I’m reposting some comments here from Facebook, between me and a woman who disagrees that the rod in Proverbs is not metaphorical. I think it is instructive to see what passes for careful thinking from these sorts of people, because they are one of the groups representing great danger to the church. They are in the church. And their self-evident reliance on sentiment over exegesis, deference to their feelings over submission to the Bible, and wuv over love, represents a kind of creeping corrosion that is rusting away the fidelity of God’s people.
Anyway, here is the exchange (original thread here):
It seems that people think that children lack discipline/discipleship/teaching unless they are hurt.
I’m not sure how you reached that conclusion. What would that chain of inference look like?
- The Bible approves corporal punishment
- Therefore, unless children are being hurt, they lack discipline/discipleship/teaching
There is no connection between learning something and being in pain.
There is an obvious connection between learning the consequences of wrongdoing, and pain, as I noted in the article. Asserting your position as if the mere act of putting it into words makes it true…does not make it true.
There are consequences that aren’t fun, like cleaning up one’s own mess.
Needless to say, eternal consequences are a lot worse than cleaning up one’s own mess. Indeed, much of the point of eternal punishment is that we cannot clean up our own mess. Eternal consequences include permanent separation from God’s love while suffering under his retributive judgment.
Since God has designed the family unit with the father as a stand-in for God himself when children are young, it would be at best misleading for the father to never model God’s wrath or judgment. That would leave children with a skewed idea of God’s character and his attitude to sin—and under-prepare them for life as responsible Christian adults. The Bible speaks highly of the fear of Yahweh being the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). This is not a craven terror, because we are safe in Jesus—but we recognize that it is indeed a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).
But how are we to cultivate this fear of God in our children if they don’t have any fear of their father? Again, I’m not advocating a cowering dread at his mere presence—but there should be deference, and a justified fear in cases of grave wrongdoing.
How does the above author determine which metaphors are metaphors in a book of poetry?
How do you?
Or are you suggesting that we can’t? Doesn’t that cut the legs out from under your own interpretation of the rod?
More importantly, you’re simply ignoring the arguments I gave in the article. Did you even read it? Do you have any response, or are you hoping that ignoring what I said and asking questions which I already answered will make the problems with your position go away…?
And how does one reconcile the entire scriptures, the gospel message, and the life and teaching of Jesus?
You mean, the Jesus who personally destroyed all the first-born of Egypt? Or the Jesus who personally drowned the Egyptian army? Or the Jesus who personally fought as the captain of Yahweh’s army? Or the Jesus who goes out as a warrior king on a white horse and personally strikes down those who oppose him with a sword, and rules with a rod of iron, and treads the winepress of the furious wrath of God?
Maybe you could be more specific about how you think corporal punishment is prima facie irreconcilable with the entire Scriptures (written by Jesus), the gospel message (delivered by Jesus), and the life of teaching of Jesus…because I honestly don’t know what you mean.
And do you believe that Jesus’s punishment on the cross was enough, or do vulnerable children need more punishments?
Why do you think the fact that Jesus paid the eternal penalty for sin means that children don’t have to pay temporal penalties for sin? Do you think that we should abolish the justice system as well? Since Jesus paid for the sins of murderers and rapists, we shouldn’t punish them? If I may, I think you need to work through the implications of what you’re saying more carefully before posting them next time.