You May Use Birth Control, If ...

May believers use birth control? In at least two ways, absolutely not! Any use of contraception to abet extramarital sex is wicked. Moreover, any method of birth control which aborts a new life which has been conceived is wicked (and this may include some common methods). But, barring those, may a married Christian couple try to prevent conception? (I say "try," because "man proposes, but God disposes.") What complicates this question is the fact that the Bible doesn't speak directly about contraception. This means that we need to consider fundamental biblical principles and then draw conclusions "by good and necessary consequence" (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1.6). What are some relevant biblical principles? God Grants Children as Gifts First, God grants children as gifts. He encourages believers to have children: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28). He expresses a very positive view of believers' having children: "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, ... Read more

You May Not Use Birth Control, Because ...

Is the use of birth control a legitimate option for Christian couples, or should it be rejected? In this brief essay, I will give three reasons why the use of birth control should be rejected by Christians. Reason One: The use of birth control is a denial of God's sovereignty. Who is ultimately in charge of conception and making babies—God or man? This is a question that should be a no-brainer to Reformed Christians, but sadly it is not. Just think about it for a moment. The only one who can "control birth" is the One who alone has the power to cause conception and make a baby. If you can cause conception or make babies, then any attempt to control birth is an attempt to control God (which in itself is sinful) and a denial of God's sovereignty in this area. The Bible answers this question for us in no uncertain terms. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God alone is sovereign over conception. As early as Genesis 4:1 we see this. Here Adam is said to have "known" Eve, and Eve is said to ... Read more

Before You Use Birth Control, Consider ...

Why do we talk about "birth control"? This expression is a euphemism given to us in 1914 by Margaret Sanger, the leader of the birth control movement and the founder of Planned Parenthood. The real subject is contraception—that is, preventing conception. We don't have space here to sort out all the theological arguments about marriage, sexuality, procreation, and human responsibility that pertain to contraception. But there are several texts in the Bible that may directly refer to contraception. What Was Onan's Sin? The first text is Genesis 38:6-10. Onan agreed to have sexual relations with his deceased brother's wife, Tamar, in order to raise up offspring for him. However, Onan prevented conception from taking place by withdrawing from her at the last moment. But "what he did" angered God, who slew him. What was Onan's sin? Some have said that he sinned by refusing to carry out his duty to his brother. But this "duty" was merely a social custom (called levirate marriage), not part of ... Read more

A Call to Heavenly-mindedness

"If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth" (Col. 3:1-2). "If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable" (1 Cor. 15:19). Among the Kalenjins of western Kenya, there was a time that the report of a dead body in the bush meant a detour to avoid contact with it. The Kikuyu of central Kenya would burn a house containing a corpse, so that no one would have to touch the dead body. Before the gospel came to these tribes, death was truly an "unspeakable enemy." Western culture has its own methods of keeping the knowledge of death at arm's length. People do not die; they "pass away." Cemeteries are called "gardens of rest." Mortuaries are "funeral homes , "containing "slumber rooms." At one time these terms might have reflected the Christian faith that death is not the end. Today, however, they largely serve ... Read more