Thursday, November 13, 2008

Parenting Class

We just wrapped up a 6 week parenting class at our church, and I will hopefully post the notes here soon. It was a lot of hard work, trying to nail down a vision of parenting that I haven't seen elsewhere.

Many of our friends over-emphasize "the rod," as the primary means of relating to their children (misusing the book of Proverbs in the process). Our parenting is, in part, a response to what we consider as unhealthy idolatry around us. It is an Old Covenant way of parenting (actually, a misunderstanding of the Old Covenant) that exalts the rod as doing what only the God of the gospel can do: bring about righteousness and joy in our children's hearts.

For example, proponents advocate demanding obedience "All the way, right away and with a happy heart," with the rod as the means of bringing this about. Tedd Tripp even goes so far as to say that he continued to spank until his kids demonstrated joy (in his book, "Shepherding a Child's Heart"). I think this borders on abuse, personally. Only the work of Jesus can do that in our children (and in us!). The Kingdom that God ushers in is all about "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). To imply that these kingdom realities can be brought about by the use of the rod seems oversimplistic at best and dangerous at worst.


Jared Kennedy said...

Scott, I look forward to wrestling with you in the future over the role of the rod and the Law in parenting. I pray that we can work to ensure that this "necessary tutor" is given its proper due but always kept in second place (per Galatians 4).

Scott said...

Me too, brother.