Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology
Is Birth Control Biblical?
by Tony Warren
There are very few subjects that cause as much consternation and backlash in today's modern Churches as the teaching against birth control. And I believe the reason that there is such a strong reaction to the subject is the venal and self-centered lifestyles that characterize today's modern society. Most Christians of our day are more egocentric than Christocentric, and define birth control as a prudent act of compassion and common sense. Others (being only half-honest with themselves) dare to call it "a necessary evil." But the honest definition is that it is "the willful act of perversion of God's natural laws of procreation in the sexual union." Indeed, it is ironic that most Christians will readily admit that children are a blessing of God, but then they will just as readily confess that they use birth control to delay or altogether prevent this blessing from occurring. So the question is, "why would anyone work so hard to prevent what they admit is a great blessing of God?" Generally speaking, there are five reasons that Christians use for practicing birth control.
1. Because they want to prevent God from blessing a marriage with any children
2. Because they want to reduce the number of children God can give.
3. Because of an "alleged" inability to financially care for them
4. Because they want to escape the responsibility of child rearing.
5. Because it is "allegedly" a danger to the health of the mother.
To be quite frank, this modern practice is inherently evil. Because the object is obviously to oppose the divine will of God for the creation of Godly children (Genesis 1:28), and to use their own personal opinion (Proverbs 3:5) rather than God's precepts to govern what is best for us. In simple language, it perverts God's natural law of procreation, into the carnal and unnatural law of man's vain philosophy of creation management.
Though birth control and abortion are obviously two separate issues, it cannot be denied that both stem from the very same root of egocentricity. In other words, the very same vain and self-centered philosophies that thrive in the world, have now flooded our Churches. In fact, the exact same excuses are used (often word for word) in society's attempts to justify birth control as abortion. They are both full frontal assaults on the Biblical principles of responsibility and procreation. Controlling birth has come to be thought of as some sort of modern era necessity, rather than the corruption of the natural law that it is. And that in itself seems to imply that Christians are aware that this is a new teaching born out of modern times rather than God's laws. It is the offspring of dual careers, higher expectations for standards of living, and a modern culture that rejects God as final authority. This should give us all reason for pause, particularly those of the Biblical community who are not so quick to remove the old standards (Proverbs 22:28) that have served the Church well. For Christians more than anyone should know that the true believer is not to be guided by changing moral values, modernism, or by what has become fashionable in the Church community.
The History of the Church and Birth Control
The practice of birth control is so common today that it is probably something that most Christians simply assume is lawful for them to do. However, when we search through the scriptures we find that there is not one single passage that supports divine approval of any desire to control the number of God-given children. Nevertheless, theologians are quick top put forth an argument for this practice from scripture's silence. In other words, because God doesn't explicitly use the term "Thou shalt not use birth control,"' these men presume to postulate that we should not say it is unlawful. But arguments from silence are by definition based upon nothing, and are thus a very faulty defense. By analogy, God doesn't use the term "child pornography" either, but that doesn't mean that the silence of scripture confirms that it is wrong for Christians to say that it is a unlawful practice. For the law against it is explicitly (yes, not implicitly) in the scriptures, and just because someone says they don't actually see "their" word written, doesn't mean that God is not mocked, or that He will not judge. We are "obligated" to carefully search out these things in the scriptures, and the Spirit of God will enlighten us by laying truth upon our hearts through the careful reading of His word.
The fact is, birth control wasn't even a serious issue in the Church (like so many other modern day perversions of truth) until circa 1930. Churches universally condemned contraception as immoral and unbiblical. Control of birth was in the hands of God, and Christians, rather than rebel against it, humbly submitted to that control. It is only recently that even Reformed Churches have gone out of control and succumbed to this religious declension. So much so that it is difficult today for the Church to recognize that it is actually nothing more than man usurping or seizing control of the birth process from God. And if you think that comment unfair, consider the very terminology of "birth control." By definition it means man/woman wants to take or seize control of when life should happen. And that means to take control of something that has been in God's providence since the beginning of time. The problem is that the natural man wants to be his own god, to be able to rule himself, rather than be told by God what to do concerning this. The implication being, "lest God should mistake the burden of a child, with the blessing of a child." Of course, professing christians won't use that exact terminology, but that's only because they still want to be called Christian, and still live with themselves. The truth is, real Godly trust has gone the way of the Dinosaur, and very few Christians mourn its loss.
The self-lessness that has been the characteristic of the historical Christian Churches, has in modern times made a 180 degree turn. It is now a looming cloud of self-ishness wherein Christians believe it's all about us, and about what we want. It's no longer about what God says or what is His revealed will, it's about what is our will and what "we" think is best. And it has happened so quickly that many Christians are very surprised to learn that the history of the Church has always been solidly anti-birth control and anti-divorce. It's almost as if Christians today are living in a time-vacuum, where only what Pastors teach now has any real significance. But history tells a far different story. The great Reformers stood united with nearly all the Christian Church in opposing all forms of contraception. Men like Martin Luther (the reformer credited with beginning the Protestant Reformation) likened birth control to sodomy, declaring:
- "Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not."
"People who do not like children are swine, dunces, and blockheads, not worthy to be called men and women, because they despise the blessing of God, the Creator and Author of marriage"
Likewise, John Calvin (one of the most prominent theologians of the Protestant Reformation), clearly called it murder, stating that:
"The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring."
"..birth control is the murder of future persons."
Unlike those who rationalize it away in our day, these men understood the very mindset behind this act, and they didn't mince words about exactly what the act meant. No Christian group or Church of any kind approved of contraception until the early 20th century. It is only in our day of Christian degradation that preachers, in fear of losing members (and in their political correctness), tap dance around this practice or give approval in order to placate their parishioners.
The Synod of Dort of 1618, issued a Bible commentary which compared birth control to abortion, stating:
"This was even as much, as if he had (in a manner) pulled forth the fruit out of the mother's womb, and destroyed it."
