John Piper and Voddie Baucham: Bad Parenting Advice That’s Worse Than Bad Parenting

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Last week, Tim Fall of Tim’s Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another, and I connected about the possibility of a guest post and when he shared the content, there was a resounding “YES, please!!” from me.  There’s a lot of parenting advice out there, some of which can be harmful to our children.  Tim’s article exemplifies a healthy dose of love and grace.  Enjoy!  ~ja  (Thanks, Tim!)

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John Piper and Voddie Baucham:  Bad Parenting Advice That’s Worse Than Bad Parenting

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Be discerning. Just because it’s from a source people tend to rely on doesn’t mean it’s true or wise:

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“The boys are going over the hedge”

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Discernment Among the People of God

A few years ago Voddie Baucham made the outlandish claim that shyness is a sin. Then he said that when he sees a shy kid he knows better than the kid’s own parents how to fix that kid’s sin. (Skip to 2 minutes 30 seconds if you want to bypass his insistence on corporal punishment when children are just a few weeks old, because “your kids desperately need to be spanked”.)

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As he puts it toward the end of the video clip:

Let me give you an example, a prime example. The so-called shy kid, who doesn’t shake hands at church, okay? Usually what happens is you come up, ya’ know and here I am, I’m the guest and I walk up and I’m saying hi to somebody and they say to their kid “Hey, ya’ know, say good morning to Dr. Baucham,” and the kid hides and runs behind the leg and here’s what’s supposed to happen. This is what we have agreed upon, silently in our culture. What’s supposed to happen is that, I’m supposed to look at their child and say, “Hey, that’s okay.” But I can’t do that. Because if I do that, then what has happened is that number one, the child has sinned by not doing what they were told to do, it’s in direct disobedience. Secondly, the parent is in sin for not correcting it, and thirdly, I am in sin because I have just told a child it’s okay to disobey and dishonor their parent in direct violation of scripture. I can’t do that, I won’t do that. I’m gonna stand there until you make ‘em do what you said.

You see, it’s all about obedience: you better make that child obey or everyone’s a sinner!

I first read about Baucham’s extreme claims about what God supposedly requires of parents at Julie Anne’s blog in June but it came back to mind because of an article Dr. John Piper published a couple weeks ago.

Where Baucham is concerned about all the people being in sin – kid, parents, Baucham himself dragged into it as bystander – Piper sees more concrete problems. If you don’t make your children obey, you have only yourself to blame when they end up laid out on a slab in the morgue because they got shot dead.

The article starts by referring to a recent tragedy: a California teen with a toy gun was shot by police. Piper admits he doesn’t know if the teen even heard the commands to lower the weapon, but decides to assume the teen did and then willfully disobeyed because his parents never taught him any better.

Such an assumption is a baseless sensationalization of that poor family’s tragedy and heartlessly capitalizes on their grief. But Piper insists on proceeding with his wild assumption because assuming the worst about things fits his point better than assuming the best. His real point?

I am writing this to plead with Christian parents to require obedience of their children.

You see, Piper saw a mother on an airplane handle her child in a way he disapproves of. The flight attendant told the mother her child needed to turn off an electronic toy. That’s when things took a turn for the worse, he says.

When the flight attendant took her seat, the boy turned his device back on, and kept it on through the take off. The mother did nothing. I thought to myself, she is training him to be shot by police.

There is so much wrong with this nonsense.

First, he jumps to the extreme conclusion that the mother’s failure to act in the manner he approves of on a single occasion means the child is going to grow up not knowing how to make good decisions.

Second, he judges another parent without knowing anything about the child, the family, or what had transpired before he saw them on the plane. He should know better, being a parent himself. How many of us – before we had kids – would see parents handling children and judge them thinking we would certainly do better once we had kids? I’ll tell you, becoming a parent ourselves is the surest cure for that nonsense.

Third, he applies his ignorant and baseless assumptions about the shooting of that teenager to every child whose parent does not require strict obedience. They’re training their children to get shot by police, he insists. Piper admits he doesn’t know why the California teen didn’t put the gun down, but he’ll insist that his death informs Piper’s view of the woman and her son on the plane.

Piper bases all this on Ephesians 6:1, arguing that since children are told to obey parents then parents are by that same verse required to force their children into obedience. I think this is a sloppy way to read Scripture:

Let’s say, though, that parents tried to force obedience. That doesn’t mean the children actually obeyed. It just means someone bigger imposed their own will. Sorry, that’s not obedience.

That’s coercion.

Happily, there is a way to honor God in how we care for our children, a way that doesn’t rely on Baucham’s and Piper’s extremes.

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A Better Way to Raise Your Children

Here’s some good advice from Connie Jakab:

Sometimes as parents we stress when our kids are displaying less than desirable behavior.  We blame ourselves or them wondering what went wrong.  Nothing went wrong.  Perfection is not the aim we strive for in our kids – guiding them successfully through whatever bumps and shortcomings is what parenting is all about.  When we struggle with challenges our kids are experiencing, it’s our opportunity to show them the road to overcome.

Perfection is not the aim – not even perfect obedience. Instead, as Connie says, we are to guide our children. How do we guide them into making good decisions, to act in ways that honor God? I think it’s best to follow God’s own example.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:4.)

God is our loving Father and he leads us to repentance by his kindness, patience and forbearance. It’s that last word that seals the fate of Piper’s and Baucham’s bad advice, because they don’t advocate forbearance but immediate action.

