"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Issue Is Pushing Personal Convictions on All

When Dr. Thomas White spoke in the chapel service of Southwestern Theological Seminary earlier this month, he made several statements that sounded to me as if he believed the Christian's use of any form of birth control was "sin." I wrote a post entitled Personal Opinions Given as Mandates from God where I challenged not Dr. White's personal conviction that birth control is a sin for him (who am I to question a man's conscience), but rather Dr. White's seeming belief that all Southern Baptists should abstain from birth control. Legalism is NOT having personal convictions that exceed the clear teaching of Scripture; legalism is demanding that all others abide by your personal convictions and call those who do not "sinners." Dr. White's comments, which led me to believe he felt all Southern Baptists should follow his personal convictions, included the following (verbatum):

There is an entire industry that is built up on stopping or preventing children. We call it birth control, but we should call it contraception.

When my wife and I were married in 1999, whether it was because of my own selfishness or because of improper information, we were on birth control.

I made the mistake. I’m not standing here telling you anything other than this: I don’t want you to make the mistake.

We need to recognize that children are a blessing from the Lord. I confess to you this morning the reason that I was on - we were on birth control - I didn’t take it, but I was the spiritual leader of my house and it’s my fault that we did; the reason that we did it was my own selfishness. I wanted kids, but I wanted kids in God’s . . . not God’s timing, but my time.

Folks, you are not in control of your destinies, God is! And the sooner that we recognize that we are sinning when we say, “I’m going to control every aspect of my family,” and we’re not giving control to God, we don’t trust Him, we don’t believe that He knows better than we do, we think we know better than God does. And just like I did, some of you are involved in that exact same sin!

Society tells us that children will make a rich man poor, but the Bible tells us that children will make a poor man rich. And that’s the attitude that we need to have. It is the Lord who controls our life. He is God and we are not. He is the one in control, and we are not. If He gives you twelve kids, twelve blessings you have received. If He gives you three kids, three blessings you have received. It is not for us to plan our parenthood, it is for God to be the giver of life.


After I wrote a blog about Dr. White's message, WFAA Television in Dallas sent a copy of my post to Dwight McKissic and asked him to comment. The television reporter, probably desiring sensational ratings, posited that Dr. White believed all birth control was "murder." After the television report aired in the DFW area, Dr. White issued a clarifying statement which said, "I do not believe all birth control is murder."

I called Dr. White after he issued his statement and told him that I never heard him say "all birth control is murder," so his clarification was not helpful to me. I told him that what I heard him say was all birth control is a sin, because children are a blessing from the Lord, and birth control is simply trying to stop God from giving us blessings. So, I point blank asked Dr. White, "Is all birth control a sin?" He said that in some instances, for example the poor health of a wife, birth control would not be a sin. I then followed up by asking "Dr. White, what if a husband and a wife were in perfect health, and they both believed children were a blessing, but they chose to be on birth control, would that then be a sin?" After a pause, he said, "It is a sin for me, but I can't judge another person's heart in the matter."

I then explained that when I heard his message, I heard him communicate a personal conviction (i.e. "birth control is a sin for me") and follow up with a blanket statement that birth control was a sin for everyone else too. My offense with his sermon was not the fact that he said "all birth control is murder" because I never heard him say that, but rather I felt I heard him saying "all birth control is sin for all Southern Baptists." For him to express a personal conviction and then to seemingly make it a mandate from God for all Southern Baptists was my offense - and the title of my post.

By the way, if one wonders why this is an issue to me, all you have to do is look at the policies at the IMB that were pushed by trustees who have the personal conviction that praying in tongues is not of God, and they demanded all other Southern Baptists give obeisance to their personal convictions. Or, just think about those Southern Baptists who have a personal conviction that drinking a glass of wine or a beer is sin, and then force all other Southern Baptists to acquiesce to their personal convictions by passing policies or resolutions that forbid the drinking of an alcoholic beverage. Or, ponder those Southern Baptists that believe that the qualifications of the baptizer is as important as the character of the one being baptized, and then force all Southern Baptists to be baptized in a Southern Baptist "church." Or, think about those Southern Baptists who have the personal conviction that a woman "teaching" or having "authority" over a man is sin, and then force all institutions in the SBC to conform to their personal views, though the BFM is silent on the matter.

If we let Southern Baptists even THINK they have the ability to force their personal convictions on other Southern Baptists then we give up the principle of cooperation in the Southern Baptist Convention. I will, at all times, speak out. There are a few Southern Baptists who do not like the fact I do not hesitate to call our leaders to give an account for what they say, and so they make me the issue. That's fine. I'm more than happy to be the focal point of the anger of some if it prevents the ripping of the fabric of cooperation in the SBC.

Dr. White says that he did not intend to convey that all birth control is sin, though that is his personal view for himself. I accept that Dr. White has a personal conviction that birth control is sin, and I appreciate his acknowledgement that he may have unintentionally communicated in his message that birth control is a sin for all other Southern Baptists as well. I explained that this is precisely what I heard him say, and in my mind this is the problem in the SBC - personal convictions are being given as mandates from God.

Now, if we could only get other Southern Baptists to say that they unintentionally demanded all other Southern Baptists to comply with their personal convictions when they pushed policies and resolutions that exceeded the clear teaching of Scripture and the BFM then we would be a long way down the road in restoring the cooperative nature of the SBC. To whatever extent I misread or misheard Dr. White's remarks, I do sincerely apologize. To whatever extent, if any, my challenge to Dr. White's remarks caused Dr. White to backtrack from a position of holding Southern Baptists responsible to ultimately conform to his personal convictions, I am grateful. Either way, the chapel incident is another example of how all Southern Baptists should be careful about demanding conformity on matters of personal convictions. Our cooperation should be around the essentials of the gospel. Unity in the essentials, freedom in the non-essentials, and charity in all things - that should be our Southern Baptist motto.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

222 comments:

1 – 200 of 222   Newer›   Newest»
Wanda said...

Wade,

Thanks for continuing this dialogue. In your post you included this remark:

"Dr. White says that he did not intend to convey that all birth control is sin, though that is his personal view for himself. He shared with me that he cannot judge another persons heart in the matter."

If Dr. White was not trying to exert influence over impressionable seminary students about birth control in a chapel service, then why was he discussing it in the first place.

It's obvious to me that you have backed Dr. White into a corner, and he's looking for a way out! Thank you for this public forum which enables us to keep each other accountable, especially those who are in influential positions.

Thank God for the internet!!!

Blessings,

Wanda

Jon L. Estes said...

I personally hope this is the end of the story for Dr. White and his statements. I wonder through if the thinking that "all birth control is a sin" is something that some are wanting to make an absolute for SBC doctrine then it will not go away.

I'll mark it up as a chapel service where a professor sharing his heart and convictions got a bit more passionate verbally than he intended.

I'll wait for Dr. Mrs. Dorothy Patterson to weigh in on the subject. I'm sure she is one woman who would be allowed to speak on the subject, to men...

Brent Hobbs said...

Still unconvincing Wade. All preachers could be accused of preaching personal convictions when they discuss any issue not directly addressed in Scripture.

Even if Dr. White had preached that all forms of birth control are sin, so what? People can listen and decide for themselves whether his assertions are warranted form the text. He's not saying to excommunicate church members who use birth control or to make IMB missionaries sign a statement that says they won't use birth control.

The minute he does, then I'm right there with you. But pastors can and must preach the Word AND explain how they see it affecting modern day issues.

Ricky Kirk said...

Will Dr. White now publicly clarify his personal conviction and remove all doubt as to the intent of his chapel message? Will he address a chapel service again and clear up this 'unintentional' misunderstanding?

Wade, I really appreciate your commitment to open, honest dialogue. When I first read this post it struck me as odd because I recently encountered this through Guidestone Insurance.

Long story short, I was told contraceptive procedures were not covered, but if I could the billing code changed to a medical necessity, it would be covered.

When personal convictions become outright sins for everyone we are on dangerous ground.

Thank you for continually bring issues to light and holding others accountable.

NativeVermonter said...

It's unfortunate how quickly a cultural consideration can seemingly become a biblical mandate. Try taking the US flag out of the sanctuary and see what happens. Our church used to meet in an elementary school and one Sunday night I had a hat on and boy you'd think I'd just cut in line at the Ground Round or something!

I realize when someone is preaching, it is possible to get caught up in the moment and maybe a few Thou Shall Not's slip out where the Bible doesn't say Thou Shall Not. However, if we stick to Christ and what He has done for sinners then those future soldiers sitting in chapel will have no doubt as to their mission and what should be the focus of their sermons.

The better sermons tend to be the one's where I don't have to hear the preacher's life story anyway.

Wade Burleson said...

Watching History,

You commented on the wrong post. Keep comments pertinent to the post at hand. Your comment was deleted.

Wanda said...

Jon L. Estes said:
"I personally hope this is the end of the story for Dr. White and his statements."

I agree with Jon! Seminary professors need to preach Christ crucified and stay off these personal topics. They are treading on a slippery slope when they trespass into the private lives of others like Dr. White attempted to do.

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,

You wrote: "Our cooperation should be around the essentials of the gospel. Unity in the essentials, freedom in the non-essentials, and charity in all things - that should be our Southern Baptist motto."

I think that my Grandmother would have stood for this motto. 'Specially that 'charity in all things' part. 'Proud of you Wade', she would have said.

Grandmother fed anyone who came to her kitchen door during and following the Depression Era. She brought them into the kitchen and served them food that she cooked with her own hands. Then, she sat with them and kept them company while they ate. No person who came to be fed was ever sent away. She was a farmer's wife, then, and the farm had prospered. She shared their blessings with many people who had little or nothing. My grandmother, of blessed memory, understood the Gospel and lived it. She would be proud of you. I know this. L's grand daughter

Anonymous said...

This sermon by White has really been a good catalyst for a summary of the events the past few years. You have offered a good summary of the issues and possible answers to those issues.

Good job.

By the way, what is the picture on the post? It appears to be a brochure of some sort. If it's a widely read or a very popular item among SB's, please be forgiving of my ignorance as we don't get that mail / info. way over here. :)

SL1M

Scotte Hodel said...

I think Dr. White should be given some latitude here. Extemporaneous preaching can be an emotional experience in which one strays beyond what they really planned to say. If Dr. White says he didn't intend to leave that impression, then he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

I am pleased to see the discussion being held; dialogue is difficult to maintain, and requires "a gentle answer" and a patient ear. In this election year, those are two items that are often in short supply.

Anonymous said...

I agree personally with Thomas, and Wade I agree with your concern that it was preached from the pulpit at the seminary as sin.

I also FEEL that something isn't right in how this was handled. I won't be able to articulate it, but something doestn't set well with me concerning how this whole thing was handled.

Robert

Joe White... said...

What is truly sad; is that Wade made the call to Dr. White for the facts... AFTER posting his accusation for the world to read, and after a news report ran on public television. For shame... SAD...

I think all of us who have stood and preached, at one time or another, have made a statement of left a subject unclear in the minds of the hearer. Certainly, someone like Dr. White deserves the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, he was held up as a "moral legalist" and an example of "what is wrong with the SBC".

Joe White... said...

Ricky Kirk,

You asked... "Will Dr. White now publicly clarify his personal conviction and remove all doubt as to the intent of his chapel message?"

Here is your answer... http://thomaswhite.wordpress.com/2008/10/23/a-written-clarification-on-birth-control/

Anonymous said...

Joe White,

I may be just a dumb old Southern Baptist layman from Kentucky, but I listened to Dr. White's message online and have two thoughts for you.

(1). There ain't no confusin what he said, Mr. Burleson was downright nice about it, but truth be known, Dr. White was callin every Southern Baptist who used birth control a sinner.

(2). Dr. White is now backtracking on calling everybody else a "sinner," but maintains his own conviction that the use of birth control is a sin.

Thank God for men like Mr. Burleson.

He puts men like you in your place.

Sam

Anonymous said...

Perhaps pressure had been put on Dr. White to say what he did at the chapel service. Pressure tactics are 'in' if people want to keep their jobs and 'leadership' is pro 'full quiver'.

I wonder, if Dr. White really thought he had a chance, then, when light was shone on his words, he opted for some kind of honorable response. The damage, of course, was done: seminary students were exposed to the statements of Dr. White.

Another chapel has been the site of heavy spiritual abuse: the U.S. Air Force Academy. National attention has been focused on the ordeal of many cadets exposed to this abuse.

James Hunt said...

Good job, Wade.

Alan Paul said...

Folks, you are not in control of your destinies, God is! And the sooner that we recognize that we are sinning when we say, “I’m going to control every aspect of my family,” and we’re not giving control to God, we don’t trust Him, we don’t believe that He knows better than we do, we think we know better than God does. And just like I did, some of you are involved in that exact same sin!

This statement could be used in the issue of men and women and their roles in the church. Why not trust God when your wife views her role differently than you do? I bet that's something that will never be uttered out of a SBC fundamentalist.

Also: Shame? Come on Joe, that rarely works if ever.

The "So What?" Brent is not that he is preaching personal views, it's that it becomes policy. That's the "so what." I do agree with your statement you make about people listening and deciding for themselves. I can decide to ignore this type of thing all day long with no problem at all - just not if someone is pushing it as a policy down people's throats.

Robert I Masters said...

Wade,
You said....
Legalism is NOT having personal convictions that exceed the clear teaching of Scripture; legalism is demanding that all others abide by your personal convictions and call those who do not "sinners."

I just finished listening to a sermon that R.C.Sproul preached on legalism and antinomianism. He defines legalism as exactly the way you say it is Not!

The problem with the Pharisees was not in the Law that they obeyed; but the adding to the Law by inserting law.(God vs man)

Christ clearly states that we should hold every thought captive to the Word of Christ. Wouldnt that be contradictory if we held "personal convictions" in opposition to the His Word.

Finally I think this is a good article regarding on obediance in regards to legalism. Part of John Macarthurs response to a pastors question concerning duty

"
How Is Christian Obedience Different from Legalism?

It has become fashionable in some circles to pin the label of legalism on any teaching that stresses obedience to Christ. At the beginning of this chapter I quoted someone who stated that "the whole difference between legalism and true Christianity" is sewn up in the issue of whether we view obedience as a duty.

Biblically, there is no basis for such thinking. The Christian is still obligated to obey God, even though we know our obedience in no sense provides grounds for our justification. That is precisely why our obedience should be motivated primarily by gratitude and love for the Lord. We are free from the threat of eternal condemnation (Rom. 8:1). We are free from the law of sin and death (v. 2), and empowered by God's grace both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). We have every reason to obey joyfully—and no true Christian will ever think of obedience as something optional.

We are not under law, but under grace. Far from being a manifesto for antinomianism or a authorization for licentious behavior, that important truth teaches us that both our justification and our obedience must properly be grounded in Christ and what He has done for us, rather than in ourselves and what we do for God.

The doctrine of justification by faith therefore provides the highest, purest incentive for Christian obedience. As Paul wrote to the Romans, the mercies God displays in our justification provide all the reason we need to yield ourselves to Him as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). Freed from the penalty of the law—loosed from the threat of condemnation for our disobedience—we are thus empowered by grace to surrender to God in a way we were powerless to do as unbelievers. And that is why the Christian life is continually portayed in Scripture as a life of obedience.

Added to the John MacArthur Collection located at:
Bible Bulletin Board
Box 119
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
Our Websites: www.biblebb.com and www.gospelgems.com
Email: tony@biblebb.com
Online since 1986

Wade Burleson said...

Robert I Masters,

I defined legalism in such a manner as to give legalists the benefit of a doubt.

I also can accept Sproul's definition of legalism. But in order to do so I must say people like you and others are not preaching the gospel.

I refuse to be as judgmental as his definition requires.

Blessings,

Wade

Robert I Masters said...

Wade,
I truly dont understand this ....

But in order to do so I must say people like you and others are not preaching the gospel

Please break it down for me.

True legalist should be condemmed...do you not agree?
Dr. White is not one in my mind..you seem to want to make him one.

In Grace
Robert I Masters

Alan Cross said...

Wade,

How can sin be left up to someone's personal opinion? Isn't it either sin or it isn't? Dr. White said, "It is a sin for me, but I can't judge another person's heart in the matter." Sounds pretty relativistic, if you ask me, but this whole debate has been awash in relativism from the beginning.

We cannot judge someone's motives, but we can judge their actions as either sin or not sin. Using the birth control pill is a concrete act. It is either making a womb hostile to a fertilized egg or it is not. Science is clear. How is this even up for debate?