No one needs to work very hard to testify of the great list of those who opposed birth control, because the list includes just about everyone of the historical Church. It is evident that all historical Church fathers unanimously opposed birth control. Since the beginning, the Church held that birth control was a clear unbiblical practice (for over 1900 years). All the Church fathers, Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant Reformers alike, all, opposed the use of birth control. It was in 1930 at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops that a break in this unanimous Historical Church teaching (Proverbs 22:28) occurred with their passing of Resolution 15. This resolution reads:
Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.Even in this beginning of debauchery you can hear the strong aversion to birth control. But the point is, from there in this little crack, the floodgates were opened. Though many Protestant denominations at the time vociferously denounced this move, it wasn't long before even these other Churches caved in to the pressures of modernity, and followed suit. What was once family relationships based on biblical precepts now switched to, "clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood," (whatever that means). No one really cared what it meant, because it was a convenient excuse to use in man's quest to circumvent God's precepts and limit births. And despite the trailer against, "methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience," that is exactly what it has grown to be used for. Another stark example of what happens once you open a small crack in the proverbial wall, or open the Pandora's box. Even if one's original motives may have been (humanisticly speaking) noble but misguided, it inevitably brings ruin. That is why we must give no quarter to the weakening of God's laws, or of making exceptions, because they inevitably lead to Church decline and apostasy. A small opening always leads to a gaping hole. The word of God must be strictly kept, and we must not deviate even an inch. This strict principle brings to mind the story of Uzza, who nobly (humanly speaking) put forth his hand to steady the Ark of the Covenant, as the Oxen stumbled:
Voting: For 193; Against 67.
1st Chronicles 13:9-10
The moral of the story being, The ark was a portrait of the Lord and God commanded that the Ark should not be touched. The Lord requires no help, and the law pointed to that. Uzza knew that He was commanded of God not to touch the Ark, but he thought that he was being noble (helping) by ignoring God's precepts in this instance. Man always wants to find an exception. The result of such disobedience was not commendation for his heart being in the right place (humanly speaking), but swift and sure condemnation and judgment for his disobedience. This is a lesson for us all. We cannot practice "situation ethics" when dealing with God's laws and principles. They are there for a reason, and we don't neglect or change them because we feel sorry for someone, or because one might endure some hardship, or because one is poor, or someone is very young. God's laws are not there for the sake of the one, but for the preservation of the whole. God will take care of the one without man's help, and without man's wresting or ignoring scripture. Not a sparrow falls to the earth without God saying so, and we are more important to Him than a bird. But once we open that Pandora's box, even just a crack for some perceived compassion, it is very hard (if not impossible) to close it. And that's just what happened at the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, which had previously in both 1908 and 1920, condemned contraception. Just ten years later they broke and opened up that box a crack, and the eventual result is that the Church is now in shambles with regards to this historical and Biblical teaching, the family and even marriage.
- "And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.
- And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God."
Because Christians have been brainwashed and think so much like the world, there is now a great disdain and disrespect for motherhood, and a distaste for rearing children. The unfaithful leaders of the Church were (humanly speaking) just trying to ease some hardship, but what they neglected was their betrothal to Christ, and thus obedience to that Word of God. It was very simply the Church succumbing to cultural, social, and moral change. It was the Church getting in step with the popular secular ideas of the day. Effectively, what these Bishops at the Lambeth Conference did was to declare that the Church had been totally wrong for the last 1,900 years since Christ with regards to birth control. And they would put forth a resolution endeavoring to correct this error of the Church. This arrogance was without so much as one single scripture that supported man controlling birth or limiting the number of blessings of children. This not only undermined the scriptures, but the historic Church teaching, and also the historic Protestant principle that the "scripture alone" is the ultimate authority over Church doctrine and rule of faith (Sola Scriptura).
It is indeed disgraceful today that Protestant, and even Reformed Protestant opposition to birth control, has largely become non-existent in our day. The opening of the Pandora's box is just one of many steps which led to a weakening of Christian self-lessness, character, morality, and it brought a degeneracy to Christian family life. What followed was the dismissal of the doctrine of the sanctity and indissoluble nature of Covenant marriage. Thus doctrines against divorce were also weakened. It wasn't long after this that the Christian family unit lay in ruins, so that there is hardly any difference between the Christian divorce rate and the world's. And the response by the Church leaders who gave rise to these changes is (generally) to scratch their collective heads, denying having any part in this change of climate and attitude.
The Biblical Ethics
What about the biblical ethics of ignoring over 1900 years of Church history, and arbitrarily deciding that we have the right to prevent the natural cycle of birth, without one single verse of scripture which clearly supports such a change.
he inheritance of the righteous is from their father, and we are not to deviate from it to another's inheritance. If our fathers gleaned their doctrines from the word of God, and wouldn't go beyond the boundary of what was in scripture, why would we remove the marks of those bounds? The answer (unfortunately) is that modern man has developed a prideful contempt for the Lordship of Christ over them in all things. He really doesn't want to be a bondservant, he wants control of his own life and neglects to surrender his crown that Christ is Lord in this area of his life. In essence, he surmises that God won't be vigilant or understanding of his wants, and so decides to seize control of the creation process for himself. In this he is replacing the will of God, with the will of man. And when that happens, man is destined for a fall (Proverbs 16:18-19). Can man understand better than God can what we are and are not able to handle in our lives? This seems to be the prideful and even subconscious conclusion reached in the Church today.
- "Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it. Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."
I'm sure I'll receive the typical letters protesting that this is an unfair way to put it. But truly, I don't believe any of it is unfair at all. It may be a brutally honest way to put it, but it is hardly unjust or unfair. The unadulterated truth is that our lives, our time, our money, our talents, our efforts, and indeed our very bodies, belong to Christ. The problem is, many people today have begun to idolize themselves, or positionally place themselves on the throne to presume to speak for God, and they simply will not accept Christian admonition. They want what they want and simply will not be dissuaded by the facts. Let us not forget that we are supposed to be stewards, bondslaves/bondservants, and God has 'promised' that He would both provide for us, and that He would not put upon us more than we are able to bear. People today just don't want to hear that anymore. They start to murmur (as the children of Israel in the wilderness) the minute faithful Christians bring up any idea about returning to faithful precepts concerning birth control or marriage and divorce. But that is just an invitation to dissater.
1st Corinthians 10:10-15
It is truly said, "we learn from Church history, that we do not learn from Church history." These things are examples written for our admonition, that we not serve man-created gods, but serve the God of the Bible. If we want divine direction we should trust in the word of the Lord, rather than our own words, arguments or vain imaginations. For 1900 years the Church had no problem with bearing what God put upon them, but somehow modern Christians (who ironically have things so much better) have a great problem with this historical truth. And they have, for all intents and purposes, abandoned trust in God in this area of their lives. But once trust is gone, true belief is sure to follow.
- "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
- Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
- Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
- There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
- Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
- I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say."
