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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fundamental Discipline

A recent tragedy in northern California has brought up some very important questions about child training and discipline. This is a serious story for all of us, especially if you are a Christian parent and/or a homeschooler. The reason why is because the media is throwing 'Christianity' and 'homeschooling' into the story that involves the death of a little girl. The story has so many different angles, including foster care and adoption. It's a situation that should make us all stop in our tracks and say, "STOP! Hold on just a minute! Take a deep breath and a long look back." Hindsight can be a wonderful thing...if we learn from it.

The article indicates that the DA is investigating a website of fundamental values that teaches physical discipline with a rod or rubber tubing. Each state has different laws with what you can not do to children in regards to discipline. At the same time the First Amendment of the Constitution gives us the freedom to exercise religion and many religions teach corporal punishment of children. So where does the Constitution and the Scriptures draw the line and where should we draw the line? Many Christian lawyers say that the courts are to uphold a religious conviction, but not a preference. If a believer goes to court over their method of child discipline, they're going to be in for a major fight and how many believer's have the money to pay a top notch lawyer?

When a family goes to court to defend their exercise of religion in regards to discipline, they need to be able to prove their faith is ingrained in their hearts. And if we are New Testament Christians, then we need to live in the New Testament. Why use every Old Testament literal translation methods of child discipline? If you're going to use Old Testament, then why aren't you stoning your children in the streets? Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but do you see my point? Even if you can prove that you are strictly an Old Testament believer, you will have a very hard time winning in a court of law in America by using instruments on a child's body for discipline.

So, the question is are you a  New Testament Believer? And what does the New Testament say in regards to raising children? Most fundamental churches will teach mostly Old Testament scriptures, that can be translated differently, depending on who is teaching you. Fundamentalism is at the heat of most debates in this world today, as many fundamentalists are quite extreme and the most infamous ones are the stories we see in the headlines. Most of society fears fundamentalism for this very reason.

I came from 15 years of fundamentalism and stepped into a grace filled life, an adventurous journey to discovering the most amazing love of Christ I have ever known. In turn, I am sharing this journey with my children and finding a whole new approach to raising children that has challenged me and changed my perspective on everything from how to handle disobedience to how to teach history and science.

I'd like to invite you to join me on this journey as I begin to share valuable information to you as Christian parents and as home educators that I believe will benefit your family and bring you into a safer place within this system we live in here in  America. The main sources of information that has been opening my eyes are the United States Constitution, the Scriptures, and the leading of Holy Spirit as I study both.

The HomeSpun Life

8 kind words:

Pebblekeeper February 14, 2010 at 1:05 PM  

Thanks for a great article of reminder! I too came from a very strict fundamentalist home - coming out of this has shown me the need for mercy an grace - to my boys - especially when it is centered around learning! :) They need alot of grace for me too at times . . . I'm all for order, self control and discipline at home - centered in Christ's Love, Grace and Forgiveness. :) Can't wait to hear what you have to share!

Anonymous,  February 14, 2010 at 3:25 PM  

Being strict is not the same as abusing. I am 13 and my parents believe to use the rod on me (in fact a belt or cane) regularly (like once a week) as punishment. It is hard spanking on naked skin and I can feel it for some days but not abuse. I fell I'm getting a better person out of them.

Thrice Blessed February 14, 2010 at 5:05 PM  

I am curious as to what you define as "fundamentalism". I sometimes refer to myself as an unashamed fundamentalist, but to me being a fundamentalist is not about legalism, to me it simply means that I fully embrace the five fundamentals of the Christian faith; which are:

1. The Trinity: God is one "What" and three "Whos" with each "Who" possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.

2. The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.

3. The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.

4. Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

5. The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.

If you notice that number 4 is about salvation being by grace, not works. So I wonder what you mean when you say you came out of fundamentalism into grace. I am a fundamentalism living in the grace of God, and I do extend grace to others, although not perfectly of course.

I do not protest against people groups or hate people who believe differently, but I don't apologize for believing what I believe either.

Sisterlisa February 14, 2010 at 5:16 PM  

The varying definitions of fundamentalism will be in my series on AGMinistries as well as various future posts here. 'Fundamentalism' has just as much of a varying definition as 'Christian' does.

Basketball players practice the fundamentals of basketball too. So it doesn't mean the Los Angeles Lakers are fundamentalists. ;O)

Amanda Read February 14, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

This is a quick comment without double checking any sources, but I heard that there has been a misinterpretation of the Old Testament passages about stoning rebellious offspring - that it was only grown children who were accountable and should know better than to be so corrupt, not young children who needed to learn better.

A paddling or switching isn't the same as beating; surely responsible parents know the difference! It is sad to see lines blurred and bad witnesses made.


Sisterlisa February 14, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

Yes, Amanda. A lot of Bible has been twisted. Many are speaking about being like the Bereans. We need to double check for ourselves. Tonight I worshiped Him and prayed and asked Him to speak tome about his children. What exactly does he want me to type out? What is the message He wants US to hear about how he feels about the children?

He showed me a scenario...can you imagine Jesus actually standing there..watching...during a discipline session? What would be the look on his face? He spoke to me, "Love them and teach them what you're teaching everyone else. Mercy, grace, love. I love them, Lisa. Please nurture them"

Dana February 15, 2010 at 4:32 PM  

Oh Sisterlisa you have no idea how much I appreciated this post. I'd love to chat with you sometime a little via email or something not public if you have time.

You've been a Christian a lot longer than I. There's a lot I want to say but it is such a sensitive topic, I'd like to walk through it with a more mature Christian first. I may contact our family pastor, as well.

Thank you for this and God bless.

faelih February 18, 2010 at 10:46 PM  

Not even the Jews punish their children in such a way. It widely believed, among conservative and liberal Jews alike, that the proverbs mentioning the "rod" are not to be taken literally, but figuratively and demonstratively. It is further taught in the Talmud (rabbinical teachings) to not strike a child with more than a shoestring. In other words, it should be done softly and only to redirect.

Also, on the case of the rebellious son, yes he was to be a grown child who knew better. I have read in one article that there have been no actual recorded cases of this ever happening since there are so many other conditions written in Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible) meant to prevent this last resort.

I find it a great shame that some "Christian" groups pick and choose what they want to believe with no real study on the actual meaning behind the Words God has given to us. My prayers go to that family; thank you for providing me with an opportunity to study this further. :).

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