That’s not to say that parents should be marshmallows and let their kids get away with misbehavior. In fact, there are times when coercion is called for, like grabbing your kid and yanking them to the curb when they’re about to run into a busy street.

But when it comes to how one family handles raising children versus how another family does it, none of us should dictate a particular method; one size does not fit all families.

Instead we should support parents, pray for them, and trust that God is working in families now just as he has been for thousands of years.

[Tim is a California native who changed his major three times, colleges four times, and took six years to get a Bachelor’s degree in a subject he’s never been called on to use professionally. Married for over 26 years with two kids (one in college, one graduated – woohoo!) his family is constant evidence of God’s abundant blessings in his life. He and his wife live in Northern California. He blogs too, and recently wrote about the poor doctrine underlying another mega-pastor’s bad parenting tip tweet.]

 

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74 comments on “John Piper and Voddie Baucham: Bad Parenting Advice That’s Worse Than Bad Parenting

  1. And about age 3 to 3 and a half, when our children did something inappropriate or that violated a rule (ours were pretty simple, btw), we sat the child down, asked them what they did, what other choices they had, and what the consequences of the choices were and should be. We did not spank but used time out and loss of privileges as punishments.
    Making the child consider choices and consequences results in a child that can think about their choices and make decisions for themselves. Add in moral standards, beginning with the “do to others what you would want them to do to you, and don’t do to others what you do not want them to do to you” moral concept that kids can learn pretty early. Then you have a child that learns to regulate their own behavior, make good life decisions, etc.

    And there are other benefits. My son, who is in a really great job in a great profession and married to a woman also in a great job in a great profession, recently called me to talk about a decision they need to make. They want to buy a house, and probably should, but there are some cultural differences in their backgrounds. There incomes could sustain a very expensive and large house, but they are anything but extravagant. We talked about the issues around the size of the house, particularly thinking ahead to having a family and having grandparents (my spouse and I) visit, and the transaction costs of buying a smaller house now and then a larger house later. And then he and his spouse will sit down and work out what they should do. BTW, he is a great decision maker — and managed to make the maximum deductible IRA contribution each year beginning at age 20!

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  2. I’d just like to point out, Julie Anne, that it IS possible to raise ‘well-rounded’ (isn’t that today’s catch-phrase?) without God. I have nine grandchildren who are being raised in secular homes – they are turning out just fine. I think it has more to do with the fact that their parents are fine people.
    If it’s God (in Baucham’s mind) who is insisting these children be spanked, then I DON’T LIKE GOD. Forcing a timid child to speak – and suggesting that it’s a SIN for that child to act like that? The man is sick in the head. Seriously, if he’s writing nonsense like that it’s a red flag that everything else going through his head is unworthy of attention. Honestly, what some people get away with in the name of religion . .. . end of rant.

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  3. To me it seems like Voddie was just insulted…you know…”Look, here I AM!” (in their mind they are thinking ‘don’t you know who I AM!) As for Piper, the bible also says for fathers to not exasperate their children. Beating your child into submission will probably land them in the morgue faster than letting disobedience slip by now and then. I work with people in the church that have that sort of background. They are more messed up than people who had less strict parents.

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  4. I quit listening to Piper when he said women need to endure abuse for a season. And I have never been impressed with Voddie Baucham. He spoke once at a men’s prayer breakfast at my previous church in Dubai. I was underwhelmed. Why these guys think that because they have a degree in theology they are experts on all matters as it relates to the family is beyond me. And why we give them an audience is just as puzzling.

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  5. Voddie Baucham doesn’t seem to like children very much. He’s also reported to have said, “One of the reasons that God makes human babies small is so they won’t kill their parents in their sleep. They’re evil.”

    By the way, why are these people obsessed with sin? I really don’t think about it much.

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  6. @Carmen:

    If it’s God (in Baucham’s mind) who is insisting these children be spanked, then I DON’T LIKE GOD. Forcing a timid child to speak – and suggesting that it’s a SIN for that child to act like that?

    Beat Fluttershy enough and she’ll turn into Rainbow Dash?

    @2Sam127:

    He spoke once at a men’s prayer breakfast at my previous church in Dubai. I was underwhelmed. Why these guys think that because they have a degree in theology they are experts on all matters as it relates to the family is beyond me.

    Because “GAWD SAITH!” is the Ultimate Big Stick.

    “Missionary Man, he got GAWD on his side…”
    — Eurythmics, “Missionary Man”

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  7. I hate to admit but I have never heard of either of these men, however I am extremely unimpressed. First off to insist that any type of disobedience at any age is a sin is absolutely absurd. They are children. Now this is not excusing a child and allowing them to rule the roost per se. I also think that the expectations and the chosen path of discipline should be different for each child. For a child who is extremely intelligent a parent should expect them to make better choices at an earlier age and if the child disobeys then the discipline chosen should reflect the maturity and learning style of the child. For example, my daughter, who is 6, has been diagnosed with several mood style disorders and my husband and I have run the gambit on discipline techniques at the request of her counselor.

    We have attempted the time out path, the treating her as a little adult and reason with her (which only made her behavior worse and my stress skyrocket), we have tried spanking and we have tried taking her privileges away. None of which work for any length of time. Almost a year after she punched me in the face, we still have problems but we also don’t use any one style of discipline with her. It rotates depending on her attitude.

    Despite the rotation of discipline techniques the message is always the same. We love you very much and we will not allow this disrespect and behavior. Now my son, who is 3, can be very mouthy and rambunctious, however sitting and talking to him and explaining that if the behavior continues that he will lose privileges usually works pretty well. I have only ever had to remove his train set once.

