27 February 2023 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
My spouse and I are having an uncomfortable discussion about an uncomfortable topic.
We’re about to have a baby boy. My husband insists that the Bible requires male children to be circumcised. In the Old Testament it’s the mark of God’s chosen, he says, and in the New Testament it is a metaphor for conversion. He also thinks there’s some medical reason for it, though he’s not quite sure what it is.
I disagree: I see it as an unnecessary medical procedure that has no meaning for a Christian. I don’t see why we should impose it on our little one. Let him decide when he grows up if that’s important to him, but I see no purpose for it now. Who’s right?
Signed, To Cut or Not to Cut?
Dear Cut or Not,
Many have strong opinions about this procedure. No one else can make this decision for you and your husband—though you should certainly consult your physician.
For what it’s worth, though, Aunt Sevvy agrees with you. Circumcision is an actual surgery, and it makes a lifelong, irreversible alteration to a body part. It doesn’t seem fair to do that to your son without his consent, which he can’t give until he is grown.
As for your child’s having the mark of God’s chosen people: thankfully, the New Testament makes it clear that we require no special mark or surgical alteration in order to be Christians. Peter’s dream of unclean meats (Acts 10:11) is recognized as an invitation to include people of all kinds—not just Jews or those who were circumcised—into Jesus Christ’s family.
Though in one instance (recorded in Acts 16:3) Paul asked his associate Timothy to be circumcised, Paul’s later denunciations of the practice are crystal clear: “I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all…. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value” (Galatians 5:2,6). Having the mark of God’s chosen is about what is written on your heart (2 Corinthians 3:2-3), not what your genitalia look like. To quote Paul again: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” And thank God for that!
There is no need to judge other parents for the choices they have made about their own sons, but if you want Aunt Sevvy’s advice, leave the boy as he is until he can decide for himself.
And congratulations on a new addition to your family!
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identifying the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.