How Many Churches Allow and Even Encourage Abuse

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.  ****Warning!  Book very triggering for survivors of abuse****


About Hermana Linda
Hermana means sister in Spanish and Linda is my name. I was born in late 1960 to a mother who had traveled around the world and had been impressed at the baby wearing she saw in Africa and Japan. While in Japan she purchased the baby carrier in which she is wearing me in my avatar. By the grace of God, I trusted Jesus as my personal savior in 1983. He gave me a husband in 1987 and 2 sons in the early 1990's. All glory to God.


  1. Korrine says:

    Ever since I discovered grace-based gentle discipline, I have been saying discussions of spanking required explicit definition of the term.

    When I was punitive, I never hid what I was doing. But when I told my husband I’d spanked a child, I meant on a bare bottom with a wooden spoon or worse. He always assumed I meant a single swat with my hand on a covered bottom. If we had been specific in our definitions of the word spank, he would’ve put a stop to what I was doing.

  2. eliécer guillén says:

    Hermana Linda:
    In relation to:
    “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”.
    Although you are just right in your stand for biblical doctrines, even this issue merit careful and prayerful attention by parents concerned.
    Some christians, from anabaptist churches object to entire evangelism from children; some christians are against to teach hard doctrines to very small children, (a practice very common between any fundamentalist baptists, that includes to talk on eschatology and Revelation book to babies), while christian ministries evangelizing children, are in great variations on methods, practices, ways, etc.
    God bless you!.

    • I do agree that it’s best to wait until the child is old enough to understand without being frightened. However, I am seeing non-believers condemning the teachings even to older children.

  3. eliécer says:

    Unbelievers condemning everything and anything is made by christians, nothing new under the sun.
    Keep the struggle!.
    God bless you sister Linda!.

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