How can a concrete act be sin for some people and not sin for others? Where is this taught in the Bible? Romans 14 deals with matters of conscience in regard to religious acts, not aborting fertilized eggs, so I don't think that you'll find much help there. It seems that we are on a very slippery slope toward relativism with this type of argumentation and cooperation is hardly a goal worthy of abandoning our ability to know truth.

In all of my participation in this debate, I have never maintained that truth is unknowable. I have always maintained that a small group of people without input from the convention should not be allowed to force their view of truth upon the rest of us without proper review. The IMB BoT should not be allowed to go beyond the BF&M and tell everyone what they have to believe on an issue without the Convention being able to approve it. That does not mean that truth is unknowable on issues and that every view should be accepted just because people are sincere about it. If that was the case, then we should abandon believer's baptism altogether because sincere Christians have various views on the issue.

Wade, I am following part of your argument here, but you seem to be heading into territory that is far afield from where we started with this. Truth is not a matter of personal opinion - it is a matter of the revelation of Scripture. Our whole point was that a small group could not put their view on everyone else without their being any ability to agree to it or disagree with it - not that we could not come to consensus about what the Bible says on these matters.

Help me understand where you are headed with this, because I'm not following you right now.

Anonymous said...

One issue that comes to mind in the case of Dr. White is this:

what is the relationship between our reality, our reasoning, and our faith?

For some, faith cancels out all reasoning and reality: a 'leader' can dictate 'what God wants' and the 'follower' dares not disobey the 'leader' for fear of 'offending God'.

For others, God is also the God of the natural world, and gifts of reason are to be used in His service. For these people reason carries us only so far and then God's gift of faith leads us further. And, for this group, reality would always be respectfully considered and factored in before any decision-making of importance.
Not to use God's gifts of one's intellect and ability to function rationally would be considered an insult to God as the Giver of Gifts.

I'm sure that there are other ways to consider this issue. People must, in the end, decide how much of their own freedom to hand over to another 'authority' . Women seem particularly affected by this issue, as wives and mothers; but also, simply, in their own right as human beings gifted by God. L's G

Anonymous said...

RIM,

said, "no true Christian will ever think of obedience as something optional."

God let's us decide for ourselves whether or no to 'obey'. But, then, maybe He doesn't meet YOUR standards.

Anonymous said...

"Wade, I really appreciate your commitment to open, honest dialogue. When I first read this post it struck me as odd because I recently encountered this through Guidestone Insurance.

Long story short, I was told contraceptive procedures were not covered, but if I could the billing code changed to a medical necessity, it would be covered."

This issue came up a while back on the Outpost and someone commented that Guidestone covered Viagra but not birth control.

Lydia

Wade Burleson said...

Alan Cross,

You ask "How can sin be left up to one's personal opinion?"

Simple.

Let's say that oreo cookie ice cream dessert is set in front of you. Because of a vow you made to your wife, your doctor and yourself that you would not eat ice cream because of a heart attack, for you to eat it would be sin.

But, I dig in.

I am arguing that I respect your personal conviction not to eat the oreo cookie ice cream dessert, and that we cooperate together in having a wondeful dinner and fellowship - as long as you don't demand I not eat either.

:)

Hope that helps.

Wade Burleson

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cross, Not all birth control is the pill. Are you saying that all forms of BC are wrong?

Lydia

Robert I Masters said...

anonymous.

"said, "no true Christian will ever think of obedience as something optional."

might want to write J Mac its his quote but i agree with him!

God let's us decide for ourselves whether or no to 'obey'.

Scripture that says that is true?
I hope you dont pray...Lord Jesus Christ
The humanist would love you...ah the ascencion of man!

In Amazing Grace
Robert I Masters

Wanda said...

Alan Cross said:

"Using the birth control pill is a concrete act. It is either making a womb hostile to a fertilized egg or it is not. Science is clear. How is this even up for debate?"

I am not an expert in the medical field, but my understanding of "The Pill" is that it inhibits ovulation. I believe Alan has made a false assertion, but I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cross,

I have absolutely no clue what you are saying. I may be in la la land, but it sounds to me as if you are think anybody who does not see it your way is a sinner.

Alan Cross said...

Wade,

Thanks for engaging. I understand the oreo argument. That follows Paul's instructions to us in Romans 14. I would also apply that to eating food sacrificed to idols and drinking wine. But, opponents of The Pill say that a womb is made hostile to a fertilized egg because of the use of pill. That seems to be an objective situation that falls outside of the realm of "what's right for me" argumentation. Certainly there are things that are sin despite the personal convictions of the one who is engaging in the act.

How do you propose to tell the difference between the two and why is Dr. White not allowed to propose his position on the birth control issue as a defendable fact that applies to all? Certainly, Southern slaveowners believed that owning slaves was within their perogative, yet we all now see this as sin. Abolitionists were considered intolerant and intrusive because they did not accept slaveowners as valid missionaries. They believed in absolute truth and they stuck to it, leading a regional split of Baptists and ultimately the death of 600,000 in the Civil War.

Were the abolitionists wrong to stick to what they believed the Bible said?

I might disagree with Dr. White on his views about family planning, but I would not say his promotion of his views in the SBC is necessarily evidence of legalism. If you take that approach, then it is difficult to know anything objectively. I think that you are on safer ground to dispute him biblically rather than saying that he is not allowed to make the argument because to do so is legalistic.

Alan Cross said...

Lydia, Anonymous, and Wanda,

I am not making my own case here. I am not arguing for or against family planning or the use of some forms of birth control. I am engaging Dr. White's arguments regarding the birth control PILL from a philosophical perspective and am saying that if what he is saying about the PILL is true (and from what I understand from questioning doctors, it is), then it seems that he has the right to make his argument if he believes that human life begins at conception. We should deal with his argument and debate it, not make an impassioned plea that he has no right to make the argument.

IF the birth control PILL in some cases makes the womb hostile for the fertilized egg, and IF you believe that life begins at conception, then to say that it is sin to use the pill and possibly abort a new life is not legalism or a matter of personal opinion. It is a matter of objective truth according to what you believe the Bible to say about the sanctity of human life. We should allow Dr. White to make his case and we should engage that argument on Biblical grounds without crying "legalism" to get him to be quiet.

Dr. White abdicated his position when the heat got turned up and made it a matter of personal conviction. In that, he became relativistic in his argument. He could have easily clarified what he was saying and defended it. It appears that he either got scared because he was having to defend his position outside of the friendly environs of Southwestern's Chapel, or he doesn't really believe what he is saying. Either way, he should not have backed down on what he believes about THE PILL if he really believed it.

Now, on the issue of whether or not other forms of birth control (that do not eliminate fertilized eggs) are sin or not, that is a whole different matter and is very subjective. I do believe that is up to interpretation. Every person who says that they do not believe in any birth control at all (i.e., condoms, eventual vasectomy, etc.), have they ever decided not to have intercourse during times when the wife might be ovulating? If so, isn't that taking matters into their own hands and trying to plan their family?

I think that it is terribly hard to be consistent on some of the more subjective aspects of this matter so you would not want to put your convictions on others. However, if you really believe that THE PILL does what many say that it does, then that is no longer subjective. You are dealing with objective fact and have every right to call it sin or not.

Am I being more clear?

Anonymous said...

"Now, on the issue of whether or not other forms of birth control (that do not eliminate fertilized eggs) are sin or not, that is a whole different matter and is very subjective."

My understanding is that the pill does not eliminate 'fertilized' eggs. There are some comments on the last thread on this topic from some in the medical profession who explained how the pill works. My understanding is that it does not eliminate fertilized eggs but prevents fertilization. Another BC method would do the same thing.

Is this correct? I know that some even asked their doctors about this and reported back to the thread on it.

Lydia

Anonymous said...

A. Cross said "You are dealing with objective fact and have every right to call it sin or not.

Am I being more clear?"

NO. You are long-winded, and your pride gets in the way of your argument. You, yourself, have made a decision to believe something, without checking medical facts. Then you, yourself, have decided to interpret the Bible your way. Then you decide what is sin and what is not sin: for everyone. But NO, you are NOT clear.

Christian women in main-stream denominations don't see anything wrong with birth control and in some cases, even early-term abortions. My sister-in-law is a staunch Methodist who says she has no problem with either one. You won't speak for HER, I can tell you. She would put you in your place very quickly and she HAS the medical knowledge to do it.
Bonnie J.

debbiekaufman said...

Alan: I respect you and your words highly. But I disagree with you here.

You may make it universal in the SBC that adultery is sin. That is clear in scripture,homosexuality is sin, that is clear in scripture, backbiting is sin, that is clear in scripture, but show me in scripture where birth control is sin. There are theologians and yes in the SBC and Baptist realm who would disagree with you. Men and women whose names you would know. Are they sinning? I think it's a huge leap to make birth control a sin for all when scripture never addresses it as far as I can see. I do not believe tying of the tubes or vasectomies are sin either as some would contend. I think it's a decision that is private for a husband and wife.

Joe Alain said...

Great article on the subject. This is another example of why we as preachers must be extremely careful with our language. Too often we speak our personal convictions as definitive applications without differentiating between what is an essential application and what is a convictional application. When Scripture makes a clear parallel application, we are on safe ground to say "thus saith the Lord." However, when our application is extracted way down the hermeneutical ladder, we need to be honest with our people and share that a particular application is not commanded, but perhaps suggested from the text. This of course does not preach well in places where doctrinal exactness and party line platitudes are expected, but it is at least being honest with the text.

If the framers of the revised BFM would have followed a consistent biblical hermeneutic, we would have a much clearer document and one that would unite Baptists rather than serve as a source of ire for the disenfranchised. Unfortunately, the Baptist tent has not just been downsized, it's been taken down stakes and all!

The Christ-like attitude that you call for in your closing statement would solve a lot of problems and misunderstandings among us as Baptist. "Our cooperation should be around the essentials of the gospel. Unity in the essentials, freedom in the non-essentials, and charity in all things - that should be our Southern Baptist motto."

A hearty amen to that!

For His Glory!
Joe Alain

Alan Cross said...

Thanks for that, Lydia. I'll have to check that out. I have received other information on the birth control pill from an OB/GYN. He said that it did, in some cases, make the womb hostile for a fertilized egg. If you believe that life begins at conception, taking a pill that could make your womb hostile to a fertilized egg becomes very problematic, I would think.

Alan Cross said...

Debbie,

I assume that you didn't read my clarification. When I was talking about birth control, I was using it in the same regard that Dr. White was when he was talking about the BIRTH CONTROL PILL. He was not being clear and because I was trying to follow his argument, I was not being clear either. I differentiated between THE PILL and other forms of birth control in subsequent comments. Dr. White applied his argument to ALL forms of birth control. In that, he does not have a defensible position. When it comes to THE PILL, he can make his case, I feel, and it not be considered legalistic.

Overall, I would agree with you that the Bible is not clear about all forms of birth control being a sin. Use of condoms and other types that do not allow the egg to be fertilized have to be seen in a different view than what THE PILL does. My point is that if you believe that THE PILL makes the womb hostile for a fertilized egg, and if you believe that life begins at conception, then it is not being legalistic to say that the use of THE PILL under those circumstances is tantamount to abortion in some cases, which many evangelicals consider sin. You can disagree with Dr. White and dispute his position, but I don't think that you can say that he is being legalistic in regard to his view on THE PILL.

Robert I Masters said...

Bonnie j,
I think that Wade is a Southern Baptist!
I dont think
Wade even supports the direction of the Methodist denomination with its current liberal policies!

BTW-God is pro-life

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cross, here is an article linked to in the other thread that may be of help.

http://www.aaplog.org/decook.htm

It seems the pill prevents fertilization as any barrier method would.

Lydia

Alan Cross said...

Bonnie J. (aka Anonymous),

I apologize for being long winded. I really am just trying to share my perspective on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: I believe that life begins at conception. Any act that intentionally destroys a fertilized egg, an embryo, or a fetus, whether it be in day one or month nine by act of human will or medical science is an abortion from what I understand. I believe that the Bible says that this is wrong. I believe that abortion is the murder of babies and is therefore sin. I will never waver on that view no matter what public opinion holds to be tolerant or what your sister-in-law says.

IF some forms of birth control (i.e., THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL) make the womb hostile to an ALREADY fertilized egg in the cases when fertilization was not prevented, then in those cases that form of birth control performs an abortion, which I believe is a morally repulsive act equal to murder. I believe that the Bible condemns this and therefore, I believe that it is objective sin and is therefore not a matter of personal conviction.

THIS position is entirely different from an overall view on birth control that does not have the potential to destroy a fertilized egg. That form of birth control is not addressed in Scripture, from what I understand, except from the inference that God be allowed to be in control of all things. But, if you follow that reasoning, you should not go to the doctor when you are sick because God is in control, right?

IF I am wrong about what the Birth Control Pill does, then I retract my statement and am happy to leave this in the realm of personal conviction on this issue.

Was that clear enough for you?

Alan Cross said...

Thank you, Lydia. It is the "hostile endometrium" perspective that I was told about from an OB/GYN. Apparently, there is a great deal of confusion on this issue by well informed people, but it is encouraging to read that there is no absolute medical evidence that The Pill creates a hostile womb. Still, it is not something that I would want to take chances with.

Thanks again for providing the article. That is an excellent way to debate Dr. White on this issue instead of just calling him a legalist regarding The Pill. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

With your wife being in the medical field, does she know the facts on the Mirena IUD?

I have read some of these posts saying the IUD is abortive. I have had two IUDs in the past six yrs. I would like to know how your wife views it as a christian woman and with her medical knowledge.

Thanks

Wade Burleson said...

Alan Cross,

Life exists prior to conception. The egg is alive. The sperm is alive.

The soul is what makes a human being a human being, and God alone creates the soul within the body of a man(Zechariah 12:1).

Fair enough that you believe God creates the human soul within the body at the moment of fertilization. So does Dr. White. Other theologians have disagreed, and have argued that it takes place later, sometime around quickening. The truth is, nobody knows when God does what He alone does. So, if we err, we will always wish to err on protecting the fertilized egg.

It is absolutely fine that Dr. White speaks his conviction that any pill or form of birth control that prevents the fertilized egg (the human being) from growing is murder, THAT IS NOT THE ISSUE, Alan. Frankly, I'm surprised you can't see this yet.

The issue is what Dr. White says about FAMILY PLANNING or BIRTH CONTROL. He believes you should "let God be God" and if He gives you 12 kids, count your blessings. In other words, NO BIRTH CONTROL.

His exact words:

He is God and we are not. He is the one in control, and we are not. If He gives you twelve kids, twelve blessings you have received. If He gives you three kids, three blessings you have received. It is not for us to plan our parenthood, it is for God to be the giver of life.

Alan, the issue for me is that Dr. White seems to be telling everyone who uses "birth control" to limit the number of children they have is sinning against God. It's fine for Dr. White to believe it is "sin" - or a "mistake" - for he and his wife to use birth control. I respect his convictions. I would fight to allow him to be free to hold to them and hope he is given thirty kids.

The issue is that he is calling "sinners" those Southern Baptists who don't see this issue the way he does. And that, Alan, is legalism no matter how you slice it.

Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Cross,

Mr. Cross, you come 'a cross' (sorry for pun) as someone who is trying to work this out for yourself and it's not fully baked yet. My advice is to 'bake your cake' and then serve it up in small pieces so that you are more understandable. Keep trying. AND, check your medical facts, particularly if you intend to tell female family members what they 'must' believe. Just remember: those who spend all their time judging others find out that they don't have time to care for them.
B.J.

Alan Cross said...

Wade,

Thanks for the clarification. I am only defending Dr. White's right to call the use of the Birth Control Pill sin because of what it potentially does based on his view of when life begins. I am familiar with your view on this issue. I am not defending the rest of his argument and agree with you in that regard.

I got all of that from the beginning, but it seemed to me that there was a distinction between Dr. White's argument regarding the pill and his view on family planning. He disavowed both as sin and it seemed that both views were considered legalistic by you. My point was that the first view regarding the pill, if it was based on objective fact, was not legalism, even though the second view, regarding family planning could legitimately be considered legalism. It seemed that both views were being lumped into the same argument. You differentiated in your last comment to me, and that is helpful.

Alan Cross said...

Bonnie J.,

I know quite well what I believe about this issue. It seems that you feel the need to protect women from my legalistic, judgmental insensitivity. I'm sure that women the world over are grateful for your intervention. Sarcasm intended.

