NewsMon Aug 11, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Natural Family Planning, Radical Openness to Life Gains Ground in Protestant Circles
By Jenna Murphy
August 11, 2008, (LifeSiteNews.com) - After decades of division over issues surrounding fertility and the moral issues inherent to procreation, many protestants are now turning away from the contraceptive culture and towards Natural Family Planning (NFP), a completely natural method, that allows couples to "space" children without the use of artificial contraceptives. NFP, which is based upon a thorough knowledge of the woman’s fertility cycle, is also said to be equally effective for attaining pregnancy as it is for avoiding it.
In an August 10th article in the Austin Statesmen entitled, "Some Protestants Find Spiritual Appeal in Natural Family Planning: Taking a page from Catholic doctrine, Protestants are avoiding artificial contraception for religious reasons," several protestant couples are questioned on their choice to wade into what have traditionally been considered Catholic waters.
Katie Fox, 31, says that though her mother specifically left the Church for its failure to condone contraceptives, it is precisely this moral stance that she has come to share with the Catholic faith.
The Taylors, a twenty-something Texonian couple, are one of the several couples at Hope Chapel, their non-denominational church, who are embracing NFP as a moral means of family planning.
After reading a book about how the birth control pill often turns the uterus into a hostile environment for a newly fertilized egg, Phaedra Taylor, who was already opposed to abortion, recognized the pill as being morally wrong.
"I feel like [NFP] really works in harmony with the way that God designed our bodies to work," she said. "In contrast with the pill, which works by altering and suppressing our natural systems, NFP works by supporting those systems in harmony with their functions. It goes with the flow, so to speak. There is a wisdom and a rightness to that which I really appreciate."
Protestant academics like Reverend Amy Laura Hall, a Methodist minister and associate professor at Duke Divinity School, are beginning to write on reproductive issues and are finding themselves swamped with questions from earnestly searching fellow Protestants.
The New Statesmen article cites Alexis Dobson an instructor with the Fertility Care Center of Central Texas, who says that there is an increasing trend of Protestants enrolling in the NFP classes taught at the Center.
The Protestant reaction against the modern contraceptive culture, however, is espoused most radically by Quiverfull, a Conservative Protestant initiative which upholds children as the pinnacle gift from God, never to be hindered - not even through Natural Family Planning.
The group takes their name from Psalm 127 of the Bible where children are said to be ‘a heritage from the Lord’ and those who have a "quiver full of them" are to be called "happy."
In one Quiverfull article entitled "Who is in Control?: Trusting God for His Perfect Plan in Our Lives", numerous scriptural references are used to confirm the group’s conviction that "the increase of a population is a two-fold blessing." Not only does a larger population signify God’s favour, but it also allows higher efficiency because of the plethora of gifts and talents found in a larger population.
"There are many verses where God bestows a blessing upon His people by promising them an increase in numbers and fertility and likewise a cursing for disobedience by taking away their fertility," observes Quiverfull.
Quiverfull’s stance on population growth is particularly apropos at this junction in history, when in many American cities the death rate now often exceeds the birthrate.
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and zealous supporter of the Quiverfull philosophy of radical dependence upon Divine providence in matters of procreation, vigorously opposes the overpopulation myth, saying that "children usually bring greater economic benefits than costs over the long term".
Mohler sums up the motivation behind the Protestant reaction against the contraceptive culture, both by those who espouse NFP and those who do not, when he observes, "If a couple sees children as an imposition, as something to be vaccinated against, like an illness, that betrays a deeply erroneous understanding of marriage and children."
Read "Some Protestants find spiritual appeal in natural family planning"
Related LifeSite coverage:
Protestant Group Advocates Leaving Fertility in God’s Hands - No Birth Control Artificial or Natural
Prominent Baptist Albert Mohler Tackles Anti-human Overpopulation Hysteria
Deaths Exceed Births in Increasing Number of Major US Cities