The Bible and Spanking

Such a funny image, I had to use it again
In The Dangers of Spanking, and of Not Spanking, I addressed the cultural debate about whether it is right to spank a child. (I say, "Yes, in the proper context.")

But there are two extremes that that we must be careful about -- that there is there is one way to dsipline according to the Bible and that the Bible does not at all direct parents to spank. I'll talk about both of these.

"This Is God's Way"
Let's be clear. The Bible does not give a clear procedure for how to discipline a child. If a speaker or author claims to say, "This is how the Bible says to spank," you should immediately be on guard. Don't completely ignore the person, because there may be good principles. In fact, principles (based on grace, love, authority, and safety) are what we need to be looking for.

You cannot claim that the Bible teaches a specific way to spank, any more than you can claim that the Bible commands parents to homeschool their children.

"The Bible Doesn't Command Spanking"
Some folks, both in and out of the church, make the case that the Bible does not at all promote spanking as a tool of discipline. Many point to the Proverbs passages about the "rod of discipline" (such as Proverbs 22:15) and equate the rod with a symbol of authority.

However, we must also note that there is a level of pain or discomfort associated with a rod. When the author of Hebrews speaks about a father disciplining a son (in chapter 12), it is clear that there is something unpleasant about discipline. A physical consequence seems to be warranted (though not commanded).

And even if the Bible would not address this topic, that does not mean that we shouldn't do it. The absence of evidence is not evidence.

For more on this topic, please checkout the following articles:

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