Christian Parenthood (Mennonite Church, 1961)

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Christian Parenthood (Mennonite Church, 1961)

Christian Parenthood

A Statement Adopted by Mennonite General Conference, August 25, 1961.

We recognize the Christian home as established of God for the happiness of His people and for the procreation and Christian nurture of children. We regard Christian parenthood in marriage as a blessed opportunity and a solemn responsibility. It was God Himself who at the beginning of human history commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and to fill the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ confirmed marriage as of God, and endorsed the will of God as involving the leaving of father and mother and cleaving to one's companion.

Christian marriage is the lifelong union of a Christian man and a Christian woman in the most intimate companionship and partnership. The two are to become "one flesh," actually one in will and intention. Husband and wife are bound together in a self-giving relationship which is symbolized by the sexual union and nourished by it. Each partner joyfully seeks the happiness and satisfaction of the other, and together they endeavor to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Neither partner denies the marriage relation to the other, except it be briefly, and by mutual consent, that they may be more free to unite in special prayer and intercession.

Although the marriage union is ordained of God, there may be times when remaining unmarried is advisable, as in the case of the Apostle Paul. And although it is normal to beget children in marriage, there may be special circumstances in which consecrated Christians may postpone or limit the procreation of children. Such special circumstances may include physical or mental health conditions, financial considerations, and circumstances related to a period of special preparation for church work. However, parenthood should normally be accepted with joy and anticipation, and in faith, and it should be responsibly undertaken. The rearing of large families is considered a privilege and a blessing where circumstances permit, and is not to be discouraged. However, we do not regard as evil the reasonable spacing of children through methods approved In Christian physicians, nor do we believe that Christian parents are obligated to beget as many children as would be biologically possible. Christian parents will welcome each child as a gift of God, and will gladly make the sacrifices necessary to give each child the best possible preparation for life. Those couples who do not have children of their own ought to give consideration to the adoption of children who stand in need of a Christian home.

The hope of the church is in its homes, the units of piety and happiness, in which children are nurtured in Christ. The church thrives when its constituent homes faithfully obey the Word of God and loyally support the program of Christ's body, As a church, we call upon all our homes to be worthy of the name Christian, and to seek under God to be centers of love and harmony in which the personalities of their children may blossom out into full maturity and happiness.

Prepared by the Committee on Premarital Counseling with the special assistance of J. C. Wenger.

Members of the committee:

Don Augsburger, chairman

Paul Roth

C. K. Lehman

Howard Kauffman

Walter Massanari, M.D.

Other persons who met part time with the committee:

Paul Lederach

Milo Kauffman


A Bibliography for Marriage Counseling (1961)

Following is a list of books related to marriage counseling. The list was compiled from a Study on Premarital Counseling by Mennonite Ministers, Among other items in a questionnaire, the ministers were asked to list: (1) books that they have found helpful in counseling, and (2) books they would recommend for couples to read before and after marriage, The list is accordingly presented below in two parts. Starred books are of special value,

Approximately 40 ministers listed one or more books for either or both parts, Certain books appeared on the lists for both parts. However, for the compilation which follows, no title appears in both parts. It is obvious, of course, that certain titles are useful both to counselor and counselee.

Part 1. Books for Counselors

Acker, J. W. Wedding Addresses. Concordia Publishing House, 1955.

Alexander, C. Edward, The Road to Manhood.

  • American Association of Marriage Counseling, Marriage Counseling. Association Press, 1958, 488 pp.

Anderson, Stanley. Every Pastor a Counselor. Baker Book House, 1949, Van Kampen, 1952.

Baber, Ray E. Marriage and the Family, Second Edition, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1953.

Bainton, Roland H. What Christianity Says About Sex, Love, and Marriage. Association Press.

Blackwood, Andrew W. Pastoral Leadership. Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1949.

Blackwood, Andrew W. Pastoral Work. Westminster Press, 1945.

Bonnell, John Sutherland. Pastoral Counseling.

Bonnell, John Sutherland. Pastoral Psychiatry. Harper, 1938.

Bonnell, John Sutherland. Psychology for Pastor and People. Harper, 1948.

Bossard and Boll. One Marriage, Two Faiths. Ronald Press, 1947.

Bossard, James H. S. Why Marriages Go Wrong. Ronald Press, 1958.

Bowman, Henry A. A Christian Interpretation of Marriage. Westminiser Press, 1959.

  • Bowman, Warren B. Counseling with Couples Before Marriage. Brethren Publishing House, 1945.

