I have recently noticed the multiplicity of sites extolling the virtues of Christian domestic discipline
.I feel it such a pernicious doctrine and so harmful to women ,to christian marriages and to the Body of Christ that some in-depth refutation of its doctrines is necessary before the cancer spreads as the movement is gaining publicity and growing .This success is presumably because inexperienced men fall for the teaching, through ignorance or because its speaks to some inner darkness .
The men extolling Christian domestic discipline relay on badly constructed arguments based on scriptures lifted for the most part out of their original context and applied to marriage ,the only real link being those created by these false teachers man made arguments .
For those who have not yet heard of Christian domestic displine ,here is a brief introduction in their own words from a leading site
“Think wife spanking went out with the horse-drawn carriage, straight razors or unsliced bread?Think again.
Domestic Discipline has been practised throughout history and continues to be practised today by an ever-growing community who see the wisdom in our ancestors’ methods of maintaining marital bliss.”
An indepth explanation of what this discipline entails is also given
“Not all domestic discipline relationships use spanking as the only consequence or even as a consequence at all. Some couples prefer other punishments; such as, writing lines, corner time, or the temporary forfeiture of some favourite past time. Many couples pair these other punishments with spanking.
Most domestic discipline couples practise some form of spanking, which seems to come in three categories: play spanking, maintenance spanking, and punishment spanking.
Though play spanking seems to be just that… play… it is often much more. Couples point out that play spanking reinforces the roles in the relationship, reminds the submissive partner of harsher consequences should they misbehave, and allows the feelings of dominance and submissiveness without the emotional upset of a “real” spanking.
Maintenance spanking is a bit more serious. It is usually administered at regular intervals in the relationship and its purpose might be to punish small infractions over a period of time, remind the submissive to behave, reinforce roles in the relationship, remind the submissive of harsher consequences should they misbehave, and allow the feelings of dominance and submissiveness in the relationship. It is a real spanking, though not usually as harsh as a punishment spanking. It may or may not leave the submissive partner in tears, and it may or may not cause a great deal of pain. It usually begins with a “warm-up”, meaning the partner giving the spanking will begin slowly and build up intensity, which decreases the pain involved. It is also referred to by some as a “good girl spanking.”
Punishment spankings (or discipline spankings) are the most dreaded of the three. Given for an infraction or misbehavior by the submissive, they are usually severe and cause a substantial amount of pain. A specific type of punishment spanking that is considered the most severe of all is often called the AAAC, or “Avoid At All Costs” spanking. This is a spanking that is severe in nature, causes great distress and most usually tears for the recipient, and is crafted to be memorable and cause deep regret in the heart of the submissive”
(The site continues but I will deal with other sections at a later date).
While it may seem to some that this is merely another slightly kinky sex fetish ,this is unfortunately nothing of the kind ,in this case the discipline which may be a spanking which might sound slightly “naughty” but fairly harmless but is in reality hard enough to create tears ,fear ,bruising and discomfort.It is also just as likely be a beating with a belt or whip .This has an element much more heretical and damaging than the physical punishment ,it involves telling the wife clearly the reason for the “discipline “|(ie the beating )is due to their sin and disobedience.That it is not just the husband beating the wife but also God.The beating is administered with the aim of creating outside of the bedroom a feeling of permanent submission and fear encouraging servility.There is as spiritual and psychological aspect that is as emotionally damaging (or more so) than the beating is physically damaging.
The arguments put forth to support dominating and beating their wives by these so-called men of faith are nothing but heresy and the fruit of a misreading,misinterpretations and misapplication of the word of God .It is based on the assumption that God sees husbands as womens “masters” and that it is the God given role of husbands to keep their wives in submission .Yet the bible frequently refers to God as a husband ,to an unfaithful ,disobedient Israel and Gods view of a husbands role is somewhat different to theirs
“And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master.’ ” (Hos. Hos. 2:16) [emphasis added]
I find it an affront to my faith and my dignity as a human being and as a woman and wife of over 30 years that these so-called loving husbands can use scripture to oppress and debase their wives and to do so in the name of a loving God
.It is an abomination in the sight of that loving God .They should hang their heads in shame and put out penitent hands towards heaven praying for mercy to the God who protects the powerless and hates the strong who oppress the weak .
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
This is a passage often given as proof that women ought to be beaten ,yet the end of the verse is left out
“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
I think most people would consider regularly beating someone smaller and weaker than yourself “being harsh”
God asks women to” submit to their husbands” ,but this does not mean slavishly obey ,submission is a word that most often describes what lesser kings do to other kings not slaves to masters .Women should ultimately allow their husband the casting vote ,but the same God also demands from men the highest possible standard of love for their wives ,that they “love them as Christ loved his church” ,laying down his life for her.This love and forbearance and care is in no way dependent on wifely submission and obedience,linking obedience to cherishing is unbiblical,God lovingly seeks and willingly forgives a lost Israel .Christ showed his love for a lost world bearing pain and rejection and untold sorrow for love of those who loved him not.How then with such a sacrifice before them, can they claim that wives by merely misbehaving or answering back should be beaten .”God loved us while we were yet sinners”.
What the Bible actually says.
I think most people who are familiar with the bible will agree that God favours the weak ,against the strong ,that he favours the humble and the down trodden and that he punishes those who lay violent hands on those he loves .He insists thats we (do unto others as we would have done to us” Jesus says “That which is hateful to you ,do not do to your fellow”
The New testement,Jesus example
.We have one occasion in scripture when a disobedient wife is brought before Jesus having been caught in the act of adultery,,a crime which would have demanded the death penalty at that time ,Jesus response was an example that should be considered by husbands planning on folowing the teaching of CDD sites
John 8:4-9 ESV / 15 helpful votes
They said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.
