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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Karl Hess on July 16, 2010, 12:08:14 AM

Title: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on July 16, 2010, 12:08:14 AM
Someone suggested awhile back that we should start a different thread on contraception.  So I'm starting it.

I don't teach that contraception is a sin--yet.  But I'm leaning that way. 

Before I went to seminary, my pastor at the time and a lady whose husband had been to seminary were talking about some people at one of the Missouri Synod seminaries who were opposed to contraception.  At the time, this struck me as utter lunacy. 

While I was at seminary, I learned that the pill could, in rare cases, function as an abortifacient.  That was news to me.  Somewhere in there I read Luther's views on contraception, which I think are found in the Genesis commentary.  I think Luther referred to it as "sodomitic" and asserted that this was why God slew Onan.  Then I learned that all Christians of whatever sect were formally opposed to contraception until the 20th century.

So I started to investigate the Bible on the issue.  Several things become apparent from Scripture.

1. According to the Bible, God opens and closes the womb.  Children are not simply a human decision, but ultimately come from God.
2.  The Psalms refer to children as "blessings."  The man God has blessed has a wife who is a fruitful vine and children like olive shoots around his table.
3.  God's blessing on man and woman after the creation and after the flood is "be fruitful and multiply." 

Then I began to reason--"If God gives children, and they are a blessing, why would I not want to receive as many children as God sees fit to give me and my wife?  if God sees fit to give us, say, 10, would I at the end of my life say, 'I wish we didn't have that one, that one, and that one?'  Isn't God the author of life, not me?  What does it mean to be "pro-life" but then only want to have as many children as seems good to me?  How different is that kind of thinking from the kind that says, 'I only want to live as long as it seems good to me'?  If God sees fit to bring ten children into the world, isn't He capable also of providing for those children?"

Then I began to think of the consequences of the widespread approval of contraception  for marriage.  In normal circumstances, when not obstructed, sexual intercourse leads to children.  Pleasure is certainly a result of sex, and so is bonding, but biologically these seem to be only "enticments"to the chief end of sex, which is procreation.  But when I was growing up, the sense that I got from society was that primarily, sex was about pleasure or expression of romantic love, and conception a usually undesirable intrusion on pleasure and "love".  It began to occur to me that without that perverse way of looking at sex, it would be impossible to conceive of homosexual "marriage." It had also led to a huge increase in out of wedlock births and single parent homes.

As I continue to consider the ramifications of contraception, I am amazed at how it has completely re-shaped society.  It has changed the way we view what it means to be male and female.  We now live in America in which the majority of people in the workforce are women (see the latest Atlantic Monthly), and in which out of wedlock births is soon to become the norm (they presently account for over 40 percent of children born into the world.)  The ramifications seem to be endless.

I think we are just now beginning to see Christians (and Lutherans) beginning to wake up to the idea that perhaps contraception is really contrary to biblical teaching. 

But then again, maybe my thinking is wrong.  I've held off on teaching people much about this because--in addition to the difficulty of teaching it--I am also unsure about where lines should be drawn.  When the episcopal church initially began to open the door to contraception in the 30's, they only approved contraception between married couples in cases of "necessity."  At the time, that was a radical idea.  Rome openly approves of natural family planning, which is also a type of "birth control." 

Where do we begin rethinking contraception, or should we begin rethinking at all? 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: James Gustafson on July 16, 2010, 01:14:04 AM
A well reasoned and succinctly put position, thank you for posting this question.  I don't have an answer but I will say this, if we can't even stop abortions, what can we do about contraception?

We must remember always, we are not in charge, God finds a way.   Contraception or no, God’s will be done.  Amen
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on July 16, 2010, 01:17:40 PM
All that time writing the initial post, and the thread lands on p. 83.  Well, I'm going to bump this and see if I can't get any takers to discuss this.  I know that this issue is still on the fringes of Lutheranism, but my prediction is opposition to contraception is coming soon to a Lutheran church near you (although by soon I mean in the next decade or so). 

A brother pastor suggested that the theological rationale for contraception is found in Genesis 1, in the same blessing which tells man to "be fruitful and multiply."  This brother said that God's command to "have dominion over the earth" includes contraception--that we are empowered by God to have dominion also over our procreative powers.  That argument seems problematic to me.  We are not to have dominion over human life when it comes to taking it--but we are to have dominion when it comes to preventing life from coming into being?  Does that work for you?

Or perhaps there is another Christian defense of contraception that I'm missing. 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on July 16, 2010, 01:28:02 PM
Obviously Genesis 1 can't be construed to mean that married couples are required to have sex constantly in order to multiply, or Paul would have been advocating sin when he recommended that married people could refrain from sexual intimacy for a time to devote themselves to prayer (1 Cor 7).  The reason why Paul discourages people from abstaining from the marriage bed for longer periods was due to their lack of self-control.  But if married people were able to control themselves, it would be a mistake to regard abstinence from sex within marriage as sinful or contravening Genesis 1.

 ::)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: peter_speckhard on July 16, 2010, 11:34:35 PM
There is an excellent article in the most recent Touchstone on this topic. I think along the same lines as Karl on this, and suspect this issue is at the root of a whole host issues related to vocation, gender, marriage and so forth. The LCMS, as far as I know, cannot give a coherent account of the history of its teachings, official or simply widely accepted, on this issue.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on July 16, 2010, 11:50:23 PM
A grand old lady at my church, along with a host of others in the ladies' aid, continually talk about how the rise of women working outside the home has done a number on church life.  She is also convinced that is has not been good for the life of the church for women to gradually replace men as leaders in the congregation (except for those places where only men are allowed to serve.)  It's not hard to draw a line between the things that these women see as having drastically changed church life and society at large--women working outside the home and assuming leadership--and contraception.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 08:11:00 AM
My story from the Lutherans for Life thread has led to some amazing and uplifting notes from people.  One such note led to a discussion on the issue of abortifacients.  I thought I would put forth this LCMS document as part of the discussion on this thread which was the result of Resolution 6-10 at the 2004 convention of the LCMS.

Resolution 6-10: Guidance on Contraceptive Methods (http://www.lcms.org/ca/worldrelief/ministries/life/library/Resolution_6-10_Guidance_on_Contraceptive_Methods.pdf)

Any takers on a discussion?   ;D

Oh, and thanks, Pastor Hess, for taking the time to start this thread.  I may be late to the game, but maybe it can be revisited.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 12:13:51 PM
And how do we treat those who may have chosen these methods of birth control?  Do you think the church has done enough to bring this information to the forefront?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 27, 2010, 12:22:07 PM
Quote
Men may regret their decision to be sterilized and should remember that this procedure is considered permanent. Reversals are expensive and not always effective.
OTOH, not being able to naturally father children in the future may temper the inherent male instinct to promiscuity, and may be another incentive to be faithful.

As for regretting it, I am sure there are some under circumstances such as divorce and remarriage. It is certainly a factor in the decision. I've not ever talked to any man who regrets it and is seeking a reversal.  Some of us actually celebrate it!

Quote
We believe that a broader discussion in the church regarding marriage and its purpose would be beneficial.  


I wouldn't count on it.  Having just left the ELCA, I'm not up for more drawn-out divisive fights over social statements. The fight against abortion is a clear and holy cause.  A crusade against married couples using birth control, maybe not so much.

Anyhow, beneficial for exactly whom?
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 12:42:27 PM
Anyhow, beneficial for exactly whom?

I would venture to say this applies to young, newly married couples putting off child-rearing for the sake of establishing themselves in their careers or perhaps others who might for other selfish reasons put off (or avoid) having children.

I am admittedly confused myself on how strong of a stance I'd take and how I would counsel another woman on this issue.  I readily agree with the report I linked to above and think it is the best I could do in providing guidance to a woman.  Not all cases are that clear-cut (including my own), but what is clear-cut is that God provides the most joyful of gifts when He blesses us with children and that He desires us to receive His gifts readily.  However, where we act selfishly, His gift of forgiveness is there, too.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Bergs on October 27, 2010, 01:12:11 PM
Does this passage give some relevance to the discussion.

Quote
1 Timothy 5:
 3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. 8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
If we are to care for our families, some degree of family planning is needed.  If our jobs do not pay enough to properly provide for the next child, wouldn't family planning be required? 

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 01:18:58 PM
Does this passage give some relevance to the discussion.

Quote
1 Timothy 5:
 3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. 8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
If we are to care for our families, some degree of family planning is needed.  If our jobs do not pay enough to properly provide for the next child, wouldn't family planning be required? 

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

Or would it be a matter of accepting in faith that God would provide all that the family would need to sustain it even with the addition of another child?  I suppose one could say His understanding of how much money is needed to do so may very well differ from ours.

This is a toughie, isn't it?   ???
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2010, 02:01:22 PM
Or would it be a matter of accepting in faith that God would provide all that the family would need to sustain it even with the addition of another child?  I suppose one could say His understanding of how much money is needed to do so may very well differ from ours.

This is a toughie, isn't it?   ???

If an underpaid family accepts welfare from the state, is that trusting God or relying on the government? If we say that God is providing help through the government, why can't God also provide help in family planning through medical means?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 27, 2010, 02:03:47 PM
Or would it be a matter of accepting in faith that God would provide all that the family would need to sustain it even with the addition of another child?  I suppose one could say His understanding of how much money is needed to do so may very well differ from ours.

This is a toughie, isn't it?   ???
Brian Bergs makes a great point--some degree of contraception and planning (sans abortion, obviously) is a good idea. I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans. And I certainly don't think it's God's will for a married woman to have a baby a year throughout her childbearing years, which evidently stretches into her 50s these days.
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 02:15:02 PM
If an underpaid family accepts welfare from the state, is that trusting God or relying on the government?

It could be both or either, I suppose.

Quote
If we say that God is providing help through the government, why can't God also provide help in family planning through medical means?

We pray for daily bread in the Lord's Prayer, perhaps that could come by way of the government if God so chooses.  I don't pray daily for medical intervention to thwart God's plan for my family size, which in the minds of many would be construed as a denial of His gifts.  Praying the Lord's Prayer includes a request for His perfect provision for my family no matter the size.

Others would also argue that the Pill is beyond just a method of prevention and actually can work as an abortifacient.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 02:39:18 PM
This issue is not one I've given a lot of thought to myself where others are concerned.  I have six children (2 in heaven), and if I could have had more children, I would have.  I'm open to adopting more if God puts it in front of us, as is my husband.  I see children as gifts . . . amazing gifts at that.  I've been able to send people to their own pastors to discuss birth control according to their own church's teaching in my work with pregnancy resource centers; that made it pretty easy for me.  Maybe it's time for us all to take a deeper look at the issue, I don't know.

I came across this site just today which provides another look at how some Lutherans view contraception.  I'll have to peruse it myself when I have the time.

http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2010, 02:44:06 PM
Well said. That is exactly how I see it. The use medical intervention to try to thwart God's plan for my family size.

How do you know that it isn't God's plan that you have only two children and that God wants you to make use of the medical gifts he has given the world to control family sizes.

I note also that in the biblical world, half of the children died before their teenage years. Was that God's plan to control population at that time? (I hope not.) However, I think that it is within God's plan that we have and make use of the medical means so that most live births have very good chances of living to their adult years.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 02:44:25 PM
Wow, and I hadn't even read this (http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2010/10/give-us-this-day-our-daily-bread.html) first when I made the comment about our Daily Bread.  Great words from Luther.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2010, 02:47:23 PM
This issue is not one I've given a lot of thought to myself where others are concerned.  I have six children (2 in heaven), and if I could have had more children, I would have.  I'm open to adopting more if God puts it in front of us, as is my husband.  I see children as gifts . . . amazing gifts at that.  I've been able to send people to their own pastors to discuss birth control according to their own church's teaching in my work with pregnancy resource centers; that made it pretty easy for me.  Maybe it's time for us all to take a deeper look at the issue, I don't know.

We have two children, which were born after eight years of marriage -- after I finished college and seminary. And, we were on food stamps and made use of the WIC program in their early years. We could have had more children -- and had the government pay even more for our food. We didn't.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 02:54:42 PM
How do you know that it isn't God's plan that you have only two children and that God wants you to make use of the medical gifts he has given the world to control family sizes.

The same way I know if it IS God's plan to have more . . . I leave it up to Him without trying to take control myself.  I can't tell anyone what to do, but I can guide them to what His Word says and what my church body teaches about denying potential gifts.

Quote
I note also that in the biblical world, half of the children died before their teenage years. Was that God's plan to control population at that time? (I hope not.) However, I think that it is within God's plan that we have and make use of the medical means so that most live births have very good chances of living to their adult years.

Medical means can go too far in that life can be taken.  I'm not an expert on birth control, I am simply presenting the facts as some have laid them out for the under-informed such as myself.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 27, 2010, 02:59:52 PM
We have two children, which were born after eight years of marriage -- after I finished college and seminary. And, we were on food stamps and made use of the WIC program in their early years. We could have had more children -- and had the government pay even more for our food. We didn't.