    Two children in the same home with the same parents and even they require vastly different discipline styles. To say that we should all adhere to one style, whether it is spanking or reasoning or removing privileges is removing the individuality of the child and saying we all fit in the same cookie cutter mold and to say that everyone involved when a child misbehaves is committing a sin is insane. Maybe he should go back to the basics in the Bible.

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  8. Brenda – YES! – good article! It taps into why I recoiled from that story above about the timid child not responding. He has a right NOT to want to speak to someone. It should be respected. Thanks for putting that article on.

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  9. I don’t know any details but I do know that Piper excommunicated his son Abraham from his church. Guess there was a problem with first time obedience for quite a while? Kind of hard to raise kids when you are traveling all over the world telling others how to live as in strict gender roles, etc. Perhaps Abraham disagreed with this Patriarchal father?

    Anyway, This idea of first time obedience is more about the parent’s ego than it is about raising thinking responsible future adults. These kids WON”T know how to think and will often rebel when they get a speck of freedom.

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  10. “Because the inability to say “No”—the inability to set personal boundaries—is one of the most common, insidious causes of human suffering.”
    from Brenda’s link:
    http://drkellyflanagan.com/2013/11/06/the-reason-every-kid-should-talk-back-to-their-parents/

    Brenda, Thank you!!!

    There are ABSOLUTELY times when a child needs to say “NO!”. We can’t afford to kid ourselves on this one. And they are learning initially if & when that’s okay with their parents. We are to gently guide & help them that it is okay to say no.

    The ability to say NO… This is EXACTLY what’s missing in an authoritarian, hierarchy, chain-of-command: church, family, lifestyle. It is Russian roulette.

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  11. In regards to intelligent children. Some intelligent children have a high sense of justice or fairness. They are used to being right. They can be very stubborn & will not just go along. They may need to be convinced first.

    The way to convince them is not to make them. They may need to understand. They may have a desire to communicate & talk it through. That’s okay.

    What bothers me is that these children may be seen as rebellious from the get go. And their own developing sense & conscience may get squashed under this type of tunnel-vision that Voddie & Piper have. They may be challenging, but the solution is not taking the easy way out but to get creative & to understand THEM, what motivates THEM, how they think.

    These followers of Jesus seem to have forgotten what their leader, Jesus, taught: the greatest command (Matthew 22) & the Golden Rule (Matthew 7).

    I wonder if they really know how to obey Him at all.

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  12. I am really appreciating this article and comments today. It’s very easy to slip back into that first-time-obedience thing and expect perfect compliance when you’ve been taught this by so many “experts.” Ugh! I don’t want to raise zombies. I don’t want to raise kids who are coerced, but thoughtful kids who can have the opportunity to come to their own healthy decisions.

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  13. “First off to insist that any type of disobedience at any age is a sin is absolutely absurd. They are children.”

    LiLSouthernBelle, I 100% agree. They are not sinful in the womb. They are not born sinners. They are not evil.

    But if we think this, it makes harsh discipline & the need for an authoritarian household the easy answer.

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  14. I think it’s important to note that both of these guys as well as many of the other parenting gurus seem to want us focusing on SIN. We’ve basically been told as parents to be on a sin-sniffing mission to weed it out, stomp it out, beat it out – get rid of SIN!

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  15. “To say that we should all adhere to one style, whether it is spanking or reasoning or removing privileges is removing the individuality of the child and saying we all fit in the same cookie cutter mold and to say that everyone involved when a child misbehaves is committing a sin is insane.”

    LiLSouthernBelle, Such a great observation! In an authoritarian, submission, acceptance hierarchy…. there is NO individuality! It is very cookie cutter. Cookie cutter thinking, lifestyle, clothing, etc. For everyone, not just kids.

    Intellect or ability to think for oneself does not thrive, it’s actually discouraged due to the possibility someone may make a mistake or mess up. The result? When someone under or over does mess up, it’s on a grand, larger-than-life, epic fail scale. Those under never learn from small mistakes. Those over have ultimate authority in an environment they created that never says “NO” to them.

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  16. Thank you all so much for reading the post and for these comments, and thanks especially to Julie Anne for hosting me here.

    As Shannon H said above (and Julie Anne touched on as well): “By the way, why are these people obsessed with sin? I really don’t think about it much.” Good question, Shannon. The Bible says we are not to focus on sin but on Jesus, and that it is by keeping our eyes on him that we are able to keep ourselves from sin’s entanglements. (Hebrews 12:1-2.) Focusing on sin entangles us in sin; focusing on Jesus makes us abide in him. I’ll go with the latter, thanks!

    Cheers,
    Tim

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  17. I read the whole post about Baucham, and have already said my piece about him, but regarding Piper, I feel a *sliver* of sympathy for him. At my library, we have in fact had to call the police in on several occasions, because someone’s little darling was causing a ruckus in the teen room. But that’s an extreme example. Most of the “hellions” I knew when I was a kid have grown up to be fairly well-adjusted, sensible adults.

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  18. I agree, Julie Anne.

    Hyper-focus, hyper-vigilance of sin & wrongdoing. So much so that we forget about God. That God is love.

    We have all done wrong. It’s not good. We can wish we didn’t & look for a new day & new opportunities to do good.

