a puritan's blog

O God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs…

Monthly Archives: August 2010

Disciplining your children

Dr. Dobson says spanking is not effective for boys past eight or nine.  They can take more pain because they’re stronger and then the spanking becomes abuse and an attempt to hurt.  However, with further consideration, spanking/discipline is never intended to cause pain or for punishment, that would be Law based, Old Testament based.  Rather discipline is for instruction and correcting, in love and grace.  Furthermore, spanking is used because the child has disobeyed what you have previously told them concerning lying, stealing or whatever the sin.  Spanking should then be one, maybe two swats’ on the butt at the most (over the clothes).  It is not a frenzy of licks…you get the point.  Other forms of discipline are to be administered in love and not out of momentary anger.

Anyway, the teaching my wife and I have been studying is by RC Sproul Jr., called Bound for Glory and it is about Covenant Family.  In it he goes through a simple, reverent and loving way to discipline:

The scenario: His son is caught hitting his sister.

Father: “Son, did you hit your sister?”

Son: “Yes.” (Do you notice the honesty? What happens if the child lies?  Well, if you have proof, ask them the question and before they answer suggest that you saw what happened.)

Father: “What has daddy told you about hitting your sister?”

Son: “To not to.” (I am thinking about Mater in the Disney movie Cars. Yeah, we can chuckle a bit…)

Father: “What else have I told you?”

Son: “That I am to protect my sister.”

Father: “That’s right.  Were you protecting your sister when you hit her?”

Son: “No”

Father: “What does God tell you about obeying your parents?”

Son: “To obey your parents in the Lord for this is right… (Ephesians 6:1-3)”

Father: (keep asking questions to draw out the full scripture that he has previously memorized, one that you have deliberately taught your child.)

Father: “What is the other scripture that God has told us and that you have memorized?”

Son: “One of the 10 commandments, ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land… (Exodus 20:12)”

Father: “That’s right.”  (Again, these scriptures have already been taught to them and memorized.  If this process of teaching and memorizing has not been done up to this point, now would be a good time to start.  But remember, you cannot hold the child accountable for anything you have not taught them.)

Father: “Because you have disobeyed what I have told and what God has told you I will spank you so that you can learn to obey.” (Proceed to give one, maybe two swats with the rod of correction)

Embrace the son, show affection as this is part of the learning process.

Consider: As parents and as natural-born sinners ourselves, we want to keep and get sin out of our house.  For some reason we get so angry when someone sins against us but hardly notice and lightly care when we sin against someone else.  But this is more about self-love than God-love.  So, we tend to spank harshly and abusively as an attempt to rid sin.  But grace allows for sin, to a certain degree, because by sinning and consistent instruction (law) we learn what is right, if discipline is done in an instructive way.  Get the picture?  Scripture teaches us that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).  Our goal is not to rid the child of sin.  We could never do that.  Rather, it is to instruct in godliness and righteousness.

Then after the embrace:

Father: “what else does the Bible teach us about sin?”

Son: “That if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)”

Father: “That’s right.” (Teach them that CHRIST has taken our punishment, thus, discipline is ultimately a means to remember that)

Here you can teach a bit more and point to what actually Christ Jesus did on the cross for us.  Remember here that as fathers we are also sinful and need a gracious and loving Father to lead us to righteousness.  We are not above this process of learning, being instructed in grace etc…  Christ has taken our full punishment on Himself and this needs to be instilled in the hearts of our children and ourselves.

A good website for further teaching is here and here (the second link here is a video – look to the right side of the page, you’ll see it).

Fathers, the greatest encroachment or transgression of GOD’s command to you is that you would provoke your children to wrath in discipline (Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21).  This is to be a gentle, confident, deliberate and loving act on your part.  Remember while you are disciplining your child reflect frequently on how gentle GOD has been in disciplining you.  Remember it is His mercy that we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22-23).  Lament your own sin and remain broken before the Lord on the part of His mercy towards you.  This is the only way our flesh will not rise up in anger for our child’s 1000th disobedience on the same, exact thing.  Lovingly and with feeling express to him the scripture and that above his or her disobedience of you they have disobeyed GOD and that if we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive.  Fathers and mothers, remember your many disobedience’s against GOD and His many mercies toward you.  Repent and keep on repenting until you die; teach your children to repent and repent quickly until they die.  You will have done your job and will have a good report to deliver to our GOD, the King before whom we will give account.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed (crushed, KJV), because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).