Another protest that some Christians give concerning this is that, "Procreation is not the only reason for sexual relations." To that I would agree, but it is the major reason. The sexual act clearly has two purposes. The first is for the creation of God fearing offspring, and the second is for emotional satisfaction and fulfillment when bonding in the "one flesh" intimacies of the marriage union sexual relationship. Birth control idolatrously abrogates the first, and it elevates the second to the position of the sole purpose. This is a deliberate perversion of what God intended from the beginning. The sexual bonding is an expression of the God blessed intimacy between two people, in the marriage covenant institution. Two become one flesh, indivisible because they are no longer looked upon as separated before God. And this marriage bond, demonstrated in the love of the husband for the wife, God uses as a symbol for the love of Christ for His Church. The two purposes in marriage of bonding, and procreation were both ordained to work together, hand in hand, the fulfillment of the will of God that we multiply and fill the earth. But now man has cheapened God's law by his desire for "cheap" intimacy over Godly rich intimacy. In love of himself, he (like Onan) wants all the pleasure of this, without the responsibility or intimacy's natural result. I remember when young men looked forward to responsibility, but now they disdain it as if it were filth. The Christian man and woman have lost that commitment that, "in all things," we do to the glory of God (1st Corinthians 10:31).
Should Christians use birth control? The unpalatable answer is no. But what couples in the Church are effectively saying is, "we don't trust God with our lives, because He'll give us more children than we can handle." It's really no more complicated than that. Sure, many rationalize and try to complicate the issue with medical reasons, time constraints, financial security, etc., but you know as well as I do (if you are honest with yourself) that over 95 percent of birth control in the Church has nothing to do with medical or finances. When God is not the head of the body, rationalizations follow and the body is without authority. And without leaning to scriptural authority, we get these types of perversions in the Church. A Church without a head is directionless. Ehat that means is, what God says is a good thing (procreation) is now seen as something abhorred and at least not desired. When selfishness is the common denominator, Jesus Christ is not the center of our lives, nor the head of the body. We are in spiritual idolatry where the true love of God has grown cold and is replaced by a warm love of self. And in this we comfort ourselves with the supposition that our action of preventing God from working in us the normal act of creation, is really a virtuous and Christian thing. We take our eyes off Christ, and put them on ourselves so as to ignore the Image of Christ, the Word of God teaching that children are an unmitigated blessing. We won't accept admonition, nor honestly consider the practice invalid Biblically, nor come to recognize the bottom line purpose of birth control. The question is, can it be Biblically ethical to play God and decide when someone will be born, or not born, or was that decision meant to be in God's providence? It's a question which grates upon the nerves of those who "don't like" to hear the query because of the obvious answer. Where is it written that man should control the time of creation? What chapter and verse is this teaching found? And if God didn't speak this as truth, what idol are we worshipping that did?
Surely it wasn't long ago that we viewed children as an asset. But now, because we have bought into society's managed Parenthood mentality, and the modern disdain for responsibility, they are viewed as a liability, a hindrance, a nuisance, or a burden. Parents with large families are looked at as if they are uneducated, naive, gullible, or foolsih. This is how far we've fallen from the faith, that children are now inconveniences that interfere with our lifestyles, rather than the heritage that we shouldn't be able to get enough of.
Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them? Could God be wrong, or has man simply replaced God in the temple with an image of himself? The question is, do we believe man or God? Are Children a reward, a heritage of the Lord, or are they the curse and burden that modern society works so hard at promulgating? To the faithful, they are a gift from God. To the unfaithful, they are a dept. The faithful are happy to have their quiver full of them, while the unfaithful literally cringe at such a horrid thought. Today's mothers, by rejecting this gift out of hand, in essence are saying to God, "I don't want your gift, because I don't look at it as a gift." And when we get right down to it, isn't that the real problem? They just don't want this heritage, they lust for leisure and convenience instead. Christians, in greater numbers, are falling in line with the reprobates, not only on this, but on other sticky issue and doctrines as well.
- "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
- As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
- Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
If God is the giver of children, then birth control is man taking God down a notch, making sure that He doesn't give them anymore. It is the determination of man to oppose the divine will. For God's will of blessing a relationship with children to be done, He will "quite literally" have to work a miracle within the body, to override man's contraceptive measures. To be sure, God both can, and has done this, but are we to tempt God this way? Must God go to such lengths in order that His divine will in creating children within the Christian family come to fruition? Is this what Christianity and service to God has come down to? Has man deteriorated so that he is seeking to put up roadblocks to God's natural creation process, hoping God doesn't break through? Sadly, this is exactly where we are today. It is not natural planning, but decidedly unnatural when we choose to go against the God designed mechanisms of the human body. God created women to be fruitful, so when we don't want to follow that we are forced to do unnatural things to the body so it does not work the way God divinely planned it to work. That's not rhetoric, that's fact
Like most today, Bildad had great thought and pretensions to abundant wisdom, but how had he shown it? Is true wisdom about doing what is our will to do in the flesh, or it is really about doing wht is the will of God in the Spirit of Christ. Is it about sacrifice or satisfaction? Some theologians have even begun to teach that God is not responsible for putting children in the womb, claiming the real responsibility belongs to the couples involved and God had nothing to do with it. But in order to believe this, they must either totally ignore the myriad of scriptures that declare that God does take responsibility for the cretion of life, or they have to privately interpret those Scriptures to mean just the opposite of what they say. For all scripture reveals that the creation of the fruit of the womb is God's providence. The teaching against this truth may be popular in our day, but it is not Biblical and has not ever been the historical Church teaching. But whether we receive what is written or not depends upon whom is sitting in the Temple as our Authority. It is either the Word of God, or the modern image man has placed there.
- "How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?"
Note the words of men that "God does not put babies in the womb," and the diametrically opposed words of the living God that He indeed is the one "who forms those in the Womb." Many believe that the greatest creation of God was the earth, heaven, or universe, but truly it was man whom God put therein. It can only be arrogance that leads men to say God doesn't create children in the womb, but wisdom and spiritual understanding reveals He did. He created both the good and the bad. He is the sovereign creator that He raises up kings and he puts down kings. Without His say so, not one child is born, not one child will die, and not one sparrow will fall to the earth. For even the very hairs of our head are numbered. Nevertheless, His divine sovereignty over all does not mean that we can tempt Him by attempting to prevent the creation of children. Nor by rationalizing that it is lawful because God can cause a pregnancy anyway, because He sovereign. That would be akin to saying, "since no child dies except God allow it, we'll allow abortions, because if it's not God's will, that child won't be aborted." It's totally ridiculous logic, and the callous action of tempting God. And likewise, so is the argument that God can circumvent birth control, if He wants.