Just realize, Bonnie, that you don't know beans about me or how I minister to people. You have done the very thing that you accuse me of and it just goes to show that Jesus was right when he said that we are to judge not lest we be judged. Expressing a perspective on the effects of the birth control pill does not a legalist make. It is quite "legalistic" to assume that it does because it differs with your view on the issue. In assuming such, it is quite easy to become the very thing that you despise.

Robert I Masters said...

Wade,
Will you acknowledge that you tend to attract fanatics like Bonnie J. Is that what the future of the SBC should look like ....I will take Dr White anyday.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Thy Peace said...

I am finding out that if I read Pastor Wade's blog post several times, the whole discussion becomes clear to me. If I read it, only once, I miss important clues. Hence, the re-reading.

Here's something Off Topic. Please check this wonderful blog post of Cindy:

Imams and the Evangelical Submission Doctrine Not All That Different

Anonymous said...

Is it unconcionable to care about the health of women who are facing a 'change' in doctrine in a major denomination?
I am hopeful that medical advice will be sought before any husband 'spiritually' rules that his wife is to use no birth control. Some women will not be in physical condition to bear the consequences physically. Some will not be able to handle the situation emotionally.
Responsibility for the protection of the health of a wife and mother should be a pre-eminant value.
If that makes me a fanatic, then I accept the label. BJ

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Extemporaneous preaching can be an emotional experience in which one strays beyond what they really planned to say.

Which brings up an unintended point tied into this whole conversation.

Folks, we are handling the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Word. We need to strive to correctly handle the Word of Truth and when we "shoot from the hip" we risk making grave errors in both judgment as well as technical theological errors that can confuse our listeners.

I am guilty as charged here more than anyone else I know but have been thinking alot about this lately.

In addition, I teach communication where I work. The responsibility for what the listener hears always lies with the person doing the communicating. If Wade misunderstood Dr. White, it is Dr. White's fault, not Wade's.

And I do not know anything about Dr. White and have no team to root for in this discussion. I am just making a point about communication in general.

Alan Cross said...

Bonnie J.,

No one is talking about putting the health of women in danger or forcing women to do something that they do not want to do. You are creating straw man arguments to prove your point, but I assure you that I am defending no such thing. I am simply saying that if the birth control pill causes a fertilized egg to be aborted, it is an immoral act. That does not mean that there are not other forms of birth control that are moral. It seems to me that you are projecting your fears of being controlled onto what I am saying and are assuming that I am trying to take something away from you. One can care about the life of a child and women at the same time, especially when there are alternatives.

If people being against the use of the birth control pill because it might abort a fertilized egg puts the physical or emotional health of women in danger (especially when there are other safer and more valid options), then we really are facing major problems. If you deal with what I am saying and not what you think that I am saying, you might have a different view.

Wanda said...

For those of you who did not read Wade's post on October 20, 2008, about Dr. White's chapel message, I would like to include a previous comment I made regarding the original post.

Here's the title of an article written by Dorothy Patterson that must have made quite an impact on Dr. White:

Convenient Contraception or Challenging Parenthood: Personal Agenda vs. God’s Plan

The link to this article which is posted on Dorothy Patterson's official website is:

www.dorothypatterson.info/Contraception.cfm

I encourage everyone to read it.

Rex Ray said...

Wade and all,
I hope this is on topic. I know nothing on the subject of when human life starts, but I was told by a knowledge person that it took a ‘spark’ to start the heartbeat of a baby.

He said there was nothing chemically, materially, or otherwise that would produce a ‘spark.’ He believed the ‘spark’ was furnished by God, and that was when the baby became alive.

Does that sound crazy?

Anonymous said...

Alan says: "I am simply saying that if the birth control pill causes a fertilized egg to be aborted, it is an immoral act."

An immoral act? Define how it can be immoral to take a pill under prescription of a docto
IN ORDER TO PREVENT CONCEPTION, and commit an immoral act?

Is preventing conception in itself and immoral act? Where exactly do people draw the line? And under what biblical authority do they draw the line in that place?

Anonymous said...

To REX RAY,
Hi Rex, I left an ancient prayer from my faith on the last post as a gift for you. Enjoy. L's Gran

Anonymous said...

Will you acknowledge that you tend to attract fanatics like Bonnie J. Is that what the future of the SBC should look like ....I will take Dr White anyday.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Mon Oct 27, 08:38:00 PM 2008

Right. And your side attracts the Fred Phelps' and Steve Gaines'.

Perhaps you want to burn her at the stake for expressing her opinion that most here would disagree with?

Lydia

Anonymous said...

Is anyone surprised that Viagra is covered by insurance but not birth control pills? Who writes the insurance policies, and what is important to them?

Another angle on this:
There are many people in this world who would not be here if their parents method of birth control had succeeded. Apparently God intended for them to be here. If you don't know that, it's because people don't usually talk about it except to close friends. You don't want it getting back to your children that they were unplanned. Usually not unwanted, just wanted at a different time, like Dr. White wanting to finish his studies before starting a family. So use your intelligence to plan when and how many children to have, and if God changes your plans, so be it.

Remember, in earlier times, one reason people had many children was because a chld was much less likely then than now to survive to adulthood. Does that put a different spin on things?

Susie

Thy Peace said...

"Remember, in earlier times, one reason people had many children was because a chld was much less likely then than now to survive to adulthood. Does that put a different spin on things?"

Also, in the olden days, lot of poor people had LOTS of children, because they could be drafted to work on the farm or their local family business to make more money. It was cheap labor. At least, this is and was true in India. I am certain it was true in old Europe and Americas.

Thy Peace said...

Ah, one more important reason, then people had lots of children.

All these Men would engage each other in Wars and Fighting. You need more children to compensate for this crazy logic.

Robert I Masters said...

Lydia,
Yes I think that abortion is a tanscendent moral evil.
People who support abortion in anyway are evil.
That would include Obama

BTW-Fred Phelps is not a Southern
Baptist. He actually picketed Two Rivers when I attended there.

Steve Gaines is not reformed but he is okay. You seem to share his anti-calvinism...true!


From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Alan Cross said...

Anonymous (I assume BJ) says,

"An immoral act? Define how it can be immoral to take a pill under prescription of a docto
IN ORDER TO PREVENT CONCEPTION, and commit an immoral act?"

I said that if the Pill causes a FERTILIZED EGG (meaning that conception has already taken place) to be aborted, that is an immoral act. If you believe that life begins at conception (as many do), and if you are taking a pill that can make the womb hostile to the fertilized egg, thus aborting that life (as many believe the Birth Control Pill does), then de facto, it is arguable that taking the Birth Control Pill can cause an abortion, which would be considered an immoral act.

This is why many on the Pro-Life side are against the "Morning After Pill" (RU-486)as well as stem cell research on frozen human embryos. It is the same argument. It is just that few understand that the Birth Control Pill can possibly have the same effect (according to research).

Anonymous said...

http://www.aafp.org/afp/990901ap/letters.html

Found this website about IUDs. Found it interesting...

Anonymous said...

"Lydia,
Yes I think that abortion is a tanscendent moral evil.
People who support abortion in anyway are evil.
That would include Obama"

I agree. I said her opinion was wrong. But, I found your logic about Wade attracting such people absent. The reason you do not understand is because you align yourself with men who do NOT ALLOW dissent or opinions from those they do not respect. Wade opens it up to everyone. Now, you want to make a logical fallacy that his openess means his views attract people who believe abortion is ok.

You are not used to this. You are used to censorship and controlling leaders. It is what you have been taught by your mentors.

"BTW-Fred Phelps is not a Southern
Baptist. He actually picketed Two Rivers when I attended there."

Two Rivers as in the pastor who was living high off the hog and refused to show the financials? If so, you have some very bad mentors, friend.

"Steve Gaines is not reformed but he is okay. You seem to share his anti-calvinism...true!"

I believe in DoG. I just don't worship Calvin like you guys do.

But, I am stunned you think it is ok to keep a pedophile minister of prayer on staff at a church! Wow, you are liberal in some areas, aren't you? Guess the Word is not as inerrant when it comes to qualifications for elders and a pastor you like. Selective inerrancy, I guess.

Lydia

Wanda said...

I would like to be clear and concise in explaining how I view this controversial issue.

First, I believe that life begins at conception.

Secondly, I believe the birth control pill prevents ovulation, which would make it virtually impossible for there to be a fertilized egg.

I have stated before that I am not an expert in the field of medicine. I guess I can accept that there may be rare instances where ovulation occurs while taking birth control pills. Actually, I have never heard of this before, and I wonder how often it occurs.

Alan Cross's argument seems to hinge on this remote possibility.

Blessings,

Wanda

Lin said...

"There are many people in this world who would not be here if their parents method of birth control had succeeded. Apparently God intended for them to be here."

LOL! That would be me. I was a diaphram (sp?) baby and quite the surprise since my mom was 39 and my dad 58. But no one was ever more loved by both especially since they finally got a girl :o)

Stephen Pruett said...

Alan, I understand your point and the distinction you are making (it's not legalism if it oppose that which can be objectively demonstrated to be sin). However, I am not sure prevention of implantation of a fertilized egg can be objectively proved to be equivalent to murder. The Bible is silent on the precise moment at which the soul enters the body. I agree that a cautious approach to this question would be to assume that this happens at conception. However, this is an assumption. It is not addressed in scripture. Therefore, I don't think it can be objectively and unambiguously defined as sin. I personally think it is, but I also must admit that my beliefs on this are based on a cautious assumption that may not be correct.

I understand your concern about relativism, and I share it. However, I think some have accused people who admit scripture isn't clear on some issues of being relativists. That simply isn't the case. In fact, I would suggest that people who admit the Bible isn't clear on some issues are demonstrating greater respect for scripture than those who are CERTAIN that they are right about issues about which there are other legitimate interpretations.

Bill said...

I am satisfied that Dr. White does not believe that all birth control is sin. Perhaps more troubling is Richard Land's assertion that SBC couples must not be intentionally childless. In other words, birth control is ok as long as we don't control it right down to zero.

1. Is Richard Land correct about this? Is there some SBC policy or something that says that SBC couples must have children unless infertile (or some other medical condition)?

2. If so, how do you think this squares with scripture?

Wanda said...

Dr. White's chapel message made headlines (Baptist teacher from Southwestern calls birth control pills 'murder') on Wednesday, October 22, 2008, in the DallasNews.com

Here's the link:

http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/10/baptist-teacher-from-southwest.html

This is how a secular journalist interpreted Dr. White's message.

Cindy said...

Alan Cross,

In the previous thread that discussed this, I posted a link where I discussed in great detail (in the comments section) how certain types of oral contraceptives drop ovulation rates from 0.5 to 2 egg releases in over five years, where other pills do not. The other changes that the pill causes (thickening of cervical mucus) actually prevents sperm from reaching any eggs that are released, acting very much like a form of barrier birth control in and of itself. If this was also a hindrance for the implantation of eggs and their progress down to the uterine lining, we would expect to see very high rates of ectopic pregnancies in the population of women who do actually get pregnant when using oral contraceptives. But the statistics are the same. In the rare instance, with a responsible choice of oral contraception, there is a risk of fertilization from between 0 to 2 times in 5 years.

Now, I would not find this so troubling, but the OBGYN field widely accepts the studies that show (that which we know from in vitro/fertility specialty advances) that a woman who is sexually active and uses no birth control at all will have egg fertilization 3 to 4 times per year. And an ideal and optimal uterine lining is not necessary for implantation of a fertilized egg, otherwise there would be no such thing as an ectopic pregnancy. The overwhelming majority of ectopic pregnancies do not survive, though the pregnancy does start, despite implantation into tissue that is not remotely designed for supporting a placenta and baby. Yet these pregnancies take place.

There are also numbers of very pro-life physicians who reject the idea that this certain class of oral contraceptives (with the low incidence of egg release) are abortifacient. The secondary action of the pill, the cervical mucus thickening through a process called "ferning" which is like a thick jungle that the sperm must literally traverse, actually serves like a secondary form of birth control (and does not inhibit egg implantation when breakthrough pregnancy does occur). This secondary effect of ferning that occurs naturally during a woman's cycle is actually one of the indicators that is used for natural family planning, as low ferning comes with higher fertility. The tertiary effect of the diminished uterine lining which does not grow as rich, even on oral contraceptives, is far less hostile than the fallopian tube where most ectopic pregnancies occur == where there is no endometrium and blood supply at all. If God is sovereign over the fallopian tube where an ectopic pregnancy becomes rooted, I think He's also sovereign over the non-optimal (not poisoned but not optimally rich) endometrium. If he wants to open the womb of a woman, no oral contraceptive is going to stop Him. I have many friends, to of whom are responsible nurses, who conceived while taking the pill, both women who lovingly invited their new miracle children into their families. God sovereignly opened their wombs, and one of those women had a physical illness who made her pregnancy difficult (which is why she was on the pill).

IT is implantation that is the tricky thing, and not conception. You could easily argue that the woman who takes the type of oral contraceptive limits her "lost babies" to 0.5 to 2 in five years to the 20 she would likely have during that same period of time had she been sexually active using no oral contraception at all.

PRO-LIFE physicians assn that does NOT believe that the type of birth control which effectively controls ovulation is an abortifacient:

http://www.aaplog.org/collition.htm
http://www.aaplog.org/decook.htm

The types of oral contraceptives that have a 40% breakthrough ovulation rate would certainly pose a different problem, but the pill that effectively inhibits ovulation is considered by these physicians to be ethical and responsible when the other very serious side effects of the pill are worth the risk of use. (The pill is no benign medication. It causes strokes, hypertension, blood clots, liver and gall bladder disorders, and promotes certain cancers. It's not like popping a Tylenol or even a dangerous therapeutic steriod that should be avoided at all other costs. In my first Nurse Practitioner class, I learned that ALL MEDICATIONS ARE POISONS that just happen to have beneficial side effects. This is most certainly true of oral contraceptives, and I think they are grossly overused. But I don't think responsible and wisely chosen ones amount to sin.) Some of these ethicists should do some studying before they make their blanket arguments. Many of the things that Randy Alcorn argues are actually just as much evidence that the pill inhibits conception and is not abortifacient.

I believe that based on these reasons, a person must follow the convictions of their own hearts before God with all sobriety and with the wise advice of a wise physician (the links I posted have a registry, BTW). But they should not be about the business of hanging millstones around other people's necks.

BTW, I am not an OC user, and while taking hormonal agents for a few short months many years ago, I used two other methods concurrently, even though the abortifacient argument is 30 years out of date, because I wanted to be conservative and I didn't want to shake my fist at God. In light of this new research, I may have opted differently back then.

Thy Peace said...

Check this out.

I just found this wonderful post by Pastor Wade:

A Tenacious Bulldog Tussling With a Porcupine

“The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.” Mahatma Gandhi

But, check the last comment about Snopes. I believe the porcupine escaped. The dog is a mess, but ok in the end.

Lin said...

"This is why many on the Pro-Life side are against the "Morning After Pill" (RU-486)as well as stem cell research on frozen human embryos. It is the same argument. It is just that few understand that the Birth Control Pill can possibly have the same effect (according to research)."

Alan, I completely agree about the morning after pill and stem cell research. Both are abominations.

I am not so sure about the pill. Most of the pro lifers I have worked with have studied this in detail and have found that some very bad information was given out about the pill many years ago by some well meaning pro life activists that has stuck in the minds of many Christians. (I won't name names here) As I understand it, the pill prevents fertilization but does not abort a fertilized egg. It is not unheard of for women to get pregnant on the pill.

With that said, I am not a proponet of the pill. I think any 'drug' like that taken over a long period is dangerous and has probably contributed to some of the fertility problems women are experiencing today. But that is my unexpert opinion and I would never suggest that any woman on the pill is in sin for doing so.

BTW: My take on Dr. White's sermon is that he was against any form of preventing pregnancy in marriage. This sent shivers up my spine as I have read articles from Patriarchal groups that advise women not to breast feed so they are sure to get pregnant again right after giving birth. Some can get pregnant even while breast feeding. I have read stories of women who have come out of Patriarchy that were so frazzled after having baby after baby they could hardly cope. They even teach that surgery to remove an etopic pregnancy is murder.

What I do not understand about Dr. Whites view of having lots of children is that having babies is an immutable law. For example, a drug addict can have lots of babies but sometimes a devout follower of Christ cannot have any at all.

What message does Dr. White's sermon send to the devout woman who cannot bear children? The Patriarchs teach that she is being punished for some sin in her life. But why is the druggie not being punished?

