The Gospel Coalition and ACBC Promote Spanking Babies and Little Kids ala Ted Tripp. Folks, Our Children Aren’t Sheep To Control With the Rod.


Mother and Baby

“I accepted what the Sisters taught in religion class: that God is loving, merciful, charitable, forgiving. That message didn’t jibe with adults smacking kids.”― Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World


I am really mad. The Gospel Coalition posted How the Rod Can Point Children to God by Tilly Dillehay. It appears the dudebros in the Reformed circles love to recycle garbage. Tilly appears to be a fan of *the rod.* She emphasizes passages from Proverbs to bolster her position.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,” Proverbs 22:15 observes, “but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”

“Do not withhold discipline from a child,” Proverbs 23:13 insists—continuing with words that may shock us—“if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.”

She proceeds to state that the Bible insists we use the rod because it is the wise thing to do.

But what I want to argue for here is a simple and fairly uncontroversial statement: the Proverbs commend the use of the rod. They assume that the principle of the rod is an essential part of loving our kids.

In fact, Tilly, who is a literalist, goes further. She believes that it is impossible to come to any conclusion other than the Biblical command to use the rod to beat a child.

Some may disagree with the idea that Proverbs can be read prescriptively (“It’s not a command; it’s wisdom literature!”). I could grant them that approach. But I’d still be left asking: so do we want to be wise, or don’t we? Did the biblical writers think this was a good idea, or not? Can we read these passages and come up with any other compelling reason why such strong endorsement of corporal discipline is found in the Bible?

Except, there are exceptions. She admits that there are circumstances in which beating a child with a rod might be detrimental. This might include adopted children who were abused or a child with special needs. But, (and I can see her shaking her finger at you) you must find a way to be able to use the *rod* as much as possible and one must not look for an out. Get it straight…you must beat your child with *a rod.*

Finding out how to communicate that authority without the physical rod will require great wisdom. It’s another reason why we need to be willing to humbly ask for input from experienced parents who’ve walked a similar road. And for the parents whose children don’t fit into these narrow exceptional cases, exceptions shouldn’t be used as an excuse to ignore Scripture’s call.

Tilly goes on and on about out-of-control children and teens. She mentions one boy who said to his parent, “Shut up and drive.” She then came to the conclusion that the only way to prevent such absurd behavior is to use the rod because the Bible obviously says so.

What is Tilly’s experience with raising kids?

I hesitate to post a picture of the author with her children so this is a link to where she does this on her own blog. Look carefully. Just how old are her children? All three children are essentially a baby, a toddler, and a preschooler. Tilly does not appear to have any experience in raising older children. So, her experience is sorely lacking.

All three of my children are now adults. Tilly doesn’t recognize that the spanking controversy has been around for decades. In my own case, I followed James Dobson’s advice and spanked my oldest child at least two times when she was a toddler. I found myself uncomfortable. Was there another way to get my point across? I came to the conclusion that I was way smarter than my children and I could find other ways to get my point across. I can assure everyone that none of my kids ever told me to *shut up and drive.*

Tilly takes the passages in the Bible and assumes that it means that one must whop a kid with a rod to truly punish him so he will never say *Shut up and drive.*

Tilly obviously has no trouble with someone who recommends using the rod to punish a baby.

She got downright excited that Ted Tripp has a *full chapter on the use of the rod.*

And Tedd Tripp has a full chapter on the rod in Shepherding a Child’s Heart.

Yep, he sure does. So I must assume that she believes in using the rod on an eight-month-old baby!

The Seattle Times posted Spanking advocate sparks controversy in the Seattle area. It seems like Mark Driscoll invited Tripp to come and speak at Mars Hill in 2008. Driscoll liked him! That should cause red flags to be waving madly.

But Brayden does object to Tripp’s view of spanking as a way to create submission in kids, his recommendation that the parent remove the child’s drawers so the spanking is “not lost in the padding of his pants,” according to the book, and his suggestion that it’s OK to spank very young children.

Children are old enough to be disciplined when they are old enough to show resistance, Tripp says in “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.”

“Rebellion can be something as simple as a small child struggling against a diaper change or stiffening his body when you want him to sit on your lap,” he writes, relaying an anecdote about how his 8-month-old son was old enough to be disciplined.

What do the experts say about spanking?

The American Academy of Pediatrics posted The American Academy Of Pediatrics On Spanking Children: Don’t Do It, Ever.

In a new policy statement issued earlier this month, the group warns that “Aversive disciplinary strategies, including all forms of corporal punishment and yelling at or shaming children, are minimally effective in the short-term and not effective in the long-term. With new evidence, researchers link corporal punishment to an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional outcomes for children.”

An analysis of a 2016 national survey conducted by yougov.com revealed that respondents with young children in the home, regardless of race and ethnicity, did not support corporal punishment, “suggesting the possibility that a generational shift in social norms [about corporal punishment] may be taking place.”

…”We know that the brain does not grow and develop as well once there has been physical punishment to the point where it can cause learning problems, problems with vocabulary and memory, as well as aggressive behavior,” Shu said.

…Though physical discipline has been part of American culture for generations, Shu said the research is clear — it is time for change.

Also, The American Academy of Pediatrics in  AAP recommends positive discipline rather than physical, verbal punishment recommended positive alternatives.

Pediatricians can offer parents guidance on effective discipline strategies such as positive reinforcement and direct them to sources of positive parenting tips, including the AAP healthychildren.org website.

AAP recommends positive discipline rather than physical, verbal punishment:

Spanking may stop a child’s bad behavior in the short term, Dr. Brown said. However, pediatricians can talk with parents about how physical punishment can cause long-term problems and offer alternative approaches to discipline that go beyond the ub

To make matters worse, the ACBC (The Association of Biblical Counselors) also recommends Ted Tripp’s book.

I have long believed that the training that is offered by the ACBC  is embarrassingly sup-par. I wrote Biblical Counseling Training: Inadequate Education, Problematic Resources and Questionably Educated Leaders Here is what I wrote about Tripp.

Ted Tripp and Shepherding a Child’s Heart by spanking babies.

I was quite surprised that this book is being recommended as a resource book for biblical counselors in training. Tripp is an advocate of spanking babies as young as 8 months old,

Children are old enough to be disciplined when they are old enough to show resistance, Tripp says in “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.”

“Rebellion can be something as simple as a small child struggling against a diaper change or stiffening his body when you want him to sit on your lap,” he writes, relaying an anecdote about how his 8-month-old son was old enough to be disciplined.

A particularly thoughtful critique of this book can be found at ONE MOM’S LOOK AT TEDD TRIPP’S BOOK: SHEPHERDING A CHILD’S HEART

For brevity, I focus here on my disagreements with Shepherding a Child’s Heart—its application of some Scriptures and its overall emphasis.
My main concerns are these:
1. The book’s focus on requiring obedience as the primary component of the parent/child relationship and emphasis on parental authority as the right to require obedience.
2. Tripp’s teaching that spanking is the means the parent must use in order to bring a child back into “the circle of blessing.”
3. Tripp’s interpretation that the “rod” in Proverbs equals spanking, that spanking is even for young children, that spanking is the God-ordained means of discipline (which parents must obey) and that use of the rod saves a child’s soul from death.
4. His portrayal of any other style or method of parenting in a derogatory manner and training parents’ consciences that failure to discipline as his book teaches is disobedience to God.

Final thoughts

I cannot believe that the evangelical Christian world continues to debate this issue. When I was raising my children, I was often flummoxed by those young parents who had the answer on how to raise a child. Many of them were young women who heard a sermon, went to a *women’s day event,*  or were involved in small groups of people who believed exactly like them. As time went on, I noticed that the kids who were spanked were no less screwed up than those who were not.

I believe that *the rod* is God’s metaphor for disciplining our children. Our kids are not sheep who need to get whacked on the butt by the shepherd’s rod so they will get back into the corral. I don’t think children should be treated like animals. They are different and we adults can be far more clever in our discipline. But it takes time to act like an adult and it’s sure easier to whack them.

In the end, I get the odd feeling this might have something to do with playing the authority and discipline game ala 9 Marx except, in this instance, the authoritarian adults get to whack those disobedient babies and kids with impunity. They won’t be calling TWW to write their stories for another 20 years or so.


Comments

The Gospel Coalition and ACBC Promote Spanking Babies and Little Kids ala Ted Tripp. Folks, Our Children Aren’t Sheep To Control With the Rod. — 167 Comments

  1. I have mixed feelings about this subject. I read Tripps book when my three were young but disregarded most of it. I could not believe he advocated spanking teenagers!! However I occasionally did spank my three at around age two for rebellion. I would estimate about three or four times per child, with myself controlled and not angry, and all three of mine were generally well behaved and I did not feel they were harmed. To be honest, while I do agree with you that these authors take it way too far and create an authoritarian relationship-which is sad-I do believe that God allows discipline, and then the debate is which form, for what, and how often. Disgusting Voddie Baucham says “eight times before breakfast” ….sad. But I take more stock in the general principal from the Bible than the AAP.

