Someone on a message board has graciously given me permission to share the excellent email she sent to a church to explain why she would not be returning. I thought that someone could use this as a jumping off point if they ever need to write a similar letter.
Thank you for the e-mail. I appreciate you contacting me so quickly and I did feel very welcome at _________ Church yesterday. Overall, I enjoyed the worship service and the [young adults’] group very much.
Yesterday, was a “hefty topic” day for me – a lot to digest – parenting and sex. The only thing that I am deeply bothered by was part of your Senior pastor’s sermon – point number 5 (Prov. 29:15 was his reference for endorsing spanking your children). Let me say at this point that this topic is very, very near and dear to my heart. Over the past 4 years of motherhood, I have researched this topic extensively and dug into the Bible – No where in the Bible could I find specific directions on how you are to spank your children and how many strikes. The things that are commanded by God are spelled out for us – and that information on “this thing” so many claim (as your Senior pastor did yesterday) is “commanded” and “vital” and a “core teaching of Scripture” is just not there.
Also, I would like to add here, as a child who was spanked “correctly,” I literally become ill at the idea that spanking creates any level of a “softened heart.” When did Jesus use anything but loving guidance towards children and towards his own (quite rough around the edges) disciples? If I take the “rod” verses by themselves without looking at the entire context of the whole Old testament, and without seeing it through the lens of the entire Bible, then I can get “spank my child” out of it. However, if I look at it through the light of the whole Bible, and especially Jesus’ teaching, I can see that I am not to hit my child. The Bible clearly teaches that fear and purposely-inflicted pain have no place in gentle, loving, Biblical discipline, and children should be disciplined from birth with an appropriate mixture of kindness and firmness in a manner that respects their feelings and their developmental, emotional, and daily needs. Not only does corporal punishment present a false picture of Jesus to the world, but also to our children.
And so…although I found __________ Church to be a very friendly and welcoming place, I feel it would not be good for me or my kids to be taught mis-interpretation of scripture.