I agree with David that those who teach need to be very careful and handle the Word with care. Not adding to it.

In any event, the command of the NC is not 'be fruitful and multiply' but 'go and make disciples'. There is nothing wrong with having tons of kids but it is not a NC command.

Thy Peace said...

How to do Hyper Links:

<a href="http://kerussocharis.blogspot.com/">Grace and Truth to You</a>

Grace and Truth to You

Tom Parker said...

I wonder if Dr. White had an opportunity to preach this sermon again, would he change any part(s) of his sermon?

Cindy said...

To clarify, as when I looked at my previous comment, I did not explain this clearly.

There are many types of oral contraceptives, but they fall into two basic categories. One pill has as high as a 40% breakthrough ovulation rate. Women taking this pill would release 5 eggs per year which might be fertilized.

Another variety of oral contraceptives, by monitoring the ovary using the new advances in instrumentation used by fertility specialists that we did not have 30 years ago when these arguments were developed show that there is only 0.5 to 2 breakthrough releases of an egg over a five year period.


Conception (without implantation, assuming that every egg release results in fertilization):

Woman using no birth control whatsoever:
15 to 20 conceptions with no pregnancy/implantation

Pill with a 40% breakthrough ovulation rate:
25 conceptions with no pregnancy/implantation in 5 years

Pill with <2% breathrough ovulation rate:
0-2 conceptions with no pregnancy/implantation in 5 years


All populations have the exact same rates of ectopic pregnancy (where there is no uterine lining at all but a placenta implants).

You can make an argument either way regarding the more reliable pill which actually results in fewer conceptions without pregnancy than use of no birth control at all.

Yet this has become such an extra-Biblical moral imperative rather than a private matter that women who have not conceived are treated with ridicule and judgement, leaving many feel like they need to wear their medical records around their neck when they go to church so they can pass muster with the pious who hold fecundity and private matters as God's clear and easily discerned law that is easily followed and expressed(when it is none of these things).

Robert I Masters said...

Lydia,
Dr Sutton is not really my mentor but I do respect both his ministry and writings. You shouldnt make stupid comments about that situation at Two Rivers. There are other people who know the facts very well.
BTW-The Baptist Reformation is a must read for all Southern Baptist.

Iam not and never was a member at Bellevue so dont know the truth.I act only on the facts.

BTW 2-Pastors do not make enough money ...generally speaking. That includes Jerry Sutton.

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Cindy said...

Also note that the same conditions that are produced by oral contraceptives occur naturally throughout different phases of the month during a normal cycle. If an egg is fertilized on the day it is released from the ovary and would somehow be able to travel to the uterus, given the normal hormonal cycle (governed by the ovary at this point), that fertilized ovum would not implant because the normal uterus without any oral contraceptive is "hostile" as a result of normal physiology. The ovary has not produced it's high level of progesterone that matures the uterine lining on the day that the egg is released.

I'm troubled because the argument that uses the term "hostile" makes it sound like the uterus is poisoned against the fertilized ovum. I don't believe that this is a fair and true use of the term.

If you have unexpected guests that show up on your doorstep, to you turn them away? No. You invite them in and make changes. The fertilized ovum is very much like these unexpected guests, releasing it's own hormones causing localized changes, the same changes that allow for ectopic pregnancy. The arguments that call the uterus hostile do not in any way account for the localized effects of the pregnancy hormones released by the fertilized egg. Again, if there was no localized effect that could interact with tissues, we would never see ectopic pregnancy. How much more easily will an egg implant in a tissue that was designed for it, a tissue that is not "poisoned" or "hostile" but tissue that is much like a family that has not planned for guests but is very able to make arrangements for the unanticipated.

Is God not sovereign over this? If He has the hairs on my head numbered, surely He is sovereign over these matters as well. My friends who got pregnant on the pill and their babies (one actually now in college!)live to bear testimony.

Benji Ramsaur said...

I wanted to tip my hat to some cool heads that I think have made this comment stream a profitable one.

I'm not saying all of these cool heads totally agree, but at least its not this "I SLAM you!!!!"..."Well, I SLAM you back!!!" tit for tat thing going on between them.

Good job

Grace

Benji

Anonymous said...

David,

"The responsibility for what the listener hears always lies with the person doing the communicating. If Wade misunderstood Dr. White, it is Dr. White's fault, not Wade's."

Always? People misunderstand God's word. You're saying this is God's fault? Surely not. I think the "always" above should be changed to "usually" or "often".

Thanks,
Adam

Cindy said...

Alan Cross wrote: This is why many on the Pro-Life side are against the "Morning After Pill" (RU-486)as well as stem cell research on frozen human embryos. It is the same argument. It is just that few understand that the Birth Control Pill can possibly have the same effect (according to research).

You may have been told this, sir, but it is a very different argument for several reasons.

First, you have confused RU4-86 (Mifepristone)causes abortion when there is a sustained pregnancy. It is actually a very dangerous drug that does cause abortion of a pregnancy when there is effective implantion in the uterus. This is willfull termination of a pregnancy, and it's not very safe and effective, either.

The "Morning After Pill" is a completely different hormonal agent (levonorgestrel) that must be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent implantation of any possible fertilized ovum and is often given to rape vicitms in places like the UK to PREVENT pregnancy. This is aborifacient where I would say, pharmacologically, is completely unlike the regular use of the pill which prevents ovulation as its primary action. The primary action of this agent is to prevent implantation alone. IT IS NOT RU4-86.

The other issue is that you have defined conception as the same thing as pregnancy. That would make every sexually active woman who did not use birth control and did not get pregnant a murderer because women who do not use any birth control at all actually have fertilization about 3-4 times per year. Pregnancy is defined by a successful implantation of a fertilized ovum/placenta and not conception alone. I've been married 18 years, not using oral contraception or much of any other, so that would make me about a murderer by at least 60 times over at this point. Crying out to God like Hannah at times in my life, I don't think this status really applies to me. I wish I had a dollar for every menses I grieved to see arrive. Conception is not the same thing as pregnancy.

So although the "Morning After Pill" is not without it's ethical problems -- a willfull choice to prevent pregnancy after a potential fertilization -- it is most definitely not the same thing as RU4-86 (the willfull choice to end a pregnancy). It would pose an ethical issue that is more like the unreliable oral contraceptives that have a 40% breakthrough rate of ovulation.

And stem cell research involves the willfull use of fertilized ovum that would otherwise become babies if given the right conditions. This is freak experiment stuff to me, tantamount to the sicko medical experiments that the Nazis did on the Jews and other dissidents.

So I think you are honestly innocently mixing apples and oranges based upon faith in what others have taught you to further their arguments, ones that are likely well intended but are not accurate. The real issue that we should be concerned about is rebellion against God's will for our lives. That is serious stuff and none of these issues should be treated with anything other than responsible and sober consideration. So I admire you zeal in contending for these arguments because I believe that they are often made for very good and right reasons. But as someone who as studied these matters from a medical perspective and from a personal perspective in my own desire to best honor and serve God, I think many of these ethical arguments are too generalized. We need to be right and to contend for life and for the truth (as I have done in crisis pregnancy centers as a counselor), but as Christians, we should be honest, accurate and fair in our arguing. The end of treating all life as sacred in honor of the Imago Dei does not justify a means of prescribing rigid moral imperatives to all people or of using faulty medical information or faulty logic.

Cindy said...

One more thing before I cease...

This thought has occurred to me several times over the past several months reading this blog and considering this "Baptist Identity" stuff and push to make non-essential elements of the Christian Faith essential ones. This was a poem that appeared in a book by a guy named Mayer in the '50s, though it has been wrongly attributed to someone named Niemoller:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


It was private prayer language in tongues, then it was women teachers, then it was something else, today it's birth control. If we do not stick to solid, clear and explicit Bible interpretations/sound hermeneutics and follow Augustine's sound advice (unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials and charity in all things), one day, someone's going to come for us.

Alan Cross said...

Cindy, et al,

Thank you for a clear and reasoned response to my objections. As Benji said, this became a very fruitful discussion and was much better than just calling someone a legalist. Your type of writing illustrates the best of the blogosphere and if more of this type of thing went on, I would read and comment more than I presently do. I learned a great deal from what you wrote and I read every bit of it. Perhaps I have been given wrong information. My wife and I researched this issue thoroughly when we were first married and even went to her OB/GYN and questioned him on the issue. We were not necessarily opposed to the Birth Control Pill, but we were against abortion of all forms and would rather have had a child even when we were still in school than to dismiss one life. We were told by our OB/GYN that in some cases the fertilized egg can be caused not to attach to the uterine wall by the work of the Pill.

You present a different side to this and it is one that I will not dismiss out of hand. It bears further investigation and I thank you for that. THIS is exactly how you win these types of arguments if people are willing to listen. Thank you.

As for your last comment about the Baptist Identity crowd and the issue with private prayer language, baptism, etc., I don't expect you to know who I am because I haven't commented much over the past year or so. I was one of the original "Reformers" so to speak and am an old ally of Wade in these battles. I opposed tooth and nail the actions of the IMB BoT and did so with arguments similar in logic to the one that you made here tonight. I just think that Wade picked the wrong fight here by attacking Dr. White's view of what sin is regarding the birth control pill issue. He had a case regarding family planning and legalism overall, but when he included his charge of legalism to include Dr. White's view on the Pill, I believe that he made a mistake.

On that issue, he would have been much better served to make the case that you made and to have left the accusations of legalism out of it. If we are not careful, we can drift into our own form of legalism. Let Dr. White make his charge and then debate him with the truth, not just with namecalling to shut him up. Thinking people will be won over by that form of dialogue.

Thy Peace said...

Cindy:

I am reposting Bob Cleveland comments couple of posts ago:

"Wade,

To paraphrase Martin Niemoeller,

First, they came for the ones who spoke in tongues. I didn't speak up, because I don't do that.

Then, they came for those who hadn't been baptized in an SBC Church (yes I know the real deal). I had been, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the Calvinists. I'm not, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for those who didn't sign the BF&M. I had, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for those who used birth control. We don't, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for me. And there wasn't anybody left to speak up."


Personal Opinions Given as Mandates from God: Bob Cleveland said ...

Thy Peace said...

To Alan Cross:

You said ... "On that issue, he would have been much better served to make the case that you made and to have left the accusations of legalism out of it. If we are not careful, we can drift into our own form of legalism. Let Dr. White make his charge and then debate him with the truth, not just with namecalling to shut him up. Thinking people will be won over by that form of dialogue.

Please read, re-read and re-re-read Pastor Wade's post and his comments to you. You will see the errors in your comments. God bless you, Sir.

Thy Peace said...

Wiki: First they came...

Anonymous said...

Dear Thy Peace,
Here is one version of Niemoeller's poem that I found:

"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

Anonymous said...

First they came for Herschel Hobbs and I did not speak out . . . .

ezekiel said...

Col 2:9 For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature].
Col 2:10 And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].
Col 2:11 In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).
Col 2:12 [Thus you were circumcised when] you were buried with Him in [your] baptism, in which you were also raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God [as displayed] when He raised Him up from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,
Col 2:14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.
Col 2:15 [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].
Col 2:16 Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath.
Col 2:17 Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ.
Col 2:18 Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy and disqualifying you for the prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions [he claims] he has seen, vainly puffed up by his sensuous notions and inflated by his unspiritual thoughts and fleshly conceit,
Col 2:19 And not holding fast to the Head, from Whom the entire body, supplied and knit together by means of its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
Col 2:20 If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world's crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?--such as]
Col 2:21 Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them],
Col 2:22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines. [Isa. 29:13.]
Col 2:23 Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.]

Anonymous said...

Unused embryos produced by in vitro fertilization are frequently destroyed.

Why is there no outcry from the legalists about this?

The in vitro process has enabled many children to be born. But a price was paid. Now, parents can donate their 'unused children' or 'unused embryos' to other childless couples; or embryos can be frozen. Still, many are 'discarded'.

Is the outcry missing, because these unused embryos are a 'less visible' way of disposing of life than an abortion? Less people to blame? Less responsibility?

Seems to me, there might also be the missing factor of 'controlling a woman's choice'? The control thing seems to me a totally different and larger argument to legalists than the ethical arguments of protection of 'life'. L's Gran

Jon L. Estes said...

The pill does not always stop life from being conceived. I was on the pill the first four years of my marriage and God gave us two fine boys. Once I quit taking the pill, my wife never got pregnant again.

If I had sinned less during that first four years my wife may have never gotten pregnant.

Go figure...

Tom Parker said...

I listened to all of Dr. White's sermon. I believe it was very clear what he was trying to get across. He had a very impressionable audience and I believe he saddled them with guilt they did not or do not need.

Anonymous said...

"Dr Sutton is not really my mentor but I do respect both his ministry and writings. You shouldnt make stupid comments about that situation at Two Rivers. There are other people who know the facts very well.
BTW-The Baptist Reformation is a must read for all Southern Baptist."

I guess that depends on which side's facts are really true. :o) The facts presented by your side are quite damning. Sorry. Sutton is a typical autocratic leader using the church as his personal bank. And he got out with a very nice severance package worthy of a CEO.

"Iam not and never was a member at Bellevue so dont know the truth.I act only on the facts."

The victim of pedophilia made the facts known. The pedophile confessed the truth to Gaines who still thought he was qualified to be a minister of prayer.

It is much easier to say we don't really know all the facts but ignore the obvious ones and put our heads in the sand because we don't like them. We could never make judgements about anything in life because we will never have every single fact involved. I will remember that next time you critisize Wade. :o)

"BTW 2-Pastors do not make enough money ...generally speaking. That includes Jerry Sutton."

He made under 48,000 per year when he was there? That is the median income of the average American family. If you dig a bit you will find that many of our pastors are in the top 10% of income earners in the US. Many times that does not even include income from their personal 501c3, book royalties and speaking engagement income.

The fact of the matter is that Sutton was autocratic as many of our pastors are becoming and some were daring to question him about expenditures such as his daughters big wedding, trips paid for by the church. Instead of being open and allowing those paying him to see the budget, he led a charge to oust those that dared question him. Real Christ-like behavior.

I only say all this to you, Robert, because you come on here critisizing Wade all the time and try to impugne his character. All the while, you excuse the behavior of some very shady characters.

You have selective inerrancy and are quite liberal with the scriptures when it comes to protecting some very shady men.

Lydia

Rex Ray said...

Cindy,
I’d like to throw in a few things to consider on how ‘legalistic fundamentalist rule’ has made ‘their thinking’ a demand for everyone else.
(One definition of ‘conservative’ is “resistance to change” and claiming themselves as ‘conservatives’ is a laugh.)

Just as early Christians named those that were NOT “one of us” the hated name of Anabaptists, the C/R people named NOT “one of us” the slanders names of Liberal, Moderate; and referenced them as barnacles, parasites, skunks, snakes, and ungodly.

When the C/R took over, they changed all the names of Baptist organizations (example: Foreign Mission Board to IMB) except women would not let them change WMU. (Hurray for them.) The C/R feeling of control and power was shown in their decree that all Southern Baptist would boycott Disneyland.

They asked missionaries to “follow God-appointed leaders regardless of agreement or understanding.” (Example: a supervisor told a missionary couple, “I’ll pray tonight and tomorrow I’ll tell you what God’s will is for your life.” Baptist Standard 10-22-01)

The worst decree that caused the most harm was changing missionaries to employees and firing those that would not sign their creed of women submitting and preventing them from being called by God in a certain category.

Rex Ray said...

L’s Gran,
Yes, I read your nice poem, and I liked the one by Cindy. I’d like to give one of my own.

SOLDIERS DOWN
By Ann Rinker and Rex Ray 2-2-04

Please, SBC leaders, don’t reject BWA
We’ve loved 99 years. Will you now abscond?
47,000,000 Baptist hearts that lift up Jesus.
Will they become wounded soldiers down?

Persecution from enemies, yes,
But from our own astounds!
You said BWA had drifted left.
Innocent soldiers down.

You accused them of downplaying Jesus;
No evidence could be found.
Your untruth against BWA exposed you.
Should you yourselves be down?

You screamed, “Liberal”, but one falsely accused
Yelled in your ear, so bound,
“Repent and turn from your wicked ways!”
One soldier still not down.

Christ warned, “Teaching as doctrines the commands of men.”
Does His concern, so profound,
Expose “BF&M is our doctrinal guideline”,
Demanding unsigned soldiers down?

You claim your interpretation is God.
Your BF&M is renown.
Others must bow to this decree or become
Condemned soldiers down.

