Valerie Tarico looks at the problem of Christian discipline leading to abuse in “Bible-based” discipline has led to child abuse in Salon Magazine. I am seeing non-believers getting more and more concerned with this issue and rightly so. It breaks my heart that abusive Christians are giving Christianity a bad name. Of course, it is only natural that they are trying to find a way to stop the abuse. My only concern with that is that their definition of abuse often includes teaching children that they are sinners in need of salvation, which is the heart of the Gospel.
Because of that article, Pastor Doug Bursch (who was raised in a grace-filled, loving home) discussed the problem with M. Dolon Hickmon on his Christian Talk Radio show, Live from Seattle 820AM. This conversation is extremely interesting as well as important. Dolon explains how important it is for Christians to recognize abuse. Not only do churches fail to notice abuse, they often inadvertently encourage it. He explains how each person listening to a sermon about spanking has a different definition for the words being used. Both abused children and their parents assume that the word, “spanking” means exactly what they are currently doing and are being validated that they should continue, even if the pastor preaching means nothing of the sort. Raising awareness is very important and he has a lot of hope that the book he wrote will go a long way towards that. You can get information about his book here.