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,