Now there’s a title sure to get everyone’s attention!
Why do so many Christians abuse their children?
The reason is primarily a theological one. (though they might not even realize it is)
Most Christian sects believe in some form of original sin. (depravity)
The theology goes something like this:
- A person does not become a sinner they are a sinner, from birth until they die.
- A person has a sin nature inherited from the daddy for the human race Adam.
- A person has no choice in this matter. They are a sinner.
So from birth a child is a sinner. They have no choice in the matter. They are, what every human being is,a sinner.
The implications of this teaching is huge.
The Bible says:
- A baby is born speaking lies The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Psalm 58:3
- A baby is conceived in iniquity and sin Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5
- A baby is the enemy of God Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4
- A baby is alienated from God The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Psalm 58:3
- A baby is born into the world under the wrath of God For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Romans 1:18
- A baby is headed for hell the moment it draws its first breath
I am sure someone will object to some of the verses I just quoted. “Those verses apply to ADULT sinners.”
Really? Have you thought out the implications of your theology.? Is there any difference in God’s eyes between a baby sinner and an adult sinner? Does God have a sin chart where he keeps score and where he rates the various qualities of the sins committed?
I thought in the eyes of God that every sin is the same? Sure the consequences are different from sin to sin, but God sees every sin as an affront to his Holy nature. Every sin is an act of rebellion against God. In the eyes of God there is no difference between when a baby “lies” about being hungry, wet, etc just so he can get his mother’s attention and a serial killer who kills 5 people. Sin is sin. Sinners sin. That’s what sinners do.
Ugly isn’t it? When you shine the clear, bright, light of reason on the doctrine of original sin it reveals its ugliness for all to see.
Some sects realize there is a big problem with the whole notion of original sin so they invent doctrines to address it.
- Catholics and Protestants baptize infants washing away their original sin. They are then safe until they reach a place of accountability for their sin.
- Some Baptists and Evangelicals teach, that while a baby is indeed born a sinner, the baby is not accountable for its sin until it reaches an age of accountability. Some Churches say this is the age of 12. Others say it is an indefinite age. Once a child can understand the difference between right and wrong and understand the penalty for sin they are then accountable for their sin.
- Some Calvinists, especially of the Reformed type, baptize their babies as a sign of the covenant between the parents and God. The children are raised as if they are children of God until they prove they are not.
In Baptist and many Evangelical Churches an emphasis is placed on child evangelism. The theory is that if you don’t win them when they are young you risk losing them. Most children raised in Churches like this make professions of faith at a very young age. My wife was five and I was six when we made our FIRST (certainly not our last) profession of faith. It is not uncommon to hear testimonies about little Johnny who came to his mother asking her about being saved. And right there by the bed they knelt and Johnny prayed out loud and asked Jesus into his heart. (terminology not used one time in the Bible)
The programs of the Church reflect the importance of making sure children become Christians. Sunday School, Jr Church and youth group are all geared towards children becoming Christians, and most importantly, staying in the Church.
Why do children need to be saved? For the same reason adults do. They are sinners. They are in rebellion against God. They are the enemy of God. They deserve judgment and hell.
Are you sure you want to keep taking or sending your children to Church?
One of the tools Christians are told that God gave to parents to use with their children is the rod of correction. Spanking, whipping, beating, and hitting a child is a used to teach a child that sin has consequences. In a very warped and perverse way children are told their mom and dad hit them because they love them.
After all the Bible clearly teaches that God whips his children because he loves them.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? Hebrews 12:7-9
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Proverbs 3:11,12
This is illustrated in the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus bore the wrath of his father. Why? Because he was bearing our sin. Our sin deserved the wrath of God and Jesus took that wrath upon himself. In other words. God beat his son Jesus for what we did.
Is it any wonder that the average Christian parent thinks it is quite normal, even quite spiritual, to spank. whip, beat, slap, hit, dare I say abuse their children?
The Bible teaches it is a parent’s duty to beat their children.
Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:12-14
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15
There are two major cultural influences that encourage the abuse of children.
First. While we are not a Christian nation we ARE a Christian nation. The teachings I have mentioned in this post are believed and practiced by a large portion of American families. Every day the newspaper has another story of a parent who abused their child. I wonder if the abuser is ever questioned about what religious training they received?
The Christian ethic runs deep in our culture. Being whipped for transgressions is seen as American as baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet. Paddling children for misbehaving is finally coming a thing of the past in American but most of us can remember a day when someone getting paddled was a common, every day occurrence. (as I know FIRST hand) We call it corporeal punishment. It’s real name is child abuse.
Listen to older Americans as they complain about how unruly kids are today. How disrespectful they are. “Why when I was a kid my momma got a peach switch and beat me when I misbehaved.“ “When daddy got home we knew we were gonna get it with his belt. We learned to behave because Daddy beat us.” “A little beating never hurt anybody.”
What’s the message that the Bible, God, the Church and older Americans are sending”?
That violence is a good and necessary tool to use when children disobey. (sin) I should note, in passing, that this thinking permeates our culture. Our government leaders do this every day when they say, in their justification of war, violence will bring peace. (whip the kid country that sinned against us, the parent country, until they stop sinning against us. Then we will peace, peace being what we want them to do)
All in all we are a violent people, and sadly Christianity has helped to make violence against children and other people acceptable and even desirable.
Second. Preacher’s have a huge influence over families. Their sermons on the family, parenting, marriage, and children have a deep and abiding influence over parents and children.
How often have children heard in Church:
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Colossians 3:20
Of course verse 21 is NOT heard as often:
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
In my next post I want to take a close look at how preachers influence parents and how this influence can have a devastating effect.