We have four living children.  Our youngest was born two months before we gave up everything to move to the seminary.  My husband and I both had to work part-time to get through Seminary.  We only needed state-offered health insurance for our kids in our final year.  We did not need anything more.  God provided!  Maybe God tired of hearing my insistent Lord's Prayer at every turn, I don't know.   ;)  I'm not better than you, I'm not more talented than you in that we found very well-paying employment while at the seminary, I'm just saying it can go either way.  God provides for His children no matter how dire the circumstances!
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2010, 03:06:40 PM
We have two children, which were born after eight years of marriage -- after I finished college and seminary. And, we were on food stamps and made use of the WIC program in their early years. We could have had more children -- and had the government pay even more for our food. We didn't.

We have four living children.  Our youngest was born two months before we gave up everything to move to the seminary.  My husband and I both had to work part-time to get through Seminary.  We only needed state-offered health insurance in our final year.  We did not need anything more.  God provided!  Maybe God tired of hearing my insistent Lord's Prayer at every turn, I don't know.   ;)  I'm not better than you, I'm not more talented than you in that we found very well-paying employment while at the seminary, I'm just saying it can go either way.  God provides for His children no matter how dire the circumstances!

I agree with the idea that God provides; but I also include contraceptives as something God has provided us (as well as OB/Gyns, hospitals, neo-natal units, etc).
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: pr dtp on October 27, 2010, 03:10:24 PM
If contraception is playng God, then so wouldn't artificial insemination and other methods that go outside natural means to impregnate someone?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Dan Fienen on October 27, 2010, 03:26:41 PM
Some thoughts on the subject.

In discussing this subject is there enough clear Biblical material for us to state definitively what God's command is concerning contraception?  It would be one thing to argue for what you think God would want for people and suggest things for them to consider when considering contraception.  It would be quite something else to start making refusal to use contraception a command from God.  It does not seem to me that we have a clear enough command to state such definitively even if we are personally convinced that it is more God pleasing to refrain from the use of contraception than to use it.  To state that it is my opinion that Christian couples should not use contraception is different from stating that as a clear command from God.

What about cases where there are medical reasons that it would be better medically for a woman not to conceive?

Clearly, if a birth control method is functioning not as a contraceptive but as an abortificant, that is a different question, subject to all the reasoning and Scripture concerning the taking of life through abortion.  But if a method is contra - conception it is not taking a life, but preventing a life from ever beginning.  A different question.

How far does one go in the argument that it is illegitimate for a couple to refuse a child if it could have been received.  Perhaps one evening the husband is tired, or his wife has a headache - or she has an important meeting the next day and doesn't want her hair mussed up, so they simply sleep together (i.e. in the same bed with no further interaction).  That night they could have conceived their next child, or not.  They will never know.  Have they done wrong by not giving God a chance to give them a baby at that time?  Even natural family planning allowed by the Roman church is a contraceptive method, intent on preventing the conception of a child except when decided by the parents.  Is that acceptable?  Why?  What is the big difference between preventing conception by refraining from intercourse at certain times, and doing so by using other methods?  Or are we to take the refraining from sex as the "punishment" for not having more children?

I can well understand people deciding that God's will for them is to not use contraception, and arguing that they think it is more God pleasing.  I would be less open to making it a church teaching that all "artificial" methods of birth control are contrary to God's will.  (Even natural family planning relies in part on artificial equipment, special thermometers, recording keeping and a good medical knowledge of women's cycles - other wise the old joke becomes even more likely - what do you call a woman who uses natural family planning? Mom.)

The decision to not have children, or not have more children, or to not have children right now is an important one that should be carefully considered.  One consideration should be the motives of the couple.  If it is out of selfishness that needs to be considered and repented.

Dan
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2010, 03:32:28 PM
The decision to not have children, or not have more children, or to not have children right now is an important one that should be carefully considered.  One consideration should be the motives of the couple.  If it is out of selfishness that needs to be considered and repented.

Your note raised another thought. Luther made a distinction between things "below" and things "above". Concerning things "below" we have free will and we are to use our best judgment, e.g., who to marry, what career to pursue, what to eat tonight, etc. Concerning things "above," we have no free will, we can only trust that God is giving us the forgiveness and salvation that we do not deserve.

I would say that decisions regarding children is a thing "below" and we have free will as to decisions in regards to contraceptives and number of children.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: James Thomas Sharp on October 27, 2010, 04:02:47 PM
I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans.
What about re-adopting the historic Lutheran position, which is a lot more similar to the current Roman position than it is to the current "Lutheran" position.

The thing I am most embarrassed about in the LCMS is the way we have sold out on divorce and birth control.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 27, 2010, 04:24:37 PM
I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans.
What about re-adopting the historic Lutheran position, which is a lot more similar to the current Roman position than it is to the current "Lutheran" position.

The thing I am most embarrassed about in the LCMS is the way we have sold out on divorce and birth control.
I don't think it is fair to link selling out on divorce to allowing birth control, scripture being very clear about divorce and not so clear on the other.  But as for going back to the way the things used to be....

My German-Lutheran immigrant great-grandfather married his first wife, who gave him children and died young of childbirth complications. Then he married my grandmother's mother, who likewise met a similar fate. The third wife produced babies, but at least she survived childbearing years. They all lived out their lives in poverty, my sainted grandmother being pulled from school in the 4th grade to work in a Baltimore textile mill.  Took a needle through the hand, and never finished her education since she herself married at 15 and began her family.  And those were the "good old days" right before the turn of the century. May they never return.
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: James Thomas Sharp on October 27, 2010, 04:39:15 PM
I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans.
What about re-adopting the historic Lutheran position, which is a lot more similar to the current Roman position than it is to the current "Lutheran" position.

The thing I am most embarrassed about in the LCMS is the way we have sold out on divorce and birth control.
I don't think it is fair to link selling out on divorce to allowing birth control, scripture being very clear about divorce and not so clear on the other.  But as for going back to the way the things used to be....

My German-Lutheran immigrant great-grandfather married his first wife, who gave him children and died young of childbirth complications. Then he married my grandmother's mother, who likewise met a similar fate. The third wife produced babies, but at least she survived childbearing years. They all lived out their lives in poverty, my sainted grandmother being pulled from school in the 4th grade to work in a Baltimore textile mill.  Took a needle through the hand, and never finished her education since she herself married at 15 and began her family.  And those were the "good old days" right before the turn of the century. May they never return.
Kurt
I am not suggesting we abandon modern medical care.  I am suggesting we return to the Biblical worldview and classic Lutheran theological position that children - yes, plural, yes, lots of them - are a blessing and gift from God, not a burden/project/something to be had at our convenience.  I do not believe it is a black-and-white issue in the same way divorce is, but we most certainly have sold out by just throwing up our hands and saying, "oh, well, the Bible isn't clear, so do what you want."

My parishioners complain about how the church used to be so full and now it's so empty.  I ask them how many brothers and sisters they had, and how many children they had.  QED.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: mariemeyer on October 27, 2010, 05:08:21 PM
Now, children are seen as burdens that must be planned.   
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: pr dtp on October 27, 2010, 05:11:06 PM
I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans.
What about re-adopting the historic Lutheran position, which is a lot more similar to the current Roman position than it is to the current "Lutheran" position.

The thing I am most embarrassed about in the LCMS is the way we have sold out on divorce and birth control.
I don't think it is fair to link selling out on divorce to allowing birth control, scripture being very clear about divorce and not so clear on the other.  But as for going back to the way the things used to be....

My German-Lutheran immigrant great-grandfather married his first wife, who gave him children and died young of childbirth complications. Then he married my grandmother's mother, who likewise met a similar fate. The third wife produced babies, but at least she survived childbearing years. They all lived out their lives in poverty, my sainted grandmother being pulled from school in the 4th grade to work in a Baltimore textile mill.  Took a needle through the hand, and never finished her education since she herself married at 15 and began her family.  And those were the "good old days" right before the turn of the century. May they never return.
Kurt
I am not suggesting we abandon modern medical care.  I am suggesting we return to the Biblical worldview and classic Lutheran theological position that children - yes, plural, yes, lots of them - are a blessing and gift from God, not a burden/project/something to be had at our convenience.  I do not believe it is a black-and-white issue in the same way divorce is, but we most certainly have sold out by just throwing up our hands and saying, "oh, well, the Bible isn't clear, so do what you want."

My parishioners complain about how the church used to be so full and now it's so empty.  I ask them how many brothers and sisters they had, and how many children they had.  QED.

No, it is not QED.  Asking them how many of their neighbor's families, co-workers, friends and enemies they have asked to come to church might provide that.

Biological church growth is an excuse not to do the work of proclaiming God's mercy to a world darkened by sin.   Biological Church growth however is a heterodox teaching that goes back to the time of the Judges and Kings, when Israel forgot (conveniently) the laws pertaining to bringing God's promise to the world, and that through Abraham's seed all nations would be blessed.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: James Thomas Sharp on October 27, 2010, 05:15:27 PM
I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans.
What about re-adopting the historic Lutheran position, which is a lot more similar to the current Roman position than it is to the current "Lutheran" position.

The thing I am most embarrassed about in the LCMS is the way we have sold out on divorce and birth control.
I don't think it is fair to link selling out on divorce to allowing birth control, scripture being very clear about divorce and not so clear on the other.  But as for going back to the way the things used to be....

My German-Lutheran immigrant great-grandfather married his first wife, who gave him children and died young of childbirth complications. Then he married my grandmother's mother, who likewise met a similar fate. The third wife produced babies, but at least she survived childbearing years. They all lived out their lives in poverty, my sainted grandmother being pulled from school in the 4th grade to work in a Baltimore textile mill.  Took a needle through the hand, and never finished her education since she herself married at 15 and began her family.  And those were the "good old days" right before the turn of the century. May they never return.
Kurt
I am not suggesting we abandon modern medical care.  I am suggesting we return to the Biblical worldview and classic Lutheran theological position that children - yes, plural, yes, lots of them - are a blessing and gift from God, not a burden/project/something to be had at our convenience.  I do not believe it is a black-and-white issue in the same way divorce is, but we most certainly have sold out by just throwing up our hands and saying, "oh, well, the Bible isn't clear, so do what you want."

My parishioners complain about how the church used to be so full and now it's so empty.  I ask them how many brothers and sisters they had, and how many children they had.  QED.

No, it is not QED.  Asking them how many of their neighbor's families, co-workers, friends and enemies they have asked to come to church might provide that.

Biological church growth is an excuse not to do the work of proclaiming God's mercy to a world darkened by sin.   Biological Church growth however is a heterodox teaching that goes back to the time of the Judges and Kings, when Israel forgot (conveniently) the laws pertaining to bringing God's promise to the world, and that through Abraham's seed all nations would be blessed.
Now saying that Christians should have kids is a heresy?  We need to get you out of California.

Their neighbors (even the papists), co-workers, friends and enemies didn't have many kids, either.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: mariemeyer on October 27, 2010, 05:21:45 PM
Sorry - I hit the reply key too soon.

The comment "Now, children are seen as burdens that must be planned" is a non-documented generalization.

That some people see children as a burden or an inconvenient nuisance has been true for ages.  Today, as in the past, there are cultures where baby girls are a burden and little boys a highy valued prize.  

One has only to look at the magazines available at the grocery check out to see how having a baby has become something of a status symbol in Hollywood.

As to the will of God and the number of children a couple has. Talk to couples dealing with infertility and they have a hard time regarding their inability to have children as the will of God.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 27, 2010, 05:26:38 PM
I live in a VERY Roman Catholic city, so it is interesting to me to see that somehow middle class Catholics in general don't seem to procreate in greater numbers that the rest of us. I think to reverse-engineer a birth control prohibition upon Lutherans will be eqally as successful.  So far in SATx, it is unwed teens (I teach them and am familiar with the issue) who seem to procreate in large numbers, and women in poverty who practice serial monogamy (with or without the benefit of marriage) and raise a household of children with multiple sires. Instead of condemning Lutherans for not producing "a baby a year", maybe we should make all these dysfunctional families with needy children the priority for mission growth right here at home.
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: pr dtp on October 27, 2010, 05:29:19 PM
I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans.
What about re-adopting the historic Lutheran position, which is a lot more similar to the current Roman position than it is to the current "Lutheran" position.

The thing I am most embarrassed about in the LCMS is the way we have sold out on divorce and birth control.
I don't think it is fair to link selling out on divorce to allowing birth control, scripture being very clear about divorce and not so clear on the other.  But as for going back to the way the things used to be....

My German-Lutheran immigrant great-grandfather married his first wife, who gave him children and died young of childbirth complications. Then he married my grandmother's mother, who likewise met a similar fate. The third wife produced babies, but at least she survived childbearing years. They all lived out their lives in poverty, my sainted grandmother being pulled from school in the 4th grade to work in a Baltimore textile mill.  Took a needle through the hand, and never finished her education since she herself married at 15 and began her family.  And those were the "good old days" right before the turn of the century. May they never return.
Kurt
I am not suggesting we abandon modern medical care.  I am suggesting we return to the Biblical worldview and classic Lutheran theological position that children - yes, plural, yes, lots of them - are a blessing and gift from God, not a burden/project/something to be had at our convenience.  I do not believe it is a black-and-white issue in the same way divorce is, but we most certainly have sold out by just throwing up our hands and saying, "oh, well, the Bible isn't clear, so do what you want."

My parishioners complain about how the church used to be so full and now it's so empty.  I ask them how many brothers and sisters they had, and how many children they had.  QED.

