It’s true, once Christians nearly universally condemned contraception and now almost universally condone it. The Roman Catholic Church is the one major exception. So is that consistency evidence of divine protection and guidance? Is the RCC carrying the torch of pure, unflappable apostolic tradition in today’s postmodern chaos?
The answer I think is no. The Roman Catholic Church has changed its mind on moral issues too.
Consider the Catholic Church also refused participation in communion services to menstruating women until 1983. Thus for much of church history it was believed women were ritually unclean during menstruation and would defile the altar and sacraments during worship. Around this belief developed a wide range of corollary practices (varying by region) restricting the activity on women in worship. Some of these restrictions became enshrined in canon law. See this article for more.
So for over well a thousand years at the least these practices were believed to be a valuable part of apostolic tradition and now in the 21st century suddenly they are not?
This to me is evidence we can’t say any tradition is apostolic if it is not spelled out in the bible. Extra biblical practices and moral teachings are valuable in many ways, but ultimately must be balanced with scripture and reason.
The point of this post is not to argue about the morality of contraception, though I do, like 99% of the U.S. population, accept it.
The point is only to say that the Roman Catholic Church has changed its mind about moral issues in the recent past and reversed centuries of what was supposedly apostolic tradition. Therefore, using the contraception argument to condemn Protestants is a non-starter. All churches, including the RCC, have shifted their views on some moral practices at one time or another.
We have one more post to go in this series.