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  2. In their Bible interpretations, New Calvinists relish Old Testament law, skip the Gospels, and cherry-pick the Epistles. When they’re not beating non-Calvinists to death with text out of context, they turn on their wives and children to whip them into submission, and intimidate church members with discipline, shunning and excommunication. Oh, what a lovely bunch.

    In the meantime (the message they don’t hear), Jesus says “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on My yoke and learn from Me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” … “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, leading him away from My teaching, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” etc. etc.

    The primary characteristic of a Christian is love. The New Calvinists demonstrate little of that. They deliver law, not life, in their ministries and families.

    Our daughter follows Jesus, raises her children to follow Him, loves her neighbors as herself, serves the Lord. I recall only one whacking on the butt when she was a toddler – for saying something nasty to her mother – it ended in tears and repentance by all of us – no more spankings, they were never necessary. When she was under our watch, we didn’t beat her, we loved her. It worked!

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  3. I have 4 children and what I have found is that each child is different, there is no cookie cutter method for raising well adjusted children. I think studying your children , finding out their likes and dislike, what are their key motivations etc helps pick a disciplinary technique. Just as Abigail said above, I would not want to take spanking from a parents. I needed a few swats in school to learn to obey and boy did it work, at least for me. I do agree that spanking should be a last resort.

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  4. Most homeschooling materials advocate spanking
    and most of the speakers I heard were for it. I think it falls under controlling a child’s spirit. If I had to do over, I would have worked harder on showing them what a wonderful, loving , forgiving
    God we serve and exhibiting that in my life. I was an obedient son mostly because I loved my mom and dad and didn’t want to hurt or embarrass them in our community. I did fear my dad , but fear wasn’t my main motivation, Love was.

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  5. Clockwork Angel: These people seem to be obsessed with controlling their child’s rebellious hearts. Maybe they should consider baptizing their babies as an alternative solution? Sorry, shameless Anglican humor.

    I’m Lutheran and I’ve heard similar jokes! 🙂
    I think these dudebros love to control whoever and whatever they can. And if that means whacking babies, then so be it.

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  6. Oh good lord. These ignorant a-holes are so committed to their literalist interpretation of the Bible that they refuse to read it in CONTEXT– and the context of those proverbs is that the “child” is really a young man, and the “rod” is a thick stick. The idea behind it is that it’s better to beat your teenager than to let them go on a path that could kill them. (Which, given what we now know about brain development, I still think is wrong. Beating teens is as unnecessary as beating children.)

    Also, I hate that these full-of-themselves “biblical” morons think that their “biblical” wisdom gives them to ignore what actual childhood development experts have discovered about children’s brains. An 8 month old baby is incapable of being “rebellious”!

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  7. I just want to point out that shepherds do not beat their sheep. We moderns don’t realize it, but sheep were extremely valuable. Ewe’s milk is used to make, for example, feta and Roquefort cheeses, as well as straied yogurt. Sheep’s wool was one of the two major fibers of Europe prior to the 1600s (the other being linen from flax). And of course mutton was one of the sources of the rare occasions for many people to have meat. Having a few sheep that you could raise on the village common was one way for peasant families to build a tiny bit of wealth for those occasions where there might be a need–like a sheep for a wedding meal, maybe the only meat that year, or a sheep to give if something had to be paid to the local lord. (This could happen upon the death of a peasant family patriarch and the division of his property among his children, for example. The lord wanted his share.)

    No, people weren’t whacking their sheep with their shepherds’ crooks. Sheep were entirely too valuable for that. The crooks were used to guide the sheep and pull them back into line. On top of that, shepherds often employed dogs to help them guide the sheep, move them from pasture to pasture, and help keep off wolves.

    I just felt I had to stand up for the sheep here, and for our ancestors who kept sheep and didn’t beat them with rods or spoons or quarter-inch plumbing line or belts or the palms of their hands.

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  8. Tedd Tripp’s book is dangerous. It contains enough nuggets of truth to appeal to desperate parents, such as stopping and asking WHY your child is misbehaving before determining what to do about it.

    BUT…

    (1) He flat out states that immaturity is never an excuse for misbehavior. Which I would say is “unbliblical.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” The bible recognizes stages of human development and doesn’t call it “sin.” Thus Tripp’s faulty logic that a baby squirming during a diaper change is “in rebellion,” as opposed to simply communicating discomfort.

    (2) The book is full of fear mongering, with heavy use of the words “sin” and “rebellion.” If, as he posits, we as parents are supposed to reflect God’s relationship with humanity to our children as we parent them, then what is it teaching our children about God if we parent out of fear? Does God “parent” us from a position of fear? No!

    (3) It doesn’t acknowledge that a child can have boundaries. A child who doesn’t want to share a toy is “sinful” and “greedy.” As adults we aren’t expected to share all our possessions with whoever asks; why should a child be required to?

    (4) He focuses on discipline to the exclusion of relationship. (At least in the first third of the book. I didn’t get any further before needing to take a break for my mental health.) How is a child supposed to respect a parent if there is only ever negative interactions and correction and discipline? Would you respect any other authority figure who acted like this? No!

    Argh!

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  9. Most of the abuse in my family was verbal and emotional, but with just enough physical content to make the rest of it constantly threatening. This traumatized my siblings and me.

    All of us had different personalities. As young children we did nothing to deserve being hit. As older kids we did nothing that hitting would correct. We all turned out to be productive adults, and we all carried emotional struggles that owed something to being frequently hunted and screamed at, and occasionally slapped, hit with wooden spoons, punched, and kicked.

    I’ve been challenged about this: “Maybe the discipline turned you into a better adult.” This is, to be clear, a vile and insulting thing to say to a survivor of abuse. Actually, my thought has always been that I could have done more with my life if I had not suffered quite so much as a child.

    One of my greatest achievements was stopping the abuse without injuring the abuser. I had to wait till I was almost full height, strong enough and tall enough and fast enough to scare the person into not hitting me anymore.

    Suddenly I was the threat, and thank God this messed-up person never again charged at me with feet and fists flying. I would not have hurt them. I would have chosen to take the pain rather than cause it in someone else. And that self-restraint would have destroyed a little bit more of my young psyche.

    Do not hit children.

    Do not hit children.

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  10. Considering “rod” to be only metaphorical is completely unfaithful to the plain meaning of the multiple biblical texts using this word not only in Proverbs, but also throughout the Bible, except where it is used in the sense of “God’s rod,’ e.g. Psalm 23.

    The AAP, like all the secular major medical groups, follows the liberal ideological winds of the age on lots of issues, some more clearly anti-Christian that just decrying spanking.

    By contrast, the conservative American College of Pediatricians, whose views on various topics more closely align with Christian principles, in its resource section on parenting does list Tripp’s book mentioned above, as well as some by Dobson and others who would not completely disavow the possible role of appropriate spanking in raising children.

    Better to stand on the eternal truth of God’s Word than the latest so-called wisdom of the age.

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  11. Micaiah: Better to stand on the eternal truth of God’s Word than the latest so-called wisdom of the age.

    My mother hit me with a metal mesh flyswatter after she broke a blood vessel in her hand whaling on one of us kids. All it did was make me a better liar.

    I’d also note that if you hit an adult the way you think kids should be hit, you’d be facing charges of assault and battery. Why is it OK to hit kids and a crime to hit adults? Why?

    Then not everyone reads the Bible the same way you do, nor do they agree with you on the interpretation of same. Obviously you didn’t read what I had to say about sheep, which were very valuable property and NOT beaten because of that very value. Aren’t children more valuable than sheep?

    Finally, I’d rather go to hell first than believe in a god who thinks it’s perfectly OK to whale on children who don’t have the cognitive ability to understand and/or who get the idea that all problems are solved by violence. I’m DEAD SERIOUS about that. I would go to hell first.

    I am tired, very tired, of children being treated horribly by their parents. The war on children by parents, pastors and so-called blind guides all doing it in the name of Jesus has to stop!

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  12. Bridget, Perhaps you should take your own advice, since the Facebook link you give is a hermeneutical nightmare by someone who says, “Listen, I ain’t no Christian and I don’t believe in God.” I’m happy to learn truth from anyone, but historically and currently, atheists have not been the most reliable interpreters of God’s Word, and this link handily illustrates that again.

