What Is The Goal Of Parenting? Discipleship.

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Introduction to Part 2

In my previous article, I began a Review of the practice of spanking from my seemingly unique perspective. I am a Reformed Baptist. I am a Libertarian. As a Reformed Baptist, I believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that spanking is a necessity in parenting. As a Libertarian, I believe the Scriptures clearly teach that coercive aggression is a sin. I therefore find myself in the crux of a difficult dilemma. These two truths that I hold seem to be in direct conflict. So I have been seeking for a satisfactory resolution to this dissonance. Since these things have been in my mind, and since I recently came across the article I critiqued in Part 1, I have embarked on this series to discuss my thoughts on the matter.

Part 1 covered the ground of most primary importance: What does the Word of God actually say about spanking? It took the form of a rebuttal to an article which attempted to reinterpret the Biblical teaching on the subject. I interacted with the arguments and believe that I have shown definitively that the Word clearly teaches spanking.

In today’s installment, I seek to answer the generically foundational question: “What is the goal of parenting”? This will influence our choice of methods and naturally lead us to “When do we spank?” and further to “How do we spank?” which will bring to light some critical misunderstandings about Biblical spanking which will begin to set the stage for Part 3.

In Part 3, I plan to bring this all together and attempt to resolve this apparent tension between the Non-Aggression Principle and this seemingly coercively aggressive abuse.

What Is the Goal of Parenting?

There are many ways to summarize it. Ephesians 6 says to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” One of my Elders likes to define it as “raising a godly seed”. But what does that actually mean? Let’s look a little more closely at what the Word teaches.

Continue reading What Is The Goal Of Parenting? Discipleship.

Spoil The Child? No really, the Bible DOES Command Spanking. Here’s What it says

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2Part 3

Introduction

I am probably going to get myself in a heap of trouble with this one, so I have to start with a disclaimer: I mean none of this personally. There that ought to about cover it.

So I thought I would take a break from my typical rants about homosexuality and taxation and the police state and what-not and talk about something completely different: The Larch.

No really, I want to discuss spanking. This is a topic of considerable import to me because I have young children, so I must of course have an answer to the question of spanking. Well, depending on who you are, it may or may not surprise you to know that I spank my children. I hope child protective services isn’t reading this… ahem…. No, but really we do spank our children and this is because of the instruction we have received from the Word of God through our elders and the ministry of Paul and Tedd Tripp. See, I’m a good little Reformed person aren’t I?

So why write about this? I usually use this platform for controversial topics – at least those topics that are controversial for those I tend to rub shoulders with, and this would not seem to be one of them. Well believe it or not, this is one of those issues in which it came to me that I need to be ware of a potential loophole in my thinking. I mean. I’m a Libertarian. I quote the non-aggression principle right and left. And spanking would seem to be a form of coercive aggression wouldn’t it? Have I missed something? If the Bible commands spanking and spanking is a violation of the non-aggression principle, then perhaps the NAP is not all it’s cracked up to be! Or does the NAP truly prohibit spanking in God’s economy, and have I been wrongly dividing the truth? In short, how can I be a staunch Libertarian AND spank. It would seem that something has to give. And if by some miracle the Libertarian Revolution does actually happen, how can I stand and defend the practice of spanking to the atheists who don’t hold to the authority of Scripture and believe spanking to be an outright violation of the NAP, which would decidedly make it criminal? So there is quite a lot at stake here, not the least of which are the souls of my children and the glory of God. These are not things I take lightly, and so I have given them much thought and have wanted to write about them for some time.

Then the other day, I came across this article which is an exert from the book Jesus the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting by L.R. Nost. In this exert, she attempts to make an exegetical argument against the Biblical teaching of spanking. So having felt a bit of momentum from reading this article, and in the interest of providing a Biblically sound response for my friend who posted this on Facebook, I feel led to finally get myself in gear and write these things down.

I am going to do this in three parts. Today, I am going to interact specifically with Nost’s article and deal with what the text of Scripture actually says, particularly in the texts that she uses. Part Two will be a synthesis of my own study of the Word, the teaching of my Elders, and what I have learned from the Tripps to answer a very important question: What is the goal of parenting, which will have drastic implications for what methods we use and how we use them. Then in Part Three, I will deal with the Non-Aggression Principle and see if I can reconcile it with the teaching of Scripture. Rest assured, if I cannot, the NAP is what goes!

So for starters, go read her article so the things she says are fresh in your mind as you consider my response.

Continue reading Spoil The Child? No really, the Bible DOES Command Spanking. Here’s What it says

Dividing Moral Law from Civil Law

Click for more in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

This is the third installment of my counter series to Adam McIntosh, a man I have been picking on for a couple weeks now. If you are unfamiliar with his work, please visit The Kuyperian Commentary.

This article focuses on the second of my three critiques of McIntosh, which is that he provides a rubric for dividing between civil and moral laws that I believe to be incorrect. McIntosh says

God distinguishes between sins and crimes. If a command is given without an attached punishment, then it does not constitute as a civil law. It’s a moral law that you should obey but not a law that civil rulers are to regulate.

I plan to interact with this in today’s installment and to show where I think he is wrong, and to suggest a better rubric for dividing between criminality and private morality. In fact as we do, we may find out that McIntosh doesn’t really disagree with me, but we’ll have to see.

