We tend to compartmentalize decisions that we do in the open as "public" and those that involve our home life as "private" but this is an artificial construction since all choices have a reverberating effect to some degree within the greater societal framework. In fact, many people don't even think about personal decisions having a broader social impact, but they do and therefore, as thinking Christians, we should consider all effects of every choice we make, whether a public or private action.
One such sensitive (and controversial) topic is that of family planning. Of course abortion is a hideous blight on our society and I'm hopeful that with continued effort we can turn the tide on this despicable practice. But other topics such as IVF, surrogacy, and birth control need to also be weighed appropriately in the context of a Christian worldview. Many Christian women, I'm sad to say, feel that surrogacy for a stranger is doing a Christian service, when they never really understand all the aspects of such a procedure, including the possibility of killing some of the babies in utero or the difficulties of extra fertilized embryos kept frozen.
What's Controversial About Birth Control?Birth control, while seemingly more benign that other aspects of family planning, has its share of complications to consider. Recently, Douglas Wilson posted a new article entitled Eleven Theses on Birth Control. There, he took a thoughtful look at some of the aspects and points of contention among Christians about issues associated with birth control. It's a great read and provides a lot for us to think about. An excerpt:
While the Scriptures don't say anything definitively about birth control as such, they do teach an enormous amount about the blessing of faithful covenant seed. This is one of the three main reasons for covenant marriage -- the begetting of a godly seed (Mal. 2:15). This should be taught and emphasized in the church, and is the only really effective way to counter the world's anti-child bigotry. If this is effectively done, visitors to your church will think you must teach against birth control, and they will think this because of the large teeming population at the three foot level that they can see during fellowship hour.
Wilson is careful, though not to pigeon-hole Christians into a rigid "no-birth-control-ever" mantra. He writes:
He also tackles the problem of birth control techniques that are abortifacients and the issue of Onan (no pun intended). Overall, it's refreshing to see a look at this topic with a thoughtful eye—something modern Christianity needs more of these days.