Evangelical leaders are overwhelmingly open to artificial methods of contraception, according to the April Evangelical Leaders Survey. Nearly 90 percent said they approved of artificial methods of contraception. In a separate poll conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in partnership with Gallup, Inc., 90/91 percent of evangelicals find hormonal/barrier methods of contraception to be morally acceptable for adults.
“Most associate evangelicals with Catholics in their steady leadership in pro-life advocacy, and rightly so,” said Leith Anderson, president of the NAE. “But it may come as a surprise that unlike the Catholic church, we are open to contraception.”
Indicative of their commitment to honoring the sanctity of human life, several leaders included caveats in their affirmative answers saying while they approve of contraception, they would strongly object to drugs or procedures that terminate a pregnancy once conception has taken place. George Brushaber, president emeritus of Bethel University, said that contraception should be used “with proper biblical and medical guidance.”
“Personally, I don’t believe there are any Scriptural prohibitions to most common methods of contraception,” said Randy Bell of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. “I can say from personal experience that God can defeat such methods if he chooses to do so.”
Many noted that biblical sexuality is not limited to procreation, but that its purpose extends to the consummation and expression of love within marriage. “Our leaders indicate that contraception can be utilized if all biblical purposes of sex are upheld and that it may actually aid in keeping the balance,” Anderson said.
Greg Johnson, president of Standing Together, approves of artificial methods of contraception, but added, “I believe the church does have a responsibility to communicate and preach the importance of family and that couples should not carelessly allow themselves to use contraception as a way to avoid having children and a growing family altogether.”
Two leaders said they would not approve or disapprove, but would leave it to married couples to decide based on the ethical and biblical criteria of a given situation.
The NAE’s publication, “Theology of Sex,” is a resource to help ministers and church leaders create healthy dialogue about God’s intentions for sex.