1. London
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    27 Apr '07 10:242 edits
    An interesting article on the history of the doctrine on Contraception in Protestantism:

    http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=20-04-020-f

    [Excerpt]

    Luther’s Burden

    How might we judge the success of the Protestant family ethic? For nearly four centuries it worked reasonably well, as judged by its understanding of the divine ordinance to be fruitful and replenish the earth.

    Accordingly, the Protestant opposition to contraception remained firm. Writing in the late eighteenth century, for example, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, also condemned the sin of Onan, adding, “The thing which he did displeased the Lord.”

    The nineteenth-century Reformed Pastor Johann Peter Lange, in his Christian Dogmatics, described contraception as “a most unnatural wickedness, and a grievous wrong. This sin . . . is [as] destructive as a pestilence that walketh in darkness, destroying directly the body and the soul of the young.”

    At their 1908 Lambeth Conference, the world’s Anglican bishops recorded “with alarm the growing practice of artificial restriction of the family.” They “earnestly call[ed] upon all Christian people to discountenance the use of all artificial means of restriction as demoralizing to character and hostile to national welfare.”

    As late as 1923, the Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod’s official magazine The Witness accused the Birth Control Federation of America of spattering “this country with slime” and labeled birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger a “she devil.” Pastor Walter Maier, founding preacher of the long-running Lutheran Hour radio program, called contraceptives “the most repugnant of modern aberrations, representing a twentieth-century renewal of pagan bankruptcy.”

    On doctrine, then, Protestant leaders held firm well into the twentieth century. The weakness of the Protestant position actually lay elsewhere: in the informal institution of the Pastor’s Family. One possible cause of the change in Protestant teaching not often considered is the changed family life of the clergy themselves.

    In rejecting lifelong celibacy, in casting marriage as the highest order and calling on earth, in elevating motherhood and homemaking, in emphasizing the spiritual authority and practical tasks of fatherhood, in refocusing adult lives around the tasks of childrearing, in celebrating procreation and large families, and in condemning contraception, Luther implicitly laid a great burden on Protestant clerics.

    [/Excerpt]

    Read the whole article and share your thoughts. I'd be particularly interested in what kirksey and Nemesio have to say.
  2. Joined
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    27 Apr '07 11:30
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    An interesting article on the history of the doctrine on Contraception in Protestantism:

    http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=20-04-020-f

    [Excerpt]

    [b]Luther’s Burden


    How might we judge the success of the Protestant family ethic? For nearly four centuries it worked reasonably well, as judged by its understanding of the divi ...[text shortened]... nd share your thoughts. I'd be particularly interested in what kirksey and Nemesio have to say.[/b]
    I wonder if then married Eastern Catholic clergymen would also be supportive of contraception?
  3. London
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    27 Apr '07 11:462 edits
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I wonder if then married Eastern Catholic clergymen would also be supportive of contraception?
    It's not simply a question of whether the priest/pastor is married or not -- but also of the theological culture he has to work in.

    Even in Eastern Catholic rites, the episcopacy is reserved to priests from the monastic (i.e. celibate) traditions or those who are no longer bound by the sacrament of marriage (i.e. widowers). Married priests are the allowed exception, rather than the norm. Celibacy is considered normal (even though, strictly speaking, it is a supernatural gift rather than natural capacity) and that takes a lot of pressure off the married priests. It is also worthwhile noting then-Cardinal Ratzinger's point about married clergy (he's talking about the Orthodox tradition -- but it would apply to Eastern Catholic rites as well):

    In the Orthodox Churches we have, on the one hand, the full form of the priesthood, the priest monks, who alone can become bishops. Alongside them are the "people's priests", who, if they want to marry, must marry before ordination but who exercise little pastoral care but are really only liturgical ministers. This is also a somewhat different conception of priesthood.

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. "The Canon of Criticism." In Salt of the Earth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997), 179-213.

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0633.html


    The point Dr. Carlson makes is that the Reformers inadvertently piled up way too much pressure on their pastors through their rejection of celibacy (except in very rare cases) and stress on the Protestant family.
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Apr '07 22:313 edits
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    An interesting article on the history of the doctrine on Contraception in Protestantism:

    http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=20-04-020-f

    [Excerpt]

    [b]Luther’s Burden


    How might we judge the success of the Protestant family ethic? For nearly four centuries it worked reasonably well, as judged by its understanding of the divi ...[text shortened]... nd share your thoughts. I'd be particularly interested in what kirksey and Nemesio have to say.[/b]
    Well, the article seems to mix three separate questions: (1) abortion; (2) contraception; and (3) priestly celibacy—I’m not saying that for the author’s point that is invalid, but they are also separable.

