Contraception and the Sin of Onan

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by steadfast7, Nov 18, 2009.

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  1. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    What's everyone's view on contraception?

    In my debates with a highly traditional guy, I've learned that modern evangelicalism in very recent years has gone against the grain of the traditional Christian position in all ages and denominations, including the ancient church and the reformers. It is also argued that the evangelical permissiveness has led to its widespread use which has had and will have disastrous results for society.

    Both Luther and Calvin spoke vehemently against it as a monstrous thing. Is this an area where we humbly break from the Reformers, or are most people here still in line with their position?


  2. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    This is going to get ugly.

    I do not think that anyone under normal circumstances who is married should prevent conception. There are three sorts of "contraceptives": 1. Those that seek to prevent conception while allowing the deed to be done, 2. Abstention (obviously no deed done) whether periodic, accidental or permanent, and 3. Those that seek to trick the body into preventing ovulation, but do also prevent implantation of a conceived child (such as IUD, the pill, etc.) when ovulation isn't prevented. The chuch, historically, has allowed for #2 under certain circumstances. Indeed, biblical teaching would seem to require a period of abstention after childbirth for the healing of the woman's body. #1 is what Augustine referred to as making your wife a whore. #3 can be murder (whether with knowledge by the parties using it or without their knowledge).

    In the final analysis, married Christians who don't want to reproduce, and do what they can to fill the earth are out of tune with Scripture on this point. I don't recall any passages that encourage Christians to prevent family size etc. I recall many passages that encourage fruitfulness. A quiver is 13 (see Psalm 127).

  3. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    It is indeed monstrous.

    How Christians can use abortifacients is beyond me (the pill). Latex prophylactics may be a grey area to some, but I just don't have the wherewithall to wrap my head around those arguments.

    Why on earth do we as Christians have the capacity to comfortably stake our eternal salvation on the Lord, but need to attempt to declare our own sovereignty over the womb? Simply mind bending, I just don't follow.

    It is not about churning out as many children as you can. It is about being a submissive instrument in the hands of the Lord. He will give as He sees fit.
  4. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    I agree with you guys in substance, but Onan is an extremely week exegetical peg to hang that doctrine on.
  5. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree as well, but Onan was doing something completely different. There are plenty more arguments that are clear.
  6. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    :worms::worms::worms::worms::worms::worms::worms: :worms::worms::worms::worms::worms:
  7. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    This is a point to consider. However, I don't think that was the sum and substance of either Calvin, or Luther, or Augustine, or Chrysostom, or anyone else's arguments.


    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 01:31:36 EST-----

    Rev. Barnes,

    Those worms sure know how to multiply!!!! :lol:
  8. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    I think its a blessing.

    And that is all I will say about that.

    Edit: I should clarify that I'm not talking about the pill or any other method that would cause the death of an already conceived child.
  9. Awenwonder

    Awenwonder Puritan Board Freshman

    Amen, Brother! The inconsistency really says that the individual just has not thought it through or they do not believe in the sovereignty of God to begin with. This is where a solid biblical worldview makes all the difference!
  10. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Yeah, I guess they did that on their own... I'm not touching this topic with a 100 ft pole.
  11. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Too late! :lol:
  12. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    I'm all for non-abortifacient contraception. We are to have physical and spiritual children, but "being fruitful" does not equate to having as many children as you can all the time.
  13. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Pastor Barnes, you have an opinion. We want to know it. Come on now, what's the worst that can happen?? :lol:
  14. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, exegetically there is very little warrant against contraception per se.
    Natural law is basically the authority that most appeal to, but how far can this take us?

    Scripturally, can we find solid argument? "be fruitful and multiply" is the only verse that's often given, but it's not without its problems, like,

    1. would celibacy be wrong, then?
    2. does this verse mean have as many children as possible?

    I guess this thread can get a little explosive, I'm beginning to realize. let's stay close to scripture and i'm sure we'll be ok.

  15. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Fine: (i'm only taking the bait because I'm young, if I were wiser, I would not even watch)...

    Part 1: I'm against all abortifacient contraception (the different parts indicate I have a greater view than this one).

    Abortifacient contraception would include: pill, morning after pill, etc. (anything that will kill a zygote or by some research someone has thought that it kills a zygote). I'm also against the pill because it is very dangerous to the female body/health.
  16. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    But who are we to decide??? Noah was without contraception, correct? He had how many children?

    "Having as many children as you can all the time" - how do we have children? Does He not open and close the womb?
  17. tlharvey7

    tlharvey7 Puritan Board Freshman

    please excuse my frankness here... and let me know if it is inappropriate
    my wife and i have used condoms. after 2 kids we decided it was enough.
    i now have 4 kids regardless of our choice... God will make a way!
  18. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    To answer one of your Q's:
    1) Would celibacy be wrong--yes, if you are married; the rest of Scripture can speak to that.
  19. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Tut, tut, Dominee. That's only half an answer...
  20. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    I meant that "be fruitful and multiply" could be interpreted that getting married was against God's will, which of course is too much. :)
  21. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    Who are you to decide to do anything in life? If you make that argument against contraception you can make it for many life decisions.

    In the Bible, God tells us to have children, but he doesn't tell me how many or when to have them. He tell me to marry, but He doesn't tell me who or when or how to propose. He tells me to work but He doesn't tell me what career. Christians should humbly and prayerfully submit to God for their childbearing - when they feel He wants them to have children, they should do away with the contraception...
  22. Albatross

    Albatross Puritan Board Freshman

    Agreed. And what is the difference between deciding that "fruitful" can have a limit and deciding that it shouldn't? Both are decisions.
  23. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    Hey, don't forget my other question: the fact that a permissive attitude about contraception puts us out of sync with all of historic Christianity (unless this wasn't a universally held position).

    anyone feel uncomfortable about that?
  24. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    This is a bigger problem than can be addressed in such a thread. We are rootless, and therefore doomed.
  25. Nate

    Nate Puritan Board Junior

    Was this in jest? If not, could you expand on this? It seems that if we are to have a quiver full, and a quiver is 13, then 13 is the limit.

