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Christians examine morality of birth control [Ecumenical/Orthodox Presbyterian]
Religion News Service ^ | 07/27/10 | Kristen Moulton

Posted on 07/27/2010 6:07:29 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM

July 23, 2010

NEWS FEATURE

Christians examine morality of birth control

By Kristen Moulton

(RNS) Is contraception a sin? The very suggestion made Bryan Hodge and his classmates at Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute laugh.

As his friends scoffed and began rebutting the oddball idea, Hodge found himself on the other side, poking holes in their arguments. He finished a bachelor’s degree in biblical theology at Moody and earned a master’s degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Now, more than a decade later, he is trying to drive a hole the size of the ark through what has become conventional wisdom among many Christians: that contraception is perfectly moral.

His book, “The Christian Case Against Contraception,” was published in November. Hodge, a former Presbyterian pastor who is now a layman in the conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church, realizes his mission is quixotic.

In the 50 years since the birth-control pill hit the market, contraception in all its forms has become as ubiquitous as the minivan, and dramatically changed social mores as it opened the possibilities for women.

No less than other Americans, Christians were caught up in the cultural conflagration. In a nation where 77 percent of the population claims to be Christian, 98 percent of women who have ever had sexual intercourse say they’ve used at least one method of birth control.

The pill is the most preferred method, followed closely by female sterilization (usually tying off fallopian tubes).

“People are no longer ... thinking about it,” says Hodge, 36, who had to agree with a Christian publisher who rejected his book on grounds that contraception is a nonstarter, a settled issue.

“People don’t even ask if there is anything possibly morally wrong about it.”

For more than 19 centuries, every Christian church opposed contraception.

Under pressure from social reformers such as Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, the Anglican Communion (and its U.S. branch, the Episcopal Church) became the first to allow married couples with grave reasons to use birth control.

That decision cracked a door that, four decades later, was thrown wide open with the relatively safe, effective birth-control pill, which went on the market in this country in the summer of 1960. Virtually every Protestant denomination had lifted the ban by the mid-1960s.

Even evangelicals within mainline Protestant and nondenominational churches embraced the pill as a way that married couples could enjoy their God-given sexuality without fear of untimely pregnancy.

“It was a reaction to that whole Victorian thing where sex was seen as dirty,” says Hodge, who lives in Pennsylvania.

(BEGIN FIRST OPTIONAL TRIM)

Official Mormon teaching through the late 1960s was against birth control. But by 1998, the church’s General Handbook of Instructions made it clear that only a couple can decide how many children to have and no one else is to judge.

(END FIRST OPTIONAL TRIM)

There remains one massive holdout among major Christian churches—the Roman Catholic Church, which expressed its opposition in no uncertain terms in Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

To separate the two functions of marital intimacy—the life-transmitting from the bonding—is to reject God’s design, Paul VI wrote.

“The fundamental nature of the marriage act, while uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy, also renders them capable of generating new life—and this as a result of laws written into the actual nature of man and of woman,” Humanae Vitae proclaimed.

Janet Smith, a Catholic seminary professor whose writing and talks have been influential for two decades, puts it this way: “God himself is love, and it’s the very nature of love to overflow into new life. Take the baby-making power out of sex, and it doesn’t express love. All it expresses is physical attraction.”

The church’s ban on contraception stunned many, including one of the doctors who created the pill, Harvard’s John Rock, a Catholic. By and large, Catholics went with the culture rather than the church.

A 2005 Harris Poll found 90 percent of adult Catholics support contraception, just 3 percentage points lower than the general adult population.

(BEGIN SECOND OPTIONAL TRIM)

“The ban on contraception is completely irrelevant to Catholics,” said Jon O’Brien, president of the group Catholics for Choice. “We know the position the hierarchy has on contraception is fundamentally flawed, and that’s why it’s ignored en masse.”

The Rev. Ken Vialpando, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden, Utah, places much of the blame for Catholics’ disobedience on priests who are reticent to talk about church teachings on marriage and sex, or who bought into the 1960s notion that one’s conscience was a sufficient guide.

“What if our consciences are not fully informed?” Vialpando asked. “How can we fault the people if they haven’t heard about it and recognize the purpose or meaning of marriage?”

Smith, whose recorded 1994 talk “Contraception, Why Not?” has sold more than 1 million copies, says young adult evangelicals and Catholics, including men studying for the priesthood, seem more open to the possibility that contraception is a sin.

The pendulum may yet swing, she said.

“They are going to have a huge impact,” says Smith, who holds an ethics chair at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. “They already are.”

(END SECOND OPTIONAL TRIM)

The Rev. Greg Johnson of Sandy, Utah, who is on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals, says most evangelicals remain firmly in the contraceptive camp, even if some stress that it should not be used frivolously or to avoid children altogether.

A recent Gallup poll of the association, and another of its board, found 90 percent support for contraception.

Such statistics are disheartening for evangelicals such as Hodge and James Tour, a renowned chemist specializing in nanotechnology at Rice University in Houston, who believe contraception is not biblical.

Rather than heeding Christian theology to be “agents of life in the world,” Christians have largely adopted culture’s philosophic naturalism, which considers sex an itch to be scratched, Hodge said.

“They have the same view of conception that atheists have.”

