Testimony from Our Forefathers on Contraception or “Child Prevention” Part II: Concordia Seminary Professor John H. C. Fritz’s Pastoral Theology

John H. C. Fritz served as a parish pastor for over 20 years, including two as the president of the Western District of the Missouri Synod, before becoming a professor of church history and pastoral theology at Concordia Seminary St. Louis for 33 years, 1920–1953. He served as dean of the seminary for twenty of those years as well as editor of Der Lutheraner for five.

 

If you would like to read more about Fritz’s life and work, here is what J. T. Mueller wrote in memoriam in the Concordia Theological Monthly and here are articles by Fritz available on the CTSFW Media Page.

 

What Fritz is perhaps best known for today is his Pastoral Theology. Originally published by Concordia Publishing House in 1932, it was used to train generations of Missouri Synod pastors–and to this day many have it on their shelves. Using C. F. W. Walther’s Amerikanisch-Lutherische Pastoraltheologie as the basis of his book, Fritz wished to produce a faithful pastoral theology in the English language and address topics that Walther did not, or only in passing, covered.

 

Here is some of what beloved, long time Concordia Seminary professor, John H. C. Fritz in his Pastoral Theology had to say concerning contraception and “child prevention.”

 

 

Two things a pastor should impress upon married people: (1) that God would bless their marriage with children; (2) that God holds parents responsible for the Christian training of their children…

. . . man has no right arbitrarily or definitely to limit the number of his offspring (birth control), especially not if done with artificial or unnatural means. Genesis 1:28, Psalm 127:3–6, Psalm 128:3–4, Genesis 38:9–10, Romans 1:26–27…

…Birth control, that is, the frustration of conception or the limitation of the number of children by the use of artificial means, by drugs or unnatural practices, is a sin that has become widespread in modern civilization…

…The real reason underlying birth control no doubt is in most cases the desire to be unrestricted in the gratification of the sexual urge without suffering the inconvenience of pregnancy and childbirth and the care of children, which care to a large extent confines the mother to her home.

…The giving and the withholding of children is God’s prerogative which man should not usurp for himself. Accordingly, the use of contraceptives or the coitus interruptus, Genesis 38:9-10, is not in accordance with God’s will and therefore sinful…

…By the unfruitful periods in a woman’s life God Himself has made provision for the prevention of too frequent conception. However, God did not intend that man should use such limitation for the absolute prevention of childbirth nor to permit parents to determine for themselves how many or how few children they will have.

Under circumstances, such as the illness or weakened condition of a wife, a Christian husband will exercise due self-restraint (continence).

Fritz, John H. C. Pastoral Theology; A Handbook of Scriptural Principles Written Especially for Pastors of the Lutheran Church. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1945, p.161-165.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.