“For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6).
Parents are required by God to spank their children. This is not just an Old Testament thing. This was not just for criminals. Hebrews says that this is how God demonstrates His love for us, His children, and therefore, parents who refuse to discipline their children in this way hate their children.
Sometimes this refusal to discipline children is called “gentle parenting,” but let’s be clear: it is anything but gentle. It is not gentle to communicate to your children, that you hate them. It is not gentle to say to them by your actions that you are not sure they actually belong to you. And worst of all, it is not at all gentle to communicate to them that you are unsure of God’s love for them, unsure if they belong to Him or not.
Of course the arguments are always full of nuance and complexity; no advocate of this will admit they are hating their children. But the fact is that they have arrogantly redefined hate and love according to their own wisdom. They have decided that they know better than God, which is a very high handed hubris that also thinks it knows better than most previous generations of faithful Christians.
We certainly insist that all discipline must be carried out calmly and graciously. God does not fly off the handle with us, and parents who discipline in anger and frustration are also disobeying their Father, as well as lying about what He is like. We also insist that spanking is not the only tool in a parent’s toolbox. Discipline also means discipleship, and there ought to be tons of time spent teaching, talking, practicing, drilling, and preparing for different situations. What kind of coach puts his team on the field without running the plays many times in practice? Parents should be the best coaches.
Nevertheless, we are not at all ashamed of what the Bible clearly teaches, and we rejoice in the gift of the rod: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15).