No, it is not QED.  Asking them how many of their neighbor's families, co-workers, friends and enemies they have asked to come to church might provide that.

Biological church growth is an excuse not to do the work of proclaiming God's mercy to a world darkened by sin.   Biological Church growth however is a heterodox teaching that goes back to the time of the Judges and Kings, when Israel forgot (conveniently) the laws pertaining to bringing God's promise to the world, and that through Abraham's seed all nations would be blessed.
Now saying that Christians should have kids is a heresy?  We need to get you out of California.

Their neighbors (even the papists), co-workers, friends and enemies didn't have many kids, either.

No, I said that saying that your stated reason for churches being empty supports a heterodox concept that producing children is the best method of growing churches.   Mt 28 doesn't say create disciples only within your own family.  Yet there was even a resolution which sounds vaguely like your solution this summer.  The Floor Committee noted there wasn't a historic LCMS position on the matter, if I recall.

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on October 27, 2010, 05:32:09 PM

This goes into ESCR as well.  Shouldn't we give up a few unwanted fetuses if it can help cure Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's?


Which god do we offer the sacrifice to?

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 27, 2010, 05:34:30 PM
Sorry - I hit the reply key too soon.
The comment "Now, children are seen as burdens that must be planned" is a non-documented generalization.
That some people see children as a burden or an inconvenient nuisance has been true for ages.  Today, as in the past, there are cultures where baby girls are a burden and little boys a highy valued prize.  
One has only to look at the magazines available at the grocery check out to see how having a baby has become something of a status symbol in Hollywood.   As to the will of God and the number of children a couple has. Talk to couples dealing with infertility and they have a hard time regarding their inability to have children as the will of God.

Forget Hollywood---having a baby is a status symbol in high school now!  :o Since I left the Air Force and began teaching almost 18 years ago, I have only known one of my pregnant students to give up her baby for adoption.  The norm for young generation we have now is NOT a family with an adult currently-married mother and father.  It is a national disgrace, and something more worthy of attention than a movement to ban Lutheran contraception.
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on October 27, 2010, 05:37:57 PM

Even natural family planning allowed by the Roman church is a contraceptive method, intent on preventing the conception of a child except when decided by the parents.  Is that acceptable?  Why?  What is the big difference between preventing conception by refraining from intercourse at certain times, and doing so by using other methods?


Choosing to engage in marital relations only when the wife is less likely to conceive is not the same thing as preventing conception.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: pr dtp on October 27, 2010, 07:03:05 PM
If contraception is playng God, then so wouldn't artificial insemination and other methods that go outside natural means to impregnate someone?

And there are indeed those who credibly argue this as another way in which man tries to usurp God's role as the Lord of Life.

But for me, the direction of earnestly desiring a life and using medical science in aiding that goal is dramatically different than using medical science in a despising and destruction of life.

This goes into ESCR as well.  Shouldn't we give up a few unwanted fetuses if it can help cure Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's?

Mike

Mike,

My point is here - if contraception is a sin because it denies God's natural order and will, so to is AI and the usage of drugs to create hyper fertilization.   It would be inconsistent to say that the erason makes one sin, but not the other.

Is there another reason it is sin, that is equally applied, yet results in one being sin and the other not?  Or is one sin so much less than the other, even though the reason it is sin is exactly the same?  Or do you simply think we should tolerate one sin more than the other?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2010, 07:23:12 PM
Now, children are seen as burdens that must be planned.   

I had a man tell me that back in 1974. His argument was that once children were no longer the free laborers on the farm or ranch, they turned from assets to liabilities. For the most part, they take much more money out of the family finances than they contribute to them. I recently heard from a retired man who is helping to support two of his four grown children. We feel fortunate that when one grown son couldn't get a job after college, his college would pay for his masters program. He stayed in school. When our other son was laid off from his job -- at the same time his student loans came due -- we had to help support him. There is a limited amount of funds that a family has to spend.

While we talk about God providing, I've seen way too many congregations get behind on bills and mortgages and even have to shut their doors, because God did not provide. (Perhaps the members were spending too much money on too many children :))
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 27, 2010, 07:26:32 PM

This goes into ESCR as well.  Shouldn't we give up a few unwanted fetuses if it can help cure Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's?


Which god do we offer the sacrifice to?

I think it's the One who sacrificed his Son -- for an even greater good.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on October 27, 2010, 07:49:28 PM

This goes into ESCR as well.  Shouldn't we give up a few unwanted fetuses if it can help cure Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's?


Which god do we offer the sacrifice to?

Pax, Steven+

If I understand you correctly, then I am guessing Moloch is the most appropriate.  ;)


Got it. 

Several years ago it struck me that 500 years from now, they might be teaching the history of our culture much as we were taught about bloodthirsty Aztecs sacrificing virgins to the thier gods...

Christe eleison, Steven+
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: mariemeyer on October 27, 2010, 08:08:04 PM
Choosing to engage in marital relations only when the wife is less likely to conceive is not the same thing as preventing conception.

Pax, Steven+

 

Isn't the intent the same thing? In both instances the goal is to avoid having a child at a particular time.   

Marie Meyer
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ptmccain on October 27, 2010, 08:25:59 PM
I can appreciate some of the points made about contraception, but finally what always strikes me about many, not all, of the folks advocating the "no contraception" thing is that there is quite an odor of legalism and self-righteousness about it. Kind of like ex-smokers preaching their new found freedom from smoking. It's not enough for them that they have many children as physically possible for them, they try to send others packing for a guilt trip that do not share their zeal to have a bevy of bambinos.

Those who choose to have many children, I say, more power to them and God bless them. Those who decide not to, that's their choice as well. There is no sin, necessarily and always, in contraception.

I do, however, believe healthy young men and women who marry with no intention to have children, should not be married and should abstain from sexual relations. One of the Creator's clear intentions for marriage is that it should be a relationship in which there is fruitful multiplying.

When I'm asked about contraception, I always like to say, "God said to be fruitful and multiply. My wife and I have. So, now tell me again, what are we doing wrong?"

 :)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on October 27, 2010, 09:03:48 PM

Isn't the intent the same thing?


No, it isn't.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Weedon on October 27, 2010, 09:08:05 PM
I'm sure Pastor Hess is aware of this website, but others may not be.  Well worth perusing to hear some of the stronger arguments in favor of refraining from contraception by those most affected:

http://concordiansisters.blogspot.com/
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: SteveS on October 27, 2010, 09:30:08 PM
Thank you for knowing and speaking the intent of all of us  >:(


Isn't the intent the same thing?


No, it isn't.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: iowakatie1981 on October 27, 2010, 09:35:20 PM
What about this angle:  I think I finally was convinced to be anti-birth control (at least personally - I'm not yet prepared to teach/preach it) a few years ago when I heard someone (I forget who) describing an insistence on birth control as saying, "Baby, I love you enough to want to have sex with you.  I want all of you.  All, that is, except your fertility."

What happens when we look at contraception as a rejection of part of one's spouse?

I'm not wording this very well, I'm sorry.  Can somebody help me tease this out a little?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Weedon on October 27, 2010, 09:36:34 PM
Actually, Katie, I can't imagine a better way of stating the crucial issue.  Thank you for that! 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 27, 2010, 10:11:03 PM
I can appreciate some of the points made about contraception, but finally what always strikes me about many, not all, of the folks advocating the "no contraception" thing is that there is quite an odor of legalism and self-righteousness about it. Kind of like ex-smokers preaching their new found freedom from smoking. It's not enough for them that they have many children as physically possible for them, they try to send others packing for a guilt trip that do not share their zeal to have a bevy of bambinos.
Those who choose to have many children, I say, more power to them and God bless them. Those who decide not to, that's their choice as well. There is no sin, necessarily and always, in contraception.
I do, however, believe healthy young men and women who marry with no intention to have children, should not be married and should abstain from sexual relations. One of the Creator's clear intentions for marriage is that it should be a relationship in which there is fruitful multiplying.
When I'm asked about contraception, I always like to say, "God said to be fruitful and multiply. My wife and I have. So, now tell me again, what are we doing wrong?" :)
Thank you for this well-stated post! We also joyfully multiplied, but without any exponents (to extend a math metaphor). I don't shake my finger and look over the top of my glasses at anyone who had fewer or more children than us.  
Except for that "Octo-mom" woman maybe....
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: James Thomas Sharp on October 27, 2010, 11:18:20 PM
I can appreciate some of the points made about contraception, but finally what always strikes me about many, not all, of the folks advocating the "no contraception" thing is that there is quite an odor of legalism and self-righteousness about it.
Calling it legalism is a good way of avoiding the fact that it is the historic position of all orthodox Christianity, that there's plenty of biblical basis for the position, and that it's hard to make a very good case from Scripture that we should limit the number of children that we have to the number we want.

Quote
Those who choose to have many children, I say, more power to them and God bless them. Those who decide not to, that's their choice as well. There is no sin, necessarily and always, in contraception.
I agree.  Like many things, the issue is the intention and motivation.

Quote
I do, however, believe healthy young men and women who marry with no intention to have children, should not be married and should abstain from sexual relations. One of the Creator's clear intentions for marriage is that it should be a relationship in which there is fruitful multiplying.
What if they have one?  Is that enough?  Or two?  Or three, which is technically multiplying? 

Quote
When I'm asked about contraception, I always like to say, "God said to be fruitful and multiply. My wife and I have. So, now tell me again, what are we doing wrong?"
Which other of God's commands have you kept perfectly? ;)


I am not looking for the LCMS to oppose all forms of contraception at all times, or to make the "baby a year" demand that has become a straw man on this thread.  I am looking for people to teach the biblical worldview.  Limiting the number of children to what's convenient so that we can have a bigger house and more gadgets or advance at work or so that we can enjoy our lives first or travel before we have kids/travel after we have kids or whatever other selfish motivations have moved people not to have kids is just as incompatible with the biblical worldview as homosexual marriage.  Limiting because of some sort of real ethical/moral dilemma is a different issue.  I don't sit in judgment of people with 1 or 2 kids because I have no idea why they have 1 or 2.  I do teach those who ask that when God says multiply he doesn't mean by 1 or by 0.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: totaliter vivens on October 27, 2010, 11:43:23 PM
I’m a bit hesitant to wade into this conversation, but I do have a serious question.

Certainly children are a blessing although it does not logically follow that more of a blessing is always a blessing.

It appears that a number of people frame the issue as one of being obedient to the will of God. If God wills children then I have children and if God wills otherwise I do not.

So here’s the question… Is this obedience to God’s will limited to procreation? Is there a point at which medical interventions, surgery, selective breeding of plants and animals (not to mention genetic manipulation), etc. become efforts to thwart the will of God?

Scripture and the bulk of Church tradition view plague, disease, drought, famine, etc. as at least potentially the will of God. How do we delineate the boundaries between what we should accept and what we should seek to change?

SPS
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Weedon on October 28, 2010, 09:09:42 AM
Pastor Sabin,

I think there is a profound difference within the Scripture toward such things:  death is rather largely viewed as "the enemy" and sickness, too, as that for which God's people beg relief of God, or as the old theologians would say "a mitigation of the crosses He lays upon us."  But nowhere in Scripture or in the tradition are children perceived to be other than blessing from the hand of God, no?  Even to extolling quantity:  Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them!
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steverem on October 28, 2010, 09:17:33 AM

I am not looking for the LCMS to oppose all forms of contraception at all times, or to make the "baby a year" demand that has become a straw man on this thread. 


Married: October, 2008
Daughter Born: July 2009
Son Born: September 2010

Who should I be talking to about getting my "More Lutheran than Thou" medal?   ;)

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steverem on October 28, 2010, 09:24:25 AM

Thanks for explicating the difference in the use of medical technology which extols life and keeps the enemy of death at bay as opposed to that which gives aid and comfort to the enemy of Death.



Of course, it gets a little murkier when you think deeper about some of the fertilization methods, where several embryos are created in vitro
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 28, 2010, 10:01:38 AM

Married: October, 2008
Daughter Born: July 2009
Son Born: September 2010

Who should I be talking to about getting my "More Lutheran than Thou" medal?   ;)

Just for fun:

Married:  August 1991
Twin Sons Born:  July 1995
Daughter Born:  March 1997
Daughter Born:  December 1998
Daughter Born:  August 2000
Son Born:  April 2002

My award is that I have any sanity left given seminary, all the moves, etc.  ;D
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: JEdwards on October 28, 2010, 10:08:07 AM
What happens when we look at contraception as a rejection of part of one's spouse?
We are likely to be making uncharitable assumptions.

My wife and I have conceived 7 children.  Four survived to birth.  One of the miscarriages triggered abnormalities in my wife's blood clotting system leading to several days in the hospital with severe bleeding.  As part of her evaluation we learned that she has several uncommon genes that may predispose to miscarriages and bleeding.  The optimal medical management of these conditions is still unknown.  But it's a free country, so you are more than welcome to proclaim that my decision to have a vasectomy is a selfish rejection of a part of my wife.

Jon
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on October 28, 2010, 10:12:52 AM
Some will, Jon. But I won't.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: iowakatie1981 on October 28, 2010, 10:16:51 AM
Jon,

I'm terribly sorry for all that you and your wife have gone through.  I'll be keeping your family in my prayers.  

