Most Evangelical Leaders OK with Birth Control

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SharperIron's picture
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“The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 churches in the United States, released a report Tuesday showing that nearly 90 percent approve of contraception.” CP

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Most Evangelical Leaders OK with Birth Control

This report just confirms the suspicions of many Catholics that evangelicals who claim to be pro-life are at best half-hearted. Christians who truly believe in the sanctity of life will come to find it difficult to be pro-contraception, especially as they learn of the abortifacient nature of many contraceptives. I know conservative evangelicals who are discouraged to find themselves working with a majority of Catholics in activities at abortion mills and Planned Parenthood. One fellow, a member of a local Assemblies of God church, claims often to be the only non-Catholic at many pro-life events. I think Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry's conversion to Catholicism testifies to that church being the place for those commited to the sanctity of life. It doesn't it have to be that way, and it didn't used to be that way, as detailed in the excellent book THE BIBLE AND BIRTH CONTROL by Charles Provan.

rogercarlson's picture
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Gary, You could be right, but

Gary,

You could be right, but I think you have overlooked one detail. While CE's and Fundamentalists prolife, they believe as pastors they should not align themselves with groups like Operation Rescue because to do so delutes the purity of the Gospel. Or to put it another way, for me as a pastor to march at a Pro-life rally would but the abortion issue above the Gospel. I simply won't do that. So what I do is give a trainins session at the local pregnancy/life center on Giving the Gospel in Counseling. Just food for thought.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Alex Guggenheim's picture
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I am and always have been

I am and always have been highly unimpressed with self-appointed Crusader Randal Terry. His self-aggrandizing and manipulative methods utilized in his various campaigns is well recorded. But to the point here. If a birth control is an abortifacient kind I know of no Evangelical group that expresses opposition to abortion which has this kind of birth control in view.

One quite easily can hold to the sanctity of life but accept non-aborificient forms of birth control.

Now, if after all of these are removed from the equation and we have left standing those Evangelicals claiming to know Christ and claiming to oppose abortion but accept abortificients then you have identified a half-hearted segment regarding their stance of the sanctity of life but the report does not make this distinction.

It does provide some clear remarks by some without distinction to their percentage that they do not accept abortificients. But also it does provide an additional remark that, never minding your response, was remarkably ignorant regarding the use of birth control and God's involvement. Here is the statement and interestingly it was a quote of none other than John Piper whose mishandling of Scripture and theological concepts continues to manifest itself:

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Nevertheless, God is in control whether a married couple uses birth control or not.

"The hands of the almighty are not tied by birth control," he has argued. "A couple will have children precisely at the time God wants, whether they use birth control or not."

To state that "God is in control" when a married couple uses birth control as if divine sovereignty is some override of the exercise of human volition and its consequences demonstrates a fundamental theological poverty in this area of Piper's grasp regarding human decision making and divine sovereignty. What he appeals to is the not the practice of God's exercise with respect to allowing mankind to make decisions and live by such consequences while here on earth under the sovereign permit of God, rather that in spite of man's actions, God will regularly override such actions to produce an alternate outcome, one that he wants.

I say regularly because here is his response again:

Quote:
A couple will have children precisely at the time God wants, whether they use birth control or not
No John, they won't because YOUR PREMISE errs. OF course it begs the most obvious question that smacks this poor response upside the head, namely that if this is true then why would any Christian practice birth control in the first place if they can be assured that, as Piper says, "a couple will have children precisely at the time God wants"?

Yet in almost the same breath Piper contradicted himself in an earlier statement saying:

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Though some have argued that it is sinful to regulate the timing and number of children since children are gifts from God, many evangelical leaders believe otherwise.

Minneapolis preacher John Piper has stated, independent of the survey, that just because something is a gift from the Lord, it does not mean that it is wrong to be a steward of when or whether one will come into possession of it.

But this is SOP for Piper, often failing to pay attention to the details of his positions and their contradictions. On the one hand Piper takes the position that we are stewards of the blessing of children and determine or supervise (that is what a steward does, oversees, directs, manages) "when or whether" we will "come into possession of it" and then turns around and states that no, we really aren't the stewards after all but God is in stating,
Quote:
"a couple will have children precisely at the time God wants, whether they use birth control or not"
.

As to the erring premise that somehow divine sovereignty is the remedy or assurance that in spite of birth control all children are born precisely when God's wants them to be, there is first of all no such decree in Scripture. Secondly, we do not find the treatment of divine sovereignty in Scripture as an override for the decisions of mankind with respect to the exercise of their volition, ESPECIALLY here where Piper uses it as a prescriptive answer.

It may be that on some occasions we do find God's active exercise of his sovereign will seizing certain contexts (but even then there is no occasion where the volition of such creatures is ever seized and overridden regardless of the misguided appeals to Pharoah and Moses) but Piper responds not with the recognition of these as unique and special moments, rather as a prescriptive antidote for those using birth control.

But this is drifting off into another subject, namely the highly dysfunctional theology held by many Calvinists and Reformed followers regarding the function of divine sovereignty and human volition.

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Piper

I think you misunderstand Piper. Whether his reasoning about the gift is persuasive or not, I don't see a contradiction. What he means by "will have children precisely at the time..." is just that God is sovereign over these things. But in that sense He is sovereign over every choice of every kind so it's not really a very helpful observation... because in that sense it's accurate to say that we will sin at precisely the time God wants (this is true in one sense and untrue in another at the same time).
Anyway, I don't begrudge him his opinion on the matter... or anyone else theirs. Romans 14.

Alex Guggenheim's picture
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Aaron Blumer wrote: I think

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I think you misunderstand Piper. Whether his reasoning about the gift is persuasive or not, I don't see a contradiction. What he means by "will have children precisely at the time..." is just that God is sovereign over these things. But in that sense He is sovereign over every choice of every kind so it's not really a very helpful observation... because in that sense it's accurate to say that we will sin at precisely the time God wants (this is true in one sense and untrue in another at the same time).
Anyway, I don't begrudge him his opinion on the matter... or anyone else theirs. Romans 14.
No it is never accurate to say that "we sin at precisely the time God wants" and it isn't true in any sense Aaron. You repeat the mistake of Piper in wrongly understanding divine sovereignty thus wrongly prescribing its function. God's sovereignty permits many things including our decision to sin. Because his sovereignty along with his omnipotence is able to use our sin for his purposes does not make it something he ever "wants". They are not one in the same. And I don't see anyone begrudging the right to an opinion but I do warrant for challenges to some of those opinions.