    The fundamental problem with a hyper-focus on sin is that it confuses people. The lines of doing something wrong & evil are blurred. There’s much teaching out there that says all sin is the same. It isn’t. (At the moment of salvation, yes. All can be redeemed.) With wrongdoing, we need to understand what right is & forgive mistakes & do better at not making them. But it is not the end of the world. We are not crap on God’s shoe.

    What we should not tolerate is evil. That should be swiftly dealt with & is never acceptable. Ever.

    When the lines of wrongdoing & evil are blurred & the distinction is not made, real human suffering will occur.

    Church leaders should not be proponents of blurring these lines.

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  19. Thanks for this, Tim. Parental guilt can be a gift that keeps on giving; thanks for helping to ease that burden a bit today, and clearing out some c**p in the process!

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  20. This was so good, A Mom:

    What we should not tolerate is evil. That should be swiftly dealt with & is never acceptable. Ever.

    When the lines of wrongdoing & evil are blurred & the distinction is not made, real human suffering will occur.

    Church leaders should not be proponents of blurring these lines.

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  21. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Col. 3:20

    This is one instance where this instruction is given. It would be be good to look at the original language. Just looking at the scripture we see that it is directed to children as something to do. So they would need to be old enough to understand what to do and how to do that (not something that happens at age 1 or 2 or 3, yet increases as their age increases and they gain understanding). This verse isn’t written to parents. It doesn’t mean “parents force your children to obey you when they are too young to do it on their own.”

    I read that article by Piper earlier and it made me nauseous. He took a horrible event and 1) used it to try to prove his perspective, and 2) he tried to make the event a simple black/white scenario.

    Who knows what really happened with the 13 year old and the police. Piper wasn’t there. He doesn’t know the chain of events. He doesn’t know what was going through everyone’s minds as the moment unfolded.

    The fact that Piper continually tries to use horrific public tragedies to prove something about God and people is just sick. He’s like Job’s friends and just needs to shut up and not talk for a long period of time. (Rant over)

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  22. Wrong views towards the world bring you bad preaching and teaching.

    Voddie bothers me on so many levels. I mean he has a VERY sick wife, and ton of children. He then has his oldest daughter take the responsibilities of his wife’s role, because of her limitations. Notice these girls never marry? He seems to be busy trying to be in control, and then bully everyone to even bother being a father.

    Fatherhood is so much more than letting everyone know WHO is in charge. WHO get the final say, and that junk. I mean the man can’t even appreciate a shy child. There are ways of getting them out of their shell, and my own brother was one of extreme shyness. He is one of the most decent men you could never met.

    When he was a teenager my father saw that his shyness would indeed hold him back, and Dad got him a job taking fittings for men’s suits. It forced him to speak to strangers, and interact. Mother went a step further, and forced him into speech class in high school. He still has aspects of shyness, but he also preaches when the pastor is gone – gives presentations to thousands on his area of expertise. He was never a bad child. He is a good man and father today.

    My parents didn’t allow him to play with toy guns when he was little. It was due to the Vietnam war, and how things were viewed back then. My bro instead kept making guns from branches, and pieces of wood to play soldier, cowboys and Indians among other things. They eventually realized he was just boy, and when we went to the Liberty Bell for 1976? lol they got him a colonial musket as a souvenir. I thought for SURE the ‘toy gun ban’ was coming back after the airport told us we couldn’t have it on the plane. My brother cried, and Dad found a post office inside the airport…and mailed it home.

    There are times in parenthood when children need to obey – that’s a given. Then there are times when showing your soft spot? Sends a loving good message as well.

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  23. I remember hearing this garbage from the pulpit at my former church…beating a child into submission or I didn’t love them. Rubbish then and rubbish now. Interesting to me that the person who used this ‘style’ of parenting never gave Voddie as a reference.

    It makes me SICK that corporal punishment is said to correct a shy child! Really??? Grace and love are missing in his ‘instruction’ which doesn’t surprise me at all.

    Thank you for bringing this to light…I continue to learn more and understand the craziness I subjected my family and myself to for too many years. The Word of God led us through the insane instruction, but not without making some mistakes.

    I do remember my husband ‘spanking’ our teenager and 20 something son due to this insane instruction via a ‘former pastor’. I am thankful for the ability to tell our son’s later how sorry we were and that our behavior was not right. Asked them to forgive us for how we treated them and are so thankful healing and restoration have been a part of our story.

    I am eternally grateful God has shown us personally what this ‘style’ of brute force does to the spirit of a child. God’s mercy towards me is profound, His healing of our hearts and minds through these trials- I am so grateful for. Repentance and restoration brings me such hope. Christ is my hope, the leading of the Holy Spirit is such comfort.

    When I heard these ideas of parenting back then I knew it didn’t sound right, am grateful for discernment from the Spirit of God. There was no way we could refute to the ‘pastor’ whose children were all under 18 at the time, because ‘he’ knew better.

    Wolves are not led by the Spirit of God, they are children of the devil. The ‘instruction’ is to puff themselves up as heard in this crazy rant~2 minutes and 30 seconds proves out. The fruit of their lives truly shows they are in control, not the living, loving God of mercy.

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  24. HUG said:
    Beat Fluttershy enough and she’ll turn into Rainbow Dash?

    If anybody needs a beating, it is Twilight Sparkle — she’s gotten a bit cocky since becoming an alicorn.

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  25. How about this, Voddie — instead of telling your kid “Say say good morning to Dr. Baucham,” ask your kid if they would like to say good morning to him. Then when the kid says no he hasn’t been disobedient. Problem solved.

