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'Are You a Man?': Pastor Criticizes Husbands Who Let Wives Decide when to 'Start Having Kids'

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated Feb 02, 2023
'Are You a Man?': Pastor Criticizes Husbands Who Let Wives Decide when to 'Start Having Kids'

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Christian Headlines.


A fundamentalist Baptist preacher is drawing attention on social media for a viral clip in which he says husbands should be the sole determiner of how many children their wives have.

Jonathan Shelley, the pastor of Stedfast Baptist Church in Watauga, Texas, made the comments on January 8 in a sermon titled “Postpartum and Pediatricians,” according to ChurchLeaders.com, which first reported on the comments. A video clip of the sermon has been viewed more than 250,000 times on Twitter.

“I heard an independent fundamental Baptist preacher, he’s like, ‘You know, it’s not right for me to just tell my wife when we’re going to have kids. You know, I need to ask her permission, or ask when it’s OK to start having kids,’” Shelley said in the January 8 sermon. “And I’m like, ‘Are you a man? Are you a Baptist? You’re a fundamental Baptist preacher, and you’re going to ask your wife if it’s OK to have children?’ I’m like, what planet am I living on?”

Shelley previously made national headlines for a sermon in which he said “every single homosexual” in the U.S. should be put to death, according to ChurchLeaders.com.

Shelley “exhorted the men” to “care for their postpartum wives,” and he “discouraged women from being active (specifically from returning to church) too soon after giving birth,” ChurchLeaders.com reported.

Decrying birth control, Shelley said, “How effeminate is that to let your wife tell you when she’s going to have kids or not? I mean, that’s feminism if I’ve ever heard it in my life. You know, my wife doesn’t get to make that decision, and frankly speaking, I don’t get to make that decision.”

Shelley, in a statement to ChurchLeaders.com, stood by his position on the relationship between the husband and wife.

“As a husband, it is our God-given responsibility to lead the family and not ask our wives for permission concerning major life decisions,” Shelley said. “While it is important to consider a wife’s opinion, advice, feelings, and health, husbands should make all the decisions of the family. My wife gives me great advice and wisdom all the time and helps me with everyday decisions, however, ultimately, I have to lead, and I have the final say in all matters. Men who allow their wives to lead the family or overrule their decision-making would be ‘effeminate.’ I also believe it would be unscriptural for a husband to deny his wife children or to prevent her from having the children that God would bless her with. Ultimately, Christians should submit to God’s will for their life and not take everything into their own hands and understanding.”

Photo courtesy: Heather Mount/Unsplash


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.