Monday, June 25, 2007

Contraception: Trojan Horse of Modern Christian Societies

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12

Very early in my Christian experience I began to learn the significance of these words from Proverbs. Things were simply not as I thought they were!

I had been duped in so many ways by the world and by “the ways of man.” Having converted from atheism to Christ in an evangelical church at twenty eight years of age, I realized I had indeed passed from “death unto life” and purposed from that day forward to be skeptical of the wrong thinking of man. Little did I realize though at that early stage how much transformation and renewal God had in mind!

I propose in this little exposé to make a simple case for how modern day Christians have been thoroughly deceived on the subject of contraception, to the grim detriment of all Christian societies.

The reader may immediately tune out, exclaiming, “Ah, I see where you’re coming from. I noticed in your blogger profile that in 2004 you became a Roman Catholic. That accounts for your views on contraception.”

But I reply, “Not entirely so, and if you give me a few more minutes, I think I can give a convincing argument for the fact that, in the ENTIRE HISTORY of the Christian Church, NOT ONE credible pastor, priest, bishop, theologian, or scholar before roughly 1930-1950 believed contraception to be anything other than a damnable doctrine of the devil.”

Think about it. If you’re wrong on the subject, you’ll face God as a fifty or sixty year old Christian, historically, rather than as a two thousand year old Christian, and won’t it seem very strange why you chose to discount nearly two millennia of Christian thinking and practice? Could you explain to God why you supported a practice regarded universally and historically by Christians as “worse than sodomy, incest and adultery,” “a most unnatural wickedness, and a grievous wrong,” and “hostile to national welfare?”

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Has the reader’s thinking been led in a way which only seems right but which is, in fact, contrary to the ways of God? Is it possible the reader has been deceived?

Like my Christian counterparts of old, I maintain that the demonic plan of wreaking havoc on mankind will continue to be greatly aided as long as Christians favour or sympathize with the current contraceptive mentality of our society.

I will offer ten fairly brief quotes of interest which span the gamut of Christian, specifically Reformation, history and then I will refer the reader to links of reasonably short articles which effectively make my case. [The reader is advised to take note especially of the recurrent connection between contraception and abortion.]

1. Martin Luther, Martin Luther’s Works, Volume Seven 1522

[The] exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches follows [Genesis 38:9, 10]. Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity; yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates; and, when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed.

2. John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis 1554

Besides [Onan] not only defrauded his brother of the right due him, but also preferred his semen to putrify on the ground, rather than to beget a son in his brother's name.... I will contend myself with briefly mentioning [Onan's act], as far as the sense of shame allows to discuss it. It is a horrible thing to pour out seed besides the intercourse of man and woman. Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is double horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family, and kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born. This wickedness is now as severely as is possible condemned by the Spirit, through Moses, that Onan, as it were, through a violent and untimely birth, tore away the seed of his brother out the womb, and as cruel as shamefully has thrown on the earth. Moreover he thus has, as much as was in his power, tried to destroy a part of the human race. When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime. Onan was guilty of a similar crime, by defiling the earth with his seed, so that Tamar would not receive a future inheritor.

3. Matthew Poole, 1624-1679, Presbyterian and Puritan Biblical scholar

Onan's "sin described by the Holy Ghost, that men might be instructed concerning the nature and the great evil of this sin of self-pollution, which is such that it brought upon the actor of it the extraordinary vengeance of God, and which is condemned not only by Scripture but even by the light of nature and the judgement of heathens who have expressly censured it as a great sin, and as a kind of murder.... Whereby we may sufficiently understand how wicked and abominable a practice this is amongst Christians, and in the light of the gospel which lays greater and stricter obligations upon us to purity and severely forbids all pollution both of flesh and spirit."

4. John Wesley, Commentary on Genesis 1755

Onan, though he consented to marry the widow, yet to the great abuse of his own body, of the wife he had married, and the memory of his brother that was gone, he refused to raise up seed unto his brother. Those sins that dishonour the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile actions. Observe, the thing which he did displeased the Lord--And it is to be feared, thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls.

5. Johann Peter Lange, Reformed German scholar, author of Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (24 Volumes) 1850. [A work praised by C.H. Spurgeon: “We have nothing equal to them as a series.”]

Contraception is “a most unnatural wickedness, and a grievous wrong. This sin . . . is [as] destructive as a pestilence that walketh in darkness, destroying directly the body and the soul of the young.”

6. Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, 1923, in its official magazine “The Witness” accused the Birth Control Federation of America of spattering “this country with slime” and labeled birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger a “she devil.” Pastor Walter Maier, founding preacher of the long-running Lutheran Hour radio program, called contraceptives “the most repugnant of modern aberrations, representing a twentieth-century renewal of pagan bankruptcy.”

7. Oldenburger, Teunis, 1934, Reformed scholar & author, Birth Control for Saints and Sinners

There is no other exegesis of Scripture possible but to place contraception in the same category with prostitution, free love, homosexuality, coitus interruptus...and all other forms of unnatural coition that are indulged in simply for the purpose of play, against which both the laws of the land and those of the Church have with varying severity been enforced, beginning with Onan in Chapter 38 of Genesis and extending to our own day among all civilized countries.

8. Lewis, C. S., The Abolition of Man 1943

As regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.

