A Double Standard?

In the light of resent comments made by Dr. Al Mohler regarding the responsibilities of married couples (saying it is “an absolute revolt against God’s design” if husbands and wives purposely avoid bearing children), I would like to present an interesting issue to the blognation for debate. Before doing so, I would like to officially support the stance that Al has made regarding this sensitive sociological (and highly biblical) assertion. I do strongly believe that if married, we are called to reproduce. Paul makes it clear in Corinthians that one is not in the wrong if he chooses not to marry (in fact, he makes an argument that you might be better off), however, if you do, I believe that God is clear in that we are to multiply. Females were given ovaries, breasts, and a variety of other child bearing organs that were exclusively created and bestowed for giving birth and rearing children. Simply put: It is a women’s call. In fact, her highest call. A married woman (and man) choosing not to reproduce is like a person with feet, deciding never to walk.

But as usual, I digress.

I was reading a secular response to Al Mohler’s comments in the Kentucky Kernal (U.K.’s campus newspaper) by a woman who was utterly disturbed by what this ultra-conservative Baptist had claimed. After wading through her liberal babble, she did reveal an issue that caught my attention. She claimed that Mohler was contradicting himself by saying that married women should bear children, yet also believing that the use of birth control is an accepted practice. To be honest, I have never given this topic the time of day…until now. She may have a point. Even though it didn’t work like we had planned, Melanie and I have knowingly attempted to prohibit what God designed to happen by using contraceptives. So ultimately, we desired to partake in the God-given benefits of marriage while disallowing the God-given responsibility that is associated. God took Onan’s life for something very similar (see Gen. 38). Honestly, I haven’t established my stance on this issue, and I’m certainly not ready to condemn the use of contraceptives… but it is thought provoking. Maybe some of you can help shed light on this issue.

Post Script…To the unmarried: Please respond with a thoughful conviction. To the married: Try to look beyond your current desicions. We shouldn’t automatically defend our personal practice without giving objective thought to the issue (even though you might be right on).


16 Responses

  1. My wife and I have had this discussion on numerous occasions. First, I too believe that Dr. Mohler is absolutely correct in his assertion that married couples choosing not to have children goes directly against one of God’s primary purposes of marriage. I also agree with Dr. Mohler’s stance that those who deliberately choose not to marry because they do not want the responsibility, and not because God has called them to that life, are sinning as well. On the topic of contraception, my stance is this. It is OK to use contraception AS LONG AS you are willing to accept full responsibilty for the fact that it may fail (which is what happened to my wife and I, and thankfully so because Reese is the best kid in the world. I think the major problem comes when married couples use contraception specifically because they do not want the responsibility. So, in short, contraception is OK as long as you are willing to accept the fact that God might have other plans for your family.

  2. thanks for the speedy response, tim. playing devil’s advocate for the sake of conversation…do you think that God is OK with us putting a stop to the natural process that he designed because we don’t want that responsibility at that particular moment in our life. I guess what I am saying is I’m afraid that our use of contraceptives is virtually saying, “Lord, I know that you designed it this way, but that’s not good for us right now…so we are going to prohibit your natural process until it is conveient for us.” It sort of seems selfish if you think about it.

  3. I am unmarried but I am rapidl nearing the day, Lord willing, that I will be married. I have often struggled with the idea of contraception. Is it a slap in the face of the providence of God? I do not know I am on the fence but I do agree with Dr. Mohler, and I do agree with Smitty and Tim. For me the anser is to be found biblically, I just have not reached that point.

  4. wow…justin on the fence…who would have figured. Just kidding. Thanks for your honesty.

  5. I have lots of mental conflicts on birth control stuff. I agree with the idea that I’m okay with contraception as long as you know that it may not work and are willing to embrace having children even if unplanned. However, some people argue that birth control pills (or patch, anything that uses hormones) can be a form of abortion because it not only prevents ovulation, but also prevents any fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. It’s designed to prevent pregnancy in 2 ways. One of those ways prevents pregnancy after the egg has been fertilized. So, if life begins with fertilization, is this abortion? Or does “conception” not occur until the embryo is implanted in the lining of the uterus? Sorry this is so womanly and technical, but this is an interesting issue, and one I’ve thought about a lot. I’m still not 100% sure, but I’m just doing my best! Thanks for the interesting post, Jonathan.

  6. alright sucker, i’m back. But you may be the only person that reads the dang thing.