- "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations."
God didn't only form Jeremiah in the womb, He formed us all. This truth is far less palatable in our day than it once was. Nevertheless, it is the truth of God's word. We can play god, feigning that it's our decision when to create a life, even thinking to thwart God's creation plans by circumventing the natural (God Ordained) blessings of life, but God is not mocked. The humble faithful Christian will surrender to the authority of the word of God, understanding that it is Him, and not us who creates in the womb.
- "Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not One fashion us in the womb?
- "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life."
The choice seems clear. We can continue to rationalize and deny what is clearly in the scriptures, or we can abide by the word of God and admit that God forms us all in the womb, the same as He did Jeremiah. It always gets back to that one age-old question. Who is our authority, and whom are we going to believe? Will it be the word of God, or the humanistic rationalizations of men?
- "JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments."
Has the child come forth from the womb and the Lord has not done it? We do God a great disservice denying that it is His call, or that He is the ruling creation power. Sure, we want to wrest that power from God that our own will be done, but has what God said become a lie?
Likewise, shall the man formed say to God that formed him, "you have not really done it?" Shall couples attempting to thwart what God can form declare, "He does not really do it?" Is this language I use unfair? No, it's an honest and straightforward evaluation of the issue. Only in the mind of man is it unfair because he doesn't want to face this question honestly. He doesn't want to accept the first principle that God, and not couples, is the one who forms, or not form children in the womb. From the beginning of time God had control of birth, until our day when man in his obstinate heart decided that it would be better for him if he controlled the blessings of children. And after he teaches this rebellion, he smiles, wipes his mouth and says in the old mantra of old, "..what evil hath we done?"
- "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
- Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"
There is no command not to use birth Control
The declaration that there is no explicit command against it, and therefore it is in the realm of Christian liberty, is another excuse that is without Biblical foundation. Because when God gave the very first command to man, it was a command that is 'antithetical to birth control.'
You cannot have a command by God that is the exact opposite of birth control, while at the same time profess that there is no command against birth control, because that makes no sense. Christians are commanded to fulfill one of the purposes of covenant marriage, which is to beget children. The command of God to man is to "be fruitful," multiply and fill [malé] the earth. That very first command of God has 'never' been abrogated. For the Christian is to bring forth Godly children with joy, teaching them of obedience and rejoicing in this blessing of posterity. But some Christians have put forth the retort, "but this does not mean that man is to go on multiplying once the earth has been filled." This of course presupposes that the earth is filled, and that God left it up to man not only to decide that for himself, but also to decide how much he should limit the creation of children. This as if man could ever decide righteously (being desperately wicked and having no good in Him). To be fruitful and multiply was not a suggestion, it was the first command. By virtue of this fact, God has indeed spoken against birth control for His people.
- "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
There are those who reluctantly accept this truth, yet distressfully reply, "yes, but this was a command to Adam and Eve, Noah and Israel, but not to us today." The answer to that is simple, Adam and Eve couldn't fill the earth, nor could Noah. The command was to them and their progeny who would listen to the word of God and abide by it. God knows this world is evil, but God's children are supposed to be led of the Spirit to be the light of the world. For a world like this needs righteous families with lots of righteous children as a heritage, and God has instructed us to bring forth this righteous seed. And if we, as Christians, do not do it, who will? It will be in the natural process of assimilation that the Godly will diminish, and the wicked will increase if we are not fruitful and multiplying. The children of Israel didn't multiply in Egypt simply by coincidence, it was God breathed. And God also accelerated the birth of children to His people Israel to make a great nation, a representation of His true family. God knows what He is doing even when we do not. As Godly children decrease, the ungodly increase. And birth control among Christians is just another brick in the wall separating God from man.
In short, there indeed is biblical mandate against birth control. Both in the definition of what it is (Preventing God from producing Godly seed), and in rebelling against God's first command to men to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Birth control is antithetical to God's word, and it is effectively the carnal reply to God's people, "do not be fruitful, and do not fill the earth, but limit the number of children of Israel." When one cannot understand that, it is only because he doesn't really want to understand it.
We can't afford them, so we shouldn't have them
This is usually simply nothing but self-serving rhetoric, so let's not be coy about it. When we really get down to the real issue, it is not really a question of economics, it's a question of will. Despite our propensity for complaining, we are by far the most affluent society in human history, and moreover, we have one of the lowest birth rates. So this, "we can't afford them" line is quite obviously contrived. This lack of trust in worrying if God will provide is something that is new to rebellious man.
This murmuring about God providing is a convenient excuse, and is simply a demonstration of the lack of faith in God. He has always provided. Sure, we can continue to kid ourselves, but it's not even debatable. When man doesn't want something, he will inevitably find an excuse that he can use to rationalize his action in not receiving it. It's a tactic almost as old as dirt. God is not an impotent God, He has always provided for His people, and if He creates a child in the womb, He will provide us with both the time and the money necessary to care for it. Maybe not in the affluent lifestyle that today passes for normal, but He will provide. From the beginning of time He has done so with much poorer people than there are today.
- "Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
- Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?"
In all the years of the world God has never let His people down. The truth is, it's not really about our ability to be able to provide, the real thorny issue is how they will take away from our own pleasure. Blow away all the smoke and that "is" the real issue. It permeates every aspect of this modern age. There has been, and continues to be a growing social pressure on couples not to have more than two children, and to look upon many children as both undesirable, and a sign of ignorance. There has been a stigma placed on those who have more than one or two, that they are backward and uneducated. But in the end, no one will be able to hide their sin from God behind reviling, carnal reasoning or philosophical rationalizations.
- "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
To the world, you may seem backward in your obedience to God, but to the Potter, you will be traveling in the right direction.
- "Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
- Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?"
The world complains, "In this day and age, a large family is no a real asset for most people." The idea being, why would anyone want a large family? Why indeed, with the selfish attitude of the spoiled group of individuals who care only about their standard of living and their lifestyle on this earth. Their mind is not on Christ, but upon their second car, their cell phones, their expensive toys, their new carpet, or their 200-channel cable. These are the people we call modern Christians, and the things we (incredibly) call, necessities of life. Our children have been given way too much already without earning it. They don't have too few of the material things, they are (generally speaking) spoiled rotten. One reason why large Christian families of old tended to be a more responsible, tight-knit, hard-working family, is because they were not as spoiled, could relate to hardship, cooperation, responsibility, sacrifice and siblings, because they've been around it, and helped care for children. Why would modern society think this a bad thing? When you have to struggle to get something, you will appreciate it all the more.
