Concerning the question as to why the Scriptures do not expressly prohibit contraception, the Rev. Matthew Winzer answers:
“First, birth control and contraception are two different things. According to the Bible abstinence is permitted in certain contexts. That amounts to birth control.
Secondly, the use of specific procedures to prevent conception requires the adoption of a philosophy which is contrary to the Bible. As noted, the human body is equated to the life of the lower creation as something which is to be regulated in stewardship. Then sexual relations are reinterpreted as if they possess some unitive benefit apart from being fruitful and multiplying, thus ignoring what the Bible specifically calls “blessing.”
Thirdly, to move the discussion beyond questions of “immorality,” which are only going to muddy the waters, a more positive approach would ask what the Bible sets forth as an ideal. An open view of children as God’s heritage accords with the whole biblical scheme in both its creation and new creation teaching. Temporal family life is always regarded as being enriched by the multitude of offspring. As far as the redeemed family of God is concerned, the statement of our Elder Brother sums up the positive biblical teaching: “Behold I and the children which God hath given me.””
From an African woman’s Open Letter to Melinda Gates:
“There is a combination of reasons why the African women have a high birth rate, the first being a high desired fertility rate (i.e. how many babies a woman desires to have). This desire exists because the older women in our communities are revered, respected and even rated in accordance to how many adult children she has raised. So, my own mum who raised six adult children commands even more respect than her friends who have much more wealth than she does but fewer children. And one of her friends who has nine adult children is even more respected than my mum — even my mum reveres this lady for being able to raise nine children (one of whom is a dear friend of mine by the way). For Melinda Gates’ birth-reduction programme to take root in our society, she has to completely uproot this sort of value-system where wealth is never placed above children. Put differently, our system is such that our children are our treasure and dollars, euros, rands, and pounds are only our legal tender.”
“Countless strangers in grocery stores have seen me with my three little ones and impertinently asked me how many children I was planning on having… Tell you what, how about next week I will bring my husband here and all three of us will discuss our family planning and come up with a number you find suitable… But honestly, the only answer for the impertinent question of how many children I am going to have is: all of them.”
“This fear isn’t just personal. As laws on issues like same-sex marriage and contraception have changed, there’s a growing fear that public policy will become more and more in conflict with evangelical morality. This, according to many conservative Christians, is what these tensions are about: being legally required to perform acts that you sincerely and deeply believe are immoral. Although in the past the religious right has openly advocated legislating morality in the public sphere, for most evangelicals, the recent cases do not seem to be about policing other people’s morality—the concern is about preserving the ability to be faithful to one’s own morality. By paying to cover contraceptives that interfere with “conception,” as evangelicals define it, by baking a cake or taking photographs to celebrate a same-sex wedding, some Christians believe they are facilitating a profoundly immoral act—which makes them morally culpable, as well.”
“If, however, the church has spoken with one voice on an issue for most of its history, but finds itself in our day changing that voice, chances are the church has only recently fallen into error. Such is the case on the birth control question. Until roughly the middle of the 20th century the whole of the church affirmed that children are a blessing from God, and that believers ought not to say “no thank you” to God’s blessings.”
It is Monday morning. I just had what was supposed to be a restful weekend, with little regular work. I take that “day of rest” thing seriously, but, sadly, my children do not. They seem to think that I should feed them and clothe them every day–even on Sundays! So, in spite of the fact that yesterday was the Lord’s day, and I only washed the dishes once, and cleaned and cooked not at all, I’m still a little bit tired.
Even worse, I can’t complain about it, not only because complaining is wrong, but because the moment my self-restraint slips and I let out a sigh, someone will invariably blame my exhaustion or depression (and I do have a tendency to be melancholy when I’m worn out) on my “too many” children. I have learned through hard experience that the only way I can protect my children from forming the idea that they shouldn’t exist is by never giving anyone even the slightest opportunity to suggest it.
And yes, I do work hard for this family, and that is why I am tired. There’s certainly no arguing with that. I can’t help but notice that, when someone is exhausted from doing some other kind of work, she is likely to get a different response. Perhaps, “You earned a restful weekend!” or “Thank you!”
One rarely hears a doctor or nurse encouraged to quit simply because she had to pull a double shift. We know that those jobs are sometimes hard even for the most talented of individuals, but because of their value to the community, we encourage them in their tasks despite the difficulty. But when a mom with “too many” kids gets to the limits of her strength, it must be because she’s either too stupid or too oppressed by the patriarchy to stop having children.
Excerpted from ConDeceived: Little Lies the World Tells to Keep Christian Families from Growing by Cindy Dyer, p. 23-24.