I just want to note, however, that my post was not meant to accuse anyone.  It was simply trying to look at the issue from a different angle, and trying (poorly) to explain why I personally have come to the place I have.  I'm sorry that came across as hurtful; it was not at all what I intended.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: JEdwards on October 28, 2010, 10:24:25 AM
Thank you.  Praise God, my wife and our 4 children are happy and healthy now.  I am reminded on a daily basis that children are a blessing from God, and to some degree I share the sentiments that you have expressed.  My point in sharing some very personal information was to caution against being too quick to assume to know what motivates people to make the decisions they make.

Peace,
Jon
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 28, 2010, 10:27:30 AM
What happens when we look at contraception as a rejection of part of one's spouse?
We are likely to be making uncharitable assumptions.

My wife and I have conceived 7 children.  Four survived to birth.  One of the miscarriages triggered abnormalities in my wife's blood clotting system leading to several days in the hospital with severe bleeding.  As part of her evaluation we learned that she has several uncommon genes that may predispose to miscarriages and bleeding.  The optimal medical management of these conditions is still unknown.  But it's a free country, so you are more than welcome to proclaim that my decision to have a vasectomy is a selfish rejection of a part of my wife.

Jon

Thank you for sharing this, Jon.  I am so sorry for your losses.  I struggle with really having much to say on the subject given our own situation.  During my 5th C-section to deliver our son, my OB gave us the bad news that I couldn't sustain another pregnancy because of having too much scar tissue.  We took the permanent route while he was still in there without having a whole lot of time to think and pray on it.  If I was wrong, at least I know I'm forgiven.   :D
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 28, 2010, 10:30:55 AM
Thank you.  Praise God, my wife and our 4 children are happy and healthy now.  I am reminded on a daily basis that children are a blessing from God, and to some degree I share the sentiments that you have expressed.  My point in sharing some very personal information was to caution against being too quick to assume to know what motivates people to make the decisions they make.

Peace,
Jon

Amen!  I know for me I would probably not have come to recognize the gift that children are without the losses I endured.  We do have to be careful not to make general assumptions; I still catch myself doing it at times!   :(
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: iowakatie1981 on October 28, 2010, 10:56:13 AM
Right, I'm not trying to "sinfully presume" anything about anybody. 

I think, like most of us here, that there is a big difference between contracepting because "well, we just don't want kids right now" and because there is an actual medical or other legitimate issue going on.

Obviously, there's no cause for judging anybody based on the number of kids they have.  I myself have zero (then again, my "birth control" method is 100% effective  ;) ). 

The point I was trying to make, (not all that well, apparently) is that, absent other significant concerns, a decision to contracept (in my mind, anyway) speaks not only to a person's attitude towards God and potential children, but also towards his or her spouse. 

But I'm also not quite ready to preach or teach this sentiment.  This is big, personal issue, there are a lot of things at play, and it involves the most intimate relationships in anyone's life - God and spouse.

It's where I happen to be at right now, as an unmarried woman, but I also appreciate that others are at different places based on their own individual circumstances. 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: iowakatie1981 on October 28, 2010, 11:02:59 AM
The point I was trying to make, (not all that well, apparently) is that, absent other significant concerns, a decision to contracept (in my mind, anyway) speaks not only to a person's attitude towards God and potential children, but also towards his or her spouse. 

But I'm also not quite ready to preach or teach this sentiment.  This is big, personal issue, there are a lot of things at play, and it involves the most intimate relationships in anyone's life - God and spouse.

And don't forget the potential children as well.  Those are also among the most intimate relationships in anyone's life.

Indeed, the intimacy of the relationship between parent and child plays into John 3:16, does it not?  ;)

Mike

True 'dat. ;)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 28, 2010, 11:03:45 AM
Right, I'm not trying to "sinfully presume" anything about anybody.  

I think, like most of us here, that there is a big difference between contracepting because "well, we just don't want kids right now" and because there is an actual medical or other legitimate issue going on.

Obviously, there's no cause for judging anybody based on the number of kids they have.  I myself have zero (then again, my "birth control" method is 100% effective  ;) ).  

The point I was trying to make, (not all that well, apparently) is that, absent other significant concerns, a decision to contracept (in my mind, anyway) speaks not only to a person's attitude towards God and potential children, but also towards his or her spouse.  

But I'm also not quite ready to preach or teach this sentiment.  This is big, personal issue, there are a lot of things at play, and it involves the most intimate relationships in anyone's life - God and spouse.

It's where I happen to be at right now, as an unmarried woman, but I also appreciate that others are at different places based on their own individual circumstances.  

I appreciate your words, sister Katie!  And AMEN! to the only 100% effective means for preventing pregnancy that I endorse for all unmarried folks!  I also agree on the very personal nature of this subject.  Where I am at now, I will provide information to a woman who may ask and pray that she makes a decision that is pleasing to God.  Of course this is how I would counsel someone contemplating abortion, too.  It's not our place to judge or condemn, just speak the truth of God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 28, 2010, 12:13:28 PM
I don't think contraception within married couples is a tough decision at all, and I don't think adopting the Roman Catholic position makes good sense for Lutherans.
What about re-adopting the historic Lutheran position, which is a lot more similar to the current Roman position than it is to the current "Lutheran" position.

The thing I am most embarrassed about in the LCMS is the way we have sold out on divorce and birth control.
I don't think it is fair to link selling out on divorce to allowing birth control, scripture being very clear about divorce and not so clear on the other.  But as for going back to the way the things used to be....

My German-Lutheran immigrant great-grandfather married his first wife, who gave him children and died young of childbirth complications. Then he married my grandmother's mother, who likewise met a similar fate. The third wife produced babies, but at least she survived childbearing years. They all lived out their lives in poverty, my sainted grandmother being pulled from school in the 4th grade to work in a Baltimore textile mill.  Took a needle through the hand, and never finished her education since she herself married at 15 and began her family.  And those were the "good old days" right before the turn of the century. May they never return.
Kurt

Without those good old days in which people had a lot of children and lived in poverty, would you even exist?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 28, 2010, 12:19:43 PM
Sorry - I hit the reply key too soon.
The comment "Now, children are seen as burdens that must be planned" is a non-documented generalization.
That some people see children as a burden or an inconvenient nuisance has been true for ages.  Today, as in the past, there are cultures where baby girls are a burden and little boys a highy valued prize.  
One has only to look at the magazines available at the grocery check out to see how having a baby has become something of a status symbol in Hollywood.   As to the will of God and the number of children a couple has. Talk to couples dealing with infertility and they have a hard time regarding their inability to have children as the will of God.

Forget Hollywood---having a baby is a status symbol in high school now!  :o Since I left the Air Force and began teaching almost 18 years ago, I have only known one of my pregnant students to give up her baby for adoption.  The norm for young generation we have now is NOT a family with an adult currently-married mother and father.  It is a national disgrace, and something more worthy of attention than a movement to ban Lutheran contraception.
Kurt

The failure to teach about the divinely instituted connection between sex, marriage, and conception is part of the reason we have this national disgrace.  Just as people look at sex as detachable from life long union, so people look at childbearing as having nothing to do with marriage.  Talk with an advocate of homosexual marriage about how the reason that the state shouldn't permit it is because they need to protect marriage as an institution for bearing and raising children.  They will tell you, Marriage has nothing to do with children.  Many Lutherans have imbibed the same way of thinkng from the culture.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 28, 2010, 12:23:02 PM
What about this angle:  I think I finally was convinced to be anti-birth control (at least personally - I'm not yet prepared to teach/preach it) a few years ago when I heard someone (I forget who) describing an insistence on birth control as saying, "Baby, I love you enough to want to have sex with you.  I want all of you.  All, that is, except your fertility."

What happens when we look at contraception as a rejection of part of one's spouse?

I'm not wording this very well, I'm sorry.  Can somebody help me tease this out a little?

You hit the nail on the head, Katie.  That was one of the things that converted me too.  "I want all of you but your capacity to produce life."  That means that at the level of greatest intimacy you are saying to your spouse, "i do not give that part of myself to you."
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 28, 2010, 12:25:36 PM
Without those good old days in which people had a lot of children and lived in poverty, would you even exist?
Maybe not, but then again Hitler Stalin might not have existed either. Hard to judge God's will.  Maybe I don't actually exist, come to think of it...my brain hurts!

BTW, I used the example of my mother's grandparents, but my father's grandparents in Anne Arundel Co. had an much more tragic story (only 2 of 10 children made it to adulthood, my grandmother being one of the two).
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ptmccain on October 28, 2010, 12:27:52 PM
Oh, oh. The dreaded Hitler card has been played, thus signaling a discussion has totally left the tracks.

 :)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 28, 2010, 12:34:01 PM
Oh, oh. The dreaded Hitler card has been played, thus signaling a discussion has totally left the tracks.
 :)
Well my existence WAS bought into question. I changed it. ;)
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: olarmy02 on October 28, 2010, 12:46:52 PM
‎"When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in 1517, he may not have realised the full significance of what he was doing, but… 400 years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas." 
‎"I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry's and hold my head up high, and say in a loud steady voice: 'Harry I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today I think I'll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant."

From 'Monty Python's the Meaning of Life'

 ;D
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 28, 2010, 12:57:34 PM
I believe that is the scene in which the father criticizes Catholics for thinking they must have a baby every time they have sex, and the mother relpies "How is that any different from us? We have two children, and......" ;D
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steverem on October 28, 2010, 12:59:17 PM
‎"When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in 1517, he may not have realised the full significance of what he was doing, but… 400 years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas." 
‎"I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry's and hold my head up high, and say in a loud steady voice: 'Harry I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today I think I'll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant."

From 'Monty Python's the Meaning of Life'

 ;D


Great--now I'm going to have that Dickens-esque homage to sperm running through my head.  Thanks a lot!   ;)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: olarmy02 on October 28, 2010, 01:06:37 PM
I believe that is the scene in which the father criticizes Catholics for thinking they must have a baby every time they have sex, and the mother relpies "How is that any different from us? We have two children, and......" ;D
Kurt

Absolutely.  Monty Python Gold, along with the birth scene at the hospital and the machine that goes 'ping'.
woman in labor: "What do you want me to do?"
John Cleese (Dr.): "Nothing my dear, you are not qualified."
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: MaddogLutheran on October 28, 2010, 01:15:11 PM
‎"When Martin Luther nailed his protest up to the church door in 1517, he may not have realised the full significance of what he was doing, but… 400 years later, thanks to him, my dear, I can wear whatever I want on my John Thomas."  
‎"I can go down the road any time I want and walk into Harry's and hold my head up high, and say in a loud steady voice: 'Harry I want you to sell me a condom. In fact, today I think I'll have a French Tickler, for I am a Protestant."

From 'Monty Python's the Meaning of Life'

 ;D


Great--now I'm going to have that Dickens-esque homage to sperm running through my head.  Thanks a lot!   ;)
I worked with a guy who grew up in northeast Pennsylvania coal and Catholic country, who saw this in the theater when it premiered.  Uproarious laughter throughout the movie, except for this scene, when as he tells it, you could have heard a pin drop.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ptmccain on October 28, 2010, 01:21:32 PM
Hey, guys, can we keep this conversation at a higher level? There are ladies' present and this is not a locker room.

Stay classy!

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: olarmy02 on October 28, 2010, 01:30:43 PM
Hey, guys, can we keep this conversation at a higher level? There are ladies' present and this is not a locker room.

Stay classy!



My Lutheran Fenian Brother, apologies if my quote of Monty Python has offended.  Given the oft-discussed topic of sexuality (ususally of the same gender variety) and an entire thread devouted to 'Drag Shows' I thought the quote tame.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 28, 2010, 02:18:18 PM
Hey, guys, can we keep this conversation at a higher level? There are ladies' present and this is not a locker room.

Stay classy!



Nothing about this forum so far screams "class" at me.  ;D  I have worked for years in pregnancy resource centers trying to help men and women understand God's design for sex.  Plus I spent six years in the Army.  Not much phases me any more.  My husband loves Monty Python, but the humor is over my head.  Have fun with it where I'm concerned.  It's honestly easier for me to take this than all the talk of homosexuality that every other thread seems to digress to.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 28, 2010, 02:22:34 PM
Nothing about this forum so far screams "class" at me.  ;D  I have worked for years in pregnancy resource centers trying to help men and women understand God's design for sex.  Plus I spent six years in the Army.  Not much phases me any more.  My husband loves Monty Python, but the humor is over my head.  Have fun with it where I'm concerned.  It's honestly easier for me to take this than all the talk of homosexuality that every other thread seems to digress to.
You nailed it (like Luther?)......THAT is the one topic that is worse than invoking Hitler! :-X
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 28, 2010, 05:04:01 PM
Without those good old days in which people had a lot of children and lived in poverty, would you even exist?
Maybe not, but then again Hitler Stalin might not have existed either. Hard to judge God's will.  Maybe I don't actually exist, come to think of it...my brain hurts!

BTW, I used the example of my mother's grandparents, but my father's grandparents in Anne Arundel Co. had an much more tragic story (only 2 of 10 children made it to adulthood, my grandmother being one of the two).
Kurt

God intended good to come from Hitler and Stalin too.  They too were given as gifts to their parents.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: jeric on October 28, 2010, 06:00:15 PM
I'm really late to this discussion, but here goes:

I believe God said, "Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth...."

