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23.02.2020 Tomi 6 Comments

In stark contrast to the Regulative Principle of Government was the equally important Puritan doctrine — the Principle of Liberty. Again, entire books have been written on this subject, but the following incredibly abbreviated summary captures the essence of this Reformed position: God alone is Lord of the conscience, 65 and has left it free from any doctrines or commandments of men 66 a which are in any respect contrary to the Word of God, 67 or b which, in regard to matters of faith and worship, are not governed by the Word of God.

If I later find that microwaving food produces a product that will give me cancer something that I currently doubt then I should quit using the microwave, because the Bible tells me to take care of my body.

But since science is not infallible, we should use care in how far we impose such logic, and we should recognize that legitimate disagreements can occur in interpreting the scientific data. In any case, when this principle is applied to conception control, I believe the Reformed position should be that unless Biblical principles make it very clear that conception control is indeed a sin, conception control is a liberty.

I will later try to show that Biblical principles do indeed make certain forms of conception control a sin. But unless a specific law can be appealed to in order to discredit a given conception control method, we should not treat it as sin. The Onan passage Gen. Certainly this passage opposes selfishness in the use of conception control and it also illustrates six concrete laws that were broken by Onan.

It is a critical point of Biblical ethics to distinguish between an historical exemplification of sin Onan and the specific laws that outline that sin. On my interpretation of the example of Onan, I can show six laws that were broken:. Those six things made the way he engaged in coitus interruptus to be a clear violation of the law of God.

But nowhere in the law is coitus interruptus condemned in and of itself, and it is certainly not condemned when used for the purpose of spacing babies or limiting the size of the family for example, planning to limit it to seven or ten or twelve. As we will see in the rest of this book, other supposedly broken laws such as the command to be fruitful and multiply are commands that we vigorously promote as well and have no intention of breaking.

Many people have challenged me to prove that the Bible authorizes birth control. Even if those passages were not present in the Bible, you cannot prove sin by an argument of silence, or all of us would need to quit using computers, cell phones, etc.

Their claim is that most birth control methods are a modern phenomenon that was unheard of in the ancient world and unthinkable. This too is false. The ancient Jews also had extensive discussions of when conception control was allowed and when it was not allowed.

So in the same books that Jews opposed masturbation, permanent sterilization, or any medications that damaged the body or the fetus, those same Jews used both barrier and spermicidal methods of birth control and did not consider it to have violated the Scripture.

So there is no basis for the common argument that birth control was not available or known in the ancient world. Virtually every form of birth control that is being used today had equivalents in the ancient world. This means that even if there had been silence in the Bible toward the very limited forms of birth control that we advocate, it would prove the opposite of what the NCC advocates claim.

However, I would encourage both sides of the debate to use nothing but Scripture to define the issue. I have brought external evidence up not because it is in any way normative, but simply to answer the NCC misuse of external evidence. The Bible alone is our authority. In the following chapters we will look at some of the Biblical arguments used by the NCC camp to see which ones have merit and which ones do not.

What were the sins of Onan in Genesis ? Since we have already seen chapter 3 that nothing can be called a sin that is not clearly laid out as a sin in the law of God Rom. This chapter will seek to demonstrate that both sides are wrong. The NCC camp adds to the law of God a prohibition nowhere given thou shalt not have sterile sex and the ABC camp takes away from the law by ignoring other ethical issues violated by Onan.

It was a deliberate violation of the duty that his father had given to him in verse 8. Second, Onan lied. Worse, he broke the solemn vows of a Levirate marriage. This was a clear violation of Numbers 30 and of the ninth commandment. This violated a fundamental provision in the law of inheritance Deut. Fourth, verse 9 makes it clear that he entered into marriage with no intention of ever having children by this woman. He was not using conception control to delay having children or to space children or to limit the number of children.

The stated goal was to eliminate the possibility of having any children. This violated numerous commands to be fruitful and multiply Gen. Contrary to the ABC claim that the passage is irrelevant to the conception control debate, this point makes it clear that the Onan passage is very relevant to the debate. Her desire to have children was so great that she was willing to take a great risk to her own life in order to have a child Gen. Her willingness to sin in order to have children is also a warning to the ABC camp that some methods of getting pregnant may indeed be sinful.

We will look at some of the sinful methods used in fertility clinics later in this book. Sixth, this coitus interruptus may very well have deprived Tamar of the pleasure of sexual relations. He stated,. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment … That worthless fellow refused to exercise [love].

If so, it was a clear violation of the law of God. The Song of Solomon is an instruction manual on learning how to please each other, and it is not simply the man who has sexual desires that need to be met. The interplay of invitation given and accepted in the Song of Solomon shows both were involved, and the arousal of either husband or wife without fulfillment is not seen as a good thing The repeated calls to not stir up or awaken love inappropriately all apply to this situation.