Evangelicals’ dearth of understanding about sexuality and marriage explains why they have trouble arguing against gay marriage, he contends. Contracepted sex, in his view, is no different from gay sex: It’s not life-giving either way.

Tour, a Jew who converted to evangelical Christianity as a teenager, like Catholics endorses “natural family planning”—avoiding intercourse during the woman’s monthly fertile cycle—but wonders if Christians ought to forgo even that measure of family planning.

He says young lustful men who have had unfettered access to their wives actually welcome a message of self-restraint.

“The women are looking for relief. The men are looking for relief,” Tour says. “They’re like, `I want that. I want to live in peace. I want to live in fulfillment.’”

Throwing out contraception “is more trusting in God. It ultimately lets him decide what is the right number (of children),” Tour said.

“Protestants in 30 or 50 years are going to say, `My God. What were we thinking in those generations?’?”


TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant; Orthodox Christian
KEYWORDS: birthcontrol; contraception; freformed; opc; presbyterian
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The author of the book being discussed is a former Presbyterian pastor who is now a layman in the conservative Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
1 posted on 07/27/2010 6:07:31 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: sneakers; Colleen Hammond; annalex; dsc; mockingbyrd; BlackElk; ELS; PatriotGirl827; ...

CATHOLIC CAUCUS Ping List ping.

(Please send me a PM if you would like to be added to or removed from this new CATHOLIC CAUCUS Ping List. This list will be used primarily for pings to CATHOLIC CAUCUS Religion Forum threads, but also on occasion for other threads of interest for orthodox Catholics.)


2 posted on 07/27/2010 6:09:44 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
From

New Horizons

Before You Use Birth Control, Consider ...

James W. Scott

Why do we talk about "birth control"? This expression is a euphemism given to us in 1914 by Margaret Sanger, the leader of the birth control movement and the founder of Planned Parenthood. The real subject is contraception—that is, preventing conception.

We don't have space here to sort out all the theological arguments about marriage, sexuality, procreation, and human responsibility that pertain to contraception. But there are several texts in the Bible that may directly refer to contraception.

What Was Onan's Sin?

The first text is Genesis 38:6-10. Onan agreed to have sexual relations with his deceased brother's wife, Tamar, in order to raise up offspring for him. However, Onan prevented conception from taking place by withdrawing from her at the last moment. But "what he did" angered God, who slew him.

What was Onan's sin? Some have said that he sinned by refusing to carry out his duty to his brother. But this "duty" was merely a social custom (called levirate marriage), not part of God's law. Even under Mosaic law, a man could refuse to follow this custom and escape with only a bad name (Deut. 25:5-10). So if Onan had refused to have anything to do with Tamar, God would not have slain him.

But Onan was quite willing to have sex with Tamar. That would have been fine, if he had not prevented her from getting pregnant. It was his prevention of conception—his spurning of God's design for human sexuality—that made his sexual involvement with Tamar sinful.

What Is Pharmakeia?

In the Greco-Roman world of the first century, sensuality, perversion, and general decadence reigned supreme (often in connection with worshiping false gods). As a result, contraception (usually the drinking of potions to achieve temporary sterility), abortion (including the drinking of potions to destroy fetuses), and even infanticide ("exposing" infants to the elements and wild beasts, drowning them, etc.) were widespread, facing little moral objection.

The apostle Paul condemned the immorality of his day, but was strangely silent, or so it may seem, on the subjects of contraception, abortion, and infanticide. The reason for this apparent silence may be that these specific practices are included in broader categories. Surely infanticide and at least late-term abortion are included in his condemnations of murder. Does contraception likewise come under a broader category?

In this regard, we need to rethink Paul's condemnation of pharmakeia in Galatians 5:20. Most Bible scholars have uncritically assumed that this Greek word means "sorcery" or "witchcraft" (as translated in English Bibles). But pharmakeia (from which our word pharmacy comes) originally referred to the use of potions, drugs, and often poisons, generally for evil purposes. Since these concoctions were often thought to have magical properties, the word developed the secondary meaning of "sorcery." Both meanings were current in Paul's day; which one fits better in this text?

Galatians 5:19-21 presents a long list of "the deeds of the flesh." These are personal vices, which would be common in the general population. But sorcery was the craft of a sorcerer, not really a common personal vice. The use of potions and drugs for evil purposes, however, was widespread. It makes more sense to find such "drug abuse" listed alongside such things as immorality, idolatry, jealousy, and drunkenness, than to find sorcery on such a list.

This view is strengthened by the position of pharmakeia on the list. Between sexual sins (vs. 19) and sins involving disputes (vs. 20) we find "idolatry" and pharmakeia. Since pagan temples featured "sacred" prostitution, we should think of "idolatry" as attached to the first group of sins.

That leaves pharmakeia. It obviously does not belong with the sins involving disputes, but it, too, can reasonably be attached to the first group. What would then be in view is the evil use of potions and drugs, especially in connection with sexual practices. That would refer to the potions and drugs used to prevent conception and destroy fetuses.

Interestingly, the early third-century theologian Hippolytus, in the first clear reference to contraception made by a Christian in a work that has survived, condemns certain women who are "called believers," and yet use "drugs for producing sterility" (atokiois pharmakois, in The Refutation of All Heresies, 9.12.25).