When we start having children based upon how much they can do for us, or how much they will take from us, then we've missed the whole Biblical point. And I'm sorry to say that it appears that our Christian Churches have to a large degree, missed the point of the blessings God says are in children.
One of the most ridiculous and indeed ludicrous rationalizations of all, is this whining about how we do not live in a world where it is possible to afford to take care of them. Americans never whine about affording or being able to care for anything until children are mentioned. Isn't it amazing (at least to me) that we live in a world where it is impossible to take care of more than 2.3 children, but we can care for our cars, homes, vacations, air conditioners, new carpets, bank accounts, college funds, ad-nauseum? Are all these things of more value than the children of the Lord? Are they of more importance than bringing our children up in the fear and nurture of the Lord? Apparently, to most folks they are. This, "poor me" attitude is disingenuous. We are the richest country in the world, and even our poor would look like the blessed compared to the genuinely poor of the world. Ironically, some even use these poor of the rest of the world to justify their not having children. They say that we cannot leave it up to God in our overpopulating the world, because that's irresponsible. They talk about trusting God in the area of finances, in health, and in jobs. But these same people recoil violently at the biblical teaching to trust God in the area of having Children. They simply will not submit to God's will in child bearing, which is one of the most important aspects of our lives, after bringing the gospel. Strangely enough, this one area of their lives they want to retain lordship over. God can be Lord of their lives in accepting a job, choosing a Church, in finances, and in politics. But when it comes to children, effectively it's, "hands off God, I'll make my own decisions based not on scripture, but upon what I think is best for me." The same selfish attitude that people have demonstrated in their support of abortion. i.e., "it's my body, I'll do what I want, because I don't believe it's wrong."
1st Corinthians 6:19
A body with two heads is an abomination. A temple with two rulers is confusion. And we cannot both be Lord of our own lives, and have Christ as Lord of our lives. To be sure, the Holy Spirit within us does not tell us that we need to prevent births because it will cramp our lifestyle, or we can't afford it, or because they are too much trouble for us. We tell ourselves this lie. Heaven forbid we should lay this justification at the feet of God.
- "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
Does anyone actually think that people had it better 2000 years ago, and they could abide by God's Laws, but we feign ourselves so poor now that we can't afford it? As stated, when people don't want something, they can always find a rationalization why they shouldn't have it. e.g., abortion isn't selfishness and taking a life, it's now portrayed as actually having compassion for the unborn, and as preserving the quality of life. And divorce is no longer a separating of what God has joined together, it's actually portrayed as a God ordained separating of what was never meant to be joined in the first place. They say God didn't really mean that men were to have headship over women, it was just Paul speaking because of the culture and times that he lived in. Black is now White, Hot is now Cold, and Up is now Down. Nevertheless, the adage applies that, "you can say a tree isn't wood, but it will still burn." Likewise, God is not mocked by perversion of truth, He discerns between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and He knows the heart of man better than man does. Ultimately, man is not getting away with anything by his rationalizations.
Common sense and God given wisdom teaches us to family plan
There was a time when Christians believed there was no difference between common sense, and what the Bible said. They were deemed, one and the same as it was common sense to accept what the Bible said. Likewise, wisdom was found in the word of God, not in the social workers of society. Birth control is not only absent from God's word (apart from God's controlling it), it is antithetical to its collective teachings. This "so called" common sense and wisdom to know birth control is good, is nothing but secular humanism. It's the same old-fashioned "will of man" that has always taken offense at God's precepts. We can try to hide the truth of this rebellion under a facade of words like, "common sense, good intentions, and God given wisdom" if we like. But God looks upon the heart, and He knows the true motives of men better than those men who are deceived by their own lusts.
Who sees us, who knows us, who can look beyond the rationalizations? God can, and He does! We can say right is wrong, and wrong is right, and we can say birth control is a blessing of the Lord, but those are just our private interpretations. We can claim that too many children are a hindrance to Godliness, when God says it's a heritage, but surely this turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay. It's not God given wisdom, it is the wisdom of the world, and the spirit of disobedience working within man to pervert the truth. The truth that this is not our home, we are strangers and pilgrims here, just passing through. Some Christians are getting far too comfortable here.
- "Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
- Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?
Tue wisdom teaches us to "number our days," not our children, that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom. This life is just a way station, we are only servants here working for Christ. Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
- "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
And that is what many of today's Christians have forgotten as they treat this world "as if" it is all there is, and that having many children will get in the way of their enjoying "this life" to the fullest. They are self-centered, instead of God-centered. Our true purpose is to serve God, not to serve ourselves. Applying our hearts and numbering our days means to treat every day like it was the last, heaping up treasures in heaven which moth does not eat, nor rust corrupt. Children are a heritage of the lord, and God's children take that declaration to heart. There is an old German proverb that says:
"Many children make many prayers, and many prayers bring much blessing."Now there was a man who had the right idea. Sadly, today we are constantly bombarded with quaint little colloquialisms like, "we shouldn't be pumping out babies just to fulfill religious doctrine," but that should not be dissuasive to us. Even though we hear this from those professing serious Christianity, and not from obvious reprobates, we should not let it be a stumbling block to us.
Will taking this action cause us to be looked down upon by society as religious fanatics, foolish, illiterate, or even animalistic? Yes, most likely. But it has always been the lot of the true Church to be reviled and looked down upon. If we can't handle that, we need to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith (2nd Corinthians 13:5). Because as Jesus said, in the world, we "shall" have tribulation, and "woe are you when all men speak well of you." If the world started saying, "I am absolutely right, and people shouldn't practice birth control," that is when I would begin to worry. The world doesn't want to hear the truth, and that includes a good percentage of the corporate Church today.
We need to face the reality that secular humanism has crept up from the world into our Churches. But the real irony is that it is professing Christians that were the ones holding the door open for it. By rationalizing away God's precepts, they became friends with the world and at enmity with God.
Another thing that we keep hearing is how God gave us a mind to think, and what those who have the mind of Christ would do. As I was told by one Christian, "we have to use our own heads in this, and understand that God did not create fools or irrational people." This is true. Nevertheless, there are fools and irrational people in the Church and they are most notably, those who do what is right in their own eyes, thinking that they are wiser than God. It is those who "think" they know better than He does what is best for them.