    And Muslin, I’m truly sorry if you were abused by your parents, but your gross caricature of all spanking as “whaling” on kids and equating it with kids being treated horribly by their parents makes me think any reasonable discussion with you about this is impossible. And yes, I had previously read your comment about sheep, but if you have any kids, who are of infinitely more value than sheep, you too will know raising them is a bit more complicated than tending sheep (although I’ve never tended sheep; perhaps we should confirm this with a shepherd who has kids).

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  13. One of the dangers of biblical literalism is exposed here : utter ignorance of the way shepherds actually use a rod – I mean, do sheep need to be beaten into submission? The rod – the symbol in some denominations of a bishop – was used to guide, nudge, prod, and defend the flock. It also greatly assisted it’s bearer in traipsing the hills of the countryside.

    This comes from a homily given by a preacher who actually once worked as a shepherd.

    One’s ‘beliefs’ about what the Bible supposedly said is not the same as knowledge.

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  14. I see nothing wrong with appropriate spanking, and use it sometimes. At a homeschool conference earlier this year, we attended a couple of talks by Nicholeen Peck and liked what we heard. Although she is a Mormon, we’re running mostly off of her book “A House United” for discipline strategies, and it generally works well. She teaches self-discipline/control for both adults and kids. Stay super calm always.

    Instead of spanking, “Because you have chosen to X, you have chosen to earn an additional chore. Your chore is Y.” combined with some other stuff about teaching the correct responses (say okay, go do it, then check back when done) versus throwing a fit and earning a 2nd chore, etc.

    I grew up with spanking and I think this is more effective much of the time. Sometimes the little buggers still need a couple of swats, but it’s pretty rare and should fade out even more as they age up.

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  15. Dan: Should Mary and Joseph have spanked Jesus when he stayed behind in Jerusalem to go into the Temple? Is it possible that sometimes what humans call rebellion is actually a child being led by the Spirit?

    I’ve heard Voddie Baucham speak and I think he’s the one with sin issues. Pride being foremost. But that kind of theology really isn’t about raising decent human beings and doing what’s right, it’s about egotistic men acting like angry dictators in their home that nobody should defy. They are not doing the right thing and nobody should listen to them.

    I worked in daycares and as a lower grades teacher for many years. In daycare, I worked with toddlers for many years. I found that pulling them aside and having age-appropriate conversations with them about why what they were doing was hurting people had more effect on their long-term behavior than anything else. But it’s not fast and I think that’s what people like Baucham can’t stand. They’re not mature enough to enable a process and instead want instant behavior changes. But those kinds would never tolerate church discipline of their own issues…

    I will also say that I noticed a lot of parents took normal childhood behaviors personally when they were just being kids. This is not a child problem, but a parent problem. It’s like they expected two-year-olds (or older) to act like perfect adults, when even they and other adults don’t act that perfect.

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  16. Micaiah: And Muslin, I’m truly sorry if you were abused by your parents, but your gross caricature of all spanking as “whaling” on kids and equating it with kids being treated horribly by their parents makes me think any reasonable discussion with you about this is impossible. And yes, I had previously read your comment about sheep, but if you have any kids, who are of infinitely more value than sheep, you too will know raising them is a bit more complicated than tending sheep (although I’ve never tended sheep; perhaps we should confirm this with a shepherd who has kids).

    Look, you puffed up alleged true Bible interpreter, I would say that breaking a blood vessel in one’s hand when hitting a child qualifies as “whaling.” As far as “reasonable” discussion, I’d note that yeah, it’s going to be impossible because I am NEVER going to agree that it’s OK to hit children. I’m an ex-lawyer–I’ve SEEN the results of hitting kids and they are not pretty.

    Jesus never laid a hand on a child, never instructed parents to hit children and held up children as how his kingdom should be like. You, on the other hand, don’t seem to see children as infinitely valuable, since you’d employ physical punishment, used by vindictive and angry parents everywhere, on children. There’s nothing subtle about hitting. It just teaches kids that hitting is OK to solve problems.

    And again, confront this–I’d rather go to hell than worship a god who thinks that hitting children is appropriate.

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  17. Dan: Is it possible that sometimes what humans call rebellion is actually a child being led by the Spirit?

    Point taken, but I also do not think it is acceptable to strike a child who is clearly doing something wrong. There are better ways to discipline children. Dee linked to the American Academy of Pediatrics website, which has excellent information.

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  18. Micaiah: Better to stand on the eternal truth of God’s Word than the latest so-called wisdom of the age.

    You cite Dobson as a source. Nothing eternal about him or his dog-beating and child-beating ways. My close relative was raised by Dobson followers who beat her unclothed backside with a wire hanger and commanded her to smile throughout. The lens of “eternal truth” blinded them to their own cruel violence against a little girl who only ever wanted to make them proud.

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  19. Micaiah: Better to stand on the eternal truth of God’s Word than the latest so-called wisdom of the age.

    So you believe that you are *standing on the eternal truth of God’s Word.” In so doing, you are far more *Christian* than those who disagree with your perspective? Eyes rolling.

    I am surprised that such a *Godly* man would approve of spanking 8 month old children as does Tripp. You must believe your little baby is *challenging your authority.” And that is dangerous.

    I have raised three kids. I was spanked as a child and, to this day, I believe it was unnecessary. It was quick and easy as opposed to actually interacting with your child and finding more clever ways of discipline.

    As for your recommendation nof the ACP, you do know that the belief in reparative therapy for homosexuals. Many Christian groups, including the SBC, now understand that reparative therapy is ineffective and, in some cases, harmful. The ACP has only 500 members and that is due to a number of missteps. If they recommend Tripp’s book, they are advocating the sapnking of babies.No wonder they have so few members. That means there are many Christian pediatricians who chose not to join in with that organization. But I’m sure you will blow that off as such doctors not *standing on the Word of God* like you do.

    I, too, stand on the word of God and I have come to a conclusion which is different than yours. If one takes the stand of Ted Tripp by beating their squirmy babies, then I believe that they are abusers and should be reported to the police.

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  20. As a reminder, it is against the law in many states and countries for parents to hit adopted children and foster children. These parents learn effective and non-violent ways to discipline. If they are Christian, they choose to ignore the supposedly Biblical command to use the rod, or they choose to break the mere laws of men.

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  21. dee: interacting with children and finding clever ways to discipline them when they continue in the unwanted behavior takes time and effort

    There are other consequences to employ, rather than beating the tar out of kids all the time. God doesn’t spare the rod on adults who do that to children … payday someday.

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  22. I suspect that part of the imperative pro-spankers feel to inflict physical pain as a deterrent is the perception of how high the stakes are, should it happen that they fail to control the direction in which the child’s life is tending.

    “if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.”

    TT’s book (which I read about 2 decades ago) is concerned with, among other things, “how to train children to properly relate to God-appointed authorities”. The fear is if they don’t learn this, they will have a life-time of trouble and will be at great risk of eternal damnation at the hands of the greatest Authority of all, God Himself.

    I think that a subtext in evangelical readings of Pv 23:13 is something like this:

    “if you strike him with a rod, he will not die [and go to Hell].”

    So it isn’t just that “the Bible authorizes it, so it’s OK”, but the perception that the stakes are so high, which justifies extreme measures in order to avoid extreme outcomes. It seems to me to be the same thinking that justifies overlooking egregious misconduct in celebrity pastors — “so many people are being saved!”

    I think if you embrace the premise that the stakes are as high as people like TT think, it is hard to argue with the logic of their argument.

    Personally, I don’t think the stakes are as high as the pro-spankers think. OT is relentlessly “this life” or “under the sun” focused. I think that the concern in Pv 23:13 is that the child not grow into the kind of person who commits capital offenses and is justly put to death.

    I can conceive that it would quite appropriate to use non-lethal physical force to restrain a child from joining a band of robbers who were planning to waylay someone, kill him and steal his possessions.

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  23. I remember years ago hearing that an effective discipline was to take one of the child’s favorite toys away for a period of time. That way the child knows he/she is being punished/disciplined for an inappropriate behavior and that you as a parent saw it.

    What about the practice of standing in the corner for 5/10 minutes?

    Years ago when my brother repeatedly ignored the time he was told to come home, my father made him kneel in front of the clock and report to him every 10 minutes. Me and my sisters felt his humiliation and tried not let him know we were aware of what was happening. Please know that it happened some 65 yrs. ago and that it is still ingrained in my memory and I’m certain in my brother’s as well.

    Surely there are ways to discipline without violence and/or humiliation.

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  24. Max: In their Bible interpretations, New Calvinists relish Old Testament law, skip the Gospels, and cherry-pick the Epistles. When they’re not beating non-Calvinists to death with text out of context, they turn on their wives and children to whip them into submission, and intimidate church members with discipline, shunning and excommunication. Oh, what a lovely bunch.

