Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Christianity & Circumcision Resources



One of the most monumental decisions you will make on your son's behalf is whether he will remain intact and whole as he was created, or be circumcised after birth. There is much more in the New Testament on circumcision (and the lack of it by early followers of Jesus) than Christians often believe there to be. When making the decision for our son, my husband and I investigated this topic heavily - as both our faith and our new role as a protective mother and father are very important to us. The more we learned, the more we found out just how much is not taught on Sunday mornings upon the topic of Christian faith and circumcision. Below are resources that may be especially helpful for Christian parents when making this dramatic, impacting, and lifelong decision for their little one.

This is the statement and story of a (circumcised) Christian father with 6 sons who turned to the Bible and medical literature when questioning whether or not to repeat the cutting upon the bodies of his own boys. He found there to be no medical, social, or Christian reason to cut, and they all remain intact. It may be a good story for other Christian parents.

Dr. Fleiss and Dr. Hodges: Circumcision and Christianity (from their book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision)

Biblical Circumcision Information

Circumcision and the Christian Parent

Circumcision and Christianity: A Call to Christian Action

The Truth About Circumcision Within Christianity

Circumcision in Antiquity

My Biblical Journey to Intactivism

Christians and Infant Circumcision: Where Should I Stand?

What the Bible Really Says About Circumcision

Christians: Baptism, Not Circumcision

CIRP: Answers from the Bible

Whole Christian Network [Facebook Public Community Page]

Whole Christian Network Group [Christians only please - not a religious debate group]

CUT: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision (Jewish commentary on the absence of circumcision among Christians throughout human history):  CUT Website

Video documenting various places in the Bible where circumcision is discussed.

Especially for Catholic Parents:

Fish Eaters (Catholicism and circumcision)

History of Circumcision (CIRP)

Circumcision: Then and Now (CIRP)

Especially for Latter Day Saints Parents:

Book of Mormon on Circumcision

Intact Mormon Network [Facebook Community Page]


Verses on the subject:

"Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you." – Gal 5:2

"And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples." – Gal 6:13

"For there are many who rebel against right teaching; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money" – Titus 1:10-11

"Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits." – Phil 3:2-3

"And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from Christ...you have fallen from grace." - Gal 5:3

"As God has called each man, in this manner let him walk. And thus I command in all the churches. Was any man called in the circumcision [Old Covenant]? Let him not try to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in the uncircumcision [New Covenant in Christ]? Let him not be circumcised! Circumcision is nothing. And uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let each man remain in that condition in which he was called." - 1 Cor. 7:17

"And some men came and were teaching the brethren, 'Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.' But Paul and Barnabas together had great dissension and disputing with these men. . . Then Peter stood up and said to them '...Why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" - Acts 15:1-2, 7, 10

"But if I still proclaim circumcision. . . then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished." - Gal 5:11

"I wish that those who are pushing you to do so would mutilate themselves!" - Gal 5:12


 Above informational cards available at Saving Our Sons or the Whole Christian Network




Related Georgetown University Lecture: 



Resources (books, websites, and articles) on the prepuce organ (foreskin), intact care and circumcision are cataloged at: Are You Fully Informed?

Request a full information pack of material here.

Our son, kept intact and whole as God created him,
gazes upon that same cross at 7 months old



22 comments:

  1. So good--people need to be educated. I'm so glad I found out what the foreskin actually is/does before I made the decision for my son. I'm so glad I left him natural.

    Also, it seems to me like many Christians have a positive association with circumcision because it's in the Bible. They may realize it's no longer necessary, and yet they find it hard to think of it as negative. What they don't realize is that only the tip of the foreskin was removed in the OT. Not the whole foreskin! Thanks for helping to educate people.

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  2. I think Paul got it right in his letter to the Galatians:

    NLT: "I only wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate [or castrate] themselves."

    MSG: "Why don't these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!"