It is this very reason that made Philo conclude that it is a sin to marry a sterile woman:. But those people deserve to be reproached who are ploughing a hard and stony soil. And who can these be but they who have connected themselves with barren women? For such men are only hunters after intemperate pleasure, and in the excess of their licentious passions they waste their seed of their own deliberate purpose.

Since for what other reason can they espouse such women? It cannot be for a hope of children, which they are aware must, of necessity, be disappointed, but rather to gratify their excess in lust and incurable incontinence. And this was exactly the viewpoint of many early church fathers who had been unduly influenced by Greek philosophy. As we will see, it does the exact opposite. And the reason is fairly obvious: God created the average male to produce about million sperm in every ejaculation, with estimated ranges being from 40 million to as high as 1.

It was not an issue of wastefulness , but an issue of violating the law of God. The husband is not just to be sexually aroused the meaning of the Hebrew during fertile times, but always and at all times. Even if there was no ejaculation, the sexual arousal itself would cause sperm to begin to be secreted into the urethra. Paul implies that sexual fasting should be no longer than the periods of prayer and fasting from food 1 Corinthians Sperm is always wasted in Biblically governed sexual relations.

The average woman is born with 2 million egg follicles. By puberty, a majority of those follicles close up and only about get released as mature eggs, ready for fertilization. But even those mature eggs are far more than could possibly be raised.

Has God wasted eggs? There are other reasons for the production of sperm and eggs than reproduction. But it is not as if the law of God is silent on this question. The law supports the BLCC position.

That spilling seed in and of itself was not what was considered to be the sin of Onan is confirmed by showing that the Law of God did not treat emission of semen via intercourse with the wife Lev. Instead, both were treated equivalently. If one is sin then the other must be sin. The spilling of the seed was only the means to the sin. There are three potential objections to this understanding of Leviticus We will see how each of these potential counterclaims are wrong.

The first possible counterclaim is that Leviticus makes all sex and all emission of semen morally sinful. This position would say that because children are a greater good, sex is permitted as a necessary evil, and that the act of sex always contaminates one morally. They would agree with Huguccio when he said that intercourse,. Ambrose represented many when he taught that the first sin was sexual pleasure, and all sexual sin since that time has been tainted with sin.

Some allowed that it was possible to produce children without sin theoretically , but insisted that it would have been done without pleasure and by a mere act of the will. Thomas Aquinas did not have a very healthy view of sex himself, but he did at least try to oppose the common viewpoint that sex could never be engaged in without sin.

Some say that whenever pleasure is the chief motive for the marriage act it is a mortal sin; that when it is an indirect motive it is a venial sin; and that when it spurns the pleasure altogether and is displeasing, it is wholly void of venial sin; so that it would be a mortal sin to seek pleasure in this act, a venial sin to take the pleasure when offered, but that perfection requires one to detest it.

But this is impossible, since according to the Philosopher Ethic. But as Chrysostom pointed out in his day, this is falling into the error of failing to distinguish between ceremonial law and moral law; ceremonial defilement and moral defilement. It also ignores a large body of Biblical materials that call a husband and wife to find great sexual delight in each other. How does it differ from moral uncleanness? First, we must make an important distinction between sexual sin that is vile, and unclean in itself and the emissions of semen described in Leviticus 15 that resulted in a state of being temporarily unclean.

The first is inward, the second is outward. The first flows from the heart, while the ceremonial uncleanness flows from contact. Moral uncleanness cannot be cleansed without the blood of Christ whereas ceremonial uncleanness can be cleansed with ceremonial water Heb.

It is noteworthy that while the normal sexual process between husband and wife made both partners ceremonially unclean, it did not make them sinful—no guilt was involved and no sacrifice was required.

So the chronic discharges which required a sin offering were not necessarily related to personal sin. Second, this uncleanness ceremonially separated from the temple , but not from God Himself. And people could become unclean by contact with an insect, a mouse, a lizard, etc.

If a dead insect fell on you or on a piece of wood or into a pot you could become unclean Lev It was impossible to keep oneself from ceremonial uncleanness for very long. Many antinomian arguments against the Law of God fail to distinguish between the moral law of God and the ceremonial laws of the Mosaic economy. But it is obvious that believers in the Old Testament understood this distinction cf.

Many Scriptures make no sense without understanding that moral laws are quite different from ceremonial laws eg. The BLCC position is not advocating the reinstitution of the ceremonial laws of the Mosaic economy though such laws continue to teach us of the Gospel and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The following chart helps to clarify the major differences between the moral law and the ceremonial law of Moses. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

But what is most significant for our study is that after Christ fulfilled the ceremonial law, God has removed all of the ceremonial uncleanness restrictions from the church, except for one. Moral transgressions continue to be judged by God, but only four non-moral laws continue into the New Testament Acts But the evidence against counterclaim one is very strong. The second possible counterclaim against our thesis is that Leviticus is describing something involuntary, such as a nocturnal emission, whereas Genesis 38 is describing something voluntary and very deliberate.