    Oh, and Voddie, please stop hinting to your congregation that you want them to call you “Dr.” It’s egotistical and inappropriate unless you are their physician or their college professor.

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  26. I am crying with grief and disgust over this man’s teaching.

    My family of 5 children includes a couple with autistic tendencies. They have to live with the suffering that they are not like the majority in this neurotypically biased world. Not understood, they are punished by teachers for failing to complete homework in the same way a ‘normal’ person would, or struggling with organisation. They do not understand some social cues. Many would not recognise it as autistic spectrum since it is not very pronounced. They are high functioning, very intelligent kids.

    They don’t like shaking hands.

    And according to this man, I am to abuse them further. This is nothing but racism. Punishment by genetics. While we’re at it, let’s punish kids that are too skinny, fat, tall, short or black. After all, it’s their own fault!

    Shy kids do not need to be bullied. It’s the introverts of this world who go round picking up the broken pieces left in the wake of insensitive, blundering extroverts.(Please excuse the generalization!)

    And what an abusive message to parents who suffer with the grief of wilful children. IT’S YOUR FAULT!

    I take comfort that God Himself seems to have been the greatest parenting failure in history, according to this doctrine. Israel?

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  27. A warm welcome to all of Tim’s regular readers. I’m glad you have stopped by Spiritual Sounding Board. This is a place where we try to make sense of some of the messy stuff church leaders may have taught us.

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  28. An adult speaking to a child who is not familiar with the adult needs to get down to the child’s level if at all possible, and kneeling on one knee is preferable to bending over, and to smile and offer a polite hello and offer a hand to shake, and not be expecting any positive response. That is respectful of the personhood of the child, who is particularly loved by God, as Jesus said.

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  29. Good points, An Attorney. I cringe to think what Baucham’s actions might have been at the scene where the disciples were keeping the children from Jesus.

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  30. Chris – You are not alone in that grief and disgust.

    Thank you for sharing your story which clearly shows why there can not be one formula for all children when it comes to parenting. If God made us all unique individuals, does it not make sense that we would treat each child individually?

    Hopeful Reborn: Your story sounds familiar to mine. There have been many apologies said at our home and I expect to continue that rap for the rest of my days. Good grief, parenting is humbling.

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  31. Piper had his son Abraham excommunicated. I don’t know the details but one has to wonder after reading this drivel. Of course, never mind Piper has traveled all over for years telling other people how to live (gender roles, anyone?) so one has to wonder about his own situation with his son. Perhaps too much time seeking to be a big influencer of others?

    In many cases, young adults will at some point rebel against this ridiculous child rearing stuff. Then what? They cannot thinkn wisely for themselves because they have been too busy responding to first time obedience and suffering the consequence of not being first time obedient— instead of the cause and effect of our choices as we grow up which is a better teacher promoting wisdom and critical thinking skills, to boot.

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  32. Also, do not forget that Piper taught that “wives should take abuse for a season”. So not sure he is a good judge of what is abuse whether it be children or women.

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  33. “The so-called shy kid, who doesn’t shake hands at church, okay?… What’s supposed to happen is that, I’m supposed to look at their child and say, “Hey, that’s okay.” But I can’t do that. Because if I do that, then what has happened is that number one, the child has sinned by not doing what they were told to do, it’s in direct disobedience.” Voddie Bachaum

    I’d like to comment from the perspective of a once-shy child. I was a VERY shy child around strangers & people I didn’t know. I was also a quiet, introverted child. I still am to a certain extent as an adult. Thankfully, my parents didn’t punish or embarrass me for my shyness. That would have cemented into my brain that there was something terribly, horribly wrong with me. It could have led me on a road to self-loathing, self-hate, & I’m “crap on God’s shoe” thinking.

    Let’s begin with the label Voddie assigns. “so-called shy” is demeaning. He doubts the possibility of shyness. Even though he is very assertive, not everyone is. I would say Voddie is the one doing wrong by not accepting someone, let alone a very young child (2-4?), based on “sophistication” or their ability to communicate. That’s just plain arrogant & intolerant.

    Voddie’s words speak his priority. His priority is not lovingly pointing people to follow Jesus, his supposed mission. It’s his authority. It’s blind obedience to him. Any other action is sin. Any other perspective but his alone is sin. Shoving everyone through his round hole, even though God made many shapes & sizes. You could call it “round-hole only” thinking.

    It is Voddie’s theology, which includes blind obedience, that leads him down these types of paths. Reason & common sense gives way to an “us against them” mentality. It is divisive. And it’s tearing families apart.

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  34. If it hasn’t already been mentioned, I thought I’d point out that extreme, harsh spanking of children young and old is commonly practiced amongst those who follow Patriarchy ideology. I don’t mean the occasional smack on the bottom that many/most parents do in extreme situations, but an almost cold, calculated thrashing to “train” the child. Anyone who has read the books or heard the teachings knows exactly what I mean.

    I, too, have cried bitter tears because of my willingness to follow the “Man-o’-Gawd’s” teachings to discipline my children this way. Before we had even left our former cult, I told my husband I would rather raise my kids in a completely secular home and let them experience the love of Christ in a fresh and surprising way, than to raise them believing that harsh punishments, sin-sniffing, condemnation, and the constant reminder of what abject losers they were was the very example of Jesus himself.

