The Protest of a Protestant Minister Against Birth Control

The Protest of a Protestant Minister Against Birth Control

by Rev. Matthew Trewhella

Sunlight was just beginning to break over the darkness of the morning as my wife and I headed toward the entrance of the cold brick-faced building. Fear and apprehension gripped me each step of the way. A thousand questions and thoughts raced through my mind. “How much pain will there be? Why the heck did I ever do this in the first place? Maybe I should just leave.”

As I entered the door, I figured these were my last moments to bolt and run. I thought back to when I had done something similar six and a half years earlier and remembered the words that blazed across my mind when the procedure began–I will never do this again! Yet there I was, about to have a vasectomy reversal. What could possibly bring a man to the point where he would be willing to go under the knife once again?

Two UnBiblical Beliefs

Only two things could convince a man to get a vasectomy reversal.
A) a radical restructuring of his beliefs, or
B.) a nagging wife.
For me it was the former.

In 1985, I held two beliefs which convinced me that getting a vasectomy was fine. The first belief was that God nowhere in Scripture condemns the use of birth control, therefore it must be okay. The second belief was that God wants us to use”wisdom,” therefore in today’s economy and because of my emotional makeup it would not be wise for me to have more than two children, and I already had two. Both beliefs are unBiblical.

The first belief, that God no where in Scripture condemns the use of birth control therefore it must be okay, fails to recognize the very first command of God in Scripture. It is found in Genesis 1:28. God says, after creating man and woman, “be fruitful and multiply.” This is not a suggestion – it is a command! By virtue of the fact that God commands us to be “fruitful and multiply,” He speaks against birth control.

When we use birth control, we are saying, “No, I won’t be ‘fruitful and multiply!”‘ We are disobeying God and we are abrogating one of His intents for marriage (Gen. 2:24). 

Some would say that this command no longer applies because the earth is full. This teaching that the earth is overpopulated or may soon be is a humanistic, pagan myth. Christians who teach this display their ignorance and sadly show once again that too often the presuppositions of popular 20th century Christianity are the same as the world’s.The truth is, all the people of the world standing side by side in a four foot square area each could fit in the city of Jacksonville, Florida, leaving the rest of the world wide open. (Read The Economics and Politics of Race: An International Perspective by Thomas Sowell.)


By Virtue of the fact that God commands us to be “fruitful and multiply,” He speaks against birth control.


The second belief, that we must use “wisdom,” is nowhere supported by Scripture and reveals our lack of trust in God to meet our needs. If God wants us to “use wisdom” i.e. use birth control, then why is it that whenever people in the Scriptures have many children God declares it is because He has blessed them? In I Chronicles 25:4-5, we read that Hamen had 14 sons. For what purpose? To financially burden him? No. God did it to bless him the Scriptures say!

God views children as rewards, gifts and arrows from Him (Psalm 127:3-5). He views them as a blessing (Deuteronomy 7:13,14), and as a sign of His approval (Exodus 23:25,26). Most Christians would view houses from the Lord as a gift, reward, blessing, or sign of His approval, yet, if they received four or five houses, I highly doubt any of them would say, “Well, we better use wisdom” and begin to practice house-control, not accepting more than two. Obviously, God’s view of children is very different from ours.

Historical Teaching

For too long birth control has been looked upon as a “Catholic issue”. It is fast becoming a “Protestant issue” however, as Protestant ministers like myself protest the heretical teaching of birth control that is being propagated in Protestant churches. We must understand that the Church had spoken consistently for 1900 years against birth control. Only in the last 80 years have Protestant churches begun to peddle this belief that God thinks it’s okay or wise for us to use birth control.

Listen to this quote, “The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men or women; for they despise the blessings of God, the Creator and Author of marriage.” some Protestants would say, “This quote is obviously the mad drivelings of some medieval Pope.” It is not. Rather, it is the founder of the Reformation, Martin Luther who said this. Protestant Christians need to realize that their leaders consistently spoke against birth control up until about 80 years ago.

Who are some of the leaders besides Luther? John Calvin, John Wesley, Robert Dabney, Charles Spurgeon, A.W. Pink, Zacharius Ursinus, Heinrich Bullinger, Cotton Mather, Herbert Leupold, Johann Keil, Franz Delitszch, Matthew Henry, Adam Clark and John Machen, just to name a few, spoke against the use of birth control.

The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, once stated, “The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its infant members is to kill it.” This does not shock most Christians today because they agree with her and quote her daily. ” I can’t handle more than two.” “I can’t wait until you grow up and move out.” “Will this be your last?” (Asked in church after a couple announces they are having a third child; no congratulations of course) All of these statements and those like them parade the party line of Planned Parenthood, and are in opposition to our Protestant forefathers.

“Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men or women.”
Martin Luther

Time has come for those of us in Protestant Christianity to come to grips with the teaching of scripture and our historical heritage and begin to follow the teaching of God and our forefathers, rather than the teaching of Margaret Sanger.

Blood in our Bricks

If you were to list all the reasons why Christians use birth control, you would see that they are the same reasons why a woman aborts her child. The number one reason (according to all studies ever done) a woman aborts her child is because the child is an inconvenience. The child interferes with the mother’s (or the father’s) pursuit of happiness or possessions. When we use birth control, we are embracing the same anti-child mentality. We are saying that our pursuit of so called happiness, our pursuit of possessions, is more important than obeying God. The question is,”How can we abrogate God’s design for marriage and expect to really be happy?”

In the Church today, we “warehouse” children. We don’t want them around us during the church service. Many pastors are advising newly married couples to use birth control the first two years of their marriage so they can have time to get used to each other without having undue stress added to the marriage. The cause for abrogating God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply,” is the same as the cause for abrogating His command “you shall not murder” – self-centeredness! One of the main reasons why the Church has failed to act against abortion is because it embraces the same anti-child mentality as those who advocate the murdering of the helpless preborn.

We have no God-given right to manipulate God’s design for marriage by using birth control. As long as we continue to make “possessions” and”self” our god and as long as we look at children as a diaper bill rather than a blessing, we will never see the Church act in mass against baby-murder. God help us to have His view of children and to obey His commands!

Pastor Matt Trewhella is the pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the founder of Missionaries to the Preborn. He and his wife, Clara, have had three sons and two daughter since the reversal.

Missionaries to the Preborn
P.O. Box 25204
Milwaukee, WI 53225-0240


12 Responses to The Protest of a Protestant Minister Against Birth Control

  1. bfhu says:

    That was awesome!

  2. diane says:

    Awesome and then some! I will (prayerfully) send this link to some of my dear Protestant friends.

  3. […] Wisconsin minister has his vasectomy reversed because he’s under orders to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ And notice […]

  4. Evenshine says:

    The reality falls very short of the perception, I have to note. Speaking as one who moves in both Protestant and Catholic circles, it seems that though contraception is highly villified publicly, privately, most Catholics would prefer not to have this decision made for them. Interesting (though vapid and unconvincing) argument. It may be less of an issue of population control and more of resources and responsibility. Cheers!

  5. What is the reality and whatis the perception?

    Can you explain why you find the argument unconvincing or do you feel it suffices to call it “vapid and unconvincing”?

    Where are you seeing contraception “highly villified publicly”?

  6. St John Chrysostom on Contraception

    Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility [oral contraceptives], where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well…Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his [natural] laws?…Yet such turpitude…the matter still seems indifferent to many men—even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks.

    -Homilies on Romans, 24 – .St. John Chrysostom

    5 bob to: The Byzantine Rambler

  7. ultraguy says:

    Evenshine wrote: “It may be less of an issue of population control and more of resources and responsibility.”

    I sure hope it’s not about population control anymore, as we see Europe on the brink of a slow but nearly inevitable demographic collapse and other nations close behind in peril due to abortion- and birth-control (or gender-skewing) policies and preferences (e.g., China, which has ~30M ‘extra’ men due to female infanticide).

    Unfortunately, the terms ‘resources’ and ‘responsibility’ may serve as soft proxies for population control concerns derived from an earth-first, gaia-mother-goddess world view. At least in most of the West these days, we live like absolute kings and queens compared to just two generations ago. Societal standards for what constitutes economic privation continue to shift (ever-upward). That begs the question: how affluent do we need to be before having more children is considered “responsible” or proper with regards to “resources”. What resources exactly? Responsible according to what standard(s) and in whose view?

    Short of true starvation-level poverty, (and perhaps even then if you look at both Biblical and non-Biblical history, the answer to the last question is: God’s view. I.e, we’re not supposed to make that judgment. God provides and we trust in Him.

    No, he doesn’t necessarily provide wide-screen TVs, or even washers and dryers or second automobiles… but He provides.

    This is one of those issues where our over-focus on the individual and even the so-called ‘nuclear’, free-floating, autonomous family (a very recent societal construct indeed!!) makes it hard to see the much bigger picture of a hundred-generation battle for hearts and minds fought, at least partly, through demographics.

  8. Evenshine says:

    Simple sinner: to answer your questions-

    1. I was referring to the perception of many (I was thinking of the media, especially) that in the Catholic tradition, birth control is universally not used. I meant to say that the reality is different…that there are many who do, in fact, use contraception.

