The Church says yes to life

Family planning and contraception? Actually, these things are a private matter. And given the variety of cultures worldwide, the Church is a little reluctant with recommendations, but it does advocate an important guiding principle.

The New Apostolic Church says yes to life, and this in more ways than one. This yes applies to both sexuality on the one hand and to emerging life on the other hand. This emerges from the official statement published by the Church in the January 2022 edition of community.

Sexuality as an expression of love

“Sexuality in marriage is ordained by God as an expression of the married couple’s love for each other,” it says there. It also says, however: “Human beings have an obligation to manage their sexuality in a responsible and sensible manner. This also includes the decision whether the couple would like children and, if so, how many.”

And here the following applies: “In principle, family planning (birth control) is at the sole discretion of the married couple.” And: “Given the variety of cultures and individual situations, the New Apostolic Church cannot provide detailed recommendations on family planning.” But the Church does give couples some general principles, and this has to do with the various methods of contraception that are available.

Differences in how the methods work

There are birth control methods, for example, “which are primarily aimed at preventing fertilisation of the ovum by the sperm”. The Church has nothing against this, because they follow the principle “that no fertilised ovum should be killed”.

The Church does, however, “reject products and methods, which essentially prevent the further development of an already fertilised ovum or which kill it”. Products which use both methods (sometimes the effect is delayed), must, at the very least, be examined critically.

Ensoulment as the criterion

The criterion is that the unborn life that has come into being must not be killed. This is evident from the doctrinal statements on the beginning and end of human life, which we featured in the January and February 2021 issues of community.

The central aspects:

  • In order to best protect man, who is the image of God, the Church rejects the killing of human life.
  • The exact time at which ensoulment takes place cannot be determined with certainty. In order to provide the best possible protection for human life, the Church assumes that ensoulment takes place at the moment the ovum and sperm are joined.
  • Such life is entitled to full human dignity.

Additional information

The question now is, which method of contraception works in which way. The paper provides a comprehensive overview.

However: “This information is no substitute for a personal consultation with a specialist physician, especially since contraceptive methods can also carry health risks in certain cases. Diverse cultural and societal factors, which influence the choice of contraceptive methods, have also not been taken into consideration here.”

The official summary

“The Church says yes to life. Family planning is at the discretion of the married couple; however, the Church rejects contraceptive methods and products that are essentially aimed at killing fertilised ova. The further development of conceived life must not be inhibited.”

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Andreas Rother
Doctrinal statements