We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
This is my favorite verse in the Bible. It speaks volumes to me and comforts me when I am distressed. I use this verse all the time to remind people that they can control their thoughts by taking them captive and make them obedient to God. It is difficult at times to remember to do this, but I pray fervently that God will remind me that I can take control of my thoughts and not allow them to be perverted by an unbelieving world. It also means that we are commanded to do this so we don’t fall prey to vain philosophies of man which seek to undermine the authority of scripture.
The topic that comes to mind when I read the first part of this verse is that of rearing and disciplining children Biblically. I refuse to buy into any popular secular “recommendations” or “professional studies” on how children should be raised when they are contradictory to what the Lord says. The Word of God has in it all of the “help” we need to know how to raise Godly children. As a Christian this is my ultimate aim, to raise children who love and serve the One True God. The purpose of discipline is not to make my children obey me for the sake of obeying me, it is because God commands them to obey me.
My daughter Sofia is 2 ½ years old and when we discipline her we frequently remind her that when Daddy and Mommy tell her not to do something, she is to obey us because it pleases the Lord when she obeys HIM. The manner in which my husband and I discipline is directly related to how scripture tells us we should. Some may argue that spanking a child is abusive and archaic. I challenge those people to explain to me why God would condone such discipline if it were not effective? I think some people would say that where the Old Testament makes reference to corporal punishment for children was for that time, but is no longer acceptable because “we know more about children and their cognitive development”. Are these people actually trying to say that God is wrong in His word, and that we cannot Trust that He ultimately knows what is BEST for a child? Isn’t His ultimate aim to have children come to love and serve Him only? If it is, then those same children need to learn discipline and need to learn to obey God according to HIS ways.
At this time I would like to define “discipline”. This will help if there are issues of equivocation. The Bible speaks of discipline as a good thing that we all should love. It seems a little silly to say “I love discipline”, but in fact I do. Biblical discipline, in the manner that I am referring to means “to chastise, literally (with blows) or figuratively (with words); hence to instruct: – bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach”. (Strong’s #H3256) An example of this would be Proverbs 19:27 “Stop listening to discipline, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” (Emphasis mine) Proverbs 19:25 pretty much shows that physical discipline is needed: “Strike a scorner (mocker), and the simple (or naïve) will beware; reprove one who has understanding, and he will understand knowledge”. This means that those who only think themselves “smart” (according to the world’s standards) need to be called out so that those who see them will learn from that person being disciplined. (Notice it does say to “strike” them…it’s a physical term for those who weren’t paying attention) “Mocker” is the same word for “scorner” or someone who dismisses the value or authority of God’s word.
If a parent is hitting their child to satisfy some desire to harm them and release their own frustrations, then it is abuse no matter how hard or soft the contact is. If a parent is spanking (appropriately) to follow through with discipline for disobeying, then this is Godly discipline, and is not performed to harm the child but to produce good, and in this context I mean obedience.
Spanking is a method of discipline that uses negative reinforcement which is only effective with a balanced use of positive reinforcement alongside it. Information cannot be beaten into a child although some parents do try this and only succeed in producing very malformed and unhealthy children. It is this type of abuse that those who oppose corporal punishment erroneously accuse all their objectors as committing. It’s a straw man argument that paints opposing arguments in an unfair light and sets up the misrepresentation as the object of attack. In all reality those for and against corporal punishment (spanking) both agree that abuse is never acceptable or an effective tool in training children. It is the height of intellectual dishonesty and deliberate ignorance to overlook the realistic application of corporal punishment as offered by its supporters.
Negative reinforcement works. It is one of the first lessons any organism learns, and is key to survival. Our hands quickly draw away from hot surfaces after being burned before. We wear knee pads and helmets after falling off our bikes. Heck we even learn from other people’s negative reinforcement. My husband says, “I’ve never been in a car wreck, but I sure do wear my seatbelt because those who have been in them have a higher mortality rate.”
