In writing something about birth control, I enter into a battlefield in disarray. There are personal issues hidden beneath many’s opinions on the matter, and there is often guilt, real or imagined, in the consciences of many Christians as they think about this important and personal issue.
And yet the issue is public, just as marriage is. It involves the basic doctrines of our common creed. It is time we take steps to gain consensus. If I may suggest a different approach, instead of arguing about so-called “exceptions,” or hard circumstances, where most of our conversation on the matter has centered for the last 80 years or so, I thought it best simply to go to the nature of the matter by asserting some basic truths. Can we agree that babies are good, and that God wants a husband and a wife to have babies?
Some might think that no discussion on birth control is complete without taking into consideration exceptional cases, but I would like to encourage us at least first to reconsider the utter moral apathy most Christians have towards the use of birth control, and the attitude even confessional Lutherans sometimes display when they look at the size of their family primarily as a decision they make.
Can we at least agree to look at our use of birth control again, and with a critical eye? Can we at least agree that as Lutherans we have followed the culture in choosing more stuff and comfort than children? Can we at least agree that this is wrong without receiving the charge of legalism, or being swamped in hammering out the intricacies of a proper ethical system?
I pray that we can at least agree on this, or come to agree on it by considering the basic truths of the Bible.
If you are interested in this topic, please consider reading my paper, Be Fruitful and Multiply: Second Thoughts on Birth Control. You can also view and/or listen to it here.
In the discussions on this thread, I would ask that you stick to the points of this paper in your discussion, and not bring up “exceptions.” This has too often dominated the debate, and, while it most definitely has its place, I would hope that this paper does as well.
Sincerely in Christ,
Pr. Mark A. Preus