Should Churches Push Contraception?

Young evangelical leaders at the recent Q conference in DC were asked, as part of a panel on reducing abortions, this question:  “Do you believe that churches should advocate contraception for their single 20-somethings?” The “yes” crowd was 66 percent large. Only 34 percent said no.

Wow! What does one make of this?

What’s remarkable and discouraging to me is the Q attendees are not back-pew slackers, but a gathering of influential leaders in the coming generation of evangelicalism. And a strong majority of them not only believe that it is fine for single Christians to use birth control, but that the church, Christ’s bride, should get busy encouraging it if not directly supplying it. But advocating contraception to cut down the number of abortions is not a rationale.

Actually, the abortion rate started to spike dramatically in the U.S. in 1968-1970, years after the pill became widely available and years before the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Some contend that this was because of the growing sense of having a “right not to be pregnant” if a sexually active woman didn’t want to be. She could also face pressure toward abortion from her partner who didn’t want his sexual partner hampered by pregnancy. The pill was expected to actually reduce abortion by reducing unwanted pregnancies, but it clearly did not.

So encouraging contraception among single Christians is not just morally wrong, but logically so as well.

What if the question was, “Do you think Jesus would give birth control to unmarried Christians who are having sex anyway?” No difference in the two questions really, but I wonder if there would have been a different response if the question had Jesus himself distributing the party favors.

Too often, when we explain that Jesus did not condemn sinners, we glance over the truth that He did call them to turn from their sin. When Jesus encountered those in sexual sin, His message was not, “Well, please be careful!” but rather, “Sin no more!”

And Christ’s church has no other option but to follow His example, His Spirit and His truth. It is unloving not to do so.

And no generation of the church — as with-it and well-intentioned as they might be — gets a pass on that.

How did this news hit you?

About the Author

Glenn Stanton

Glenn T. Stanton is the director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family. He debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage and parenting at universities and churches around the country. Glenn is the author of four books and a contributor to nine others. He’s a huge Bob Dylan fan, loves quirky movies, and picked out and bought the first piece of clothing for himself when he was 28. Glenn and his wife, Jacqueline, have five children and live in Colorado Springs, Colo.