Research indicates "morning-after" pills are non-abortive

“Because they block creation of fertilized eggs, they would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs. “

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JD Miller's picture

The fifth Baptist distinctive is individual soul liberty. I believe this issue falls into that category. My wife comes from a large family (11 children) and we have 4 children (4 and under). Sadly we have seen that the ignorance of individual soul liberty in areas of non-abortive family planning can go both ways. Some people are very judgmental of large families and others are quite judgmental of those who do not have large families. When people are constantly questioning your family size, it is easy to get quite defensive- especially when the outcome is the result of an admirable trust in God.

On the other hand, we must be careful about judging decisions others have made from a stewardship standpoint. For example, my wife's cousin was facing some very serious health problems related to her multiple pregnancies. (she just had twins and they now have 12 children). Please do not misunderstand what I am saying- I am not suggesting that every woman will have health problems because of multiple births- but this mother did. Each couple will have to make a decision before God as to whether it is good stewardship before God to continue to have more children and risk having the children they already have lose their mother or whether to stop having children.

I recently tried to figure out how many arrows a quiver held. There is not one answer. A warrior on foot would typically carry a different amount of arrows than one on horseback. The point is that not all of us have the same size quivers. Let us be careful not to judge someone whose quiver is already full nor discourage someone from continuing to fill their quiver. I have also heard of families who have refilled their quiver (They have more children after the older children have grown), but I would not insist that others had to do it that way.

Kevin Subra's picture

pvawter wrote:
You were arguing that there is a fundamental difference between children and diet coke, and that is certainly true. The flaw in your argument is that having sexual intimacy which doesn't lead to conception has nothing to do with rejecting a child from God. If there is no conception there is no child, so the analogy of eating or drinking for pleasure's sake is valid.
The prohibition of birth control on the grounds that it is tantamount to rejecting a gift from God only applies if said birth control actually destroys a child in the womb, i.e. an abortificant.

I still have to disagree. I have already stated that sexual intimacy does bring pleasure, and it most often does not result in pregancy. However, doing so without allowing God to gift us with children if He would desire is indeed seeking to circumvent the primary reason for gender and sexual intimacy. It goes against what God has revealed about Hiimself, His involvement with conception, and His statements about children. It is not a matter of enjoyment (that's a given). It's a matter of not wanting children that God would otherwise give. It has nothing to do with whether there is conception or not (that's another argument). It's a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Kevin Subra's picture

JD Miller wrote:
The fifth Baptist distinctive is individual soul liberty. I believe this issue falls into that category.
I understand that we all answer to God, and that ultimately what we are accountable to God for what we believe, and that we will give an answer to Him for every choice. There is no argument from me here.

Where I do find it interesting is what we have come to consider "matters of conscience" as opposed to essential core doctrines. We consider the trinity as one such core, and yet the doctrine of the trinity has to be developed through a collection and construction of passages throughout the Bible. (For the record, I am fully trinitarian.) However, something as clearly stated in Scripture regarding such things as the commands to married couples in the very first chapter of the Bible are considered "gray areas." Who decides what is essential, and who decides what is what is non-essential. I think that the Church has missed the Big Boat on this one, and it has resulted in confusion of marriage, s*xuality, gender identity, and our view of children. That's downright essential to culture, the Church, the family, and every area of life.

I believe that a proper view of marriage and gender are essentials, and they are worthy of discussion. I also believe that we have a tendency to argue with culture, not Scripture, and, as I stated earlier in this interaction, we ignore the Elephant in the Room. The church embraces what culture has taught, and largely ignores teaching on this, and even more so, discussing it.

Individual soul liberty is based upon differing understandings of Scripture in gray areas. I personally don't think this qualifies as a gray area. Individual soul liberty does not give us the right to reject things that we do not want to believe. It gives us the responsiblity to believe once we've studied, understood, and still find ourselves at odds with others.

JD Miller wrote:
My wife comes from a large family (11 children) and we have 4 children (4 and under). Sadly we have seen that the ignorance of individual soul liberty in areas of non-abortive family planning can go both ways. Some people are very judgmental of large families and others are quite judgmental of those who do not have large families. When people are constantly questioning your family size, it is easy to get quite defensive- especially when the outcome is the result of an admirable trust in God.
It is true that people just in both directions. I believe that this is a result of bad teaching (you wouldn't believe what I was taught in Bible college...), and the Church's embracing of the world's views rathering that holding to what the Bible says. It is from both a lack of Biblical teaching and a result of outright erroneous teaching that has brought us to this point.