Your name “conservatives” is only a camouflage.
Your creed a mandatory crown!
Anyone questioning fundamentalists is labeled
Despised Moderate soldiers down.

Please, Lord, unite our hearts to lift up Jesus.
This prayer should resound.
“Fire unsigned missionaries!” makes Jesus cry,
Betrayed soldiers down.

You’re only content when you dominate.
You say you don’t want to hound.
But when God speaks to some a different way,
More loyal soldiers down.

You agree with Muslims: “No women over men!”
Though their witness has abound.
Christian women who answered God’s call
Became women soldiers down.

Sorry, BWA, our leaders plan to leave.
You see why moderates frown.
Pray for leaders without a paper-god
Or you’ll join soldiers down.

“It’s only politics…Not my concern.”
This fable has been around.
Awake, dear brother, or you’ll become
Another soldier down.

When I handed this poem out at the 2004 SBC, I was sweating so much a nurse became concerned I was having a heart attack. Ha She didn’t know I was concerned about being ‘booted out’.

Wanda said...

Tom Parker said...
"I listened to all of Dr. White's sermon. I believe it was very clear what he was trying to get across. He had a very impressionable audience and I believe he saddled them with guilt they did not or do not need."

Tom Parker's comment bears repeating because he is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! I listened to Dr. White's sermon as well, and what Tom said is exactly what happened.

It's shameful that an authoritative figure at SWBTS would attempt to indoctrinate seminary students with unsubstantiated claims.

Anonymous said...

Many comments over various nuances within this thread, but please allow me to insert these. When God's Word says" Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward....Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them" There is no way to read this such that it has a negative implication.
However, our society has placed such constraints on having children more than the 1.8 or 2.1 or whatever the average is. Society says that it is abnormal, and we will have a food crisis if we don't limit our reproduction. There is no food supply shortage....modern agriculture produces well in excess of what is needed to feed the population of the world, but the evilness of men prevents it's distribution(i.e warlords, drug cartels, etc). Neither is there a shortage of land on which to live. Look at these stats..

If you allotted 1250 square feet to each person, all the people in the world would fit into the state of Texas. Try the math yourself: 7,438,152,268,800 square feet in Texas, divided by the world population of 5,860,000,000, equals 1269 square feet per person. The population density of this giant city would be about 21,000 -- somewhat more than San Francisco and less than the Bronx.
.
Another fact: World population growth is rapidly declining. United Nations figures show that the 79 countries that comprise 40% of the world's population now have fertility rates too low to prevent population decline. The rate in Asia fell from 2.4 in 1965-70 to 1.5 in 1990-95. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the rate fell from 2.75 in 1960-65 to 1.70 in 1990-95. In Europe, the rate fell to 0.16 -- that is, effectively zero -- in 1990-95.And the annual rate of change in world population fell from 2% in 1965-70 to less than 1.5% in 1990-95.
.
Worldwide, the number of children the typical woman had during her lifetime (total fertility) fell from 5 in 1950-55 to less than 3 in 1990-95. (The number necessary just to "replace" the current generation is 2.1.) In the more developed regions, total fertility fell from 2.77 to 1.68 over the same period. In the less developed regions it fell from more than 6 to 3.3. Total fertility in Mexico was 3.1 in 1990-95. In Spain it stood at 1.3, and in Italy, it was 1.2.


For Christians, it boils down to a faith issue. Do I believe God that children are a blessing? If so, I will not risk using the pill because it does potentially abort a fertilized egg(see Physicians Desk Reference). Why would a Christian desire to abort a blessing? I do not believe that any informed Christian who has studied the methods by which the birth control pill functions can Biblically continue its use. Other methods of contraception(not abortive) still face the same faith issues as to whether children are a blessing as God has said. Is there a reason that the birth rate has dropped from 4-5 children per family less than a hundred years ago to around 2 today? Some may pragmatically say that we don't need the agricultural help like our grandparents did, but I would also say that we have less faith in God for His provision for our family. After all, isn't one of the reasons often cited " I can't afford more children?" If children are a blessing, don't you think God will see fit to provide for His blessings:-)
Makle no mistake....having children is a faith issue....we either trust God or we doubt Him. God does not place a numeric qualification on children(i.e 2 children are a blessing but anything in excess is a curse!)However, our society has implicitly taught us this fallacy and many Christians have bought it hook, line, sinker, and cane pole. Many have already made their minds uop on this issue, but for those still open, please consider this.....Kevin Apperson, Las Vegas

John Fariss said...

FINALLY:

"Thy peace" made the one salient comment that this discussion has been lacking. He noted that there is a connection between "children as blessings" and free farm labor. And yes, Thy, I assure you that was the case in America as much as in India or anywhere else. In agarian societies, more children typically make a farm more propsperious (especially in labor-intensive farming situations, i.e., those where mechanical assistance is lacking) because they provide additional labor. That is not only true, I would go so far as to suggest that it the unspoken presupposition behind the Biblical pronouncement that children are a blessing.

Now: least somneone read this and make the logical leap that I am saying children are not a blessing--please don't put words in my mouth. I say nothing of the sort. I love my two dearly, and they are a blessing. And had we had more, I believe I would love them just as much, even if from the poorhouse. But in today's society, I cannot imagine how having more, especially several more, would have been the same blessing that it would have been for my farmer-grandparents or most of those in Biblical times. What I am saying is that to decline to use methods for birth control on "Biblical grounds" without a consideration of the context of Bible passages (which includes presuppositions) is poor exegesis. It lends itself to isogesis (please pardon my mis-spellings), and that creates some "real" monsters for Christians to deal with, not tomention it creates issues which then become barriors to spreading the Gospel.

John Fariss

Wade Burleson said...

Alan Cross,

I would encourage you to read Stephen Pruett's comment above. Rather than have you search it, I have copied and reproduced the sentences helpful for our conversation:

I think some have accused people who admit scripture isn't clear on some issues of being relativists. That simply isn't the case. In fact, I would suggest that people who admit the Bible isn't clear on some issues are demonstrating greater respect for scripture than those who are CERTAIN that they are right about issues about which there are other legitimate interpretations.

It seems to me Alan, and I could be wrong, that you lose much of the punch of your argument that calling people "legalists" is not helpful when you call people who disagree "relativists."

Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

To REX RAY:

Good morning, it's me, L's G
Your poem is TERRIFIC.
I don't know how you got away with it, but it sure took a lot of courage to do what you did. You are one of the 'good guys'. Proud of you! Thanks for sharing this with all of us. :)

You wrote:
"When I handed this poem out at the 2004 SBC, I was sweating so much a nurse became concerned I was having a heart attack. Ha She didn’t know I was concerned about being ‘booted out’."

You might have had a lot of adrenaline pumping into your bloodstream. I think it was more like a sign of the hyper-presence of the Holy Spirit giving you courage big-time. May He so bless others to 'stand up' and support what is right and just for the sake of the Church. I'm impressed. :) L's

P.S. That poem, 'Be Thou My Vision" is over 1200 years old and was written by Irish monks in the Celtic language. The prayer/poem represents the core of my faith tradition. And, I suspect,
'Be Thou My Vision' resonates with the core of the faith of many Protestants also. Although, I do not know this, for sure. L's

Anonymous said...

To STEPHEN PRUETT

You wrote: " The Bible is silent on the precise moment at which the soul enters the body. I agree that a cautious approach to this question would be to assume that this happens at conception. However, this is an assumption. It is not addressed in scripture. : "

This is, to me, the most logical and humble and realistic viewpoint I have read yet. The controversy over the 'beginnings of life' is very old and continues today, EVEN IN THE CONTEXT OF ALL THAT IS KNOWN MEDICALLY AND SCIENTIFICALLY TODAY.

That word 'assumption' is very important. Otherwise, one is choosing to speak in the place of God and we are unable to know the mind of God.
And that is way 'above our pay-grade'.
Sir, you display a humility before the Lord that is commendable and one of the true signs of a Christian gentleman.
L's Gran

John Moeller said...

Wade et al,
An IUD destroys the egg, fertilized or not. The pill prevents ovulation. All other “non-morning-after” contraceptives’ either keep the egg and sperm separated or actively kills the sperm. Tubligations and vasectomies literally cut the path off. And lastly, the rhythm method may work when you have no mature eggs.

I will ask the difficult questions; I think it is easy to say that the IUD shouldn’t be a choice for a Christian based on the Bible. But, Biblically speaking, including verses, explain to me what makes the other options wrong or a sin in God’s eyes? Not opinion, verses,………

Anonymous said...

CHANGE IS COMING?

So it follow: 'life begins at conception' is our assumption, not clearly evident in Scripture.

Therefore, judgment of others on the issue is making our own assumptions God' word: I don't know what you call this but 'it ain't good to do it'.

Therefore, we can stop judging others who disagree with our assumptions.
And this definitely leads to a healthier dialogue, where people can then begin to work on the REALITY of why there are so many abortions and HOW we can make this natural world a more welcoming place to bring new life into.
That's a lot of REAL WORK ahead.
Not just talk and judgment and walking away.

What's best: talk and judgment and NO HELP for young pregnant mothers ("that's SOCIALISM, don't raise MY taxes! ")

OR to get to work and REALLY cut down on the numbers of abortions? ("We ARE our sisters' keepers")

I opt for the latter choice and I think most Americans do also. I think perhaps we shall soon see.
L's

Wanda said...

Kevin Apperson said:
"Make no mistake....having children is a faith issue....we either trust God or we doubt Him."

This is a perfect example of legalism. It is extremely harmful to the body of Christ!

Kevin,

You and your wife can have as many children as your hearts desire, and may God bless your family richly. However, no one can mandate how many children other couples should have because it cannot be found in Scripture.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,
You are still a young man.
IF, you volunteer in the inner city and see the tragic results of lack of responsibility in reproductive matters;

and, IF you volunteer to help families with severely handicapped children to have some respite time, even to be able to go to church;

and IF, you live long enough, and God wills to help you see what we older people know,

then, just maybe, you will be seasoned enough not to sit in judgment for others.

Life is a great teacher. The lessons are sometimes painful. The most important lessons can be absolutely excruciating crucibles. I hope you get all this figured out soon, without the pain it has taken for many of us. L's

Anonymous said...

Dear Wanda,
You say legalism...I say Biblicism.
If one chooses to dispute God's Word which clearly teaches the blessing of children, his/her argument is with God, not with me. I am merely trying to align my view/lifestyle with what God teaches concerning children and His gift of them to us. If one disputes the descriptor of "blessing" which God uses, then we get into a mere pragmatic/worldy basis for decison-making in this area into which I believe many have fallen...Kevin

Elisabeth said...

Dr. White still says on his blog that the third function of most birth control pills prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium, therefore causing an early abortion, and is, therefore murder. The science behind that for the most common birth control pills used seems to be shaky to non existant.

Robert I Masters said...

Lydia,
The People spoke by voting for that severance package. The People spoke by kicking out those 70+ people out of membership. You missed a great wedding...but then the members are allowed to pay for anything they want ...right.

BTW-It makes sense you would not like that marriage.Marriage is subjugation right!

BTW2--I think the Bible has something to say about not taking other believers to court.


From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Anonymous said...

Dear L's Gran,
Respectfully I submit......
Certainly there is a Biblical context for which God prescribes children, and it is always within the confines of marriage. I teach teens every week who come from a single parent home...who do not know their fathers...whose mothers are on drugs. You probably cannot come up with a situation with which I have not dealt in the last 5 years concerning the fractured nature of the family. Yes....when sin enters the equation, destruction soon follows. God's best will not occur in any family as long as there is unrepentant sin.
Your reasoning in applying these scenarios to Christians using birth control is somewhat of a dis-connect. We should never try to use our personal experience to determine the validity of Scripture, but rather use Scripture to measure our personal experience. I do not see the vagueness or ambiguity that so many seem to struggle with concerning God's gift of children. He says they are an unqualified blessing.
Does God promote fornication or adultery or rape which may give cause to a new life? No. That is another discussion if we want to get into the context of children being a blessing within the lives of unbelievers.....Kevin

Anonymous said...

"The People spoke by voting for that severance package. The People spoke by kicking out those 70+ people out of membership. You missed a great wedding...but then the members are allowed to pay for anything they want ...right."

Strange, the news stories and dissent websites said that the pastor 'retired' (with a nice big severance package) and that a member ended up paying the church back for the big wedding expenses. (Nice to have rich friends) Seems not all members wanted to pay for his daughters big wedding. But then, they should not have a voice as being only members and all. And, of course, we should only believe those who support the celebrity pastors.

"BTW-It makes sense you would not like that marriage.Marriage is subjugation right!"

That is an illogical leap. They don't teach logic anymore, do they? What does not thinking the church should pay for the pastors daughters big wedding have to do with not liking marriage?

"BTW2--I think the Bible has something to say about not taking other believers to court."

Key word being 'believers'.

Lydia

Wanda said...

Kevin said:
"You say legalism...I say Biblicism."

Therein lies the problem. I have given you permission to have as many children as you so desire, but you would impose your quiverfull view on others, including me.

If we want to discuss Biblicism, then I assume you imbibe wine whenever you have stomach ailments. After all, Paul's recommendation in 1 Timothy 5:23 (NASB) is as follows:

"No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments."

Personally, I do not follow the Apostle Paul's recommendation, but since you are so "Biblical", I assume that you would not have a problem with someone who does. After all, it's in the Bible!

Robert I Masters said...

Lydia,
I think I understand your problem...you believe the media. You should really seek out the truth from all sides. I was at the meeting at ravenswoood country club which was a dissent group!
I also know the deacon who made the motion to expel the 70 + members.
In the end I think the people who took it to court were more in the wrong. As they were in Sheri Kloudas case.
I believe that is an absolute prohibition.

Talk about judgementalism...sounds like you were saying that people Jerry Sutton are not Christians.
Matt 7 would apply here.

From the Southern baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

Anonymous said...

Hi Wanda,
It is not my intention to impose my view on anyone. It IS my intention to accurately reflect what Scripture states. No one needs my permission to have a child, or not have one. However, as a Christian, when I hear wrong teaching on a subject, I feel an imperative to Biblically address that subject. If one does not believe God's Word that children are an unqualified blessing, and that "happy is the man who has his quiver full of them", then I have no further argument.
As far as the wine issue, Timothy was an abstentionist, it seems, as am I. If wine were the only medicinal cure that could help me with a stomach ailment, I probably would not have an issue with imbibing it for such use. However, with the advent of Pepto, Rolaids, Tums, antibiotics, etc, there is no need for me to use that option....Respectfully, Kevin

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Robert, but Sutton's tyrannical leadership was wrong. Members (even if a vocal few) have a right to see the budget and know how money is being spent. He was milking the church and some did not like it. Saying we cannot believe anything we read about this case is clever and a great way to try and mask it, saying you can only believe the one who was milking the church! Sure.



Lydia

Anonymous said...

"Talk about judgementalism...sounds like you were saying that people Jerry Sutton are not Christians.
Matt 7 would apply here."


Go up a few chapters and read Matthew 5. That is what our 'servants' should look like.

Lydia

Elisabeth said...

Some research on this subject has stated that if "breakthrough ovulation" does happen to occur when a woman is on the combo pills, which is the most common ones, the resulting surge of the woman's own hormones will be enough to make the endometrium thicker, in order to support a growing baby.

debbiekaufman said...

Ortho Tri-Cylene LO, does not allow the egg to be released to be fertilized.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kevin,

You wrote, "Your reasoning in applying these scenarios to Christians using birth control is somewhat of a dis-connect"

I cannot see a disconnect because in my faith, there is no 'we' and 'they' in the Body of Christ.
I cannot assume that these suffering people are not my brothers and sisters in the Lord.
If I do, then I may not recognize Him in them and I must see Christ in them, if I am to feel committed to their care for His sake.

We just may see things differently, as far as who belongs to Him and who 'on the outside'. I do know He goes after the lost ones. :) L's

Jon L. Estes said...

Robert.

The subject at hand is not 2 Rivers or her decisions, please try and speak about what this blog entry discusses. For the sake of the rest of us who want to read about the subject at hand.

Thanks in advance

Robert I Masters said...

Lydia,
Were you a member at Two Rivers?

BTW-I know that the marriage comment was illogical but you have been illogical at times too.

I think calling the leadership or even Dr Sutton; not a believer is over the top.
Even Wade does not do such things..and he is a fairly radical man !!!! notice humor here!

In Grace
Robert I Masters

Tom Parker said...