    The main focus seems to be on (2), and I simply hold that contraception is not a sin (although I, like the author, was a “cradle Lutheran,” I, also like the author, do not agree with Luther on a lot of things—such as sola scriptura). Even if the language in Genesis is taken to be a command,* it need not be taken as a command for all time—the situation of the first pair of humans (and of Noah after the flood, or Jacob/Israel as the father of the nation of Israel) can be taken as a special circumstance in terms of the beginning of the human race. I see no reason to insist on separating this particular command from it’s historical context.

    “Onan’s sin” may have more to do with Onan’s reason (i.e., with regard to fulfilling his “levirate” duties) than simply with the “spilling of the seed.”

    We could argue exegesis on these, which has been done, but alternative readings are clearly defensible.

    On the issue of priestly celibacy, I suggest that it was/is an error to not permit a celibate clergy, as well as a married one—as in the early church (when bishops also could be married) and the Orthodox churches today.

    _____________________________

    * The language in all six occurrences in Genesis is in the imperative (and these appear to be the only passages where either “fruitful” or “multiply” are in the form of an imperative). However, the imperative can communicate different kinds of things, such as—

    “Go and enjoy yourselves,” or

    “Go and wash the car right now.”

    _____________________________

    Note with regard to married priests in the Orthodox churches: a married parish (I’m not sure they use that term) priest who is also the parish pastor carries out more than liturgical functions. What the ratio of married to unmarried “parish” priests is, I do not know.
  5. Standard memberNemesio
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    27 Apr '07 23:353 edits
    On doctrine, then, Protestant leaders held firm well into the twentieth century. The weakness of the Protestant position actually lay elsewhere: in the informal institution of the Pastor’s Family. One possible cause of the change in Protestant teaching not often considered is the changed family life of the clergy themselves.

    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Read the whole article and share your thoughts. I'd be particularly interested in what kirksey and Nemesio have to say.

    It doesn't come as much of a surprise to me that all Christian churches
    thought that contraception -- that is, the thing which encourages sexual
    relations without the reprecussions of pregnancy -- was an evil thing.
    Indeed, while I defend the right for two consenting adults to have sex,
    I don't mean to suggest that I think it is always a good idea. Anonymous
    or casual sex I think ultimately undermines the meaning behind the
    unitive power that two people can share through sexual pleasure. That is,
    it is indeed true that contraception can (and does) allow for 'unrestrained
    sexual experimentation,' and I believe that is indeed unfortunate.

    But, the Christian churches (in error, I feel) have historically promoted
    sex as a 'necessary evil.' St Paul's mistaken belief that the parousia
    was imminent led to his comments about the burning passions,
    and St Augustine's guilt-ridden writings are filled with it (in contrast with
    St John Chrystostom). The Protestant churches inherited this from the
    Roman Church, and the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
    are marked with repression in all forms (prohibition comes to mind), with
    a facade of sexual propriety with an undercurrent of sexual frustration.

    I feel that the Protestant churches were the first to come around on the
    idea that sex (within marriage, of course) was healthy in and of itself,
    not a necessary evil and the Roman Church, too (and rightly, I believe)
    has followed. And while procreation is the ultimate end for sex in most
    animals, for humans (and bonobos and dolphins), it need not be the
    case. That is, the churches recognized (or ultimately came to recognize)
    that sex can and even ought be an end itself, a holy rite between
    (married) couples, and that the 'Be fruitful and multiply' comment attributed
    to God was a product of its time and a reflection of the authors rather
    than a proscriptive, instructive mandate.

    That is, Luther's and Calvin's hermaneutic was informed by the rather
    dismal, negative understanding of sexuality -- 'Procreation, not pleasure,'
    so to speak -- and we have come to a better understanding of the role
    that healthy sexual expression has in our lives. That is, that they
    stopped 'holding firm' to a doctrine that I believe is fundamentally
    wrong and, especially, is rooted in sexual guilt, is encouraging. I believe
    that the rejection of (incorrect) doctrines is a sign that the Holy Spirit is
    present and alive in the churches, not that She has abandoned them.

    Does that mean it is abused, that there is a 'sexual economy of abundance?'
    Yes, it is, LH, and I pine over it. But another person's sexual permissiveness
    doesn't diminish the sexual expression I share with my wife, either
    (just like I don't believe homosexual unions diminish the value of
    my heterosexual marriage).