The argument would be that if it was a nocturnal emission of semen we would not be guilty of the death of children though if there was an evil dream connected with it, there would be some guilt , but if it were a deliberate spilling of seed, we would be guilty.

For example, Matthew Poole says,. See Gen. As Ibn Ezra explains, this statement pertains to an involuntary emission of semen. However, there are three exegetical problems with this theory.

The most important exegetical problem is that this theory still falls short of showing any prohibition in the law of God. Matthew Poole has not shown a contrast within the law. The most he has shown is that there is an emission in Leviticus 15 that does not have moral culpability and there is an emission in Genesis 38 that does have moral culpability. But both sides of the debate agree with this observation.

That is not the issue. It has only been asserted. Second, the Hebrew grammar contradicts the notion that the emission in Leviticus 15 is involuntary passive and the emission in Genesis 38 is voluntary active. Everyone agrees that the ejaculation in verse 18 is consciously engaged in. That is reading something into the text that is not there. None of those three things had any moral blame, though all three equally made the man ceremonially unclean and therefore unable to enter the temple until after the simple cleansing and wait until evening.

But this brings up the last objection potentially made by NCC advocates. The claim could be made that if our thesis is true, and if Leviticus is an active spilling of seed as the Qal stem seems to imply , then the passage could just as easily justify masturbation.

Since masturbation is clearly wrong, the claim could be made that the BLCC exegesis of Leviticus must also be wrong. While I agree that masturbation solo sex is wrong, chapter 3 has already demonstrated that we must derive our belief in its wrongness from the law of God alone, and not engage in eisegesis.

The bottom line is that if this text taught that masturbation was lawful, then we must submit to its liberty. But I believe it teaches the opposite. It is an awkward Hebrew structure to translate. This means that the two words are not a redundancy, but a clarification of what kind of emission verse 16 is talking about.

In other words, this law is clarifying that this is not solo-sex or auto-eroticism. Therefore, far from supporting any kind of masturbation solo-sex , verses are highlighting either premature ejaculation that does not touch the woman or the kind of mutual stimulation described in the Song of Solomon. This is positive evidence that spilling of seed was not the primary thing in mind in Genesis Onan was judged for six unlawful reasons for spilling his seed.

If those in the NCC camp believe we have missed an additional sin the sin of sterile emission then they should be able to show an explicit prohibition for sterile emissions in the law of God. We have already demonstrated chapter 3 that apart from explicit prohibition in the law of God, sterile emission of semen within a lawful marriage relationship is not sin.

Though it is not required of us, we have gone one step further — we have demonstrated that the law actually mentions sterile emission of semen within a marriage relationship Lev. Thus we have positive evidence that BLCC is lawful. That chapter deals with charges that wasting seed is equivalent to murder and with the contention that all conception control is worthy of death. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. Have we broken the commandment to be fruitful and multiply if we stop at five children?

At ten children? At twenty children? Why is it a sin to stop at any number when we can legitimately claim that we are multiplying? Keep in mind that the burden of proof is on those who believe it is sin to space children or limit the number of children chapter 3.

Those two concepts are quite distinct see chapter 7. Keep in mind that the official Guinness Book of World Records has documented a peasant woman in Russia as giving birth to 69 children, so why stop at thirty?

This is not a trivial question, since our side of the debate claims to be fulfilling the dominion mandate, and both sides of this debate desire to have many children. We may want more, but that is a different issue. Several NCC have told me that it would be sinful to have a surgeon repair damaged fallopian tubes in order to achieve pregnancy, because that is not trusting God to open the womb.

To passively allow creation to order itself is the opposite of the dominion mandate. Chapter 2 discusses this issue in much more depth.

Thankfully, most NCC are not consistent in applying their passive concepts of conception to other areas of life. They tend to be active in taking dominion of every other area of fruitfulness. God mandates that the fruitfulness of the field be planned and limited. It is a stewardship of land, animals, family, wife, and self for God. Consider the land. Why is this rest not a violation of the command to be fruitful and multiply?

The same command of fruitfulness that was given to man was also given to the land Gen. Obviously not. The land has been fruitful for six years, and taking a year off spacing in no way violates the command. If spacing crops does not violate the identical command to be fruitful and multiply, I fail to see how spacing children whether by six months, 12 months, or more violates that command.

This is using the analogy of Scripture to understand the command to be fruitful and multiply. But this is looking at the letter of the law which sets minimums on rest and fails to see the spirit of the law, which is designed to ensure that we care for land, animals, and people under our stewardship.

This objection also misses the point that nowhere in the law is it said to be a sin to give more rest to land or mothers. If some rest is mandated, then why would more rest be sin if it is needed? As chapter 3 shows, the burden of proof is upon those who say spacing babies is a sin.

