Skip to comments.Evangelical Leaders are Ok with Contraception
Posted on 06/09/2010 6:00:15 AM PDT by NYer
Evangelical leaders are overwhelmingly open to artificial methods of contraception, according to the April Evangelical Leaders Survey. Nearly 90 percent said they approved of artificial methods of contraception. In a separate poll conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in partnership with Gallup, Inc., 90/91 percent of evangelicals find hormonal/barrier methods of contraception to be morally acceptable for adults.1
Most associate evangelicals with Catholics in their steady leadership in pro-life advocacy, and rightly so, said Leith Anderson, president of the NAE. But it may come as a surprise that unlike the Catholic church, we are open to contraception.
Indicative of their commitment to honoring the sanctity of human life, several leaders included caveats in their affirmative answers saying while they approve of contraception, they would strongly object to drugs or procedures that terminate a pregnancy once conception has taken place. George Brushaber, president emeritus of Bethel University, said that contraception should be used with proper biblical and medical guidance.
Personally, I dont believe there are any Scriptural prohibitions to most common methods of contraception, said Randy Bell of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. I can say from personal experience that God can defeat such methods if he chooses to do so.
Many noted that biblical sexuality is not limited to procreation, but that its purpose extends to the consummation and expression of love within marriage. Our leaders indicate that contraception can be utilized if all biblical purposes of sex are upheld and that it may actually aid in keeping the balance, Anderson said.
Greg Johnson, president of Standing Together, approves of artificial methods of contraception, but added, I believe the church does have a responsibility to communicate and preach the importance of family and that couples should not carelessly allow themselves to use contraception as a way to avoid having children and a growing family altogether.
Two leaders said they would not approve or disapprove, but would leave it to married couples to decide based on the ethical and biblical criteria of a given situation.
The NAE Generation Forums publication, Theology of Sex, is a resource to help ministers and church leaders create healthy dialogue about Gods intentions for sex. For more information on the Generation Forum or the Theology of Sex publication, visit www.naegeneration.com.
The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals. They include the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.
Funny how all the founders of Protestant Christianity *did* think there were Scriptural prohibitions of contraception. Has Randy Bell even heard of Luther and Calvin?
Personally, I dont believe there are any Scriptural prohibitions to most common methods of contraception,
We must be reading different bibles.
When you join a cult all of your assets become assets of the cult. You have a big bank account. The cult has a big bank account. You have a van. The cult has a van. You have a 50 cal machine gun. The cult has a 50 cal machine gun.
A religion usually only wants 10%. :)
Scary Catholic baby penguin.
So, which Evangelical group is on record as opposing contraception?
How should we "lump" them? If the "Five Sola" were valid principles they WOULD all be lumped together.
Liberal Protestantism with it's acceptance of female clergy, abortion, homosexuality, etc. was always going to be the outcome of YOPIOS, because man's sinful nature will result in him using YOPIOS to rationalize his sin.
That said, I've never had a Catholic knock on my door to invite me to church.
If you speak about Catholicism to the people you know the same way you speak about Catholicism on FR then I can't say that I blame them.
I understand that not all Protestants define themselves as Evangelicals. My mother is a Prebyterian, old-school from Northern Ireland, and she would never check the “evangelical” box.
Some sub-groups in the Anglican Communion consider themselves Evangelical and/or Charismatic, while others are totally not-that and think my Catholic parish is way too Evangelical.
It is only within the past several generations that this universally accepted code of moral theology has broken down among the separated brethren.
It could be argued that apostasy in moral theology is the harbinger of that Great Apostasy foretold by scripture.
In which case, Evangelical Christianity can make no claim to being "true Christianity," in that it has clearly apostasized on moral theology, i.e., on contraception.
Some history of Christian thought on Birth Control:
(Note: The quotes of the early church fathers can be researched in their entirety, courtesy of Calvin College.)
191 AD - Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor of Children
"Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted." (2:10:91:2) "To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature" (2:10:95:3).
307 AD - Lactantius - Divine Institutes
"[Some] complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . .or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (6:20)
"God gave us eyes not to see and desire pleasure, but to see acts to be performed for the needs of life; so too, the genital ['generating'] part of the body, as the name itself teaches, has been received by us for no other purpose than the generation of offspring" (6:23:18).
