Is using contraceptives a sin? What are the different “Birth Control” methods?
THIS BLOG IS FOR MATURE AUDIENCE ONLY
The questions of family planning are certainly controversial. This blog will be controversial, because there are many strong-held beliefs, and those beliefs differ. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to write about this openly, due to much misinformation, false representation, and not many teaching on this subject in the Slavic community. The content of this blog is intended to be taught in a small group, premarital counseling, adult setting. At our church, we require couples to go through premarital counseling, where this information is presented in depth. Nevertheless, we wanted to make this information available to others, who do not have a chance to go through premarital counseling at our church.
Some of the things that will be mentioned in this blog are taken from Mark Driscoll’s book “Religion Saves and 9 Other Misconceptions.” In that book, he has a chapter on Family Planning. He also had a sermon on this topic that I highly recommend for couples. Here is the link: http://marshill.com/media/religionsaves/birth-control
Here are some givens:
- God is the creator and author of human life
- God intends for human beings to fill the earth.
- God authored that life begins at conception and declares that an unborn baby is a sacred life.
- God knows us from our mother’s womb.
- God is sovereign over the womb, and can ultimately close/open as he wills.
- Children are a blessing from God to be provided and cared for by parents and extended family and church, including those who were adopted (as Jesus was).
Is it ok to plan a family?
* It is sinful to use birth control for unbiblical reasons, which include greed, selfishness (no desire to undertake the work involved in raising kids), unbiblical view of kids as a burden and not a blessing, and an irresponsible lifestyle.
* Whether or not they will agree, but ALL couples have used some form of birth control method. If all birth control methods are sinful, than all have sinned. Not sleeping together is a form of birth control. Waiting a couple months to have “family time” (this is a blog that kids can read, therefore, I will be careful) to start trying to have another baby is also a form of birth control. There is not one couple that can say “we had as many babies as the Lord gave” because everyone could have tried at least one additional time.
* Just because it is OK to plan or wait to build a family, it is not always wise, especially if you are a young couple. The older a woman chooses to have babies, the more complications she can have (health). Older women are less fertile (women are most fertile between the ages of 18-25).
* Throughout Bible, we see that marital lovemaking serves the purpose of pleasure, and not only of pro-creation. In Songs of Solomon – married family time is extolled and children are never mentioned.
* The sin of Onan (Genesis 38:8) is oftened mentioned as the Biblical ground against family planning. Onan’s sin was disobeying God and dishonoring Tamar by having family time without wanting to be obligated in any way or care for her.
LEVELS OF BIRTH CONTROL
In this blog, I will list 6 levels of birth control. A baby is made, in our view, when conception happens. Conception is when the men’s sperm meets the women’s egg. Any birth control method that keeps the man’s sperm from meeting the egg, in my opinion, is not sinful. Any method that tries to destroy the conception, even if it’s the very next day, is already some form of abortion, and according to my convictions a sin.
Here are the 6 levels of birth control:
Level 1: No Birth Control
- A couple decides to not use any birth control methods, and just accept as many kids as the Lord gives.
- This is GREAT. It is totally acceptable, Biblical and a blessing to our community to take this position. There is a problem when you become legalistic about it, and judge others for not doing the same. As long as you understand it’s the choice you and your spouse are making, may God bless you! Great will be your reward!
- Please give at least a 2-3 month break between having a child and your wife becoming pregnant again. That’s just something all doctors recommend.
- Some say “Kids are a blessing from the Lord, and we must have as many as possible.” The problem is that scripture says a wife is a gift from the lord, but that doesn’t mean its wrong to stay single, or to have only 1 wife, that is only 1 gift. Just because something is a gift from the Lord does not mean that it is wrong to be a steward of when or whether you will come into possession of it.
Level 2: Natural Birth Control/Calendar based rhythm method.
- There are only a certain number of days in the month when a women can get pregnant. If you are able to figure those days out, using the calendar based rhythm method, then you don’t have to use any other birth control, accept to not have family times during the days when you wife is able to get pregnant, or if you do – to use another form of birth control during those days.
