Ugh, it's <i>Christianity Today,</i> again--this time weighing in against spanking...

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Knives are necessary to cut meat and bread. Every once in a while, knives are used to kill people. Can we all agree knives aren't the problem? Please? Pretty please?

The abuse of a thing does not invalidate its proper use.

This truth has eluded the editors of Christianity Today. In a recent editorial they use the death of several children at the hands of their fathers and mothers as the spectre to soften readers up to their dogma that "corporal punishment ...should be employed miles short of abuse, without anger, and as an absolute last resort." From their perch in Moses' seat, these scribes declare about spanking that "the Bible does not require it" (emphasis in the original).

Think about this. The magazine that purports to be the voice of Biblical inerrancy and Christian faith in these United States has run an editorial declaring that the rod of discipline God Himself requires God Himself does not require. And if that sentence confuses you, all I can say is I couldn't figure out how to put it more clearly.

And if you're one of the pigheaded ones who balks against progress, just be sure you only use the rod as "an absolute last resort." 

But the Bible commands us to use the rod. God requires it...

The most basic examination of God's Word makes this clear:

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24  

Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. Proverbs 19:18

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15   

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Proverbs 23:13   

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Proverbs 29:15 

The editors of Christianity Today directly contradict God.

What is their authority for doing so? Two things: the murder of children and the received wisdom of InterVarsity Press.

First the murder of children. If it's pious or obedient to denounce one of God's commands in order to faciliate obedience of another of His commands, there's no end to the rebellion we can justify. And this is precisely what is happening with any number of God's commands today.

He Himself declares that sodomy is an abomination, yet we are told that the suicide of children is caused by religious fanatics who teach and preach that sodomy is an abomination, thereby leading these children to despair. He Himself declares that sacrificing our children to Molech as a sin so evil that it never occurred to Him, yet we are told that the death of mothers who in despair turn to back alley butchers and coat hangers to murder their child is caused by religious fanatics who oppose abortion. He Himself declares that the rod of discipline must be used, yet we are told that the murder of children is caused by religious fanatics who teach and preach that to spare the rod is to spoil the child. He Himself declares that wives are to submit to their husbands, yet we are told that the battering of wives is caused by religious fanatics who teach and preach that wives are to submit to their husbands.

In how many areas will the fear of man cause us to rebel against God before naive Christians will see through Satan's strategy? It is not love to give up teaching and preaching and practicing what God commands for the sake of avoiding Satan's blackmail. It is loving the world rather than God. It is friendship with the world which is hatred for God. In other words, when preaching and teaching and practicing the Biblical faith of calling sodomites to repentance is codified as hate speech (as it will be, soon), Christians will have aided and abetted that process and will have no one to blame but themselves for the hopeless time and eternity this abandons sodomites to. Similarly with corporal punishment: when it is outlawed (as it will be, soon), Christians like the editors of Christianity Today will be responsible for the destruction of the souls of children that will result from those laws.

Second, Christianity Today's editors report that some of the murders of children by their parents are tied to those parents having read Michael and Debi Pearl's To Train Up A Child. Stop and ask the question whether the Pearls commend the use of the rod by fathers and mothers to murder their sons and daughters, and even those who have never seen the book know the answer. And they're right--the answer is no. So why did Christianity Today's editors bring To Train up a Child into their editorial?

Because the go-with-the-flow world of Evangelicalism has largely abandoned obedience to God in using corporal punishment and To Train up a Child is one of the only public voices left calling the Church back to obedience. So Christianity Today's editors diss the Pearls as "flying under the radar" of the establishment Evangelicalism of Wheaton Christianity Today represents, adding to the Pearls' crimes that To Train up a Child is (gasp!) "self-published." We all know what we're to think about the samizdat press, right?

To the rescue rides InterVarsity Press, the official voice of the establishment Evangelicalism of Wheaton, which recently issued a book on corporal punishment that, after a sufficient amount of solemn consideration of the many deep issues involved, finally brought itself to declare that God doesn't require corporal punishment. Now everything is in place for the rebellion to consolidate its position. And it's not incidental that the establishment Evangelicalism of Wheaton will be able to leave some of its fundamentalist baggage behind, gaining respectability among the chattering class.

Winners all. Children win by not being murdered. Parents win by being pushed away from the samidzat press, back into the safe folds of Wheaton, Christianity Today, and InterVarsity Press. Christianity Today wins by appearing to be sufficiently progressive among rich Christians and intellectuals whose approval is the only thing that matters to them more than riches. And God wins by Christianity Today protecting His increasingly tattered reputation.

Listen, brothers and sisters: God really has commanded us to use the rod. The Pearls are wrong about some important things. In fact, years ago I told my wife Michael Pearl is a heretic. But it's not where Michael Pearl is wrong that Christianity Today's editors attacks him. It's where Michael Pearl contradicts the received wisdom of the chattering class that the editors bang their drums against him. And in this matter of corporal punishment being good, Michael Pearl is right.

What I'd like to see is a book as practical and helpful as To Train up a Child done right by an orthodox Protestant believer who believes in the Fall and Original Sin. And here in Bloomington we have a samidzat press ready to publish the book. Is there anyone reading this post who is game for the job? If you've read Ted Tripp's superb Shepherding a Child's Heart as well as To Train up a Child, you know that To Train up a Child does necessary practical instruction that Shepherding a Child's Heart doesn't do; and vice versa. So there's a need for a practical work fleshing out the practice of discipline and instruction to complement Ted Tripp's work. Let's get it done.

Meanwhile, spank your children. As George Bernard Shaw put it, spanking is the least painful discipline a child can be given. It's not emotional blackmail. It's not endless guilt-tripping. It's not hours of stewing in the bedroom, meditating on your sinful nature while the rest of family is downstairs finishing dinner, playing Uno, and eating popcorn. It's not a backhanded slap across the face given out of frustration and anger rather than faith. It's not mothers whining and endless time-outs and that wearisome wheedling and cajolng so many educated Christians think is enlightened.

It's a warning, then a spanking, then hugs and kisses, then over and forgotten.

So do it. Make your home happy. Make your wife happy (after a while when she sees the wisdom of it). Make your other children happy. Make your pastor happy. Make the child himself happy (as soon as the spanking stops, trust me).

You do want to be an obedient child of God? You do want to please your Heavenly Father, right?

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Proverbs 29:17   

 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding... Proverbs 3:11-13

(TB, w/thanks to Alex)