If as we have demonstrated the command to multiply is not absolute in its scope God allowed rest from fruitfulness , then so long as couples are being fruitful and multiplying, they should not be judged. To press the analogy of land fruitfulness in an ad hominem way, why not work the land as efficiently as possible even if it gives more grain than we can possibly sell? Is it appropriate to grow more grain than we can possibly harvest or sell, or is that bad stewardship?

Or is it appropriate to do the reverse, and turn some good land into a recreational area? To apply this to the analogy of the Sabbath — is it sinful to take days off beyond the Sabbath day in our yearly schedules? Nowhere in the Bible does it speak about a Thanksgiving Day, Presidents day, etc.

Is it sin to be idle on those days? What makes giving a very productive wife some rest from child-bearing a sin?

This would certainly be a good time to exercise conception control. It might be objected that then we should not engage in sexual relations since no child is being hoped for during the chemotherapy , a topic I will address below. People will say that God opens the womb and He closes the womb, and we should trust Him to close it when it needs to be closed and open it when it needs to be opened.

The above points illustrate at least two ways in which the NCC advocates are not consistent in their understanding of the dominion mandate. Many more examples could be given, but these should be enough to discuss the issue of Dominion adequately.

For more details, re-read chapter 1. I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception ; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.

Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.

Just as every other aspect of creation entered into a curse, so too did conception. Of course, Genesis hints at how the cross would reverse and ameliorate the curse, but the curse itself is still at work. We will consider each:. First, the degree of multiplication. The Hebrew text indicates that the multiplication would itself be multiplied or intensified.

This means that there can be too much of a good thing. An obvious example should suffice: without modern science, having quintuplets would have been an incredible burden for an Old Testament mother, and if enough lactating moms to share milk could not be found, it could have resulted in the curse of death.

Most moms would not have enough milk to adequately feed five mouths. I know one couple who could not pay for any of their deliveries, yet continued to have babies without saving up money.

They presumed upon their midwives, and the midwives were a little tired of it. This amounts to justifying theft by means of a theology of no dominion over conception. The second area of curse was the results of the multiplication. We will see shortly that part of both redemption and dominion is the legitimate alleviation of this sorrow and pain. Some people will reject this evidence by claiming that this is a hendiadys. However, the following points make it clear that the Hebrew cannot be taken as a hendiadys.

First, conception itself is not painful. But this is eisegesis. The text is quite clear that it is the conception itself that is cursed in some way. Second, every other blessing in life has been affected in some way by the curse. God can turn every blessing to dust, and even believers continue to suffer the internal and external effects of the Fall. Why not conception?

It is theologically driven, not grammatically driven. Thus it is clear from this passage that God cursed conception 1 by increasing it, 2 by accompanying it with sorrow, 3 and by bringing pain to the resulting birth of a child.

If conception itself is cursed, it is important to understand how the cross of Jesus Christ reverses the curse. It is also important that we not assume that all fruitfulness is a blessing. Physiology shows that perfect bodies were designed by God to suppress ovulation as long as there was breastfeeding up to three years.

The Fall has impacted many bodies to override this normal God-given function. Is this true? Remember, this is only an average. A few mothers will experience a return of menstrual periods by six months, others not until two or three years. This should not surprise us, since every other area of creation came under the curse.

If all of the above is true, then we would expect the Bible to speak elsewhere about both blessing and cursing related to conception. And indeed it does. So this means that most children of unbelievers are not a blessing. And Deuteronomy indicates that even the children of covenant believers may not be a blessing if those believers are not walking with the Lord. In other words, conception is a blessing in some circumstances and a cursing in other circumstances. Postponing having children during trying times can be a good motivation.

Indeed, there are almost as many Scriptures that speak of the curse of many children Gen. The fall has brought about circumstances that certainly lead to great difficulties — so great that the Scripture no longer speaks of those many children as always being a blessing. There is also supporting evidence for our interpretation of Genesis from the immediate context via the analogy of fruitfulness of thorns and thistles.

Such fruitfulness is not a blessing; it was the result of the curse vv. Letting Scripture interpret Scripture especially within the context would make us refuse to idolize fruitfulness, and instead to interpret fruitfulness in a Christocentric way.

Please do not misinterpret me on the preceding points. I am not saying having many children is a curse for believers. But the outflow of the Fall war, disease, ravages of age, and other factors can negatively affect the blessing, and even warrant postponing more children for a time.

He who is able to accept it, let him accept it. The way that is worded, these men have deliberately chosen to turn down the right to have children or the right to have more children?? To say that it is a sin to turn down an opportunity to receive the blessing of children is cherry picking Scriptures. Would a pregnancy that is achieved in the middle of chemotherapy that ends up killing or deforming the baby be a blessing?

