September 20, 2007

Is Birth Control / Family Planning Wrong? (IV)

So far we've looked at the first two critical questions:

  • Is God good?
  • Can God be trusted?

And today I believe is the day where I have to be the most careful because the first two questions were focused on God. Today's question is focused on us.

Do we WANT to trust God?

Ultimately, the answer is no. We haven't trusted God since the beginning of creation, why should we start now. You see, if you ask the majority of Christians whether God is good and can He be trusted, the answer you'll get from 99% of them is an unconditional yes. God's not the problem. We are. If you ask those same Christians whether they want to trust God, if they are honest about their heart and mind condition, they would have to tell you no.

We inherently don't want to trust God. It takes faith to trust God. It takes a release of control. It takes making ourselves vulnerable and completely at the mercy of another. We don't want to trust God. We don't do it with our finances. We don't do it with our marriages. We don't do it with our interpersonal relationships. And we most certainly don't do it when it comes to conceiving and birthing children.

How many of you have who have children have said in your lifetime when asked the question of whether you were going to have more kids: "No way – we're done – we made sure of that".

Now I have to ask the question. Was that because God told you that? Did you spend nights and weeks in prayer agonizing over that? Did God reveal that to you clearly? Or did you just decide you didn't like the hassle of having infant children or going through a pregnancy? Did you decide it would cost too much to have more kids? Did you decide that your life goals were more important than having another baby? Who made that decision? You or God?

How many young couples have said "We're waiting to have kids. We want to have some time to ourselves early in our marriage." Once again, was this a revelation from God? Or your selfish desire to decide what was best for you and your new spouse?

The problem is that we make these types of decisions almost by default. We are prone to these sinful types of behaviors. It is how we are wired. Since the fall, our inclination is to not seek God but rather to hide from Him just as Adam and Eve did. We want to decide what's best for us, not let the all powerful Creator get involved in the mix.

And sometimes we think sin is merely encapsulated in the things that we do or obvious sins (at least obvious to us we think) such as drunkenness, pornography, drug addiction, rampant profanities, etc. But I ask you what is more sinful: To have one too many beers at a football game or to tell the God of the universe that he is no longer Creator, you are and you will decide what is right for your family, your future, and your life not Him?

These are questions we have to take seriously. And quite frankly, this is a question that we have punted on in Protestant life. We mock Catholics for their large families and their salvation by works, but yet we ignore our own blasphemous attitudes toward reproduction and child conception. We take the pill and have vasectomies not because of our theology but our comfort and our careers.

Now are there exceptions? Yes and that's what tomorrow's post will talk briefly about. But I believe the exceptions apply to 5% of Christians, not the majority. Is God good? Can he be trusted? Do we want to trust Him? Three important questions! Your answers are very telling about how you view the God you claim to follow.


eric sparks said...

Marc, thanks for these post. I do have a couple of questions that I've considered regarding this topic. Now to preface a little bit, you need to remember that Kristi and I have been married for 64 months (just over 5 years) and Kristi has been pregnant or nursing 50 of those months (just over 4 years). Here are our stats: 3 children and tomorrow (the 21st) their ages will be 3, 2, and 1. When asked if we're through having kids, our answer is absolutely not.

eric sparks

I generally agree with what you and Voddie are saying in this discussion, but I wouldn't take as hard a stance on this as Voddie does and definitely would word my argument differently. Here is why. What about sicknesses and medication? Are we not trusting God when we take a Tylenol or an antibiotic. What about seeing a doctor in general? What's the difference. Shouldn't we, if we argue the way you have in this post, not go to the doctor at all and just trust God.

To stick with children and pregnancy, are women who have epidurals and even C-sections not trusting God in those situations? It would seem so according to you and Voddie. Now remember once again that with our 3 children, Kristi has done it all natural. No medication whatsoever. AND our 3rd child was born in our bathtub, and I had the privilege of "catching" her. So, of all people, we should be able to argue that "Family Planning" is wrong, but we don't, at least not in the way you've described.

