When our December issues of the Beacon Lights came in the mail, I handed a copy to one of my sons. A little later, he asked if I agreed with the second to last paragraph of “Augustine on Sex and Marriage” by Mr. Spencer, found on pages 21 & 22. After reading it, I explained to him that we agreed with the thrust of the article which brings out how our sexual relations in marriage can and should glorify God, both in the way of bringing forth children and in the intimate oneness a husband and wife enjoy. Scriptures teach that our marriages should reflect the mysterious bond of Christ and His bride, the church. However, I explained to my son that we do not agree with the idea of birth control, as seemed to be implied in the article.
My main concern, therefore, is with what the author left unsaid about the use of birth control. It is not my intent to attack the views of the writer. It is my view that using birth control is wrong, except perhaps in “extreme” cases. We should not allow ourselves to be conned into thinking we can enjoy the pleasures of the sexual relationship in marriage, a wonderful gift of God, and at the same time avoid the normal responsibilities connected with that. After all, who really ever thinks they have enough time or finances for raising children? What guideline will determine when there is enough time or money for the needs of the family? Because of our sinful natures, we can quickly think up all kinds of excuses, but where in God’s Word is birth control ever supported?
After Adam and Eve sinned, did not God tell Eve He would multiply her sorrow and conception? And are we now going to ease the sorrow through use of birth control? In my younger days, if someone would have promoted birth control they would have been strongly warned that this was a form of murder. This may seem extreme today, but when considered from the point of view that a person’s life is being prevented we can better understand the reasoning. Such thinking can very easily lead to justification for abortions. Do we have God’s approval to prevent or to take life? God controls all things, including the marvel of conception in a mother’s womb, and should we tamper with this?
Many related questions come up in this connection. Do we read in the Bible anywhere that God suggests married couples may decide when or how many children they want? Do we really believe the Scriptures that a woman shall be saved in child-bearing (I Tim. 2:15), which also includes all the sorrows that go along with it? Are we becoming so educated we reason things to our own advantage? Today’s modern world, which is headed for final destruction, emphasizes the need for birth control. Are we slowly becoming immune to our calling to bear the children God may be pleased to give us?
My wife and I struggled whether we may have had a legitimate reason to use birth control. A doctor had told us we should not have any more children. He claimed that the way he had to do the cesarean section, should my wife become pregnant, would lead to her death. In fact, he informed us he would not do another maternity case for us. We sought advice from other doctors, and our Christian friends, and finally decided there was not enough evidence to support our doctor’s contention. Therefore, rather than practicing birth control, we left the matter in God’s hands. Later, the Lord saw fit to give us another child, an adorable little girl, to raise with the sorrows spoken of in His Word, but also with the joys that are in Christ. If we had practiced birth control, this child would have been prevented. Christ said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.” (Mark 10:14) Why did he say this? Was it not because he loved them and would give His life for them, too?
During that time, friends and ministers gave varying views, but ultimately our decision was based on our understanding of Scripture’s teaching that children are not our own but very really gifts from God (Ps. 127:2). Therefore, after seriously questioning whether we had one of those “extreme” cases, we came to the conclusion we did not and did not take such an important matter into our own hands. If the pregnancy would have resulted in the death of the mother, we would leave it in the hands of Him who gives life and takes life. (So, perhaps there really are no “extreme” cases.) I am very thankful for the oneness that my wife and I had through this trial. At times my wife shed some tears, but her life testified of a deep love for God and evidenced godly submission to His ways, knowing He does all things righteously.
We realize there are many difficulties and sacrifices involved in having and raising many children. For this reason, it is important that all of us appreciate all the effort and energy our wives and mothers exert in the bearing and nurturing of our covenant children in the fear of God.
May God use these thoughts as a warning for us to be faithful to Him in our calling to bring forth the covenant seed. (Gen. 1:28, 9:1, Psalm 127:3-5) ❖