It would likely be better to wait for the pregnancy till after the chemotherapy is finished. Why hold off? Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your household. Might the situation be more complex? Perhaps with one family, six children would be all that God expects, and with another family, twelve might be expected.

How many children can you effectively disciple? I doubt very much that Jesus was talking about literal self-castration or vasectomy in that passage though some believe this to be the case.

Instead, I believe that Jesus is talking about a voluntary refusal to make more children. And he considered this to be legitimate in some circumstances as a service to God. And even if you do not accept that interpretation, might it be the case that having six children could be honored by God as having fulfilled the mandate of fruitfulness even though more were possible whereas having forty-two children as one poverty stricken family had might be considered by God to be poor stewardship since they simply were not able to feed and clothe those children?

It might be wise for such a person to heed the admonition in Proverbs , which commands us to make financial provision for our family before we build or expand our family. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him. In this chapter we will examine the impact of redemption upon child bearing.

We have already seen that childbearing though a blessing is also impacted by the curse Gen. It is no blessing to have so many children that the children cannot be discipled and they end up abandoning the faith. But this implies sufficient shepherding of the children that they are drawn into the faith. The portion of salvation that is being focused upon sanctification involves both divine sovereignty and human effort. Other interpretations have certainly been offered of this passage, but this one fits the grammar best.

But notice that either cursing or blessing can result in either passage. We should not have more children than we can raise in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This is not just a New Testament concept. It is articulated in Malachi , Genesis , and many other Old Testament passages. If people have more children than they can command after them to keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, the Lord does not hold Himself obligated to fulfill His promises to us.

Genesis can be broken down into four parts:. Too many books from the NCC camp speak in an unqualified way of the blessing of children in any and all circumstances. Chapters are designed to temper such assertions. So the passages in this chapter give faith and hope but they also give a realistic caution.

Likewise, they also show that redemption continues the imperative of being fruitful and multiplying compare 1 Timothy with 1 Timothy and redemption enables that command to be joyfully fulfilled Ps. Grace enables multi-generational covenant succession. But these passages warn that it is not automatic. By faith… offered… obtained… diligently seek… prepared… obeyed… went out… dwelt… received strength to conceive… offered… subdued… worked… obtained… stopped… became valiant in battle….

Is the exercise of all conception control a lack of faith? Many NCC advocates say exactly that. They claim that we must trust God to open and close the womb.

However, this is a passive view of faith that contradicts almost every example of faith given in Hebrews Does the fact that God opens and closes wombs mean that man has no part in opening and closing the womb or that he has no part in planning how and when babies come? Is this not pitting divine sovereignty against human responsibility?

If the wife was sexually hungry during this time of chemo, would it be appropriate to engage in unprotected sex?

In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. In chapter 2 we have already seen that faith is never pitted against planning and responsible decisions. Many mothers have had to resort to progesterone therapy in order to maintain a pregnancy and prevent a miscarriage because their bodies are not producing enough progesterone.

But what is true of preventing babies can just as easily be applied to conceiving babies. But they fail to have such consistency when it comes to how they handle their crops. There should be nothing wrong with applying other aspects of the dominion mandate medicine to this aspect of the dominion mandate procreation if our trust is in the Lord through those means. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Some NCC people insist that the sexual act should never be separated from the purpose of procreation. They claim that it is a sin to enjoy sex without taking the responsibility for the baby that God intends to be the product of such sex. On the contrary, we have seen that the law of God assumes that the vast majority of sexual relations will be sterile i.

Is it even possible to obey the following three commands and still maintain this philosophy? Notice that the sexual delight that is commanded is not reserved simply for the times when a wife is fertile. How long do people fast from food? On rare occasions perhaps as long as three weeks, but certainly not for nine months.

If couples were not expected to fast from sexual pleasure for the entire nine months of pregnancy logically implied from 1 Corinthians , then it is obvious that Paul was commanding them to have sexual pleasure even when it was guaranteed that no child would result. These three Scriptures explicitly unlink sexual pleasure from procreation. And this book discusses numerous other Scriptures that command sexual pleasure with no nuance of procreation being connected. This idea that sexual pleasure must be linked with procreation does not come from the Bible; it comes from church fathers, who in turn got their ideas from Greek ascetics.

I suspect that most NCC advocates are not consistent on this question. I have asked some if they stop having sex when their wives are pregnant, and they admit that they do not. Good for them — they are obeying Scripture. I asked one NCC advocate if he continued to have sex after menopause. He said that he did, but he pointed to Sarah as an example that God could still do a miracle with his wife.

The question really boils down to whether it is ever OK to have sex when you know that the sexual union will not result in a pregnancy. Scripture clearly says that it is. For example, 1 Corinthians 7 calls husband and wife to only abstain from sexual relations for short times of prayer and fasting. Paul was addressing those who were post-menopause as well as pre-menopause. Paul clearly separates sex from procreation and makes one of the central purposes of sex to keep men and women from burning with sexual desire v.