    Galatians 5:12 See http://net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Gal&chapter=5&verse=12
    NLT: New Living Translation
    MSG: The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language

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  3. Thanks for linking to the Intactivism Pages. There is a page about Christianity and circumcision, and some pertinent statements from particular churches, notably the RC church.

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  4. Surely the only decision made by parents is to circumcise their sons. Uncircumcised is the default condition, and requires no "decision" at all.

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  5. From a Christian perspective, now that we are living in New Testament times, circumcision or uncircumcision does not have any relevance to one's faith. The choice is purely a matter of physical reasons.

    You make a lot of good points and have a lot of interesting things to think about. My husband and I never had to make a decision about circumcision, because so far we've only had daughters. I truly don't know what we would do. We were sort of relieved with each of our babies to learn that they were girls! :)

    If the day comes when we have a son, I don't know what we'll decide, but I do know that our decision won't be based on any religious reasons. As Galatians 5:6 says, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

    Thanks for all of your thought-provoking research and links!

    ~ Emily

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  6. Actually, Emily, you are wrong.
    Circumcision was originally just a small slit in the tip of the foreskin done to shed a drop or two of blood. As I'm assuming you know, back in the Old Testament times, the payment or atonement for sin was bloodshed.
    When Jesus Christ came and died on the cross, He shed his blood for our sins, ultimately paying that price for all of us.
    To continue to circumcise your children as a Christian is a direct rejection of that sacrifice. It's basically telling God that His sacrifice wasn't good enough for you.

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  7. P.S. http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/christian.html is a great resource.

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  8. Alex you couldn't be more correct Paul actually states that if you circumcise you are a debter to the WHOLE (jewish) law. So He tells us that You might as well go be Jewish because we Christians don't do that. We Christians are "The Uncircumcision"

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  9. @Guggie:

    "But within the context of living out an authentic, Christian life, to then CHOOSE circumcision is to deliberately deny Christ."

    I have to disagree with you on that statement; it's a bit overblown to say circumcising your son as a Christian is "denying Christ". Come on now...

    If I could go back and do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have circumcised my son. I was a Christian and did realize that circumcision wasn't a requirement for being saved. However, I was lead to believe that a male being circumcised was better for his health, hygiene, and self-esteem. Now, I know better so I wouldn't make that choice again, but I wouldn't go so far as to say someone who makes that choice is "denying Christ". I know, love, and cherish my Savior and what He did for me. What He actually said is that it wasn't about circumcision OR uncircumcision.

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  10. As a Christian i find what the NT has to say on the subject to be very confusing. Especially what Paul says and his actions towards circumcision. He says it's not needed and says to practice it is to turn from Christ. But, he caves and circumcises Timothy so it wont cause problems when he tries to minister to people. It's conflicting...if he truly believes performing it turns you away from Christ why would he cave and accept that Timothy should be circumcised to help pave the way to ministry? I'm 6mo pregnant with a boy right now. Originally it was no question between my husband and i that we would choose to circumcise. I was ignorant on what the Bible actually says about it, but knowing now that it isn't necessary i'm not so torn about it. My husband i think has different reasons for wanting to circumcise as he is himself, and sees absolutely nothing wrong with it. I have a problem believing that performing it is rejecting Christ's sacrifice for us. So i have to respectfully disagree with those of you who follow that belief. Christ himself said that it isn't a necessary procedure anymore but to let those remain as they are when they are called to him. circ'd or not, it makes not difference to him, as long as they love him and do good in His name (keeping the commandments).

