Birth Control Film Coming Soon

I have been amazed at the utterly simplistic views of those who promote the position of militant fecundity. The whole foundation of its argument is the notion that children of believers will, most of the time, be believers as well. However, the problem is that whether or not a person believes is the result of the free grace and mercy of God alone. If God decides to not regenerate most of your children, will you be able to handle it? If God decides to only leave a small remnant, will you be able to handle it? The problem with militant fecundity is that it demands that God redeem people simply because of the fact that they are offspring of believers. Put simply, God is under no obligation whatsoever to redeem anyone just because they are the children of believers, and God is under no obligation to redeem even the vast majority of the children of believers.

However, what I have found is that there is a concerted effort on the part of the Christian Patriarchy movement to try to push this position of militant fecundity. It is interesting that this agenda is being promoted, not only indirectly in the Unmarried movie which both Karen Campbell and myself have talked about, but also in an upcoming documentary called Birth Control; How Did We Get Here:

BIRTH CONTROL: How Did We Get Here? Trailer 2 from The Birth Control Movie on Vimeo.

Now, there are several problems with this argumentation. First of all, this mantra of “Children are a blessing,” with the assumption that, if you don’t have children, you must not think they are a blessing. Of course, that completely ignores that God has told us we are to exercise liminality with our blessings [Proverbs 25:16-17, 27-28], and the fact that they cannot remain consistent with that position [a large swimming pool is a blessing; therefore it is a Biblical command to have a large swimming pool. Otherwise you don’t view the swimming pool as a blessing, only as an “inconvenience.” Unless of course you want to be arbitrary]. Also, it is odd to see Calvinists like R.C. Sproul Jr. using the argument that it is God who opens and closes the womb, since Calvinists all believe that God can use means such as contraception to close the womb. More than that, God also is the one who holds the keys of death and hell. That must mean that we should not seek to stop the death of a human being since the Lord is the one who gives life and takes away life. Such is utterly absurd reasoning on any rational level.

Also, we need to address this issue of the unanimous consent of the church. Is it the case that, if everyone in church history believes something, then you should accept it? Would R.C. Sproul Jr. accept the notion of baptismal regeneration simply because that was the universal position of the church until the time of Calvin? As I pointed out to Brian Hodge, this is nothing more than warmed over Roman Catholicism. It is trying to make the history of the church the standard, rather than using the scriptures to judge the history of the church. The church fathers had their own influences from their cultures and backgrounds, and they were facing certain theological battles which caused them to take certain positions as well. This also ignores the fact that not everyone who addressed the issue was a competent exegete. For example, in the early church, there was very little knowledge of Hebrew, because Hebrew was viewed as the language of the heretics. And, as time went on, many people would just accept things because this is the way a certain person before them believed. Also, let us not forget that, even at the time of the apostles, they had to write to correct errors that came into people’s thinking while they were still alive. It is amazing to see people abandon Sola Scriptura in order to try to bind an unbiblical tradition to the consciences of God’s people. The guardian of orthodoxy is not the history of the church. It is the scriptures alone!

Furthermore, as Noonan has pointed out in his excellent book on this topic, this was a doctrine that developed over time. Sproul Jr. speaks as though everyone in the church spoke with one voice on this topic. The reality is that the Hebrew Bible doesn’t address it, the New Testament doesn’t address it, and the apostolic fathers are silent on this issue. Christians simply had no notion that contraception was wrong until at least into the second century. It simply was not a concern of the early church.

However, I think the more devastating element of this short little clip from this documentary is what it doesn’t say. Margret Sanger is mentioned as believing in contraception, but no mention is made of Noonan’s point that contraception actually goes back way before Sanger to the Ancient Near East where it is mentioned in ancient Egypt. I don’t think Margret Sanger had anything to do with ancient Egypt. Also, they ignore the other point of Noonan, and that is that the development of anti-contraceptive dogma in the early church actually has its roots in Stoic thought. Obviously, since Paul spoke against the Stoics on Mars Hill, that must mean that folks like Sproul Jr. and Grant and these guys are actually following the lie of the serpent in the garden of Eden. It is amazing what you can come up with when you can simply contradict the culture, and read it back into the text. Add to that the fact that the anti-contraceptive position is a development over time, and what this short clip does not tell you is more problematic than what it does tell you.

As I said before, let’s stop calling things sin that God does not call sin. We just passed the fortieth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. The number of babies that have been slaughtered by a brutal and blatant violation of the sixth commandment is so astounding that, even if people continued using contraception at the current rate, our fertility problems would be solved by simply keeping the babies we have. We do not need to add things to God’s word to solve our problems. We simply need to obey what is there.

Finally, my goal is not to say that not having children does not have its ethical issues. However, not having children, in and of itself, is not sin. The issue is how is a person using that life without children. Is that person using their lives to serve God or themselves? However, the solution is not for them to have children, but for them to start living life to the glory of God. More than that, if one has children because they believe that the mere having of children will save culture as if God is under some obligation to regenerate even the vast majority of your children, then you are engaging in idolatry-putting trust in childbearing rather than trust in God and his word.

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One Response to “Birth Control Film Coming Soon”

  1. thatmom Says:

    Wow, Adam, amazing. While I fully support any couple that chooses to not use birth control in order to welcome any children into their family, many people do not understand the roots of the militant fecundity movement, the abuse of women that is central to it, and the legalism that drives much of it. Keep us posted…..

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