The same term is used by the early second-century physician Soranos of Ephesus, in his book Gynecology, to refer to both contraceptive and abortive potions. And the first-century biographer Plutarch mentions pharmakeia (without any qualification) alongside other practices (furtive child substitution and adultery) by which a woman might thwart her husband's obtaining of a legitimate heir (Romulus, 22.3).

Thus, there is good reason to think that pharmakeia in Galatians 5:20 refers to the evil use of potions and drugs, especially contraceptive and abortive agents.

There is likewise good reason to find condemnations of contraception (and abortion) in Revelation 9:21, 21:8, and 22:15. In 9:20-21 people are said not to have repented of their idolatry, murdering (including abortion and infanticide), pharmakeia, immorality, and thievery. Once again we find pharmakeia in a list of popular vices centering around sexual immorality. And again we say, this arguably includes the use of contraceptive drugs. The same analysis would be made at 21:8 and 22:15. (At 18:23 there is probably a reference to sorcery, since the passage is not listing personal vices, but describing the evil influence of "Babylon" on the world; cf. Isa. 47:9, 12.)

What Has the Church Taught?

God has been teaching his church down through the ages. He has endued generation after generation of his people with wisdom. We should therefore respect the long-standing wisdom of our Christian heritage. We should depart from it only if Scripture truly forces us to do so.

It is therefore highly significant that the church down through the centuries—Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant alike—held one view on contraception with remarkable unanimity until just recently. It was condemned in strong terms, and contraception was often made a criminal act.

The Westminster Standards do not address the matter, but the early laws of Presbyterian Scotland punished with death "the taking of potions to cause abortion" and also punished "the using such means ... to hinder conception."

However, under the influence of increasingly degenerate secular culture, the largely apostate Protestant mainline churches gradually embraced contraception, especially in the second half of this century. This was not an isolated development. The birth control movement was an integral part of a general cultural movement away from traditional Christian morality. In the pursuit of pleasure without consequences, moral objections to contraception, abortion, homosexuality, etc., had to go.

This historical context alone does not prove that contraception is wrong. However, should we expect an immoral and hedonistic society to come up with genuine moral insight, contrary to nearly two millennia of consistent Christian teaching?

Dr. Scott is a member of Trinity OPC in Hatboro, Pa. Reprinted from New Horizons, December 1996.

3 posted on 07/27/2010 6:16:30 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
From

Question and Answer

Christian View of Contraception

Christian View of Contraception

Question:

I am about to get married and one of the questions that we as a couple had to discuss beforehand was the issue of a Christian view of contraception. We are not the youngest couple (we are both in our 30's) and we are not considering waiting long before we try to have a family, but we consider it wise and necessary initially to get ourselves accustomed to one another in the new situation as a married couple before planning to have a family. However, we are both consciously seeking for ways that would please our Lord and thus we consider many contemporary methods as not being in harmony with the will of God (e.g. IUD).

The natural "rhythm method" does appeal to us despite its reputation for unreliability. However, given that the time frame overlaps with the prohibition in Lev 18:19 we are not so sure about this. Please can you help us understand in what ways Lev. 18:19 does or does not apply to us and give us some guiding principles regarding this.

In short, we are prayerfully considering this issue, but would like to have some guidance on the matter.

Answer:

The Bible does not, as far as I can tell, give us any proscription or prohibition with reference to contraception. Of course, so called "day after" pills are not really contraception as much as they are abortion. In that situation, such methods (and you are correct: the IUD would fall into this category), would be forbidden and be considered the taking of life, a violation of the Sixth Commandment.

But other more conventional methods, such as the rhythm method, diaphragm, condoms, etc., are not forbidden in the Scripture. In this area I do believe that the Christian has liberty. (Caution: "the pill"—an example of hormonal contraception—apparently can cause abortions, since it can prevent a fertilized egg from implantation. For that reason, it would be good for the Christian to avoid that method of "birth control" as well.)

You comment, "The natural 'rhythm method' does appeal to us despite its reputation for unreliability." Yes, the "rhythm method" does have that reputation. I've heard it thus referred to sometimes as "Vatican roulette" (since it is the only method of birth control permitted in the Roman Catholic Church), but that phrase includes two myths: (1) that it is a method only used by Roman Catholics and not by Reformed Protestants, and (2) that (even when used properly) it is not a reliable method of birth control.

J. Norval Geldenhuys, perhaps best known for his commentary on Luke (Eerdmans, 1951) in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) series, was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. He also published a book entitled The Intimate Life (James Clarke, 1952), which devotes a lengthy chapter to "Birth Control." Most of that chapter is an explanation of "periodic abstinence" (the term he uses for the "rhythm method) and his reasons for preferring that method to others.

Is it a reliable method? Geldenhuys claims that "It is as reliable as a physiological law can be" (page 74). What about cases where pregnancy occurs in spite of its use? Here Geldenhuys quotes Dr. Leo Latz, "Theoretically the application appears so very simple that people will not take the trouble to follow directions accurately, and the success of the method depends upon the accurate application of all rules hitherto mentioned" (page 75). Thus the problem is not the method, but "faulty application."