Robert Masters:

In your opinion what should Dr. Klouda have done in her situation?

Tom Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dear L's Gran,
My point in saying that there was a dis-connect is this:
1) Those who profess to have trusted Christ as Savior and Lord acknowlege that His Word is our guide in doctrine & practice.
2) Non-believers do not acnowledge this authority within their lives, and hence, live according to the dictates of their own hearts.

I believed this discussion to be concerning what Christians believed the Bible to say concerning the birth control pill and other contraception. Non-believers do not really care what the Bible says since they are unwilling to yield to the authority of Jesus Christ.

I too believe that God pursues the lost, but that truth is unrelated as to whether a Christian takes God at His Word concerning the blessing of children....Sincerely, Kevin

Benji Ramsaur said...

This conversaton [plus others] is tempting me to become a one string banjo player.

I stand upon my rooftop and whisper h e r m e n e u t i c s...

How does one come to a "quiverfull" or "not necessarily quiverfull" position in the first place?

Is it because someone believes we can derive ethics from the OT without looking at it through the lens of the NT?

Is it because someone has a "buffet bar" approach to the OT that allows them to pick and choose which ethics they will partake of and which they will leave off their plate?

And what about law?

Which law?

Law of Moses and/or Law of Christ?

Do the biblical writers take a hatchet and start hacking law up into "lists" or is law supposed to be taken as a whole?

Would it not be more profitable to go underneath the surface to look at the root cause of why we interpret the Bible the way we do instead of merely looking at the symptoms?

I guess there are other options out there.

We could say "I believe in the priesthood of the believer" and thus imply we can interpret the Bible any way we want.

We could overstate our case and say "Baptists have always been confessional" and thus jump straight from inerrancy right to an authoritative creed and thus "bypass" a conversation on hermeneutics. Who cares about teaching Baptists how to think? We gotta have some order.

We could roll out our degrees or roll out those that have them and attempt to, ahem, "prove" our points through elitism.

We could roll out all of the historic Baptist confessions/giants in order to make those we disagree with cower [like that possim did against the fence to my dog Buster the other night].

We could just be traditionalists [whatever is past is right]. We could just be modernists [whatever is new is right].

We could call each other names.

We could always resort to charging bad motive(s) to another when we can't prove our position.

I understand a conversation on hermeneutics can be an uncomfortable one.

Many people might not even be aware that they have one. Is it good/bad/mixed?

If I lay my hermeneutic out on the table, then folk can hold my feet to the fire to be consistent with that hermeneutic. I might have to jettison some long held belief. I might end up being in disagreement with the BF&M 2000 Pentecostal teaching that the Holy Spirit baptizes. I might lose my employment.

I'm quivering...

Anonymous said...

Mr Ramsaur,
Is there a NT passage that replaces/abrogates/changes/or otherwise negate the OT Psalm which clearly teaches the blessing of children?
I am all-embracing of the NT, but have not yet come upon anything that replaces this Biblical truth concerning children. As such, my hermeneutic is to hold to this plain, un-ambiguous teaching....Respectfully, kevin

Anonymous said...

"Lydia,
Were you a member at Two Rivers?"


Robert, Were you on the IMB?


I do not believe we can ignore fruit which in many cases is very bad behavior which is consistent and unrepentant. Serious business. I do not believe celebrity pastors get a pass on scriptural commands.

I will give you the last word...from 'Geneva'.

Bill said...

The scripture plainly teaches that children are a blessing. What it does not plainly teach is that because something is a blessing then it is required that we pursue it. A good spouse is a blessing, yet we are not commanded to marry. Good food is a blessing yet we are not commanded to gorge. Wine is called a blessing and yet we are free to abstain or partake in moderation. Crops and livestock are extremely common examples of God's blessings, and yet we are not all gardeners and farmers.

Also, does anyone else have a problem with a bunch of men telling women that they have to bear children, and (for some) do it a lot?

Robert I Masters said...

Jon L Estes,
You might want to direct your comments to the one who started the Two Rivers comment.She goes by the name Lydia.

Also you might want to direct a similar comment to Thy Peace

In Grace
Robert I Masters

Lin said...

"Is there a NT passage that replaces/abrogates/changes/or otherwise negate the OT Psalm which clearly teaches the blessing of children? "

I am not sure 'replaces' would be the right word but the focus of the NT is different.

In the OC, the command was to be fruitful and mulitiply. The NC is to go and make disciples.

We do see Paul saying that choosing to remain single to serve Christ is an excellent way. How could he say that if we are commanded to have lots of children?

We just do not see the quiverfull focus in the NT we see in the Old. Children are still a blessing but I am not really sure what your point is. Are you saying that in order to be Holy and follow scripture commands all married couples should never use any method to keep from having successive children? We should all strive to be like the Duggers? ;o)

"Is it because someone has a "buffet bar" approach to the OT that allows them to pick and choose which ethics they will partake of and which they will leave off their plate?

And what about law?

Which law?

Law of Moses and/or Law of Christ?"

I agree with Mr Ramsuer here. It can get very confusing. Which laws do I bring over...the ceremonial laws?

The bottom line is that children are a blessing whether we have 1 (that took me 7 years to have) or the 10 as my friend Corrie has. Yet, she rejoices with me over my 1 that I waited so long for. And I see her as blessed for her 10.

Blessings to you.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Kevin: Multiple wives were also allowed in scripture(OT along with the quiverful), so is that acceptable?

I believe children are a blessing, but I would be foolish to take on more than I can handle. Six or ten children are more than I can handle and take care of them properly. Not everyone is alike. And it has nothing to do with "wanting cable tv" which some have asserted. It does have to do with feeding them properly, caring for them, buying them clothing, money for school items, etc. Things I don't think they had to deal with when the Bible was written. God does let us use common sense. For each person the decision is different. For us, three was enough, along with three step children.

Anonymous said...

Bill,
So you are saying that you believe that children are a blessing, but you only want a small blessing??
That certainly sounds as if you do not really believe that they are a blessing.
I want as much blessing as God will give me in regards to health, finances, friendships, long life, and other such things that God describes as blessings. To say that I desire to have only a minimal blessing in an area is to really show that I don't trust that it a blessing.
BTW, this again is a faith issue that has to be understood by both spouses within a marriage...and yes, we have a choice to disbelieve this truth taught by Scripture. However,Things always seem to go better when I trust Him and what He has said....Respectfully, Kevin

Benji Ramsaur said...

Kevin,

Is the law of Christ sufficient or not?

Just think about it.


Grace

Benji [blessed father of 3]

Wade Burleson said...

Debbie,

I look forward to Kevin's answer to your question.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Masters,

I agree that God is pro life. Do you think Jesus would approve of the death penalty? I believe that God is pro life "all the way."
Florence in KY

Tom Parker said...

bill:

You said--"Also, does anyone else have a problem with a bunch of men telling women that they have to bear children, and (for some) do it a lot?"

Bill, I join you in that I do have a problem with a bunch of men telling women about child bearing and then saying the Bible says so.

I just do not see the Bible saying what some are saying it says.

Karen in OK said...

I am grateful for both Alan's and Cindy's comments here. They have been very useful.

But I have a question, Cindy. Re: the two articles you cited, you said that they do not take the position that BCPs are abortifacient. What I got out of the first article is that those authors DO, and that the authors of the second article DON'T. What did you see specifically in the first article? I am confused.

Anonymous said...

Debbie,
The difference in your illustration of a plurality of wives versus a plurality of children is that no where is polygamy endorsed as being a blessing. In fact, if we look at the biblical record, there were always troubles and hardships that followed/went along with these polygamous relationships.
My view is that if God opens the womb and closes the womb(another clear teaching within Scripture), then He will provide everything that a parent and child needs, with no exception. I don't have to plan what I/my wife can handle, I just trust that He will provide everything(wisdom, finances, etc) we need.....Again, a faith issue....Sincerely, Kevin

Benji Ramsaur said...

Debbie,

I know you addressed this to Kevin and I do not want to presume to answer your statement the way he might.

However, let me tell you how I think some might respond to you.

They might say "people should trust God with how many children He chooses to give you--even if you don't think you can financially handle it. After all, God will provide all that you need to care for the children He has given you. You must walk by faith and not by sight."

Therefore, I don't think your statement clenches the argument in your favor.

I think it has to come back to the theological issue of "law" in order to be settled.

Grace

Benji

Robert I Masters said...

Florence in Ky,
No I believe in Capital Punishment.
Generally Protestants have been that way. Your position would be the Roman Catholic position. Some pacifist hold that position also but Iam neither!

In Grace
Robert I Masters

Anonymous said...

This is from Dr. Whites statement clarifying his comments:

"I don’t speak for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on this matter but my view is consistent with the confessional statement of the institution. The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 article 15 titled “The Christian and the Social Order” states, “We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.”

Did I read this right? Is he adding "birth control" in general or the pill specifically to the interpretation of the BF&M?

If you have not read that statement read it and see what he says about BC pills. He claims they are aborting fertilized eggs.

Lydia

Anonymous said...

Benji,
If you could be more specific in regards to your "law of Christ" application in regards to this particular discussion, I would appreciate it. However, duties require that I exit this discussion for the time being.
I appreciate the civil nature of this discussion, though there is disagreement. Respectfully, kevin

Lin said...

"I think it has to come back to the theological issue of "law" in order to be settled. "

I agree with this view. We do not see the focus on quiverfull in the NT as we see in Theocratic Israel.


Listen to Jesus in Luke 11 responding to a typical Jewish blessing from a woman:

27 As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”

28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Jesus changed the focus:

Matthew 12

46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."
48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Elisabeth said...

I just read the comment from Cindy where she says this:

Yet this has become such an extra-Biblical moral imperative rather than a private matter that women who have not conceived are treated with ridicule and judgement, leaving many feel like they need to wear their medical records around their neck when they go to church so they can pass muster with the pious who hold fecundity and private matters as God's clear and easily discerned law that is easily followed and expressed(when it is none of these things).

And it hit me, this whole issue should not be in the forefront the way it is. We are supposed to be sharing Jesus with a lost and dying world. Yet our leaders are giving sermons about birth control. It's hard enough to be a Christian, and hard enough to witness without extra-biblical stuff getting thrown in like that.

Elisabeth said...

I have two children, born seven and a half years apart. My daughter will be 24 in two weeks, my son is 16. I now also have a son in law and 2 wonderful grandsons, ages 2 and 3. I believe children are a blessing; I also believe I have been richly blessed. Having a small family doesn't say you disagree that children are a blessing at all. For each child is an individual, and I don't really see how I would be more blessed by 6 than I am with 2 and, now, grandchildren.

John Moeller said...

elisabeth, AMEN!!!

Jesus said; Matthew 9:29 Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you";

Shouldn't this apply to many things.... According to MY faith, my quiver was set at 4 and no more....

Kevin, According to YOUR faith, set your number! AND quit condemning others that their number is different than yours.

It's a matter of the heart and what each believes GOD has ordained for them. It isn't up to any of us to judge a brothers faith for anything.....

NativeVermonter said...

We've got four and there are days I have to ask myself, when does the blessing part actually kick in? :)

Bob Allen said...

The Dallas TV station that reported the controversy attributed the following statment to Richard Land: "The Southern Baptist Convention is not opposed to the use of birth control within marriage as long as the methods used do not cause the fertilized egg to abort and as long as the methods used do not bar having children altogether unless there's a medical reason the couple should not have children."

Am I misreading that last clause, or is he saying the SBC is opposed to vasectomy and tubal ligation as well?

debbiekaufman said...

Benji: I am not just speaking of financial, but also of the work involved. I could also pick the argument you have given a part by asking where is that any different than the prosperity message. If one is not called nor feels the need to be practical, where is that sin or lack of faith in scripture. That argument is presuming on God. I had no extra dose of faith that told me to have more children and God would provide. I did have paycheck stubs that said otherwise. I still do 30 years later, so evidently we made the wise choice.

Anonymous said...

John and Elisabeth AMEN!

My quiver is full at 2, and I do NOT feel that I have been minimally blessed.

Laura

debbiekaufman said...

That should be or feels the need to be practical(based on their own personal situation, not speaking for everyone who wishes to have a large family)

Not everyone is built to raise a large family. We are as different as snowflakes. Why can that not be accepted without being labeled selfish or sinners? That is cruel.

Alan Cross said...

Wade,

If we deal with definitions of words, to be relativistic means that truth is relative to my perspective. For Dr. White to say that something is sin to him but it might not be sin to someone else can be a relativistic position when dealing with something that is objective, as a perspective on the effect of BIRTH CONTROL PILLS can be. I am not talking about Romans 14 issues here.

I have taken great care to differentiate between the overall argument that you make regarding family planning (which I agree with) and the statements about birth control pills. Dr. White combined the two and I was splitting them by saying that one view is legalistic and the other is not. I think that someone can say that something is sin when we deal with objective issues. IF the birth control pill eliminates a fertilized egg, that is seen by some as an abortive procedure. To declare that is not legalism. I applaud a debate on the issue and new information that might prove that position wrong, but to just declare that statement as legalism when a person is trying to deal with what they understand to be objective fact is out of bounds. Again, you have a strong point on saying that ANY family planning at all is sin. THAT is a legalistic statement because even on face value, it goes far beyond scripture to the point of personal conviction. But, if a person has a sincere belief about the effect of the pill, to state that belief is NOT LEGALISTIC.

Dr. White became relativistic because he equivocated into a "it's right for me" position on something that he believes to be an objective fact (the effect of the birth control PILL). He was being legalistic on his statements that any form of family planning is sin.

For some reason, it seems that you thought that I was talking about you when I mentioned relativism. That was not the case because I do not know what you believe about the objective effect of the birth control pill. You are simply saying that ALL of Dr. White's argument is legalistic. I only disagree with you on the part regarding THE PILL.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Kevin,

It was prophesied in Deuteronomy that a prophet like unto Moses would come and unto him "ye shall hearken."

Jesus arrives on the scene in the Gospel of John and begins to perform signs and wonders like Moses of old.

Moses first sign was turning the water into blood.

Jesus beginning of signs was turning the water into wine.

As you travel through John you hear Him talk about setting slaves free like Moses of old.

Moses set Israel free from Egyptian bondage.

The Son sets free those who are enslaved to sin.

As you travel a little further you see Jesus say "A new commandment I 'give' to you...".

Jesus thus shows Himself to be a lawgiver like Moses of old.

This "new" law is based on the sacrificial example of Himself. All men know who Christ's disciples are when they see them acting out that example.

It is the foundational command of the people of God toward one another.

A little further and you see Jesus promise that the Holy Spirit would guide the Apostles into all truth.

Hence, the Apostles and the [New Testament] prophets make up the foundation of the church--Eph. 3:5; 2:20.

When you flip over into another gospel, you see Jesus standing with Moses and you hear a voice from heaven echo something you've heard before--"hear ye Him".

You hurry to look at the Great Commission and it says to teach disciples to observe all that "Christ" commands.

When you move into the Pauline Epistles, you see Paul as one with the flexibility to come under or be without the Law of Moses; you see Paul not without law, but [in]-lawed to Christ (1 Cor. 9:20-21).

This law was not written on tablets of stone, but on the tablet of His heart.

This law is found in the Sermon on the Mount. The law is found in the Gospels. The Apostles carried on the teaching ministry of Christ so that the ethics of the Pauline Epistles, for example, contain this law.

This law has red and black letters.

This law can contain "lists" within it [Rom. 12:9-21], but we dare not divide it. We must take it as a whole. We are bondslaves to Christ Jesus and we revel in our slavery.

This law can contain "portions" of the law of Moses [Eph. 6:2-3] and so we obey.

Not because Moses said it, but because Christ included it.

This law says nothing about the necessity of having children though Psalm 127 is true. Children are a blessing.

The prophet like unto Moses has come. We no more go back to Moses than we would go back to Aaron or David.

A redemptive-historical "shift" has happened.

These pointed forward to the coming Messiah and thus we read about them with joy.

But when it comes to what is the immediate binding law on the [Christ]ian, it is the law of Christ.

May we hear ye Him.

God bless

Benji

Anonymous said...

Hello BILL,

Wise analogies, to help us put this into perspective. Thank you.

You said, "Also, does anyone else have a problem with a bunch of men telling women that they have to bear children, and (for some) do it a lot?"

I think I have a problem with the FLDS patriarchs, particularly when some of the 'women' are only fourteen years old and are forced to marry someone chosen for them.
Can we compare the FLDS with the B.I. people? That is an extreme comparison, OR IS IT?

l. Patriarchy
2. Submission
3. Full-quiver
4. 'God's Will' (?)

