An open letter on spanking...

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This is in response to a comment just left under the post The Good Father: Fight the good fight (3)... Among other things, the commenter wrote:

"I think spanking a child due to real or perceived manipulation is excessive. Remaining calm and in control- being the adult is imperative here.”

I respond:

Dear Mrs. P.,

It's good to separate the world into Christians and pagans. It clarifies things, especially arguments. So how do we know the difference between Christians and pagans?

There are a number of questions to ask, such as who does a man (or woman) believe Jesus is? What does a man or woman believe Jesus' work was?  Who raised Jesus from the dead? Who killed Jesus? And so on.

Sometimes, though, other questions are needed that prior generations took for granted. For two-thousand years, no one denied...

God’s Fatherhood was writ large across the race of man through the authority of fathers, husbands, pastors, elders, kings, judges, etc. Now though, hatred of God has reached such a fever pitch that the heretofore unheard-of occurs: there are actually men and women today who say they believe in Jesus and that He was the Son of God and that He came to die for our sins and that we are saved by his death and righteousness and that God raised Him from the dead and that the church (the Jews) killed him; but then who go on to deny that the husband is the head of his wife, the father the head of the household, Adam (not Eve) the head of the race, and so on.

There are also men and women who claim to be Christians and yet deny the authority of the Word of God. Without apology or shame.

This is your condition. You believe you are a Christian, but you deny the authority of God’s very words. Everyone here sees it although some would defend you in it. But I’m speaking to you.

Again, for two-thousand years everyone who follows Christ knew God commands us to spank/whip/scourge our sons (Prov. 10:13; 13:24; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15; etc.) as He scourges us:


But you say God is wrong. You think you are saying I am wrong, but you’re not. I’m simply agreeing with or submitting to God in what He says, so your argument is with Him. You reject spanking out of hand, although you seem only to be rejecting it for the sin of manipulation. But you show your hand by writing "I think spanking a child due to real or perceived manipulation is excessive. Remaining calm and in control- being the adult is imperative here.”

There’s no other way of reading your words than that you judge spanking to be the product of emotional turmoil (not “calm”) and the father or mother being “out of control” and childish (not being the adult). So, as I said, you reject spanking despite God commanding it.

I could speak of why spanking is more in control and less hurtful than the other means of discipline parents (especially mothers who reject spanking) are inclined to use, but I’ve written about that in my book on fatherhood titled Daddy Tried, and if you wanted to read it, it would be easy to get a copy and do so.

Instead, what I’m going so say here, and quite simply, is that there is no use trying to convince someone about the seriousness of the sin of manipulation, the wonderful lovingness of the obedience of spanking, and so forth when the real problem is that the man or woman I am talking to has no submission to God’s words.

This is the nature of female rebels today. They make a big show of allowing for some authority and some leadership, then their words show that the only authority and leadership they’ll allow in their line of vision and hearing and home is so tightly corseted by them that it can’t move (or rather he can’t move—the father of the household, that is). And then they let their real rebellion show itself by speaking of spanking as the product of emotional turmoil and the work of a father who is out of control—and childish.

If I may say it, what you need to do is to decide whether you fear God? And if you tell yourself you do, go on and ask  yourself how can you fear God and deny His Own Words? Is God in emotional turmoil, out of control, and childish when He scourges us? Was He in emotional turmoil, out of control, and childish when He inspired His Words commanding fathers to use the rod on their sons?

I say the two (fearing God and trashing spanking) are mutually exclusive. If you continue to rebel against our Heavenly Father's command to fathers to scourge our sons as He scourges us, you should stop reciting the Apostle’s Creed. You don’t actually believe in God the Father Almighty.

With love,

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!