Contraception and the Sin of Onan

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

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  1. Osage Bluestem

    Osage Bluestem Puritan Board Junior

    To the best of my knowledge they believed in 7 sacraments, sacerdotal grace of holy orders, praying to the saints, and that the bishop of Rome was the successor of Peter and was the Vicar of Christ over the Church I probably would call them papists. I think the Church of Rome was corrupt almost from the beginning and truely advanced it's corruption under the Emperor Constantine.

    I have these books at home in regards to views of the ECFs. It seems most of them were very diverse and very Catholic.

    Faith of the Early Fathers, 3 Volumes: William A. Jurgens: 9780814610251:
  2. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    This may not fall into this argument but I think that it provides a unique perspective.

    (I apologize in advance if this is too revealing, but I will proceed anyway)

    My wife recently found out (about six months ago) that she had a blood clot in one of her ovaries. She was advised by her hematologist that if she were to get pregnant before it dissolved that she ran a serious risk of dislodging it and sending it either to her heart or brain. Both of which could result in serious ailment including stroke, heart attack, or death. She was placed on blood thinners and pain relievers (as it caused tremendous pain at times) and ordered to rest as much as possible.

    Now, having said that, my question is this: Should we have not taken every precaution (which we did in limiting our marital activity and using prophylactics) or should we have run the risk of not taking said precautions and allowed whatever would have been?

    It also would seem to me that some issues of stewardship should be considered when dealing with this matter! :2cents:
  3. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    In what way?
  4. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Jessi, unless I am misreading you, I believe we may have a misunderstanding. The point of my post was that I'm not sure the "strive after as many kids as you can have" mentality is right: rather, I was suggesting that it may simply be better to just have normal, sexual relations (without birth control). And in doing so, even if it is only one child granted by the grace of God (or 20), we may all still find ourselves blessed by the LORD. In other words, I don't think birth control is good; but I'm not necessarily sold that our goal should be to have as many kids as we can, either: rather simply to "be married," so to speak, and let come what children will come.

    My point about the feelings of inferiority and shame was that if we have the mentality that we're supposed to be having as many kids as we can, then those couples who are simply regularly having sex (still without birth control), but not intentionally trying (through careful timing, etc.) to have kids have the potential to be looked down upon.

    [Note, however, that this is *not* to say in anyway that I think endeavoring to have children through whatever method is wrong at all! For those who have had difficulty having children and accordingly have a deep desire for the same, they can surely be out there using whatever prudent methods and means are at their disposal to aid in the process!]
  5. Grillsy

    Grillsy Puritan Board Junior

    What would be your argument against using NFP or Rhythm Method?
  6. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    Conversely, if God closes the womb, and we are using birth control, then we are using the means appointed to his desired end.

    It cuts both ways.
  7. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    Certainly my wife's health is more important than the possibility of conception. I have a responsibility to care for all that has been entrusted to me as a steward of God. Therefore taking precautions to prevent potential harm would fall under being a good steward, In my humble opinion.

    Similarly, if we are to be wholly in the hands of God in this matter, child rearing (and negate our God given ability to think, reason, and make sound biblical decisions as stewards) should we also avoid taking necessary precautions when driving, i.e. not wearing our seat-belts, reading while driving, talking on our cell phone's; or not taking precautions in our everyday environments, like looking before we cross a busy street (or any for that matter), learning to swim before jumping into a deep pool, etc.? After all we are in the hands of a sovereign God and if it is our time then it is our time. It seems that we have no problems making these types of decisions daily but deny any possibility that God in his infinite wisdom could possibly allow us to make decisions regarding our famiy's size.

    Side Note: Don't get me wrong, I have six children and would love any God gives me above and beyond that, but that doesn't mean that I can't make a prayerful, reasoned decision as a steward of my family to stop where I am and focus on my responsibility to raise the children that I do have in the care and instruction of the Lord.
  8. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    Actually, in the case of both Sarah and Hannah God's closing of their wombs could be considered a blessing: both needed barrenness for their spiritual maturity. Sarah needed the development of faith, while Hannah needed to wait until her heart was willing to have a child for God, not for herself. Note that Hannah was "no longer sad" before she became pregnant, not after. The blessing was the assurance of God's presence and resting in Him, not the temporal blessing of a child...
  9. Daniel Haley

    Daniel Haley Puritan Board Freshman

  10. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

  11. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    On the whole, contraceptives have done massive damage to our society. They have certainly done much more harm than good.