The Intimate Life was published over a half-century ago, and some parts of it are now somewhat out-of-date. But the "rhythm method" (or the method of "periodic abstinence") is today more reliable than ever before (again, if time and effort are taken to apply the principles accurately and consistently in practice). So don't automatically rule it out just because of its (largely undeserved) "reputation for unreliability."

Now, with reference to Lev. 18:19, I do not think that that passage necessarily applies to the Christian under the New Covenant. This would be considered a ceremonial law, not a moral law. So, for instance, within Leviticus you find a number of ceremonial laws that we would not keep today, such as the prohibition against eating pork.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you auomatically go ahead with the rhythm method, as it poses its own disadvantages as well (such as the need for careful application, as I have already mentioned). But all I am saying is that I do not believe the passage you cite would apply (or prohibit you from using the rhythm method) in this situation.

It seems that the standard non-abortive methods that are out there are safe, dependable, and perfectly moral, provided that they are used with proper intentions. And this brings us to an important matter: Scripture regards children as "a heritage from the Lord" and "a reward from him" (Psalm 127:3 NIV). See also the following.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sones born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them" (Ps. 127:4-5 NIV).

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine witrhin your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD..." (Ps. 128:3-4 NIV).

The same Norval Geldenhuys who many years ago endorsed the use of birth control for Christians in certain situations also gave some warnings against its use in other situations:

"Is birth control permissible? If by birth control is meant that married couples should use their common sense in spacing children—that they should strive not to beget children when their physical, financial and other circumstances do not warrent it—we wholeheartedly agree that it is permissible.... When, however, birth control is practiced for selfish reasons and with false motives [such as "loss of wealth, luxury and ease"], it is to be strongly opposed" (page 48).

Here's how Geldenhuys concludes his chapter on birth control:

"In conclusion, we wish to stress the fact once more, that birth control may be applied only in those cases where couples are truly convinced that circumstances demand such a course.... Children are the happiest gifts of the Creator. And the parents who wisely rear a good-sized family are the blessed of the earth" (page 87)

May the LORD be with you as you seek his will. May He—in accordance with His will—be pleased to bless you with children at the proper time, and may they—in accordance with His grace— grow up to love, obey, and glorify Him, following the evident desires of their father and mother.

4 posted on 07/27/2010 6:19:52 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Interesting. I’m in a conservative Presbyterian church and I’ve never heard contraception discussed.


5 posted on 07/27/2010 6:48:30 PM PDT by Mere Survival (The time to fight was yesterday but now will have to do.)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

God’s will is not restrained by contraception.


6 posted on 07/27/2010 7:07:35 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: Raycpa

The contraception keeps the egg from being fertilized. Isn’t that restraining God, as you say?


7 posted on 07/27/2010 7:15:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Raycpa; Dr. Brian Kopp; Mere Survival; Dr. Eckleburg
God’s will is not restrained by contraception.

Undoubtedly. A condom may well be 98% effective -- except when God wills otherwise.

But I think that the question the good pastor is asking, is whether or not contraception is (or is supposed to be) restrained by God's Word.

It's a legitimate question, and Protestants should not be shy about examining Roman Catholic canon law on the subject to see how well it accords with the Bible. Heck, the 18th-Century Presbyterian Church went back to Old Testament Jewish canon law in its ruling that Presbyterian women have the right to expect marital intercourse from their husbands no less than twice a week (yes, for married Presbyterians -- sex is not only not forbidden, it's mandatory... albeit not that very many of us resent the obligation). So I don't think it's inappropriate for Presbyterians to study the Bible, as well as Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox canon law, to inform our thinking on this subject as well.

8 posted on 07/27/2010 7:23:25 PM PDT by Christian_Capitalist (Taxation over 10% is Tyranny -- 1 Samuel 8:17)
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To: Raycpa

God’s will is not restrained by contraception.

Neither is God’s will restrained by lack of contraception.


9 posted on 07/27/2010 7:52:59 PM PDT by freedomfiter2
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To: Salvation
The contraception keeps the egg from being fertilized. Isn’t that restraining God, as you say?

A condom could frustrate God's will?

10 posted on 07/27/2010 8:18:30 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: Raycpa

Onan restrained God’s will, so He killed him.


11 posted on 07/27/2010 10:15:15 PM PDT by Blue Collar Christian (A "tea bagger"? Say it to my face. ><BCC>)
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To: Raycpa
Since no contraceptive is 100% you are right. Onan is the only reference to contraception that I was ever taught by in the Catholic church. It doesn't hold water for me...It wasn't his seed that got spilled it was his refusal to have intercourse with the woman since no man can actually expel 100% of his semen with masturbation...there are always drips. If God of creation wanted a child conceived it would be conceived no matter what was used....Jesus was conceived with any sperm..
12 posted on 07/28/2010 12:18:28 AM PDT by goat granny
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To: goat granny

should read Jesus was conceived without any sperm...sorry


13 posted on 07/28/2010 12:19:19 AM PDT by goat granny
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To: Blue Collar Christian
Onan restrained God’s will, so He killed him.

Abraham and Sarah were in their 90's, way past menopause, when Sarah was first pregnant.

