Author Topic: Contraception  (Read 9411 times)

kls

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #15 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/

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #16 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.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

kls

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2010, 02:44:25 PM »
Wow, and I hadn't even read this first when I made the comment about our Daily Bread.  Great words from Luther.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #18 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.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

kls

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #19 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.

kls

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #20 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!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 03:04:37 PM by Kim Schave »

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #21 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).
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

pr dtp

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #22 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?

Dan Fienen

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #23 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
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #24 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.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

James Thomas Sharp

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #25 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.
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Kurt Weinelt

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #26 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
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James Thomas Sharp

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #27 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.
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mariemeyer

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2010, 05:08:21 PM »
Now, children are seen as burdens that must be planned. 

pr dtp

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Re: Contraception
« Reply #29 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.