New Synodical Resolution on Birth Control

...to be considered in convention this summer!

A reader alerted us on 4/27/10 to an overture for the LCMS convention on the subject of birth control. The LCMS Reporter Online now reports that the Theology and Church Relations floor committee has declined the resolution on birth control, as was easily predicted, but surprisingly it was declined with a resolution composed by the floor committee itself, as follows:

...a final resolution declines three congregation-submitted overtures -- to end all official theological talks with the ELCA; to request the Synod president not to attend ELCA Churchwide Assemblies; and to return to a Scriptural position on birth control. The committee cited the encouragement of 2Tim: 2:25 to "correct opponents with gentleness" so that God might grant them repentance as reasons for the first two declinations. As for the third overture, the committee noted that the Synod has never had an official position on birth control."

Yes, that is true. There was that strange 1981 CTCR report on sexuality referred to the synod for "study" - but it was never adopted in convention. It is also interesting to note that the recent resolution that was submitted did not claim the LCMS had its own official position on birth control. It stated the following:

Resolved, That the 2010 LCMS convention declare that the LCMS still accepts the scriptural position of Martin Luther on birth control and the position long promoted in the LCMS by such ortho- dox LCMS theologians as John H. C. Fritz, Walter Maier, Martin Nauman, Theodore Laetch, and many others.

It is precisely because the Purple Palace has never officially adopted a resolution in contradiction to the longstanding teaching of the church catholic (including 400+ years of unanimous Lutheran condemnation of contraception), that the original overture was simply suggesting that this longstanding Scriptural position of the church (the one promoted on this blog) should be acknowledged by all who honor their fathers in the faith. No resolutions need to be rescinded. The truth only needs to be reaffirmed.

The "democracy of the dead" has spoken loudly and clearly for thousands of years, and its unanimous voice has only been very recently (and quite unofficially) contradicted by the chronological snobbery of "the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about." False teaching on this subject has, indeed, been published by CPH and propagated in our seminaries, dismissing our fathers in the faith as ignorant and unenlightened while praising the likes of Margaret Sanger.


Anonymous said...

My concern is that this reflects an unwillingness to discuss contraception. I tell my sons that children are a reward. They are a blessing to them and the world given by God into their parents' care as leaders and mentors. They are not even old enough to date or think about girls, but I think they need to form their ideas and ideals long before they get interested in marriage. That way their ideals will help them choose the most compatible woman whose sees her first loyalty is to the Lord and his service.

I would like the church to actively support this view rather than sit back with the attitude that it is fine with them if followers are obedient to God and if not well some things aren't polite to say.

I am concerned that kids can sit in Sunday school and church for 20 years in a theologically sound denomination without ever once hearing the idea that God may wish to bless them with the number of children he thinks they should have. I feel if I don't challenge the contraception culture, I am basically telling my kids that I agree with it. Or that it is not my place to say, etc. The wider culture meanwhile promotes non-stop the position that contraception is morally superior, which means by saying nothing, I may even be sending the message that Christians limiting the number of children that they have is actually God's will. How would my sons know any better if I don't say anything and the church is silent?

These are the issues I think people don't want discussed, and by suppressing such discussions we may actually be doing something wrong that will even hurt our own children and families.

GL said...

It is very sad that only the Catholic Church and a few very small Protestant denominations and independent churches have held to what was the teaching of the Church catholic until less than a century ago. In our family, we our viewed as odd for having four children. When I was growing up, I knew several kids my age who had three, four and even five siblings.

This weekend, a family member told me that some of her friends had commented on how crazy we were. Later she discussed a trip that some of her friends were taking to Hawaii with their only son, his wife, their only grandchild and their grandchild's other grandparents. I couldn't help but wonder whether these were the same friends who think we are crazy for having four children.

These friends are otherwise good Christians and yet, if they are the ones who think we are crazy, they have not only misplaced priorities, but, sadly, they have passed those misplaced priorities down to their only child.

Anonymous said...

I am not a theologian and I don't even know if this fits, but it seems God has told us that if we didn't follow his ways we would lose what we have and it would be given to others.

Anonymous said...

Although CPH has published false teaching on this subject in the past, I am rather pleased with its note on Genesis 38:9 in the new Lutheran Study Bible: "'not to give offspring.' He did not want the family inheritance to be divided up further. Yet if this was all he desired, he could have abstained from intercourse altogether. Instead, Onan wanted to enjoy sexual intercourse while intentionally depriving Tamar of a family and inheritance. Imagine how this hurt and offended her at each encounter. Luth: 'Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin.... 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' (AE 7:20-21)."

I find this far preferable to the old Concordia Self-Study Bible's note on the following verse: "'What he did.' His refusal to perform his levirate duty."

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Yes, I agree. The new Lutheran Study Bible's notes do a relatively decent job with Genesis 38:9 and other key verses like Genesis 1:28, Malachi 2:15, and 1 Timothy 2:15, even quoting the related sections from the Lutheran Confessions.

GL said...

Glad to read about how the new Lutheran Study Bible handles Genesis 38 and other relevant verses. Maybe its a start in the right direction. Now if they would only add Luther's commentary on contraception to all the relevant verses in the next edition. I'm sure it would be a real eye opener for many.