Balance between individual and corporate love - Historical church quotes on birth control

When you reply to an old post (or to any post for that matter), I receive a little email telling me what the reply was. However, it doesn't tell me what post it was to.

I received the following reply from a friend to a post that I don't know which one it was.

"Maybe a Church being fiscally loving is the easy thing to do. It doesn't envolve having to actually interact as individuals with people in need. Most people would rather give money to help someone than to actually sit and share and encourage them that there lives will get better."

I would agree. But I don't think the situation is an either/or. It is a both/and. The church needs to be fiscally loving and the members in the church need to be individually loving. If either is off balance, the church will not be as healthy as it can be.

If the church is fiscally loving, then it can be used as a training tool to teach individuals to be fiscally loving. There are examples in Scripture of the church being fiscally loving, and there are commands in Scripture for individuals to meet the needs of those around them. I think both are necessary. Our church, like most churches, is off kilter on this by mainly being just individually loving. However, the Catholic church usually goes the other way and are just corporately loving. A healthy balance of the two is needed.


This is more from the thread on I will quit thinking and talking about birth control soon, I hope.

This one scared me. I went to my Calvin commentaries to see what Calvin wrote about the story of Onan. I haven't seen a line like this anywhere else in the commentaries. Why are people scared of what Calvin said?

Anyway, here is the line on Genesis 38:8: "A line or two is here omitted, as well as the comment on the tenth verse." I wanted to read what Calvin wrote about on the tenth verse. It seems very weird to me that the editors chose to remove it.

But I did find the info.

Here is what Calvin wrote:

"The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is a doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring. This impiety is especially condemned, now by the Spirit through Moses' youth, that Onan, as it where, by a violent abortion, no less cruelly than filthily cast upon the ground the offspring of his brother, torn from the maternal womb. Besides, in this way he tried, as far as he was able, to wipe out part of the human race. If any woman ejects a fetus from the womb with drugs, it is reckoned a crime incapable of expiation and deservedly Onan incurred upon himself the same kind of punishment, infecting the earth by his semen, in order that Tamar might not conceive a future human being as an inhabitant of the earth."

Here is also Luther's thoughts:

"The rest of the populace is more wicked than even the heathen themselves. For most married people do not desire offspring. Indeed, they turn away from it and consider it better to live without children, because they are poor and do not have the means with which to support a household. . . . But the purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. . . . Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men and women; for they despise the blessing of God, the Creator and Author of marriage." from Luther's Works, vol. 5, Pg. 325-328, vol. 28, Pg. 279

More Luther:

"You will find many to whom a large number of children is unwelcome, as though marriage had been instituted only for bestial pleasures and not also for the very valuable work by which we serve God and men when we train and educate the children whom God has given us. They do not appreciate the most pleasant feature of marriage. For what exceeds the love of children?" from In Plass, II, #2834

This is just to show that the tradition, which some editors appear to be trying to wipe out, isn't just a Catholic tradition. It also is a Protestant tradition.

But it doesn't just stop with the founders of Protestants.

C.S. Lewis wrote.

"As regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man's power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument." from the Abolition of Man

G.K. Chesterton wrote:

" "I despise Birth-Control because it is a weak and wobbly and cowardly contempt boils over into bad behavior when I hear the common suggestion that a birth is avoided because people want to be 'free' to go to the cinema or buy a gramophone or loud-speaker. What makes me want to walk over such people like doormats is that they use the word 'free.' By every act of that sort they chain themselves to the most servile and mechanical system yet tolerated by men....Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect....He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated, and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilisation to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilisation. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world." from The Well and the Shallows, "Babies and Distributism"

The history of the tradition of the church does place the burden of proof on those who believe birth control is within our freedom rather than those of use who believe it is a sin.

Here's the site that I found most of these quotes on.

They also have a challenge at the top that I found interesting:
"E-Mail me a verifiable quotation from an orthodox Christian theologian who wrote prior to 1900 A. D. in support of contraception. I do not believe that one can be found!"

Watch out for the potholes.