By Elizabeth Prata
A reader contacted me about the book Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. She said that the author promises a pain-free childbirth using name it and claim it techniques.
This reader is expecting her first child and is understandably concerned with the issue of childbirth. Friends were excitedly pushing the book on her, yet she understood that pain-free childbirth was not a biblical stance. She asked me to look into the book and review it.
Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize was originally published in 1993, and was again published in 2018. The book apparently is enjoying a resurgence. This is a shame, because Mize said “In my heart I knew there was a way to have a baby without pain and without fear.” (page 23). This inner heart-prompting was confirmed when she attended a Kenneth Copeland meeting where Copeland uttered a prophecy allegedly from the Lord promising no pain in labor to women who were expecting. Voila, a personal craving met a false prophecy and a word-faith book was born. Pun intended.
Here is a screen shot of page 21 where Mize said she first heard ‘Brother’ Copeland prophesy. He said ‘The Lord says’ which I found terrifying to read.
One Amazon reviewer of Supernatural Childbirth said that she failed in the approach to pain-free childbirth because she didn’t “have enough faith” and had “allowed fear in.” For the reviewer’s second pregnancy she had “built up her relationship with God” and she “knew He wouldn’t let her down.” Indeed, she said “I got exactly what I had asked for.”
Another reviewer gave the book one-star on the basis of being too charismatic, but then says she disagrees with the book because it IS normal for God to speak directly to you and tell you “where He wants you to have the baby.”
With confusing reviews like these that vastly misunderstand the basics of the faith, it is no wonder many become deceived and fall into a sphere like Kenneth Copeland’s name it-claim it milieu. I agreed with the reader who was troubled by claims made in this book based on just the scant information so far. I dug deeper.
Far from Name It/Claim It being a dead doctrine, the prosperity preachers are alive and well, and multiplying. As the sin of the world increases, it tags people who want more of what God can give materially than what He gives spiritually. These teachers are successful because they twist the word. People with unmortified personal cravings, lusts, desires cling to these statements and the false prosperity preachers gain followers.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (2 Timothy 4:3).
So what IS the prosperity gospel?
In their book, When Helping Hurts, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert note,
In other words, wealth and holiness are intrinsically and linearly connected: the more holy you are, the richer you will be.
At its core, the health-and-wealth gospel teaches that God rewards increasing levels of faith with greater amounts of wealth. Source
And not only wealth, but ease, healing, and trouble free living. In effect, they promise a King Midas touch, where with enough faith, everything one touches turns to gold.
The Pharisees are good examples of this theology. It was thought in the Old Testament that the holier a person was the more God blessed Him. It’s why Job’s friends were so insistent that Job must have committed a sin in order for him to have been so cursed by God. (Job 4:8). Unaware of the coming Gospel, they thought that visible blessing was a manifestation of internal holiness. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time took this philosophy of reaping and sowing to another level, even boasting in their holiness as the self-satisfied Pharisee who thanked God that he wasn’t like the poor tax collector over there. (Luke 18:9-14).
In the first place, one should never read a book based on any prosperity gospel or name-it claim it theology. This kind of theology is also known as Word Faith. Kenneth Copeland is not a brother and nothing he says should ever be taken seriously for even a moment. His ‘prophecies’ supposedly directly from the Lord are debunked here. By the Bible’s own standard, a failed prophet is no prophet of God.
As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent. (Jeremiah 28:9).
Of course none of Copeland’s prophecies have come to pass. The Bible explains when that happens, they were not of God-
And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:22).
There were false prophets back in the OT times and there are now. (Ezekiel 13:6, 2 Peter 2:1). We are to be watchful and careful about whose teaching we choose to absorb. Unfortunately, the Prosperity Gospel promoted by the seemingly long-lasting Kenneth Copeland is still going strong. Resist it and turn away from it.
Back to Mize’s book. She began with a heart-craving for release from pain in childbirth, heard Copeland supposedly confirm this fact in a spurious prophecy, and then went to the Bible to find proofs. She arrives at her false conclusions by cherry picking words like blessing and rescue and applying them to her theme, which she brought with her to the text. Hers is typical eisegesis. Eisegesis- when you bring a thought with you to the word of God and then find verses which support it. Exegesis is when you impartially go to the text to discover its meaning and draw it out (the ex– in exegesis).
In this book women are led to believe they have total control over their bodies and can command female body parts to obey their declarations (Word of Faith). Their failure in succumbing to pain in childbirth is “fear and lack of knowledge” according to the author. (page 32). I believe the pain is due to a very large object being expelled through a very small opening, and no accumulation of ‘knowledge’ is going to change that.
In direct contradiction to Mize, we see in scripture that we do not have control over our bodies. It is God who opens and closes wombs-
Eve in Genesis 4:1 declaring her son Abel was born ‘with the help of the LORD’
Hannah’s womb was closed by the LORD, 1 Samuel 1:5
Leah- God opened her womb Genesis 29:31
God opened Rachel’s womb, Genesis 30:22
The Lord enables Ruth to conceive by Boaz, Ruth 4:13
The LORD closed then opened the wombs of all the women in Abimelech’s house, Genesis 20:17,18
It is pride to say that we have control over our own bodies when the LORD clearly as Creator ordains these things. It causes blame and shame for women to be told that their labor pain is due to ignorance or lack of faith.
Mize’s proof-texting of the Bible revealed the following false interpretations. Early on in her book she states that the Hebrew women of Exodus 1 were giving birth easily and quickly, unlike the Egyptian women, because they are in covenant with God and quick and easy childbirth is part of the package of being covenant people. Yet, the text in Exodus 1:15 says nothing about pain free. Only quick. We also know from history that in succeeding generations Hebrew women travailed mightily in childbirth. Jesus notes this in John 16:21. It’s stated again in 1 Thessalonians 5:3. Isaiah compares persecution to a woman in labor, (Isaiah 13:8) and Micah uses the word anguish for a woman in labor. (Micah 4:9).