Yes, God didn't create fools, nevertheless, there are fools who grow from what God has created. They are, by biblical definition, men and women who think that what seems right in their own eyes is the prudent and wise thing to do. Those who think that we should decide for ourselves, rather than obediently follow what is written in God's word. On the other hand, the wise hearken unto the counsel of the Lord.
- "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise".
- "The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall."
Wise counsel is not in my words, or some other theologian's words, it is the word of the living God received as the truth. Anyone can (in a prideful and arrogant spirit) make an excuse for not hearkening to the counsel of the Lord, but humility and meekness is the fruit of the Spirit. Again, it should not go unnoticed that all these excuses are the very same excuses and reasons that people give for not condemning abortion. i.e., that God didn't make any fools, that He gave us brains to think it out and do what is best, that the world is overpopulated, that people can't afford more kids, for health reasons, or because it's their own body under their own control. It's the same old game under a different name, but the rationalization is direct from the foolish heart of man. A disobedient and desperately wicked heart that says children are an unwanted burden, and that we are justified in desiring freedom from that burden. Carnal man searches himself for answers, while Christians, by Grace of God, search the word of God for answers.
- "Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end."
Those who are transformed of the Spirit to follow the mind of Christ will want to earnestly do the will of God, not make every rationalization for preventing birth. The Spirit is grieved when we read God's word declaring that He forms us in the womb, and our mind and thoughts are that we should have that authority. The mind conformed to Christ doesn't read God's command to be fruitful and multiply, and that children are a heritage of the lord, and degrade it with modernist rhetoric about "pumping out babies just to fulfill religious dogma." For the mind of Christ is spiritual, and not antithetical to itself. It is antithetical to the natural or carnal mind.
- "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
1st Corinthians 2:14-16
How do we know we have the mind of Christ? It is made manifest when we keep His word and receive the things of God. We will have a fervent desire to be obedient to commands that seem as foolishness to most others. To the natural man, allowing God to control birth is gullible and foolish. But man's foolishness is God's Wisdom, and man's wisdom is foolishness to God.
- "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
- But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
- For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1st Corinthians 3:19
Is accepting the control of birth that is in God's providence foolish, or is having more than a few kids animalistic as charged? God Forbid! The truth is, animals do "whatever they want to do." Likewise, the beast called carnal man does the exact same thing. Which is why He's called a beast in scripture. However, a true Christian is not a brute beast that he will do whatever he wants, when he wants to do it. This is what separates the lawful man from the man without law. One does "what God says" and the other makes excuses. In other words, one has the mind of Christ to do as the Spirit leads, and the other does whatever "he" thinks is right in his own eyes.
- "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."
The man of God doesn't do whatever is right in his own eyes, he does what is commanded in the law. This is seen as foolishness by the world, but that's what separates the new creature from the two footed, clothes-wearing beasts of the earth. The beasts that want to wrest control from God that they have all the pleasures of the sexual union, and none of the results or responsibilities. Generally speaking, even an animal is better than that. A professing Christian once said to me:
- "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits."
"if those who are servants of God and are married should inquire of God as to how many children they can afford or should have, then let God deal with them on an individual basis."That's all well and good, but God is not speaking from the mountains in a smoke today. God is not speaking from the burning Bush giving directions and instruction. God speaks through His Holy word. The way we inquire of God today is by reading His word and abiding by what it says as the rule of law and guidance for our lives. God could have very easily said to the Church, "if you cannot afford many Children, curb your activity or use your own judgment of what seems right in your own eyes." But God not only didn't do that, all throughout scripture we see children as a blessing of God, and the larger number of children, the greater blessing from the Lord it is seen as. The women of the Bible were overjoyed when they had many Children. It was a source of Godly pride, not a source for ridicule and disdain as it is today. We should understand that it is not the Bible that has changed, it's man's attitude towards the Bible. God's word is immutable and doesn't change in accordance with the times.
Moreover, we don't ask the Lord how many children we should have in accordance with the times, God will give us the number of Children he wants in accordance to His will. He always has, and He always will. Even in the midst of total rebellion against His sovereignty. This whole idea of, "I'll ask God," as if God is in the closet and going to speak from a smoke like the Wizard of Oz, is ultimately self-serving. We don't ask God, God will give to us the number of children He wishes. That is the way it has been since the beginning until modern times of rebellion.
1st Chronicles 25:5
Had Heman lived in our day, most of today's professing Christians would seek to deny God gave him these children, and self-righteously call him irresponsible for having so many kids. This is because they have a cultural and social worldview, rather than a Biblical view of the world. Did God give Heman all these children to financially or physically burden him? The answer is no. God did this as a blessing, and the historical Church received these blessings with joy. Yet it amazes me how professed Christians today will vehemently deny that God is the giver of children, and effectively reject all teaching that they are a blessing. Even as they read all the clear scriptures that declare it. The question then is, what does that say about the Church and the condition of the heart? It's not an issue of God putting on us more than we can handle, because the faithful have always handled it. They believed God, and He has already said that he wouldn't put more on us than we can handle.
- "All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters."
1st Corinthians 10:13
Modern Christianity says, "wrong God, you've put on me more than I can bear, and I won't have it!" It's like the old parable of how we are sent into a room full of crosses to select one for ourselves. Do we select the smallest one we can find? Well, yes, that is what we would do "naturally," but is that the cross God wants us to bear? That is the real question. Shall we be the natural man and do what the natural man would do, or are we a different creation from the natural man. Do we have a King, or are we without a King where everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes? Are we our own kings who sit and rule in God's Temple, or is God seated and we ruled over by Him? Do we go our own way, or do we go as God provides? All these questions basically ask, "are we children of God, or are we children of the world?" When the Church becomes just like the world, then the Church is committing spiritual fornication. Christ bethrothed us to be a woman "set apart" for the service of God. Not proud in our own lusts like the world, but humble and obedient where His Grace is sufficient. If we submit ourselves to God's will, ultimately, nothing but good will come from it.