    One situation where I don't think it's wrong to use them is when the wife has a medical condition such that she would likely die from another pregnancy.

    Edit: It should be understood that abortifacients are not in view in the above exception.
  12. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    This is true, but such secret counsels and purposes of God are hidden from us, and we cannot base any of our actions upon them. Even though (of course!) these are different classes and sorts of events, we could just as easily say, "God purposed for Paul to persecute and destroy the church for a time, that his grace might be more grandly seen!" This is, in fact, true. But it is also irrelevant to the manner in which we are supposed conduct ourselves. Paul was never *supposed* to persecute the church. So likewise, we could say, that God did close Sarah's womb for a time for his own purposes: but this in no way implies that we should say, "Maybe he has purposes to close my womb for a time, and so I will help and use birth control." The closing of the womb is simply never presented in scripture as a blessing in itself; and we can only base our actions upon what has been revealed -- not upon the hidden counsels and purposes of the Almighty. [And neither Sarah nor Hannah were trying to not have kids!]
  13. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    And if the Lord knows that conception will harm her, He will ensure that your wife does not conceive. (And I think He does know!) Nowhere does scripture tell us to cross the street without looking but it does tell us that man and wife are to love one another freely.

    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 06:28:18 EST-----

    Good things will happen!

  14. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    I disagree with this - as I said in an earlier post, we make decisions like this all the time. Why is it any different with children?

    And we also have to remember the historical context of the Old Testament. In that time, childbearing was crucial to every culture and every family - thus everyone wanted as many children as possible. That's no longer the case today. From a economic and cultural perspective, NOT having children is often a blessing today.

    I do believe we should be fruitful and multiply - I just don't think we can make the argument from silence that because God never "blesses" a woman by closing her womb it means birth control is sinful. I don't think that's a leap we can make...
  15. Hebrew Student

    Hebrew Student Puritan Board Freshman


    That does seem to be the key issue. In all of the texts which say that God opens and closes the womb, does it ever say that he must always do so apart from human means?

    God Bless,
  16. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    You may want to start reading some new books. Gnostics would be against having sex and having children; they are both fleshly.
  17. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not sure that you, or anyone else for that matter, are qualified to say that God would prevent that from happening. What if it were God's will for her to get pregnant and die as a result to bring about a greater good? (Praise God that that didn't happen!) Who are we to say what is in the mind of God or what he will use to bring about his will in our lives and the lives of all of his children?

    Certainly God could have prevented it, and did for that matter, but it is very dangerous to say that He would have. That is somewhat akin to jumping off of a cliff and saying God will save me as opposed to God could save me if it is according to His will.

    P.S. Don't jump off of a cliff!
  18. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I think the crux of this discussion is whether or not the cultural change you have highlighted is a biblical one or not and whether we should bow to what the culture considers a blessing.
  19. Hebrew Student

    Hebrew Student Puritan Board Freshman


    Christusregnat, you are knocking down a strawman. What I said is that this position came out of Christian polemics against the gnostics because they shared elements of their neoplatonic dualism [expecially with regards to sexuality]. I agree, they were inconsistent to argue in this fashion. They should have gotten rid of the dualism, instead of getting rid of the contraception.

    God Bless,

    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 07:10:52 EST-----


    However, it seems like that is exactly his point. Whether or not something is a blessing is something that is irrelevant to behavior. Even things that we think, from our perspective as bad, can, in fact, be a blessing. His point is that it is irrational to argue:

    1. x is a blessing.
    2. Therefore, it is immoral to willfully decide not to have x.

    That is a non sequitor.

    God Bless,
  20. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    :offtopic:You didn't take into account the economies of scale. There are certain costs associated with having a child. Many of those costs can be amortized over additional children. So the average cost per child should decline as the number of children increases.

