California Pastor Wrongly Calls Children a Liability, Endorses Strong Birth Control

Radio co-host mocks Natural Family Planning

Cost Mesa, CA — Pastor Chuck Smith, the patriarch of Calvary Chapel, has once again disappointed Christians by handing out extra-biblical advice claiming that children are a liability and that Christians should use birth control.

“We are deeply disturbed by this latest gaffe by Pastor Chuck Smith. The Bible clearly teaches Christians that children are a blessing, a reward, a joy, and a gift. Grandchildren are a crown to the aged. The Bible nowhere mentions children as a liability,” said Troy Newman, President of Pro-Life Nation. “Smith’s thinking is of the kind that has given us eugenics, abortion, and other human rights abuses.”

The statements came on the radio program “Pastor’s Perspective,” which aired Monday, April 30, 2012, after a caller named Sophia asked the following question: “I have a question in regards to Christians and contraception. Should we be engaged in taking contraception?”

Pastor Smith indeed recommended that Christians use contraception to control family size and went on to encourage artificial birth control because of the high cost of raising children and because they do not produce any financial benefit to the family.

In addition to advocating for artificial birth control, Smith’s co-host, Don Stewart, espoused the false notion that the world is over populated and offended many Christians with strong convictions about birth control by openly mocking natural family planning methods. “Whatcha call people who use that? You call them ‘parents’ because that never seemed to work there.”

Smith stated:

You know it used to be that a lot of children were assets. A child coming into the home was an asset because it was an agrarian society and you all had your own farms and the more children, the more help you had on the farm, and all. But, you know, as time when on and we became really a – no longer an agrarian society, but, you know, one that was really sort of dependent upon manufacturing, and so forth, children no longer became an asset, but they became a liability and I think that when you figure now how much it costs to raise a child through high school and all, a lot of people, you know, they just say, “Well, who needs them?” You know, because it does just cost a huge amount of money to clothe them and feed them and all when they’re not really producing or are productive at bringing back into the family, you know, financial assets and so forth, and thus they are a liability, rather than an asset today.

Smith’s answer reflected a Malthusian philosophy and utilitarianism, rather than Biblical Christianity. Malthusianism is a philosophy that advocates population control through artificial contraception as a preventative for poverty and environmental harm. Utilitarianism is a theory of pragmatic ethics that teaches things – and people — have value only as long as they are useful. Smith blends both philosophies by indicating that if children cannot contribute financially, then they become a liability whose birth should be prevented.

This is consistent with comments made by Smith on the same radio program on Feb 8, 2011, where he advocated for the abortion of conjoined twins.

“It’s awfully hard to actually suggest abortion,” said Smith. “But, you know, I’m sure that, uh, in a case like this where the life expectancy is just, you know, is so bleak, and all, that I’m sure that the Lord would not condemn her if she went ahead and had an abortion at this early stage of the development of the fetus.”

Certainly if we abandon the doctrine that man is the image bearer of God, then destroying those who cannot contribute to society becomes easy. However, if we accept the doctrine that man is made in the image of God, then destroying human life becomes not only a crime, but an act of war against the God whose image we all bear.

It is the Christian way to put the lives of others above our own. It is the Christian way to love one another – faults and all – just as Christ loves us and gave Himself for us. That is the pattern that should guide our actions as Christians.

“Because innocent lives are at stake, we felt compelled to speak out to correct this erroneous teaching from Pastor Smith lest families deny themselves the blessings of children, or worse, take the lives of innocent children in the womb wrongly thinking they have the blessing of God. We pray for Pastor Smith that wisdom from God, and not humanist philosophies, would be the basis of his speech, and that if he will not better consider Biblical teachings on life and children, that he would abstain from publicly discussing such issues,” said Newman.


Listen to the April 30, 2012 radio segment.

  • Bristol

    scott@calvarychapelboston.com, scottg@calvarychapelboston.com, tom@calvarychapelboston.com, gary@calvarychapelboston.com
    Cc: dcolello@ccobacademy.com

    Dear Pastor,

    Chuck Smith is calling children a liability on the radio. Previously he, unfortunately referred a woman for an abortion. Maybe he is getting dementia because he’s not being a good witness at all now. Read the article here.

    http://www.operationrescue.org/archives/california-pastor-wrongly-calls-children-a-liability-endorses-strong-birth-control/

    Please comment. Thank you.

  • Heywood Jalisson

    Smith’s error makes me question all of his teaching.

  • http://tcchapel.com Mike Nimer

    I think Chuck is being misrepresented. He believes in having kids. They are slanting this article. He does not embrace abortion

  • Chuck Finely

    I have to agree with Mike. I think the pastor is trying to say that children aren’t necessarily a liability to the family, but to society as a whole. If there’s a lot of unwanted kids running around be raised by bad parents then there’s going to be a lot of problems for everyone.

    It a shame he didn’t choose his words better, I think the message isn’t as bad as it seems.

  • Chuck

    “Pastor” Smith is just following the advice of Martin Luther when he said,

    “Do not ask anything of your conscience; and if it speaks, do not listen to it; if it insists, stifle it, amuse yourself; if necessary, commit some good big sin, in order to drive it away. Conscience is the voice of Satan, and it is necessary always to do just the contrary of what Satan wishes.”

    You can try to explain away Pastor Smiths worldly view of children and you might be able to convince yourself but inevitably you’ll have to convince Jesus. Peace in Christ