On the 10th episode of Ask Dr. E, listeners asked:
- Does the Bible say you have to spank your child?
- Is polyamory the next pastoral sexual frontier, and if so, how should we respond? (Also, what is polyamory?)
- Did God really turn His face away from Christ on the cross?
- What are Dr. E’s top book recommendations?
You asked, Dr. E answered!
If you have a biblical or theological question, call us at 615-281-9694 and leave Dr. E a voicemail. He’ll answer your question on an upcoming episode!
Questions & Answers:
Do I have to spank my children?
Does the Bible say that to raise my children biblically, under God’s design, I have to spank my child?
This comes from the idiom, “spare the rod, spoil the child,” that’s not in the Bible. A number of times in Proverbs we see the term “rod” (Ex. Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 14:3, Proverbs 23:13)
This is not a new hot topic. It is a hot topic. It’s been an issue for decades.
Q&A on when to spank
Articles on discipline & spanking
The Fine Art of Spanking with Barbara and Dennis Rainey
- Never spank in anger.
- We believed in using a third-party instrument.
- Decide what you’re going to spank for (you cannot spank for every little thing). When my kids were growing up, they were spanked for 3 things: disobedience, dishonesty, and putting themselves or others in danger.
- Explain to the child why they’re being disciplined, and when age appropriate, have them explain back to you why they’re being spanked.
- Discuss and agree on what your discipline guidelines are as a couple.
There are legal parameters around using corporal punishment as a discipline for kids. Do some research about where you live and make decisions with your partner.
Use age-appropriate tools to discipline: no TV, grounded, you can’t ride your bike; the thing they most want, you take away, and that’s probably more effective.
It’s not a universal tool but there are times when there are grounds for spanking. It’s recalibrating and the most effective discipline tool in the box.
1a. What I hear you saying is that the Bible does not say that you have to spank your child to raise them well, but there is a command to discipline your child, correct?
Training and discipline can involve corporal punishment, but that doesn’t always involve hitting. There needs to be consequences for choices your children make that can be harmful to them.
Hebrew words for rod and staff: the rod is used most likely as a weapon. It’s more of a defensive weapon, the other is more of a guiding or supporting instrument.
I don’t think it’s wrong to spank a child. You need to be very careful about what you’re doing to your child if you’re going to use corporal punishment. You’ll know when your child is responsive to a swat. I would not use a belt, I would use a wooden spoon because you can’t put a lot of pressure on one of those things without breaking it. If your child bruises, you’re spanking too hard.
Parents who have spanked or have used belts or other things, that’s probably overkill. You’re probably spanking in anger, and there are other tools which may be more effective for training and correcting.
Always reward the right thing.
Dr. Christopher Yuan joins Dr. E to answer this question:
According to an article in Christianity Today, polyamory is the next pastoral sexual frontier. My son and daughter-in-law are polyamorous. They have been married 9 years and have two kids, they each have significant others, and these individuals are part of their family unit. They spend time with the kids and are with the family much of the time, including overnight. My daughter-in-law’s parents, like me, have a huge issue with this lifestyle choice. If we host a family event, we do not include the “extras,” we’ve also let them know that we choose not to interface with these individuals at events hosted by others, as we can’t see how to do that without condoning or appearing to condone this choice. While both were raised in Christian homes, neither claim belief in God and are both adamantly opposed to religion, specifically Christianity.
Is there an action I should take, should I bother with giving them biblical truth, what would be an argument against this from a secular viewpoint? Looking for a lifeline here.
Though this is a concern, it isn’t our ultimate concern. Ultimately, we want our children to know and love Christ.
Previous episodes with Christopher Yuan:
Christopher Yuan: Christian identity + Homosexuality Ep. 1
Christopher Yuan: Christian Identity + Homosexuality Ep. 2
Holy Sexuality – Christopher Yuan
Did God the Father turn His face away from Christ when He was on the cross? I’ve heard He did this in quoting Psalm 22, to fulfill its prophecies, but I’ve seen entire theologies built around this “cosmic abandonment” around this idea that Christ was separated from God while He was on the cross, but I don’t know where that claim is substantiated in Scripture.
The term “face” is important. It’s always plural except for one time in scripture. It’s more than just our flesh and facial features, it’s about our identity – consider when you smile at your kid, or when you warn them before they do something foolish with just a look.
Face in the Old Testament is a manifold term that means many things.
Scripture referenced: Jeremiah 5:5-3, Proverbs 7:17Exodus 19:21, Exodus 3:6, Genesis 32:30, John 6:46, 2 Chronicles 30:9, Psalm 22:1
Other resources: Colin Smith, Unlocking the Bible: The Day God Turned His Face Away
What are Dr. Michael Easley’s top book recommendations?
Dr. E’s Top 10 Book Recommendations (and some bonus recommendations!):
- AB Bruce – Training of the 12 (free PDF)
- Any/all* of Derek Kidner’s Commentaries*
- Howard Hendricks – Living By the Book
- DE Hiebert- any/all of his commentaries*
- Anything by Ron Rhodes (Reasoning from the Scriptures)
A Single-Volume Theology Handbook
- Paul Enns Moody Handbook
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
- Charles Ryre, Basic Theology
- Floyd H. Barackmann, Practical Christian Theology
- Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology
A commentary on the whole Bible*
*Be sure to use a commentary that corresponds to the Bible translation you read.
A book on prayer
- Foster W. Cline, Parenting with Love + Logic
- Meg Meeker, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters and Strong Mothers, Strong Sons
Other Recommended Resource:
- The Great Courses – A source for lectures. Dr. E recommends Philip Cary’s courses:
Do you have a Biblical or theological question? Ask Dr. E!
Call us at 615-281-9694 and leave a voicemail with your question. Michael will answer it on an upcoming Ask Dr. E episode!