    In this, they are being Godly(TM).

    Because their God is nothing but Omnipotent POWER, a Cosmic Toddler always one Divine Temper Tantrum away from pouring out His WRATH on the Reprobate (never His Predestined Elect). A God whose only goal and motivation is To Glorify HimSELF. God Rules All With a Rod of Iron, God Holds the Biggest Whip; why should not His Godly Elect do the same with what POWER they Hath Been Predestined to Wield?

    My time in-country in the Seventies was before the Rise of the Sons of Divine Calvin, but I did experience an analogous attitude and Holy Rationalization. Mostly on Christianese AM radio sermons, two of which dovetailed together really well in the proto-Culture Wars of the time:
    1) (unknown radio preacher who screamed a lot) “In The Millenium (after Armageddon) THERE WILL BE NO DISSENT!!! HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON!!!”
    2) Focus on the Family maintained for some time that “Christians need to train themselves for the jobs/tasks God will give them in the Millenium when we Rule Earth under Christ.”
    Put the two together, add Utter RIGHTeousness, and you easily get “I HOLD THE WHIP! GOD GAVE ME THE WHIP! GOD SAITH!” Climb to POWER Without End, Amen.

    Commanded and Blessed by a God whom they have redefined into their own image.

    “There is no Right, there is no Wrong, there is only POWER.”
    — Lord Voldemort

    “The only goal of Power is POWER. And POWER consists of inflicting suffering among the Powerless.”
    — Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party, Airstrip One, Oceania, Nineteen Eighty-Four

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  25. Bridget:
    dee,

    The mantra for this type of discipline was to “get instant obedience” from your children, which in actuality was instant fear of punishment. There was no learning or understanding on the child’s part involved.

    In the Third Reich, this was called Kadavergehorsham (literally “Corpse Obedience”, more accurately “Zombie Obedience”), and was the goal of National Socialist education and SS training. What company do these Christians keep?

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  26. Friend: Micaiah: Better to stand on the eternal truth of God’s Word than the latest so-called wisdom of the age.

    Already anticipated you, Friend/Apostate:

    Micaiah: Better to stand on the eternal truth of God’s Word than the latest so-called wisdom of the age.

    P.S. Anyone who uses such a Biblical(TM) Name for his handle (OT Prophet?) is already suspect.

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  27. Are any of the Warburgers old enough to remember Benjamin Spock, author of “Baby and Child Care”? He deplored spanking saying it taught children that “the larger, stronger person has the power to get his way whether or not he is ‘in the right’.” I guess those who were spanked grew up to be New Calvinists 🙂

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  28. Friend: You cite Dobson as a source. Nothing eternal about him or his dog-beating and child-beating ways.

    If you look back at Dobson’s first Christian best-seller The Strong-Willed Child, from the beginning (circa 1970) he was looking at childrearing through the lens of Power Struggle.

    My close relative was raised by Dobson followers who beat her unclothed backside with a wire hanger and commanded her to smile throughout.

    Mommie Dearest (wire coathangers and all) plus “Are We SMIIIIIILING Today? HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!”

    If said close relative is NOT a hard-core Anti-Theist today, that would truly be a Miracle. To her, God will be forever associated with Violent Abuse.

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  29. LBC promotes Tedd Tripp sells all his books in their bookstore. I know because shepherding a child’s heart was given to me at the time Billy was 8. I was told that my sons active energy and him running all over the place was the result of lack of discipline. I 100% disagreed at that time but accepted the book and went to see Tedd Tripp at another church with members. I didn’t understand the comments on my sons lack of discipline because he was a very easy kid once he turned 6. I worked out discipline with time outs, removing toys when necessary followed up by why he was in trouble at the time then once his time out in the corner was done I would ask him if he was done and if he was still defiant he stayed there for an extra five minutes afterwards I would ask if he’s done and I would get a head drop , a I’m sorry mommy and then he would get a hug a kiss and I love you son for listening to mommy and doing his time out. I never felt comfortable with hitting my child and saw other mothers around use the paddle on children as young as 3. The women put their children on strict diets and water it was so odd to me but I didn’t say anything because I never saw the full picture. When serving in the nursery the members some didn’t want their toddlers or infants to have a bottle until 10am some just gave water or these weird granola snacks. It wasn’t food or nourishment. They passed around baby wise and were and still are on all these weird diets, health and wellness. This goes so beyond just discipline they turn this discipline and eating into its own lifestyle and cult.

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  30. ishy: Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Voddie Baucham is the guy who calls infants “vipers in diapers.” Nope.

    “MAN SEES A CUTE LITTLE BABY! GOD SEES AN UTTERLY DEPRAVED SINNER!
    — Some Seventies radio preacher who screamed a lot

    This is also “Beat the shy out of Fluttershy” Baucham.

    He’s also the guy that insinuates that men are attracted to their daughters.

    Shades of Crater’s Keep…
    https://gameofthrones.fandom.com/wiki/Craster

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  31. Headless Unicorn Guy: If said close relative is NOT a hard-core Anti-Theist today, that would truly be a Miracle. To her, God will be forever associated with Violent Abuse.

    It’s sadder than that. She remains a Christian and still cannot reconcile her beliefs with her parents’ violence. She’s just stuck, and damaged: How could such good, loving Christian parents abuse me?

    I will add that she did not spank her own children, who seem to be turning out fine.

    Her faith choices are her own, but a person in this situation can potentially blame the abusive parents without blaming Christianity. Dobson and Baucham do not represent the faith to me, and neither does my own family abuser—even though all have claimed godly authority.

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  32. First off, to get it out of the way, I firmly disagree with the nutso discipline teachings of the new Calvinists. We were foster and adoptive parents and there are better ways than hitting. Period. As to instant obedience, yeah, we with approval of the state strove for that because we lived in an area with rattlesnakes, scorpions, etc. So the kids were trained if told specific commands: stop freeze back up slowly to mommy. Those few commands had to instant obedience or death could occur. Same with our grands when the danger was snakes, bears, and mountain lions. But only those commands, and we always once the child was safe explained why. Other commands or requests, like don’t hit your sister or please don’t run in the house were treated differently and handled differently.

    But I can see this discipline idea writ large with, if accurate, what I recently read re John MacArthur. He figures if God has predestined you to die of covid19 and his actions result in your death, he feels no guilt. God’s doing. THEREFORE he can have his church open for business as normal, no masks or distancing.

    His logic is flawed. Maybe God predestined him to close up business.

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  33. ishy: I will also say that I noticed a lot of parents took normal childhood behaviors personally when they were just being kids.

    Couldn’t agree more. Kids need to develop their own personal boundaries, learn to make decisions (including mistakes), and be allowed to express emotions (including “negative” ones), and not allowing them to do so can cause them relationship and functional problems throughout the rest of their lives.

    My husband and I hadn’t been around a lot of kids when we had our own, so it was very helpful to take classes and read books about what to expect with normal child development at different stages. ‘The Art of Positive Parenting’ is one practical example.

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  34. “Tripp’s teaching that spanking is the means the parent must use in order to bring a child back into “the circle of blessing.””

    Blessing or curse? Ever wonder why some kids steer clear of the family circle when they get old enough to leave Daddy’s home?

    To modify a verse for these kid-beaters: “Honor your children, that your days may be long in the land.” (I learned how to twist Scripture from the New Calvinists)

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  35. Friend: What is the ideal age to begin striking a child? What is the ideal age to stop?

    The wise answer is “It depends.”

    My wife says a flick to the forehead is justified at 4-6 months when the baby starts biting her nipple. That and taking away the boob for a whole entire minute(!!) results in baby quickly learning to NOT bite mommy.

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  36. readingalong: Couldn’t agree more. Kids need to develop their own personal boundaries, learn to make decisions (including mistakes), and be allowed to express emotions (including “negative” ones), and not allowing them to do so can cause them relationship and functional problems throughout the rest of their lives.

    I keep thinking about one boy I had in the toddlers class. He came in at about 22 months and basically had gone straight from crawling to running. He loved to run more than anything else. If he was running, he was grinning from ear to ear. Of course, this wasn’t always the safest thing indoors and his mom was always apologizing for it. She seemed to think it was some personal reflection on her that he didn’t want to stop running.

    Her husband was a semi-pro hockey player and she had been a college basketball player. I think her son’s love of running was in his genes. I finally had to tell her that I thought it was amazing that he loved to run so much. Yes, we had to work on when it was appropriate to run and when it wasn’t, but that him wanting to just run and run was probably a sign of his athletic potential and the love of movement itself. And I didn’t say this, but I think our “sitting down” society was never what God intended for humans. I think we were created to move way more than we do now.