    -----Added 11/18/2009 at 07:31:59 EST-----

    That's poor logic and worse theology.
  21. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This is incorrect. Bad things are overruled by God and made a blessing. They are not a blessing in themselves. It is libertine to argue, Let us do evil that good may come. It is biblical and reformed to teach, Obedience is our business while Providence is God's business. To obey is better than sacrifice.
  22. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I am against all methods which would refrain from marriage bed. :)

    I believe the both agreeing for a time not to be together and pray lest they be not for methods of birth control, and is very dangerous to do it, hence the praying part. I advise against all non-marriage bed methods. Except on rare occasions.
  23. Hebrew Student

    Hebrew Student Puritan Board Freshman


    I wasn't trying to argue that we should just do evil. The only thing I need for the argument is that they are, in some sense, a blessing, even if God overrules them to make them such. If they are a blessing then, according to this logic, because God makes the evil a blessing, it is wrong for us to avoid evil.

    The problem is with the logic:

    blessing=you cannot willfully avoid having them.

    God Bless,
  24. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    God makes the death of Christ a blessing. Wicked hands crucified and killed Him. On the reasoning being offered in this thread, the wicked hands should not have avoided doing the evil they did. This is a libertine error which fails to distinguish human responsibility and divine sovereignty.
  25. Daniel Haley

    Daniel Haley Puritan Board Freshman

    Androgen-blocking (anti-androgen) medications can be used to treat several PCOS symptoms, including excess or unwanted hair growth and, to a limited degree, acne and scalp hair loss. Spironolactone, flutamide, finasteride and cyproterone acetate (which is not available in the United States) can help to relieve the symptoms of excessive facial and bodily hair, as well as thinning hair on the scalp and acne. These medications can be taken along with oral contraceptives. Note that although there is extensive worldwide experience with their use in PCOS, none of these medications have been approved for use in the treatment for PCOS by the FDA.

    Insulin-sensitizing medications used to treat adult-onset diabetes are useful for many women with PCOS. While these medications have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for the treatment of PCOS, they seem to improve the regularity of menstrual cycles by lowering insulin levels. Metformin is the most commonly used drug, but doctors should prescribe it with caution. There is not enough research at this time to recommend this drug for all women with PCOS.

    Birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, contain female hormones that help to regulate menstrual cycles. Contraceptives also help to lower levels of androgens, reducing abnormal hair growth and improving acne.
  26. Hebrew Student

    Hebrew Student Puritan Board Freshman


    Exactly. To argue that a blessing can never be refused is to argue that we must receive [or give, for that matter] every evil so that God can turn every evil into a blessing, because those blessings cannot be rejected. Such is absurd.

    God Bless,
  27. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think the use of "contraception" that destroys new life is clearly wrong.

    Those couples that avoid having any children without good reason are also going against part of God's will for marriage.

    There seems to be no injunction against all contraception in Scripture, as there is against theft, murder or Sabbath-breaking. If it was such an issue, why is there not?

    If someone is in favour of natural methods of contraception, I don't see why they should be against artificial methods, as the purpose is the same: to stop or reduce the likelihood of conception. The RC Church takes this contradictory position, in its tradition of adding to Scripture.

    Those married Christian couples who are fit and healthy and fertile should not feel bound by current societal norms respecting family size. Others may believe that it would be unwise for them to have a larger family.

    "All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient." (I Cor. 6:12)

    It is God who gives or witholds blessing from the farmer when he plants his crops, but God still uses the secondary means of the Christian farmer's sanctified common sense in planning what he is to sow and how he is to do it.
  28. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    That is part of the cancer that has infected the church today. Couching it in these terms shows just how far it has gone. Whose context are you using in this particular argument to define a 'blessing'?

    If He does not, then such is His will for His people. Amen. Don't waste it.

    (See Piper's quote on cancer in an earlier thread - sorry, can't find it, but here is a link to the quote: Don't Waste Your Cancer :: Desiring God Christian Resource Library )

    Please expand on your position. That's quite a statement to make.
  29. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I know that my above post seems like a harsh post, but I feel uniquely qualified to make it. I have seen my wife's life be threatened by her pregnancy, but have seen God's hand in saving her and providing for her each time. Obey His word and the blessings will come, in one form or another.
  30. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think what is wise should be followed here.

    It's not always wise to follow the standards of our age and limit our family to 3, 2, 1, or none.

    But it's not always (never?) wise/sanctified common sense for a couple, to try to have as many children as possible.
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