Birth Control: Planning Ahead
or Playing God?
By Belinda Elliott
Should Christians use birth control? For some Christian
couples this is a difficult question to answer. Numerous books
and Web sites are devoted to the topic, often passionately defending
their views on the issue as the only “right way” for
The issue of birth control is a controversial one for many Christians.
There are those who believe that any technique that could interfere
with the potential for conception is an attempt to “play
God” and violates God’s Word. At the other end of
the spectrum are those who consider all methods of contraception
as viable, even those that could destroy a developing embryo.
Between these two extremes are various positions held by people
who believe some, but not all, birth control methods are acceptable.
One of the newest books to tackle the topic, The Contraception
Guidebook: Options, Risks, and Answers for Christian Couples,
is a refreshing addition to the wealth of information available
in bookstores and on the Internet about contraception. Unlike
many other books on the subject, this book does not attempt to
provide a clear-cut answer to the birth control debate. What it
does provide is sound medical information about various methods
of contraception and how they work, to allow readers to make their
own decisions about how ethical or appropriate birth control is
Published by Zondervan in partnership with the Christian Medical
Association, the book is written by Dr. William R. Cutrer, an
OB/GYN and ordained minister, with Sandra Glahn, a journalist
and seminary professor. The authors are sensitive to the various
views of contraception held within the body of Christ, and they
acknowledge that it is not their responsibility to choose for
couples what methods are right or wrong.
“Our desire in writing this book is to speak kindness,
gentleness, and humility in what has been at times a heated discussion,”
the authors say.
Designed for married and engaged couples, the majority of the
book is dedicated to exploring the many types of contraception
methods available to couples today. The book offers in-depth explanations
of condoms, diaphragms, sponges, IUDs, oral contraceptives, hormone
therapies, surgical procedures, and the controversial morning-after
The authors also discuss other topics related to contraception
including myths about sex and pregnancy, abortion, surgical sterilization,
natural family planning, infertility, and adoption.
While the book is full of medical data and research, the authors
do a superb job of making the information easy to understand.
And the authors provide numerous Scripture references for couples
to study further and prayerfully consider. They also acknowledge
topics on which the Scripture doesn't specifically comment.
Cutrer and Glahn write, "In this work we will reason from
Scriptures as often and as carefully as we can, but where the
Bible is silent, we'll acknowledge that silence."
Where the Bible is not silent, on issues like abortion for example,
the authors cite reasons why those procedures directly violate
God's Word. For readers who are curious about where the Christian
Medical and Dental Associations stand on issues covered in the
book, an appendix is provided with statements from the associations
regarding hormonal birth control, human sexuality, abortion, and
Also helpful are the discussion questions included with each
chapter, as well as additional questions for couples in an appendix.
The thought-provoking questions encourage communication between
husbands and wives about each topic covered in the book and how
it relates to their family.
One exercise in particular illustrates how often couples do not
realize the expectations of their spouse on issues surrounding
family planning. Cutrer writes that during counseling sessions
he often has the couple sit back to back and hold up their fingers
to represent the number of children they want to have. He says
the couples rarely have the same answer. If couples take time
to discuss their thoughts on these issues ahead of time, they
will likely avoid surprises as they begin to plan their families.
Being a newlywed myself, this book quickly captured my attention.
It provided information and medical answers that I had spent weeks
trying to uncover for myself on the Internet. In my search, I
quickly grew weary of sites that provided more Christian “opinion”
than medical facts about contraception. It is refreshing to read
a book that presents the medical research underlying contraception
without feeling the authors are trying to sway the reader’s
decision one way or the other.
I highly recommend this book for Christian couples seeking reliable
information about contraception. Pick up a copy today, and prayerfully
read it as you seek the Lord’s guidance in building your
me what you think.
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