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    1. @Shortstuff87

      First of all, hello! I am so happy to hear that you are exploring the idea of keeping your son intact. For many reasons, he will thank you for it later and I commend you for being strong enough to question circumcision for the sake of your little one. :)

      When it comes to Christianity, there is absolutely no religious obligation to circumcise, and it is in fact advised against. Circumcision, along with a host of other rituals, was a part of the Old Covenant that the Jews shared with God. This covenant was broken with the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ. With the death of Christ, the debt of man's sin to God was completely repaid, thus making the rituals of the Old Covenant obsolete (including circumcision). The Bible even shows us the Old Covenant being broken in Mark 15:38, when the veil in the temple is torn in half. As Christians, we believe that the ONLY thing that sanctifies us in the eyes of God is our acceptance of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice as our salvation. What Paul and other New Testament figures meant when they said that to circumcise was to reject Christ's sacrifice was basically that performing the obsolete rituals of the Old Testament was an outward act of saying that we still need those rituals in order to be right with God. This is not true. There is no ritual, no human act that can ever pay for our sin apart from accepting Christ. In performing ritual behaviors in the name of God (eg, circumcision), one basically outwardly claims that the sacrifice of Jesus was not enough, and that we still need these rituals. Just as Christians would find it absurd to sacrifice a lamb during Passover in the name of God in this day and age, circumcision in the name of God is equally as absurd. The only thing you need to worry about in regard to religion when it comes to your precious little one is to teach him the love of Christ! Consider this. Say you circumcise him in the name of God, and one day he grows to resent the fact that he is circumcised. Don't you think that may lead to him resenting God as well? It's not a risk I would like to take.

      When it comes to Timothy being circumcised, we must remember the context of the early Christian church. The earliest leaders of Christianity preached primarily to Jews, as they were the ones to whom Christ was promised as the Messiah. Jews of the time were very much wary of Gentiles, and were most likely not willing to speak to someone without a Jewish background of some form. Unfortunately, this is probably why Timothy was circumcised. In order to further his ministry, he felt this was necessary in order to connect with the Jewish population. Your little guy will not have this same problem! Furthermore, Timothy was a consenting adult who chose circumcision consciously and voluntarily. Circumcising a baby is in no way the same, as babies cannot consent! When Christ said that it didn't matter to Him if people came to Him circumcised or not, he was saying that anyone could come to Him despite their current state of being, and didn't need to worry about changing the state of their privates in order to know Him. That didn't give us free reign to continue to circumcise!!!

      I hope that this has been a help to you. Remember that first and formost, our job as Christians is to spread love in the name of God not pain and suffering in the name of God. Please continue to question this practice. There are a host of other reasons to reject circumcision, not just religious reasons! Congratulations on your little one! I wish you all the best.

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    2. We can first take into consideration that Timothy was a grown man. He and Paul made that decision together. A baby isn't capable of making that kind of decision. Given that Paul's personality is very apparent through out the New Testament, it's safe to assume that they probably prayed and gave it much consideration.

      In those days there was a lot of people that believed you couldn't be saved without being circumcised. Circumcising Timothy made it easier for them to concentrate on the real goal, ministering salvation and the gospel.

      In Acts 15 there were some men preaching to others that you cannot be saved without circumcision. Paul and Barnabas got into a dispute with them, so they traveled all the way to Jerusalem to consult with the elders and other disciples.

      "After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them." Acts 15:6

      I think the key word is *much* here. They took this into serious consideration. They didn't brush it off. I think just by this little word it's probable that they felt like circumcision wasn't a grey area or 'do whatever you want' type of thing. It matters.

      Paul says to them "Why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as we are." Acts 15:6-10 NIV

      I think this is huge. "Neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear" This was a heavy burden on them and Paul wasn't the only one, he was speaking for himself, his fellow men AND their ancestors. It's safe to say they did not *like* circumcision.

      It sounds as though you might be familiar about Paul's stance, but in case anybody else isn't, he later writes in different books calling the circumcisers mutilators and dogs. For people who pressured others to become circumcised he says "I wish they would go all the way and emasculate themselves." Other versions might say mutilate or castrate. He hated circumcision.

      I don't think circumcising your son would mean you are 'rejecting Christ's sacrifice for us' in your words... But I do believe that God makes it very clear in the Bible that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, he knitted us in the womb. he designed the foreskin, as we designed our hair, our eyes, our hearts. Cutting it away is rejecting his design.