325 AD - Council of Nicaea I - Canon 1
"[I]f anyone in sound health has castrated [sterilized] himself, it behooves that such a one, if enrolled among the clergy, should cease [from his ministry], and that from henceforth no such person should be promoted. But, as it is evident that this is said of those who willfully do the thing and presume to castrate themselves, so if any have been made eunuchs by barbarians, or by their masters, and should otherwise be found worthy, such men this canon admits to the clergy"
375 AD - Epiphanius of Salamis - Medicine Chest Against Heresies
"They [certain Egyptian heretics] exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption" (26:5:2 ).
391 AD - John Chrysostom - Homilies on Matthew
"[I]n truth, all men know that they who are under the power of this disease [the sin of covetousness] are wearied even of their father's old age [wishing him to die so they can inherit]; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live [sterilization]" (28:5).
393 AD - Jerome - Against Jovinian
"But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?" (1:19).
419 AD - Augustine - Marriage and Concupiscence
"I am supposing, then, although are not lying [with your wife] for the sake of procreating offspring, you are not for the sake of lust obstructing their procreation by an evil prayer or an evil deed. Those who do this, although they are called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but with a respectable name cover a shame. Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even procure poisons of sterility [oral contraceptives] . . . Assuredly if both husband and wife are like this, they are not married, and if they were like this from the beginning they come together not joined in matrimony but in seduction. If both are not like this, I dare to say that either the wife is in a fashion the harlot of her husband or he is an adulterer with his own wife" (1:15:17).
522 AD - Caesarius of Arles - Sermons
"Who is he who cannot warn that no woman may take a potion [an oral contraceptive] so that she is unable to conceive or condemns in herself the nature which God willed to be fecund? As often as she could have conceived or given birth, of that many homicides she will be held guilty, and, unless she undergoes suitable penance, she will be damned by eternal death in hell. If a women does not wish to have children, let her enter into a religious agreement with her husband; for chastity is the sole sterility of a Christian woman" (1:12).
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.
(Examining sermons and commentaries, Charles Provan identified over a hundred Protestant leaders (Lutheran, Calvinist, Reformed, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Evangelical, Nonconformist, Baptist, Puritan, Pilgrim) living before the twentieth century condemning non- procreative sex. Did he find the opposing argument was also represented? Mr. Provan stated, "We will go one better, and state that we have found not one orthodox [protestant]theologian to defend Birth Control before the 1900's. NOT ONE! On the other hand, we have found that many highly regarded Protestant theologians were enthusiastically opposed to it." )
Sr. Penelope Guin ...
I don’t question that at all. My point is that many who consider themselves evangelical try to escape the fact that they are part of Protestantism.
Yes, and it appears, to this outsider, that some who consider themselves "Protestant" say the "Evangelicals" are something totally different - even though each one follows nothing but the Bible.
The essence of the Protestant Reformation was “sola scriptura” and Evangelicals and Protestants both claim to adhere to that. It appears to me that they want to use these labels to exclude whoever disagrees with their interpretation of the Bible.
All the time on these threads I see people say things like, “Protestants don’t believe Mary remained a virgin,” or “Protestants don’t believe in the Real Presence,” or any number of other things and it’s nonsense. As best I can tell, the ONLY thing that they seem to be in agreement on is their denial of papal primacy.
I’ve found this to be a rather interesting discussion. When my wife and I went through our marriage preparation with our priest — which included a marriage workshop and NFP classes — we developed our understanding of the marital act as possessing a procreative and unitive aspect in accordance with Church teaching.
Attempting to negate the procreative aspect with contraception also hurts the unitive aspect. If the marital act represents God’s will that husband and wife become one flesh and give completely of themselves, that reality can’t truly be realized in the presence of contraception, which impairs the the ability to truly give completely of oneself to your spouse.
Pope Paul VI warned everyone about these consequences when he wrote “Humanae Vitae”.
Interestingly enough, my wife’s sister (Baptist) takes a position that the birth control pill is ok — disregarding the fact that it can act as an abortifacient — and NFP is somehow “unbiblical”.
wagglebee: How should we "lump" them? If the "Five Sola" were valid principles they WOULD all be lumped together.
wagglebee, will you please cite the specific creeds/confessions/articles of faith/doctrinal statements for every Evangelical denomination - or at least for the NAE and their member organizations - that shows evangelical adherence to the Five Solas?
How could I? It’s impossible, YOPIOS has allowed the Reformation to wander down whatever road any given sinner wants to take it down.