I don’t think the blog’s been controversial enough recently, so I thought I’d bring this up.
Police arrested a mother in Texas who had spanked her child – no bruising occurred, and no belt was used. The judge said she was guilty, she’s now lost custody of her three children, is on probation for five years, and has to take parenting classes. The judge said:
You don’t spank children today. In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children. You understand?
You can read the story here.
Nowadays parents, Christian and non-Christian, disagree about whether it’s right or wrong to spank children, and it now seems that even those who enforce the law can’t make their mind up. It’s particularly interesting to note that it’s legal to kill children while in the womb, but spanking as a form of discipline isn’t allowed.
The real question therefore is: What does God say? And there’s a useful article over here which asks the Bible whether parents should or shouldn’t spank their kids. It’s long, but well worth a read – and I’ll blatantly plagiarise Denny Burk’s summary of it here:
In this article, Wegner shows from scripture several different levels of discipline, one of which is corporal punishment (#6).
Level 7. Corporal punishment that causes physical harm: The book of Proverbs does not suggest that parents use this technique for discipline, but that serious sin can lead to serious punishment (Prov. 20:30; 10:31).
Level 8. Death: The book of Proverbs also does not include this in the realm of parental discipline, but in the realm of consequences meted out by government or society’s leaders (Gen. 9:6; Prov. 19:18).
This article does not say everything that needs to be said about physical discipline, but it does establish a biblical basis for it. Despite the pronouncements of the judge in Texas, parents who love their children will make use of non-abusive physical discipline (Prov. 13:24). This is what the Bible teaches, and we should be vigilant not to let the spirit of the age make us think otherwise.