What are your thoughts on the questions I've raised above? I look forward to you answer as I know that they will be well reasoned, biblical, and enlightening. Once again, I appreciate this topic and glad to see you bring it up on your blog.

eric sparks said...

sorry about my name being stuck in the middle of the post. don't know how that happened.

Marc Backes said...


Great questions. I've wondered who from Goose Creek (or at least that area) was reading the blog. Now I know!

Tomorrow's post will definitely deal with the health issue as I think that is valid. I believe it's valid for about 5% of people, but still valid nonetheless.

I think the thing that I'm passionate about is "selfishness" trumping "trusting .

Too many times when folks have vasectomies, it is out of absolute selfishness and desire of comfort. There's no reckoning with God about it. There's no thought about the permanency of it. It's just flippant "this is what I believe is best for me" so I'm going to do it.

I can't tell you how many couples I've talked with that have taken permanent means only to regret it signficantly later on in life or a few years down the road.

I also can't tell you how many people have said they don't want more kids cause they couldn't afford the house that's big enough for them. I'm sorry, that's pure humanism and secular thinking there. That's not a grounded "biblical" worldview coming out.

Avoiding children for the sake of enjoyment, comfort, pain-free living is just flat out unbiblical (IMO). Would you agree?

Anonymous said...

I'm WAY late entering my comment, 7 months after this post began, but here I am.
Eric Sparks said "I generally agree with what you and Voddie are saying in this discussion, but I wouldn't take as hard a stance on this as Voddie does and definitely would word my argument differently. Here is why. What about sicknesses and medication? Are we not trusting God when we take a Tylenol or an antibiotic. What about seeing a doctor in general? What's the difference. Shouldn't we, if we argue the way you have in this post, not go to the doctor at all and just trust God."

First of all pregnnacy is NOT a sickness. Yes, you can run into complications, but God has given men wisdom as to how best to save the life of the mother nad child. God was even merciful at the beginnig when He put Adam to sleep before removing his rib to fashion Eve (the gentleman who discovered anesthsia was inspired by that passage of scripture). I do believe there is a HUGE difference between treating illness and pregnancy. The result of pregnancy is ALWAYS blessing and reward.
The issue at hand is bigger. God gave us the ability to reason and use judgment. Here is part of a debate I'm currently in with a fellow believer. How would you address him?

>>What you read into the Scriptures needs to apply across the globe, and NOT just in Maine. How would you answer the devout Christian Philippino woman who has to leave her family to be a house helper in another country, in order to put food on the table for her parents, husband, and any children she might have? Her husband cannot make enough money in the Philippines for the family to survive, and has few alternatives outside of the country. Should she have your attitude that "I should just go ahead, trust God, and have another one when I get together with my husband once per year"? That is blind and misguided trust, and nothing else. To say God will provide food for that family because of their 'trust' is downright arrogant, and I hear it many times from the incredibly wealthy American religious right, including people in Maine. God gave us a brain for discernment in all things, not all things except reproduction. How do you answer this dilemma?<<

I grew up hearing, and seeing through pictures and visits, the devastating poverty of my mother's family. She is one of twelve. I have not trusted God in this area of my life out of ignorance. I have counted the cost and I fully understand that He will provide, but not always in the manner I deem fit.
How do you reconcile a husband and wife who have opposing views on this topic. He/she wants more but the other wants to 'move on' from this stage of life. God's word says that husbands and wives have rights to each others' bodies, does that mean rights to eggs and sperm as well? Or better yet, rejection of? Aren't we tempting God when we take a natural function of marriage and say, "We'll control the process because if God REALLY wanted to He can override our use of BC and bless us with another child (if He HAS to)."
What about when Jesus says to cut of the part of your body that is causing you to sin rather than burn in hell, but we cut our tubes for functioning as they were created to function?

Any thoughts?