The latest issue of Southern Seminary’s The Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry just released.
My contribution, “Training Children for Their Good,” addresses parental discipline. This is a lightly edited manuscript from a sermon I preached on June 3, 2012.
Here’s the outline:
1. Seven Propositions about Discipline from Hebrews 12:4–11
- God disciplines his children (Heb 12:5–7, 10).
- God disciplines all his children (Heb 12:6, 8).
- God disciplines only his children (Heb 12:6–8).
- Discipline is training: God disciplines his children for their good (Heb 12:10–11).
- Discipline seems unpleasant and painful (Heb 12:11).
- God’s children should endure God’s discipline (Heb 12:5, 7, 9).
- God’s disciplining his children compares to human parents’ disciplining their children (Heb 12:5, 7–10).
2. Levels of Discipline in the Book of Proverbs
- Level 1. Teach
- Level 2. Warn
- Leve 3. Enforce
- Does “the rod” represent discipline but exclude physical discipline (Prov 13:24; 22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15)?
- Is spanking a form of physical and psychological child abuse?
- Do the proverbs about using the rod refer to young men rather than children?
- Is spanking an obsolete part of the Mosaic law-covenant in the Old Testament?
- Is spanking antithetical to the gospel?
3. Concluding Application
- Pray for your children.
- Evangelize your children.
- Use multiple levels of discipline.
- Love your children, and tell them and show them that you love them.
- Beware of two extremes: (a) not disciplining and (b) over-disciplining.
- Fathers, take the lead in discipline.
- Learn how to discipline each of your children most effectively.
- Distinguish between family rules and the Bible.
- Be humble about parental discipline; don’t be proud and judgmental.
- Persevere with a long-term view that trusts God’s word.
4. Recommended Resources
- Baugham, Brad. “Gospel-centered Parenting: Our Greatest Challenge—Discipline.” Sermon preached to Emmanuel Bible Church in Mauldin, SC. March 1, 2009.
- Farley, William P. Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009. See chs. 8–9 (pp. 145–74).
- Fitzpatrick, Elyse, and Jessica Thompson. Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. See chs. 5–6 (pp. 81–110). [Cf. the review my wife and I wrote.]
- Grudem, Wayne. Politics—According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010. See “Discipline of Children and Spanking” (pp. 256–60). [Cf. the review my Dad and I wrote.]
- Köstenberger, Andreas J. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. 2nd ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010. See “Physical Discipline” (pp. 142–46, 341–43).
- Schreiner, Thomas R. Review of William J. Webb, Corporal Punishment in the Bible. The Gospel Coalition Book Reviews, September 12, 2011.
- Wegner, Paul D. “Discipline in the Book of Proverbs: ‘To Spank or Not to Spank?’” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 (2005): 715–32.