26 September 2014

Some here, some there — September 26, 2014

by Dan Phillips

Here's your spankin'-new collection, which should be expanded throughout the day:
  • There is a lot of discussion of corporal punishment at present. 
  • First, on my birthday (anniversary of my first spanking?) Jonathan Merritt arrogated to himself the position of lecturing Christians in general (and Bible scholars in particular!) on what the Bible means, and what Science says.
  • Denny Burk alludes to an earlier post of his on the Bible and spanking.
  • In that post Denny cites an article by Andy Naselli on child training.
  • In his article, Andy refers here and there to material from my book on Proverbs (also in Logos). So just to tell you: Chapter Eight in that book is titled "Skill in Godly Child-Training," and there is a lengthy appendix on the oft-misunderstood Proverbs 22:6. Here's a snippet from chapter eight:
We should see “the rod” is emblematic. That is: the rod is a literal object representing a metaphorical reality, larger than (but including) itself. It is similar to “the sword” in Romans 13:4, which denotes government’s legitimate punitive power, not limited to but leading up to and including the death penalty. The rod represents the parent’s God-given authority to enforce house law, not limited to corporal punishment, but including it and everything leading up to it. Standing in a corner is a legitimate use of the rod; writing sentences or doing chores is a legitimate use of the rod; a spanking is a legitimate use of the rod.
[Dan Phillips, God’s Wisdom in Proverbs: Hearing God’s Voice in Scripture (Woodlands, TX: Kress Biblical Resources, 2011), 274.]
  • Yesterday, David E. Prince responded to Merritt from a Biblical perspective.
  • In other news...
  • This will resonate with pastors:
  • My birthday-brother Mike Riccardi found an interesting evangelistic video concerning the Islamic dilemma, asks whether those evangelizing Muslims would find it useful. (I think Cripplegate may have broken that part of the intrawebz; the video hangs at 4:20 for me.)
  • Lyndon Unger addresses an open letter to newly-converted celebrities. Every bit of it's good. I, however, would have chosen a different first item: 1. Become a baptized, involved member of a Biblically-faithful church with a membership of no more then 200, maximum, where you will be pastorally overseen and discipled, and in relationship with mature, growing Christians. Attend every meeting you can, faithfully. Then everything Lyndon said, except perhaps for one other book recommendation, one that relates the Gospel to a complete paradigm-shift in worldview.
  • Aside: apparently Stephen Baldwin shows up in the meta, and is displeased with Lyndon's thoughts. Lyndon, in response, is not bovvered.
  • Relatedly: I just concluded what was really a single sermon, preached over four Sundays. It was called The Good News Path. The fourth was titled What Does Jesus Say to Do Now? It was addressed to the new convert. I packed and aimed it best I could, but was agonizingly aware of a dozen could-have-said's.
  • Charismatics have been working so hard to show why Strange Fire was so necessary, and you've got to love them for it. Today's edition of What Charismatics Do Instead of Study the Bible is brought to us, natch, by Charisma Magazine, and it is titled: Prophecy: Posture Your Hearts to Receive Power at 5:55.
  • See, this is why we need Sufficient Fire. The best argument against fake steak is the real thing. Do come!
  • Until then, maybe you could use a little altar call self-defense:
  • Okay, one more:
  • Janna Darnelle writes a very thoughtful and thought-provoking piece on the other side of the giddy new world of same-sex mirage. She focuses on the harm done to abandoned and disenfranchised spouses and/or parents, and to the children. It's a fine blend of substance and passion, born of the fact that she is one of the victims. Only one thing is missing: the Gospel. She believes her husband should have kept his vows and commitments and stuck it out; but she doesn't provide either a transcendent Why?, or a reason for hope. Both are found in the Gospel, with much more. (h-t The Aquila Report.)

Dan Phillips's signature


Eric said...

Merritt's appeal to "turn the other cheek" is laughable. Is he really positing that the "evil person" that we "should not resist" that Jesus is referring to is our child in the act of sin? Wouldn't that then be an admonition against all discipline, since we should not resist them? And Merritt has the nerve to say that everyone else is misunderstanding and misusing scripture.

Of course, this is not even to mention that Biblical corporal punishment has absolutely nothing to do with anger or retribution (which Merritt knows, but it doesn't fit his culturally appeasing hit piece).

To top it off, Merritt inappropriately decries others as appealing to a "gospel of spanking" while he appeals to a gospel of "modern social science". How could we not trust modern social science?

Eric said...

"Apostle" Clay Nash really spins a doozy. I see he bears a striking resemblance to Abraham as he has "countless spiritual sons and daughters".

