As the sole authority, what does the Bible teach regarding artificial birth control and embryonic stem cell research

The Catholic Church teaches that artificial birth control and stem cell research are grave sins and potentially damning to one’s eternal soul. Protestants reject the authority of the Catholic Church and claim that the Bible is the sole authority on these matters. What does the Bible teach, what is the Truth, revealed by God, as contained in the Bible, regarding these two matters?

May the Peace of Christ be with us all, always,

JT

D’you remember that one they use for “don’t masturbate”? Y’know, that one where the guy had to marry his sister-in-law after his brother died, but didn’t wan’t to have a kid, so pulled out, spilling his seed on the ground, and was struck dead by God?

I think that might apply pretty clearly to Contraception.


EDIT

Looked it up, fella was Onan, a son of Judah.

But, on the other hand, a great number of Protestants (I’d think a majority, but without any statistics to back it up) don’t consider masturbation to be a sin. That verse is more often read as a condemnation of Onan’s rejection of God’s direct orders than of a condemnation of coitus interruptus.

Might I offer a clarification on the term, “stem cell research”? There are types of “stem cell research” that are perfectly OK, consisting of the kinds that don’t require killing a human being to obtain the stem cells. Whenever stem cells are retrieved from organs, bone marrow, fat, umbilical cords, or baby teeth, there is nothing wrong and the Catholic Church warmly welcomes the research.

It is only when the stem cells are obtained by killing another human being that the process is wrong. That happens when the youngest of humans are killed to harvest the stem cells. When a human is about a week old and consists of 150-200 cells, he or she is shaped in a hollow ball often called a blastocyst. He or she has often just reached the womb from traveling down the fallopian tube and will shortly anchor and burrow into the uterine wall for nourishment. (This is “implantation.”) The interior of the blastocyst has a group of stem cells. To retrieve them, the blastocyst is split open and the stem cells are retrieved. Splitting a blastocyst apart has the same effect as splitting an adult apart does–it kills him or her. That is what is wrong. It is not “stem cell research” that is wrong, but killing another human being to obtain the stem cells that is wrong.

If the papers and media would only tell us when “embryonic stem cells” are being used, which are obtained from this killing, as opposed when “adult stem cells” are being used, which despite the name come not only from adults but also from sources that include newborns’ umbilical cords, children’s baby teeth, as well as adult organs, it would help us keep straight what is legitimate and what is illegitimate. I hope all people will soon learn to distinguish between legitimate stem cell research using adult stem cells and illegitimate embryonic stem cell research.

As for the Biblical injunction against what is wrong here, “Thou shalt not kill” should pretty well cover it.

Cole

Yeah, that seems to speak to contraception. And as far as embryonic stem cell research goes, one of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shall not kill.”

There is a growing number of Protestants that believe birth control to be a sin. Also, masturbation has been considered a sin by most Protestants. Stem cell research…embryonic, sinful; adult stem cells is another issue.

As Protestant Christians who accepts the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, how can people have opposing views on moral questions? If the Bible is the sole authority, how can it contradict itself? And if it doesn’t contradict itself then someone is wrong! If there is nothing besides a collection of Holy Books to clarify who is right and who is wrong, how do you ever know when error is being committed? Assuming that both parties prayed in earnest to the Holy Spirit for guidance, is it likely that the same Spirit would reveal the Truth to one and error to the other?

Part of the reason I started this thread is that the Bible did not explicitly address artificial birth control or embryonic stem cell research because those possibilities did not exist at the time the Sacred Scriptures were written. While these matters weren’t addressed specifically or explicitly, they were addressed implicitly.

The Bible offers the information but is powerless in and of itself to mediate correct versus incorrect interpretation. If I was Protestant, this would trouble me greatly.

May the Peace of Christ be with us all, always

JT

That is why you cannot lump all Protestants into one group. Now, if you want to pick on a particular group of Protestants (?). The answer would boil down to the same reason why many Catholics use birth control…it’s called sin, something we find in all churches :wink: Those that use it generally claim that “they” don’t see it as sin or that it’s “one area they disagree with their church” or they “believe they are following a greater command” (insert financial, health, or whatever other reasons they come up with) :shrug:

If there is nothing besides a collection of Holy Books to clarify who is right and who is wrong, how do you ever know when error is being committed?

You often can’t. The thing is, while Protestants would love to have a definitive and infallible interpretation of Scripture, they can’t just accept the authority of the Church for this reason alone if they don’t see it as authoritative in the first place.

Dear ScottishColleen,

I’m not interested in picking on anyone. Sola Scriptura is unique to the Protestant Church.
I’m asking any individual willing to examine the Doctrine, how do you know with any certainty you are not in error in moral matters?

