What I love most about my church is the excellent, Christ-centered preaching I am blessed to sit under each week. Add to this fact that my pastor is one of the bluntest and transparent men I have ever met in the ministry and you have a recipe for powerful and convicting messages from the Word of God.
Yesterday, Pastor Bixby tackled the subject of parenting and discipline. Is corporal punishment a Biblical mandate? The answer is no. To hear this was a great blessing to me. As someone who has been an eye-witness to well-intentioned parents beating their vulnerable children in the name of “Godly parenting” and as someone who has tried to encourage abused children who wonder how to reconcile “not sparing the rod” with a gospel of grace, I applaud my pastor’s willingness to be Biblical and not merely conservative.
But, before everyone jumps to conclusions, I do believe spanking to be permissible under Scripture. However, we must be careful when intentionally inflicting pain. Do we want to send the message that when people do not do what I tell them, I am able to physically punish them?
Yet, the issue is bigger than that just spanking or not spanking. The bigger issue is what Bixby refers to as the “parent card.” Do parents sometimes abuse their God-given authority by requiring too much from their children and by failing to explain the reasoning behind the punishment (i.e. because I said so!)? At times, yes.
What is really at stake here is the gospel. The essence of the gospel comes down to two concepts – law and grace. The law shows us our utterly sinful condition. We are so sinful that the limits of time is not enough to punish it. The law is a yoke impossible to bear, thus the introduction of grace. Under grace, sinful people have access to a holy God. When we expect complete, immediate obedience (a phrase used by a pastor friend of mine) we are placing the yoke of the law upon our children – a yoke we ourselves could not possible stand underneath. Grace must not only be taught but modeled.
Anyway, I am rambling way too much. As a non-parent, I will now leave you to consider the actual sermon to which I am referring.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Here are some related articles writte by Pastor Bixby on the same topic.