This means that Paul clearly allows for sterile sexual relations the vast majority of the time - during pregnancy, post-menopause, etc. If God allows for sterile sexual relations during pregnancy, after menopause, etc. For example, a woman getting chemotherapy would destroy a baby in the womb through that treatment.

Leukemia can often be cured through chemotherapy if it is caught early enough, and would it not be a good thing to have this mother live another 25 years? Thus I fail to see where the Bible says that a woman undergoing chemotherapy who is otherwise healthy and able to enjoy sex must restrain from sex because birth control is not allowed. His development of breakfast cereals as a health food led to the founding of Kellogg's by his brother William.

In both Australia and New Zealand , the church-owned Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company is a leading manufacturer of health and vegetarian-related products, most prominently Weet-Bix. Research funded by the U. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in California lives 4 to 10 years longer than the average Californian. The research , as cited by the cover story of the November issue of National Geographic , asserts that Adventists live longer because they do not smoke or drink alcohol, have a day of rest every week, and maintain a healthy, low-fat vegetarian diet that is rich in nuts and beans.

He cites the Adventist emphasis on health, diet, and Sabbath-keeping as primary factors for Adventist longevity. Adventists' clean lifestyles were recognized by the U. The first task of the scientists was to find people who were willing to be infected by pathogens that could make them very sick.

They found them in the followers of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Although willing to serve their country when drafted, the Adventists refused to bear arms. As a result many of them became medics. Now the U. When contacted in late , the Adventist hierarchy readily agreed to this plan.

For Camp Detrick scientists, church members were a model test population, since most of them were in excellent health and they neither drank, smoked, nor used caffeine. From the perspective of the volunteers, the tests gave them a way to fulfill their patriotic duty while remaining true to their beliefs. The Adventist understanding of marriage is a lawfully binding lifelong commitment of a man and a woman. The Church Manual refers to the origination of the marriage institution in Eden and points to the union between Adam and Eve as the pattern for all future marriages.

Adventists hold that marriage is a divine institution established by God Himself before the fall. They hold that God celebrated the first marriage and the institution has as its origin the Creator of the universe and was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is "one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. The Old and New Testament texts are interpreted by some Adventists to teach that wives should submit to their husbands in marriage.

Adventists hold that heterosexual marriages are the only biblically ordained grounds for sexual intimacy. Adventists do not perform same-sex marriages , and individuals who are openly homosexual cannot be ordained, but may hold church office and membership if they are not actively pursuing same-sex relationships. Current church policy states that openly homosexual and "practicing" persons are to be welcomed into the church services and treated with the love and kindness afforded any human being.

It affects the unborn, the mother, the father, immediate and extended family members, the church family, and society with long-term consequences for all.

God upholds the value and sacredness of human life, 2. God considers the unborn child as human life, 3. The will of God regarding human life is expressed in the Ten Commandments and explained by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, 4. God is the Owner of life, and human beings are His stewards, 5. The Bible teaches care for the weak and the vulnerable, and 6. Adventists believe in and encourage abstinence for both men and women before marriage.

The church disagrees with extra-marital cohabitation. The Adventist church has released official statements in relation to other ethical issues such as euthanasia against active euthanasia but permissive of passive withdrawal of medical support to allow death to occur , [64] birth control in favor of it for married couples if used correctly, but against abortion as birth control and premarital sex in any case [65] and human cloning against it while the technology is unsafe and would result in defective births or abortions.

Adventists have traditionally held socially conservative attitudes regarding dress and entertainment. These attitudes are reflected in one of the church's fundamental beliefs :. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives.

This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit.

Accordingly, many Adventists are opposed to practices such as body piercing and tattoos and refrain from the wearing of jewelry, including such items as earrings and bracelets. Some also oppose the displaying of wedding bands, although banning wedding bands is not the position of the General Conference.

Though it seems unbelievable to some, I'm thankful that when I grew up in the church [in the s and s] I was taught not to go to the movie theater, dance, listen to popular music, read novels, wear jewelry, play cards, bowl, play pool, or even be fascinated by professional sports. Adventists often cite the writings of Ellen White, especially her books, Counsels on Diet and Foods , Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students , and Education as inspired sources for Christian deportment.

The Adventist church officially opposes the practice of gambling. The Youth Department of the Adventist church runs age specific clubs for children and youth worldwide. Pathfinders is a club for 5th to 10th grade up to 12th in Florida Conference boys and girls. It is similar to and based partly on the Scouting movement. Pathfinders exposes young people to such activities as camping, community service, personal mentorship, and skills-based education, and trains them for leadership in the church.

