The following is an edited transcript of the audio. Here’s the audio portion from John Piper
Would Jesus spank a child? If so, where would you point someone biblically who can’t imagine him doing this?
If Jesus were married and had children, I think he would have spanked the children.
The place that I would go to help a person see that he would, when they can’t imagine that he would, is Matthew 5 where he said, “Not a jot nor a tittle will pass away from the Law until all is accomplished.” In other words, all the Law and the Prophets stand until they’re done. And the Law says, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” That’s a paraphrase. The book of Proverbs says, “If you withhold the rod, you hate your son.” Jesus believed the Bible, and he would have done it.
Now, that does not address the heart of the issue. The heart of the issue is: Why does this person feel this way? What worldview inclines a person to think that you shouldn’t spank a child? Where does that come from?
Well it comes straight out of this culture, I think. There’s a sign that used to be on the side of the 35W bridge, on the right as you go north. And the sign simply said this: “Never, never, never, never, never hurt a child.” That’s all it said! And spanking is equated with hurting children. It’s against the law in Sweden to spank a child. And it’s against the law, I think, in some states in America. I’m not sure.
Well, I will go to jail over that issue! Talitha is to the point where I don’t think in terms of spanking my 13-year-old daughter anymore. But I did when she was little.
I could give a whole theology of spanking here, but maybe I’ll just boil it down. Why does this person feel squeamish about spanking? My guess is that it is a wrong view of God.
Deep down, does this person believe that God brings pain into our lives? BecauseHebrews 12:6 makes the direct connection: God disciplines every son whom he loves, and spanks everyone that he delights in (my paraphrase). And the point there is suffering. God brings sufferings into our lives, and the writer of the Hebrews connects it to the parenting of God of his children.
This is a wrong view of God! God uses suffering to discipline his children. So do we.
Now, you don’t damage a child. You don’t give him a black eye or break his arm. Children have little fat bottoms so that they can be whopped.
When my sons were three and four years old, at their worst stages, drawing with orange crayons on the wall, they knew what was going to happen. So one day, just to give you an illustration of how this works emotionally, I found an orange mark on the wall in the hall upstairs from a crayon. Just about Barnabas’ height. And he’s three or four.
So I get Barnabas. I say, “Come here Barnabas. Did you make that mark on the wall.”
“Yes.” At least he’s honest.
I said, “We have a rule against that. You know you cannot draw on the wall with your crayons. You’re old enough to know that.”
“So what should happen?”
I said, “That’s right.” So I take him in the room, and whop! And he cries easy, so he cries. And when he’s done crying, there’s a big hug. And I say, “Don’t do that again, OK? Daddy loves you and we don’t mark on the wall, OK?”
Three minutes later he is bouncing off the walls, happy happy happy.
Now if I had said to him, “You go into your room and you sit there and you stay there until you feel appropriately guilty, and then we’ll see if you come out and do the right thing,” what a wicked way to punish a child!
Spanking is so clean! It’s so quick! It’s so relieving! A kid feels like he has done atonement and he is out of there and happy.
To these modern ideas of timeout, or sitting in the corner, I say, “Bologna! Give me a spanking! I want to go play!”
I just think spanking is really healthy for children. It is a measured deliverance of a non-damaging act of mild pain that makes the child feel the seriousness of what he’s done. It is not beating. It is not abuse. There is a clear difference. The very word “spank” exists because there is such a thing as a loving way to whop a child on his behind or his chunky thigh.