To Spank or Not To Spank –Truth, Myths & Lies

Rarely is there a topic so heated, so passionate, so debated – especially among Christians – that it not only continues to grow, but actually thrusts beyond the topic itself into the realm of "Parental Rights." The topic, in case you haven't guessed, is spanking, or more accurately termed biblical training or discipline.

In Bible times, these topics of child rearing (along with a myriad of other biblical vs. secular issues) were actually non-issues. The biblical founders took the Word of God at face value that Scripture was Scripture and those that try to reinterpret Scriptures were also scripturally declared liars (Proverbs 30:5-6), or simply wrestling Scriptures to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)

But today, the topic of biblical spanking has reached such a peak in debate and conversation that it is time for Christians to make the case as to what biblical training is and is not. Approximately 95 percent of all liberal media outlets, the same media outlets that are driven to squash Christianity and our current conservative value system, is also "spinning" perspectives on physically disciplining and training our children. If we do not let our voices be heard and truth be told, this, along with basic religious freedoms, will be taken away from us as we are seeing at an alarming rate. (See

The Debate Is On – Myths and Lies

Recently, we were guests on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show along with their main guest, the Rev. Michael Pearl, as well as a guest that they flew in from California.

We were very clearly and specifically told over the phone that they wanted us to come on the show live, and be guests to show support for principles and teachings by the Rev. Michael and Debbie Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries, especially those principles stemming from their controversial book, To Train Up a Child.

When we got into New York via Amtrak, we were well taken care of, without a doubt. However, when we got to the studio, it was an entirely different scene altogether.

We were specifically told over the phone that they wanted to talk about the Rev. Pearl and his book, but as we sat watching the show before preparing to take the stage, we saw in horror how the entire show was twisted, or "spun" as they say, to attack any position outside of the anti-spanking perspective.

While we were told it was going to be a fair and balanced discussion, we watched time and time again as Anderson Cooper and everyone else on the show habitually cut off the Rev. Pearl as he was trying to answer emotionally charged, biased questions.

In fact, one cameo from an outside sheriff went as far as to suggest that Michael and Debbie Pearl's book was a sole conduit of extreme abuse linking them and their book to brutal acts of murders simply because they read their book and misused practices.

What Spanking Is and Is Not

We must by all means necessary understand exactly what spanking is and is not. To not thoroughly learn is to go against the Word of God because it clearly states, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

Biblical spanking, or as our Bible calls it, "chastisement," is not beating, hitting or slapping. According to Merriam-Webster, spanking is simply defined as: "to strike on the buttocks with the open hand
- spank noun."

Opposition to Spanking

Problem number one with many who "oppose" biblical training is simply that they "oppose" it. They oppose it for a number of reasons, but the majority of reasons are not based on biblical understanding but personal experiences, to which most have been a negative one.

And so they without thorough and proper "rightly dividing the truth" simply connect the two – proper biblical training and negative experiences.

It's the same when one comes to God and receives the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.  But when the church or the messenger of the "Good News" hurts them, they automatically equate the "messenger and the message" and fail to separate the two. This is absolutely true and we have seen this countless times, and this principle applies exactly the same to those who've had "bad experiences" with improper discipline as well as "bad experiences" with church or Christianity.

As the Rev. Michael Pearl accurately writes on his website No Greater Joy Ministries: "The people who condemn biblical chastisement do not believe the Bible. They judge others by their own experience. The only time they have 'hit' their children, or been tempted to, was when they were angry. They assume that when we spank it is with the same hostility they have felt."

As well, it is incredulous to believe something simply because a majority believes it. If we're Christians and we apply this same principle to evolution, then most Christians should believe in evolution and not Creationism, or that same-sex marriage is fine, or that the Virgin birth is a hoax, or on and on. Majority does not matter; only the Bible is our foundation and what it has to say.

If we try to align the Bible to our philosophy, we are in danger of "wrestling the Scriptures to our own destruction."

Also noteworthy is the fact that the majority of the opposition does not come from those duly learned in Scriptures, but from mostly secular psychologist, child advocates (which are rarely biblical advocates), and liberal Christians who oppose a lot more conservative points of view on Christianity in general – know your source and research its roots!

Is this the "crowd" you truly want to be in line with? If the enemy, the world, and secular humanistic followers are against it – chances are fairly high that it's the right place to be and the right principle to stand for.

False Research that Spanking Causes Harm

It was interesting to learn that a large number of psychologists, analysts and the majority of opposition to spanking love to quote a lot of other psychologists and analysts. Their supposed "research" usually falls into two categories: Meta-Research and Correlation-Based Research.

Meta-Research simply means that it is research based off of other's research, which is by no means an accurate reflection on direct results. In fact, in many cases, the research based on another's research often continues its origin until you find that it is highly plausible that the initial research was in fact not accurate or contingent upon other factors completely skewed and distant from the latest intended quote.

In other words, it may not amount to a hill of beans in true assessment.

The other is Correlation-Based research. This means that it is research based off of other's experiences that pertain to the same topic in question. However – and this is very important to understand – most of the experiences that the research is based on has a high number of contributing factors that have either nothing or very little to do with the actual content the research is based off of.

An example research might go like this: Studies find that bananas are actually not good for you, but can be deadly and dangerous to eat. Recently, deaths have been linked to bananas and food critics argue that Americans need to be aware of this and throw all bananas away.

The reality – this research and study was based off of a study of 100 people who ate bananas. Out of these 100 people, 14 were allergic to fruit and 25 ate the banana peel with the banana, thereby causing a physical sickness that if not treated, could be fatal.

Do you see how this works? A very large number of Correlation-Based statistics finding that spanking was bad, harmful or causes negative internal emotional damage was constructed in this type of research environment. If you "go to the source," you'll easily find that the majority of cases where professionals cite instances where spanking supposedly caused harm were not administered properly and in most cases the administration of biblical discipline was abused, thereby making the spanking of none effect – or negative effect.

Misuse of Tool Does Not Invalidate It

The Rev. Pearl writes this, "Misuse of the rod does not invalidate its proper application."

Indeed, simply because one misuses a tool that is meant for a positive result, does not invalidate or discount the tool itself. Think of a power drill or hammer – a tool – but Crime Statistics show how these tools have been used for harm and endangerment. Do we throw away our power drills and hammers simply because of the misuse of a few? Absurd.

Mike and Trisha Fox are Christian marriage coaches and authors of Marriage For Today: A Practical Guide for Couples. To find out more visit:

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