    Sometimes, I think we’re looking at the wrong things when we have a list of misbehaviors. Learning takes time and experience and it might be that what society considers proper is not good for us anyway.

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  37. Headless Unicorn Guy: Watchman Nee Hal Lindsay.

    Of note, two completely different life stories of faith.

    Nee, as a Christian, was a minority in his country. Nee was persecuted and imprisoned for his faith and spent the last twenty years of his life in prison. His books were published from his sermons after his death, or during his imprisonment, with no material gain for him.

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  38. ishy: I think we were created to move way more than we do now.

    I have a grandson who was always moving in the womb. He’s 7 years old now – he never stops moving until bedtime. The other day, I watched him run a half mile at a furious pace to where I was fishing, jumping over obstacles in his way. Whew! To be young again! (you couldn’t beat the kid if you wanted to; you can’t catch him!)

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  39. I’m glad my children and I escaped from the authoritarian church we attended for a while. They were giving the book discussed in this post away, but I didn’t read it. I read Mr. Rogers’ thoughts quite bit during my hard to be quiet times as a parent. And when I was intentional about looking for inspiration, without taking cues from TGC type “models,” one of those I noticed was/is Justice Sotomayor. I trust her judgement from what I’ve heard/read of her. I like the way she sums it up with just a few sentences.
    .

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  40. I think a swat from a loving parent at an appropriate time could be fine, such as when a child is deliberately defying you (not for childishness, accidents, or kids just being kids). But I was not comfortable spanking my kids, so I disciplined in less physical ways.

    But I was furious when I saw a post from my Calvinist pastor (who signed our Evangelical Free church up with TGC and 9Marks) about how God COMMANDS spanking and that it should hurt. He spanks his grandkids too, and acts like we would all be wise to follow his example. I left a comment about how the Bible does NOT command spanking, but it does command discipline. I also told them the picture they used on the post was horrifying because it looked like a scared child huddled in a corner, hiding the abuse that happens behind closed doors. And I asked if that’s really the image they want to portray.

    Instead of posting my comment, they removed the post. But it made no difference to us because we were already leaving that church because it’s going deeper and deeper into Calvinism. Hasta la vista, baby! We tried to warn them in a letter to the elders, but they all agree with the pastor and like the direction it’s headed. So good luck with your 9Marks church, y’all!

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  41. And why is a Proverb, which is simply a wise saying, taken as absolute Gospel/theological truth that must be obeyed anyway? If the Proverbs are absolute, rock-solid biblical truth, then every child who is trained up in the way they should go will never depart from it when they are older (22:6)? Is that a biblical promise that always happens? No. And why not? Because Proverbs are simply generalized “wise sayings,” good advice.

    Yet Calvinists, to their and others’ detriment, use Proverbs as iron-clad theology, such as this spare the rod thing and the one about God turning the king’s heart however He wants (21:1), interpreted to mean that God – Calvinism’s god – preplans, controls, and causes everything, even sin (despite the fact that God Himself contradicts this when He says things like He never thought of having the people sacrifice their children to Baal in Jeremiah 19:5). Talk about getting their theology wrong!

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  42. And one last thing. If I had to question my Calvinist pastor about spanking his kids and grandkids, I would ask him why he does it? He, as a Calvinist, believes God controls everything we do and determines what we will be, who we will become, how we will act. So does a Calvinist really think he can change or affect what Calvi-god predestined for his children? Does he really think his discipline will affect the path his child takes or the people they become? If Calvi-god wants that child to be a rebellious reprobate, who is this pastor to think he can change it? And if the child grows up to be obedient and responsible, will the pastor take credit for it, based on how he raised the child? Wouldn’t that be taking credit for what Calvi-god alone caused and had control over? Ironic!

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  43. Ava Aaronson: Headless Unicorn Guy: Watchman Nee Hal Lindsay.
    Of note, two completely different life stories of faith.

    But their books were both looked at as New SCRIPTURE(TM).
    While “this latest book Is SCRIPTURE(TM)!” is a recurring fad among “Bible-Believing Christians(TM)” — makes you wonder if they’re always looking for a new Bible — at that place and time Watchman Nee and Hal Lindsay were peaking at the same time.

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  44. Young children use logic (honesty) to know right and wrong. The child will then show off by repeating the lesson back to its parents and develop pride in making such beneficial use of the “system”.

    If their parents have abolished logic (honesty), they are conflicted and can’t easily get back to it.

    I had about 3 very small slaps from my mum between age about 7 and 9, because she was out of time and energy (I had probably done something a bit silly out of inattentiveness), and none from dad. We weren’t a “close” family in some ways but we were keen to cooperate and had lots of intellectual interests (despite not being well off).

    The horrific characters described are only influential because they seized control of media.

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  45. heather: I was furious when I saw a post from my Calvinist pastor (who signed our Evangelical Free church up with TGC and 9Marks) about how God COMMANDS spanking and that it should hurt.

    Sorry, sounds like the New Calvinists have chalked up another (formerly non-Calvinist) church for the new reformation. Whew … and he’s mingling with the bad-boy fringe of the movement (TGC & 9Marks)! I’m hoping to see you back at TWW someday referring to this fellow as your ex-pastor … the worst is yet to come by hanging out there too long. Hope you didn’t sign his membership contract!

    Oh, by the way, Holy God doesn’t COMMAND spanking … the Calvi-God commands spanking … they are not one and the same.

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  46. Wild Honey pointed out that Tripp’s book “doesn’t acknowledge that a child can have boundaries. A child who doesn’t want to share a toy is ‘sinful’ and ‘greedy’ (according to Tripp).

    This is exactly the point I stopped reading that book. It was going around the young families at a our church at the time, as if it was the Holy Grail of parenting wisdom. And so I started reading it. But as soon as I read the line about how if a child steals another child’s toy, and the second child tries to get it back, then you have TWO sinful children to deal with – the first one was stealing but the second one had a greedy heart (or something like that).

    When I saw that it was telling parents to teach children to let people walk all over them and that they are bad (and should be disciplined) if they try to stand up for themselves, I got disgusted and shut the book, never read another word. How many abused spouses have learned to live with the abuse, to feel like there must be something wrong with them, that they must have done something to deserve it, and that they just have to accept the abuse, that it’s for their own good!?! Sick, sick, sick!

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  47. Max, thank you for your concern. And yes, we left that church in May of 2019. Before they joined 9Marks. It’s sad to see them sinking deeper into Calvinism, like watching the Titanic go down while the band is playing a merry tune. But the good thing is that I have been studying this issue deeply and writing about it on my own blog (anticalvinistrant.blogspot, click my name to get there). I may not be able to help anyone at my previous church, but I can help those who are looking for help online about this (and I’m thankful for sites like Wartburg Watch who helped me along the way). I’ve seen firsthand how Calvinism takes over a formally-wonderful church. It’s sad.

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  48. heather: But I was furious when I saw a post from my Calvinist pastor (who signed our Evangelical Free church up with TGC and 9Marks) about how God COMMANDS spanking and that it should hurt

    Ah, Divine Command to indulge what you wanted to do anyway (and would normally be Forbidden).

    Would not surprise me if said pastor has a violent and dominating personality to begin with.
    “Men of Sin” like to glom onto to any Cosmic-level Authority to get Cosmic-level Justification for “What I Wanna Do Anyway”.

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  49. heather: When I saw that it was telling parents to teach children to let people walk all over them and that they are bad (and should be disciplined) if they try to stand up for themselves, I got disgusted

    Or the child learns they can’t say ‘no’ to an adult who is, for example, trying to touch them in an inappropriate way…
    I was secretly happy when my daughter (8th grade at the time) smacked a boy in the face and yelled at him “You don’t GROPE people that way!” when he blatantly grabbed her friend on the derrier.

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  50. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: I just felt I had to stand up for the sheep here, and for our ancestors who kept sheep and didn’t beat them with rods or spoons or quarter-inch plumbing line or belts or the palms of their hands.

    Or specially-designed, purpose-built “Rods for Chastisement” — 30-40cm lengths of fiberglass fishing pole with a “comfortable grip” on one end marketed online to Christian homeschoolers with lots of Bible verses.

    Homeschoolers Anonymous found out abot one of these and blew the whistle on it in a postring sometime around the summer of 2015; one of the comments in that thread described it or similar “beatingware” sold like Tupperware in a knockoff of a Tupperware Party. (from memory of that comment) Father did most of the sales pitch, mother spoke only when spoken to, and the couple’s numerous children played musical interludes while always SMIIIIIILING. Oh, and refreshments were served — chocolate covered strawberries, I think.

