BIRTH CONTROL, THE POPE, AND MISSIONS
A Christian Reformed minister is quoted as having said from the pulpit: “If you want to save souls, have big families.” He might well have added: “If you want to evangelize the world, have bigger families.” In proportion to the task, the manpower supply available for Christian missions is going to become critically small in the next few decades unless something happens to change the direction in which things are moving.
Look at these statistics:
The Growth of the Church averages – 8,100,000 per year; 22,000 per day; 925 per hour; 15 per minute
THE WORLD’S POPULATION IS GROWING TEN TIMES FASTER
No one needs a computer to figure out what is going to happen to the influence of Christianity, and the resources in men and money to carryon missions, if the Christian Church does not start growing at a faster rate.
When the Pope considers the question of the Catholic Church’s stand on birth control, he is well aware of the statistics and the problems. Maybe some Protestants had better give them some serious consideration too. From the point of view of missions and the position of the Christian religion over against the world, the Pope has plenty of reason for hesitancy, for there are a great many factors involved. He is to be credited for standing up against the pressures of those outside the church who view the problem from only a secular point of view and the clamor of those within the Catholic Church who want him to make a popular decision that will please most people.
The majority of non-Christian nations and religions are not going to practice birth control no matter what the Pope says, and they are going to keep right on increasing in number year after year. The problem does not lie with the Christian nations anyway, and Christians are fooling themselves if they think they must limit their families in order to supply food for Buddhists, Hindus and Communists.
The Pope knows full well that his church is in trouble. Enlightened Protestants know it too. Billy Graham said in his closing message at the World Congress on Evangelism: “Pessimism pervades the thinking of the leaders of the world today. Our only hope is the Second Coming of Christ.” It is very easy to look at the problem of birth control from the “me and my house” point of view. The Pope, at least, is giving the matter a closer analysis. He knows that he will answer to history for what he decides, and the choice, when all the factors are considered, is by no means easy. It is time for us Protestants to re-evaluate the matter too. Our first calling as a Church is to evangelize the world. With the growth in world population, our task keeps getting larger. Why should we limit our future sources of supply?
ROGER S. GREENWAY