- Please do know that most women’s calendar is often changed, and therefore, this method is not always very reliable.
Level 3: Non-abortive birth control & Non-permanent
- This level is also known as the barrier method. A barrier, condom being the most common, is used to keep the sperm from meeting the egg. The barrier method is considered an appropriate form of birth control by most Christians, as its only role is to keep the sperm from meeting the egg. Female barriers are less known, but include: the diaphragm, contraceptive sponge, cervical cap, & female condom. ALSO AN EFFECTIVE BARIER IS CONSTANT NAGGING on the part of the wife, WHICH KEEPS A HUSBAND AWAY.
- Use of spermicides has been linked to a higher than normal incidence of severe birth defects, twice the rate of nonusers. Be wise, as you choose the barrier method, and what they contain.
- The Catholic Church to this day does not allow its members to use any contraceptives, and teach that the use of contraceptives is sinful.
Level 4: Non-Abortive Birth Control but permanent
- At this level, the method is still keeping the sperm from meeting the egg, but it’s a permanent method; vasectomy for males, and tubal ligation for females.
- This could be a valid option for those whom the doctors have specifically told not to have any more kids, due to the possibility of loss of life of the mother and or baby.
- Some couples choose to use a permanent sterilization when they’ve decided they longer want to have kids. Problems arise often when years pass, and the couple decides otherwise. Or, there have been instances when kids passed away prematurely, and the couple again wanted to have some kids, but could not due to a permanent sterilization. Thankfully, there are some surgeries that can reverse a permanent method.
- A couple must be completely sure before they make a decision to permanently become sterilized.
Level 5: Potentially abortive birth control methods
- This includes things like “the Pill,” IUD and other hormonal contraceptions. There have been a lot of research, debate, and work to determine the role of IUDs, the Pill and other Hormonal Contraceptions. To this day, many prominent Christian leaders hold to different views.
- The intrauterine device (or IUD) is thought to work not only by preventing sperm from gaining access to eggs, but also by interfering with implantation of a fertilized egg. For this reason, I nor such reputable organizations such as Focus on the Family, support the use of the IUD as a method of family planning.
- Focus On the Family has put out a Position Statement on The Pill, IUD and other Hormonal Contraceptions. Here is the link: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/topicinfo/Position_Statement-Birth_Control_Pills_and_Other_Hormonal_Contraception.pdf
- Before you decide whether or not “The Pill” or other Hormonal Contraceptions is something you will consider, please educate yourself on the potential health consequences on your body, or the health of the future baby, or on your future ability to have kids. Personally, I believe this is one area where much more research needs to done, before I personally would consider whether or not I want to risk the health of my future child. At this point, a lot of evidence and research contradicts itself.
Level 6: Abortive Murder
- Once the sperm and egg meet, any method that acts after fertilization, and thus ends a new human life, whether by preventing its implantation in the womb or terminating its life at some point after implantation, is a sin. One example of that is the “Morning After Pill.”
- Any early-term, or late-term abortion is a sin. A baby is a human being, even if it is in the body of another human.
As you consider what you will do as a family, spend time in prayer. Read books. Counsel with some older, godly couples. And then make a mutual decision as a family.
WHAT ABOUT 1 TIMOTHY 2:15?
“Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”
This verse is often referenced in teaching against Birth Control, saying that women are saved through childbearing. Whatever this verse means, it does not mean that a woman is saved through childbearing. We are saved through Christ, by grace through faith alone. (Ephesians 2:8)
If childbearing was the means of salvation for women, what about those who cannot have kids? How many kids is safe to have, to be considered saved? Than what is the role of Jesus and the cross if a woman is saved through childbearing? Such questions would mean that this scripture is referencing to something else. Here is a great blog by Pastor Mark that shares 4 different views on interpreting this scripture. Read it and make your own conclusions.