JD Miller wrote:
On the other hand, we must be careful about judging decisions others have made from a stewardship standpoint. For example, my wife's cousin was facing some very serious health problems related to her multiple pregnancies. (she just had twins and they now have 12 children). Please do not misunderstand what I am saying- I am not suggesting that every woman will have health problems because of multiple births- but this mother did. Each couple will have to make a decision before God as to whether it is good stewardship before God to continue to have more children and risk having the children they already have lose their mother or whether to stop having children.
I find that this argument is often put forth. I don't think it to be part of the larger discussion, but as I've mentioned earlier, it is still a fair issue. First, I don't see the issue of "stewardship" as being the Biblical point here. Stewardship is often used as the excuse for not having children (I'll not present my arguments here for the sake of focus), which I do not find anywhere in Scripture (regarding not having children). If the issue is truly the life of the mother, then I think other principles apply. Most do not face this, and it is a straw man argument used to validate all arguments. (By the way, we've personally been there in that situation, so I'm not arguing from theory only. It has been the faith and understanding that any pregnancy has potential dangers that my wife has researched that has allowed us the privilege of having the children God gave us.) For the most part, people run from God's gifts, and use many arguments to do so.

JD Miller wrote:
I recently tried to figure out how many arrows a quiver held. There is not one answer. A warrior on foot would typically carry a different amount of arrows than one on horseback. The point is that not all of us have the same size quivers. ... Let uss be careful not to judge someone whose quiver is already full nor discourage someone from continuing to fill their quiver. ...
If God is the Giver, who is to say that his/her quiver is full? I hope that is a fair question. I don't think anyone could argue that some will end up with no children, and others will end up with many. The issue is whether we decide or whether God decides. It seems evident that God commands, expects, and privileges us with children throughout Scripture.

If I were to proclaim modalistic view of the trinity, I would be condemned without the privilege of calling you judgmental. However, when I hold to something and express my disdain at the fact that the church avoids most discussion on this, we are quick to call them judgmental. I think this to be inconsistent when considering this topic.

I believe this to be an issue of theology (God's sovereignty in our design and in His involvement in conception). It has huge ramifications which have impacted marriage (roles of men and women), gender (functionally homos*xual marriages where the men and women are the same), our view and rejection of children which God would otherwise give, etc. Even the idea that we, as fallen human beings, can rightly determine of other eternal beings (and their offspring) should come into existence should cause us to evaluate who is God in our view.

Even Lewis takes time to discuss this latter issue:

And as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument. ... And all long-term exercises of power, especially in breeding, must mean the power of earlier generations over later ones. (C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man, pp. 68-69)

I believe there is much to talk about - much more than what has been talked about for a long time.

I do appreciate your input and perspective. It does bring to light circumstances in which one command or principle of God may overlap another, possibly causing us to change directions.

I would like to know who wrote the list of essentials, and who threw out the family as one of those essentials.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

J Ng's picture

Kevin Subra wrote:
It's a matter of not wanting children that God would otherwise give. It has nothing to do with whether there is conception or not (that's another argument). It's a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good.

Hmm, to change the illustration, would it help to think of precipitation as from God, and yet we irrigate fields and dam up rivers and lakes to redirect or withhold the gift of water? God also gives sunlight, clearly, and we put up a shade over our heads. Wouldn't this be "a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good"? (Okay, those were nonliving things, but the gelding and spaying of animals could be analogous, too.)

It doesn't mean we don't thank Him for it, but would managing His blessings (if I dare say) be an area of liberty? I could redirect the sunlight to my solar panel to drive my airconditioner, or perhaps open a skylight to let in only the light but not the heat. I could create a reservoir and sell the water off to New York State. I could let my pomchi play with the neighbour's.

Could conception be deferred or prevented, similarly, to His glory?

pvawter's picture

Kevin Subra wrote:

I still have to disagree. I have already stated that sexual intimacy does bring pleasure, and it most often does not result in pregancy. However, doing so without allowing God to gift us with children if He would desire is indeed seeking to circumvent the primary reason for gender and sexual intimacy. It goes against what God has revealed about Hiimself, His involvement with conception, and His statements about children. It is not a matter of enjoyment (that's a given). It's a matter of not wanting children that God would otherwise give. It has nothing to do with whether there is conception or not (that's another argument). It's a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good.

