I asked by email:
"What, exactly, do you mean by "unintended pregnancies"? Also, please
explain how congregations and leaders should encourage their prevention."
I received the following reply on Maundy Thursday, April 9:
Dear Dr. Heidenreich,
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
President Kieschnick received your email and has asked me to respond to
you on his behalf.
The one certain method for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies is
abstinence. Congregations and leaders should encourage and teach
abstinence, within the context of the Sixth Commandment with its
explanation in Luther's Small Catechism and other Biblical teaching in
Rev. Larry Krueger
Assistant to the President
I have replied as follows:
Thank you for your reply. However, with all due respect, you did not even attempt to answer my primary question: What, exactly, does President Kieschnick mean by 'unintended pregnancies'? On this question, your email leaves me more confused than I was before.
You have substituted the term "unwanted pregnancies." Is this what President Kieschnick meant to say rather than "unintended pregnancies"? Whether a couple "intended" to conceive a child or not, subsequently considering any "pregnancy" (i.e. baby) as "unwanted" is a blatantly sinful attitude, whether the couple is married or not.
In talking about "unintended pregnancies" was President Kieschnick referring only to out-of-wedlock conception? If so, then why did he speak only in terms of preventing pregnancy rather than unambiguously condemning the sin of fornication?
If, on the other hand, President Kieschnick was not only referring to out-of-wedlock conception, your answer to me would appear to suggest that he believes married couples should abstain for the purpose of preventing "unintended pregnancies." If this is the case, is he suggesting the use of Natural Family Planning, or is he suggesting complete abstinence?
Above all, I question this whole notion of "unintended" pregnancies. Such language fails to confess the fact that the creation of human life is an act of God. There is, therefore, no such thing as an "unintended" pregnancy. God is the one who "intends" to create life, and it is He alone who opens and closes the womb. No life can be created if God does not intend a life to come into being. We are simply His instruments.
In Genesis 30:2, we read: "Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said: 'Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?'"
Luther comments on this passage as follows:
“Although it is very easy to marry a wife, it is very difficult to support her along with the children and the household. Accordingly, no one notices this faith of Jacob. Indeed, many hate fertility in a wife for the sole reason that the offspring must be supported and brought up. For this is what they commonly say: ‘Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden of poverty alone and not load myself with misery and want.’ But this blame is unjustly fastened on marriage and fruitfulness. Indeed, you are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.” [Luther's Works, vol. 5, page 332]
So, again, I ask what President Kieschnick meant by the term "unintended pregnancies."
Blessings to you in our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Erich Heidenreich, DDS