  7. thank you for your interesting comment, mrs waters. it’s good to hear from you. you’re right…i believe there should be a mental conflict there for people. What i mean that we at least need to give the issue the time of day instead of automatically justifying the use of contraceptives because we personally use them to regulate the life we want to live.

  8. Mrs. Waters: James Dobson’s website has his research into the use of contraceptives: doctor’s comments on which ones are more like abortion, and which ones prevent the egg from being fertilized. Interesting stuff.

    To answer the Kernel writer:
    To TEMPORARILY put off having kids is not the same as rejecting having kids altogether. Mohler isn’t talking about those who are waiting a couple of years before starting to have a kid. He’s talking about those who reject it altogether and say “We don’t want kids, period.”

    2 reasons for responsible birth control (my opinions here):
    1. a) There are PLENTY of families out there who should use birth control but don’t. You’ve seen the family on food stamps with 10 kids, abusive parents, and child services starts taking them from the home. Those kids have a much higher probability of ending up in prison, or on drugs, or early death. The parents were irresponsible, and that’s unfortunate. (I won’t even bring 3rd world countries into this argument).

    b) A couple just starting out also may not be able to support a child, or may not currently have the means to raise a kid. My wife and I scrape by while I’m in school. After I’m out of school, our roles will change and I’ll be the breadwinner. We won’t have to raise a kid in poverty. But, we’re still ironing out differences in our own relationship and figuring out how to live with each other. Having a kid in that environment isn’t what I would call wise.

    2. Medical reasons. For some women it may be very dangerous to get pregnant, both for herself and the unborn child. Some may need to be on birth control for a while to correct other problems in their reproductive system(i’m no expert about this, just have heard of it).

    I think there is a large measure of personal conviction and Romans 14 involved with this. I know people who felt that birth control was wrong for them, and that God would “open and close the womb as He wills. His timing is right, etc.” Some of those were given 1 or 2 kids, others had 8-10.

    I know others (the pastor who did our pre-marital counseling, for example) who felt they were being responsible Christians by waiting to try to have kids until they were better off economically or more socially adapted to marriage. Or, they’ve stopped having kids because they believe they have all that they can afford.

  9. although I do like your reasons given for using birth control responsibly…but I’m not totally sold on defending a position on this issue with social reasons.

    And also, we must keep in mind that this discussion means nothing to a non-believer. Their entire life is sin…so this is of no matter to them. But focusing on followers of Christ, who know that God the Father created us with specific capabilities for specific reasons, do we allow modern medicine and technology to provide a way to bypass God’s design.

  10. …just playing devil’s advocate

  11. 1 Timothy 3:4-5:
    “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?).”

    People I know who felt they were being responsible Christians by waiting to try to have kids until they were better off economically or more socially adapted to marriage or stopped having kids because they believe they have all that they can afford quote this verse.

  12. I’ve been thinking a bit about this issue and this thought came to my mind. Maybe, the Lord have complete forknowledge, knew that technology would provide this “service” for society, and this was part of his plan. Instead of birth control being a direct revolt against God’s plan…maybe it is a fulfillment. #1…because our expansive responsibility of populating an enormous earth has been completed…now we just maintain (?). #2…we are called to manage our household. #3…i feel like i’m rambling. Basically, i’m implying that maybe God ordained this human development from the beginning. And it’s interesting that its use is prominent during a time when the world really doesn’t more bodies. I have no idea. Dr. Dave, where are you man…help me out with this issue.

    one more question…WHY DIDN’T IT WORK FOR US!

  13. If I recall correctly, Tim Turner’s kids were both “accidents” as well. I’d have to agree with Tim Morrison’s comments that you have to be prepared to accept that God has another plan for your life.


  14. you are right, tappdaddy, tim’s kids were both conceived on the pill. funny. i completely agree with you two dummys. God has called Melanie and I to bring a child into this world and He has ordained this as the time to do so. It took a little while for us to calm down and realize that God has placed his favor on us with the conception of “baby smitty.” But nevertheless, we are past the “zombie” stage, and are highly anticipating the arrival of God’s blessing. It’s funny how quickly your life can change.

    thank you for your conversation. God bless you and your wife

  15. smitty, just a quick note. you listed a few parts of the female anatomy and stated that they were “exclusively designed for reproduction.” I believe Song of Solomon teaches that they are not “exclusively” for reproduction but also intended for pleasure between and husband and wife.

  16. well, i hope you and sarah have fun with her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

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