14 posted on 07/28/2010 4:21:59 AM PDT by Raycpa
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
Good article; maybe the author will continue on and cross the Tiber! The birth control pill and diaphragm, both highly supported and pushed by Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger (to the point Sanger actually illegally smuggled the diaphragms into the country herself), have caused our women to be, in essence, prostitutes for their husbands, being "open for business" every day of the week, with no responsibility falling on the man regarding pregnancy (will he coerce his wife in to having an abortion if the pill fails, or will she go on her own accord? -- one or both of them didn't want to have kids in the first place or she wouldn't be taking it in the first place) nor does he need to be concerned about ingesting the pill's chemicals. What's love got to do with it? Not much! The following from Sanger:
Sanger felt that in order for women to have more “equal footing” in society and to have physically and mentally healthy lives, they needed to be able to decide when a pregnancy would be most convenient for themselves.[4] In addition, access to birth control would also fulfill a critical psychological need by allowing women to be able to fully enjoy sexual relations, without being burdened by the fear of pregnancy.[5] --Link.
Without being "burdened by the fear of pregnancy." Where have we heard those similar words in regard to the legality of abortion? Barack Hussein Obama says he doesn't want his daughters "punished with a baby." And if women are living "physically and mentally healthy lives," using birth control, why is the divorce rate at 50% on a whole for our country, when those using Natural Family Planning have a divorce rate of around 1-3%? It should also be noted that the birth control pill kills babies, women, and the environment. The Pill Kills. The best information to consider regarding birth control can be obtained through the reading of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
15 posted on 07/28/2010 6:23:04 AM PDT by mlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...)
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To: Raycpa

Tamar got pregnant by tricking her lying father-in-law Judah, and God got the last laugh, so to speak, once again.


16 posted on 07/28/2010 7:17:47 AM PDT by Blue Collar Christian (A "tea bagger"? Say it to my face. ><BCC>)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
Throwing out contraception “is more trusting in God. It ultimately lets him decide what is the right number (of children),” Tour said.

I know exactly what he's saying, that's why I no longer buckle my seat belt, look both ways before crossing the road, or researching an investment before putting all of my money into a deal.

17 posted on 07/28/2010 7:28:59 AM PDT by Tao Yin
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To: goat granny
It wasn't his seed that got spilled it was his refusal to have intercourse with the woman

On the contrary, the penalty subsequently laid down in the law of Moses for a simple refusal to comply with the levirate marriage precept was only a relatively mild public humiliation in the form of a brief ceremony of indignation. The childless widow, in the presence of the town elders, was authorized to remove her uncooperative brother-in-law's sandal and spit in his face for his refusal to marry her.

So it was not his refusal to provide offspring for which the Lord took his life, but his coitus interuptus.

5 "When brothers live on the same property [a] and one of them dies without a son, the wife of the dead man may not marry a stranger outside [the family]. Her brother-in-law is to take her as his wife, have sexual relations with her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law for her. 6 The first son she bears will carry on the name of the dead brother, so his name will not be blotted out from Israel. (A) 7 But if the man doesn't want to marry his sister-in-law, she must go to the elders at the [city] gate (B) and say, 'My brother-in-law refuses to preserve his brother's name in Israel. He isn't willing to perform the duty of a brother-in-law for me.' 8 The elders of his city will summon him and speak with him. If he persists and says, 'I don't want to marry her,' 9 then his sister-in-law will go up to him in the sight of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. Then she will declare, 'This is what is done to a man who will not build up his brother's house.' 10 And his [family] name in Israel will be called 'The house of the man whose sandal was removed. (C) -Deuteronomy 25:5-10

18 posted on 07/28/2010 7:44:36 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Tao Yin

But those actions may result in death or financial ruin. Are you equating having a child with those?


19 posted on 07/28/2010 7:47:48 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Your thoughts on posts # 3 & 4? These are from the OCP website.


20 posted on 07/28/2010 8:04:06 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: lastchance
But those actions may result in death or financial ruin. Are you equating having a child with those?

I'm equating acting like an adult with accepting responsibility for our actions. Saying that we don't have to worry about consequences and should let God decide is childish.

It's a dangerous idea to refuse to plan or take action because we put something in God's hands. We do the best we can and then put the rest into God's hands.

But if we consider children outside of our planning or action, then fertility treatment and adoption should be rejected as well.

21 posted on 07/28/2010 8:08:46 AM PDT by Tao Yin
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To: Tao Yin
But if we consider children outside of our planning or action, then fertility treatment and adoption should be rejected as well.

Actually, those Christians who are consistent with Natural Law also reject artificial insemination.

Adoption is consistent with Natural Law.

Saying that we don't have to worry about consequences and should let God decide is childish.

Believing in Divine Providence is childish? Maybe in one regard:

"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
-Matthew 18:3

22 posted on 07/28/2010 8:19:45 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Tao Yin

I agree with you about fertility treatment since I agree with Catholic teaching on that subject.

I suggest you read Humanae Vitae. To me it is astounding how prophetic that encyclical is.

The purpose of marital sex is both unitive and procreative. There are times when in a marriage that continence is advisable for either health or other reasons, including the spacing of children. For this reason the Catholic Church permits Natural Family Planning, with the caveat that couples are to remain open to life.