    Imagine if Jesus made us drop our drawers for a good whupping every time we did something wrong. He didn’t treat the thief on the adjacent cross like that; or the woman at the well; or the woman caught in adultery; or Zacchaeus. These are doctrines of men. I hope Voddie et al get their comeuppance in the next life.

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  35. “Before we had even left our former cult, I told my husband I would rather raise my kids in a completely secular home and let them experience the love of Christ in a fresh and surprising way, than to raise them believing that harsh punishments, sin-sniffing, condemnation, and the constant reminder of what abject losers they were was the very example of Jesus himself.”

    YES!!!!

    As I once told someone: I can explain the pagans but I cannot explain the “Christians” to my children without teaching cruelty as a virtue.

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  36. all I can say about this and Voddie & his family: is it is best to be pulling weeds out of your (Voddie’s) own garden (family) before pulling the weeds out of someone else’s……..before he starts pointing fingers at others, he needs to get his own house in order……..that’s all I am going to say about THAT!

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  37. Julie Anne

    ‘Parenting is humbling’.

    Tell me about it! When we started our family (aged 25), we were so spiritual! We had all the answers (at least they weren’t as abusive as Voddie’s!)

    But having just left an abusive church (after 27 years) I find myself apologizing to the older ones (28, 27, 24) for any difficulties that were caused as a result of our involvement. We wanted to get it so right. And clearly failed in so many ways.

    And now I find *them ministering to *me!
    And they are not even in church!

    God’s Grace is so much bigger than I imagined.

    Thank God that at least we didn’t set about our parenting on the advice of this man. I dread to think what the outcome would have been.

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  38. btw, I believe it was this kind of harsh parenting inflicted on our ex-pastor which contributed to his control-grasping authoritarianism in recent years.

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  39. My family of 5 children includes a couple with autistic tendencies. They have to live with the suffering that they are not like the majority in this neurotypically biased world. Not understood, they are punished by teachers for failing to complete homework in the same way a ‘normal’ person would, or struggling with organisation. They do not understand some social cues. Many would not recognise it as autistic spectrum since it is not very pronounced. They are high functioning, very intelligent kids.

    Chris, that describes over half the guys I’ve met in various fandoms: SF, Gamer, Comics, Furry, Brony, you name it. So many of them additionally came out of abusive family and school situations, and the fandom was the only place where they could be accepted.

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  40. My children were 8, 6 & 4 when their dad decided to split. When he got violent, I moved home to New Mexico to live close to my mom. I raised 3 kids by myself. There were many times, my mother wanted me to come down hard on various ‘bad’ behaviors. Some, I did. Others, however, I felt, these were traits they would need as adults – speaking out (however loudly) when they thought their needs were not being met or ignored, simply refusing to be forced into activities they just did not want to do. In other words, they were standing up for themselves. Yes, these were traits they needed as adults. My kids were not always the best behaved kids around, but they have grown up the be most amazing adults. I love being around them. Strict and immediate obediance is not always the answer.

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  41. This is just the fruit of literal Biblicism. You can’t use your mind, common sense, spiritual discernment, and let love, compassion, and forgiveness guide your parenting, you MUST obey scripture! Notice he says “…I have just told a child it’s okay to disobey and dishonor their parent in direct violation of scripture.” It’s paranoia of violating scripture that drives this madness. This is an irresponsible use of the Bible in a way the Bible never claims to be and the new covenant completely contradicts. Paul said we serve in the new way of the Spirit, not the old way of the written code. Until, people learn to use the Bible responsibly on its own terms in its own historical, cultural context, these wild literalists will continue to abuse the Bible and harm people and children.

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  42. Michael Camp, you have synthesized exactly what I was trying to get at in this post, thanks.

    Kate Gluvna, that is precisely why when it comes to parenting there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Good job raising your kids to adulthood!

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  43. “I’d just like to point out, Julie Anne, that it IS possible to raise ‘well-rounded’ (isn’t that today’s catch-phrase?) without God.”

    Carmen, I’m 100% with you on this. I know wonderful parents who don’t believe Jesus is God. And they are raising their kids to do right.

    You bring up a great point. These same preachers teach everyone is born depraved, broken & unable to do right. This is ridiculous!

    I have non-Christian friends who I’d trust any day over some Christians, elders, & pastors I know. These friends are some of the most upright people I know. As a matter of fact, we’re vacationing with one unbelieving family (who I love to pieces) next week. Now that’s scandalous, as Piper would say! 😉

    Maybe if some of these preachers met them, they’d learn a thing or two about doing right.

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  44. A Mom: Whoops – I see I left out the word ‘kids’ after the brackets. . .but you know what I meant. Two of them (grandkids) were here today and I’ll be teaching a bunch more of them (school kids) tomorrow. I see kindness, charity, warmth, and genuine goodness on a daily basis. I could care less if they’re ‘Christian’ or not . . .

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  45. Exactly, Carmen. Sounds like your grandkids & school kids are great kids. These teachers/preachers need to stop making every person, child, nook & cranny out to be the bad guys. They do not have a corner on the truth nor do they hold ultimate authority. They’d do better to focus on themselves. Hide the kiddos & wallets, I say.

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  46. I want to live in a country where everyone is free to follow Jesus Christ or not. Freedom to choose. I personally profess Jesus. IMO, the moment we lose that freedom or disrespect those of other religious beliefs, we’ve done a disservice to the one we profess to follow!

    It’s quite clever. The fathers of the reformation say we were never free to begin with, that we have no choice, that God does all the choosing, orders every single step before the beginning of time. Phoney baloney. We choose & we are responsible for our actions, for good or bad consequences. And thus it should be.