Yearly "Camporees" are held in individual Conferences, where Pathfinders from the region gather and participate in events similar to Boy Scouts' Jamborees. After a person enters 9th grade, he or she is eligible to join Teen Leadership Training within Pathfinders. In the 11th grade, typically after being a member of a club, they can become a Pathfinder or Adventurer staff member and begin the "Master Guide" program similar to Scout Master which develops leaders for both Adventurers and Pathfinders.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates youth camps all over North America and many other parts of the world. Each camp varies in the activities they offer but most have archery, swimming, horses, arts and crafts, nature, high ropes challenge course, and many other common camp activities. The Seventh-day Adventist church is governed by a form of representation which resembles the presbyterian system of church organization.

Four levels of organization exist within the world church. Each organization is governed by a general "session" which occurs at certain intervals. This is usually when administrative decisions are made. The president of the General Conference, for instance, is elected at the General Conference Session every five years.

Delegates to a session are appointed by organizations at a lower level. For example, each local church appoints delegates to a conference session. Tithes collected from church members are not used directly by the local churches, but are passed upwards to the local conferences which then distribute the finances toward various ministry needs.

Employees are compensated "on the basis of the church remuneration policy and practice in effect in the location or country in which they reside. The Church Manual [74] gives provisions for each level of government to create educational, healthcare, publishing, and other institutions that are seen within the call of the Great Commission.

The ordained clergy of the Adventist church are known as ministers or pastors. Ministers are neither elected nor employed by the local churches, but instead are appointed by the local Conferences, which assign them responsibility over a single church or group of churches. Ordination is a formal recognition bestowed upon pastors and elders after usually a number of years of service.

In most parts of the world, women may not be given the title "ordained", although some are employed in ministry, and may be "commissioned" or "ordained-commissioned". A number of lay offices exist within the local church, including the ordained positions of elder and deacon. Elders serve a mainly administrative and pastoral role, but must also be capable of providing religious leadership particularly in the absence of an ordained minister. The role of deacons is to assist in the smooth functioning of a local church and to maintain church property.

Although the church has no written policy forbidding the ordination of women, it has traditionally ordained only men. In recent years the ordination of women has been the subject of heated debate, especially in North America and Europe.

In the Adventist church, candidates for ordination are chosen by local conferences which usually administer about 50— local congregations and approved by unions which serve about 6—12 conferences.

The General Conference, the church's world headquarters, claims the right to declare the worldwide qualifications for ordination, including gender requirements. The General Conference has never stated that ordination of women contravenes the Bible, but the General Conference has requested that no local conference ordain women until all parts of the world church accept the practice.

The primary prerequisite for membership in the Adventist church is baptism by immersion. This, according to the church manual, should occur only after the candidate has undergone proper instruction on what the church believes. As of December 31, , the church has 20,, baptized members. Depending on how the data was measured, it is reported that church membership reached 1 million between and , and grew to five million in At the turn of the 21st century the church had over 10 million members, which grew to over 14 million in , 16 million in , and 19 million in Jeffrey MacDonald, an award-winning religion reporter, and author of Thieves in the Temple, reports that the SDA church is the fastest-growing church in the United States.

The church has been described as "something of an extended family", [84] enjoying close, "two- degrees-of-separation social networks ". The Biblical Research Institute is the theological research center of the church. The Ellen G. White Estate was established in at the death of Ellen White, as specified in her legal will.

Its purpose is to act as custodian of her writings, and as of it has 15 board members. White Estate also hosts the official Ellen White website whiteestate. The Geoscience Research Institute , based at Loma Linda University , was founded in to investigate the scientific evidence concerning origins.

Started in the late 19th century, Adventist mission work today reaches people in over countries and territories. Missionary outreach of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is aimed not only at non-Christians but also at Christians from other denominations. Adventists believe that Christ has called his followers in the Great Commission to reach the whole world. Adventists are cautious, however, to ensure that evangelism does not impede or intrude on the basic rights of the individual.

Religious liberty is a stance that the Adventist Church supports and promotes. Globally, the Adventist Church operates 7, schools, colleges and universities, with a total enrollment of more than 1,, and a total teaching staff of approximately 80, The largest in terms of population Seventh-day Adventist university in the world is Northern Caribbean University , located in Mandeville, Jamaica. Adventists run a large number of hospitals and health-related institutions. Throughout the world, the church runs a wide network of hospitals, clinics, lifestyle centers, and sanitariums.

These play a role in the church's health message and worldwide missions outreach. Adventist Health System is the largest not-for-profit multi-institutional Protestant healthcare system in the United States.

It is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and cares for over 4 million patients yearly. ADRA works as a non-sectarian relief agency in countries and areas of the world.

Worldwide, ADRA employs over 4, people to help provide relief in crises as well as development in situations of poverty. The church embraces an official commitment to the protection and care of the environment [92] as well as taking action to avoid the dangers of climate change : [93] "Seventh-day Adventism advocates a simple, wholesome lifestyle, where people do not step on the treadmill of unbridled over-consumption, accumulation of goods, and production of waste.