The prevalent cultural attitude (not yours) is that pregnancy is an error that must either be prevented or when that fails aborted. I am convinced that the widespread acceptance of artificial contraceptives has lead to this attitude.

There are other fruits of separating the unitive and procreative aspects of married love. The ones which we Christians are most concerned with is the view amongst too many that homosexual behavior and abortion are no longer always sinful.

If sterility (not that cause by medical condition)is a good and positive outcome to be sought in sexual relations. And if the chief purpose of sex is solely unitive. How can we argue against committed homosexual unions without resorting to strictly Biblical truths that too many in this society is nonsense.

Or does the teaching that is expounded upon in the Bible a Truth that is universal? I think it is.

But for Christians the main argument remains Scriptural and what we learn about marriage from Scripture. From that I believe that Christian marriage is a reflection of the Trinity and its life giving constant love.

I think you can find non Catholic sources on this aspect of Christian marriage. All we do is for the Glory of God. How does the use of artificial birth control glorify God? Or does it reflect a stubborn desire to serve our own will instead of His? Remember that the outcome of fertile sex is a child. A child which we are called to rear up for a crown in heaven.


23 posted on 07/28/2010 9:40:28 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp; Gamecock; Alex Murphy; RnMomof7; HarleyD; wmfights; Forest Keeper; ...
Your thoughts on posts # 3 & 4? These are from the OCP website.

Thank God for His free gift of the individual's Christian conscience which is to lead us when Scripture does not directly address a subject. As the pastor you are quoting notes...

"The Bible does not, as far as I can tell, give us any proscription or prohibition with reference to contraception."

This is one man's opinion. I agree with that opinion. Apparently the OPC is taking great pains to differentiate between barrier contraception and abortion and the immoral "morning-after pill."

I find your incessant interest in birth control to be somewhat prurient. You post quite a lot about women's health issues.

But you're not an obstetrician. You're not even a M.D. from what I can tell.

You are a podiatrist.

Therefore don't expect me to chime in on the many missives you post.

Abortion is a sin. The morning-after pill is certainly morally questionable. And barrier contraception is not against God's law.

To say a woman must have a child every year of her marriage goes right along with the inherent distaste Rome has for all women except one.

24 posted on 07/28/2010 10:11:51 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Christian_Capitalist

I meant to ping you to post 24


25 posted on 07/28/2010 10:13:02 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; Religion Moderator
"I find your incessant interest in birth control to be somewhat prurient. You post quite a lot about women's health issues.

But you're not an obstetrician. You're not even a M.D. from what I can tell.

You are a podiatrist.."

The Religion Moderator has consistently required we not "make it personal."

This bolded area is indeed "making it personal."

My interest in this subject it twofold: 1) Theological and 2)global economic.

The contraceptive mentality has caused a global recession/depression; there has never been a case in human history of economic growth in the context of collapsing populations. The west has a collapsing population base, and that collapse is due to the cultural embrace of contraception.

Therefore, this is a discussion that is vital to a Free Republic and a conservative news forum.

It is not in any way "prurient."

From your OCP website:

It is therefore highly significant that the church down through the centuries—Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant alike—held one view on contraception with remarkable unanimity until just recently. It was condemned in strong terms, and contraception was often made a criminal act.

The OCP is addressing this issue. Are they "prurient"?

And yes, I'm only a lowly DPM, who has taught NFP for many years, BTW. As such, I know more about this subject than most MDs I know.

26 posted on 07/28/2010 10:26:30 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
"The Bible does not, as far as I can tell, give us any proscription or prohibition with reference to contraception."

Not according to John Calvin:

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.

Does the thinking of John Calvin have any role in the modern OCP?

27 posted on 07/28/2010 10:29:29 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
To say a woman must have a child every year of her marriage

Where does ANYONE say that, pray tell?

"Natural family planning": effective birth control supported by the Catholic Church.

British Medical Journal 1993 Sep 18;307(6906):723-6.

Ryder RE.

Department of Endocrinology, Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham.

Comment in:

Abstract

During 20-22 September Manchester is to host the 1993 follow up to last year's "earth summit" in Rio de Janeiro. At that summit the threat posed by world overpopulation received considerable attention. Catholicism was perceived as opposed to birth control and therefore as a particular threat. This was based on the notion that the only method of birth control approved by the church--natural family planning--is unreliable, unacceptable, and ineffective. In the 20 years since E L Billings and colleagues first described the cervical mucus symptoms associated with ovulation natural family planning has incorporated these symptoms and advanced considerably. Ultrasonography shows that the symptoms identify ovulation precisely. According to the World Health Organisation, 93% of women everywhere can identify the symptoms, which distinguish adequately between the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle. Most pregnancies during trials of natural family planning occur after intercourse at times recognised by couples as fertile. Thus pregnancy rates have depended on the motivation of couples. Increasingly studies show that rates equivalent to those with other contraceptive methods are readily achieved in the developed and developing worlds. Indeed, a study of 19,843 poor women in India had a pregnancy rate approaching zero. Natural family planning is cheap, effective, without side effects, and may be particularly acceptable to the efficacious among people in areas of poverty.

