children's Ministry
"If the Duggars adopted, viewers might understand adoption in new ways and other orphans might find families. There's a global orphan crisis, so this matters. However, because of that family's homogeneous and public nature, I'd be concerned for the child."
Jennifer Grant, author, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter
"Often, a historical argument is used for large families—casting back to our Puritan forebears. The Puritans did have an average of seven children; but only an average of three survived infancy and childhood. We should acknowledge that child mortality was a factor then in a way that it is not today."
Megan Evans Hill, author
"Family life is a calling, like the priesthood or the religious life. Christian men and women should be guided by trying to discern God's will. If they are doing that,then I really don't think their families can be either too big or too small."
Jonathan V. Last, author, What to Expect When No One's Expecting
"Every life is a precious gift from God. Any family that adopts is demonstrating God's heart for orphans, especially when modeling good stewardship in the household. Any family that lives simply can more fully attend to the work God places on their hearts."
Mitch Hescox, president, Evangelical Environmental Network
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