      "let those remain as they are when they are called to him, circ'd or not" Your baby is called into the world by Christ, his life is given to him by Jesus, not by your body alone because he created your body too. Your baby belongs to Jesus but just put into your care. Since foreskin amputation isn't necessary, and that your baby belongs to Jesus the decision is not for the parents to make. It's a decision for God to make. He's already made that decision by creation of the foreskin. He's already decided for you. When your baby grows to be a man, he can choose whether or not he wants to change his body.

      I really hope this makes sense, I prayed before I sent the message that it would reach you in a positive way and in a way that would click. You can click on my blog for more information on circumcision.

      In the mean time, please watch this video of this baby being circumcised. You should be aware of what you're considering. Keep in touch, let us know your thoughts.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDuDhkiDdns

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    3. The thing is, Timothy was a Jew. If you are a Messianic Jew, then maybe that's something to consider. Paul said he was willing to be all things to all people for the sake of the gospel (1 Cor 9:19), and presumably Timothy was right there with him as a consenting adult. Other Jews at the time would not be willing to listen to an uncircumcised Jew and so, for the sake of the spread of the gospel, Timothy was circumcised. But Paul speaks very clearly against Gentile circumcision (the Galatian church was primarily Gentile, and were being told by the Judaizers that they could not be saved unless they first followed Judaic law).
      If it is neither necessary for salvation nor spiritually beneficial, and is not medically beneficial either, why would you put your son through an unnecessary and painful surgery fraught with complications (many of which are not apparent until sexual maturity, and thus get completely ignored)? Global Survey of Circumcision Harm

      Another thing to consider is that Biblical circumcision was the removal of the tip of the foreskin (leaving the glans covered and retaining penile sensitivity), not the tearing away of the skin from the glans and removal of 30-50% of the penile skin. This harsher and much more damaging practice was instigated around the second century AD to prevent Hellenistic Jews from stretching their foreskins to hide the fact of their circumcision. I still wouldn't do it to my son, but it helps to know it was much less damaging and traumatic. This practice was the exclusive domain of the Jews until its introduction to North America in the 1800's as a means to reduce sexual function and desire.

      No, it makes no difference to Christ in what state you were at the time of your calling. But now that you are in Him, you are freed from the blood covenant by His blood, so there is no need to impose it on your child. You are now responsible for what you know, and since you are on drmomma, you know that it is not necessary and it is harmful.

      I hope I don't sound too harsh. I'm not judging you personally, but I feel really strongly on the subject and it breaks my heart that well-meaning Christians are still doing this to their sons. I pray God blesses you and your family as you seek His will for your son, and I pray that your husband opens his heart and his eyes to consider a different path.

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  11. Hi! Keep reading! I am a Christian, and have two circumcised sons, and one intact. Circumcising my first two is my biggest regret. Paul is VERY adamant AGAINST circumcision. (And he did NOT have Titus circumcised). Paul talks about being all things to all people, so when he addressed the Jews (you are not Jewish, so this does not apply to you), he tried to be respectful of their traditions in order that they might not get caught up in what he wasn't doing, and would still hear the message of Christ. However, with the Gentiles, he preached to NOT circumcise, as circumcising takes away from the work that Christ did on the cross, and attempts to "add to", which we are told emphatically NOT to do. Also, if you research how circumcision was done in Bible times, it was COMPLETELY different than modern day medical circumcision. If circumcision had been performed in Bible times as it is today, people would have bled to death. What was done to Timothy (and others) is in no way comparable to what would be done to your little boy. If you'd like to chat more, feel free to email me. calee824@yahoo.com. I'd be happy to share with you more links and info!

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  12. Hi Shortstuff87,

    Think about it this way - Paul had to work within the parameters of the culture and time when he was alive. Since everyone was used to circumcising for God, it could have been a stumbling block for many people to suddenly hear "oh wait, you don't have to do this any more." By making the people more comfortable with who they were talking to, they might have been made more accepting of Jesus. It was a cultural thing.

