Can Christians Use Birth Control?
- Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Regarding the unbiblical thinking that undergirds this false view of marital sex, Wayne House says, “History reveals that such notions owed more to Greek Stoicism than to the New Testament,”39 and he quotes historian John T. Noonan Jr.: “Stoicism was in the air the intellectual converts to Christianity breathed. Half consciously, half unconsciously, they accommodated some Christian beliefs to a Stoic sense.”40 As a result of this Stoicism, emotions were downplayed and self-control was exalted. This even became true in marriage, where passion was considered suspect. Marriage must have another purpose namely, the continuance of the human race. In the words of the Stoic philosopher Ocellus Lucanus, “We have intercourse not for pleasure but for the purpose of procreation . . . The sexual organs are given man not for pleasure, but for the maintenance of the species.”41
This horrid, pleasureless, godless, unbiblical teaching is repackaged worldly Greek philosophical dualism (in which the body and its pleasures are not holy) instead of truth from God’s Word (in which our body and its pleasures are holy gifts from God to be used as God intends).
In Scripture we see that marital lovemaking serves the purposes of pleasure (throughout the Song of Solomon married sex is extolled and children are never mentioned), children,19 oneness,20 knowledge,21 protection,22 and comfort.23
Furthermore, the Song of Solomon includes many sexual acts that are given by God for married couples to enjoy; each of them is solely for pleasure, and none are necessary for the sole purpose of procreation. They include kissing,24 oral sex (fellatio) by her initiative,25 manual stimulation by her invitation,26 petting by his initiative,27 oral sex (cunnilingus) by his initiative,28 striptease by her,29 and new places, including the outdoors, and new positions by her initiative.30 In addition, 1 Corinthians 7:5 clearly states that the normative scenario for Christian marriage is free and frequent sexual intimacy: “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Response to the Anti-Birth-Control Arguments
While God has not changed, the world has, and his people need wisdom, not legalism, to live in it. In the days of the Old Testament, most people lived in a rural culture as farmers, which meant that children were assets as both laborers with their parents and caregivers for their parents in old age. Today, with more than half the world’s population now living in cities, where culture is made, it is more important than ever that God’s people heed the counsel of texts such as Jeremiah 29:5–7: “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you.”
While not every Christian should live in the city, too few do. Statistically, the closer you venture to a major city, from which culture and influence emanate, the less likely you are to find Christians, in general, and Christian families, in particular. This separation of Christian families from cities and culture-making centers is often a failure by parents to understand their role as that of training their children to be the next generation of missionaries, evangelists, and church planters. More than ever, major cities need Christian families who love the city and seek to introduce the people there to Jesus.
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