    I firmly disagree with the author's stance on 'upending and confusing
    sexual differences and granting to women the religious functions long
    held exclusively by men...,' as you might imagine. I do not believe that
    there is a special ontology that men have and women lack that make
    ordination possible, and I do not think that women who are pastors
    are necessarily any less 'model mothers' than men who are pastors are
    'model fathers' (as in 'parents' not Roman Catholic priests). I admire
    those families in which the mother is a 'full-time mom' equally with those
    who have a 'stay-at-home' dad, or those families who divide up the duties
    of parenting such that their child has a great deal of exposure to a
    parent or close family a good portion of the time (which is what my wife
    and I do; when she is at work, I am at home and vice versa, for the
    vast majority of most days).

    And I find the idea that 'full quivers of children' as 'God's plan' is utterly
    irresponsible, and the idea that contraception manipulates 'God's
    design for marriage' is abominable and repulsive. We don't need more
    children -- an earthly population of six billion is about twice as much
    as this planet can reasonably support -- and we don't need less 'holy' sex
    to try to reduce the population's inflation. I reject idea that the early 20th
    century were 'dark days for Christianity;' in fact, I think the opposite:
    Rather than draconian interpretations of sexuality and sexual expression
    and their relationship to healthy relationships, procreation, and implicit
    Divine responsibility, couples are now encouraged (through contraception)
    to share more fully with each other, without the guilt that 'It felt good, thus
    it was bad,' and without the profoundly irresponsible contribution of
    overpopulating the world.

    I feel that a pastor/wife (or pastor/husband!) can exhibit a 'model
    family' with no children, one, two, or a few (I feel seven, as the example
    in the article gave, is beyond irresponsible). It is how the pastor and
    spouse relate with each other and their child(ren) that reveals God's
    living love, not the architecture of the family.

    These are just my initial reactions. If you wanted to discuss something
    specific, I'd be happy to participate.
    Nemesio
  6. Felicific Forest
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    28 Apr '07 15:112 edits
    Wouln't it be a good idea to make a distinction between contraception as such, natural contraception and artificial means of contraception ?

    One often encounters, even among Roman-Catholics, the erroneous assumption that contraception as such and therefore family planning as such is a definite no no in the Roman-Catholic Church.

    Family planning based on natural contraception, on its turn based on the natural infertile period of the woman, is morally acceptable according to Roman-Catholic teaching. Artificial contraception however is not morally acceptable and therefore family planning on the basis of artificial means of contraception is forbidden.

    I repeat, family planning on the basis of natural conception is completely morally acceptable in Roman-Catholic teaching.

    It seems that a lot of confusion and erroneous conclusions can be avoided if we make these distinctions and if we keep the above notions in mind.
  7. Standard memberDoctorScribbles
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    28 Apr '07 15:302 edits
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Wouln't it be a good idea to make a distinction between contraception as such, natural contraception and artificial means of contraception ?

    One often encounters, even among Roman-Catholics, the erroneous assumption that contraception as such and therefore family planning as such is a definite no no in the Roman-Catholic Church.

    Family planning based ...[text shortened]... clusions can be avoided if we make these distinctions and if we keep the above notions in mind.
    Why should anybody make any concessions to such equivocation? Nobody uses the term contraception to denote that which you refer to as "natural contraception." Nobody, that is, except those who need to contrive a way out of the doctrinal bind they put themselves in by adhering to a position that deems real contraception sinful.

    Your proposed terminology does not clarify the issue; it confuses it. I propose that "contraception" continue to denote contraception.
  8. Unknown Territories
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    28 Apr '07 15:512 edits
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    On doctrine, then, Protestant leaders held firm well into the twentieth century. The weakness of the Protestant position actually lay elsewhere: in the informal institution of the Pastor’s Family. One possible cause of the change in Protestant teaching not often considered is the changed family life of the clergy themselves.[/i]

    Originally posted by c, I'd be happy to participate.
    Nemesio
    1. Paul was not mistaken: Christ's return for the ex anastasis is imminent in the sense that it is not dependent upon antecedent actions and/or events. Had Paul talked of the immediacy of Christ's return, i.e., within his own generation, we could then characterize his view as mistaken.

    2. Six billion people on the planet and it still remains largely unpopulated.
  9. Felicific Forest
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    28 Apr '07 17:39
    Originally posted by DoctorScribbles
    Why should anybody make any concessions to such equivocation? Nobody uses the term contraception to denote that which you refer to as "natural contraception." Nobody, that is, except those who need to contrive a way out of the doctrinal bind they put themselves in by adhering to a position that deems real contraception sinful.

