Thursday, March 29, 2007

WWJD Affords a Good Laugh

For those of you who are totally out of the Christian-ghetto loop (which could be a good thing) WWJD stands for "What Would Jesus Do?" A few years back, hip Christian teens were sporting bracelets and other paraphernalia with WWJD written on it.

Today as I was reading along on a blog, I was becoming quite alarmed to learn that there is a reformed movement out there, which calls itself Graced Based Parenting (GBP), which doesn't believe that the Bible teaches spanking. I don't know if the movement says that spanking is wrong, but they definitely teach that you can successfully parent without it. My frustration was mounting as I followed a string of comments where one blogger was arguing very soundly from the plain teaching of scripture and all the other bloggers were rejecting scripture--when my frustration was interrupted by a wonderful moment of humor. Someone who didn't believe in spanking actually thought it was helpful to write:

"Just wondering if anyone has any insight as to why we don't see examples in Scripture of Jesus hitting anyone or (except for Peter cutting that guy's ear off) the disciples physically "disciplining" anyone..."

AAAHHHH, WWJD theology is alive and well.

Now I have to launch into a great big caveat: of course I want people to follow in Jesus' footsteps, of course there are situations where it's appropriate to ask that question when you don't know what to do, of course the Bible teaches that we should love as Jesus loved, etc., etc. I just think it's amusing when people use WWJD as an excuse to deny the plain teaching of scripture. It's as if I ask my son to take out the garbage and he says, "Why don't we see any examples in scripture of Jesus taking out the garbage?" Even a child would know that wouldn't get him very far. It's humorous to see adults use that kind of logic seriously.

The same blogger said a few sentences later:
"Being "proverbs," I hardly thought each Proverb should be taken literally." [Referring to the many proverbs that teach spanking.]
She is hardly going to take scripture literally if we don't see any examples of WWJD.

HHHMMM, Church: what are you teaching people???

Does the name "Graced Based Parenting" rub anyone else the wrong way knowing the meaning of it? To me it is implying that other forms of parenting, specifically those using spanking, are not grace-based. To me it's like saying: here's a new kind of parenting, one that is actually based on grace. It is that false-continuum thinking again, or perhaps in this case, false-dichotomy thinking. They believe that grace and spanking are opposed when actually they are intimately intertwined. I think that their idea of grace is totally and thoroughly unbiblical. But alas, for another day.

I think the most alarming thing to me about this movement among reformed believers, is not the actual rejection of spanking, but their rejection of scripture. That comment about hardly taking proverbs literally reeks of liberalism. It's not far from, "I hardly think we are supposed to believe that Jesus is literally God." I know that those in the movement believe in the deity of Christ, but how is the hermeneutic different? Comments?

Some more of the logic used by the Grace Based Parenting group to disprove spanking:

"I find it interesting that Proverbs is really the only place in the Bible that you find anything remotely resembling explicit instruction regarding physical chastisement. The kind of statements we find there(like in chp. 13) cannot be found in the O.T. law or in the New Testament."

By the way, this statement is entirely untrue as the next blogger lists many references outside of Proverbs that explicitly teach spanking. But what concerns me is not the above person’s lack of knowledge of scripture, but their way of handling scripture. So what if Proverbs was the only place where it was mentioned? Does a mandate have to be mentioned in a set number of books before it is to be obeyed?

I think that following this debate for me was like a case-study in how some churches are failing to educate their flock on how to read, believe, and obey their Bible. The issues that reformed evangelicals are rejecting are not nearly as important as the book they are rejecting. I pray that we will return to humble reliance upon every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

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