PIP: The Catholic Church approves the use of natural family planning (NFP) methods. Many people think only of the rhythm method when they hear NFP so they perceive NFP methods to be unreliable, unacceptable, and ineffective. They interpret the Catholic Church's approval of these methods as its opposition to birth control. The Billings or cervical mucus method is quite reliable and effective. Rising estrogen levels coincide with increased secretion of cervical mucus, which during ovulation is relatively thin and contains glycoprotein fibrils in a micelle like structure aiding sperm migration. Ultrasonography confirms that the day of most abundant secretion of fertile-type eggs white mucus is the day of ovulation. Once progesterone begins to be secreted, cervical mucus becomes thick and rubbery and acts like a plug in the cervix. Other symptoms associated with ovulation include periovulatory pain and postovulatory rise in basal body temperature. A WHO study of 869 fertile women from Australia, India, Ireland, the Philippines, and El Salvador found 93% could accurately interpret the ovulatory mucus pattern, regardless of education and culture. The probability of pregnancy among women using the cervical mucus method and having intercourse outside the fertile period was .004. The probability of conception increased the closer couples were to the fertile period when they had intercourse (.546 on -3 to -1 peak day and .667 on peak day 0), regardless of education and culture. The failure rate of NFP among mainly poor women in Calcutta, India, equal that of the combined oral contraceptive (0.2/100 women users yearly). Poverty was the motivating factor. NFP costs nothing, is effective (particularly in poverty stricken areas), has no side effects, and grants couples considerable power to control their fertility, indicating the NFP may be the preferred family planning method in developing countries. Prejudices about NFP should be dropped and worldwide dissemination of NFP information should occur.


28 posted on 07/28/2010 10:42:33 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
your incessant interest

Reading the mind of another Freeper is a form of "making it personal."

Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.

29 posted on 07/28/2010 10:48:48 AM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Apparently the OPC is taking great pains to differentiate between barrier contraception and abortion and the immoral "morning-after pill."

And if they are honest, they will find that scripturally, this is at best a false distinction.

However, I think there are members of the OPC who truly are honest and are earnestly seeking God's Will in this regard, so I suspect that they will listen to Calvin's wisdom on this issue and become fully pro-life in this regard.

30 posted on 07/28/2010 10:58:49 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Do you think Calvin shared that contempt?


31 posted on 07/28/2010 11:28:52 AM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp; Dr. Eckleburg
Onan's sin was disobedience to God, refusing to follow Jewish law, and in this case, God's commandment -- so that his dead brother would have a family line, was no mere act of coitus interruptus. Jesus came from Tamar -- it was the Plan of Salvation that He would. Onan could have been in that line-- his loss. It equates to Esau giving up his birthright
32 posted on 07/28/2010 11:40:04 AM PDT by 1000 silverlings (everything that deceives, also enchants: Plato)
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To: 1000 silverlings
It equates to Esau giving up his birthright

The penalty for Esau was death? The penalty for refusing to obey the levirate law was death?

No, no Christian has believed this down through history.

Onan's sin was exactly what the Protestant Reformers said it was:

Martin Luther (1483 to 1546) -

"Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest or adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes into 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."

John Calvin (1509 to 1564) -

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.

John Wesley (1703 to 1791) -

"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, refused to raise up seed unto the brother. Those sins that dishonour the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he did displeased the Lord - And it is to be feared, thousands, especially single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls.

33 posted on 07/28/2010 11:55:33 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp; Dr. Eckleburg

Esau’s penalty was profound, God hated him, it reverberates throughout history and into today. For the full story read the bible


34 posted on 07/28/2010 12:04:24 PM PDT by 1000 silverlings (everything that deceives, also enchants: Plato)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Thank you for your informative reply....


35 posted on 07/28/2010 12:05:32 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: All

I think you have to believe that sex is dirty to wrap your head around some of these edicts.
Personally, I think sex between married adults is a gift from God, as it is CERTAINLY more fulfilling than any of the sex I had when I was single/shacking up...


36 posted on 07/28/2010 12:08:38 PM PDT by Maverick68
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To: 1000 silverlings
"God hated him.."

God does not 'hate.'

37 posted on 07/28/2010 12:10:41 PM PDT by verity (Obama, the BS and rhetoric President)
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To: 1000 silverlings; Dr. Eckleburg
Onan's sin was disobedience to God, refusing to follow Jewish law, and in this case, God's commandment -- so that his dead brother would have a family line, was no mere act of coitus interruptus.

From BIRTH CONTROL AND GENESIS 38:

We can look at Genesis 38 itself to see that the argument that Onan was killed because of his refusing to fulfill the obligation to raise up children is insufficient. This theory that God is punishing Onan merely because he failed to fulfill the Levirate rule makes God capricious. For example, in this very chapter of Genesis, not only does Judah not get punished for doing the very same thing as Onan did, (withholding his son Selah from her), but Selah himself withholds himself from her. Given that Judah himself compounds the problem by making her a harlot, Onan's specific act of destroying seed takes a larger picture. Judah had promised to give Tamar his son to her (v.11), when he was older. Judah himself is deceitful, and he himself, when caught, admits that he is a worse sinner than herself (v. 26). Shelah himself, who was now grown up, (v. 14), also was deceitful, should have taken her as her husband, and raised up children. He did not. Tamar notices this, but no deaths of either Judah or Shelah. Thus, they were all in a sense rebellious, and did not do what they should have. So, what is the difference between Judah, Onan, and Shelah? The only substantive fact is that Onan went into her lawfully as he married her (unlike Judah who went into her unlawfully), but only Onan destroyed the seed. Ultimately any attempt to exclude this as the principle grounds of Onan's death, is a pure attempt at expediency.

