Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Christian views of spanking

The LA Times reports on the latest confusing quote from the Pope:
A group of child abuse experts summoned by Pope Francis to help tackle priestly abuse in the Roman Catholic Church has criticized remarks made by the pope himself in which he suggested that it was permissible for parents to spank their wayward children.

Two members of the 17-strong commission, holding its first full meeting at the Vatican, said Saturday they objected to Francis’ comments, made last Wednesday, in which he backed corporal punishment.

Leading British anti-abuse campaigner Peter Saunders, abused by two Catholic priests as a child, said the committee would ask the pope to reconsider his remarks.

“It might start off as a light tap, but actually the whole idea about hitting children is about inflicting pain,” Saunders said at a news conference at the Vatican.

“That's what it's about and there is no place in this day and age for having physical punishment, for inflicting pain, in terms of how you discipline your children,” he said.
Those so-called experts are mixed up, if they think sex abuse is like spanking.

Here is a Biblical view:
The Bible, not personal experience is our guide to the validity of spanking ...

There has always and will always be misuse of authority, but biblical authority is a good thing created and designed by God for the flourishing of his creation. So Adam and Eve were to rule and subdue and have dominion (Genesis 1:28). Husbands are heads in the home, with authority over their wives (Ephesians 5:23). Parents, and especially fathers, are called to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

This includes corporal discipline for children. A reaction against spanking ignores the biblical premise that "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him" (Proverbs 13:24). So we have a generation of children who are left undisciplined and unloved. Yes, it is un-loving not to spank your children when required.

Children are not born wise, they are born sinners. Children need boundaries. It is good for them to know that if they cross them there is a consequence. When they are young that consequence is sometimes a short sharp administration of pain through spanking. It should be precipitated by warning and accompanied by teaching, but if necessary it must be done.
Surveys show that a large majority of parents believe that spanking is sometimes necessary. A lot of child psychologists have tried to prove that it is not, and they have failed.

My position is that parents ought to be able to use their own judgment.

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