9. Dr. John R. Rice, Baptist evangelist and one of the key figures in 20th century fundamentalism. The Home; A Bible Manual of 22 Chapters 1946

The use of contraceptive devices to prevent the conception and birth of children is wrong because it goes against the clear tenor of Bible teaching…The Bible teaches that to have large families is a positive good, a blessing from God…If it is a virtue to have large families, then it is a lack of virtue to limit the family to less than what it would be if God had His way and gave the children that He wants to give to a home. Since married couples are commanded to “multiply and replenish the earth” (Gen 1:28, 9:1), then not to multiply is a sin…It seems also that we may properly infer from the general tenor of the Scripture that to want less children than God would give without human rebellion and contraceptive devices is likewise a sin.

10. A.W. Tozer, The Waning Authority of Christ in the Churches 1963

We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere; we worship our way, and it must be right because we have always done it that way, as have the other churches in our group....What Christian when faced with a moral problem goes straight to the Sermon on the Mount or other New Testament Scripture for an authoritative answer? Who lets the words of Christ be final on giving, birth control, the bringing up of a family, personal habits, tithing, entertainment, buying, selling and other such important matters?

For further reading and insight, consult these [mostly brief] articles online.

Children of the Reformation

Allan Carlson, a Lutheran historian and author, writes a short & surprising history of Protestantism & contraception

Can Christians Use Birth Control?

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, makes the case that evangelicals are rethinking the issue of birth control, mostly due to implications arising out of the abortion revolution.

The Protest of a Protestant Minister Against Birth Control

Pastor Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, explains the radical restructuring of his beliefs which convinced him to get a vasectomy reversal.

A Protestant Analyzes Contraception

When someone told Jill Stanek, Protestant, high profile pro-lifer and blogger, that the Pope had said that contraception is the root cause of abortion, she thought that it was a pretty big statement to make. She began to wonder, does the Bible say anything about contraception?

Birth Control and God's Will For Our Lives

One man’s reflections about God the Father, His infinite goodness and love, and the incredible privilege bestowed on married couples of having a role in the creation of new persons.

The Case Against Birth Control

Nate Wilson, pastor and church planter, says that too many Christian couples hear the arguments in favor of birth control and make their decision without ever having heard that there might be reasons not to practice birth control.


A lengthy article from the New York Times on the anti-contraceptive movement, mostly in the context of the USA, but insightful and well written.

Hating Babies and Hating God

From the June 2003 issues of “Chronicles—A Magazine of American Culture.” A strong appeal to Protestants to return to their former condemnation of contraception which was firmly based on the Scriptures and natural law. [opens a pdf file… scroll to p.19]

Evangelical Group's Motto: Breed to Succeed

A lengthy article on the “Quiverfull” movement of evangelical Christians who refuse any attempt to regulate pregnancy. They argue that God, as the "Great Physician" and sole "Birth Controller," opens and closes the womb on a case-by-case basis. Women's attempts to control their own bodies -- the Lord's temple -- are a seizure of divine power.

Save Marriage? It’s too Late

Rev. Donald Sensing is pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee and in this article he argues that same-sex marriage will not cause the degeneration of the institution of marriage; it is the result of a degeneration, one that started with modern birth control.

Contraception in the Bible

This is an argument against contraception in strictly list format—a long list of Scripture verses and passages from the Early Church Fathers.

Catholic Teaching On Contraception

Dr. Donald DeMarco provides an excellent survey, useful for Catholics as well as Protestants, of the Catholic Church’s consistent and historical teaching on contraception.

Humanae Vitae
Humanae Vitae (Latin "Of Human Life") is an encyclical letter written by Pope Paul VI and published in 1968. Subtitled "On the Regulation of Birth", it re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Roman Catholic Church regarding abortion, contraception, and other issues pertaining to human life.

Canadian Law on Contraception 1892-1969

"Everyone is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to two years' imprisonment who knowingly, without lawful excuse of justification, offers to sell, advertises, publishes an advertisement of or has for sale or disposal of any medicine, drug or article intended or represented as a means of preventing conception or causing an abortion." (Section 179c of the 1892 Canadian Criminal Code)

Birth control was said to be obscene, "tending to corrupt morals." Unless an accused could prove that its advocacy had been "for the public good," he or she was liable to serve a 2-year jail sentence. Contraception was opposed by pro-natalist business, religious, and political interest groups. This law remained in effect until 1969, the same year that Canada legalized abortion.

American Law on Contraception 1873 to 1964

The "Comstock" Law, US Federal Law, passed unanimously in the United States Congress in 1873
"All persons are prohibited from importing into the United States, from any foreign country, any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, writing, advertisement, circular, print, picture, drawing, or other representation, figure, or image on or of paper or other material, or any cast, instrument, or other article of an immoral nature, or any drug or medicine, or any article whatever, for the prevention of conception, or for causing unlawful abortion. No invoice or package whatever, or any part of one, in which any such articles are contained shall be admitted to entry; and all invoices and packages whereof any such articles shall compose a part are liable to be proceeded against, seized, and forfeited by due course of law. All such prohibited articles in the course of importation shall be detained by the officer of customs, and proceedings taken against the same as prescribed in the following section: Provided, That the drugs hereinbefore mentioned, when imported in bulk and not put up for any of the purposes hereinbefore specified, are excepted from the operation of this section."

This was standing law of the United States of America until rejected by the Supreme Court in 1964, just eight years before Roe v. Wade.

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