Birth Control: How did we get here? A Review

simeon-with-the-infant-jesus.jpg!xlMediumToday we live in a day where there is no fundamental difference on the issue of the child between the Church of Jesus Christ and the World. How did we get here?

Pornography, contraception, and abortion. The modern church condemns pornography and abortion, yet yawns at contraception, calling it an exercise in wisdom on the part of the couple… and will even rejoice that the fornicating couple (at least!) uses contraception.
The church historical, however, condemned these things together, along with fornication and adultery.[1] They were all tarred with the same brush… until recently.

‘Here is a simple test: Look at history and if you see God’s people agreeing for 1900 years…” RC Sproul Jr.

“How did we get here” lays out the journey of how the church went from a practically universal testimony against all of these things to opening the door for one of them (contraception) and thus all of the others. It lays out the historical case (and to a very light extent the Biblical case) of the connection between these things: how an acceptance of contraception inexorably led to an acceptance of pornography and abortion (and fornication, adultery, divorce… altho they don’t mention these).

maid-with-garland-1843.jpg!xlMedium“When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime.” ~ John Calvin

This movie is a bonanza for the quote miner and footnoter. It lays out quote after quote, statistic after statistic. Unfortunately I am afraid it will fail with the very people it needs to succeed with.
It will be bought, watched, and cheered by the ‘Vision Forum’ crowd. The people who are already full-quiver, homeschooling, and family integrated. It will be a much tougher sell for the ‘mainstream’ Christian.

on-the-terrace-1906.jpg!xlMedium1908 Lambeth conference Resolution 41 The Conference regards with alarm the growing practice of the artificial restriction of the family, and earnestly calls upon all Christian people to discountenance the use of all artificial means of restriction as demoralising to character and hostile to national welfare.

Resolution 42 The Conference affirms that deliberate tampering with nascent life is repugnant to Christian morality.

1930 Lambeth Conference Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.

1874 Anglican clergy average 5.2 children
1911 Anglican clergy average 2.3 children

1890 LCMS average 6.5 children
1920 LCMS average 3.7 children

For one thing because the mainstream Christian knows better than to engage in such a masochistic exercise as watching a ‘radical’ film. The first thirty seconds alone will send them off for popcorn and ‘a break’. Even we radical Christians shy at reading or watching things that challenge our presuppositions; moderates are extremely careful.
And the format of the film just doesn’t seem to work for moderates. It seems to me that a film for moderates needs to walk them through slower and with more explanation. Sure, I get why an acceptance of contraception will lead to an explosion in fornication, adultery, divorce, pornography, and abortion. I also get why a rejection of young marriages will do the same thing. And women working outside the home.

But I am a radical conservative. How do we win over the moderates? They don’t care what the reformers said, they don’t care what history teaches, they don’t really care what Scripture says. They care about their lifestyle, what their friends are thinking. In order to be challenged they need to have some deep cord struck. They need to suddenly realize that God is talking to them, God is challenging them. They need to have their selfishness, their disobedience, their rebellion, made plain, made obvious, drawn out into the light of day.

SCHWAB 118427Margaret Sanger
Founder of Planned Parenthood:

Our objective is unlimited sexual satisfaction without the burden of children…

The marriage bed is the most degenerative thing in the social order…

The most merciful thing that the large family can do to one of its infant members is to kill it…

Scripture and history both teach that contraception is an evil that stands along with fornication, adultery, and abortion. It teaches that the permanent marriage covenant, the reflection of Christ and the church taught in Ephesians 5, is deeply damaged by the reflection of the very blessing, indeed the very reason, that God gave us a wife in the first place. This blessing is not intended to be limited by our ‘wisdom’ (and how foolish that wisdom is anyway!). It is intended to be poured out unto us by our Father above, above all we can ask or think.

‘He proves himself in the [ruling] of his own family before he is qualified to be an elder. K Swanson

Our society, our church, our families, has been doing its best to destroy the marriage bond for the last hundred years. Hopefully this film will be part of a catalyst to help us get back on track. Reformation and revival are called for, will the call be answered?
The above is a review of the film:
How did we get here?

On a purely technical note the film has some glitches:
1) The music was rather distracting. Intended, no doubt, to increase the dramatic tension of the film. I found it, however, to just be overwhelming and distracting.
2) There were a couple of typos in the Bible references and other places.
Minor stuff, but it was there.

On a non-technical note the film has a jurisdictional problem. It tends to glorify ‘government intervention’ in the areas concerned. While condoms and pornography are bad things, no doubt, and while many birth control methods and abortion are murder and should be punished as such, it isn’t at all clear that it is really within the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate to ban pornography or condoms.

And of course some methods of contraception (see Onan) can’t be banned; and attempting to punish them would be bizarre at best. I believe that we as Christians need to start our campaign first in the churches, and then let our example flow out into the world: examples of young fruitful marriages.

Mal 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

1Ti 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
1Ti 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.



[1] The movie referenced here is, basically, my support for this statement. It is what they show throughout the whole movie.

Von is a father of six, husband of one. He has been a schoolteacher, missionary linguist, and now is a nurse and an EMT (ambulance driver). He is reformed baptist, full quiver, family integrated and theonomic, among other things. He enjoys writing on practical theonomy; and particularly on what Scripture says about the path to marriage (Hint: he doesn’t believe in either courtship or dating). He is the author of ‘What are you Doing?’ and ‘The Covenant of Betrothal’, both of which can be downloaded free from He also writes for

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