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Corporal Punishment

September 13, 2011

As most of us know, there are a variety of opinions within the Christian community on corporal punishment. With that said, it is important to remember at least three things when engaging with an argument you may not agree with.

#1 – Major on the majors in building your theology of who is and is not a Christian. This means that while someone may hold a differing opinion on an issue such as corporal punishment, it does not exclude them from being a Christian in the slightest! When we make minor issues the major issue we are guilty of the “Gospel+” syndrome of Galatians 2.

#2 – Explain the opposing position in terms the other person would fully agree with. Avoid hyperbole and emotionally charged language and respect the other side’s right to an opinion just as you have a right to an opinion.

#3 – You do not fully hold a position until you understand the other side’s position. Study and understand a variety of positions on a topic before arriving at what you feel to be the correct one. Too often, we have a “follow the herd” mentality on the minor issues of our faith and then have a difficult time actually defending what we say we believe. If you begin taking ownership over what you believe, you may find that things “everyone knows/believes” are actually highly disputable, minor positions.

With that being said, I put before you an interesting conversation on corporal punishment. William Webb has argued in his book Corporal Punishment in the Bible that corporal punishment has no place today. Tom Schreiner has posted his rebuttal here. Webb has posted his rebuttal to Schreiner here. Add your take on it below in the comments section.

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