In the Catholic Church the teaching authority makes it crystal clear that artificial birth control is an intrinsic evil and grave sin and must be confessed and repented. Any Catholic who chooses to remove the possibility of life from the conjugal act of procreation through artificial means is rejecting the Church’s authority and making themselves the
new sole authority. By doing so, they place their eternal souls in grave danger if they pass from this life with that sin on their soul. For a Catholic there is a double jeopardy involved here. By committing this sin they are no longer in communion with the teaching authority of the Church and not eligible to participate in the Eucharist, (confessing and being forgiven is only possible if one discontinues the practice), if they do participate they are committing an additional grave sin and further jeopardize their soul. All people, Catholic and non Catholic are free to reject the teaching authority of the Catholic Church but those rejections have no bearing on the validity of the authority. If our Lord gave the Church that came to be recognized as Catholic, this authority, then it is of God and rejecting this authority is rejecting the One Who passed it on.

I can see the attractiveness of having a collection of inspired writings being it’s own authority because if I pray to the Holy Spirit and come up with an interpretation, mine is as good as yours and there is no one to say otherwise.

I just don’t see our Lord creating a situation that invites confusion, but that I suppose is the Catholic in me. On the other hand, without an actual definitive authoritative person or group of people to turn to, it’s chaos. Why that isn’t that self evident to the varying factions of non Catholic Christians is a mystery to me.

May the Peace of Christ be with us all, always

JT

Dear Eleve,

Based on your words, Protestants don’t appear to be in a very good position. On the one hand they can’t be certain if they are in error regarding moral matters and there is no one to turn to that could ease their mind and bring them peace. To those Protestants who feel this way, may I suggest investigating in detail the Catholic deposit of faith.

May the Peace of Christ be with us all, always

JT

I believe Scripture does address moral issues…and this is one of them :wink:

I believe Scripture does address moral issues…and this is one of them

SC

I’m a little slow at times, what does this mean?

JT

I was responding to this:

On the one hand they can’t be certain if they are in error regarding moral matters and there is no one to turn to that could ease their mind and bring them peace

I can be certain and can have my mind at ease and peace on moral matters…the Scriptures do address them.

I do not think many Protestants will find this line of arguing compelling. I do not. Granted I am not Sola Scriptura but I think it transcends any particular theology. Let me explain.

There are any number of groups that make statements about the ability of their organization to be the correct interpreter. We can all think of them. Peace of mind would only come if someone accepted the authority of the person(s) making the pronouncement.
If someone does not accept the authority of the Catholic Church, I cannot imagine there ability to make judgments on any matters will particularly matter to nonmembers.
Whether you agree or not, I hope it makes sense:D

I do not think many Protestants will find this line of arguing compelling. I do not.

" Granted I am not Sola Scriptura "

My curiosity is with Sola Scriptura as doctrine

but I think it transcends any particular theology. Let me explain.

“There are any number of groups that make statements about the ability of their organization to be the correct interpreter.”

The Catholic Church is the only organization that makes the claim that Peter and the ten other apostles were the nucleus of what is now a 2000 year old plus Church and that on Holy Thursday our Lord instructed these men on how they were to feed the souls of His flock until the end of time. With the Bible as support, the Catholic Church states that the apostles were given the power to loose and bind sins and that power has been passed down to all those men that Bishops have laid hands upon. It is the Catholic Church that makes the claim that the Holy Spirit, over a period of centuries, guided it in choosing which books were to be included in the complete list of those that God chose as the complete Truth as He wanted it revealed. There is no other group comparable to the Catholic Church in this regard.

My point is that if you were reliant on Sacred Scripture as the only authority on matters of morals and your interpretation was in conflict with someone else who was just as in love with Christ as you, do you simply say oh well and hope you are not in error or do you search for more defining answers?

" We can all think of them. Peace of mind would only come if someone accepted the authority of the person(s) making the pronouncement.
If someone does not accept the authority of the Catholic Church, I cannot imagine there ability to make judgments on any matters will particularly matter to nonmembers."

If one was unsatisfied with Sola Scriptura and searching for something that made better sense I would not expect that person to accept the teaching authority of the Catholic Church without attempting to disprove those doctrines governing Catholic Christians. Taking each one individually and hearing the arguments in their favor, one might make an informed decision as to whether the Catholic Church possesses the greatest amount of Truth. If in the course of that search one comes away dissatisfied, then so be it.

I think that peace of mind comes to Christians in the honest effort to seek the Face of God and act in accordance with what they learn and is not exclusive to any given Church. The olive branch I am offering is to those who are not at peace with their understanding of revealed Truth and want answers that don’t leave them wondering. I’m suggesting that the group known as Catholics have some pretty sound reasoning behind their claims and it would be worth the journey to prove them wrong.

“Whether you agree or not, I hope it makes sense”

What makes sense to me is that if you are at peace where you are being nurtured you are in a good place. If you were not, I would suggest that it may be found in the Catholic faith. While not fully united, we, all Christians, make up the mystical body of Christ and should be working towards each other’s successful return to the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. I think the quality of that journey is important too.

May the Peace of Christ be with us all, always

JT

jmtowle
I can assure you that I was unsatisfied when I examined it for years if that is the word one chooses.
Thank you for your post. For those who find the case compelling, blessings to them as well.
BH:)

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