    What concerns me are these movements that seem to want to enforce their beliefs onto their own followers & everyone else. That’s not how their leader, Jesus, did it. Force is not how he directed his followers to spread the good news.

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  47. I don’t think that’s quite what the Reformers held, A Mom. Being a five point Calvinist myself, I can tell you that this is not the doctrine I embrace from my reading of the Bible text.

    I agree completely, though, with your statement about forcing people to believe something. That is certainly not a good way to run any organization, country or church.

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  48. Hi Tim,
    First, I very much agree with & appreciate your post & discernment & warning. I have no doubt it will help parents avoid running off the road & into a ditch due to this sort of teaching.

    Also, I’m glad you don’t believe that. I don’t see it in the Bible either. Yet I’m puzzled. I thought 5-point Calvinists believe elect=preselected by God before time began.

    After reading some of Luther, it’s clear he was an anti-Semite. And there’s no question Calvin definitely used force in many ways to indoctrinate his doctrine. It’s how he ran his church & city, Geneva. Certainly not the kind of freedom we know today in America.

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  49. That story of Voddie’s makes me sick. If somebody like him (big, bossy, rude, full of himself) came around me, I would be tempted to duck behind someone myself……And I’m over 60. Not a little kid.

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  50. Pingback: Bad Parenting Advice | Why Not Train A Child?

  51. This is just the fruit of literal Biblicism. You can’t use your mind, common sense, spiritual discernment, and let love, compassion, and forgiveness guide your parenting, you MUST obey scripture!

    Because Ees Party Line, Comrade.
    doubleplusgoodthink INGSOC,
    doubleplusbellyfeel INGSOC,
    doubleplusduckspeak INGSOC.

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  52. Some children are ‘shy’ because they have been yelled at, beaten or manipulated to be reserved and distrusting of others. It is prevalent within many homeschool families. And often, such children are more reserved when their controlling parent(s) are near. They fear the attack of a parent (or even an older sibling) if they say or do something that is displeasing or unkosher. The child is in a lose-lose situation.

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  53. So true, Joyelle. Some children have been trained into cowering in the presence of authority figures. I’m glad that is not how Jesus wants us to behave with him!

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  54. Pingback: Great Advice For Parents | PABEARD

  55. As someone earlier mentioned, it is funny how theologians often speak on almost any issue as if they were experts in everything. They wind up airing their opinions from the pulpit, thereby misguiding people.

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  56. Jon, that is excellent. Knowing a bit about one thing, even if it’s something as important as theology, doesn’t mean the person is worth listening to on other things.

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  57. Pastors have taken on too much of a central role in the church. The organic sense of the Body described by St. Paul is something we’ve lost time and again throughout church history.

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  58. Wow. This is incredibly ignorant. If someone has “had” to spank their kid “only” 4 or 5 times their whole life that’s “unfortunate”?!

    Kids need to be spanked 5 times before breakfast?!

    This whole patriarchal, disciplinary way of life is adversarial. Husband against wife, parents against child – everyone in a tussle for “dominance”.

    What a miserable way to live.

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  59. A Mom
    November 13, 2013 @ 6:54 AM

    “Because the inability to say “No”—the inability to set personal boundaries—is one of the most common, insidious causes of human suffering.”
    from Brenda’s link:
    http://drkellyflanagan.com/2013/11/06/the-reason-every-kid-should-talk-back-to-their-parents/

    Brenda, Thank you!!!

    There are ABSOLUTELY times when a child needs to say “NO!”. We can’t afford to kid ourselves on this one. And they are learning initially if & when that’s okay with their parents. We are to gently guide & help them that it is okay to say no.

    The ability to say NO… This is EXACTLY what’s missing in an authoritarian, hierarchy, chain-of-command: church, family, lifestyle. It is Russian roulette.
    __________________________________________________________

    I went to the Dr Kelly link and isn’t it interesting that what he describes is exactly what happened to Voddie Baucham’s own daughter Jasmine, as she describes on her own blog;

    “Force and Timidity

    I came into the world twenty-three years ago the spitting image of my pop, inside and out. I soon learned, though, that the qualities that make my father a powerful preacher -boldness, decisiveness, and a streak for leadership -did not make me very popular among my friends. Learning to harness sassy comebacks, bossiness, and a justice orientation that verged on sharia law didn’t make me a cupcake during some of my home training either.

    But the funny thing about my strong personalty was that it started to trickle out in fits and starts. I became more and more timid as adolescence dawned. Simple tasks like ordering food at a restaurant, going into the store to pay for something by myself, or turning in an essay became monumental tests of my endurance. A penchant for people-pleasing made it hard for me confront friends who had offended me, and easier to just go along with the crowd and keep my head down.

    By the time I was a teenager, I was doing this massive Jekyll and Hyde number: I was an incredibly bold person who was so sensitive to the ways that others perceived her that she often came off as shockingly timid… until you crossed her. And as my teens barreled into my twenties, I had almost fully learned to mask my insecurity in a false display of confidence and humor.

    Confidence and Critiques

    There was another side-effect to my lack of self-confidence: I was uber-sensitive to the critiques of others. Every criticism that was ever flung at me landed incredibly deeply, wounding me to the core.

    Every negative thing anyone ever said about me was fundamentally true.”

    http://allshehastosay.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/never-ask-for-confidence/

    ……. However I don’t think she’s connected the dots and linked it back to her own upbringing.