    On that year’s visit to the East Coast, I remember showing that posting and thread to my writing partner (a burned-out country preacher who’s had to counsel abuse victims). He said if he ran across the booth for “rods” in the dealer’s room of a Christian Homsechool convention, “I would have made the evening news. I would have asked to see the Rod, then when he handed it to me I would have beaten him bloody with it.” This from a guy who’s had to deal with the results of abuse.

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  51. heather: So does a Calvinist really think he can change or affect what Calvi-god predestined for his children?

    Critical thinking is not encouraged. If they were to think about it for a few minutes they would realize their theology says the divine decree of who is saved cannot be changed. How one lives makes no difference because it cannot change the divine decree.

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  52. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Critical thinking is NEVER encouraged in authoritarian cultures/systems… It would be humorous if not so serious…… if you want “true” authority, you can handle any question… and have a answer that is reasonable…… to me, it is a “sign” of insecurity how fast a conversation degrades to personal attacks or anger with these “types”

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  53. Ken F (aka Tweed): Critical thinking is not encouraged …

    .. only group think is tolerated … and it must be a group think the new reformers can control. A cult tactic … New Calvinism is a religious cult. It is populated with reformed icons who are worshiped by followers who have surrendered easily to an indoctrination of aberrant faith … it is another gospel which is not the Gospel at all.

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  54. Dee, and others,

    A sign of wise argumentation is being able to state your opponents’ case to their satisfaction. By repeatedly putting your own extreme words in people’s (e.g. me) mouths, you are not doing this. Even in the article, you continually use the inflammatory word “beat” instead of “spank,” which reflects on your seeming lack of ability to see any nuance in this discussion. By painting anyone who may believe in occasional, appropriate spanking as some kind of abusive monster, you render impossible reasonable discussion. You likely have personal friends and people you respect who do not completely disavow spanking who you know are loving people and parents (or is your spectrum of associates that narrow that you do not?).

    That Proverbs is speaking of an actual, physical rod, not some metaphorical sense, is not even a debate among serious biblical scholars. And the rod, in addition to its purpose in tending sheep as many have discussed here, had other uses as well. Even prominent non-spanking advocates such as William Webb have not debated this fact, but rather use a different hermeneutical approach to support their view.

    Over 3 millennia of Jewish and Christian history testify that God’s followers have not found spanking to be contradictory to faith in Him. Do you arrogantly believe in your self-righteousness you now have a corner on the truth that has evaded basically the whole history of believers?

    As you are a devout Lutheran, here’s quote from someone who I think we would agree was an astute Bible translator who took God’s word very seriously, Luther himself, which still seems reasonable to me: “One shouldn’t whip children too hard. My father once whipped me so severely that I ran away from him, and he was worried that he might not win me back again. I wouldn’t like to strike my little Hans very much, lest he should become shy and hate me. I know nothing that would give me greater sorrow.

    One doesn’t have to believe in spanking babies if one may occasionally use spanking in an older kid; let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    As for the American College of Pediatricians, number of members does not equate to truth, and the road is narrow that leads to Life, but broad and full on the way to destruction.

    I am sensitive to the fact that spanking is very challenging to do right, especially if we’re talking about society at large, and even for Christians (or so-called Christians), and that the ease with which it can become detrimental to a child and even abusive could lead some to not recommend it altogether. This, to me, is the strongest argument against spanking, and why I would definitely be very cautious when discussing this as a possible discipline technique.

    I respect your choice not to spank kids and to advocate for that, but to vilify anyone who thinks differently than you on this topic is highly uncharitable.

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  55. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    This is a side-topic, admittedly.

    Nee died in 1972 having spent his last 20 years in prison. He did not market/publish his writings himself nor did he gain financially.

    Lindsey published a best seller in 1970 and then became a Christian television star. As of October 2020, his net worth is $4 million, from books and hosting TV shows. He is still alive, living in freedom, in his 90’s with his millions of $$$.

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  56. Micaiah: A sign of wise argumentation is being able to state your opponents’ case to their satisfaction.

    This is only accurate if the opponent is reasonable and willing to listen.

    You speak of people here not being able to see nuance. Let’s take a moment to look in the mirror.

    Did you read the original article on The Gospel Coalition? Because that certainly lacked nuance. Either parents discipline “with the rod” or they are completely permissive and ineffectual. It didn’t address how to tell whether someone is “spanking” or “beating.” I was “spanked” as a kid. But what I’ve heard other Christian parents, personal friends, call “spanking,” I would consider “beating.” What is a worse situation? For kids to be “beaten” by parents who think they are doing the right thing because a religious authority tells them so, or to be taken away from those loving but woefully misguided parents (who are also very fearful of civil authorities) and placed into foster care? This is not a rhetorical question.

    Speaking of nuance, the article didn’t address the very real differences between being an “authoritative” parent vs an “authoritarian” one. Believe me, I’ve tried both. And “authoritative” is working out much better than “authoritarian.”

    Speaking of 3 millennia, that argument only gets so far. Remind me how long ago Christians were using scripture to justify slavery? Or to justify not letting women vote? Forgive me for borrowing your own words, but do you arrogantly believe in your self-righteousness that you can presume to speak for “basically the whole history of believers?”

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  57. Ava Aaronson: Lindsey published a best seller in 1970 and then became a Christian television star. As of October 2020, his net worth is $4 million, from books and hosting TV shows. He is still alive, living in freedom, in his 90’s with his millions of $$$.

    And according to a Christian shrink who tried to reassemble my head from the damage caused by The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and Christians For Nuclear War, “He wrote those books entirely for the money.”

    My response was “Great. I’m having Rapture Panic flashbacks like a ‘Nam vet ten years later while that ManaGAWD’s laughing all the way to the bank!!!!!!”

    Even today, 40+ years later, the damage is still there.
    Like Frodo after Mount Doom and before The Undying Lands.

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  58. Wild Honey: Tedd Tripp’s book is dangerous. It contains enough nuggets of truth to appeal to desperate parents, such as…

    When pipelining Disinformation to an enemy in Intelligence Warfare/Black Ops, you first have to build your credibility to the target by providing actual, true (but minor) bits of information. Only when you established your credibility do you start introducing the Disinformation. And at first, even that has to be minor and plausibly deniable. Only when you have established yourself as a reliable source can you go for the kill with the Big Lie.

    (All those wannabes think “Spiritual Warfare(TM)” is like casting Fireballs and Turning Undead in D&D. NOT Intelligence Warfare of information and disinformation and deception and “Hearts and Minds” and “long con” covert ops.)

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  59. Wild Honey: Tedd Tripp’s book is dangerous.

    Agree with you wholeheartedly. Shepherding a Child’s Heart was used in our ex-church small group study. I was disgust by the tone of the book. It is written as if children are projects, to be managed, contained, sanctified, or chastised so that children will behave for the convenience of parents to feel godly – raising them the “right way”. Anything short of “well behaved” from the author’s eyes is read as rebellion (sin).

    Just as you said that the book misses the most important part of being a parent is learning to relate to a newly created human being.

    I heard parents called their kids “little sinners” among parents as if their child is a piece of dirty rag. Pisses me off badly.

    Stay away from the book.

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  60. Re-emphasizing an earlier point, I think that Pv 23:13 that “promises” that striking one’s child with a rod will save him from death, should not be read in isolation from the rest of the book.

    The very first specific parental warning in Proverbs is in 1:8-19, which is a warning against conspiracy to deprive others of life and property, and which ends with the warning that such things are self-defeating and will imperil the lives of those who do them.

    The child receiving this counsel is not a small child. Small children are not likely to be greedy for the kinds of things one could get by waylaying a wealthy passerby and in any event could not contribute usefully to such an undertaking.

    Later, there are parental warnings to the son against adultery, which imperils the life of the one who commits it by arousing intense jealousy in the aggrieved husband. This warning also is not aimed at small children.

    Why would one think that the counsel of 23:13, which is about deterring behaviors that will lead to the kinds of terrible outcomes one gets in these extreme and egregious violations of the Decalogue, authorizes one to strike small children with rods?

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  61. Samuel Conner: Why would one think that the counsel of 23:13, which is about deterring behaviors that will lead to the kinds of terrible outcomes one gets in these extreme and egregious violations of the Decalogue, authorizes one to strike small children with rods?

    To get a head start on the glories of eternal conscious torment? It certainly could not be to help their salvation since that would mean salvation depends on human effort (works), which the reformed reject. One cannot change an eternal decree.

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  62. Dee,

    Being “really mad” when you author a post isn’t a good idea.

    Not having a boy to rear limits your effectiveness and qualification in using your situation as a model for parenting.