Hosea and the Old Testament
In the Old Testament or Hebrew bible we have a book that deals in depth with the role of a good husband and a bad wife ,its the book of the prophet Hosea ,he is told by God to marry an unfaithful wife,a harlot ,but to love her and keep forgiving her and taking her back to him after she herself has taken the initiative in being unfaithful .She is unfaithful and certainly doesnt respect Hosea or conform to his will ,yet nowhere in the book does God tell him to beat her ,but rather to treat her with kindness and forgiveness.
“The Lord said to me, “Go. Show your love to your wife again. She is loved by another man. And she has committed adultery. But I want you to love her just as I love the people of Israel”
With regard to the flawed theology of this movement ,the wider messages of scripture
I think a look at the key text ,used to justify CDD on every site says everything needed of the sites lack of theological awareness and its lack of respect for the word of God
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
This verse is used entirely and wilfully out of context .No one familiar with scripture would assume this means you can beat people to make them better or “for their own good”
It falls after the listing in Hebrew 11 of the men of faith who had trails or sorrows and who suffered for their faith sometimes giving their lives.The begining of Hebrews 12 opens with a passage urging belivers to remember their predessors and christ.It is encouraging belivers who are currently facing persection to endure it as others did and
“Endure trails for the sake of disipline ,,for god is treating you as children and which parent does not disipline its child,(it goes on to say that parents disipline children they love and that “God disiplines us for our good in order that we might share his holiness ,,then follows the quote misused on the site
“now disipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time but later it yeilds the peaceful fruit of righthousness to those who have been trained by it”
(NRSV New Revised Standard Version)
However they choose to ignore the remainder of the chapter
the chapter ends
“therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees and make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
The site and this teaching lifts out of context a single phrase and turns what is an exhortation to persevere in faith and encourage those who are struggling into an argument and justification for wife beating.
Should husbands set the standards ,judge their wives and punish them?
The sites extolling the beating of wives claim that if wives sin or are non submissive wives (in there husbands opinion ) then beating is required. Women are given impossible criteria to meet to be the biblical ideal wife and punished for falling short of the ideal.
However Jesus firmly condemns judging others “who are you to judge another mans servant” The wife is, as a fellow christian Gods servant and if God has issues with her ,hes perfectly capable of making her aware of them himself.
If the husband is going to inflict on his wife an unbiblical burden asking for impossible standards from them or disregard their wives own moral sense insisting on submission to their will regardless of any scruples their wives may feel then God does speak clearly about such men and condemn them .
10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.[d] 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell[e] as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides.
Matthew 15:7-9 ESV
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”You leave the commandments of God and hold to the traditon of men”
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+23&version=ESV(English standard version) .
The role of the wife ,from Genesis
The CDD teaching has at it heart a complete misunderstanding of Gods view on women and their God given role in marriage.It assumes submission to mean servile obedience .Yet that has never been the biblical meaning of the word used to describe Eve during Creation. .Likewise because women are in Genesis created to be a “helper ” to men they assume this means servant ,The word from Genesis is in no way indicative of servitude ,it is Ezer kenegdo ,the first part of the phrase Ezer is used in the bible almost entirely of rulers or even of God himself .
“I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
The root of the word Ezer or Azer is to succour ,encourage or surround protectively
Kenegdo or cenegdo ,means facing ,corresponding to or like ,it implies equality but difference .It can also mean to oppose but then it is always used in a different context and with different words linked to it.
Eves role in the Fall
True woman sinned first but then independently Adam sinned ,the serpent tempted Eve and Eve tempted Adam but the sin of both was disobedience and without Eve Adam would have no doubt been tempted and succumbed to the serpent because the sin of disobedience is not reliant on a exterior cause ,it has its roots inside of us
To argue that because Eve encouraged Adam she is somehow worse is to disregard the meaning of sin ,sin is falling short of Gods standards,the reasons dont matter only the deed,in fact Adams sin if you choose to compare and asses level of sinfulness is far greater than Eves,Eve is only disobeying what Adam has told her ,Adam is disobeying the direct command given to him personally by God.
Throughout the Bible famouse husbands have wives who case problems for instance Sarah ,whos rather poor advice resulted in marital chaos and generations of strife yet Abraham is never told to beat her,Nor Rachel who does no less a thing than steal and then hide household Gods or pagan images.
It is therefore clear from even the most cursory glance at scripture and the bible texts used my these site thats there is no valid justification offered for the use of force against yourwife .Whether or no that wife agrees to allow it and submit to your will .
Footnote on Hebrews
It is interesting that this site misuses on its home page a verse from Hebrews .An epistle some people consider may quite possibly written by a woman Priscilla or co written by Priscilla and her husband ,,though most traditionally attributed to Paul .Hebrews is unsigned and while having Pauline aspects is also different in some key aspects .It seems unlikely such an important epistle would be unsigned if it had been written by one of the apostles including the” apostle to the gentiles” Paul .It also seems likely the author or authors had enough contact with Paul to absorb his teaching and style ,it has therefore it has been suggested that its author was a woman contemporary with Paul ,we know with certainty that one woman Priscilla taught ,indeed she taught another church leader Apollus who had until then had a poor grasp of the faith .Due to Priscillas prominence it has therefore been suggested that she is in fact the author ,,or possibly co author either with her husband Aquilla or as scribe and co author with Paul .This is a reasonable conclusion as we also know that by the later part of his life Paul required a scribe to write his letters merely writing a few short words at the end .Joint authorship would explain the scatterings of “we” and” I “in the epistal.
for the case for Priscillas authorship of Hebrews
there is also a discussion on the subject here ,which reassses the possibilty it is Pauline and explores reasons against Priscilla as author .