    Today, Christian people no longer see circumcision as necessary to salvation, they (mistakenly) do it only for health reasons. So just compare the culture then to the culture now. God does not require circumcision of us today, but back when it was the thing to do, it would have made the people more accepting of Jesus' messenger.

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  13. There are several women ministers who still teach that all males should be circumcised. Reverend Cheryl Schatz strongly belives that the foreskin is sin and should be removed. And No, she is not Jewish.

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    1. Yes, Cheryl Schatz very strongly preaches that all males should have the foreskin totally removed because it is sin and the sooner its gone the better.

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  14. I am really hurt by the fact I circumcised my son. I was alone on my own and the nurses kept coming in asking me if were going to. My neighbor told me not to, and I wanted to listen, but I was not sure what was right or wrong and alone on this. I asked his father and he was not helpful. I only knew of it. Had I known I should have studied this before his birth I think things would have been much diff. I would have never allowed circumcision. I feel horrible for this! I think it takes support to make these decisions or education. I feel horrible for allowing this procedure to be done to my son. And the bible verses I read up there does not help me feel better at all. In fact I feel I have failed my son for allowing it. Is there anything to help bring peace to those? My son and I cannot help that this has already been done, and we both were victims of pressure and lack of correct education. Please, if you have time respond. Thanks. heartmeans@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Brittny, I felt so sad for you reading your post. I hope that you've managed to find some peace since you posted it. You are being so hard on yourself, and it sounds as though you're suffering a great deal over it. While you regret what has happened, the reality is that all parents make mistakes, and that your son will be absolutely fine. I think you're exactly right, that parents need support and information, and these are often not available to new parents who find themselves under pressure to circumcise their children. I think you need to find a way to forgive yourself if it's become a difficult issue for you to get past. Perhaps discussing it with a skilled counsellor may help. You might like to look into lodging an official complaint or investigation with the hospital into why you weren't given the necessary information and support to make an informed decision. Sometimes this helps to bring some closure as well as potential improvements to the way that things are done. Maybe you can think about other ways your experience might bring about some good in this area. Sharing your experience on social media, writing to medical authorities, contributing your point of view in support of those who are trying to raise awareness of these issues. It is clear to me from reading your post that you are a kind and responsive mother and I believe that your son is blessed to have you. You can more than make this up to him by parenting him gently, establishing a trusting relationship and helping him to learn that the world is a safe place and that he is treasured. xx

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    2. "that your son will be absolutely fine"

      except he wont. he cant. he can never have a satisfying sex life. his penis will never function normally, it will merely do the job just barely good enough. if he ever reads up on this he will see a great horror has been done thus emotionally scarring him. if hes at all like me hes look at his penis and wondered why it looks sick for years and years. his sensitivity will forever be duller than it should be. he will have a nasty scar.

      no he wont be fine. he cant be. hes not a full man as his sex organ has been mutilated.

      its like having a foot that is missing a toe....sure the foot is usable but the foot isnt fine and will forever be a source of aches and pains.

      truthly you should feel terrible. your son should be angry. yes Christ can heal these wounds but there should be a fair amount of anger and guilt after all you did essentially take precious baby boy and half way castrate him. Im not exactly sure why the person who replied thinks you shouldnt feel bad because you should. after youve felt terrible then yes heal the wound but there should be a fair amount of grieving.

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    3. Wow adam, harsh much! Or did you not read Brittany's post and hear the remorse in her words. Sounds like maybe you need to start at the source of your bitterness and possibly forgive your own parents for doing the same to you as an infant?
      As for brittny so you made a mistake all you can do now is treasure your son and explain it to him someday, ask forgiveness and tell him that above all else he is loved and always will be. Not right to live in regret. Be an advocate speak out! Help pregnant moms make this decision by helping educate them. Don't let your regret hangaround your neck like a weight. Love that boy and reach out to others. And ddon't listen to Adam, he needs a therapist.

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  15. Hi there, we are from Germany and expecting a son. Here (at least in the mostly Christian or atheist part of society) it is not even discussed whether or not to circumcise our sons. They stay intact if there is no medical indication....

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