    Your proposed ter ...[text shortened]... the issue; it confuses it. I propose that "contraception" continue to denote contraception.
    Some of us are here to investigate, to learn and to understand, others are here to accuse and to fight. ...... concessions ...... don't be ridiculous. If you choose to stay ignorant of the facts, so be it.
  10. Standard memberNemesio
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    28 Apr '07 22:31
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Wouln't it be a good idea to make a distinction between contraception as such, natural contraception and artificial means of contraception ?
    I refuse to acknowledge so-called 'Catholic Roulette' as 'natural' anything, for it is even more unnatural
    than artificial contraception, given that in avoiding conjugals during the woman's around and slightly
    after ovulation, you deny her sexual gratification at the time when she naturally is the most aroused,
    but, instead insist upon sexual activity in those parts of the month when she has hormonally low libido.

    The 'doctrine' itself is rooted in self-abasement, fear of pleasure, and control. That the Protestants
    abandoned it is something worth rejoicing.

    As it pertains to my discussion above, anytime I used the word 'contraception,' I assumed that it was
    implicit that I was referring to artificial contraception.

    Nemesio
  11. Standard memberNemesio
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    28 Apr '07 22:38
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    1. Paul was not mistaken: Christ's return for the ex anastasis is imminent in the sense that it is not dependent upon antecedent actions and/or events. Had Paul talked of the immediacy of Christ's return, i.e., within his own generation, we could then characterize his view as mistaken.

    This position is untenable, but if you want to discuss it, raise it in another thread.

    2. Six billion people on the planet and it still remains largely unpopulated.

    Again, I categorically disagree. As any farmer will tell you, soil doesn't remain good forever; after
    raising crops, you have to let it rest while you replenish the nutrients. The amount of arable land
    and its quality is decreasing and there will come a day when it will be so depleted as not to able to
    provide enough food. We should have fewer than 2 billion people in order to be able to reasonably
    sustain the planet. The trajectory that we are on makes the global warming craze look like a tea
    party.

    Nemesio
  12. Joined
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    28 Apr '07 23:071 edit
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    I refuse to acknowledge so-called 'Catholic Roulette' as 'natural' anything, for it is even more unnatural
    than artificial contraception, given that in avoiding conjugals during the woman's around and slightly
    after ovulation, you deny her sexual gratification at the time when she naturally is the most aroused,
    but, instead insist upon sexual activity in ed that it was
    implicit that I was referring to artificial contraception.

    Nemesio
    I refuse to acknowledge so-called 'Catholic Roulette' as 'natural' anything, for it is even more unnatural
    than artificial contraception, given that in avoiding conjugals during the woman's around and slightly after ovulation, you deny her sexual gratification at the time when she naturally is the most aroused, but, instead insist upon sexual activity in those parts of the month when she has hormonally low libido


    There is a difference between saying that there is nothing wrong with natural contraception and saying that you should practice natural contraception. I don't think ivanhoe insisted that anyone deny a woman her sexual gratfication at the time when she is most aroused or insist that sexual activity be restricted to the times when the woman has a hormonally low libido.
  13. Standard memberXanthosNZ
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    29 Apr '07 02:16
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Wouln't it be a good idea to make a distinction between contraception as such, natural contraception and artificial means of contraception ?

    One often encounters, even among Roman-Catholics, the erroneous assumption that contraception as such and therefore family planning as such is a definite no no in the Roman-Catholic Church.

    Family planning based ...[text shortened]... clusions can be avoided if we make these distinctions and if we keep the above notions in mind.
    I wouldn't call any method that has a yearly failure rate (with perfect use) of 9% contraception. And the actual failure rate is something like 25% (because people can't count, don't count, are stupid or the formula uses values that aren't correct for that woman).

    That sounds pretty awesome to me.
  14. Standard memberNemesio
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    29 Apr '07 02:36
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    There is a difference between saying that there is nothing wrong with natural contraception and saying that you should practice natural contraception. I don't think ivanhoe insisted that anyone deny a woman her sexual gratfication at the time when she is most aroused or insist that sexual activity be restricted to the times when the woman has a hormonally low libido.
    He would if the couple also decides that not having a child at that particular time makes the most
    sense.

    Nemesio
  15. Standard memberNemesio
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    29 Apr '07 02:40
    Originally posted by XanthosNZ
    I wouldn't call any method that has a yearly failure rate (with perfect use) of 9% contraception. And the actual failure rate is something like 25% (because people can't count, don't count, are stupid or the formula uses values that aren't correct for that woman).

    That sounds pretty awesome to me.
    Well, in fairness, the so-called 'Natural' planning method is exceptionally effective when the couple
    is informed and uses it properly. It's not simply about counting days, but checking vaginal secretions
    and, in some cases, measuring hormone levels (it's not the 'rhythm method'😉.

    Addtionally, many of the systems used to determine yearly failure rate fail to take into account
    those times in which couples elect to use the method to become pregnant. That is, when families
    volunteer information, the statistics read intentional pregnancies as failures.

    Nemesio
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