Every time, raising the subject of children raises the subject of birth control. And that raises the subject of “why does it matter?” as well as the subject of “is it anybody’s business?”
I’m never able to discuss the blessing of children without the subject crossing over into the details of birth control. And I think that’s a good indication that we really can’t separate the two. I’m not sure the issue would even be worthy of discussion if we could hold in one hand the general acceptance of a man-made birth control, and hold in the other the absolute blessing of children. But it seems difficult to do so. For the ability to prevent children has largely become the assumed responsibility to do so. That’s the heart of the issue I address.
(Since first writing, I thought of maybe an abbreviated explanation…it’s not birth control itself I’m against so much, but the undeniable consequence of its effects on our attitude toward children.) If I saw it as neutral–not affecting our hearts toward children, it wouldn’t even be an issue. But such is not the case.)
Please understand I struggle with drawing the lines. I am always asking myself these questions. So this post is my opinion regarding these two questions, and a request for yours.
In a thoughtful, respectful way, I challenge you to think about the answers. My posts are never meant to condemn people. But if at any time truth condemns, truth must answer.
(By the way, I know many of you who read are not Christians. I never discourage your reading, but to interject hateful, anti-God comments is not welcomed here. If you find this subject repulsive, perhaps you should try another blog.)
“Why does it matter?” and “Why is it anybody’s business?”
- As I alluded to earlier, it matters (to Christians) because we are a body, and what one member does affects another.
- It matters because if indeed God has an opinion on child-bearing and/or birth control, the church stands to reap blessing or curse based on its obedience to that Word.
- It matters because if we are commanded to “teach the younger women”, we better be teaching the truth which requires we know what the truth is.
- It matters because there seems to be a direct correlation between the rampant use of birth control and blatant “evils” in the church (and outside). The divorce rate, the rate of infidelity, the rate of STDs, and rate of teen promiscuity has sky-rocketed since the wide-spread acceptance of birth control.
- It matters because most artificial birth control has been proven to be abortifacient. For the Christian, this should matter immensely.
- It matters because the widely accepted practice of birth control has invariably affected the biblical message of “children are a blessing”. Bringing that to light doesn’t necessarily eradicate birth control, but help believers have a biblical response to children.
- It matters because if our thinking is wrong about children, then those who give this area to the Lord are often ostracized at best, and persecuted at worst. Instead of receiving the support and encouragement the body of Christ should afford, they are being burdened by the body.
These are a few–certainly not all–reasons I feel it is important to discuss birth control. And if you think I’ve been bold or over-stepping in my assertions to the church, consider what the early church leaders said about it: (the church at large was completely against the use of birth control, predicting all sorts of evils, all of which we have unfortunately seen come to pass.)
“Apart from childbearing the marriage chamber is a brothel . . . husbands are shameful lovers, wives are harlots.” St. Augustine
(Y’all just thought I was bold
(Added: I don’t agree with this quote entirely, just wanted to point out the boldness of the church in addressing this subject.)
“Pius was clear:
‘Any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin’ (CC, No. 56).
Paul was prescient when he noted that artificial birth control would “open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards” (HV, No. 17).There is no doubt that such unfaithfulness is on the rise as moral virtue declines. Indeed, artificial birth control has opened the way so wide and facilitated such a lowering of moral principles that Paul’s words seem but modest and understated.”
And this interesting note on the story of Onan, (the man who God struck dead upon his practicing “withdrawal”)…people have commonly blamed God’s killing him on breaking the brotherhood law, rather than practicing birth control, and I thought it was difficult to argue differently, until this–I had never read this before:
“The 38th chapter of Genesis tells the story of Judah, his sons, and Tamar. One of the sons, Onan, practiced the sin of contraception–withdrawal in this case–with Tamar, and the Bible tells us that God slew him because he had done an abominable thing (Gen. 38:10). It is recognized today that Judah, Onan, and another brother were all guilty of violating an ancient Eastern brotherhood law called the law of the Levirate. However, the punishment for violating that law was very mild and is spelled out in Deuteronomy 25:5- 10. Judah himself admitted his guilt (Gen. 38:26). It is therefore clear that the special punishment meted out to Onan was not just for the violation of the Levirate but rather for the way in which only he had sinned–his contraceptive behavior of going through the motions of the covenantal act and then “spilling his seed” (Gen. 38:9).
“Yes. Before 1930, no Protestant Christian church accepted contraception, sterilization or abortion. However, in 1930 the Church of England accepted contraception. Many churches followed that path, but there are still some Protestant churches that reject all forms of unnatural birth control.”
Again, it is not my intention to condemn people or make them feel bad..I have LOTS of friends who practice birth control–I never even think of condemning them.
Some say, “just let the Holy Spirit deal with people on this issue”. And He is quite capable of that. But when the church, through which we are supposed to receive instruction is teaching something contrary to God’s Word (i.e. the burden of children), the Holy Spirit would have to be really loud to be heard over the clamor. I don’t know many who have embraced God’s sovereignty over the womb without some human prompting or questioning…I don’t think the Spirit would have ever broken through my “noise” had it not been for some persistent voices challenging me to even “go there”.
(Besides that, we are repeatedly instructed to teach sound doctrine, and exhort one another in truth….lots of people like to forget that part of Scripture.)
And this, randomly and coincidentally, from a story I read to my children last night. I picked up a secular, middle school literature text book and read a story about the Amish. Here is a quote from it–it just struck me:
“The most important fact about the Amish family–which largely explains why the group’s population has kept increasing–is that its members look on children as a great blessing, and they have a lot of them.”
This spoke to me of an “if so, then” concept. No, it’s not that I’m so vehemently against any kind of birth control, it’s that it seems difficult to hold the love of it in one hand, and hold the love of children in the other. It only seems natural that if we really believe children are a blessing, generally speaking, we believe every one is, and we would desire them–at the very least, we should be happy to see other Christians with “a quiver full” of them.
Does our attitude and do our responses speak God’s heart to the world about children? Would Jesus have looked at a woman with eight in tow and said, “Woman, don’t you know what causes that?” (By the way, I am fully aware that God has given barrenness to some; and yet, these families are still fully able to embrace the blessing of children. Through supporting other families, adopting, foster home, etc. Just wanted to bring that up because it usually gets mentioned. My stance doesn’t “leave the barren woman out”, as God ordained it all.)
I question in love…