I will apologize in advance for the acerbic tone that this post will have, but even Paul found that tone to be effective on occasion (cf. Gal 5:12).
God told Adam and Eve they could eat of any of the plants (save the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) that he created. Did this mean they should eat, and eat, and eat and keep on eating? If they had ceased eating, would they have been thwarting the will of God?
God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." (Gen 1:29) Do I sin against God if I don't like spinach and refuse to eat it? After all, God didn't say, “I give you some seed-bearing plants for food," or, "I give you the stuff that tastes good". God said "every," and "every" means "every."
Well, I figured I would chime in once, and only once, on this contraception issue, because the logic of the arguments has gotten so utterly ridiculous. And I mean that in a literal sense: worthy of ridicule. The latest episode (part 1 and part2) has appeared at Pastor Beisel’s blog… a blog I have enjoyed in the past, and I am sure I will enjoy in the future.
The gist of the argument (found primarily at this site) is thus:
In Genesis 1:28, God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, and multiply”…etc. The contra-contraception folks take this to be an absolute command to procreate, and anyone who thwarts it by preventing pregnancy through any means (chemical, physical barrier or timing) is sinning in doing so.
The Biblical evidence marshaled for the position is Gen 1:28, Gen 38:9 (the story of Onan), the legal proscriptions against harming a pregnant woman and thus harming her child or causing a miscarriage (cf. Ex. ), and the various passages from Psalms which celebrate a full household (cf. Ps. 127:3-5; 128:3-4).
Furthermore, evidence from Church history is brought to bear, viz, that virtually all commentators prior to the 20th century condemned contraception.
Let’s examine these…
Do these people have no training in logic? Does it matter whether or not every LCMS Pastor ever in existence agreed with the anti-contraception position or not?
No. That is a logical fallacy called an "appeal to authority". Saying that Luther believed contraception was sinful is meaningless. The question is, was he correct?
If we assume he is correct just because he was Luther, then perhaps we ought to consider taking up his views on the Jews? Hey, Luther said "burn their houses" so let's all get together and burn their houses!
Good grief. No, what matters is what Scripture says.
And with that, we have disposed entirely of the irrelevant opinions of Luther, Walther, Kretzmann, et al. Now, let's consider the Biblical passages, shall we?
Let's begin with the horrendously puerile interpretation of Genesis 38:9 to mean that contraception is forbidden. Here, for example, is Luther:
"This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment." (LW 7.20-21).
Sorry, Martin, but you get an “F” in exegesis on this one. Let’s look more closely, shall we?
got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah 's firstborn, was wicked in the LORD's sight; so the LORD put him to death. Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also. (Gen 38:6-10) Judah
Looking at the passage, we see that Onan was motivated by greed (if Er remained childless, Onan would get the firstborn share of the inheritance!), and that he deceptively and repeatedly pretended to be trying to fulfill his duty. What if Onan had not, in fact, "spilled his seed"? What if he had simply refused to even lay down with his brother's wife, as the law demanded? (cf. Deut. 25:5-6) What if he just went into the tent and chatted her up? Tamar knew what was happening, after all. Would he not have been equally guilty? The obvious answer is yes. Onan's sin, then, has absolutely nothing to do with him "spilling his seed" on the ground; it is entirely and only about deceiving
Don't come back at me with, "Well, Luther said..." because I don't give a rat's patooty what Luther said.
Second, as for Genesis 1:28, have they all forgotten entirely about a little thing called
Lutheran husbands and wives are being plenty fruitful out there; these guys have no place telling them they're sinning by not being fruitful enough. The bottom line is that Scripture says nothing explicit about contraception. The story of Onan is not about contraception. The laws addressing someone who strikes a pregnant woman, harming her unborn child or causing her to miscarry, are not about contraception.
These guys are reading the Bible with a slide-ruler and compass, which is how Calvinists read the Bible, making up laws where no such laws exist. Scripture forbids such practice, and in fact Paul tells us to rebuke them sharply. (Titus 1:13) For shame. I pity any sheep put under such a yoke.
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