An Epistle to the Americans
A rebuke of the Baptist churches in America
Hi, my name is Joshua Coffman. I am an Independent Fundamental Soulwinning Baptist. I love hot preaching and I love seeing souls saved.
This letter is an open letter to all Baptist churches, not because the issue contained within ONLY applies to Baptist churches, but because I know with great detail many Baptist churches who are in need of the reproof with which I will give in the next paragraphs. The churches in Clinton MD, Syracuse NY, Abilene KS, Fairbanks AK, Long Beach CA, Longview TX and Hammond IN are specific but not the only churches I see responsible for this terrible failure to follow sound doctrine.
The Baptist church is greatly decentralized. I cannot speak to what each pastor practices or believes individually, but just as the great prophets of old spoke, responsibility starts with us, not our erring brother, not our wicked politicians, not our spouses or our parents. It starts with me. And that is why I write this letter.
It is wickedness to spank a child.
Of course, the hackles are raised. The angry letters will be penned. The x on the page you are reading this is being pressed.
Stop. Listen to the Word of God.
Kneel before the King of kings and Lord of lords in humility and hear His reproof. Be guided, not by your angry retorts and indignant heart, but by the Counsellor, the Deliverer and the Prince of Peace.
Let us revisit the Scriptures. Remember, taking the Bible out of context and interpreting it through a lens of worldly wisdom will only lead to heartache and fear. Instead let us consider the whole of the matter. In layman's terms, we may call it "first principles." From the front to the back, Scriptures lay out a clear outline for proper ethical frameworks.
As a Baptist, we view these ethical frameworks as universal. For example, if a Muslim breaks a promise it will be the same as another Baptist breaking a promise. If a man tells a lie it will be the same as a woman telling a lie. The ethical obligations laid out in the Bible and clearly categorized separately from non-ethical obligations via the New Testament are true for all humans, starting with the most important obligation, faith in Christ for salvation.
Love. Many people go their whole life without a definition for love and yet it is often a pivotal part of who we are both in our relationships to others and our relationship to God. Love is "our involuntary response to virtue, if we are virtuous."
We love Him because He first loved us.
For God so loved the world, that He gave...
Love the brethren...
Jesus asked John, Do you love me?
It was a moment of time for John to reflect if he himself was virtuous? If he didn't respond involuntarily to Christ's command with cheer and enthusiasm it was not due to Christ's lack of virtue. But let us not be quick to assume that we are as virtuous as Christ. Instead let us be humble and come as little children to this question.
Is spanking an involuntary response to virtue? No.
Is spanking, Love? No.
What then is it? Is it something more sinister. Yes, it is evil. Evil is not a sinful attribute, even God brings evil. Evil is "an act or intention to bring harm." But what are the parameters of evil in which God operates?
Does God intend evil upon His children? No.
Will God bring wrath upon His children? No.
Will God chastise His children? No.
God chastens the sinner. He chastens the unrepentant. He does not chasten His sons. He does not bring a railing accusation. He forgives and forgets. He knew you before you were in the womb. He called you. He loved you. He will not chasten you.
The law is a schoolmaster. Once we are sons we are no longer under the law, we are under grace. In fact if you read Hebrews chapter 12, it tells us with brutal honesty that we were spanked by our earthly parents, not for love, but for sadistic pleasure. And that pleasure is contrasted with God's chastisement program, which was enacted to bring us into sonship.
Continue reading and you'll see that the command to bring peace is a prerequisite to preventing many other sins including fornication, bitterness and profanity.
Which brings me to a second angle of the argument.
Spanking is pathetic and lazy.
On top of being evil and usually sadistic, spanking is the avoidance of Biblical responsibilities in NUMEROUS ways. For example, being patient. In no way does spanking demonstrate or impart patience. It is an impatient way of changing behavior. Now maybe God has that prerogative to be impatient because He knows when someone may be facing imminent death, but no justifications can be made for Christian parents to spank their children.
Teaching your children is another command given from the beginning of Creation. You are supposed to impart virtues, knowledge and culture. When you rise up and when you sit down, all the time you are to be taking responsibility for your child's education and religious heritage. You are to coach them, train them, disciple them, prove them, guide them in the way they should go.