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  60. Pingback: Calls For Bad Parenting? | The Masked Face.

  61. To the commenter that said they weren’t sure if voddie baughman even liked children??…. Having had him as an associate pastor for a few years prior to him starting his own church… I just want to say that statement is so far from the truth.
    He may have strong convictions.. But he is an excellent father who loves his children.
    It’s sad to me that fellow Christians are so critical and quick to judge based on little knowledge.

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  62. Pingback: Obedience to Parents | Quality of Life Ministries

  63. Who has the final word concerning what good or horrible parenting is? We all tend to base our answer on the outcome of our kids or someone else’s kids. We forget that our ultimate authority is Jesus Christ, who died for the honor of His Father to redeem lost, desperate, sinful parents like all of us. God is the standard by which He calls us to parent. And His standard, is ‘be holy as I am holy.’ Of course, none of us are or can be, which is why we so desperately need a Savior… and we have One! He saved us from bad parenting and legalistic parenting and being the final authority on parenting, and calls us to teach our children to obey and honor us, not for our glory, our hope, or even our children’s future… but for the glory and honor of God Himself who is holy, holy, holy, and wants the whole earth to be filled with His weighty glory (Isaiah 6:3).

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  64. Pingback: Lourdes, Lifeboats, and Bounded Choice: Part III (Raised in a Totalist Institution) | Spiritual Sounding Board

  65. Pingback: PART IV: Christian Reconstruction, ATI, Abuse & Submission – Training Children | The Pink Flamingo

  66. We are doing everything we can to give our son the foundation and understanding he needs to succeed in his faith. I’ve been reading a great new book by Dr. Tony Evans. One of the goals of the book is to help parents grow in confidence as they discover their worth as a parent based on God’s Word. He says just what you are saying, “Instructing your children in the Lord means spending time with them so they can see how you live out the gospel.” It’s called “Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith.” He says, “It’s far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith.” Equipping and guiding our children starts with us, parents! This is the most solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming parent book I’ve ever read! I love it and HIGHLY recommend it for all parents! http://www.raisingkingdomkids.com

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  67. greetings, I have been reading many of these posts and I would like to inform everybody according to word of God that what these men of God speak of from scripture is 100% accurate, many of you disagree and get upset because, we want to raise children on our own terms and when someone speaking Gods word steps on our toes we are quick to judge and harden our hearts. hence why most of the posts on here are against what they are saying, the gospel and all its teachings are according to Gods word sufficient and All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 timothy 3:16-17 this includes Proverbs 23:12-14 Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge. Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol and proverbs 20:30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts. I say this because I have read that the individuals on here Tim,lynetteduquette71,Brenda,Julie anne and a mom. are viewing God on there terms with comments like God is love and I don’t think about sin. first point God is Holy above all God is love but also just and wrathful we cant set aside one attribute because we don’t like the others Isaiah 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” there are not saying love love love, nice nice nice he is holy. which brings to my second and last to say you don’t think about sin is a dishonor to the living God who is absolutely Holy, he sent his son Jesus the Christ to free you from the very sin we (all mankind on the earth) commit daily. Acts 2:23
    this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. I ask you according to scripture and based on lack of discernment or understanding of sin or flat out disobedience to scripture this is coming out of your hearts according to 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

                                                                                      P.S. A MOM, you said that we choose and that we accept or reject it is our choice your words  Phoney baloney scripture tells us different you said you don't see it in scripture here it is our condition before God regenerates us  And you were dead in your trespasses and sins ephesians 2:1, Romans 3:10-11 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; There is no one who understands; no one who seeks God. Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. and what God does according to his will John 15:16 you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy, John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. and Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers
    

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  68. Patrick, you write “first point God is Holy above all God is love but also just and wrathful we cant set aside one attribute because we don’t like the others” but nowhere in Scripture is God’s holiness set above his other attributes. He is who he is and all his attributes are present.

    It appears you might be the one setting aside (or lowering down) attributes of God in order to make your point. If you’re going to make a doctrinal statement on God’s holiness being a higher attribute than God’s love, you should have some verses that back it up. You won’t find them, but you should try. (You’ve got Isaiah 6 on holiness, I see 1 John 4 on love. Neither of them trumps the other.)

    As for Baucham’s teaching, look more closely at it. He’s not saying parents should discipline their children. He’s saying that if they don’t force their children to act they way he thinks they should act then he has the authority to do it for them. He doesn’t.

    And as for his teaching on corporal punishment, he says it is the only responsible way to parent. Nonsense. Corporal punishment should never be presented as a universal requirement* for good parenting, but that’s what Baucham teaches. He goes further, though. No one should be told they have to beat their child into submission, yet Baucham doesn’t advocate mere spanking but says that slugging your kid is the appropriate way to correct their behavior.

    Paul, on the other hand, says it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance. If Christ dwells within you, then you can show the same kindness and God can work through you to bring about changes in others. Baucham completely misses this, and he therefore misses the gospel itself.

    I hope you come to a better understanding of what Scripture actually says about parents and children and the attributes of God our Father. It will be a blessing in your life, and I’m praying for it for you, brother.

    Blessings,
    Tim

    *I didn’t use corporal punishment and my kids are two of the finest, most responsible and caring young adults I know. You could ask them directly but my daughter is overseas serving in South Asia with a missions agency and my son is carrying a full load in summer school, working part time, and serving in an internship; they’re a little too busy being responsible to answer questions about my parenting.

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