LCMS pastor, Grace Lutheran Church
Pastor Peters: here
There is nothing wrong or evil or bad about sex. No one is saying that. But unhinged from procreation (or its potential), it is unhinged from marriage and, unhinged from marriage, any restriction or law becomes arbitrary and unfair. That is what the Church needs to recognize. We cannot adopt the world’s view of contraception and somehow or other hold on to the Scriptural word against homosexual behavior without becoming the ultimate of hypocrites. So the sins of the heterosexual are justified simply because of who they are and their own sinful behavior becomes acceptable or tolerable while the homosexual are banned only because of whom they desire. Contraception and fornication and gay and lesbian lifestyles and marriage are all tied together. We cannot sort out one mess without also sorting out the other. So it will be time for us Lutherans to rethink our position on contraception or we will be patching together a leaking boat of arguments against gays and lesbians. Whether or not that will happen, I cannot predict. What I can predict is that our position of silence against the full use of contraception will make it more and more untenable to retain the Biblical admonition against those men who lie with men as women and women who lie with women as with men.
… I am not plugging gay marriage but simply saying that we cannot be against gay marriage and silent or tolerant about the contraceptive ideal that underlies the rampant heterosexual cohabitation. They are connected. It is unfair to talk incessantly against gay sex while tolerating straight cohabitation. Underlying this cohabitation debate is how contraception has become the norm for Christian couples also. At some point we Lutherans will have to speak about contraception beyond the normal condemnation of abortion or abortificients. There is nothing here to suggest that I am on the side of normalizing gay marriage and there is no Gospel here for sin that has become normative so I reject the complaint that it is all law. It is all law because the vast majority of Christians no longer see sex outside of marriage wrong or sinful EXCEPT perhaps for gays. That is untenable theologically and morally.
-Opposition to contraception is a catholic position and prior to the 1930s was held by every substantial grouping among Christians including Baptists, Lutherans, Reformed, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. The slide to depravity started in the 1930s with, as is pretty much always the case with such errors, the Anglicans.
– Can a Christian husband and wife use birth-control for family planning? Are there ever financial, medical, psychological, or other reasons that would make a temporary use of birth-control permissible within marriage?
It seems to me that “be fruitful and multiply” might be blessing language and gift language. Eat of any of the trees of the garden. Be fruitful and multiply. Yes, if one were to refuse entirely to eat, that would be a perversion of the gift God gave. Yes, if husband and wife refuse entirely to be fruitful and multiply, that would be a perversion of the gift God has given.
But I am having a hard time reading pre-fall “be fruitful and multiply” in the way of post-fall Law. How many children must I have? How many daily attempts to multiply must I make?
I am told that contraception is strictly forbidden by this Law, be fruitful and multiply, because it means we are no open to the gift of life. So what if my wife and I know that her cycle is such that fertilization is, humanly-speaking, impossible – “must” we or “must” we not? And, again, how much fruit and how much multiplication must we do to fulfill this Law?
Is this really what God had in mind? Or can husband and wife be fruitful and multiply, and yet abstain from time-to-time? Can husband and wife be fruitful and multiply, and yet use “rhythm method” or birth control from time to time?
Are anti-contraception pastors certain they aren’t burdening consciences with loads God never meant them to bear?
Gary: Does Pastor Peters respond to this question? Answer: No!