- "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Humility means putting others first and obeying God as a lowly servant. I have had some women protest that it is easy for me to say these things, because I'm a man. I address this objection with a sound, no. It is not easy for me to say these things. What would be easy is for me to fall into line with the vast majority of the Church that is for Birth control. Nor am I unsympathetic to those with the greater part of rearing children. Nevertheless, we are to take our eyes off ourselves, put them on Christ, and He will see that we are able to be faithful. Nor is having more children easy for the man, or husband, as some charge. And this is particularly true in our day. Parenting is a shared responsibility, and the truth be known, it is probably more likely that men are as adamant against having more children as women. Many even more so. And for some of the same reasons, the highest of which is selfishness. It's a lot of trouble, extra time, care, and extra money going out which they'd rather use on themselves. Many Christians would rather spend an hour watching a drama or three hours watching a football game, than one half hour rearing their children. No, men don't generally want more children today anymore than women do. This truly has become "The me generation," an age of selfishness. Men or women, black or white, Jew or gentile, it's all about self, and gender has nothing to do with it.
- "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
- Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
- But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
- Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
The Onan episode was not judgement for birth control?
The story of Tamar and Onan (Genesis 38) is an example that is often used to show that God's wrath is upon those who would practice birth control. Tamar, who was married to Er, had no children when her husband Er died. But there is a law illustrated in Deuteronomy that commands his brother to raise up seed in his stead.
Therefore according to law, Er's surviving brother Onan is commanded by Judah (their father) to have intercourse with Tamar to raise up children for his brother's house.
- "If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
- And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel."
The first recorded act of birth control, and God took drastic mortal action to let us all know that this act was abhorrent to Him. In the historic Church for over 1900 years, there has never been controversy over what this meant, but in modern times there are those seeking to rationalize this action away for self-serving purposes. Those who choose to ignore the obvious, and make the wholly subjective claim that God didn't actually kill Onan because of the birth control action (spilling semen on the ground), but because He disobeyed.
- "And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.
- And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.
- "And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also."
First of all, He didn't disobey the command to go into her, the disobedience came in that 'after He did this,' He practiced contraception (birth Control or prevention of conception). You cannot separate the contraception from the command to go into her that she conceives, unless for some reason we are predisposed to doing so. Second, the penalty for mere disobedience in this matter was not death, but that he should have his shoe loosed from his foot, and the woman spit in his face, and thereafter he be known as The house of him that hath his shoe loosed, as is illustrated in Deuteronomy.
And so it is clear that he was not struck down because he disobeyed taking the woman and raising up seed. There was a law governing that. But because He took her and then practiced birth control. This is what displeased God. Onan, just as those professing Christians today, want to enjoy all the pleasure of sexual relations, but did not 'want' any of the results or responsibility for it. Does that sound familiar? And God wants us to know that this brought His wrath upon Him. To try to obfuscate the issue of this episode by saying it was only because He disobeyed God, is spurious. If He hadn't gone into her at all, he would have still disobeyed God, but as God inspired it to be written, it wasn't an offense that called for this action. The penalty was to be called the loosed shoe. Obviously, the death penalty was because after he went in unto her, in rebellion against God's law he spilled his semen on the ground. It was not because He didn't obey Judah or God's law, there was a measured response for that, it was because after he did, He spilled it on the ground (controlling birth). And the 'proof' of this is that if he had went in unto her, and not practiced birth control, there would be no law broken. Many people disobeyed God, including the elect, but God didn't strike them down dead on the spot. Such actions are reserved as 'illustrations' for special cases, as with the episode of the oxen stumbling (1st Chronicles 13:9-10). i.e., there is a special lesson there, as there is a special lesson here. And let he who hath the Spirit, and an ear to hear it, hear it.
- "And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
- Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
- Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
- And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed."
The Holy Spirit leads us to do this, to better serve the Lord?
One of the lowest rationalizations is that some Christians are claiming that it is the Holy Spirit that leads people to limit births so that they may better serve the Lord, without all the distractions. Yet who is to decide how we may better serve the Lord? Is it the Lord who decides, or is it us? And is it the Spirit of the Lord that leads Christians with a mind to think that rearing many children in the fear and nurture of the Lord is not a Godly act, or is it the spirit of man? Is it the will of God that Christians limit the number of children they have, or is it the will of man? Is this God's view of service to Him, or is this self-serving modernism?
I was actually asked (in all seriousness) how a woman would even have time to serve God or to grow in the Lord, with so many children. According to scripture, child rearing is in service to the Lord, and is a means of growth in the Lord. I know that in our day raising Godly children has been looked upon as is a vocation on a par with collecting garbage, but the truth is that this is a great Godly vocation that is not to be disparaged. When I hear people complaining so, it is almost as if they are implying that it was wrong for God to have made women so they could have many children, knowing that it is such a hardship. Of course, they would never use those actual words, but the intent of the heart is very plain. This is the mind of secular humanism and has crept up into our Churches and has replaced authority of scripture. It comes in cloaked in a facade of "this is unhealthy" and to prevent this we'll be "serving God better." But just how do we serve God better? I would venture to say the woman of 50-100 years ago with six kids "in general," served God a lot better than the self-righteous one today who has one or two children. It had nothing to do with how much money she made or how many children she had. Her attitude towards child rearing had to do with her upbringing, her outlook, her stewardship, her sense of motherhood and responsibility, and a Godly morality.
The historic Church condemned all methods of birth control as immoral because their only "authority" was the scriptures, and thus they understood birth control was the perversion of the natural order of things. They understood this act to be a violation of God's moral law. The Holy Spirit didn't lead anyone to think having more than two children was unwise. If I were these Theologians who dare make such claims, I would be very careful not to lay this blasphemous charge against God.
It is a serious offense against God to declare that He says things that He has not said. And He most certainly did not say that, "these are modern times and now it is permissible to ignore his precepts about children being a blessing of God."
- "And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken."
I only want two children, and besides,
If it is God's will, we'll have more anyway
What we want is secondary with true Christianity. Our mindset should be, "not my will, but thine be done O' Lord." As in the example of Paul seeking three times that his thorn in the flesh be removed (2nd Corinthians 12:8). But after three times God said, "My grace is sufficient for thee." Thus Paul went on in the understanding that it was not His will, but God's will that is to be done. And he was able to bear it. Likewise, what we want is not the issue. It's what is the will of God that should be the first principle and determining factor. And all through His word God has made His will well known on this issue. Be fruitful and multiply, children are a blessing, and children are a heritage of the Lord.
Again, it is self-serving and hypocritical to attempt to turn God's precepts upside down with the rationalization that, "if God wills, there is nothing (including a vasectomy) that will stop God from causing the conception of a child in the womb." And to add insult to injury, they often add, "..because God is sovereign."