    Accusing Tilly for her understanding of the word “rod” (shevet) in Proverbs as being something to be understood literally in certain passages is rather myopic of how the word is often used in its entirety elsewhere. It seems you have a biased agenda, imo.

    “And if a man beats his servant or his maidservant with a rod…” (Exodus 21:20)

    “13 Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.” Prov 23:13 NASV

    “13 Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won’t kill them.” prov 23:13 The Message

    “Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding” Proverbs 10:13.

    “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back” Proverbs 26:3

    There are other passages where a figurative interpretation will not work.

    What ever happened to the idea of being gracious that other Christians have the freedom to think differently than you do about the mode of disciplining a child?

    I think you owe Tilly and apology.

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  63. Micaiah: I am sensitive to the fact that spanking is very challenging to do right, especially if we’re talking about society at large, and even for Christians (or so-called Christians), and that the ease with which it can become detrimental to a child and even abusive could lead some to not recommend it altogether. This, to me, is the strongest argument against spanking, and why I would definitely be very cautious when discussing this as a possible discipline technique.

    After deriding others here with your king-of-the-mountain claims of Biblical truth, you offer this nuance: “spanking is very challenging to do right.” You go on to imply that only True Christians can figure it out, that “so-called Christians” and “society at large” might not spank correctly. Oddly, you’re not too far off from the wacky liberal position of the American Academy of Pediatrics, except that the AAP does not give Christians a special pass.

    Tell us all in precise terms: What age should the child be when a parent begins to use a “physical rod,” intended for “tending sheep,” to “spank”? Of what material is this literal sheep-tending rod made? How long and how thick? Do you undress the child? What do you do if the child tries to run away?

    Does the little girl or boy understand the distinction between spanking and beating?

    You say that “beat” is an inflammatory term. Have you considered that “spank” is a euphemism?

    As long as we’re being Biblical, the word “spank” did not show up in the online concordance of the KJV I checked today. Beat shows up 36 times; beaten, 37; beatest, 2, including the vaunted Proverbs 23:13; beateth, 1; beating, 3. Check it out: in the Bible, they’re beating everything from gold to Paul.

    Finally, you have not acknowledged the accounts of people here who experienced childhood assault by parents. For the sake of wise argumentation, perhaps you should state their case to their satisfaction.

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  64. Samuel Conner: Why would one think that the counsel of 23:13, which is about deterring behaviors that will lead to the kinds of terrible outcomes one gets in these extreme and egregious violations of the Decalogue, authorizes one to strike small children with rods?

    BECAUSE “I WANNA”.

    “AND GOD HATH SAID! SEE? SEE? SEE?”

    “Men of Sin” will ALWAYS seek a Cosmic-level Authority to get Cosmic-level Justification for “What I Wanna”.

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  65. dan: I sympathize for you cause Dee, but you really did not seek to respond to the Scriptures themselves.

    Can we just talk about this? Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t mean it should be a model for people! There are terrible things in the Bible, like essentially selling a virgin who was sexually assaulted to the guy who did it for 50 shekels (Deut. 22:28-29). This is all kinds of wrong today-e.g., we see this as a crime against a person and not the damage to property (the woman) envisioned in the Bible. Or the complete denial that the woman (again seen as property) might not want to be married for life to her rapist.

    And that’s how I see the whole “rod” business. Children were seen as parental property, not as human beings with their own right not to be beaten by the capricious whims of parents with warped ideas of discipline.

    Todd Wilhelm has a number of posts about Caleb and Mary Beery, who were members of a (failed) ARBCA plant in San Tan, Arizona. The Beerys beat their foster daughter, a baby, to the point of deep bruising and scarring. As part of being in the foster care program, the Beerys had to promise not to use corporal punishment, but they did anyway. The Beerys ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse.

    Todd’s posts are here:

    https://thouarttheman.org/tag/caleb-beery/

    It is worth noting that Tedd Tripp was a longtime bigwig in ARBCA (don’t know if he’s still involved) and it is not unreasonable to believe that his beliefs regarding hitting children were/are baked into the culture of the San Tan church.

    Don’t use the Bible to justify beating children. When you cherrypick Bible verses, you’re pulling them out of their historical and social context and applying in situations where they were never intended to be used. The Bible is not a Magic 8-ball.

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  66. Ian Handscomb: Agree with so much of this, but your last line has me troubled. Because the God of the Bible most definitely approves of — even commands — the killing of children. Witness the wholesale slaughter of the Canaanites, for instance, or the tearing apart of 40+ boys because they made up of the bald-headed Elisha (2 Kings 2).

    This is one reason why I am not a Biblical inerrantist. I believe one must take the Biblical texts within the context of their times and not willy-nilly apply them to today. I realize this is a heretical view among Evangelicals, but I believe it’s truer to the texts and their contexts. and recognize that the world is not the same.

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  67. Having followed the conversation on the opening post….some additional thoughts on the comment by Friend

    Friend: considered that “spank” is a euphemism

    Friend: acknowledged the accounts of people here who experienced childhood assault

    For some who have experienced childhood abuse (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, etc.), it reaches a point where pretty much anything can be considered an assault.

    Grooming can start at a VERY early age, and can, in essence, pre-groom a child for multiple forms of abuse, whether in friendships, work, marriage, etc..

    The word “assault” can mean many things, depending on an individual’s past and whether the individual is a victim / survivor or a “victim” / “survivor”.

    Things can escalate to such a point the victim / survivor abuses themself mentally and / or emotionally and / or spiritually and / or physically / and / or financially and / or etc….been there, done that, didn’t even have to buy the T-shirt….the T-shirt was a give-a-way and was given to me to further my abusers’ agendas.

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  68. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Biblical inerrantist

    Thought stopper words weaponized for dividing people into “us” and “them”.

    Having read the Chicago statement and Dr. David Dockery’s book on scripture while in seminary days, my take is that evangelical theologians make up words trying desperately to preserve the authority of the bible. Similar to “atonement”, there is NO ONE authoritative argument/view – all make up words to bridge the gap of authority.

    God needs to show up as in the book of Job to clear this mess up so that christians will not tear each other apart base on their own make-up shifting sand of words.

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  69. Sowre-sweet Dayes: evangelical theologians make up words trying desperately to preserve the authority of the bible.

    In my experience, most were way more concerned about their own authority, fame, and checkbooks than what was biblical or doing what is right. Admitting their perspective of the Bible is interpretation and not absolute truth might not get them the power they want so badly from followers. Many of the signers of the Chicago statement didn’t or couldn’t live by what they preached, as we know now from the many scandals they’ve had.

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  70. ken,

    Let’s go through this one at a time.

    -I get mad when I believe that babies are being spanked. That is a good thing to get mad about.
    -Ummmm, I raised two girls and a boy.
    -I do have a biased agenda. I do not believe that God wantsu s to beat babies and little children. Tilly 3 kids in that age range.
    -So, I take it you believe that we should whip people for being disobedient…like we did with slaves?
    -Tilly is publicaly proclaiming her beliefs. I do not agree with her post and I am using the same forum that she is-public proclamation
    -I owe someone an apology because I disagreed with them. You have. got to be kidding.

    There is a reason you are in permanent moderation and this comment is an example.

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  71. dan,

    I did. I said i don’t believe that a literal interpretation of Proverbs is correct when it co,mes to beating a baby. The Bible does not adddress issues like: Don’t leave a baby outside, alone in a stroller when you go into a store. The Bible does not address how to discipline a child who has a disability. The Bible does not say to *use the rod on a baby.*
    If you get right down to it, the Bible appears to endorse slavery.
    I believe that God has given us a brain to carefully think about these things.

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  72. dee: The Bible does not address how to discipline a child who has a disability.

    From my personal experience as an ASD adult that was undiagnosed until VERY late in my life: Very few people address or know how to discipline a diagnosed ASD child, let alone the ASD child that has not yet been diagnosed as being on the spectrum.

    Even Asperger “melt-downs” get mis-labelled….

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  73. researcher: Even Asperger “melt-downs” get mis-labelled….

    I have long suspected I’m on the bottom end of ASD, but was never formally diagnosed.

    I DO know a lot of the guys I know in various fandoms (SF, Gamer, Furry, etc) are probably high-functioning ASD. (I suspect the fandom gave them a more-or-less Safe Refuge among others who were like them.) And when you mix psychological/verbal abuse with that ASD, the results just ain’t pretty. I’ve seen that mix – and its result – more than once.

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  74. Sowre-sweet Dayes: It is written as if children are projects, to be managed, contained, sanctified, or chastised so that children will behave for the convenience of parents to feel godly

    According to the mythologies of Mesopotamia (i.e. Sumer, Ur, and Babylon), wasn’t that the only reason the Gods of Mesopotamia created Man? For their own convenience? And then sent a Great Flood to drown them out (as in he Epic of Gilgamesh) because they became Inconvenient?