When I told my boys to "Go out and shovel the snow," their goal was to clear the walks and driveway.  When they had accomplished that goal they were no longer expected to keep shoveling.  I feel the same about God's command to "fill the earth:"  when we have done that, we are no longer expected to continue to the point of overproduction.

From the point of view of Genesis, there was a major reason to multiply and fill the earth.  The future of (hu)mankind depended on it.  I don't think that is true at this time, and, thus, I do not see the avoidance of pregnancy as a sin.  This is not to say that I agree with any form of abortion.  To me, this is not the point of a thread on "Contraception," they are not the same.

John Ericksen
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: SmithL on October 28, 2010, 06:25:05 PM
All of my wife's pregnancies were problem pregnancies, and when we were expecting out third child, the doctor was very concerned for her health.  He told us that this had to be our last child.  She nodded in agreement and told him that I would be getting a vasectomy after our daughter was born.  He told us that he didn't care if I got pregnant, and he was going to make sure she didn't get pregnant again. And this was at a Catholic hospital.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Matt on October 28, 2010, 06:35:13 PM
Jeric,

The Earth is filled? By what measure? Ever been to Mongolia?

The prophets of population doom led by Paul Ehrlich in the 1960s have been utterly discredited. In fact, depopulation now seems to be the greater threat to well-being in most of the world, including, of all places, China. Ironic, since China has engaged in a couple of generations of self-genocide based on this asinine conventional wisdom.

I think God's commandment to be fruitful and multiply applies to us today every bit as much as it did to Adam and Eve. Far more evil and human suffering has come from breaking this commandment than keeping it.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Weedon on October 28, 2010, 06:37:09 PM
This was an interesting program on NPR touching on the problems of depopulation:

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-10-21/ted-fishman-shock-gray
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: jeric on October 28, 2010, 07:25:48 PM
Jeric,

The Earth is filled? By what measure? Ever been to Mongolia?

The prophets of population doom led by Paul Ehrlich in the 1960s have been utterly discredited. In fact, depopulation now seems to be the greater threat to well-being in most of the world, including, of all places, China. Ironic, since China has engaged in a couple of generations of self-genocide based on this asinine conventional wisdom.

I think God's commandment to be fruitful and multiply applies to us today every bit as much as it did to Adam and Eve. Far more evil and human suffering has come from breaking this commandment than keeping it.


Nope.  Never been to Mongolia, nor the Sahara, or the wilds of Brazil, etc.  And neither have very many other people.  For good reason, they are very inhospitable areas.

I've seen the problems when the population explosion moves to Arizona.  About every six years they establish a commission to inquire: "Where are we going to get water for all these people?"  Its very interesting that you never hear another word from that commission.

I don't buy the argument that "there is plenty of room."  Not when NASA is looking for habitable planets and ways to get to them.

I think we've fulfilled the command to "multiply and fill the earth," and, therefore we can rejoice in a job well done.

John Ericksen
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Weedon on October 28, 2010, 07:30:56 PM
Well, not just Mongolia.  When you get in your car and drive across the States you realize how empty most of our country is - we cluster in the big cities and the burbs, but my goodness, there's lots and lots of empty land here.  I notice it driving out to MD (east), but it is even more striking when heading west (my brother lives in Montana). 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2010, 07:44:21 PM
Well, not just Mongolia.  When you get in your car and drive across the States you realize how empty most of our country is - we cluster in the big cities and the burbs, but my goodness, there's lots and lots of empty land here.  I notice it driving out to MD (east), but it is even more striking when heading west (my brother lives in Montana). 

I lived in Wyoming -- lots of empty spaces. However, even with all this empty space, do all the people who are now filling the earth have clean water to drink? Do they have sufficient food to eat? Do they have what is necessary for shalom in their lives?

I remember reading about an experiment with guppies in a fish bowl. In one case, the experimenters started with two guppies -- a male and a female. Over time, they reached x number of guppies in the bowl. In another case, the experimenters started with the same size fish bowl, and filled it with many, many guppies. Over time, they reduced their numbers by killing off the weaker ones to x number of guppies -- about the same number as when they started with two.

If we are allowing people to starve to death, perhaps the earth has reached the capacity population that it can handle.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 28, 2010, 07:51:03 PM
If we are allowing people to starve to death, perhaps the earth has reached the capacity population that it can handle.

Or unscrupulous authoritarian dictators/regimes in third world countries continue to hoard all the resources so they do not get to the people who need them most.  Guppies aren't people, but the experiment you put forth sounds a lot like the abortion issue to me.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: olarmy02 on October 28, 2010, 07:54:51 PM
Well, not just Mongolia.  When you get in your car and drive across the States you realize how empty most of our country is - we cluster in the big cities and the burbs, but my goodness, there's lots and lots of empty land here.  I notice it driving out to MD (east), but it is even more striking when heading west (my brother lives in Montana). 

I lived in Wyoming -- lots of empty spaces. However, even with all this empty space, do all the people who are now filling the earth have clean water to drink? Do they have sufficient food to eat? Do they have what is necessary for shalom in their lives?

I remember reading about an experiment with guppies in a fish bowl. In one case, the experimenters started with two guppies -- a male and a female. Over time, they reached x number of guppies in the bowl. In another case, the experimenters started with the same size fish bowl, and filled it with many, many guppies. Over time, they reduced their numbers by killing off the weaker ones to x number of guppies -- about the same number as when they started with two.

If we are allowing people to starve to death, perhaps the earth has reached the capacity population that it can handle.

I am sure none of our bellies are flapping against our backbones...
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2010, 08:07:46 PM
If we are allowing people to starve to death, perhaps the earth has reached the capacity population that it can handle.

Or unscrupulous authoritarian dictators/regimes in third world countries continue to hoard all the resources so they do not get to the people who need them most.  Guppies aren't people, but the experiment you put forth sounds a lot like the abortion issue to me.

Actually, I think it has more to do with war issues. Those who are squeezed out fight back for their place in the world, but those taking over the land and resources want it for themselves.

To use a different analogy, how often do growing families seek a larger house to better accommodate the growing family? Having adequate space is important to us.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2010, 08:11:10 PM
Well, not just Mongolia.  When you get in your car and drive across the States you realize how empty most of our country is - we cluster in the big cities and the burbs, but my goodness, there's lots and lots of empty land here.  I notice it driving out to MD (east), but it is even more striking when heading west (my brother lives in Montana). 

I lived in Wyoming -- lots of empty spaces. However, even with all this empty space, do all the people who are now filling the earth have clean water to drink? Do they have sufficient food to eat? Do they have what is necessary for shalom in their lives?

I remember reading about an experiment with guppies in a fish bowl. In one case, the experimenters started with two guppies -- a male and a female. Over time, they reached x number of guppies in the bowl. In another case, the experimenters started with the same size fish bowl, and filled it with many, many guppies. Over time, they reduced their numbers by killing off the weaker ones to x number of guppies -- about the same number as when they started with two.

If we are allowing people to starve to death, perhaps the earth has reached the capacity population that it can handle.

I am sure none of our bellies are flapping against our backbones...

It isn't about us, but about them whose bellies are flapping against their backbones. We think that as long as we have enough food to feed 19 children we can have them, as long as we have enough energy to heat and cool a 8,000 square foot house, we should have it, as long as we can afford the gas for the large, fuel-guzzling SUV, we should be able to drive it, etc.

Do you not think that God has put us here in wealthy America so that we have some power and wealth to help the powerless and poor around the world rather than use that wealth just for self?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 28, 2010, 08:49:08 PM
Do you not think that God has put us here in wealthy America so that we have some power and wealth to help the powerless and poor around the world rather than use that wealth just for self?

I'm willing to bet the larger families in our churches are probably some of the better stewards among us.  Family size does not equate in any way with the ability to help others who are less fortunate.  In fact, I'll bet they're more motivated to help others at a greater rate than the rich, spoiled kids sitting around playing on their DSIs and texting on their cell phones.  I wish you would apply this same logic about using wealth for self to the abortion argument.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 28, 2010, 08:54:46 PM
Without those good old days in which people had a lot of children and lived in poverty, would you even exist?
Maybe not, but then again Hitler Stalin might not have existed either. Hard to judge God's will.  Maybe I don't actually exist, come to think of it...my brain hurts!

BTW, I used the example of my mother's grandparents, but my father's grandparents in Anne Arundel Co. had an much more tragic story (only 2 of 10 children made it to adulthood, my grandmother being one of the two).
Kurt

God intended good to come from Hitler and Stalin too.  They too were given as gifts to their parents.

That sounds good, but can you really know that?

It gets into the hidden will, omniscience, and predestination of God, doesn't it?

Mike

No, it gets into the revealed will of God.  "Children are a blessing from the Lord."  "God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."  Going beyond what God says about human beings in verses like those is getting into the hidden will of God.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 28, 2010, 10:12:22 PM
No, it gets into the revealed will of God.  "Children are a blessing from the Lord."  "God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."  Going beyond what God says about human beings in verses like those is getting into the hidden will of God.

I checked two different translations. Neither Bible has "Children are a blessing from the Lord." Where does that come from?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Matt on October 28, 2010, 10:21:12 PM
Psalm 127:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
   are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
   who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
   when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 28, 2010, 10:31:05 PM
Well, not just Mongolia.  When you get in your car and drive across the States you realize how empty most of our country is - we cluster in the big cities and the burbs, but my goodness, there's lots and lots of empty land here.  I notice it driving out to MD (east), but it is even more striking when heading west (my brother lives in Montana).
Lots of open land, but as a westerner I would be remiss if I didn't point out that there is not enough water to sustain large populations in much of the West. That is why there is so much open country that we are truly blessed with.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Matt on October 28, 2010, 10:38:13 PM
Lots of open land, but as a westerner I would be remiss if I didn't point out that there is not enough water to sustain large populations in much of the West. That is why there is so much open country that we are truly blessed with.

You mean large populations like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Las Vegas and San Jose? :)

I think it is more accurate to say that water is more expensive in the West, and certainly more political. Las Vegas has had explosive population growth in a very dry place and yet, somehow, water still comes out of every tap in town. I know water management issues are a big deal in the West but I don't think it has constrained growth in any meaningful way. Otherwise, how do you explain Las Vegas?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: James Gustafson on October 28, 2010, 11:18:12 PM
Well, not just Mongolia.  When you get in your car and drive across the States you realize how empty most of our country is - we cluster in the big cities and the burbs, but my goodness, there's lots and lots of empty land here.  I notice it driving out to MD (east), but it is even more striking when heading west (my brother lives in Montana).  

I lived in Wyoming -- lots of empty spaces. However, even with all this empty space, do all the people who are now filling the earth have clean water to drink? Do they have sufficient food to eat? Do they have what is necessary for shalom in their lives?
I remember reading about an experiment with guppies in a fish bowl. In one case, the experimenters started with two guppies -- a male and a female. Over time, they reached x number of guppies in the bowl. In another case, the experimenters started with the same size fish bowl, and filled it with many, many guppies. Over time, they reduced their numbers by killing off the weaker ones to x number of guppies -- about the same number as when they started with two.

If we are allowing people to starve to death, perhaps the earth has reached the capacity population that it can handle.

Lets assume for a moment that this line of reasoning was adopted by the governments of all humans and that at the first sight of famine they crack down on population control.  Abram would not have prayed for or accepted the promise of God that he should have children because there was famine in the land and it was severe (Genesis 12:10), so Abram should have told God that there wasn't enough food and good water for the whole world so he shouldn't have any children to inherit the land...  And again, God promised Isaac during times of famine that he would have MORE children and the famine is to be endured, but Pr. Stoffregen's method would have had Issac telling God that there wasn't enough food and good water for everyone so he shouldn't have children since the world must be full. And what about Joseph, he must have been such a fool, building up storehouses when what he really should have done was put in place a government enforced population control methodology.

No,  you see, none of that is right.  The human race has NEVER had a period of time that met the requirements set forth by Pr. Stoffregen, there was never a time since Adam and Eve left Eden that there was plenty for everyone, never a time that everyone was fed and no one starved and everyone had clean and plentiful water.  Its a false dichotomy to claim that since we don't have it now for the entire world the world must be full.  ::)   Since the Pharaohs or the Kingdom of Ur, from the Stone age, Bronze age, and Iron age, through the Axial age and the industrial revolution, from Chinese to the Incans, the fantasy requirements of everyone having enough food and water has never, ever, occurred.  WE, globally,  now have a higher percentage of the people with good food and reliable sources of water than any other time in the history of civilization and humanity itself.  Now is the best time in the history of the world to have children.  The likelihood of being able to clothe and feed them and they can live long and healthy lives is higher now than any other time in history.  What irony it is to now claim that since we can't guarantee food and water for every soul born we should produce less born.  Funny stuff, self focused absurdities, are.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 28, 2010, 11:37:24 PM
No, it gets into the revealed will of God.  "Children are a blessing from the Lord."  "God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."  Going beyond what God says about human beings in verses like those is getting into the hidden will of God.

I checked two different translations. Neither Bible has "Children are a blessing from the Lord." Where does that come from?

