Spanking Hurts Everyone

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This article, Spanking Hurts Everyone was written by Pastor Robert Gillogly.  It is found at http://www.nospank.net/bible1.htm:

Here are a few highlights from an article by Pastor Robert Gillogly called Spanking Hurts Everyone. The full article, which gives a biblical perspective from Old Testament to New about spanking is well worth reading. It is at http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/jan1981/v37-4-article1.htm

Jesus is the Rod of Jesse, meaning a branch from a family tree, was similarly accused of being a drunkard and a glutton. Moreover, his relationship with his parents was also problematic. He didn't live up to familial and social expectations, but what he said and did pertaining to children remains worthy of our consideration and commitment. His teaching was in diametric opposition to the corporal punishment position of Proverbs, Deuteronomy, and his contemporaries. The revolutionary social order Jesus initiated belonged to children. The future will be fulfilled by the children to whom the Kingdom of God has been promised. "Let the children come to me," he taught, "and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16). This radical reversal in Jesus' teaching remains as enigmatic today as it did centuries ago. Not only did he give children status as human beings, they were to be treated as human beings:

  • Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it (Luke 18:17).
  • Whoever humbles himself like a child … is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4).
  • Whoever receives a child [because of Jesus' commendation to children] receives [Jesus] (Matt. 18:5). On the other hand:
  • Whoever causes [a child to suffer or stumble or sin] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matt. 18:6).

The latter, in particular, is pretty drastic treatment for those who are derelict in their responsibilities toward children. What did Jesus mean in making these and other references to children? It would appear, without being inordinately presumptuous:

  1. Children were of central importance in Jesus' life and teaching about the new order.
  2. What Jesus said and did in relation to children countered the position of his contemporaries for whom children were objects to be possessed, controlled, and exploited.
  3. There are important implications for the mission of the church today and child rearing methods that issue from his personal example and his teaching about children and the Kingdom of God.
  4. A major implication for Christians is the primacy Jesus gave to relationships rather than rules and regulations. Discipline, in whatever form, must be seen in the context of discipleship. It is tragic that whenever the subject of disciplining children is discussed, even in our churches, it is all too frequently translated into a false and simplistic dichotomy between corporal punishment and permissiveness, as if there are no other alternatives. Discipline comes from the same Latin root discere as discipleship; it means, literally, "to learn." Children will learn by imitation regardless of what they are taught or how they are disciplined. Discipleship is a matter of learning or training by imitation. To be a disciple fundamentally means to emulate the master, imitatio Christi, to imitate the model (cf. I Peter 2:1). Consequently, parents need to abandon the motto, "Do as I say, not as I do!" Such profundity is hopelessly redundant; the children have already learned negative lessons not intended by parent or teacher.