12 thoughts on “More from “Lutherans and Contraception

  1. That is one long heavy article. Can anyone who has digested the details help me with the following question?

    What is the moral significance between avoiding pregnancy by abstinance and avoiding pregnancy by contraception? (And which context/view is most important to us as Christians?)

    Three contexts:
    One is within a marriage.
    Two is outside marrige.
    Three is medical necessity.

    One over-riding fact:
    Original sin.

    Please respond using small words and layman’s terms.

  2. I am not sure if I have digested all of the material, but I will see if I can add something.

    Lawrence, in your question, you state a goal: avoiding pregnancy. Heath Curtis, in the linked to blog entry, states that one first has to ask if that, avoiding pregnancy, is a worthy goal. If it is, then you move onto the “means” question. How will you avoid pregnancy? I sense that this is what you are most curious about.

    Heath, in the aforementioned blog entry, says: “The argument of the Church throughout the ages is that ABC [artificial birth control] subtracts something from a sexual act and that this is ungodly. God gave marriage, sex, and babies together. Barrier methods, spermacide, the Pill, and all ABC methods delete the procreative function from a given sexual act. This is a morally significant action. It is taking something God gave together – a sexual act and the possibility of conception – and willfully separating them.”

    You can also throw in the idea that some birth control pills, some say all, function as abortificants.

    All of these thoughts prompt a Christian to seriously discuss the ramifications of artificial birth control.

    By the way, the context that has been under discussion is “within marriage.” Obviously, sex and birth control outside of marriage is sin. Heath does talk about the “medical necessity” context a bit.

    And, we always keep in mind original sin in any discussion. But what do you mean by adding this overriding principle?

  3. Lawrence,

    I am sorry. I did not address a major part of your question: birth control by abstinance.

    Again, first one has to look at the goal: avoiding pregnancy. Some will say that this should never be a goal. I will not get into that here. But let us assume that this can be a goal. You then wonder if this means, abstinance, is any different than contraception or artificial birth control.

    From what I gather, some people on “Lutherans and Contraception” will say that it is a worthy means since you are not actually engaging in sex and, therefore, not separating the procreative element out of the purposes of sex. You simply choose not to engage in sex at a certain time. Also, you are not risking the chance that you are killing babies. Again, one may question the goal, why you are doing this, but the means, they would say, is different than artificial birth control.

  4. Michael asks… “And, we always keep in mind original sin in any discussion. But what do you mean by adding this overriding principle?”

    Within the context of original sin, why is it more sinful to be abstinant or contraceptive in deciding not to get pregnant? (Outside of marriage, the answer is moot).

    Then, what if we throw in celibacy. Do we also sin if we abstain from procreating through celibacy? I don’t think so.

    My point is not specifically clear, but (even within faithful marraige), I’ve never seen a problem with contraception as a way for couples to be intimate and yet avoid an untimely pregnancy. (I can think of all kinds of reasons why a faithful married couple would choose to put off pregancy without trying to pursue abstinance. Military duty, college, illness, etc.)

    Now, are we second guessing God here, or are we making wise choices? Why wouldn’t God want us to make rationaly wise choices, rather than leaving it up to providence? (Baring the obvoius Faith based answer.)

    OR…. is this one of those issues that couples need to address prior to marriage… maybe put off marriage and remain celibate until ready to jump into a family situation? and, then, how many people (even the faithful) could actually do this?

    (Personal Experience): Wife and I where ready to marry for two years prior to being ready for children. Was this wise? should we have waited those two years? We reached a point where abstinance wasn’t going to work much longer. But, we were also not in a position to raise an infant.

  5. Point is that original sin has a significant impact on how we deal with our ideological solutions to the issue of contraception.

  6. This is an important topic, one that, for some reason, is not discussed very much in churches. So thanks for the discussion.

    What is your basis for “…I’ve never seen a problem with contraception as a way for couples to be intimate and yet avoid an untimely pregnancy.” Do you then disagree with Heath’s comment (and of others in the church) that artificial birth control takes out an element (procreation) out of the sexual act that God never intended?

    Also, when you say “contraception,” are you referring to artificial birth control?

    Also, I am still not sure what you are trying to say about original sin. Yes, sin has corrupted this world, but Christians look to the Word for guidance in issues such as these and strive to follow God’s will, keeping in mind our Old Adam that still clings to us.

  7. Original sin dictates lots of consequences that God never intended. This includes faithfully married couples using contraception or some kind of birth control to avoid pregnancy. I am afraid that we are placing too much emphasis on controling sex inside of faithful marriage. Not everyone has the will power to follow the rules of faithful sex and Godly procreation.

    What I’m trying to understand if my view is indeed with or against Heath.

  8. Lawrence,

    I think there are quite a few issues swirling around here, so it may be helpful to try and sort them out.

    For the sake of the discussion, let us say that the goal of avoiding pregnancy in marriage is acceptable. Now, my question is this: Are all forms of contraception (means) acceptable? You do not seem to address this point above, so I would like to hear what you have to say.

  9. Lawrence, you have made it big! You are mentioned in the new post on “Lutherans and Contraception.” Well, I am sure you have more impressive achievments.

  10. Zoinks… I didn’t think Pr. Curtis would respond, but thought I would try.

    Honestly, within a faithful marriage, I see no difference between abstinance and contracpetion. I’m really trying to sort out why the church would support abstinance but not contraception.

    Outside of marriage, I understand, but there are bigger issues going on here that just contraception.

  11. As you will see in these discussions, some individuals would agree with you and see no difference between abstinance and contraception. Caspar, I believe, would fall in here. Others would see a difference for a couple of reasons. Primarily, especially with the Pill, there is a chance of the conceived child being terminated due to the effects of the Pill. Thus, Natural Family Planning (abstinance for a time) is the better option. They feel this is more consistent with a pro-life message.

  12. Ah, I see your point. I had not thought through the Pill issue that far. At this juncture we start to wonder if the Pill is a contraception device or an abortion device… hmm…

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