It was a paraphrase from memory, but I think an accurate paraphrase of some verses you no doubt know:

Ps. 128:3-4

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.

And also what mr. Jamison said.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Matt on October 29, 2010, 12:37:25 AM
Well, yeah. You can run "Jesus is the Messiah" through your Bible search engine and get no hits. This doesn't mean that it is not a clear teaching of scripture.

This kind of makes me wonder if Brian Stoffregen has ever really read a Bible.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 29, 2010, 12:52:11 AM
Oh he has. 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 29, 2010, 02:19:33 AM
Well, yeah. You can run "Jesus is the Messiah" through your Bible search engine and get no hits. This doesn't mean that it is not a clear teaching of scripture.

But I wouldn't pretend that I was quoting scriptures if I write, "Jesus is the Messiah." At the same time, I can point to the scripture that calls Cyrus the Persion "his [the LORD's] messiah," although many translations just call him "his anointed."

There is no clear biblical understanding of what it means to be a messiah (an anointed one) which was used of priests, kings, and prophets.

Quote
This kind of makes me wonder if Brian Stoffregen has ever really read a Bible.

I read it often, usually more than once a day, and often in the Greek for the New Testament. I do challenge people who quote what they think is in the Bible when it's not there. For instance, the Bible never says, "God helps them who help themselves."
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on October 29, 2010, 03:22:20 AM
Too many people who do read the Bible think they already know what it says before they read it.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: olarmy02 on October 29, 2010, 07:10:09 AM
Well, not just Mongolia.  When you get in your car and drive across the States you realize how empty most of our country is - we cluster in the big cities and the burbs, but my goodness, there's lots and lots of empty land here.  I notice it driving out to MD (east), but it is even more striking when heading west (my brother lives in Montana). 

I lived in Wyoming -- lots of empty spaces. However, even with all this empty space, do all the people who are now filling the earth have clean water to drink? Do they have sufficient food to eat? Do they have what is necessary for shalom in their lives?

I remember reading about an experiment with guppies in a fish bowl. In one case, the experimenters started with two guppies -- a male and a female. Over time, they reached x number of guppies in the bowl. In another case, the experimenters started with the same size fish bowl, and filled it with many, many guppies. Over time, they reduced their numbers by killing off the weaker ones to x number of guppies -- about the same number as when they started with two.

If we are allowing people to starve to death, perhaps the earth has reached the capacity population that it can handle.

I am sure none of our bellies are flapping against our backbones...

It isn't about us, but about them whose bellies are flapping against their backbones. We think that as long as we have enough food to feed 19 children we can have them, as long as we have enough energy to heat and cool a 8,000 square foot house, we should have it, as long as we can afford the gas for the large, fuel-guzzling SUV, we should be able to drive it, etc.

Do you not think that God has put us here in wealthy America so that we have some power and wealth to help the powerless and poor around the world rather than use that wealth just for self?

To answer your question, yes.  However, it is about us Pastor Stoffregen, there is a reason the good Ol' USA is the fattest country on earth.  There is a reason we consume more gasoline, drive more cars, etc....  We as a nation over-consume.  If we over-consume and others under-consume (starve) what does this mean?  We are over populated?  Or maybe we need to consume less and as you say "help the powerless and poor".  I'd rather feed them, preferably like Norman Borlaug, than pass out condoms and the pill.  "Oh you are starving, then you have too many children here are some condoms and the pill."  "But I am still starving."  "No worries this will all correct itself in a generation or two."  It almost sounds like a Monty Python skit.

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 29, 2010, 08:31:03 AM
You mean large populations like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Las Vegas and San Jose? :)
I think it is more accurate to say that water is more expensive in the West, and certainly more political. Las Vegas has had explosive population growth in a very dry place and yet, somehow, water still comes out of every tap in town. I know water management issues are a big deal in the West but I don't think it has constrained growth in any meaningful way. Otherwise, how do you explain Las Vegas?
To sustain high populations in the west, scarce water must be diverted from other uses. Las Vegas? Hoover Dam, of course. The Colorado is so dammed that Mexico gets only a trickle from that once mighty river. The tradeoff is that the Grand Canyon ecosystem is forever changed. Very little of the Rio Grande water that flows from Colorado into New Mexico makes it into Texas because of irrigation in New Mexico. During drought years, the Rio Grande sometimes disappears before it gets to the Gulf.  If we have a major drought like the 13th century (as I recollect) that drove the Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloans) out of their homes, and you'll see major upheaval out west.  Water is more expensive because it is scarce; like any other resource, shortages trigger higher prices and surpluses trigger lower prices.
Now I'm off to school to teach my Economics classes. ;) Though it seems like a digression, population distribution does play into this debate in general.
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Team Hesse on October 29, 2010, 09:02:30 AM
You mean large populations like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Las Vegas and San Jose? :)
I think it is more accurate to say that water is more expensive in the West, and certainly more political. Las Vegas has had explosive population growth in a very dry place and yet, somehow, water still comes out of every tap in town. I know water management issues are a big deal in the West but I don't think it has constrained growth in any meaningful way. Otherwise, how do you explain Las Vegas?
To sustain high populations in the west, scarce water must be diverted from other uses. Las Vegas? Hoover Dam, of course. The Colorado is so dammed that Mexico gets only a trickle from that once mighty river. The tradeoff is that the Grand Canyon ecosystem is forever changed. Very little of the Rio Grande water that flows from Colorado into New Mexico makes it into Texas because of irrigation in New Mexico. During drought years, the Rio Grande sometimes disappears before it gets to the Gulf.  If we have a major drought like the 13th century (as I recollect) that drove the Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloans) out of their homes, and you'll see major upheaval out west.  Water is more expensive because it is scarce; like any other resource, shortages trigger higher prices and surpluses trigger lower prices.
Now I'm off to school to teach my Economics classes. ;) Though it seems like a digression, population distribution does play into this debate in general.
Kurt

An old cliche, common in my profession, "In the West, water IS wealth."

Lou
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 29, 2010, 02:54:43 PM
An old cliche, common in my profession, "In the West, water IS wealth."

We live at the border where the Colorado enters Mexico. From my lay perspective, it looks like we have more water in our irrigation canals than in the Colorado River. Without water, this would be a lifeless desert. We average about 3" of rain a year.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Erma S. Wolf on October 29, 2010, 11:01:24 PM
An old cliche, common in my profession, "In the West, water IS wealth."

We live at the border where the Colorado enters Mexico. From my lay perspective, it looks like we have more water in our irrigation canals than in the Colorado River. Without water, this would be a lifeless desert. We average about 3" of rain a year.

The desert is hardly lifeless.  But with a lot less water, there would be far fewer people.  But there would still be plenty of life.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: tcswans on October 29, 2010, 11:44:11 PM

I believe God said, "Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth...."
...
From the point of view of Genesis, there was a major reason to multiply and fill the earth.  The future of (hu)mankind depended on it.  I don't think that is true at this time, and, thus, I do not see the avoidance of pregnancy as a sin.  This is not to say that I agree with any form of abortion. 

John Ericksen

Something that has not yet been raised in this thread about contraception: It would seem that the population of Europe, once the center of Christendom, isn’t reproducing at a full replacement rate any more. I can’t cite Prof. Lewis, but the other night I saw Charles Krauthammer quote Bernard Lewis, the great scholar of Islamic history, as saying that by the end of the 21st century Europe will be Muslim. This is a truly terrifying prospect.

—Tim
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 30, 2010, 12:45:27 AM

I believe God said, "Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth...."
...
From the point of view of Genesis, there was a major reason to multiply and fill the earth.  The future of (hu)mankind depended on it.  I don't think that is true at this time, and, thus, I do not see the avoidance of pregnancy as a sin.  This is not to say that I agree with any form of abortion. 

John Ericksen

Something that has not yet been raised in this thread about contraception: It would seem that the population of Europe, once the center of Christendom, isn’t reproducing at a full replacement rate any more. I can’t cite Prof. Lewis, but the other night I saw Charles Krauthammer quote Bernard Lewis, the great scholar of Islamic history, as saying that by the end of the 21st century Europe will be Muslim. This is a truly terrifying prospect.

—Tim

Yes, that's the reality.  Birthrates in Western Europe and Russia are between 1.3 and around 1.7 children per couple.  1.6 per couple is a rate so low that, as I understand it, no culture has ever not gone extinct that has had one that low.  And 1.3 is supposed to be mathematically impossible to reverse.  If the United States didn't have so much immigration, our birthrate would be, I believe, 1.7 children per couple, but with immigration we are at 2.1, which is just exactly replacement rate. 

Supposedly a German official has stated that Germany will be Islamic by 2050.  Recently a suburb of London elected an Islamist mayor.  Awhile back there was a scholar who wrote a book called "Patriarchy."  He was a typical left leaning academic, but his work in demographics led him to realize that patriarchal cultures historically succeed because they are set up in such a way as to foster large families. 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: tcswans on October 30, 2010, 01:08:52 AM

Awhile back there was a scholar who wrote a book called "Patriarchy."  He was a typical left leaning academic, but his work in demographics led him to realize that patriarchal cultures historically succeed because they are set up in such a way as to foster large families. 


Would the scholar you cite perhaps be Steven Goldberg, who wrote a devastating refutation of the feminist theory of male dominance, "The Inevitability of Patriarchy," the third edition retitled "Why Men Rule"? Goldberg was the head of the Sociology Department at CUNY. (He had obviously already received tenure by the time his book was published!)

Tim
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on October 30, 2010, 04:28:27 AM
Tim Swanson writes:
I can’t cite Prof. Lewis, but the other night I saw Charles Krauthammer quote Bernard Lewis, the great scholar of Islamic history, as saying that by the end of the 21st century Europe will be Muslim. This is a truly terrifying prospect.

I muse:
"Europe," or at least large sections of it (the Iberian peninsula, huge territories in eastern Europe) has been "Muslim" before. And huge sections of Europe were "communist" during most of our lifetime. So do you fear that the church will somehow be crushed and destroyed? I think we have some advance word from the Lord on that matter.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on October 30, 2010, 04:46:58 AM
Karl Hess writes (apparently with some "concern"):
Recently a suburb of London elected an Islamist mayor.

I comment:
My town has a mayor who is a Muslim. (Don't really know what an "Islamist" is.) And my town is 40 percent Jewish, a large number of those in Orthodox synagogues. The deputy mayor is a member of one of those synagogues.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: tcswans on October 30, 2010, 08:31:12 AM
I muse:
"Europe," or at least large sections of it (the Iberian peninsula, huge territories in eastern Europe) has been "Muslim" before. And huge sections of Europe were "communist" during most of our lifetime. So do you fear that the church will somehow be crushed and destroyed? I think we have some advance word from the Lord on that matter.

I counter-muse: large swaths of northern Africa, Anatolia, and the eastern Levant were were once “Christian” — eleven centuries ago. So don’t keep us in the dark. What was the Lord’s “advance word on that matter”?

And thank you for sharing the fetching morceau about your town’s mayor.

— Tim


Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Team Hesse on October 30, 2010, 08:34:13 AM
Tim Swanson writes:
I can’t cite Prof. Lewis, but the other night I saw Charles Krauthammer quote Bernard Lewis, the great scholar of Islamic history, as saying that by the end of the 21st century Europe will be Muslim. This is a truly terrifying prospect.

I muse:
"Europe," or at least large sections of it (the Iberian peninsula, huge territories in eastern Europe) has been "Muslim" before. And huge sections of Europe were "communist" during most of our lifetime. So do you fear that the church will somehow be crushed and destroyed? I think we have some advance word from the Lord on that matter.

Have your travels taken you to Istanbul, Antioch, or say, Kosovo lately? Christian presence is fairly difficult to detect in these places that once were thriving centers of vibrant Christian culture and practice. When we were in Istanbul a year ago, it was clear questions about the Christian history of the place were not considered that important. The call of the Iman reverberating over the city of Constantine gives one pause-at least one like me. Listening to current stories of christian witness and persecution in Izmir (ancient Smyrna) humbled this fellow-traveler in gratitude that the Lord has not given me that cross to bear.

Lou
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 30, 2010, 08:59:11 AM
Karl Hess writes (apparently with some "concern"):
Recently a suburb of London elected an Islamist mayor.

I comment:
My town has a mayor who is a Muslim. (Don't really know what an "Islamist" is.) And my town is 40 percent Jewish, a large number of those in Orthodox synagogues. The deputy mayor is a member of one of those synagogues.

An Islamist is not the same as a Muslim.  Educate yourself on it; do a google search or something.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on October 30, 2010, 11:33:22 AM
Actually, it has not been the "city of Constantine" since 1453. And fairness would insist that we also cite the long periods of time when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived side by side and shared each other's culture and learning.
From what I have read, an "Islamist" is a Muslim, albeit the kind of extremist who makes peaceful coexistence impossible, rather like a certain breed of Christian that exists in some circles.

I suggest browsing through Dr. Marty's "Sightings" website for some reflections on the interaction between Islam and Christianity and Muslims and the United States.
http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/


Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 30, 2010, 01:33:17 PM
Actually, it has not been the "city of Constantine" since 1453. And fairness would insist that we also cite the long periods of time when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived side by side and shared each other's culture and learning.
From what I have read, an "Islamist" is a Muslim, albeit the kind of extremist who makes peaceful coexistence impossible, rather like a certain breed of Christian that exists in some circles.

