Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Loving Discipline

Somewhere along the line our culture has forgotten the idea that discipline is real motivated by love. My wife and I get a magazine called Parenting. It was a free subscription. This magazine always makes sure you know that children are never to be spanked. Never mind the proverb “spare the rod, spoil the child”. People today think it is just barbaric to spank a child. Our schools don’t do it, many parents don’t do it, and then we all wonder what happened when the kids become teenagers and they go crazy. People think that spanking a child is what angry child abusers do, but instead it is an act of love to drive folly from the child. It is for his own good. That is the real motivation of ‘corporal punishment’ as it is sometimes called. It was always just a good ole spankin’ back in my time.

This principle does not stop with parenting sadly enough. It infests our church. I have a friend, who is a believer, but attends a conservative Presbyterian Church of the United States (PCUSA) church in Colorado Springs. Try as I might I cannot convince him his church is wrong, and that the denominations refusal to discipline the hundred or so pastors who actively support homosexuality as right is an abomination. He stubbornly holds to the idea that all should remain as it is, and it is better not to stir the pot too much. Somewhere the PCUSA lost the idea of loving discipline and now it treads water until it becomes the Anglican church with active gay men as ministers.

It also ties into the current debates that will be raging throughout the Reformed Churches regarding the Federal Vision. John Robbins of the Trinity Foundation in his latest Trinity Review makes a good point. Granted I am not in the habit of saying Robbins makes good points, but here I believe he raises a valid concern. Why would the Mississippi Valley Presbytery make a report condemning these things without trying to bring charges against fellow ministers? If you believe that what they teach is really a damnable error, then is it not the loving thing to do to bring charges? If not for the ministers’ souls then for the flocks they lead? How is it loving to leave them with only this innuendo over their heads, but no real charges to think over? I think the plain answer is it is not. I worry that many churches have lost the idea of loving discipline, just like many modern families. One day the church will wake up and wonder why the kids went crazy. They need look no further than the lack of church discipline.


Bud said...

Very good, Lee.