Al Mohler has a nice post entitled Can Christians Use Birth Control?, in preparation for his 5/11/06 call-in show. This topic is coming up more and more as practices such as in-vitro fertilization and embryonic research gain ground. While Catholic doctrine has long discouraged almost all types of birth control, Protestants have been more liberal, hence the hilarious sketch in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. However, Protestant opinion has been shifting (see Make Love and Babies, CT).
Also, now that I have had my second kid, we are considering the moral issues around vasectomy, since I am 41 and don’t want more than two kids. Is that selfish or responsible? Forbidden by God or up to my conscience? To research this, I am reading The Sterilization Option: A Guide for Christians, which you can get for $0.10 from CBD – it’s actually quite good on this subject. I’ll post a review later.
But I wanted to summarize Al Mohler’s main points:
"Thus, in an ironic turn, American evangelicals are rethinking birth control even as a majority of the nation’s Roman Catholics indicate a rejection of their Church’s teaching. How should evangelicals think about the birth control question?"
- First, we must start with a rejection of the contraceptive mentality that sees pregnancy and children as impositions to be avoided rather than as gifts to be received, loved, and nurtured.
- Second, we must affirm that God gave us the gift of sex for several specific purposes, and one of those purposes is procreation. Marriage represents a perfect network of divine gifts, including sexual pleasure, emotional bonding, mutual support, procreation, and parenthood. We are not to sever these "goods" of marriage and choose only those we may desire for ourselves.
- Third, we should look closely at the Catholic moral argument as found in Humanae Vitae.
- Fourth, Christian couples are not ordered by Scripture to maximize the largest number of children that could be conceived.
- Fifth, with all this in view, evangelical couples may, at times, choose to use contraceptives in order to plan their families and enjoy the pleasures of the marital bed.
- Sixth, Christian couples must ensure that the methods chosen are really contraceptive in effect, and not abortifacient.