Pope Benedict, I guess in a new book of his, has garnered a lot of news headlines. He suggests that an individual, in attempting to save their sexual partner from AIDS, might count it as a first step toward moral responsibility to use a condom. No, he is NOT pushing condoms. He is saying that although using condoms is never a “good” thing, they are a better option than sharing disease through unprotected sexual relationships.
This is one thing I will say: At least the Pope and the Catholic church actually attempt to address the issue of birth control! VERY interestingly the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) has NEVER held an official opinion on birth control. There was a resolution proposed for the LCMS convention this past summer, but it never came to the floor for consideration. Of course it is a very “hot” topic and to tackle it might be risking a lot for our church – even as it is for the Roman Catholic church. But when is it that standing up for what is Godly should take a back seat to being popular?
Historically, of course, the church (not just the Catholics) HAS opposed the concept of birth control. Some, even in the LCMS, still defend the idea that a married couple should not attempt to usurp the will of God when it comes to children. If God gives them to you – be glad of them!
Probably most in our church today would defend the OPTION of birth control on account of perhaps these two principles:
- The Bible actually never calls it a sin (there is in fact only a couple unhelpful verses that even touch on the subject, none specifically.)
- One important purpose of marriage is procreation, but there are other purposes including companionship and keeping an individual from sexual sin. This means that one does not necessarily have to have procreation as the sole purpose for marriage and a sexual relationship.
My personal problem is not so much in the considered and prayerful use of birth control so that we can be responsible parents, but in its MISUSE and the sin that it can LEAD to.
These are the issues surrounding birth control that we need to be concerned about:
- The way that birth control has brought on the scourge of extra-marital and consequence free sexual practices. Certainly one of the things that makes it excessively easy to have multiple and extra-marital sexual relationships is that we don’t have to worry about those burdensom children. Sexuality is a VERY blessed gift and it is to be used exclusively to seal and strengthen the marital bond. Period.
- The way that birth control has enabled a selfish lifestyle where children are seen as expensive burdens to avoid if we want to have a happy life. Children ARE a gift from God and we should never despise them.
- The way that certain (but not all) birth control methods do not actually keep an egg from being fertilized (and therefore becoming a human being), but variously keep an already fertilized egg from further development until it dies (in other words, an abortion.) We need to be extremely careful in how we value and uphold the life that God gives us.
God help us in our lives to keep His name holy in how we nurture our marriages and families!