38 posted on 07/28/2010 12:45:29 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

I studied medical ethics under the Reformed prol-life scholar, H.O.J. Brown (founder of the largest association of crises pregnancy clinics). In it we focused on the Christian adoptation of the Hypocratic Oath as a natural-law basis of medical ethics...as it has been used throughout Christian history, from the early Middle Ages until now.

The fundamental Hypocratic principle of “do no harm” applies, I believe to natural, life-giving processes too, which especially include reproduction and childbirth. Therefore to “do no harm” to the natural, normal, healthy processes of the human body is, logically, not to prevent them....as in contraception of any kind.

Another principle, this one straight from scripture...not through general revelation (or natural law), is that the children of godly people are ALWAYS seen as a blessing, never a burden. While it is true in pre-modern cultures, as in bible times, children were the primary pension system...still it is significant that children to God’s people are never seen to be “inconvenient” or “too many.” (Children of people who are NOT godly, well, that’s a different question.)

It’s also true (and a look at family trees will confirm this) that a normal woman will usually only have 5 or 6 kids...without using birth control, not the imagined 15 or 20....which numbers are, and always have been, exceptional.

I believe the Roman Church is right on this....and other Christians have been way too glib and shallow on this point.

I can also say this...there would be no Social Security crises, nor a demand for illegal alien labor...had America had the children they denied themselves for “convenience” sake due to contraception.


39 posted on 07/28/2010 1:36:23 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: AnalogReigns
Thanks AnalogReigns, great post.

I can also say this...there would be no Social Security crises, nor a demand for illegal alien labor...had America had the children they denied themselves for “convenience” sake due to contraception.

Amen.

Related thread:

The Case for Economic Depression: Demographic trends portend decade-long depression

40 posted on 07/28/2010 1:53:38 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Tao Yin
I know exactly what he's saying, that's why I no longer buckle my seat belt, look both ways before crossing the road, or researching an investment before putting all of my money into a deal.

Flawed analogies. Pregnancy is a part of the healthy, natural, and life-giving process of sexual intimacy in marriage.

Taking safety precautions, or prudence in investments is not the same thing as preventing something healthy, natural, and life-giving.

If you have a broken seat belt, or you can't see the road, or you cannot research and investment....you refrain from driving, crossing the road, or investing.

If you cannot afford kids....you refrain from getting married and having sex. End of story.

41 posted on 07/28/2010 2:04:27 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

John Calvin is not God. He was a fallible human being like the rest of us. I disagree with him on this point.

Christians get to do that.


42 posted on 07/28/2010 2:51:00 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Religion Moderator

Noted. Thank you.


43 posted on 07/28/2010 2:51:51 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: lastchance

Ping to post 42.


44 posted on 07/28/2010 2:52:52 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

It is not a “false distinction.”

Life begins at conception.

Not before.


45 posted on 07/28/2010 2:53:54 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Its a false distinction because there were no abortifacient contraceptives at the time scriptures were written.

The Onan incident clearly refers to methods that waste the seed, such as barrier methods.

It is wise and prudent to oppose abortifacient hormonal contraceptives. But its not Christian to make this false distinction and accept barrier methods.

Hormonal contraceptives are immoral because by nature they are contraceptive. They are doubly immoral because they are also abortifacient.

Your dismissal of Calvin's wisdom on this issue is part and parcel of mainstream Protestantism's falling away on moral theology. Thankfully the best and brightest in the OPC are swimming against this tide.

46 posted on 07/28/2010 3:01:12 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Noted,

I just agree that if the consistent witness of Christianity both Catholic and Protestant has been to oppose artificial birth control until the 1930 Lambeth Conference, perhaps we should take a closer look at its acceptance by so many Christians today. Do you think earlier Christians taught it was wrong simply because they were anti-woman?

I believe in Church teaching on this matter. But I don’t think the arguments put forth by the Church are exclusive to Catholic teaching on the nature of marriage.


47 posted on 07/28/2010 3:01:24 PM PDT by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; Christian_Capitalist
John Calvin is not God. He was a fallible human being like the rest of us. I disagree with him on this point.

Christian_Capitalist, maybe you could assist Dr. Eckleburg on this issue?

48 posted on 07/28/2010 3:03:53 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp; Christian_Capitalist
You cannot paint those who believe that barrier contraception is acceptable to God (since no where in Scripture does God condemn the practice) with the same brush as ungodly abortionists, or those who accept selective pregnancy methods, or even those who believe in hormonal contraception which, IMO, is unhealthy for the woman and may lead to breast cancer.

Go ahead and preach fanaticism. Protestants will happily accept those Roman Catholics who realize Rome is in error on so many things, barrier contraception being only one of them.

49 posted on 07/28/2010 3:25:52 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp; Christian_Capitalist

Life begins at conception.

Not before.


50 posted on 07/28/2010 3:26:50 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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