Burton, Joe W. Tomorrow You Marry. Broadman Press, 1950.

  • Cabot, Richard C. Christianity and Sex. Macmillan, 1937.

Chesser, Eustace. Love Without Fear. New American Library of World Literature, Inc., New York (a Signet Book).

Chideckel, Maurice. Female Sex Perversion: The Sexually Aberrated Woman as She Is. Eugenics Publishing Co., 1935.

The Christian Home. (Published monthly)

Cole, W. G. Sex and Love in the Bible. Association Press,1959.

Derstine, C. F. Manual of Sex Education. Herald Press, 1942.

Dicks, Russell L. Pastoral Work and Personal Counseling. Revised Edition, Macmillan, 1949.

Duvall, Evelyn M. In-Laws: Pro and Con. Association Press, 1954.

Eavey, C. B. Principles of Personality Building for Christian Parents. Zondervan Publishing House, 1952.

Eckert, Ralph G. Sex Attitudes in the Home, Popular Library, New York.

Ellzey, W. Clark. Romance in Christian Marriage. Association Press, 1954.

Eshleman, Merle W. and Noah K. Mack. Christian Manhood. Herald Press, 1948.

  • Feucht, Oscar E. Helping Families Through the Church. Concordia Publishing House, 1957.

Friesen, Jacob T. The Gateway to a Christian Home. Mennonite Publication Office, Newton, Kansas, n.d.

Haire, Norman. Encyclopedia of Sexual Knowledge. Chicago, Encyclopedia Press, 1953.

Hiltner, Seward. Pastoral Counseling. Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1949.

Hiltner, Seward. The Counselor in Counseling: Case Notes in Pastoral Counseling Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1952.

Hulme, Wm. E. How to Start Counseling. Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1955.

Hutton, Isabel Emslie, The Sex Technique in Marriage. Emerson Books, 1950.

  • Johnson, Paul E. Psychology of Pastoral Care. Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1953.

Landis, Judson T. and Mary G. Landis. The Marriage Handbook. Prentice-Hall, 1953.

  • Lewin, Samuel A,, and John Gilmore, Sex Without Fear. New York: Medical Research Press, 1950.

Long, H. W. Sane Sex Life and Sane Sex Living. New York: Eugenics Publishing Co., 1937.

Mace, David R. What Is Marriage Counseling? Public Affairs Pamphlet, New York.

Mace, David R. Whom God Hath Joined. Westminster Press, 1953.

Meares, Ainslie. The Medical Interview: A Study of Clinically Significant Interpersonal Reactions. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C, Thomas, 1957.

Mudd, Emily. The Practice of Marriage Counseling. Association Press, 1951.

  • Oates, Wayne. Premarital Pastoral Care and Counseling.
  • Oates, Wayne. Where to Go for Help. Westminster Press, 1957.

Pastoral Psychology. Published monthly. (December, 1959, issue was entirely devoted to premarital counseling.)

*The Pastor's Manual for Premarital Counseling. Methodist Publishing House, 1958.

Pike, James A. If You Marry Outside Your Faith. Harper, 1954.

  • Piper, Otto A. The Christian Interpretation of Sex. Scribner's, 1941.
  • Pittenger, William. Christian View of Sexual Behavior. Seabury Press, 1954.
  • Premarital Counseling Guide. Minneapolis, Board of Youth Activities.
  • Rehwinkel, Alfred M. Planned Parenthood and Birth Control in the Light of Christian Ethics. Concordia Publishing House, 1959.

Rossiter, F. M. The Torch of Life: A Key to Sexual Harmony. Eugenics Publishing Co., 1932.

Small, Dwight Hervey. Design for Christian Marriage, Fleming H. Revell Co.

Spann, J. Richard. Pastoral Care, Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1951.

Stone, Abraham, M.D., The Premarital Consultation. Grune and Stratton, 1956.

Trueblood, Elton and Pauline Trueblood. The Recovery of Family Life. Harper, 1953.

Vincent, Clark E. Readings in Marriage Counseling. Crowell, 1957.

  • Westberg, Granger. Premarital Counseling. New York: Office of Publication and Distribution of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., 1958.
  • Winter, Gibson. Love and Conflict. Doubleday, 1958.
  • Wise, Carroll A. Pastoral Counseling: Its Theory and Practice. Harper, 1951.

Wood, Leland Foster. Pastoral Counseling in Family Relationships. Gederal Council of Churches, 1948.

Wynn, John C. Pastoral Ministry to Families. Westminster Press, 1957.