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In this bold critique of modern ideas about sex, marriage, and contraception, Sam and Bethany Torode set forth a vision that is fresh for our times yet rooted in centuries of Christian tradition. Weaving together a sound theology of spousal love with honest information and personal insight, Open Embrace offers a compelling alternative to the unquestioned use of contraception. The Torodes challenge modern lifestyles and popular wisdom about how soon to have children, how many are desirable, and how to prevent them, while still recognizing that the number of children each family can best support will vary. Open Embrace is far more than a case against contraception -- it is a positive affirmation of fertility, childbearing, and prudent self-control. Couples who practice Natural Family Planning, as advocated in this book, cooperate with God's design for their bodies, making wise decisions about family size without losing respect for the mystery and meaning of sex. Whether one agrees or disagrees with its conclusions, Open Embrace is a rewarding read for all engaged and married couples seeking to sharpen their moral discernment.
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For such a short book, Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception packs some serious punches. Authors Sam and Bethany Torode argue that all married Christians, not just Roman Catholics, need to seriously examine the widespread usage of contraception, which they feel is against God's plan for creation. (Pregnancy is not a disease, they assert. Why vaccinate against it?) While supporting Natural Family Planning, which they define as informed abstinence, they also make a particularly uncompromising case for stay-at-home moms, which will probably irritate many readers. More controversially, they argue that a culture that worships sex without procreation will sacrifice its children through abortion, claiming that America's increasing permissiveness about legalizing contraception in the 1960s led inexorably to Roe v. Wade in the 1970s. While it's good to see some ecumenical diversity in the contraception debate, some of the basic arguments of this book are problematic.
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Sweetly written and solidly argued, this is a head-clearing, heart-warming read. -- J. I. Packer, author of Knowing God
The Torodes combine gentleness of spirit and wisdom beyond their years with the urgency of a fresh "95 Theses." -- Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society
This clear and well-written book presents a winsome case for the integrity and sweetness of sex 'au naturel.' -- Frederica Mathewes-Green, author of The Illumined Heart
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