If you are arguing that God is in control of conception, and he is, and if every conception is then of supernatural origin (in that God is the one who ultimately decides when/how often a couple conceives), then what's the problem with contraception that does not destroy a fertilized egg? God's power to give the gift of a child is not diminished or hindered by modern medical science.
We just had a couple in the church get pregnant after she had her tubes tied. Clearly God was able and willing to overcome that interference, and if medical intervention is wrong in order to prevent pregnancy, then what about medical intervention to prevent death?

Anne Sokol's picture

I'm listening and learning. I'm not sure I'll change from the idea that it is a personal matter, but I certainly think that we need to think about this issue more than we do and from all different perspectives.

We just had our third baby. He was an unattended birth here in our apartment in Kiev. It was a really neat experience. I just want to gush a little that I love how Vitaliy husbands and fathers Smile

http://birthinukraine.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/the-birth-of-salem-andre-...

Kevin Subra's picture

Anne Sokol wrote:
I'm listening and learning. I'm not sure I'll change from the idea that it is a personal matter, but I certainly think that we need to think about this issue more than we do and from all different perspectives.

We just had our third baby. He was an unattended birth here in our apartment in Kiev. It was a really neat experience. I just want to gush a little that I love how Vitaliy husbands and fathers Smile


Congrats, Anne!! Wonderful!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

Jim's picture

Questions for Kevin Subra

  1. Does your church address the question of birth control in either (or both) the church doctrinal statement or covenant? If so what is the position?
  2. If the answer to 1a is "no", is there an uninscribed (unwritten) view that predominates in your church that would perhaps be something like: "The Pastor's position is that the use of birth-control is wrong and therefore ____________ (excluded from certain areas of service like serving as an adult teacher or deacon, etc.)"
  3. If your church has multiple elders are they unanimous on the no-birthcontrol issue?
  4. Would you officiate a wedding service for a couple who disclose in the prenuptial counselling sessions that they intend to use birth-control?
  5. Would your church prohibit membership for a wedded couple whom you know to use birth-control? (Perhaps they disclose the information to you prior to membership? Eg. they tell you: "we're waiting to have children until [husband ] completes school and has a full time job")
  6. Using the following chart - "Essential vs. Peripheral Doctrine", would you rank your view on birth control an asolute? A conviction? An opinion?
Kevin Subra's picture

Thank you for your questions. Here are my brief answers, along with some clarification afterwards:

Jim wrote:
Does your church address the question of birth control in either (or both) the church doctrinal statement or covenant? If so what is the position?
No. It is not addressed. Neither is the make-up of marriage (though many churches are now adding a definition of marriage).
Jim wrote:
If the answer to 1a is "no", is there an uninscribed (unwritten) view that predominates in your church that would perhaps be something like: "The Pastor's position is that the use of birth-control is wrong and therefore ____________ (excluded from certain areas of service like serving as an adult teacher or deacon, etc.)"
No. My teaching, when I have taught on the topic, has been to encourage people to consider what the Bible has to say. There is no requirement, written or unwritten.
Jim wrote:
If your church has multiple elders are they unanimous on the no-birthcontrol issue?
There is no unanimous view on this. I don't believe I've ever had a discussion with our branch ministry leaders (deaf / Spanish).
Jim wrote:
Would you officiate a wedding service for a couple who disclose in the prenuptial counselling sessions that they intend to use birth-control?
I have not made it a stipulation. When I counsel couples, I encourage them to consider Scriptural teachings on the matter. I also warn them, if they choose to use birth control, to avoid any method that would potentially be abortive. I encourage them to consider children as a normal part of marriage, not an optional addition to it.
Jim wrote:
Would your church prohibit membership for a wedded couple whom you know to use birth-control? (Perhaps they disclose the information to you prior to membership? Eg. they tell you: "we're waiting to have children until [husband ] completes school and has a full time job")
No. I would exhort them strongly regarding conception prevention versus life-ending methods, but encourage them to embrace the gifts of children God would give.
Jim wrote:
Using the following chart - "Essential vs. Peripheral Doctrine", would you rank your view on birth control an asolute? A conviction? An opinion?
I do not differentiate an absolute from a conviction (a conviction, as I would understand it, would be something that I am persuaded to be true in Scripture, not an arbitrary choice or functional path, which would be an opinion). I would land on "absolute," because the Bible shares much about this that is hard to ignore or explain away.