I suggest browsing through Dr. Marty's "Sightings" website for some reflections on the interaction between Islam and Christianity and Muslims and the United States.
http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/



Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived side by side.  But Christians and Jews had to live under the requirements of dhimmitude--they had to pay a tax, were forbidden by law to repair their churches or evangelize, and were in every way second-class citizens.  And even if these conditions were relaxed at times and places, the laws requiring this were always on the books and were impossible to get rid of, because their foundation is in the Quran.

Here's some stories about the election in the UK.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100060304/labour-london-borough-becomes-islamic-republic/ (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100060304/labour-london-borough-becomes-islamic-republic/)
http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/6409749/the-capture-of-tower-hamlets.thtml (http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/6409749/the-capture-of-tower-hamlets.thtml)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 30, 2010, 01:35:32 PM
Byt the way, thanks for the link to Dr. Marty's site.  Although I will undoubtedly disagree with it, it's pleasant to read from a multitude of perspectives.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on October 30, 2010, 01:41:41 PM
Ah, the demography scholar I was thinking of earlier is Philip Longman.

http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/the_return_of_patriarchy (http://www.newamerica.net/publications/articles/2006/the_return_of_patriarchy)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Team Hesse on October 30, 2010, 03:14:46 PM
And fairness would insist that we also cite the long periods of time when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived side by side and shared each other's culture and learning.




What period in which country are you referring to?

Lou
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ChrisG on October 30, 2010, 06:52:39 PM
For those of you who are inclined to say that contraception is sinful, does your opinion change if the life of the mother would be jeopardized by a pregnancy?  My wife is 30 years old and her health is extremely fragile (stage four pulmonary hypertension, anomolous pulmonary venous return, ventricular septal defect, and right side heart failure).  A woman with any type of pulmonary hypertension only has a 33% chance of surviving a pregnancy.  Given the advanced nature of my wife's condition and the existance of heart defects and heart failure, a pregnancy would almost certainly result in death.  She has medication (Flolan) continuously infused into her jugular to stay alive.  This medication produces terrible birth defects, and she does not have the option of stopping the therapy. 
So, again, if you believe contraception is sinful, and you were married to my wife, would you abstain from using birth control?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Richard Johnson on October 30, 2010, 07:02:17 PM
For those of you who are inclined to say that contraception is sinful, does your opinion change if the life of the mother would be jeopardized by a pregnancy?  My wife is 30 years old and her health is extremely fragile (stage four pulmonary hypertension, anomolous pulmonary venous return, ventricular septal defect, and right side heart failure).  A woman with any type of pulmonary hypertension only has a 33% chance of surviving a pregnancy.  Given the advanced nature of my wife's condition and the existance of heart defects and heart failure, a pregnancy would almost certainly result in death.  She has medication (Flolan) continuously infused into her jugular to stay alive.  This medication produces terrible birth defects, and she does not have the option of stopping the therapy. 
So, again, if you believe contraception is sinful, and you were married to my wife, would you abstain from using birth control?

Chris,

What a terrible dilemma to be in. I have some ambivalence about contraception. I do not believe it is necessarily sinful, but its moral status has to do with the kind of contraception used (i.e., no abortifacients) and the motivation for use. In your case, I, for one, would not have any moral qualms about preventing a pregnancy.

God's blessings to you and your wife.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Scott6 on October 30, 2010, 07:06:57 PM
For those of you who are inclined to say that contraception is sinful, does your opinion change if the life of the mother would be jeopardized by a pregnancy?  My wife is 30 years old and her health is extremely fragile (stage four pulmonary hypertension, anomolous pulmonary venous return, ventricular septal defect, and right side heart failure).  A woman with any type of pulmonary hypertension only has a 33% chance of surviving a pregnancy.  Given the advanced nature of my wife's condition and the existance of heart defects and heart failure, a pregnancy would almost certainly result in death.  She has medication (Flolan) continuously infused into her jugular to stay alive.  This medication produces terrible birth defects, and she does not have the option of stopping the therapy. 
So, again, if you believe contraception is sinful, and you were married to my wife, would you abstain from using birth control?

Chris,

What a terrible dilemma to be in. I have some ambivalence about contraception. I do not believe it is necessarily sinful, but its moral status has to do with the kind of contraception used (i.e., no abortifacients) and the motivation for use. In your case, I, for one, would not have any moral qualms about preventing a pregnancy.

God's blessings to you and your wife.

Chris -- What a difficult situation!  I, too, have concerns with many forms of birth control, but given the situation you and your wife find yourselves in, I agree with Richard.  If somebody's body physically cannot (or most likely will not) survive a pregnancy, then avoiding pregnancy makes perfect sense.

Blessings!
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ptmccain on October 30, 2010, 07:11:03 PM
Chris,

What a cross has been laid on your and your wife's shoulders! How good both of you to know the great love and mercy of the One who bore the cross and by whose stripes all our infirmities are healed, the greatest infirmity of sin, and all other infirmities, if not now, then in the blessed life to come. You and your dear wife will be in my thoughts and prayers.

As for the situation you describe, I could not in good conscience possibly think to tell either of you that your use of contraception is sinful. In fact, I think it would be sinful for you not to use it.

God bless and thanks for trusting us, and blessing us, with the account of your struggles, so we may lift you up in prayer.

In Jesus,
Paul
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on October 30, 2010, 07:20:17 PM

So, again, if you believe contraception is sinful, and you were married to my wife, would you abstain from using birth control?

Okay, somebody has to say this: if I believed contraception were sinful and pregnancy were that life threatening to my wife, my first option would be to abstain from sexual intercourse.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ptmccain on October 30, 2010, 07:31:19 PM
That would be an option, not the only option, and in my opinion, not the best option.

The *first* purpose for the creation of Eve was *not* procreation, but of being one flesh with Adam, a companion, a wife. "Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh."

Women are not merely, only, or firstly and chiefly, baby factories.

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on October 30, 2010, 07:34:39 PM
That would be an option, not the only option, and in my opinion, not the best option.

The *first* purpose for the creation of Eve was *not* procreation, but of being one flesh with Adam, a companion, a wife. "Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh."

Women are not merely, only, or firstly and chiefly, baby factories.

I agree with you again! Will wonders never cease?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ChrisG on October 30, 2010, 08:42:41 PM

So, again, if you believe contraception is sinful, and you were married to my wife, would you abstain from using birth control?

Okay, somebody has to say this: if I believed contraception were sinful and pregnancy were that life threatening to my wife, my first option would be to abstain from sexual intercourse.

Pax, Steven+
That thought has certainly crossed my mind.  To be honest, the notion of contraception (or abortion for that matter) becoming morally acceptable if and only if it endagers the life of the mother doesn't sit completely well with me - hard cases make for bad laws.  Any pregancy carries with it the risk of death for the mother, so we are left with trying to figure out what probability of death is required for contraception to become morally acceptable.
That being said, I don't know that celibacy within marriage is really a good option either.  With pulmonary hypertension being a terminal illness there is a huge problem of spousal abandonment.  The caregiving spouse throws in the towel, leaves, and the sick spouse dies soon thereafter.  Prior to my wife becoming sick, I never understood how anyone could abandon a spouse in that type of situation, but I absolutely see how that could happen now.  Illness of such a serious nature puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on the marriage.  Celibacy would only add to that.
As a side, I certainly appreciate the prayers and kind words from everyone.  It has been a very difficult experience, but I don't know that I would desrcibe it as a bad experience.  I find it to be something of a blessing to be faced with one's own mortality at a young age.  To see that sin has so corrupted creation to the point that someone can be born with half of their pulmonary arteries connected to the wrong place is a scary thing.  However, that only serves to maginfy God's providence in that she lived 28 years without ever knowing that she had this condition and that she can live somewhat of a normal life even though her blood pressure in her pulmonary arteries is five times the amount of a normal preson's.  It also underscores our need for a savior and the Lutheran notion of looking to the means of grace for comfort and evidence of God's favorable disposition towards you.


Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ptmccain on October 30, 2010, 08:47:28 PM
Thank you for witness, Chris.

It is humbling, and encouraging.

God bless.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on October 30, 2010, 09:18:32 PM
Thank you all for your pastoral responses.  It has helped me personally, too.  Many blessings to you, Chris.  I can't even imagine what it must be like to walk in your shoes (or your wife's). 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Kurt Weinelt on October 30, 2010, 10:41:09 PM
Chris,

What a cross has been laid on your and your wife's shoulders! How good both of you to know the great love and mercy of the One who bore the cross and by whose stripes all our infirmities are healed, the greatest infirmity of sin, and all other infirmities, if not now, then in the blessed life to come. You and your dear wife will be in my thoughts and prayers.

As for the situation you describe, I could not in good conscience possibly think to tell either of you that your use of contraception is sinful. In fact, I think it would be sinful for you not to use it.

God bless and thanks for trusting us, and blessing us, with the account of your struggles, so we may lift you up in prayer.

In Jesus,
Paul
This is one of the finest things I've ever read on ALPB. Thank you for posting this pastoral response, Pr. McCain!
Kurt
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Weedon on October 30, 2010, 10:59:34 PM
Chris,

Prayers arise for you and your wife.  I agree:  exceptional cases are not the stuff on which general principles can be built.  My wife and I also wanted many children.  Her last pregnancy was so...odd - even the doctors and midwife were befuddled - that we felt we oughtn't risk more.  But we always ask ourselves whether we didn't make a mistake - not trusting God?  Not putting it in His hands?  I don't know today if we'd have made the same choices we made all those years ago, but now it is too late.  Still, this much is sure:  I will never judge those who are faced with hard decisions and make a choice that they are not entirely happy with or certain of.  I'd instead assure them of Christ's gracious forgiveness and love.  But at the same time I stand with you in realizing that the exceptional cases ought not set the general principle.  Pax!
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: LCMS87 on November 17, 2010, 02:08:00 PM
For clarification's sake, I should note that I did not have in mind parental rights with regard to those children they have been given.  My comment involves the lack of a right to become a parent.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on November 17, 2010, 11:51:11 PM

The *first* purpose for the creation of Eve was *not* procreation, but of being one flesh with Adam, a companion, a wife. "Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh."


I'm not buying this.  If you'll excuse me, Paul, it seems like this line of reasoning is afflicted with the LCMS illness of wanting to dissect God's institutions into "functions," as some do with the ministry.  Being Adam's companion, being one flesh with him, and procreation are all of a piece.  Sometimes God withdraws some of these benefits or allows them to be withheld--but this is the result of living in a fallen world.  It doesn't follow that we have the right to separate the gift of procreation from the gift of being one flesh.

Also, disparaging fruitfulness as making a woman into "a baby factory" is language and thinking borrowed from the culture of death.  Women are incapable of being "baby factories."  Each baby is handcrafted in its mother's womb by God.  A woman who permits God to have use of her body to bring forth many children is to be praised and honored, not disparaged as a "factory." 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: edoughty on November 18, 2010, 09:25:09 AM
For those of you who are inclined to say that contraception is sinful, does your opinion change if the life of the mother would be jeopardized by a pregnancy?  My wife is 30 years old and her health is extremely fragile (stage four pulmonary hypertension, anomolous pulmonary venous return, ventricular septal defect, and right side heart failure).  A woman with any type of pulmonary hypertension only has a 33% chance of surviving a pregnancy.  Given the advanced nature of my wife's condition and the existance of heart defects and heart failure, a pregnancy would almost certainly result in death.  She has medication (Flolan) continuously infused into her jugular to stay alive.  This medication produces terrible birth defects, and she does not have the option of stopping the therapy. 
So, again, if you believe contraception is sinful, and you were married to my wife, would you abstain from using birth control?

Chris,

What a terrible dilemma to be in. I have some ambivalence about contraception. I do not believe it is necessarily sinful, but its moral status has to do with the kind of contraception used (i.e., no abortifacients) and the motivation for use. In your case, I, for one, would not have any moral qualms about preventing a pregnancy.

God's blessings to you and your wife.

Chris -- What a difficult situation!  I, too, have concerns with many forms of birth control, but given the situation you and your wife find yourselves in, I agree with Richard.  If somebody's body physically cannot (or most likely will not) survive a pregnancy, then avoiding pregnancy makes perfect sense.

Blessings!

Count me in the "use contraception, care for your wife's health, do not abstain from sexual activity with her, and don't feel bad about any of that" column. 

Erik

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: grabau14 on November 18, 2010, 09:26:45 AM

The *first* purpose for the creation of Eve was *not* procreation, but of being one flesh with Adam, a companion, a wife. "Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh."


I'm not buying this.  If you'll excuse me, Paul, it seems like this line of reasoning is afflicted with the LCMS illness of wanting to dissect God's institutions into "functions," as some do with the ministry.  Being Adam's companion, being one flesh with him, and procreation are all of a piece.  Sometimes God withdraws some of these benefits or allows them to be withheld--but this is the result of living in a fallen world.  It doesn't follow that we have the right to separate the gift of procreation from the gift of being one flesh.

Also, disparaging fruitfulness as making a woman into "a baby factory" is language and thinking borrowed from the culture of death.  Women are incapable of being "baby factories."  Each baby is handcrafted in its mother's womb by God.  A woman who permits God to have use of her body to bring forth many children is to be praised and honored, not disparaged as a "factory." 

