Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Protestant Leader Considers The Catholic Argument Against Contraception

Albert Mohler is the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a national radio show host, author, and leading Evangelical theologian. He is very influential in the Evangelical Protestant circles.

He takes on a subject that few Evangelicals even consider - whether the Catholic understanding of contraception is accurate.

His conclusion is that the Catholic Church gets most of it right, but goes too far. Regardless of his conclusion, he honestly takes up the issue and is challenged by it. I recommend a reading of his article. Here is a snip.
The effective separation of sex from procreation may be one of the most important defining marks of our age–and one of the most ominous. This awareness is spreading among American evangelicals, and it threatens to set loose a firestorm.

Most evangelical Protestants greeted the advent of modern birth control technologies with applause and relief. Lacking any substantial theology of marriage, sex, or the family, evangelicals welcomed the development of “The Pill” much as the world celebrated the discovery of penicillin — as one more milestone in the inevitable march of human progress, and the conquest of nature.

At the same time, evangelicals overcame their traditional reticence in matters of sexuality, and produced a growth industry in books, seminars, and even sermon series celebrating sexual ecstasy as one of God’s blessings to married Christians. Once reluctant to admit the very existence of sexuality, evangelicals emerged from the 1960s ready to dish out the latest sexual advice without blushing. As one of the best-selling evangelical sex manuals proclaims, marital sex is Intended for Pleasure. Many evangelicals seem to have forgotten that it was intended for something else as well.
Continue Reading.
Further Reading:
**Is Using Contraception a Sin
**NFP and Contraception
**Social Science Proves Humanae Vitae
**Birth Control and College Students
**Why Contraception Is A Long-Term World-Wide Disaster
**The One Thing Contraception Can Guarantee 100%


texas said...

I saw this earlier! Perhaps it's a start...

Sarah said...

Growing up Southern Baptist I never, ever heard birth control addressed as a moral issue even though my church discussed the evils of abortion regularly-- a statement like this from the head of the convention is certainly a good sign. I do wish though that Mohler had explained why he thinks the distinction between using natural and artificial means of spacing children is "strange and fabricated." Thanks for posting this.

We The People said...

Definitely nice to see. His point regarding natural versus artificial birth control is off the mark. Of course, Catholics aid and abet this type of thinking by referring to the church's prohibition on "artificial contraception". Which the church says nothing about: just contraception.

Fr. Nate Harburg said...

Questions to challenge this thinking:

Doesn't any sort of justification of the separation of the goods integral to sexual intercourse, procreation & union, even if only done sometimes within "the larger integrity of the conjugal bond", lend/contribute to the philosophical justification of other acts that separate these goods (homosexual intercourse, rape, etc.)!?

Couldn't someone justify occasional, secret adultery with this line of reasoning also, by arguing that it does not violate "the larger integrity of the conjugal bond"?

Can ANY act of contracepted intercourse ever image Christ's love for the Church (Eph 5)?

Isn't there a danger that any use of contraception will lead to a contraceptive mentality?

We The People said...

Sarah's comment is a good one. It is precisely the author's harping on natural vs artificial that struck me. But Catholics are the ones who set this up. I routinely see Catholics speak about the Church's prohibition on "artificial contraception". An uninformed outsider would be left to conclude that the Church is fine with "natural contraception". Which the outsider then links with Natural Family Planning. So now, NFP is natural contraception. And you're left with this weird impression that the Church has some arbitrary distinction between natural and artificial things.

Which is completely bogus (strange and fabricated). The Church prohibits contraception and is OK with anything else that is not contraception. It's not natural versus artificial. It's a contracepted act versus a non-contracepted act.

RealCatholic said...

A letter to Albert Mohler

Dear Albert,
Thank you for the frankness in your article 'Can Christians use birth control.'  Your opinion is not new however. It was I believe the approach of the Anglicans in 1930, a decision they continue to rue. It is unsustainable. I even wondered if you have rethought your position since it was last posted 6 years ago. You will have guessed by now that I am a Catholic.  I have also previously headed the Singapore Natural family planning (NFP) Service for the local Catholic diocese for 40 years and I find many weaknesses in your arguments supporting the occasional use of contraception even after your perceptive observations of the effects of the contraceptive mentality within this generation. The generation that comes after has now been programmed with a different mindset and I can promise you we have not yet seen the worst. I do not accept that there is such a thing as valid occasional use of an intrinsically evil act.  So I could agree with you that your point of deviation from the Catholic view is her belief that the fertility of each and every sexual act must not be blocked i.e that it IS an intrinsically evil act.  This view is of course a deduction from the principles of the natural moral law, which after accepting, you have suppressed in favour of an absent biblical injunction - 'goes beyond the biblical demand' as you put it.  You seem to have discounted Onan's judgement for a contraceptive act (single) that was unique in the circumstances it occurred to mistake it for any other breech of the law.  Anyway, the bible itself says that not everything that Jesus said is in the bible.  My last point - and I am not beating my own drum here - is the choice between 'natural' and 'unnatural' (not 'artificial') methods of family planning. The former refers to the Natural Moral Law, as does the latter. While I can agree entirely with your statement that 'we must start with a rejection of the contraceptive mentality that sees pregnancy and children as impositions...', I must say that the only rational way to do this is not to take contraceptives at all.  Natural Family Planning does not contain this irrationality. although I must admit it is an imperfect immunisation against the 'contraceptive mentality' and we must continue to work so that children are, as you put it, 'gifts to be received, loved and nurtured' May you continue to search for truth.