Unfortunately for you, the reader, I have to take a slightly windy path to get there. I do apologize. Please stick with me. There’s a gold star in it for you if you do.

Continue reading Dividing Moral Law from Civil Law

Legislate Morality?

I read these comments from Al Mohler on Facebook:

“The argument for removing polygamy laws was simple: the state has no business legislating morality. But every legislature legislates morality. Every code of laws is a codex of morality. The law is itself inherently and inescapably moral, even irreducibly moral. The law can’t be anything other than a moral statement.”

In my early days, I made that argument rather vigorously, but have now come to modify my position. It is not so much that I have abandoned what I once believed, but that I now understand the nature of that belief with greater clarity. Continue reading Legislate Morality?

The Economics of Worship

Matthew 13:44-46 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Have you ever gone to the store to buy something you thought would cost you $20 and found out that they wanted $50 for it? What did you do? Did you buy the item? Well that depends, doesn’t it? If you’re like me you probably stood there for a few minutes and mulled it over before ultimately making a decision either to buy it or to walk away. What determines the outcome of that choice? What are you considering as you mull this over?

Essentially what you are doing is making a value judgment. You are deciding whether you really need or want that item. What goes into this decision depends in large part on your circumstances and what the item is, but ultimately it comes down to your values. What is important to you? What do you consider to be of greater worth, the item or the $50 you would have to spend on it? Whatever the outcome, you have acted according to your values. You may feel grumpy about the situation, for you may have preferred to buy the item for $20, but if you bought, you showed that you really did value that item more than your $50. If you didn’t buy, you showed that you valued it less than $50.

This is a fundamental principle of economics. If two people engage in trade through voluntary mutual consent, then they both expect to benefit. If I have a pen, and you have $5, and I sell you my pen for $5, then you wanted my pen more than you wanted your $5, and I wanted your $5 more than I wanted my pen. In this case, we both expect to win. Economics is based on this assumption. For who would voluntarily consent to an action they do not expect to benefit from? It’s like two baseball teams. Team A has four good outfielders, but only four good starting pitchers. Team B has only two good outfielders, but six good starting pitchers. So Team A says to Team B, I’ll give you an outfielder for a starting pitcher. Team B thinks it over and agrees. Now both teams are better off because they both have a full outfield and a full starting rotation.

When individuals participate voluntarily in a free market, then it can be assumed that they expect to benefit from the transactions they agree to. If I’m at the store hoping to buy printer ink for $20 and the store wants $50, I have to decide how important it is to me to have that printer ink. If I have a super important document I need to print, then I may just value it that much. If I’m just supporting a hobby, or looking to buy a backup, then I’m likely to pass and wait for a better deal. In any case, my circumstances and my values determine to me which is more important. Indeed, trade is made of win.

But this post isn’t really about economics, it’s about worship. What does this economic principle have to do with worship? Continue reading The Economics of Worship

God’s Existence

I stumbled on this a while back. I do not know who the original artist is on this or I would give attribution. If this is your image, please let me know so I can give you credit. If you would prefer me to take it down, I’d be happy to. It’s a bit long, so I put it after the “continue reading” to save space on my front page. Continue reading God’s Existence

Defense of Libertarianism. Offense Against Legislating Morality.

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know that I’m a Libertarian and a Christian. You’ll also know that I’ve been struggling to articulate just why I think Libertarianism is more consistent with the Scriptures than what is typically espoused by Christians. That’s not a very precise way to put it. There are many different political philosophies that can be found within the church. Some Christians are pretty “liberal”. But what I’m speaking to would be closer to the more stereotypical “right wing” “moral majority” type position. Most Christians I know personally fall into the “legislate morality” camp to one degree or another, which is a bit of a broad brush. I don’t know that any are hardcore Theonomists, but some I know definitely lean that way. Almost all of them have the same stances on the big social issues. I can think of three key issues off the top of my head. They are pro-life. They are against gay marriage. They are anti-drugs. Many are also anti-alcohol, which I’ll lump into the drug category for convenience. On these three issues, I agree with them on only one – abortion. And I feel firm in my conviction that my positions do not violate the Scriptures. For while I agree with them that the Scriptures teach very clear moral principals in these areas, I whole-heartedly disagree that that necessarily means that the law of the United States must reflect that Biblical morality. This series of articles is my attempt to articulate why I believe that to be.

Matthew 22:37-40 ESV  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  (38)  This is the great and first commandment.  (39)  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  (40)  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

This is my first stop because I think it sets up the backbone of my whole philosophy on the relationship between morality and legality. I have long held that Legality is concerned with maintaining a peaceful society, while morality is concerned with living virtuously in order to honor the Lord – at least from a Christian perspective. There are other moral codes and various reasons one might feel compelled to live virtuously, by as I am a Christian and whereas Christians believe our moral code to be the correct one, we’ll assume so for the time being. Such is not the point of this text. What is the point is that distinction of purpose. Legality is concerned with peace. Morality is concerned with virtue. There can be some overlap, but to what extent? What does the Word of God say? Continue reading Defense of Libertarianism. Offense Against Legislating Morality.