    2. I do feel that it suffices to say that the argument is vapid. That’s why I commented and did not discourse. However-I think that to base one’s argument on two or three scriptures in this case does exactly what Protestants are so highly criticized for- the prooftext. I was simply noting that it would be nice to see more data- I hadn’t heard the Jacksonville argument before, and I would like to see his sources. I HAD read (thank you, UltraGuy) about the situation in Europe (which, I believe, God has firmly in his hands and is dealing with by sending huge numbers of immigrants). Pastor Trewhella obviously has what he believes to be good reasons for his reverse vasectomy, and I applaud him for following his convictions, but they struck me as personal and socially irresponsible (thus thinking as the individual, as mentioned by UltraGuy, and abandoning that more established societal construct). Not for the sake of mother-earth-gaia-nonsense. I just don’t think “subdue the earth” means “beat it senseless”.

    3. Villified publicly: the Church’s stand. Catholic bloggers.

    Ultraguy: so your argument is, then, that starvation-level poverty is the way to go?

  9. ultraguy says:

    Evenshine, re. starvation-level poverty: Oh my, no! I’m sorry if I left you with that impression. I was merely urging reflection (myself included!!!) on how materially gifted we are (those of us who can afford computers and the leisure time to read and post on blogs anyway) compared to just about everybody who’s ever lived on the planet and how, often, our expectations for what constitutes “basic” living ratchet up continually without our ever challenging them. (Studies show people are happy only when they’re keeping up with the Joneses, not based on their absolute level of wealth.)

    World population has grown enormously in my lifetime. So has world prosperity. One has to ask: why are those two things correlated positively instead of negatively? (hold that thought)

    Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy my modern conveniences as much as the next guy. Having not been a Christian at the time I chose to (now irrevocably) end my child-bearing capacity however, I now reflect on what I might have missed as I watch the children I do have blossom and return love to me and the world that at times takes my breath away. They are truly gifts from God… and in that light, it’s possible to regret not unwrapping the others that might have been…

    I’m afraid that this whole subject tends to get tangled up in a pervasive and often unchallenged set of Malthusian assumptions popular in the academy wherein the world is perpetually on the brink of running out of (fill-in-the-blank) and people fear we will become like deer without wolves — dumb, hungry, cold and dying in great numbers.

    History has proven otherwise. I.e., the Malthus-inspired Club of Rome and with it doom-sayers like Paul Ehrlich have been shown to be dead wrong. I.e., a very wide range of natural resources (including food — the recent biofuels, policy-induced foolishness notwithstanding) have actually become more plentiful over time as reflected in their price.

    This is dramatically counter-intuitive, but true nonetheless. The reason: human beings are not deer. We are made in the image of God. Among other things, that means we are blessed with the ability to reason and innovate our way out of all kinds of problems that at one time may have seemed insurmountable to our forbears.

    It’s always tempting to think that everything that can be invented has been, but that’s a hubristic instinct. What’s distressing is that the person who was supposed to be born and grow up to solve a certain problem maybe wasn’t or won’t be because their mom and/or dad-to-be decided it would be inconvenient.

  10. Evenshine says:

    Thanks for clarifying, UltraGuy. I agree with you on many premises: yes, we demand much in terms of what we feel is “necessary for survival” and what is not. The thoughfulness we apply to making choices about our families should obviously include our perceived level of comfort. Good point.
    I have to disagree with your point that population and prosperity have a positive correlation. Perhaps in developed countries, yes. I have a hard time believing the same for the Sudan, rural China, or Andean Peru. We have been largely unsuccessful in erradicating even basic hunger problems. In too many countries, more kids=more hunger.
    I agree that humans are not deer. But it seems the Catholic church would have us become as such- producing young at yearly rates to…what, exactly? I’m not sure that quantity is a good argument when dealing with kids (thus the Pastor’s illustration using houses, poorly done). Surely we have to take into consideration the quality of parenting we are physically, emotionally, and spiritually able to provide for large numbers of young.
    Thanks for your thoughtful reponse. I’m still working this one out (fear and trembling notwithstanding).

  11. Rob says:

    -more kids = more hunger.-

    No, there is no evidence for this. There were worldwide famines thousands of years ago, when there weren’t more than a few millions humans. Was a few million too many? What about when, according to recent scientific studies, a famine reduced the human race to a few thousand individuals in East Africa 70,000 years ago? Was a few thousand too many? All advances in technoology and historical increase of well-being can be related, directly or indirectly, to population increase. Overpopulation is an unscientific hoax.

  12. dome says:


    This is the great knowledge for today! I need to add your site to my favourite.

    Thanks again for your help :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: