When I first encountered the question: “Is the practice of birth control acceptable in God’s sight?” I responded with typical 20th century arrogance and “wisdom” – sure it is!
But through this book and personal conversations with the author I have been challenged to rethink some very basic issues: Does the Bible approve of birth control? What are God’s purposes for marriage? Are children a blessing as the Bible says or an expensive liability? Is God really sovereign in childbirth? Does He really open and close the womb? Can He take care of people if He blesses them with a large family?
I was forced to go back to the Bible and to prayerfully consider these questions. Here I think the reader will find this book helpful. The author’s exegesis is careful and thorough. Although we do not see eye to eye on everything, he has shown me that the teachings of Scripture are clearer than I had anticipated on many important points: God is sovereign not just in salvation, but also in providing a couple with children; children are a blessing and many children are a great blessing. I was surprised to see how much our culture’s thinking had affected my reading of Scripture. Finally, as the witnesses from history began speaking out, I realized that the blinders of our modern day pragmatism had stopped me from seeing God’s Word clearly and considering the subject honestly.
Let me challenge my fellow readers to give the author a hearing. Don’t bring up your objections too quickly (“Oh, the Onan passage can’t mean that”), don’t panic too quickly (“Oh no, I’ll have 17 children” or “what will our parents think”), guard against your unbelief (“Oh, we will starve”) and trust God. There is an important message for God’s people in this book. It goes against much of what the world thinks is wise and prudent.
But God’s ways are not our ways.
It is my hope that this book will begin to lead us back to God’s ways in this area. To value what God values – children. To recognize His sovereignty – He knows best how many children we should have. And to trust Him to work His will, provision, and protection in our lives. I am grateful that the author had the insight and courage to challenge me to seek the Lord in this matter. May God bless you as you take time to consider His will in this important aspect of His creation. May He be glorified as His people affirm:
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127: 3-5 (NASB)
Pastor Todd Jaussen, Donora, Pennsylvania. March, 1989
Chapter One of this book, “Nine Reasons Why the Bible Prohibits Birth Control”, is a somewhat revised edition of an article entitled “The Bible’s view of Birth Control”. This article appeared in the Christian News of February 29, 1988. The Christian News is a theologically conservative newspaper with mainly a Lutheran outlook. Though this Lutheran outlook dominates the newspaper, it provides a non-censored forum for many differing views, and contains many articles of interest to those who believe the Bible.
For information on the Christian News, please write to: Christian News, P.O. Box 168, New Haven, Missouri 63068. The article is reprinted here with the permission of Charles D. Provan (myself!) and Pastor Herman Otten, editor of the Christian News.
Chapter Two, “Two Alternate Viewpoints on Birth Control, and Rebuttals of the Same”, contains two responses to my article (both of which were printed by Christian News) and my responses to them. The first alternate, “Another View on Onan”, was anonymously signed “A Concerned Friend”. The second, entitled “Devil’s Advocate”, was composed by Pastor Roger Kovaciny of Columbus, Ohio. Permission to reprint these two responses was graciously given by Pastor Otten (in lieu of “A Concerned Friend”) and Pastor Kovaciny.
Because the “Devil’s Advocate” article is long and makes a number of points, I have added paragraph numbers for ease of reference. The Scripture quotes in my rebuttals are primarily from the New International Version of the Bible.
Chapter Three, “Protestant Theologians and the Onan Incident”, was compiled in order to demonstrate the fact that the Protestant view of the Biblical account of Onan has always been (till the corrupt Twentieth Century) that Onan was killed for unnatural sexual relations with his wife, a point which has direct bearing upon Birth Control.
Charles D. Provan, Monongahela, Pennsylvania. March, 1989
During the compilation of this manuscript I have been helped by a sizable number of institutions and people. I am very grateful to them all, and would like to take this opportunity to thank the most prominent: The Staff of the Clifford E. Barbour Library at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (especially Stephen Crocco and Jayne Schneider). The Staff of Concordia Seminary Library, St Louis, Missouri (particularly Mike Awe and Tim Engel). Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Library, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(Let me say in passing that the rare book collections contained in the above libraries are veritable treasure troves of godly teaching – we highly recommend them to one and all.)
Werner Barbye* (and his wife)
Jim and Lisa Dodson
A special word goes to those whose names are followed by an asterisk, my translators.
They put up with phone calls and letters above and beyond the call of duty in helping me to locate and translate passages which were of peculiar interest to me! Many Thanks.