Well said, Pr. Hess. 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Sandra on November 18, 2010, 09:25:35 PM

I'm not buying this.  If you'll excuse me, Paul, it seems like this line of reasoning is afflicted with the LCMS illness of wanting to dissect God's institutions into "functions," as some do with the ministry.  Being Adam's companion, being one flesh with him, and procreation are all of a piece.  Sometimes God withdraws some of these benefits or allows them to be withheld--but this is the result of living in a fallen world.  It doesn't follow that we have the right to separate the gift of procreation from the gift of being one flesh.

We may not have the right to separate the gift of procreation from the gift of being one flesh, but sometimes sin does that for us.


Quote
Also, disparaging fruitfulness as making a woman into "a baby factory" is language and thinking borrowed from the culture of death.  Women are incapable of being "baby factories."  Each baby is handcrafted in its mother's womb by God.  A woman who permits God to have use of her body to bring forth many children is to be praised and honored, not disparaged as a "factory." 
Understood, but there is a burden placed upon women to do so as much as possible to demonstrate their faithfulness and trust in the Lord. However, a whole bunch of kids is not necessarily the result no matter how open the couple is to the gift. There are also plenty of women/couples who have been given such a gift that they are hardly capable of caring for. Where do those babies from other women fit into the picture of procreation. Should families have current homestudies and significant savings on hand so that they can be open to the gift of procreation in this way?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 19, 2010, 09:48:17 AM
Mr. Gehlhausen writes (re parenting I think):
God qualifies those He chooses rather than chooses the qualified.

I muse:
Then, I fear, God is not doing a very good job. And since we have it on good authority that the Almighty is pretty good at most tasks, there must be something else going on.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 19, 2010, 09:54:58 AM
Don't dodge the issue.
If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then what is going on with 14-year old girls on welfare, school drop-outs or drug addicts who get pregnant? If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then why are Youth and Family Service agencies swamped with the detritus of inept (or even evil) parenting?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 09:59:19 AM
Perhaps this (http://www.entertonement.com/clips/kprcrcxptt--Could-it-be-SatanSaturday-Night-Live-Dana-Carvey-Church-Lady-) is the answer (turn up your sound)?   ;)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Mike Bennett on November 19, 2010, 10:02:48 AM
Don't dodge the issue.
If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then what is going on with 14-year old girls on welfare, school drop-outs or drug addicts who get pregnant? If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then why are Youth and Family Service agencies swamped with the detritus of inept (or even evil) parenting?


My stubborn insistence on reading the substance of the posting without regard to the name of the poster allows me to agree with Charles' point, and to call on those who disagree to respond to him with something other than smart-assed one-liners and ad hominems. 

Mike Bennett
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: grabau on November 19, 2010, 10:19:53 AM
How this got to be about Islam?  OK, a few years ago in Cairo thr pastor of the American Church related that the media were constant in spewing anti-Semitic, anti_Christian propaganda.  grabau
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 19, 2010, 10:48:39 AM
Don't dodge the issue.
If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then what is going on with 14-year old girls on welfare, school drop-outs or drug addicts who get pregnant? If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then why are Youth and Family Service agencies swamped with the detritus of inept (or even evil) parenting?

Maybe, just maybe, there is nothing in God's economy disqualifying about being 14 years old, on welfare, or without a formal education. Maybe such people's lives are (this could be a hard concept for some) worth living anyway, and maybe their own struggles with sin or addiction, like everyone else's, result in failure at parenting just as a thirty-something, self-sufficient, highly educated woman in perfect health might traumatize her children emotionally and psychologically in ways jus as bad, but that don't typically involve Youth and Family Services.

The connection to the theology of glory is clear. Education, job skill, maturity, health etc. are worldly "qualifications" based on what we think works best. But God qualified Gideon to be a general, Moses to be a prophet, David to be a king, Peter to be an Apostle, and He did so not by giving them the attributes they and everyone else thought were needed, but by working through them anyway, as though to say, my ways are not your ways, and what you think qualifies or disqualifies someone has no bearing on how I distribute vocations. God indeed qualifies those whom He chooses, but His purposes for them might not be their purposes for themselves or society's purpose for them.

To deny the axiom that God qualifies those whom He chooses based on the evidence to the contrary is to presume that we know the purposes (and therefore the qualifications) God has for everyone, as though we can take it as a given that God is trying to create educated, self-sufficient middle class people, and we merely note that He certainly fails a lot.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: iowakatie1981 on November 19, 2010, 10:57:34 AM
When I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center in college, we (the staff and volunteers) noted amongst ourselves on occasion that there are no "accidental children", but there are, at times, "accidental parents."  (One thinks almost immediately of the couple in the thread below taking an internet poll to determine whether to kill their child.)

Don't dodge the issue.
If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then what is going on with 14-year old girls on welfare, school drop-outs or drug addicts who get pregnant? If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then why are Youth and Family Service agencies swamped with the detritus of inept (or even evil) parenting?

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 19, 2010, 11:10:54 AM
When I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center in college, we (the staff and volunteers) noted amongst ourselves on occasion that there are no "accidental children", but there are, at times, "accidental parents."  (One thinks almost immediately of the couple in the thread below taking an internet poll to determine whether to kill their child.)

Don't dodge the issue.
If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then what is going on with 14-year old girls on welfare, school drop-outs or drug addicts who get pregnant? If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then why are Youth and Family Service agencies swamped with the detritus of inept (or even evil) parenting?

The problem with the abortion poll couple is not that God failed to qualify them to be parents. Were it so, there would be nothing wrong with what they're doing-- it is God's fault that He gave them a baby without giving them the requisite desire to be parents. Again, it is theology of glory-- the parents deciding that God couldn't possibly be calling them to do something they don't want to do--they couldn't possibly have a duty not of their own choosing. So, in a symbolically significant way, they poll the rest of humanity to find out what they should do.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Charles_Austin on November 19, 2010, 11:30:29 AM
So if we work to provide good sex education for 14-year old girls, preventing the birth of babies to young, sometimes addicted mothers, we are getting in the way of God? We are somehow thwarting God's will that there be human, earthly suffering in order to accomplish some divine plan which we cannot understand?
And that makes a "theology of glory"?
Thank you very much, but I'm willing to take the risk.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 19, 2010, 11:42:24 AM
So if we work to provide good sex education for 14-year old girls, preventing the birth of babies to young, sometimes addicted mothers, we are getting in the way of God? We are somehow thwarting God's will that there be human, earthly suffering in order to accomplish some divine plan which we cannot understand?
And that makes a "theology of glory"?
Thank you very much, but I'm willing to take the risk.
To quote you upstream, don't dodge the issue. I was responding to your post, in which you said, If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then what is going on with 14-year old girls on welfare, school drop-outs or drug addicts who get pregnant? If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then why are Youth and Family Service agencies swamped with the detritus of inept (or even evil) parenting?

The theology of glory discussion centers around that word "qualifies". What is going on with young mothers is not Eden, but the point is that what God considers "qualified" might have very little to do with what our society considers necessary, things like a high school diploma. The young girl should be taught about God's will for marriage to be the context of sexual relations, not pre-emptively given remedies for the "problem" of babies that fail to address the spiritual issue of sin or the theological aspects of marriage, sex, and procreation.
 
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Sandra on November 19, 2010, 12:57:09 PM
Sandra wrote: Understood, but there is a burden placed upon women to do so as much as possible to demonstrate their faithfulness and trust in the Lord. However, a whole bunch of kids is not necessarily the result no matter how open the couple is to the gift. There are also plenty of women/couples who have been given such a gift that they are hardly capable of caring for. Where do those babies from other women fit into the picture of procreation. Should families have current homestudies and significant savings on hand so that they can be open to the gift of procreation in this way?

I'm not certain whether your last question is meant to be rhetorical in either a positive or negative way.

But taking it simply as a question, my answer (and I believe Luther's based upon this quote) is no.
Quote

As a mother through the miracle of adoption after years of infertility treatments, I can't help but wonder how adoption fits into this whole concept. Adoption is common in Scripture, we are even considered adopted by the Father in Baptism. This is not a foreign or modern concept of making families. But maybe, rather than reproducing every other year, it might be wise to take in a couple of strays as well. Adoption is NOT necessarily as difficult or expensive as people make it out to be - if you are willing to accept a child who is not an Aryan godlet.

For some reason, we have a tendency to wax idealistic when it comes to procreation. Children are good, more children are better, and a couple should be prepared to lovingly welcome them into the world whenever and how frequently they are conceived and brought forth. But we live in a sinful world where even things like procreation are affected by sin. We don't know what the originally created fertility cycle would've been, how frequently the opportunity to conceive would've come by, how conception apart from death of at least the sperm cells could've taken place, etc. And now, couples are difficulty conceiving at all, and teenage girls throw their newborns in trash dumpsters (if the babies make it to birth and aren't aborted before that point).

Quote
God qualifies those He chooses rather than chooses the qualified.

So then how does that work with adoption?

No motive or agenda, I just wonder how we can be so obsessive/self-righteous/law-driven about procreation of children within a Christian marriage when there are so many orphans who need parents too. Is there a place for adoption in the quiverful movement?
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 01:28:41 PM
I love full quivers, am unable to have more children, and would adopt in a heartbeat if God put children in need in my path.  Thank you, Sandra, for bringing this issue into the discussion.  I would suspect the full quiver movement folks have a very high view of adoption given all that Scripture sets forth on the subject as you mentioned.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Sandra on November 19, 2010, 03:05:27 PM
I love full quivers, am unable to have more children, and would adopt in a heartbeat if God put children in need in my path.  Thank you, Sandra, for bringing this issue into the discussion.  I would suspect the full quiver movement folks have a very high view of adoption given all that Scripture sets forth on the subject as you mentioned.

The trouble there is that you usually need to step off the beaten path to get on the road to adoption.  :)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 03:11:21 PM
I love full quivers, am unable to have more children, and would adopt in a heartbeat if God put children in need in my path.  Thank you, Sandra, for bringing this issue into the discussion.  I would suspect the full quiver movement folks have a very high view of adoption given all that Scripture sets forth on the subject as you mentioned.

The trouble there is that you usually need to step off the beaten path to get on the road to adoption.  :)

Not always, though.  ;)  God has a way . . . He is sure using some interesting situations to prick away at my heart!  Adoption can definitely be a sacrifice for both parties, but also full of rewards.  My utmost respect goes to those who travel this road.  What a blessing!
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: FatherWilliam57 on November 19, 2010, 03:25:23 PM
All three of our children are adopted.  God's blessings to us can come in a myriad number of ways.  And they are, indeed, good gifts which God bestows.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 03:31:05 PM
All three of our children are adopted.  God's blessings to us can come in a myriad number of ways.  And they are, indeed, good gifts which God bestows.

FORTUNATELY, I am in total agreement with you!   :D
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: ptmccain on November 19, 2010, 03:45:27 PM
Our three children were all adopted too, by our Lord at their Holy Baptisms. So, I guess, all faithful Christian parents are parents of adopted children.

 :)

Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on November 19, 2010, 03:48:27 PM
Our three children were all adopted too, by our Lord at their Holy Baptisms. So, I guess, all faithful Christian parents are parents of adopted children.

This is most certainly true!  Our children are merely entrusted to our care while they truly belong to our Heavenly Father.  Great stuff!
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Sandra on November 19, 2010, 03:49:34 PM
Our three children were all adopted too, by our Lord at their Holy Baptisms. So, I guess, all faithful Christian parents are parents of adopted children.

 :)

Oh that's always a fun lesson - to tell kids (and their very surprised parents) that they are adopted. :) Some just get adopted TWICE!
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: Karl Hess on November 19, 2010, 07:19:58 PM
Don't dodge the issue.
If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then what is going on with 14-year old girls on welfare, school drop-outs or drug addicts who get pregnant? If God "qualifies" those chosen to be blessed with children, then why are Youth and Family Service agencies swamped with the detritus of inept (or even evil) parenting?

Maybe, just maybe, there is nothing in God's economy disqualifying about being 14 years old, on welfare, or without a formal education. Maybe such people's lives are (this could be a hard concept for some) worth living anyway, and maybe their own struggles with sin or addiction, like everyone else's, result in failure at parenting just as a thirty-something, self-sufficient, highly educated woman in perfect health might traumatize her children emotionally and psychologically in ways jus as bad, but that don't typically involve Youth and Family Services.

Wow, this is beautiful.  Thank God that He hasn't disqualified me from being a parent, despite my brokenness.
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: FatherWilliam57 on November 19, 2010, 07:37:05 PM
FORTUNATELY, I am in total agreement with you!   :D

Thought I explained that in another thread...   ;)
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on November 20, 2010, 06:45:56 AM
FORTUNATELY, I am in total agreement with you!   :D

Thought I explained that in another thread...   ;)

Absolutely . . . just my lame attempt at humor!   :o
Title: Re: Contraception
Post by: kls on November 21, 2010, 07:00:40 PM
A FB friend posted a link to this resource from LFL today . . .

The Servanthood of Adoption (http://www.lutheransforlife.org/article/the-servanthood-of-adoption/)

What an amazing arrangement God has provided for His children--including both child and parents!