Letters

Birth Control

Allow me some comments on the prohibition of birth control mentioned by Rev. Dale Kuiper in his article on "arrows" in the October 1, 1998 Standard Bearer which I believe reflects the teaching of the Protestant Reformed Churches.

Of course abortion is sin and murder because God speaks of people in the womb. Of course the issues of life and death ultimately belong to God. But is outlawing birth control not akin to despising modern medicine and every other advancement of human discovery? Parents of children denied medical attention are rightly prosecuted. Muslims in Pakistan where maternal mortality is very high appeal to fate. Surely, medicines, the car, computers, and even weapons are morally neutral and in most cases a boon, though all are open to abuse. "Be fruitful" is the only command the human race has obeyed! But are we not given dominion over the creation? Presently, we can save life by medical means. No one would say that we were interfering with God's prerogative. So, what about birth control? Onan sinned because he blatantly disobeyed God. Is birth control not one of the "all things" that Paul allows in I Corinthians 6:12? Are we to be like the Roman Catholics, who virtually force women who may neither be fit or financially able to care for a large family, to have one? It reminds me of the Pharisees whom Jesus condemned for lading people with heavy burdens that neither they nor the people could bear.

(Dr.) Julian Kennedy

Bournemouth, England

RESPONSE:

First of all, we refer you to our response to another letter in a previous issue of the Standard Bearer, where a defense of our article in the light of the covenant appears. We believe this will answer some of the concerns expressed in your letter dated November 21, 1998.

We remark as follows to your specific concerns:

1. Although the Protestant Reformed Churches do not have an official position on birth control and family planning, I do believe that what was written reflects the emphasis we have in our churches. I learned these things growing up in our churches, and I certainly was confirmed in this teaching as I worked in the Word of God as a pastor for over thirty years.

2. Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches do not despise the advances of modern medicine. Nor do we blindly use every medication or device that comes along. A distinction should be made between those medicines which prevent disease, relieve pain, and aid healing on the one hand, and those which allow man to manipulate things not in his province, on the other.

3. If people marry for the sake of the covenant, and raise families for the sake of the covenant; if they take upon themselves the yoke of Jesus and learn of Him; then they find that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:29-30). I have found that to be true in my life. And I deny the charge or implication of Phariseeism. 

—Rev. D.H. Kuiper