Mize also rejects the notion that the Egyptian midwives were lying about the Hebrew women delivering so quickly, as an excuse as to why the male babies had not been killed. Mize rejects the concept that they were lying but offers no proof. John MacArthur and RC Sproul both believe that the women were lying, but suffered no condemnation because they feared the LORD, as did Rahab, who lied also and received no condemnation.
Mize goes on to use 1 Timothy 2:15 as another proof text to support her unbiblical pain-free childbirth position,
Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
Mize defines the word ‘saved’ in the above verse as kept safe and sound, which is pretty close to the Strong’s definition of the Greek, I save, heal, preserve, rescue. So does it means that women in childbearing will always be kept safe and sound leading to a painless childbirth? It can’t, women die in childbirth all the time. Matriarch Rachel, married to Jacob AKA Israel, herself had an extremely painful labor (Genesis 35:17) and died in childbirth. (Genesis 35:18). Was this proof then she was not a covenant women? Does it mean Rachel had not claimed her painless birth by demonstrating enough faith?
The word saved in the verse above is indeed sozo, and it is commonly used throughout the NT to mean rescued, saved, healed, to preserve safe and unharmed. But in context, and context is everything, the entire verse in its passage actually is interpreted to mean that-
though a woman precipitated the Fall and women bear that responsibility, yet they may be preserved through that stigma through childbearing. The rescue, delivery, the freeing of women from the stigma of having led the race into sin happens when they bring up a righteous seed. ~The MacArthur New Testament Commentary
We see this same interpretation echoed in Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible 250 years earlier, (1830s)-
Notwithstanding she shall be saved – The promise in this verse is designed to alleviate the apparent severity of the remarks just made about the condition of woman, and of the allusion to the painful facts of her early history. What the apostle had just said would carry the mind back to the period in which woman introduced sin into the world, and by an obvious and easy association, to the sentence which had been passed on her in consequence of her transgression, and to the burden of sorrows which she was doomed to bear.
So no, indeed it is not true that women will have an easy or painless childbirth. But you see how it can be that if you engage in eisegesis and cherry pick one word out of context, and/or rely on one verse, you can easily make the case for any notion you have a desire to.
Let us get to the main verse before this becomes too long. Speaking of the Fall and the consequences women are to bear from it, in Genesis 3:16 God cursed women with a painful childbirth. Mize’s book would seem to say that if we are powerful enough in our faith, that we can overthrow God’s words and enjoy a pain free experience when delivering a child. Here is what God said-
To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16).
How on earth can this be explained away? How can my faith override the spoken declaration of God that was supposed to be for all time?
Mize here quotes the King James Version which uses the word sorrow instead of pain. All other translations use the word pain, and Strong’s in the Lexicon also uses the Hebrew word pain, too.
In this case, Mize used the word as it appeared in only one translation and ignored the definition of the word in Hebrew, explaining its meaning in English (sorrow). However, in a previous example (sozo=saved through childbearing) she used the word in Greek and the definition to make her case. Inconsistency in interpretive methods is typical of eisegesis. Proper hermeneutics calls for consistency in applying our interpretive methods.
The purpose of biblical hermeneutics is to protect us from misapplying Scripture or allowing bias to color our understanding of truth. GotQuestions: What is biblical hermenutics?
Yet the author blames the Church for misapplying the word in God’s curse to Eve as pain.
“The church has always wanted it to mean pain for Eve. Well, it doesn’t mean pain, it means what it says, sorrow, grief. My God didn’t put pain on them.” page 90
She is including Adam here too, in God’s curse to bring forth fruit of the land in toil and pain. The first rule of proper hermeneutics (science of interpretation) is to interpret the word literally. It means what it says in its plain meaning. God said that Eve will bring forth children in pain, and that is what it means. The following verses also mention that women have pain, agony, or anguish in childbirth-
It is hubris to be a lone woman purporting to correct thousands of years of previous Church interpretation. It is dangerous to re-interpret what God has said. It is unwise to blame the church for faulty reasoning. It is foolish to contravene thousands of years of experience of every woman who has ever given birth. Labor is painful. That’s how it is and will be until we enter the eternal state and all curses are reversed and there will be no more marriage or childbirth.
The author in her book relates visions that God has supposedly supplied her with and credits Him with speaking directly to her, putting His alleged words in quotes.
Mize admits that her delivery was not pain free, but better than the first. Her own admission is that the technique failed, but she still recommends the book wholeheartedly. I believe this is called ‘a blind spot.’
I’d advise women to steer clear of this book, which arrives at unwieldy conclusions, is riddled with charismania, (Mize recounts visions the Lord supposedly gave her) is inspired by a false prophet and rests on unstable foundations. (2 Peter 3:16). Not recommended.
I hope this review was also a discernment lesson in how people twist the word of God to make it say things it doesn’t. I’ve included some resources down below about proper interpretation, and also some books for expectant mothers more on the solid side.*
Proper Biblical Interpretation
How Should We Interpret the Bible, Part 1: Principles for Understanding God’s Word
Practical Principles of Biblical Interpretation
Justin Peters carefully, graciously, and biblically deconstructs the Word Faith movement in his series, Clouds Without Water. I recommend it. (Also on Youtube).
*I am not a mom and I am not very familiar with these authors below. I searched to the best of my ability on their stances and associations, and feel somewhat comfortable offering their books to you. If you know otherwise, please tell me. Also, as always, use your own discernment before making any choices.
Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, by Gloria Furman
Praying Through Your Pregnancy: A Week-by-Week Guide, by Jennifer Polimino
Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting by Catherine Claire Larson