If you are spanking them that is a clear sign that you have completely failed at doing the job of training them. They should be convinced inside and out that your way is the right way. If you can't convince a child, there is two possibilities. Either you are being lazy and not teaching properly or you are simply wrong.
You could be wrong.
A child is being disruptive in a church service and you tell them to be quiet or get a spanking.
They don't listen.
Are you too lazy to teach them about the church?
Do they really need to be THAT quiet?
Should you be attending a church that is judgmental of children making noise?
Have you taught your children how to not be bored during a boring sermon?
Should you be attending a church where the sermons are boring?
Should you be in the children's church with them relearning what Christianity is about?
When you decide to obey the Word of God and stop spanking your children, you will find that you are forced to be creative in finding solutions to problems.
Jesus requires that we come to Him as little children. He wants us to be pure, innocent, excited, passionate and responsive. He doesn't require us to cower before Him. He doesn't demand we do things His way. He is patient. He is long-suffering. He is kind. He is altogether lovely.
Spanking is none of those things.
"Many atheists do not spank their kids. Their kids don't become Christians. Maybe if I don't spank my kid, they will reject their Christian upbringing."
"Spare the rod, spoil the child."
"Beat him with a rod, he won't die."
"Turn these stones to bread."
"Jump off this temple and angels will save you."
You may have these verses burning in your ears, portions of the Bible weaponized against the weary, the weak, the tired. Exploiting the vulnerable.
Shame on you.
Making the Word of God into a twisted knave against the simple man. If you continue to use these verses as an excuse to hit children you are no better than Satan himself. You should know better.
Woe unto those that call evil good and good evil.
The Baptist churches in America have continued long enough in their sadistic and violent ways. It is time for the men of God in this country to repent and to proclaim to their congregations that we will no longer allow spanking to happen to the children of our congregations. We must put an end to the lazy, inefficient, traumatic, damaging and anti-Biblical practice of spanking.
So what are the alternatives?
How can we problem solve without spanking?
1. Teach your children to communicate as soon as possible. Your child is completely and utterly dependent. They cannot survive without you. They need you. They will listen to you. But you cannot listen to their needs without communicating. When a baby cries, there are only a few needs it can be articulating but as a child grows there are more and more needs. You must teach them how to communicate those needs as early as possible.
One simple way to do this is to teach simple hand signals or sign language to your baby.
Refrain from using baby talk around your baby as much as possible, instead use normal intonations and simple words that they can begin to pick up.
As they get older, continue to give them words and concepts that they can use to describe what they are experiencing or needing in life.
2. Everyone has a say.
Once your child can communicate their experiences and needs, you must teach them to learn negotiation. They have a say and you have a say. Sister has a say and mother has a say. Father has a say and brother has a say. But not everything has to be said. This isn't a democracy. But each person needs to communicate their experiences and needs openly for wise decisions to be made.
3. What about lying?
Teaching your children universal ethics as a Christian is actually not that hard. Simply reiterate that a Christian practices ethics that apply to them and everyone else. So if your child lies or you are suspicious that your child is lying, simply ask them if they want to live in a family where everyone can lie to each other.
4. This won't work for me.
Yeah because you're lazy.
If you get this message and your children are adults, you need to get on your hands and knees and beg forgiveness for having spanked them as a child. Ask them what their experience was.
If you get this message and your children are teenagers, you need to get on your hands and knees and beg forgiveness for having spanked them as a child. Explain to them how you are going to implement non-spanking solutions.
If you get this message and your children are young, you need to... yep and then just start doing right. Children will forgive and when they grow up they will take the path they have been nurtured and trained on.
If you get this message and you don't have children, you really need to consider having children. The heathens and ungodly are fornicating and bringing children into the world in traumatic and violent environments. Please think about having children and raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Lastly I want to talk about YOU.
Were you spanked as a child? I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I am sorry you had to grow up in a home that was hypocritical. I am truly sorry for you. But do not perpetuate the trauma. Do not perpetuate the evil. Turn the other cheek. You are being offered freedom from that trauma. Christ offers to take that burden, do not continue to bear it yourself. Christ offers the gift of universal ethics. Do not protect those that spanked you. Let them deal with their own grief and shame. If they also choose Christ they can do the same. But you are not responsible for their guilt and shame, that is their burden.
May the encouragement of the children, the grace of God, and the freedom from oppressive spirits abound. Greet Brother Moye with a holy kiss. Amen.