Some suggest that children cannot comprehend that a spanking is the result of bad behavior; that they simply do not have the cognitive ability to understand it. Hogwash. I see my 2 1/2 year old applying things learned from negative reinforcement without my help. She braces herself when she falls now, whereas she didn’t when she first started walking. She is more careful when climbing things now after a few falls than she was when she started doing things like that before and she is much more obedient now than she was before we started spanking her for disobeying. It is a natural process.
When it comes down to it, the Bible has guidelines and advice on proper child rearing that secular reasoning dismisses or devalues which means by default the secular philosophies, yet again have raised themselves up as being better than God’s revealed Word and are false, no matter who is delivering it.
Scripture has many verses on discipline, both its positive effects and negative ones. The ultimate aim of disciplining our children is so that they will grow in to men and women who love the Lord with all their heart, strength, soul and mind. I pray that even through my flaws as a mother, my daughters (and possibly sons one day) will grow up to obey the Lord because of the Biblical discipline they receive now. “To discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child” (Proverbs 29:15).
Here are more verses within scripture that supports “spanking” as a form of discipline that is needed and may be required to teach a child to obey. A child who obeys their parents are ultimately obeying God, which is the goal of discipline.
Proverbs 13:24 “He who spares the rod hates his son. But he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”
Proverbs 22:15 “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it from him.”
Psalm 94:12 “Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law;”
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Proverbs 6:23 “For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life.”
Proverbs 13:1 “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.”
Proverbs 15:5 “A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”
Hebrews 12:9 “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!”
Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
As you can see the Old and the New Testaments both are in harmony with the application of discipline in the form of corporal punishment, or spanking. I am not saying that at each occurrence of disobedience we should “beat” our children. What I am saying is that spanking our children for disobedience is clearly Biblical and a prescribed form of discipline. We all need to use discernment as to what is appropriate discipline for each age. I choose, personally, not to smack my children’s hands because baby hands are very delicate and we can actually do undesired harm to their little hands. The bottom or back of the upper part of the leg is a safe place to spank, in my opinion. I also believe that the swat or pat on the bottom or back of the leg should have a sting to it for this type of discipline to be effective. The scriptures are clear that any form of discipline is uncomfortable. When God chastises us it is never comfortable. “According to the Bible…the appropriate and restrained physical discipline of children is a good thing, and contributes to the well-being and correct upbringing of the child.”
The children who grow up without Godly correction and discipline will grow up to be rebellious and have little or no respect for any authority. This will only make it harder for them to obey the Lord, which will only reap discipline and correction from God Himself.
There is no level of secular education that can offer wisdom apart from the wisdom of God’s Holy Word. Those who try to gain wisdom or knowledge apart from scripture only achieve at gaining worthless knowledge in vain.
This only leads me back to the very first scripture that I posted, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (Emphasis Mine). Any argument or pretension (coming off as superior or elite) that sets itself up as having more authority than God’s Holy Word on any subject is demolished. God’s Word is the only place we need to go to when we seek to know how to rear Godly children. If we seek any wisdom in rearing our children apart from God’s Word then we risk raising children who see no value in God’s authority through and by His word.
If a person is willing to reject God’s word and it’s authority in our lives on something made so plain to us, then how can that person take any part of it as authoritative? God’s word is not meant as a book of suggestions, but of commandments by where we live our lives in order to please God. As Christian parents we should be more concerned with the condition of our children’s souls, not their comfort level when they disobey God’s command to obey their parents.
Jesus was punished for something He did not do. We broke the commandments of God, but He saw it fit to have Jesus, the Son of God, beaten and crucified to satisfy our punishment. It brings much pain to my heart to know that it was my sin that held Jesus on that cross. If He hadn’t chose to take my sin upon Himself and be punished in my place, then because of my disobedience I would be stricken with a discipline much too painful to fathom. If disciplining my children at an early age using the “spanking” method causes them to ultimately turn away from their sin and obey God, then as the words says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
Serving God and My Family,