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Open Embrace: A Protestant Couple Rethinks Contraception Paperback – March, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (March 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802839738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802839732
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,418,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

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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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Tim Drake VINE VOICE on June 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the book's introduction, University of Texas at Austin philosophy professor J. Budziszewski addresses the three goods of marriage: procreative, unitive, and sacramental. The error of our time, Budziszewski writes, has been trying to tear the three apart. "By saying `yes' to union but `no' to procreation, we still get a kind of union, but it goes bad; it ferments, turns sour, and begins to stink," writes Budziszewski.
With the problem thus stated, the purpose of the book then is to put the 3 back together. The authors do so both successfully and efficiently. Open Embrace, although small, is filled with great wisdom.
Catholics practicing Natural Family Planning will find nothing new here, but then that is not the book's intended audience. Rather, the Torodes have written a book for other couples like themselves - Protestant couples that were never taught to oppose contraception.
Like Kimberly Hahn, and others who have traveled the same road before them, Sam explains that he originally, incorrectly assumed that the Catholic Church's prohibition on contraception was a superstition, leftover from the Middle Ages. After a friend explained that the Church actually had reasons for its teaching, he decided to research the subject himself. The book is the result.
Beginning with what it means to be created in the image of God, the Torodes reason that our sexuality reflects God's likeness. It is from this "theology of the body" then, that the Torodes logically embrace a vision of married love and the one-flesh union which cannot be diminished or compromised through the action of contraception.
Their logic is clear, simple, and easy to follow. Desiring to conform their desires and actions to the natural rhythms of the woman's body, they lead the reader to Natural Family Planning.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Sam and Bethany have done a beautiful job with Open Embrace! Humble, practical, inspiring, down-to-earth, well-written, and easy-to-read, it is a book that every couple should read. Singles will appreciate its message as well. Rarely have I read a book which said so clearly what I thought and believed on a subject. Bethany writes so sweetly of the blessing of motherhood, sharing from her heart. And Sam does a great yet humble job of laying forth their findings about birth control and natural family planning. They don't force an opinion on you, but leave the reader to draw their own conclusion, encouraging you to pray and study about it for yourselves. This couple has stood up as a voice for their generation. May they be an inspiration to young and old alike to follow God's design for love and family!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "jessinoel" on May 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
I wish that more Protestant leaders and couples would read this book and seriously examine the issue of contraception. When my husband and I were in our pre-marital class, we tried to address contraception and the abortive aspects of the Pill and our views were completely dismissed. I am so glad that a Protestant couple has finally written a book about this. Natural Family Planning is all to often pushed aside without any consideration. This issue was a small step in my beginning to look into Church history and eventually being received into the Catholic Church. The things I have learned about contraception and NFP are often dismissed because I am not taken seriously by my Protestant friends. I hope that this book greatly impacts the Protestant community and that Christians begin to seriously examine this important issue. The only reason I give this book 4 stars is that I wish it were longer. But it is an excellent introduction to the moral controversy that contraceptive use presents to Christians of all denominations.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Harris on April 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
The preface says: "the previous generation pioneered in forgetting the oldest things. Perhaps this generation will pioneer in remembering them."
If you are looking for an alternative to Birth Control in your Christian marriage, this is the primer for you: a first-person account by a husband and wife team, Sam & Bethany Torode, on the merits of Natural Family Planning (NFP) in their marriage and a short survey on the fall from grace of contemporary Evangelical leadership in the realm of sexual intimacy and attitudes towards the procreation of children. This is a very well and personably written marriage account with grounding in the historical and doctrinal position of the Church through the ages, transcending any particular denominational affiliation. An exhilirating, joyful marriage primer to be recommended for engaged couples, newlyweds, and a sobering side-hand indictment of popular attitudes inside the Evangelical community.
This young couple articulately reflects a growing conscience across Christian denominations on the physical dangers of the birth control pill and on the spiritual benefits of listening to the wisdom of Christians who have gone before us. A hard hitting book that is destined to help rally a coalescing movement in the Protestant Evangelical world . The writers write with a comfort level that comes from growing up in the Evangelical church, but also from first-hand experience in rubbing shoulders with other living and genuine believers in the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic community. "We are not alone!" is the refreshing rallying spirit of this marriage primer.
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