A reformation of lifestyle is called for, based on respect for nature, restraint in the use of the world's resources, reevaluation of one's needs, and reaffirmation of the dignity of created life. For over years, The Adventist church has actively promoted freedom of religion for all people regardless of faith. In , its leaders founded the International Religious Liberty Association , which is universal and non-sectarian.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church State Council serves, primarily through advocacy, to seek protection for religious groups from legislation that may affect their religious practices. In May , for example, the organization fought to pass legislation that would protect Adventist employees who wish to keep the Sabbath. According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State , the Seventh-day Adventist Church has, throughout its history, aggressively advocated for the separation of church and state.

Adventists have long been proponents of media-based ministries. Traditional Adventist evangelistic efforts consisted of street missions and the distribution of tracts such as The Present Truth , which was published by James White as early as Until J. Andrews was sent to Switzerland in , Adventist global efforts consisted entirely of the posting of tracts such as White's to various locations. In the last century, these efforts have also made use of emerging media such as radio and television.

The first of these was H. Richards ' radio show Voice of Prophecy , which was initially broadcast in Los Angeles in Since then, Adventists have been on the forefront of media evangelism; It Is Written , founded by George Vandeman , was the first religious program to air on color television and the first major Christian ministry to utilize satellite uplink technology. Today the Hope Channel , the official television network of the church, operates 8 international channels broadcasting 24 hours a day on cable, satellite, and the Web.

Adventist World Radio was founded in [97] and is the "radio mission arm" of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A large portion of the ministry's income is derived from membership gifts. SDA evangelists such as Doug Batchelor, Mark Finley and Dwight Nelson have undertaken a number of international satellite-broadcast live evangelistic events, addressing audiences in up to 40 languages simultaneously.

Additionally, there exists a range of privately owned media entities representing Adventist beliefs. In , the Church released the film Tell the World. The Adventist Church owns and operates many publishing companies around the world. Two of the largest are the Pacific Press and Review and Herald publishing associations, both located in the United States. The Review and Herald is headquartered in Hagerstown, Maryland.

The official church magazine is the Adventist Review , which has a North American focus. It has a sister magazine Adventist World , which has an international perspective. Another major magazine published by the church is the bimonthly Liberty magazine, which addresses issues pertaining to religious freedom.

The Adventist Church generally opposes the ecumenical movement , although it supports some of the other goals of ecumenism. The General Conference has released an official statement concerning the Adventist position with respect to the ecumenical movement, which contains the following paragraph:. While not being a member of the World Council of Churches , the Adventist Church has participated in its assemblies in an observer capacity. The Adventist Church has received criticism along several lines, including what some claim are heterodox doctrines, and in relation to Ellen G.

White and her status within the church, and in relation to alleged exclusivist issues. Critics such as evangelical Anthony Hoekema who felt that Adventists were more in agreement with Arminianism argue that some Adventist doctrines are heterodox. Several teachings which have come under scrutiny are the annihilationist view of hell , the investigative judgment and a related view of the atonement , and the Sabbath; in addition, Hoekema also claims that Adventist doctrine suffers from legalism.

While critics such as Hoekema have classified Adventism as a sectarian group on the basis of its atypical doctrines, [18] [19] it has been accepted as more mainstream by Protestant evangelicals since its meetings and discussions with evangelicals in the s. Later on, Martin planned to write a new book on Seventh-day Adventism, with the assistance of Kenneth R. Ellen G. White 's status as a modern-day prophet has also been criticized.

In the Questions on Doctrine era, evangelicals expressed concern about Adventism's understanding of the relationship of White's writings to the inspired canon of Scripture.

A common criticism of Ellen White, widely popularized by Walter T. Rea , Ronald Numbers and others, is the claim of plagiarism from other authors. Photo from his website by Bernie Boyle. Fogelberg wrote soft rock ballads, rather in the mode of James Taylor. I enjoyed his love songs. I first heard this song when my own father was struggling with cancer. My wife and I once attended one of his concerts, driving from Los Angeles to Irvine, California years before we lived there during rush hour on a Friday afternoon.

It took us more than three hours to make the fifty mile trip. We enjoyed the concert, nevertheless. I have never had any reason to think of Fogelberg as a Christian, though his music had not offended my Christian sensibilities.

Check out these lyrics:. Thanks, Dan Fogelberg, for making my life richer, even today, as I listen to your sweet Christmas songs.

Preprint preview: INTRODUCTION. The proteases (EC , , , 99) are hydrolytic enzymes performing the role of catalyzing the peptide bonds and are found to be vital component of all life forms available on earth (Polgar, ).Proteases are ubiquitous and could be isolated from plant, animal and microbial sources.

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