- "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers."
Saying that God is sovereign, while doing all that we can to usurp that sovereignty and become our own ruler, is the absolute height of hypocrisy. To be sure, God is sovereign. But that doesn't mean that we would cross the street without looking both ways because we won't die unless it's our time to die. That is not an exercise in acknowledging sovereignty, it is a exercise in "tempting the Lord." That's like saying, we'll go ahead and sin because God works within the Christian to keep him from sinning. ..the whole premise is both rationally and logically flawed.
- "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
- Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."
Saying I'll practice birth control and leave it up to God if I should have more children is an oxymoron. It is breaking the commandment of God that we not tempt Him.
- "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
And the idea that if we don't use birth control we'll have twenty children is more myth and scare tactic than truth. The birth of children will not be unlimited (it never has been), God will give a certain number as He chooses. And even if there is a large family, no one has many children all at once. The older children brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord will help with the younger children, and child bearing will naturally cease after a certain God ordained point. It is not the end of the world, despite today's social harbingers of doom. I'm assuming I'm talking to a Christian audience who will, God willing, raise up Godly children. The theologian Jonathan Edwards was the eleventh child in his family. We can praise the Lord that in His day their parents were not as (so called) enlightened by modern society, to practice birth control.
While social and humanistic ideologies, along with secular arguments against bearing many children have been used to persuade Christians that birth control, and even abortions, is often the best thing for them to do. This act offends God because it goes against His will for the Christian family. Particularly when they make the untenable claim that such action is Spirit led and in the best interest of the family. This is the deception of Satan, the great deceiver who is the father of lies. When we declare we only want so many children, we are saying that we don't want God's great Blessing. And to say children are not a blessing from God is to blasphemy, insisting that we know much more than God about what would bless our lives.
Dare man retort, "wrong God, children are a burden, not a reward, a drain on my money, and takes away from my wife serving you as seems right in her own eyes?" Sadly, the carnal minded man thinks that if children are a heritage, then they don't want much of God's heritage. Because it's all about what people want for themselves, not about what God wants for people. Yes, we can tempt God by saying that God could turn stones into children, if that is His plan. But God works through His people to provide a heritage, blessings and Godly seed. The Godly family receives the responsibility given them, and God blesses them as He defines blessings, and as He sees fit.
- "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward".
Alright, but what about the Natural Rhythm Method
I must admit, the rhythm method of birth control is a tricky and much more complicated question. Nevertheless, it doesn't appear to be consistent with the anti-birth control view. Do we believe that the real sin is in the act of controlling birth, or that the sin is in the method of controlling birth? There is indeed a difference. In the case of birth control by use of artificial contraception, it is clear that the people are participating in an intrinsically unrighteous act. They are taking pills, or using a prophylactic or barrier designed not allow the natural sexual act itself to run it's course. On the other hand, in practicing the rhythm method (sometimes also called 'natural family planning' or NFP), they are simply abstaining from sex at opportune times. The idea being, abstention for short periods of time is not intrinsically evil. Which a case can be made for I suppose, but the real question is, for what purpose?
Those who favor artificial birth control counter proponents of the rhythm method by saying that ultimately it is no different from the artificial method. While this argument does have some merit, it's not entirely true. There is one obvious difference. The rhythm method puts up no man-made barriers, physical or chemical, to conception. It runs it's natural course and conception can easily occur anyway. However, I will agree that it appears to me to be biblically inconsistent, and does not glorify God. For it violates the spirit of the law if not the letter of the law because there is still the mindset to thwart the birth process, which is the real sin. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience condone it. I'm sure others will disagree, and I wouldn't give an absolute answer in this case. It is no sin in selecting times, though neither can I condone the purpose of such action. I believe that the sin is in the purpose, and if the purpose were solely to prevent births, I would have to say I think scripture opposes such action. For the purpose is still to try and stop God from creating a child in the womb, and that (I believe), makes it unlawful.
Yes, having children can sometimes be a hardship, but it's always been. What has not always been is today's "wringing of hands" with regards to rearing children. Anything worth having is worth working for and going through hardship for. Sadly, this is a lesson that the children today, who have everything handed to them on a silver platter, will never learn. As Christians, we don't cry over hard times or privation, it is a cause for recognizing our need for Christ and our dependence upon Him.
2nd Corinthians 12:9-10
We don't wring our hands, we take up our cross and follow Christ rather than the philosophies of the world. When we have the mind of Christ, the will of God is stronger than our own will (the will of Man). The will of man (otherwise known as humanism and carnality) says, two children are more than enough because we don't need anything that would mean we'd have to actually put forth some effort. It pains me to know that some professing Christians actually think that, "..I go to Church on Sundays, I say my prayers, what more does God want?" God wants everything! It belongs to Him. If we suffer in the flesh, so be it. It's His will be done, not our own. We keep His word and do His will by receiving what He has said and being obedient. Not a hearer only, but a doer.
- "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
- Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
1st Peter 4:1
Comfort and convenience is not the goal, and we don't run the race with our selfishness strapped to our backs, we run it with the cross. And we run it in denying ourselves, that God's will be done. What so many Christians today have lost sight of, is that our reward is in Heaven, and not in the comforts of this life. This world is only stopover on our way to the promised land. We are those "called out" for the purpose of spreading the gospel message. This is not our true home, but too many Christians have made it home, and are far too comfortable in it. This is what has led to the liberalization of Church doctrines, and thinking of children in terms of being a nuisance and a burden, rather than a blessing. The exact opposite of what is the will of God for us to think.
- "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
- That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God".
Indeed, it's hard to find a faithful couple, but the best inheritance that a Christian couple can leave to their children is their own holy life, an example of obedience to God. A healthy Christian couple's relationship is founded upon the precepts of family, Christ-like love, scripture, intimacy, and obedience, which includes and transcends mere sexual relations. God given children are a heritage and a healthy part of any Christian family.
- "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
- The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him."
Let's face facts honestly, practicing birth control is in essence an attempt to lock Sovereign God out of one of the most important areas of our lives. Do not think that it is insignificant, for all things that we do are significant, and is an evidence of the condition of our hearts. Reformed Christians, Biblical Christians above all, should know that we must address this question straight forwardly and honestly, and have the contrite spirit to surrender to the authority of scripture over our own selfish motives. We are not the Lord of our lives, Christ is. Therefore, our prayers are not of insistence, but in child-like humility:
- "nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
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Copyright 2000 Tony Warren
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