A New Model for Seminaries

Inspired and portions taken from Pastor Bob Lepine’s weekly Church newsletter

Years ago, when David Sims was a student at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, he learned a lot about the Old Testament from a professor named Richard Pratt.   

Recently, someone asked Dr. Pratt a provocative question. “If you could change one thing about how seminaries train pastors, what would it be?”     

Dr. Pratt’s answer was equally provocative.  And I think it has something to say to each one of us about how we live our lives as followers of Jesus.     

“After 22 years of teaching in a seminary, I slowly began to realize something. We were not preparing the kinds of leaders that evangelical churches in North America need.”     

“Let’s face it; evangelicalism has seen better days. God is at work in many places and in many ways, but on the whole, the news is not good. Our numbers are dwindling; our theology is unraveling; our zeal for Christ is dissipating.      

“Now more than ever, we need seminaries to give the church leaders who are empowered by the Spirit for radical, sacrificial devotion to Christ and his kingdom. And they’d better do it quickly.     

“I was recently in China, talking with the president of a house church network of more than 1 million people. He asked me for advice on preparing the next generation of pastors. I looked at him and said, “The only thing I know is what you should not do.” He smiled and asked, “What’s that?” My reply surprised him. “You should not do what we have done in the West. The results of that approach have become clear.”     

“The agenda of evangelical seminaries is set primarily by scholars. Professors decide how students will spend their time; they determine students’ priorities; they set the pace. And guess what. Scholars’ agenda seldom match the needs of the church.     

“Can you imagine what kind of soldiers our nation would have if basic training amounted to reading books, listening to lectures, writing papers, and taking exams? We’d have dead soldiers. The first time a bullet wizzed past their heads on the battlefield, they’d panic. The first explosion they saw would send them running.

“So, what is basic training for the military? Recruits learn the information they need to know, but this is a relatively small part of their preparation. Most of basic training is devoted to supervised battle simulation. Recruits are put through harrowing emotional and physical stress. They crawl under live bullet fire. They practice hand to hand combat.

“If I could wave a magic scepter and change seminary today, I’d turn it into a grueling physical and spiritual experience. I’d find ways to reach academic goals more quickly and effectively and then devote most of the curriculum to supervised battle simulation. I’d put students through endless hours of hands-on service to the sick and dying, physically dangerous evangelism, frequent preaching and teaching the Scriptures, and days on end of fasting and prayer.

“Seminary would either make them or break them.

“Do you know what would happen?

 “Very few young men would want to attend.

 “Only those who had been called by God would subject themselves to this kind of seminary. Yet they would be recruits for kingdom service, not mere students. They would be ready for the battle of gospel ministry.”

Dr. Richard Pratt is right on.  In fact, so right on and correct, that we ought to visit these third world countries, study their ways and revamp our Seminaries to their model. 

A recent twitter post by Paul Washer says this, “I will visit a remote village today in order to study church planting activities of our missionaries.  This is a dark place.  Please pray!” 

At one time, America was the leading agent in preparing and sending out missionaries, preachers, pastors, sold-out men of GOD!  And now? – we SUCK!  We are the number one transporter of vermin and filth in all the world espousing democracy as THE savior of the world when internal crumbling belies any integrity.  Internet traffic crosses every country border and through these passage lines comes the sewage of sex, drugs and rock and roll from America. 

In light of this, Seminaries are no  longer relevant.  They are producing doctrinally sound (possibly) but faithfully weak folks.  Doctrine without faith is like humans without backbones…

So, I am asserting that radical reformation is needed in Cemetaries…oops, Seminaries today (Isn’t that cemetary, ‘slip-of-the-tongue’ thing the appropriate cliche?).  I assert that a return to simply studying the Scriptures is necessary; studying the scriptures as if life depended on it.  I also assert that making converts would be the test of passing or failing.  Two things, then that I am asserting: 1) Study God’s word, meditate and make application of it (discuss it in a didactic format) and, 2) Preach and teach to the lost and dying, make every effort to win souls.  This should be the thrust of the Seminary!

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