Don’t Make Disagreements About Methods Scriptural

I have a good friend that I almost always disagree with things on.  We get together once-a-month with a couple of other friends for a light Bible study.  Mostly we share our needs and pray for each other.

Our relationship is very interesting and if you didn’t know us and heard us debate you would never guess that outside of those discussions, we remain good friends.  We are both believers and we share the same doctrinal beliefs but when it comes to methods, well that is a different story.

This is where Christians sometimes get into trouble with each other.  They may agree on scripture but their methods may be different.  Yet they get so wrapped up in whose “method” is right that they end up making it into something scriptural when it really isn’t.

Let me give you an example.  One disagreement we had recently was on the Bible verse about spare the rod, spoil the child.  My method of disciplining one of my children is not what she considered to be biblical.  Her answer was for me to follow the many Proverbs that talk about using the “rod” of discipline.

We didn’t debate about whether or not it is biblical to spank but we ended up debating about the method I choose to use (by the way, which is not to spank).  As always happens, it ended well and we were back to laughing and acting as if nothing had happened.

You see, we don’t take our disagreements and turn them into more than they are.  We don’t condemn each other.  We don’t try to make the other feel like we are somehow a “better” Christian.

But so many believers they do this.  They disagree about something and they turn it into something nasty and vicious.  Methods are not worth getting upset about.  We all have our different methods when it comes to every area of our lives.  We just need to learn to appreciate those differences.

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  1. phoenixmichaelson@gmail.com said:

    “The much-touted ‘biblical argument’ in support of corporal punishment is founded upon proof-texting a few isolated passages from Proverbs. Using the same method of selective scripture reading, one could also cite the Bible as an authority for the practice of slavery, adultery, polygamy, incest, suppression of women, executing people who eat pork, and infanticide. The brutal and vindictive practice of corporal punishment cannot be reconciled with the major New Testament themes that teach love and forgiveness and a respect for the sacredness and dignity of children, and which overwhelmingly reject violence and retribution as a means of solving human problems. Would Jesus ever hit a child? NEVER!” The Rev. Thomas E. Sagendorf, United Methodist Clergy (Retired), Hamilton, Indiana. Personal communication, 2006. “If we really want a peaceful and compassionate world, we need to build communities of trust where all children are respected, where home and school are safe places to be and where discipline is taught by example.” Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, 2006. See http://www.nospank.net/globalreport.pdf Ten Reasons I Can’t Spank A Catholic Counselor’s Critical Examination of Corporal Punishment By Gregory K. Popcak, MSW, LCSW http://nospank.net/popcak.htm “I have always been an advocate for the total abolition of corporal punishment and I believe the connection with pornography that is so oriented has its roots in our tradition of beating children.” Gordon Moyes, D. D., Pastor, Uniting Church, Superintendent of the Wesley Central Mission, Sydney, Australia. Excerpt from personal communication, 1980. “I have never accepted the principle of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child.’… I am persuaded that violent fathers produce violent sons… Children don’t need beating. They need love and encouragement. They need fathers to whom they can look with respect rather than fear. Above all, they need example.” Gordon B. Hinckley, President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, October 1994 General Conference. United Methodist Church: UMC General Conference, May 3, 2004, takes a stand against corporal punishment in all settings. Click on the following links: http://www.umc.org/Calms/petition.asp?mid=2886&Petition=1038 http://www.umc.org/Calms/Petition.asp?mid=2886&Petition=1037 Rita Swan, introducer of both resolutions, describes strategy Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps http://parentinginjesusfootsteps.org/ Arms of Love: A grace based explanation of Biblical child rearing: http://aolff.org/ Nurturing God’s Way http://www.nurturinggodsway.com/ Churches Network for Nonviolence http://www.churchesfornon-violence.org/index.html Christian website about attachment parenting: http://www.gentlemothering.com/ Matthew 19:8 Just because something is a long-standing tradition, doesn’t mean it was ever right to begin with. Recommended by professionals: Plain Talk About Spanking by Jordan Riak http://www.nospank.net/pt2010.pdf

    February 15, 2011
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  2. Joe_Sewell said:

    Stephanie, your article is spot-on, as usual. The issue of disagreements is a hot one for me, since I dealt with something fairly close to emotional abuse as a child. To my father, anyone who disagreed with him was wrong, period, end of story. Of course, if he turned around and agreed with you the next day, you got no credit at all; he came up with it, or had thought that way all along. You were inferior, end of discussion. I’m glad somebody can disagree and still be agreeable. I find it very difficult. Oh, for the record, I was spanked when necessary (and, yes, I believe it was necessary), but not ruthlessly or without good reason. I will accept that some children can be disciplined (which is more of a lifestyle than a synonym for “punished”) without spanking, but I cannot accept that all children are that way. What makes the difference? I have no idea whatsoever. I just escaped the whole thing by choosing not to have children (for a variety of other reasons, for the record). To Phoenix: I like the “long-standing tradition” phrase, but allow me to submit its counterpart: Just because something is a long-standing tradition doesn’t mean it was or is wrong.

    February 21, 2011
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