Shared criteria for sure.
I don't see that it is healthy for women to be subjected to mental or physical abuse from a spouse or from a patriarch in the SBC in the name of the will of God.

Results of this: mental and emotional and physical break-down. All women are 'different' and have human feelings. To be trapped in a situation that you have no control over is not the same as faith: it is a sacrifice.
This time, the sacrifice is to the pride and foolishness of those who place their authority over God's.
A husband should love and cherish his wife. She should stand by him and work with him. The dignity of Christian marriage is mutual. L's

P.S. In the times of the writing of the Scriptures, a woman might give birth to many babies, and few might survive the dangers of childbirth in those day.
We mostly have healthy babies, today (not all, I know this.)

Wade Burleson said...

Alan,

Thanks for the clarification. However, I think you have to be very, very careful displaying an attitude of certainty about the first issue as well.

Again, Stephen Pruett has said it best:

The Bible is silent on the precise moment at which the soul enters the body. I agree that a cautious approach to this question would be to assume that this happens at conception. However, this is an assumption. It is not addressed in scripture.

Therefore, if a Christian couple uses the birth control pill, and the fertilized egg is not implanted in the uterine wall, but is flushed through the system of the woman - as often happens naturally, even in the woman who is not on the pill - then you must be careful labeling that couple as "sinners" based upon your assumptions and not the clear teaching of Scripture.

Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

John Moeller said:

Wade et al,
An IUD destroys the egg, fertilized or not. The pill prevents ovulation. All other “non-morning-after” contraceptives’ either keep the egg and sperm separated or actively kills the sperm. Tubligations and vasectomies literally cut the path off. And lastly, the rhythm method may work when you have no mature eggs.

I will ask the difficult questions; I think it is easy to say that the IUD shouldn’t be a choice for a Christian based on the Bible. But, Biblically speaking, including verses, explain to me what makes the other options wrong or a sin in God’s eyes? Not opinion, verses,………

First question...Have you done your research on ALL IUDs?

There are more than one kind.

I Do not know all of the facts, but I have had the mirena for six yrs. I was told that it sends off a chemical to your body tricking it that it is pregnant. So further fertilization can not happen. I am doing more research on it and I have asked Wade if his wife would give me her professional and spiritual opinion on it.

I would get it removed in a heartbeat if I knew that it was for a fact abortifacient.

EJs Mom

Wanda said...

Elisabeth said:
"We are supposed to be sharing Jesus with a lost and dying world. Yet our leaders are giving sermons about birth control. It's hard enough to be a Christian, and hard enough to witness without extra-biblical stuff getting thrown in like that."

Elisabeth,

You are so right!

I have a theory about why "quiverfull" (aka no birth control) is being promoted, and I believe it has much more to do with membership statistics than being Biblical.

Blessings,

Wanda

Bill said...

Kevin: If God has blessed you with children, then they are a blessing. That's all. Your point doesn't follow. I mentioned many things in scripture that are considered blessings and by your logic we MUST seek out all of them to the maximum. I just don't see that. Is a spouse a blessing? You MUST get married. Is wine a blessing? Teetotaling is not an option. You see your logic? I have two children. They are a blessing. All the blessing we wanted. After the second, my wife said "that's it." Since she is the one who endures 9 months of uncomfortable pregnancy and two rounds of excruciating pain in childbirth, I defer to her wishes (not very complementarian I know).

You seem to think that one cannot have too much of a good thing. I don't agree. Paul said that we should be content. I am content with two children. Some are content with ten, some with none. I will not judge them.

Wanda said...

Laura said:
"My quiver is full at 2, and I do NOT feel that I have been minimally blessed."

Laura,

What a great statement! My quiver is full at 2 as well!

God has given my husband and me two wonderful Christian daughters, and I feel EXTREMELY blessed! I know some who are commenting here will disagree with me, but I have more time to love my husband and children because I'm not so burdened by the drudgery that comes with a large family. Let's be honest!

I find it extremely interesting that women are not writing in and saying they want a quiverfull. It seems that only the men are chiming in about birth control not being in God's will. Am I wrong about that?

John Moeller said...

EJ's mom,

There are two types of IUD's. A copper based unit that prevents pregnancy by inhibiting the ability of the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

The second type is the type you have; A quick search of the Mirena site states...

.....quote from web site......
While there is no single explanation for how Mirena® works, it may:

* Block sperm from reaching or fertilizing your egg
* Make the lining of your uterus thin
* Stop the release of your egg from your ovary (but this is not the way it works in most cases)

It is believed that all 3 of these actions may work together to prevent pregnancy.

* It is also thought that the small amounts of levonorgestrel that are released by Mirena® make your cervical mucus thick and tacky. This is why sperms are immobilized and can't enter the uterus.
.....end of quote from web site.....

The medication does not inhibit the maturing of the egg, thus, you may want to take a deeper look at this.

Wanda said...

Benji,

I love the way you view Christianity, and I appreciate what you have shared.

Blessings,

Wanda

Tom Parker said...

Robert Masters:
You said:"In the end I think the people who took it to court were more in the wrong. As they were in Sheri Kloudas case.
I believe that is an absolute prohibition."
What should Dr. Klouda have done in her situation?

Anonymous said...

Tom Parker,
Off topic .....not answering!


In grace
Robert I Masters

Tom Parker said...

Robert Masters:

I quote you from this blog and you tell me I am off topic.

Have it your way.

Have you helped Dr. Klouda or would you be willing to?

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Benji,
I know this is not what you said and I will not imply this is what you meant, but I get really nervous when I hear people talk about the "laws" in the NT because often they imply that we must keep those laws to be saved.

Whether it is the Sermon on the Mount or one of Paul's lists, they are still lists of ought-to's that we sometimes attain to and sometimes don't.

In the end, we are still saved by grace and not the law, even the NT "laws."

Anonymous said...

"In the end, we are still saved by grace and not the law, even the NT "laws."

I thought we were saved by Jesus.
?

Anonymous said...

"Amazing Grace"

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779

Anonymous said...

The poor in spirit; the pure in heart; those who will lovingly [endure] the sufferings of life; will enter God's kingdom.

'Thy Kingdom Come . . . "

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade

I'm going to take the bait, someone has to!

What pill is Jon Estes talking about at 9:47 AM
Is this pill the item you are discussing? Isn't this off-topic.

Isn't that like me asking about the $500,000 Bellevue spent as hush money?

Charles

Wade Burleson said...

On the contrary, Charles, his comment is precisely related to this post, including family planning, contraception, etc . . .

Hush money has no relation to my post.

Stephen Pruett said...

Kevin,

The Bible indicates clearly that children are a blessing. It does not specifically indicate that we should have as many as possible to get the maximum blessing. That is an assumption. What do you do with Paul's explicit advice to remain celibate (and presumably childless)? I know he admitted that not everyone could take advantage of this advice, but he presented it as an ideal. God wrote the New Testament through various inspired people. Would He really have Paul give advice that contradicts another passage? The idea that children are a blessing does not demonstrate that failing to take advantage of that blessing is a sin. On the contrary, Paul views the sacrifice of celibacy and childlessness as a virtue. I will admit that birth control now is often used not to allow us more time, energy, and resources to serve God but selfish motives are often involved. However, this does not change the fact that the general principle of childlessness can be virtuous.

Thy Peace said...

Stephen: I think Paul was talking about the control of physical urges, by being celibate.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

I don't want to write this, but I feel that I must:

You wrote: "If one does not believe God's Word that children are an unqualified blessing, and that "happy is the man who has his quiver full of them", then I have no further argument."

Kevin, what about the husband of Andrea Yates? What was going on there? There were definite signs that she was in very severe trouble before the drownings.
I believe that people around her let HER drown emotionally and mentally, before she did what she did. If her story cannot raise a warning light, then what will?

We want to honor God. He asks us to love Him with all of our hearts and minds and strength; and to love our neighbors as ourselves. And to walk humbly with Him.

I think that the love He wants us to show should begin in the home, with those we are to cherish most.

I fear for people who ignore real warning signs and disregard reality in the pursuit of some kind of prideful perfection before the Lord.
Why? He, above all, knows our weaknesses and our strenghs.
He would not ask us to harm women by imposing more on them than they can bear.
Please understand, I didn't want to even think about this, but I must speak.
Poor Andrea Yates has no voice. But can we not hear her sadness? L's Gran

Wanda said...

L's Gran,

I have also been thinking about Andrea Yates today as the proponents of the quiverfull movement have spouted off about having as many "blessings" as possible. Andrea was definitely a victim of this dangerous movement.

Have you noticed that the commenters who favor large families are almost ALL MEN! I want to hear from their wives!!! I wish at least one of their wives would post a comment and let us know just how full their quiver really is.

Blessings,

Wanda

Anonymous said...

I think the husband of Andrea Yates divorced her and married again. Wonder if they are on their way to 5 children at home all day. Scary.

Probably the reason we haven't heard from the wives is that they are either too submissive or too busy to comment. If they are submissive they wouldn't dare have an opinion different from their husband. If they have a bunch of children at home they don't have time, and if they have any time they are too tired to do anything.

Susie

Jesse said...

Why does it seem to me that no well-known Southern Baptist can ever say anything that will be blogged in a positive light on your blog? Anything that seems to begin as positive is followed by a huge, "but."

Anonymous said...

Hi Wanda,

I have tried to make some sense of what happened to the Yates family, but I cannot. What happened was senseless.

Her children deserve a better memorial from the Church, then just to promote the continuance of the circumstances which might encourage another tragedy.

I remember George Bush saying he would 'lead the toops into battle'; but our troops weren't even given what they needed for their own protection initially. And now, we see young veterans on our local military base with prosthetic limbs.

These prideful husbands want to send their wives 'into battle' so that the husbands can claim that they were spiritually in control. Yet many women are ill-prepared for what they will face in that full-quiver reality. Always, someone will pay a price, sometimes a terrible price.

The 'leadership' in both cases doesn't behave responsibly and others suffer. Senseless. L's

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade

Jon said "I was on the pill the first four years of my marriage and God gave us two fine boys. Once I quit taking the pill, my wife never got pregnant again."

What pill is Jon talking about?
Is the SBC taking a stand for/against viagra?

Will the public schools start giving it out? Will planned parenthood endorse it?

Come on, someone help me here, my wife just came in and read it and she is rolling in laughter. Are we both insensitive or not smart.

Help!

Anonymous said...

Jesse,

May the 'well-known' Bapists are more 'infamous' that famous?

Anonymous said...

Dear History,
Ask your wife WHY she is laughing.
She just might tell you someday.

Benji Ramsaur said...

davidbmclaughlin,

No need to worry.

The Law of Moses was an "IF you obey, THEN you will be blessed" system.

The Law of Christ is given to those who are blessed through the finished work of Christ Jesus our Lord.

In other words, the law of Christ is given to a people already justified and thus not a people seeking to attain justification.

Sure we will sin against that law in this life, but praise the Lord that:

1. The Spirit gives life.
2. The new command is based on the sacrificial example of Christ.
3. We are married to Christ who is powerful to impregnate us with fruit through the Spirit.
4. We are transformed into Christ's image through watching Him.
5. We are in a new covenant.
6. The law [of Christ] is not something merely external that stimulates us to disobey, but written on our hearts.

Grace to you,

Benji

Wade Burleson said...

Watching History,

I think he meant his wife was on the pill.

:)

Anonymous said...

Jon's sense of humor always lightens us up in the middle of an intense debate.
If you really want a good laugh, get Jon to tell you about that herd of goats he's trying to unload. :))))))

Wanda said...

Wade,

With regard to Jon's comment about the pill, I'm inclined to agree with watchinghisstory.

This discussion is taking an interesting turn, and soon I may be too embarrassed to comment. I do wonder, however, whether leaders in the SBC support the use of Viagra.

Blessings,

Wanda

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Jesse,

I met one of the regular comment contributors to Wade's blog today at the Missouri Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in St. Louis and had a very pleasant and informative conversation. So let me just say this. My desire to attend Covenant Seminary in St. Louis is sounding better and better. Maybe this is just the Lord steering me clear of distracting conflict (which I do not need). I have no reason to doubt the accounts of the gentleman I spoke with today and so come away from that conversation with a saddened outlook on some of the CR tactics and personalities. The desire for power has indeed corrupted.

I re-read the book of Jude this evening to see if we really have a directive to "defend the truth aggressively against [false teachings]" and evil in general. And so I found that while Jude was quite passionate (even angry) at the sinful infiltrations that abounded in the church, he in no way gives us the authority to disregard the rest of Scripture in an effort to "defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints." I also found another interesting line in this book and one which I reluctantly must apply to Wade and his cause. Verse 23a tells us that we are "save others by snatching them out of the fire."

I tend to think that God is more glorified through our giving one cup of cold water than our boiling an army of evil. The later of course makes us feel better that we have helped God rid the world of evil.

I believe in the CR. But I am starting to wonder if we stole it.

I will be listening to Wade in the future with a more open ear and heart. (But still with a most critical pen) :)

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"Is the SBC taking a stand for/against viagra...my wife just came in and read it and she is rolling in laughter."


Watchinghistory: I think the real question here is does your wife endorse viagra?

peter lumpkins said...

Alan, Wade, Stephen, et al

First, I've kept up this thread, interested in how it has developed yet reluctant to contribute myself since my last entry log here was, shall we say, as did one exchange I received judged, 'verbose.'

Secondly, it's worth noting that you and I have had our waltz on several occasions in other threads and, as you know as well as I, we've not done so good as dancing partners, tripping over each others feet.

On the present case you've been building here, however, I think you have made a good one and a worthy one, not to mention the right one.

In fact, as I've slipped in and out of this comment trail, it's so odd for me. Many of the same points you endured--and endured well, I might add--I have had to endure elsewhere (and no doubt so have you). That is not the oddity.

Instead, the oddity of seeing these things said here is, some of them I have endured when in conversation with pro-abortionists.

Not that there exists on the thread those who actually are pro-abortionists; only that some of the things either explicitly said or tacitly assumed are bread-n-butter talking points of those with whom prolifers have had to contend. Let me give you a couple of "for instances."

Wade wrote:

"Life exists prior to conception. The egg is alive. The sperm is alive. The soul is what makes a human being a human being..."

Pro-abortionists for a generation have attempted to bleed out the thrust of pro-lifers' core concern by poking a hole in their beginning proposition. Wade's quote is similar--"life exists prior to conception." The egg is alive and the sperm is alive.

What is missed is, the prolife position does not insist no life exists prior to conception; rather, the prolife position insists that no individual human life exists prior to the 23/23 chromosome connection. Once that happens, a new, genetically identifiable DNA individual is created. Scientists calls these little beings Zygotes.

That they are human is biologically incontrovertible. No DNA is ever added. Give this little fellow food, water, and oxygen and she/he grows and develops like any other human being.

In addition, when we speak of human beings inside the mother's womb, we're fundamentally speaking of a human issue, not strictly a Christian issue. That's why I thought it curious Wade would suggest, after affirming your belief that life begins "at the moment of fertilization"[sic] that "Other theologians have disagreed, and have argued that it takes place later, sometime around quickening." If you are reading Wade, would you care to give me a couple of modern theologians who embrace the medieval "quickening" view?

The second "for instance" is Stephen:

"I am not sure prevention of implantation of a fertilized egg can be objectively proved to be equivalent to murder. The Bible is silent on the precise moment at which the soul enters the body. I agree that a cautious approach to this question would be to assume that this happens at conception."

Again, the doubt is thrown toward the status of the unborn here referred to by Stephen as "fertilized egg." Now I too have referred to such as "fertilized egg"; nonetheless, I am confident I did not mean by such what Stephen did. When I used it, I definitively meant "conception of human life." Period. No qualifications. Again, scientists call such "zygote."

Even more, Stephen mentions Scripture: "The Bible is silent on the precise moment at which the soul enters the body." For the sake of argument, let's allow the assertion. What does that have to do with what is provable under the microscope? Granting the argument that the Bible is allegedly of little help at this juncture, why not allow solid factual scientific assistance?

When all is said, it stands indisputable that human life begins when the female's part and the male's part--the 23/23 chromosome connection--unite. A pig is not born; a dog is not forthcoming; a horse never develops. Instead, human beings develop and are birthed.

Once such is acknowledged, the debate vanishes like a thin coat of Georgia dew. Unless, of course, one wishes to argue for the validity of Herod's little fling.

