One reader sent the following query: "The Pope says 'No' to contraception; what do Protestants say?" - a difficult and controversial question.
That the Pope, in spite of much opposition from within Roman Catholicism, forbids all use of contraception is well known. What Protestants say varies from church to church and from individual to individual, and very often what they do say and what the ought to say are two very different things.
There is only one example of any form of contraception in Scripture, and in that case the man who practiced it was slain out-of-hand by God (Gen. 38:8-10). We should note, however, that he was killed not first of all for the use of "contraception," but for rebelliously refusing to fulfil his obligation to raise of seed to his brother. And, if this passage does not apply, then Scripture says nothing directly about contraception.
Some forms of contraception are no doubt to be repudiated by Christians because they involve that sin of murder. Abortion is the worst form and a blatant violation of God's command not to kill. It is a reproach beyond belief to Western nations that this type of "birth control" is legalized, resulting in a "holocaust" not unlike that of Hitler's Germany.
There are other forms of so-called "birth-control," however, which are in less obvious way also a form of abortion. There is the "morning after" pill, the I.U.D., the progestogen-only pill, and the Mirena, which do not prevent conception but destroys the foetus soon after it is conceived. These, for the same reasons as abortion, ought to be shunned by Christians.
We would also point out that the use of most forms of contraception have sinful motives. They are used to allow wicked men and women to satisfy their lusts without suffering any undesirable consequences, or for selfish and covetous reasons. Because of this, it is a great temptation to say that they are wrong altogether.
That children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb His reward (Ps. 127:3), and that God Himself promises children to His people as one of the blessings of His covenant of grace, ought to make Christians far more wary of using contraception than they are. Few today pay any attention to what Scripture says about children and about the calling of believers to bring forth children.
More than that, in the bringing forth of covenant children the way is prepared for the coming of Christ! Through the bringing forth of covenant children, many of God's elect will be born into the world, and when the last of the elect has been born and brought to faith, then our Lord will come again as He has promised (II Pet. 3:9).
Nevertheless, we are not ready to say that contraception is always wrong, since the Bible itself does not say this. We fear to fall into the legalism of which popery is guilty in this and in other matters. There may be occasions where it is necessary for Christians to make use of these means, but that is not an excuse to use them selfishly, covetously, and to satisfy lust, as all too often happens.
The answer to the widespread misuse of contraception, even by Christians, is that we learn and believe what Scripture teaches about God's covenant and about the place of children in that covenant. Then we will begin to see that children are a blessing and not a curse and will not make unnecessary use of these things.
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 6
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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