Letters To The Editor
From Dr. and Mrs. James Cocking of Guatemala, C.A., we are happy to present another side of the issue of birth control. Their gracious yet thought-provoking comments are in response to Mr. William MacDonald’s statements on this subject which appeared some ten months ago in “Food for the Flock” (May-June 1985, p. 15).
Since their commendation to the work of the Lord in 1963, Dr. and Mrs. Cocking have faithfully and diligently served in assembly, medical, radio and translation work in Guatemala.
Dear “Food for the Flock”:
In your much appreciated paper, Volume 17, No. 3, page 15 for May/June of this year, our respected brother Mr. William MacDonald has asked 3 questions which must be answered:
1. “What about Genesis 1:28; 9:1?”
This is one of the few commands given by God that has been widely observed and fulfilled. Reproduction for Adam, Eve, Noah, and their families was not accompanied by the dangers of modern population pressure. Famine, immigration pressures, and maternal and infant mortality result from irresponsible reproduction. Partly because of Catholic and Pentecostal teachings, claiming to be based on these verses, we see many Guatemalan Indian children swollen because of malnutrition. Many of these suffer a great deal and eventually die. Would it be right to advocate maximal reproduction?
2. “What about Psalm 127:3, 5?”
Because “children are an heritage from the Lord …” They should be born into a receptive and nourishing environment, not an overly crowded “quiver” where their lives will be endangered.
3. “And what about 1 Corinthians 7:5?”
The complete verse is not quoted in your article. In the context of the chapter, could the word “defraud” mean the denial of marital sexual relations rather than the refusal to have children?
We respect those who “abide” as Paul did, but all are not the same (1 Corinthians 7:7).
Those who are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7) must count the cost in view of 1 Timothy 5:8, which is in a context of widow’s needs but must apply to the needs of children as well. These needs are not being met in many families who bring their children to our clinics, and we are sure that there are countless others around the world who are not able to feed more children, much less give adequate love, which should include the nurture and admonition of the Lord. These parental duties are hard to perform in a crowded home with a worn-out mother. In some cases the father can no longer face the challenges and frustrations and has no desire to come home.
We believe that responsible birth control in marriage is wise. This should not be confused with abortion, which is a completely different procedure. We offer “the pill” in our clinics and, to those who believe before the Lord that their family is complete, suggest tubal ligation surgery which is now available locally.
Certainly a Christian doctor would not suggest destroying a human life at any stage of development. It should be understood that “the pill” prevents ovulation. The eggs remain in the ovaries rather than being lost at the rate of one a month as usually occurs in women of childbearing age who are not pregnant. Thus around 300 eggs are lost during a lifetime and many more remain in the ovary until the time of a woman’s death.
We suggest that this topic be discussed with several Christian doctors. Many couples and their children can be hurt by unguarded remarks on this subject. We plead with you to consider answering correctly the questions Mr. MacDonald asked. We must not lead young families into situations that could bring disgrace on the name of Christ. Certainly we all want to see happy families that are adequately provided for, both physically and spiritually. As we consider the plight of the poor in the world, we must take these issues seriously.
May we each one be exercised about how we can best help the young folks these days who have the difficult job of raising a family during this time in history. May the Lord help us.