    Also, kevin.caroll and LaweranceU both indicated that there are more passages than "be fruitful and multiply" and "blessed is the man whose quiver is full". Can you guys elaborate. I've become interested in this topic as well recently.
  26. Soonerborn

    Soonerborn Puritan Board Freshman

    Before I make a comment, I will state that my wife and I a few years ago decided not to proactively use any contraception. We now have 4 children! I say that to let you know where I am coming from.

    A key issue for me was struggling with my faith in what God would provide should he choose to bless us with multiple children.

    For example, I am a CPA, so I am very conscious of our budget (too conscious if you ask my wife :eek:). So in my finite head a few years ago, I decided we could "afford" 2 kids and no more. You have all seen the statistics on how much a child costs over the course of 18 years. The numbers are staggering. So me, with my finite CPA brain, added X + Y and determined no more kids could be supported.

    However, I started struggling with the nature of this faith. Agreed, God gives us common sense and wisdom to plan our lives. However, I really felt like I was not trusting in what God could provide for me. Rather I was trusting in my own strength and not His. I only saw what was possible under our current circumstance and in this narrow view I was not looking to God, but rather trusting in myself.

    I can say that God has opened so many doors for us over the last few years and he is providing for our family in an excess way. From a world's perspective, the cost of raising a child for 18 years, (not counting college), is $249,000 per child
    Cost of Raising Kids Table: Family & College - MSN Money, so my 4 kids will cost me nearly $1,000,000 over 18 years according to the world. Then you have college:eek:.

    Using my CPA brain, these number don't add up. We can't "afford" to have 4 or more kids. But God has and will provide for us. It may not be according to our wants and wishes, but it will be according to His.
  27. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    I believe that the reference to a quiver full is somewhere around 12 or 13 children. Of course, when a warrior goes into battle, he's going to die with only 2.1 arrows. 13 is not a limit, or a requirement: it is a goal to aim for (pun intended). God wants the world filled with a holy seed; this is the point of "be fruitful and multiply" and the commission to exercise dominion and subdue the creation under us. The world will be filled with wickedness if we do not multiply a godly seed in it. This is exactly what has happened to the dead faith of Europe. Islam will overtake Europe by having children. Why? Because Christians were taught a birth control mentality. By the way, the Eugenics crowd recognized that they had to win the birth control battle before they would win the abortion battle. It is a similar mindset, and an identical line of reasoning, although the methods differ widely.

    If we recognize the purpose of God to bring all nations under the dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that God has promised to be God to us and our children after us, then it would be foolishness to not shoot for a quiver full of arrows to defeat God's enemies.


  28. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Scripture tells us that children are a blessing. Scripture tells we married folks that we are to give ourselves one to another freely (stopping only to devote ourselves to prayer and fasting). Scripture tells us that He opens and closes the womb.

    How exactly, in this context, do you feel that you influence when you have children, assuming a healthy sexual relationship between you and your spouse? A coming together of husband and wife is fruitful because of His hand, not because of the biological union of sperm and egg.
  29. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    I will throw in my :2cents: from a personal perspective...
    My beautiful wife and I were married last May. Before the honeymoon drew near, I had honestly never given much thought to contraception and/or how it works. Obviously being a single man committed to abstinence, I really had no need. Of course, as my then fiancee and I began planning for our future together, naturally this issue came about. After much research, we both realized that the pill does allow for a very early form of conception to take place in some cases. Some may argue there are cases when conception wouldn’t take place, but we refused to take that risk. Also, as Rev Barnes pointed out, the pill alters the woman’s hormones and does some really crazy things with her body, which we were definitely not comfortable with. Many of the other form of contraception are not 100%, so that left us with an option of the “natural method”. Here is some information on it at these links:
    Garden of Fertility
    Taking Charge of Your Fertility

    I do not see how the natural method would go against scripture, but then again after continuing to prayerfully consider our options with children, we were convicted that the best option for us would be to trust God in His sovereignty to decide whether or not or when we have children. We truly believe that His timing with children will be perfect, including how many we have. Also, we fully believe that God will provide for our family regardless of how many kids we are blessed with. What it all boils down to is I cannot think of one reason why I should try to limit/control when or how many children my wife and I have. For example, some people say they want to wait on kids so that they can spend more time alone. Isn’t this selfish? Some say they cannot afford X number of kids. Do we not trust the Lord to provide? Some do not want kids so they can finish school or have a career. Is it right to place our own desires above what God would have for us?
    To sum up, I don’t know that I can definitively say this is how every Christian couple should decide, although I will agree with others and say that the pill is abortive and should be avoided completely. I would however urge anyone who asked my opinion that the best method would be to prayerfully trust our gracious God because when has He ever been wrong or let us down?
  30. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    I whole-heartedly with your last sentence - but it fundamentally undermines your position. If we will have children when God wills, then no contraception will stand in the way. So what's the harm in using it, unless you believe God's plans can be thwarted?

    Children are a blessing - so why does that preclude contraception?

    Giving to each other freely sexually is wonderful - but that passage is in reference to sexual gratification, not childbearing.

    God does open and close the womb - but can't contraception be the means He uses to open and close it?
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