To clarify, I would not be for "birth control" by definition (which includes abortion, as well as potential or confirmed abortifacient methods) which I believe to be the wrongly taking of life - murder). I believe that believers are limited to contraceptive methods, IF, upon studying the Bible, they land on the belief that they can claim that right before God. (I personally do not see that taught, or even hinted at, in the Word.) Most, I have found, have either never studied, or they have been told by pastors or professors that the Bible is silent on the matter (!).

To shed a bit more light on my perspective, teaching on this in our extremely anti-child, pro-prevention culture (in and out of church) is like teaching on the origins of the Bible in a KJV-only church. People are so steeped in the worldly perspective (as I would label it), and wrongly taught or ignored (in and out of church, including Bible colleges and seminaries) that you have to get people to begin thinking Biblically, and that takes time and gentleness.

Thank you for your examination and interaction. I truly appreciate it, and look forward to further sharpening.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

JD Miller's picture

Kevin, thank you for your last post. Your actual practice on this subject toward fellow Christians is what I was desiring to encourage with my post on individual soul liberty. I hope that people on both sides of the issue would show charity toward those who see things a bit differently than they do. I also appreciate your clarification that you do not view conception prevention on the same level as abortive methods. Just to clarify my own position: if birth control means an abortive method, that is not a grey area. ABORTION IS WRONG! If birth control means "conception control," then I believe this is an area of individual soul liberty.

Kevin Subra's picture

JD Miller wrote:
Kevin, thank you for your last post. Your actual practice on this subject toward fellow Christians is what I was desiring to encourage with my post on individual soul liberty. I hope that people on both sides of the issue would show charity toward those who see things a bit differently than they do. I also appreciate your clarification that you do not view conception prevention on the same level as abortive methods. Just to clarify my own position: if birth control means an abortive method, that is not a grey area. ABORTION IS WRONG! If birth control means "conception control," then I believe this is an area of individual soul liberty.
Thank you. I do think that we need more serious study on this at all levels, and I think we are too quick to categorize "conception control" as wholly an area of individual liberty while ignoring the many clear things the Bible does say about it, God's involvement in it, God's design for it, etc. I do restate that individual soul liberty is not based on preference or convenience but upon revelation and our understanding of it. ;>D

Thank you for the interaction. Your spirit is refreshing!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

JD Miller's picture

Kevin wrote:

Quote:
I do restate that individual soul liberty is not based on preference or convenience but upon revelation and our understanding of it.

I agree with that point as well. I think some are too quick to cry liberty on a variety of subjects without ever having studied to show themselves approved, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. I also understand that both Kevin and I have studied this issue and came to slightly different conclusions though we both strongly agree on the importance of children in the family.

Some look at "be fruitful and multiply" as only being a command to Adam and Eve and Noah and his family. Others look at it as being to all, but by the time a couple has 4 children they have multiplied by double. Others look at it as multiplying as many as possible. The point I am making is that these things can be studied and still have different conclusions.

Further some look at Onan's sin as being conception control. Others look at it as selfishly trying to get his brother's inheritance for himself by not raising up seed. Others look at the passage and say that conception control was a common and understood practice in ancient Israel that was not specifically addressed in the law. Again, the point I am making is that these things can be studied and still have different conclusions and that is why we have individual soul liberty, but that is also why we should interact so that iron can sharpen iron.

Kevin Subra's picture

JD Miller wrote:
Some look at "be fruitful and multiply" as only being a command to Adam and Eve and Noah and his family. Others look at it as being to all, but by the time a couple has 4 children they have multiplied by double. Others look at it as multiplying as many as possible. The point I am making is that these things can be studied and still have different conclusions.
It would be great if there was more discussion on this topic (and even this verse). I would be interested in knowing why people are fine applying the "only once" commands of subduing the earth and having dominion over creation now (we have no other authorization to build, plant, corral, etc. beyond Genesis 1:28) when they would reject the first three as only applying to Adam and Eve. (It would also be very tough for Adam and Eve to "fill the earth.")

I'm not looking to create a new discussion. I am just suggesting that most people come to conclusions based upon what other people have said (offered without serious study), rather than from true study and analysis of the Word. I truly believe most have not studied this in detail. I truly believe we (Christians) have too easily embraced the world's view of children, rather than God's view.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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