With that, I am...

Peter

Wanda said...

Peter said:
"When all is said, it stands indisputable that human life begins when the female's part and the male's part--the 23/23 chromosome connection--unite."

Peter,

We FINALLY agree on something. Praise the Lord!!!

Blessings,

Wanda

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Benji,

Amen.

David

Anonymous said...

I took Jon's comment about him being on the pill as a joke. Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor or do you think Christians aren't supposed to laugh?

Laughter has certainly helped me get through a lot, including recurring cancer. I think it is one of God's great gifts to us.

Susie

WatchingHISstory said...

best joke I have is Bellevue Baptist spending $500,000 without congregational approval 10 years ago to hush up a staff member who embezzeled money and had an affair with a Sunday School student.

Now the joke is "what kind of punishment is that?"

Me, I leave the garage door up and my wife won't let me hear the last of it!

Wanda said...

Susie said,
"I took Jon's comment about him being on the pill as a joke. Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor or do you think Christians aren't supposed to laugh?"


I had a BIG LAUGH about all of this, too. Please don't take my comment too seriously. Maybe Jon will clear this up for us.

I hope your cancer is in remission. I'm sure that laughter has helped you cope. My husband is always sending me jokes via the internet, and his wonderful sense of humor has greatly enhanced our relationship during these past twenty years of marriage.

God bless you.

Wanda

Cindy said...

I have not read all of the comments in this thread as they have more than doubled since I posted late last night. I don't have time today to get caught up on them... I've just picked up where I left off to check to see if I had to face any music that may have resulted from trouble that I might have stirred up... First, I'd like to say that I like the way that Bob Cleveland thinks!

r. grannemann said...

A seven day old zygote is smaller than a hundredth the size of a pin head, has no blood, no heart, no bones, no brain impulses, and no macro resemblance to a human. I believe it should be protected by virtue of the principle of Natural Law - the natural process leading to life, once begun, should be allowed to continue. It's biologically human by virtue of its genetic code - but so is a brain dead accident victim.

The question at hand is whether not allowing the seven day old zygote to implant in the womb is "murder." Unless such a zygote has a soul, it is not "actually" murder - at least it would so seem since in that case it will have no eternal life either in heaven or hell. If we admit, as most people in this thread seem to admit, that no one knows whether it has a soul, then we must also admit we "don't know" if not allowing the zygote to implant is murder. That's the point being made, not whether it is biologically human.

If destruction of a seven day old zygote "is" murder, then normal sexual intercourse without contraception (for the purpose of conceiving a child) may be murderous since 10% to 50% of the time (depending on the age of the woman) it results in a zygote that does not implant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion.

Cindy said...

To Alan Cross,

Sir, I don't know who you are, and I responded to you advocacy of an argument against all oral contraceptives, an agent that I think would not be approved for safe use under our current FDA standards if it did not involve sexual freedom. All medications, particularly this one, are poisons with beneficial side effects. Oral contraception is by no means a benign option, in terms of ethics or in terms of pharmacology.

So my germane purpose for posting on this topic was not meant to be personal but to address what I believe are misrepresenations of the issue of oral contraception which has some very good clinical applications when the benefits of use outweigh the risk. You listed several agents and included stem cell research as all being part of the very same ethical argument when I don't believe that they are. I did not mean in any way to insinuate that those who trust in the antiquated and what I personally believe to be misleading ethical arguments against all use of all oral contraceptives for all people. I tried as best as possible to point out the distinctions in support of my belief that the Randy Alcorn argument against all oral contraceptives is inaccurate in many respects. I also listed links to documents written by VERY pro-life physicians in support of my understanding of this sensitive topic.

From my perspective and for women who take oral contraceptives, particularly when they are used for disease processes. What about an asthmatic with asthma aggravated by the menstrual cycle who gains benefit from the medication and also might opt for the med because they also take steriods for asthma which are potent tetratogens (that which grossly harms the development of a baby in the womb). Pregnancy might be life-threatening for such a person and ruling out pregnancy with an OC (preventing unavoidable harm to the baby while taking steroids to control asthma) might be the most ethical option. I don't think it's right or fair to preach that birth control is akin to murder (what the reasonable man understands to be the result of using an "abortifacient") to such a woman who has good faith in her physician. Certainly, she should be well aware of the ethical implications of these medications, but I don't think it's fair to hang that condemnation around such a woman's neck over personal conviction based on Alcorn's argument and those like it. I personally find Alcorn's argument to be divisive when there is good evidence that his argument is not entirely fair and accurate. I applaud his intent to honor the Imago Dei with all diligence as I believe all Christians should. I just think he's made some weak arguments for all the right reasons.

That said (again), I then posted another comment that I prefaced as related to the trend within the SBC that I've read about on this blog when I cited the WWII era poem. (I'm encouraged to find that someone I've developed great respect for while reading this blog also thought of the same poem.) I thought that by prefacing my general comment as related to the general trend in the SBC as related to BI would make it abundantly clear that this comment was entirely separate from the oral contraceptive issue and its specifics. The comment was a general observation about a general trend: it was not a specific accusation against anyone.

So I apologize if you thought that my citing of that was meant as a personal comment made against you or anyone who has built ideas upon what I believe are faulty arguments. It gives to reason that if a pastor believed that use of this med was tantamount to murder or ethically worse (stem cell research which is like torture prior to death or something more akin to cannibalism) that the pastor would dutifully warn his sheep about this menace. That is something much to his credit.

This touches on two issues that are related but separate arguments: the prohibition of all birth control as a type of rebellion against God -AND- the increasingly more popular false teaching among those of the Reformed belief system that children born into the covenant community are of somewhat of a higher status than those redeemed from out of the world (those not born into the church and into individual families who are believers in Christ). Some professed Reformed believers call this "militant fecundity," and it becomes a neo-tribal, Christian-separatist ideology. Given the workings of these two ideas within the SBC itself, I think that it's important to clarify specifically what was meant by this sermon at SWBTS that overlapped with these trends.

So, I am sorry if I offended you for not being more clear. To your credit, I did not think that your advocacy for what I call the Alcorn argument was a point of legalism. It's my desire that all Christians make good, strong, robust arguments for the faith, and I find Alcorn's lacking in that respect. Again, much of this research is newer, keeping in mind that the fertility industry has elucidated much of what we now know about physiology of pregnancy and reproduction -- some of which I believe was not available when Alcorn devised his argument. I hope to see all of Christ's ambassadors present robust arguments that are fair and balanced, and that includes yours. (In other words, this is a compliment to you. I would not have brought it up if you seemed like a legalist. I don't expect that the original speaker would have made the argument either, since it seems to me to rely heavily on the Alcorn assumptions.)

Again, as I hoped to advocate, these are very personal matters, and I don't believe it is the role of the Church to be paternalistic in such matters. If the argument is that birth control is sin for all Christians under all circumstances as the representative opinion of SWBTS (something Wade attempted to clarify), then that is legalism (something I thought this follow-up piece ruled out with additional, direct questions in reference to this matter). The discussion of the very personal matter of birth control in general smacks of sacerdotalism, seeming to assume that the individual cannot make wise, informed decisions for themselves. That's the real difficulty and the reason why I cited the WWII poem, oft attributed to Niemoller.

Cindy said...

I just happened to find this reference:
For Christians, it boils down to a faith issue. Do I believe God that children are a blessing? If so, I will not risk using the pill because it does potentially abort a fertilized egg(see Physicians Desk Reference).

With all due respect to the Physicians Desk Reference, this information is generalized about ALL oral contraceptives, as are the breakthrough pregnancy rates that it cites. It takes as long as 10 years for current literature to catch up to be reflected in guides like the PDR or Drug Facts and Comparisons (the summary guide preferred by pharmacists) or even books like Goodman and Gilman (the pharmacology text used to train physicians and pharmacologists). This does not reflect the skyrocketing amount of information within the speciality of fertility, etc. If you want that specific information such that I've presented here, you either go to the newest literature (still years behind the actual state-of-the-art in the profession when it goes to print), or you ask a specialist. Even a skilled clinician can read the PDR and learn just enough information to be dangerous.

Cindy said...

Karen in OK wrote: But I have a question, Cindy. Re: the two articles you cited, you said that they do not take the position that BCPs are abortifacient. What I got out of the first article is that those authors DO, and that the authors of the second article DON'T. What did you see specifically in the first article?

Karen,

The first article is an overview of both sides of the issue -- is the pill aborifacient or an effective contraceptive that is not a type of murder of a fertilized ovum. The whole first section of the article is a review of the arguments that conclude that all OCs are always abortifacient. It then goes on to point out that the issue is not one that is very clear in very black and white terms. It supports the idea that there are many grey areas which the Alcorn argument does note. It's a general statement of the organization to say "This is why we find, under certain conditions, certain OCs are not abortifacient." It pays honor to the valid points that the Alcorn argument makes, but it introduces valid reasons why a pro-life physician may not accept that what he maintains is true in all circumstances and true for all OCs. They aren't all created equal. The second article is a more specific examination of the "grey areas" wherein OC's might be both ethical and efficacious.

In summary in that article, they restate in about three different ways that the issue is no longer a cut and dry one (all OC's are abortifacient, though some clearly are), and they reaffirm the weight of responsibility and required discernment for all women who opt to consider use of OCs. Those details that argue against the all-or-nothing Alcorn argument are spelled out in the second article.

From a medical perspective, I see that they are actually arguing that it is acceptable to view OCs as in the same category as "meat sacrificed to idols" offered by the Apostle Paul. I think that the article also establishes that this is not a group of physicians that are bent on arguing, at any cost, that OC's are benign and without ethical considerations, hence it is important to the discussion here.

Cindy said...

I can't believe that I'm still awake reading these comments! Glad I'm only doing laundry tomorrow! Hope I don't spill any bleach due to fatigue.

The latter comments here are narrowing in on an interesting nuance: Active versus passive contraception and whether either are permissible.

I thought it was really funny that in a Catholic college where I went to nursing school that the nuns who taught in the nursing program were really wound up on the day that they taught us about contraception and modes of action. They made about 5 disclaimers about how they were only teaching this stuff because the state board of nursing required it. Then they taught natural family planning like it was what is now known as an infomercial (though we didn't have them then!). They were against any "active" methods of limiting fertility but "passive" methods or "natural" means (save Onan's method) were deemed morally wrong.

So the big question that is lurking below all of these talking points is whether it is wrong to limit conception at all. God looks to the intent of the heart, does He not? If we willfully chose to resist Him (if this is possible when the Word says that God opens and closes the womb), is this the same sin of intent that amounts to hatred of one's brother as tantamount to the sin of murder? This too points at the issue of "militant fecundity" as some in the SBC preach as a moral imperative that falls within the realm of the business of the local church leadership. ("Why do the Smiths have no babies?") It also touches on sarcedotalism in the sense that this is not the work of the Spirit and circumstances in the life of the believer but is a clearly defined role for elders in the church (that of examining someone's reproductive and health history).

I think Benji made excellent points about how one views the New Testament (and makes the distinction between whether we are under the restrictions and traditions of OT law which conveys in some realms of Reformed Baptist practice through a particular interpretation of Covenant Theology (as opposed to Dispensationalism or New Covenant Theology). How you define the church (whether it is part of the OT system -- the Church Universal began with Abraham -- or whether the NT church began at Pentecost when Jesus delivered the Great Commission and sent the Holy Spirit) weighs pretty heavily in how one interprets some of these matters in some camps within the SBC.

Is passive contraception the same as active contraception? It depends on how you view (as Benji aptly notes) how you apply the concept of all things being lawful but not profitable.

peter lumpkins said...

r.grannemann

Since when does size constitute humanness? I missed that somewhere.

Size may play a factor, however, in psychologically affirming the one who would prohibit life to "feel good" in his/her deed. Nor is an appeal to some indefinable "Natural Law" even applicable to what I've written.

As for the missing resemblance to a human presumably mentioned as yet further indication that a zygote is not human, I would only say neither does the presence of resemblance to a human guarantee humanness.

Ever walked in Macy's and right before you caught yourself asking for assistance, realized you were about to speak to a manikin?--'I could have swore that was a woman standing there!'

You further indicate that "Unless such a zygote has a soul, it is not "actually" murder...If we admit, as most people in this thread seem to admit, that no one knows whether it has a soul, then we must also admit we "don't know" if not allowing the zygote to implant is murder. That's the point being made, not whether it is biologically human."

First, your introduction of potentiality is interesting--not actually murder." Does it sound better to say it's only potentially murder? But if it is potentially murder in taking the life of the zygote, why would one proceed in a deed which potentially takes another's life? Is that moral?

Nor am I admitting to the majority view of this thread. What makes the majority view of this thread the correct view or even potentially the correct view?

Nor is it remotely reasonable to argue that "no one knows whether it has a soul."

First, that's a nonsensical statement in the very same category as the professed Agnostic--"no one knows whether there is a God." But the statement itself is presented as actual knowledge about God; namely, that one possesses enough knowledge to know He does not exist.

Similarly, to suggest "no one knows whether it has a soul" itself is presented as actual knowledge. If indeed no one knows, the best thing to do is to say...well, there is nothing to say.

Second, it is not only nonsensical to suggest "no one knows whether it has a soul" it is also impractical. Suppose you were a deer hunter in the woods. You see what you thought was a deer running but darting into a thicket. Upon seeing the rumbling of the thicket, your raise your 30.06 and fire into the thicket.

Of course,if you were a responsible hunter, you'd do no such thing. Though it "might" be a deer, it is more reasonable to assume it "might" be a human.

Third, r. grannemann, you make again the mistake of attempting to force this issue into the category of theo-religious jargon. This is a category mistake. Whether or not theologians/philosophers ever agree precisely on accurately timing the soul's infusion into the human apparatus, the question is should innocent human life be forfeited? The answer is obvious, it seems to me.

In short, then, we're dealing with a human life issue not a religious one.

Finally, you reason "If destruction of a seven day old zygote "is" murder, then normal sexual intercourse without contraception...may be murderous since..."

Spontaneous abortions intrinsic to reproduction cannot be viewed in moral categories, r. grannemann, any more than the death of a ten day old baby due to genetic disorder can be morally imputed to the parents. Why you would think such is odd.

Once again, I make this statement: the points I just engaged are the standard stew one is served in pro-abortion circles. I am surprised to find it here.

With that, I am...

Peter

r. grannemann said...

Peter,

Okay, it's a "life" issue with you, whether the zygote is a human being is not the issue. My statement about Natural Law (a morality that nature teaches) was meant to convey I also see life as an issue.

You say, "Spontaneous abortions intrinsic to reproduction cannot be viewed in moral categories." Well, they can if you have some control over them. For example, by having fewer children and using birth control that prevent fertilization there will be fewer spontaneous abortions. Do spontaneous abortions not concern you? Or does trying to have a baby always justify increasing the number of spontaneous abortions and therefore the "potential" for homicide? (I'm not saying that's an unreasonable position, just trying the clarify the issues.) Or would it be better to have fewer children if it decreases spontaneous abortions? These would seem to be germane issues if you value the zygote's life.

You seem to agree that abortion of the zygote is only potentially murder. That was my main point, that we should call it potentially murder rather than murder (as Dr. White does). My second point was that the rudimentary human development of the zygote and the God ordained birthing process by which many zygotes are spontaneously aborted may "suggest" (by Natural Law again) that abortion before human brain activity is not in fact murder.

Anonymous said...

KMC


wow! methinks thou hast grown! may you continue to grow in wisdom and grace. never put down the glass of cool water.

Amen!

wtreat@centurytel.net

John Fariss said...

KMC,

I thought I noticed a difference in your attitude/outlook a few weeks ago (and said so, I believe, at least in affirming whatever it was that you wrote). Now it is even more evident. May God continue to bless you and grow you in all things.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

To KEVIN M. CROWDER,

You wrote, " I have no reason to doubt the accounts of the gentleman I spoke with today and so come away from that conversation with a saddened outlook on some of the CR tactics and personalities. The desire for power has indeed corrupted. "


and you wrote, "I believe in the CR. But I am starting to wonder if we stole it.

I will be listening to Wade in the future with a more open ear and heart. (But still with a most critical pen) :)"

Dear Kevin, you strengthen my faith in the power of prayer. I sure I'm not the only one who 'lights a candle' for you before the Lord to ask that God will guide your understanding and your 'critical pen'. Wade is not the enemy here. Christians know that the ends never justify the means.

Thanks be to God for all good things. :) L's

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 222   Newer› Newest»