I like how God has entered the digital age and is now "downloading" spiritual messages to his prophets.

"As she released this revelation, the Holy Spirit began to download some prophetic words and insight into me..."

"Based on the spiritual understanding God has downloaded to me, I feel a release of a prophetic charge that we need to set 5:55 a.m. Oct. 1 to posture and position ourselves for the release of grace that will establish the potential of embracing the unlimited empowerment of Christ's purpose through surrendered lives!"

That last sentence is pure gold!

Calling Warnock. Calling Brown. Crickets...

Tom Chantry said...

And while we're on the subject of "the gospel of spanking," why does everything have to be a "gospel" nowdays? Can't I believe in a biblical precept without raising it to the level of "gospel?"

I'm reminded of something a college friend said back in the day when we were over-using the word "cheesy." "Once a word means everything; it means nothing." He had a point, and I fear that soon "gospel" will mean nothing.

I will say, on the Merritt piece, that it is truly tragic that Merritt's obvious pandering to society has obscured a major issue. His father felt that he had been abusive and needed to repent. It is good that he did repent if he believed he had acted in anger. It is also a good warning: as you raise your kids (whether while spanking them or otherwise) you ought to ask, is there anything here of which I need to repent? And if so, would it not be better to do so now than in 25 years?

That was a good point which deserved to be made. Unfortunately, Merritt demonstrated an inability to make basic distinctions (the common American malady) and thus wrote sheer nonsense which mainly proves his own unfitness to handle Scripture in any setting.

Eric said...


Very good observation on use of the word "gospel", and I guess I fell into the trap a bit myself by attributing to Merritt an appeal to the "gospel" of modern social science. I used "gospel" there as shorthand for "unassailable truth". It would have been better for me to use those actual words. It's always good to be reminded: words have meaning.

Also, your point on parental repentance is apropos, as it models the very gospel that we seek to communicate to our children when we discipline.

Frank Turk said...

How do I give Chantry's comment a +1?

DJP said...

Like that.

Frank Turk said...

Let's just stop pretending Jonathan Merritt speaks for anybody with an orthodox view of anything. he's the Matt Walsh of the Left.

Tom Chantry said...


You were obviously just adopting Merritt's rhetoric and throwing it back at him. I'm perfectly fine with that...

...because I believe in the "Gospel of What Goes Around Comes Around."

Terry Rayburn said...

1. One of the reasons Christians are often not very good at defending corporal punishment (or even practicing it) is because they compartmentalize it in the debate.

As in, "Yes you should use 'the rod'" vs "No you shouldn't use 'the rod', without a regard for the WHOLE of Scripture.

Thus, "the rod" without love is not biblical.

Likewise "the rod" without restraint, "the rod" without biblical instruction, "the rod" without parental example, "the rod" without forgiveness, etc.

2. Apropos, I love Dan's short discourse on "the rod" (as I love the whole book from which it's excerpted).

2. Applicable to far more than only child discipline, I love Chantry's comment:

"...you ought to ask, is there anything here of which I need to repent? And if so, would it not be better to do so now than in 25 years?" Exactly.

Brad Mason said...

Awesome Mr. Chantry. (You should change your posted name to that!)

As foster parents, we can't spank the children we take in. We have spanked our own children. But, to my shame, it has been very enlightening learning to discipline in other ways. Not that these ways are better; in many cases they absolutely are not. But it really drives home, in practical reality DJP's point that the rod is like the sword. It's what hangs in the back as the legitimate right of ultimate consequence. It's not the, you went 60 in the 55--you're dead!, right.

sethpotter said...

I wonder what sort of alternatives Merritt would recommend. I've found Tedd Tripp's insight in "Shepherding A Child's Heart" particularly helpful. What I found enlightening was how many of the typical methods of discipline we default to such as time outs, warnings, threats, taking away toys/friends/fun, or yelling are themselves unbiblical and manipulative as they actually appeal to our children's sin nature (the love of things, selfishness, etc…) rather than calling them to obey God because they are accountable to Him. I'd like to see modern social science do a study on how manipulative discipline that relies on a child's love of self to alter behaviour affects them long term. (*spoiler, it's bad)

trogdor said...

I looked at both of those hideous Charisma Mag articles, and the first link from both was "What the Python Spirit Really Wants". My goodness. It's like they're responding to Strange Fire by "Oh yeah? Let us show you how insanely pagan we can really get!"

I honestly wonder if the promoters of this garbage actually believe it. It's so patently absurd what they're peddling in the name of Christ - are they actually deceived to think this is actual Christianity, or are they just deceived enough to think the $$$ is worth their souls?