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  75. Saw a new comment in the FBCCR article and found this instead. I think it fits better in this discussion:

    Lowlandseer:
    Friend,

    The latest stats show that since Monday’s post on “child abuse” by parents disciplining their children according to Scripture, there has been a slight two day recovery for TWW.That suggests to me that there’s nothing like a bad story to generate interest and improve the ratings.

    The original ways were more concerned with actual child abuse in one particular church. It then spread to include the “Calvinistas” and “dudebros”, TGC, 9Marks and so on. It became an anti-Calvinist/Reformed siren, often regurgitating stories from other websites and going after the dead. It’s a pity that Deb retired.

    The terminology used to characterise these groups is derogatory and can hardly be said to edify the church, of which these people are brothers and sisters.

    Five hundred years ago William Perkins wrote in his Treatise on the Vocations “And this is the common fault of the world: men who lightly regard and slackly perform the duties of their own callings, are nevertheless very ready to talk about and inquire into the state and lives of other men; and it is food and drink to them. Let a good report be given about a man and it is not regarded; but evil reports are taken up at the first rebound — they spread like wild-fire. And all this arises from vain curiosity, which is condemned here as the bane of all societies. These busybodies are like those who read books with the intent only to discover its faults. And they are like the spider that creeps over the whole garden only to gather poison. But men that fear God must learn to know their own business, and to allow their talk and meditation to be employed in that way.”

    An apt description as it covers a number of contributors here.

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  76. Max: .. only group think is tolerated … and it must be a group think the new reformers can control.

    Again, and it bears repeating, whether the fundagelicalism is reformed or non-reformed as in the Calvary Chapel cult, only group-think-authoritarianism is tolerated in these kinds of outfits.

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  77. Perhaps there is an analogy between extreme “child discipline” (striking with a rod) and extreme “church discipline” (excommunication and expulsion) in the sense that both are mentioned in the Scriptures as extreme measures appropriate to extreme cases. In practice, there is a slippery slope in that the more powerful party is often tempted to employ them in non-extreme cases in the interest of maintaining absolute control over the weaker party.

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  78. researcher: For some who have experienced childhood abuse (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, etc.), it reaches a point where pretty much anything can be considered an assault.

    I believe I understand your meaning, but I keep coming back to this idea. Abusers do sometimes develop torments that only a victim can perceive (“He just knew that would destroy me”). But the abusers fully know what they are doing. The victim is not imagining things or making things up.

    A lot of assault, though, is unmistakably violent. This can include physical punishment of children.

    If I’m off base, please let me know.

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  79. Friend: If I’m off base, please let me know.

    My heart-felt apologies….I am struggling to communicate something without causing offense where none is intended, yet still keeps me safe. (I finally had to give up on an earlier attempt at replying to Headless Unicorn Guy in order to stay safe.)

    I don’t know how to answer….we might be singing off the same song sheet, but I don’t know….perhaps I unintentionally omitted something (other than what I intentionally omitted in order to stay safe) when writing the comment of mine from which you quoted?

    I agree with:

    Abusers do sometimes develop torments that only a victim can perceive (“He just knew that would destroy me”). But the abusers fully know what they are doing. The victim is not imagining things or making things up.

    A lot of assault, though, is unmistakably violent. This can include physical punishment of children.

    People started abusing me at an incredibly young age, and the abuse (of many different kinds) continued for many years. The abuse was sometimes (but not always) by the same people.

    I’ve experienced far more people not believing I’ve been a victim, accusing me of imagining things, or making things up than I have experienced people believing me (and the same can be said about my being high-functioning on the autism spectrum).

    Am I somehow making sense to you….are we singing off the same song sheet?

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  80. researcher: Am I somehow making sense to you….are we singing off the same song sheet?

    Yes, we are, and I am sorry that you have endured so much.

    You didn’t offend me in any way. I only wanted to understand your points.

    As an adult, I was very fortunate to meet people who finally understood my story, that it was not meant to entertain or shock. Being taken seriously changed my life. I am still decoding some things that happened, but I knew early that other things were wrong. I’ve been challenged too, put down, derided. At this stage I’m able to reply calmly, “It’s good that she didn’t kick you, but she did kick me.” Such a simple truth, but it took decades to get here.

    I’m grateful that TWW has a forum where we can share what we feel comfortable disclosing.

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  81. Friend: As an adult, I was very fortunate to meet people who finally understood my story, that it was not meant to entertain or shock. Being taken seriously changed my life.

    Let me guess —
    Those who were also abused?
    Those who were also on the low end of the Autism spectrum?
    Those who could also see beneath the Angel of Light mask?
    Those who were also like Cassandra, cursed with perfect prophecy that nobody would ever believe?

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  82. dee,

    The doc that delivered me used 4.5 rods (his hand) to spank me (controlled pain) within the very minute I was born to induce a certain response. Having delivered 50k plus babies in his career – should he be punished for “abusing” babies? Did he sin in God’s eyes since the golden calf of “science” today says this was barbaric?

    Many parents in the history of mankind have effectively used some degree of controlled pain on a child under the age of one. To say this is sinful or wicked is beyond what the Bible or nature’s law clearly states.

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  83. ken: Many parents in the history of mankind have effectively used some degree of controlled pain on a child under the age of one.

    Whew! I’m trying hard to control my pain after reading your comment. Many parents in the history of mankind have effectively loved their children to adulthood without beating them along the way.

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  84. Chuck p:
    I have 4 children and what I have found is that each child is different, there is no cookie cutter method for raising well adjusted children. I think studying your children , finding out their likes and dislike, what are their key motivations etc helps pick a disciplinary technique. Just as Abigail said above, I would not want to take spanking from a parents. I needed a few swats in school to learn to obey and boy did it work, at least for me.I do agree that spanking should be a last resort.

    Spanking should indeed be a last resort. I think most people would rather not spank. Every child and situation is different and spanking is not the same as discipline. And you don’t need a book to tell you when and how often.
    If you are spanking teenagers you really are in a mess–any child even close to double digits in age really.

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  85. Andrew: Spanking should indeed be a last resort.

    Andrew: Spanking

    Why should it even be a last resort? In many states, it is illegal for parents to strike foster or adopted children, and so don’t strike their biological children either. Corporal punishment in schools is illegal in many places.

    What should adults do when they cannot hit youngsters? When the option is taken away, parents have to get creative, and they often discover some humbling compassion.

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  86. ken: To say this is sinful or wicked is beyond what the Bible or nature’s law clearly states.

    Clearly states?
    The Bible ‘clearly states’ lotsa’ stuff, but the real trick for intelligent and rational adults, is how much of that stuff do ya’ wanna’ try and extrapolate out of that where and when, and try and make it apply in this here and now?

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  87. Muff Potter: Clearly states?
    The Bible ‘clearly states’ lotsa’ stuff, but the real trick for intelligent and rational adults, is how much of that stuff do ya’ wanna’ try and extrapolate out of that where and when, and try and make it apply in this here and now?

    That earlier comment’s reference to “nature’s law” has me scratching my head. Where is the Nature’s Law Book he puts on the same high plane as the Bible? I thought God (via the Bible) was supposed to help people move beyond following nature. Didn’t God give humans stewardship or dominion over the rest of creation? Not a lot of sense there beyond “might makes right.”

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  88. Muff Potter: ken: To say this is sinful or wicked is beyond what the Bible or nature’s law clearly states.

    Clearly states?
    The Bible ‘clearly states’ lotsa’ stuff

    Like that the Demon Locusts of Revelation are Clearly helicopter gunships with chemical weapons piloted by long-haired bearded hippies. (Hal Lindsay, 1975)

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  89. Muff Potter:
    Anyway, back to the topic.
    Beating a baby IS WRONG, WRONG, AND WRONG.
    And it’s also against the law, which is even more reason why those who do it under the influence of a sick and twisted religion should have their vile asses incarcerated.

    Already anticipated you, Muff.
    “Law of Men or WORD! OF!! GAWD!!!”

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  90. Friend: Not a lot of sense there beyond “might makes right.”

    What else did you expect?
    To a lot of Christians, God is God only because Might Makes Right.
    God just holds the Biggest Whip, that’s all.

    “There is no Right, there is no Wrong, there is only POWER.”
    — Lord Voldemort

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  91. ishy: And I didn’t say this, but I think our “sitting down” society was never what God intended for humans. I think we were created to move way more than we do now.

    I agree. I’m attempting to change my life after leaving an abusive marriage, and moving to a more rural area where I can afford a house with land, space for my kids to run and tend orchards and ducks, and dig with me, is super important.

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