Religious freedom concern as Cape Town church investigated over corporal punishment beliefs

Pastor calls on SA church to stand united against State interference in church affairs
Andrew and Emma Selley.
Senior Pastor of Joshua Generation, Andrew Selley and his wife Emma Selley. Selley is calling on the SA Church to act now to defend religious freedom.

A Cape Town church that is being investigated by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over its doctrine on corporal punishment is calling on the Church to stand united against a Government attack on religious freedom.

The SAHRC is investigating a complaint against Joshua Generation Church (JGC) for teaching the Biblical doctrine of  ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’. But JGC Senior Pastor, Andrew Selley, who has consulted with religious rights attorneys, said the real issue is an attempt by the State to limit religious and family freedom, which if not opposed, could lead to the ‘outlawing’ of teachings of the Christian church and the Bible.

“We are calling on Muslims and Jews to act as well because it is about fighting for religious freedom,” Selley said in an interview today. 

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Support letter
Churches and other religious organisations are asked to consider signing a support letter calling on the SAHRC to dismiss the complaint against JGC. They may place the letter or some variation of it on their letterhead and send it to  GKC Attorneys, Attention: G Claassen, PO Box 119, Cape Town, 8000, or email it to: The correspondence should reach JGC by September 5 in order to give them time to include it in their response to the SAHRC which is due a week later.

This morning Selley said that to date there has been an ‘overwhelming response’ from individual supporters and that several big churches in Johannesburg have come on board.

Family Policy Institute Director Errol Naidoo today endorsed Selley’s appeal to church leaders, saying: “If Joshua Generation cannot teach what the Bible teaches on corporal punishment that means that the entire church will have to surrender its right to teach Biblical Christian principles, because if the Human Rights Commission or any Government agency can dictate what the church can or cannot teach it means the end of church autonomy.

“It is vital and necessary for the church to stand united against this totalitarian intrusion into its legitimate working.”

In an email to JGC in iresponse to a query from the church, Tammy Carter, Senior Legal Officer in the Western Cape Office of the SAHRC, says: “… the SAHRC does indeed regard corporeal punishment (the infliction of physical pain) as falling within the definition of abuse maltreatment neglect and degradation. Your understanding is therefore correct. The SAHRC also argues that the infliction of psychological and / or emotional harm is included in this definition.

“The complaint relates to the situation where ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’  is preached. There is no specific incident being complained of. My understanding is that by its lessons the church encourages and promotes the use of punishment rather than invoking positive discipline.”

In a letter to Christian leaders Selley addresses the SAHRC’s ‘maltreatment’ remarks. He  says: “This amounts to a caricature of the church’s teaching in relation to the Scriptural basis of parental discipline and suggests that the church is encouraging conduct that would lead to ‘maltreatment, neglect, abuse and degradation’ by the simple fact of its endorsing corporal punishment. Such an approach interferes with a careful set of qualifications about parental discipline involving corporal punishment in the teaching of JGC and, in any case, in our view unduly entangles the State (in the form of the HRC) in the internal workings of both religion and family life.”

He also shares some extracts from JGC’s instruction manual on raising children that discuss the context for corporal punishment, urging balance, love, calmness and the avoidance of harshness. In a personal note on a JGC blog post Selley says: “As a pastor who deals daily with people, I consistently find that children who are not/were not spanked, are the most boundary-less and broken. My belief in spanking is a deep conviction based upon my belief in God and His Word, on my own conscience and my observations of how life works.”

Corporal punishment in the home is not illegal in South Africa but it has been outlawed at schools since 2006. The Government is currently working on draft legislation to outlaw spanking at home.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) representative and Member of Parliament Cheryllyn Dudley, who met with JGC leaders today, advised the church to use the opportunity of the SAHRC investigation to inform the commission that it is aware of the problem of violence against children in South Africa and offers parenting courses and other guidance to equip parents to discipline their children in a safe, and non-abusive way. 

Selley said the church will inform the commission of its responsible parenting measures as well as its community outreach projects aimed at protecting children.

“At the same time we hope that the church in SA will rally around us and tell the commission to back off,” he said.

The SAHRC investigation of JGC is the second recent case in which the State human rights watchdog’s activities have raised questions about an apparent agenda of attacking religious freedom. In April the SAHRC found Creare Christian Arts Training Centre in Bloemfontein guilty of discriminating against homosexuals for holding a Bible-based view that homosexual practice is sinful. Creare is appealing against the ruling which will be decided in the Constitutional Court.



  1. Somerset (Sommie) Morkel

    Every child is different. I have 5 children, all grown up now. 4 Daughters and a son. I believe in physical discipline after the biblical model, which says if you do not discipline your child, you do not love him. It was however seldom necessary for met to spank. Only my eldest daughter was one who would rebelliously challenge the boundaries in the home. She got a spanking about every six months until she went to high school, and then it was not necessary anymore. Spanking should be the last resort, but it is necessary if it is necessary..
    and it bears fruit.

    • If you want to be truly biblical, you ought to put her to death for cheeking you – it’s right there in Deuteronomy

      • Somerset (Sommie) Morkel

        You have to read the whole Bible in context, not just that which suits you.

        • Sommie
          I don’t accept that answer – indeed – I say it is you that is now claiming context is important in order to avoid the ugliness of an instruction in your handbook.
          I have read 3 versions of the bible (Why 3? If god wants to get an important message across… why can’t he arrange for just one version?)
          The issue is that the bible is vague, self-contradictory and not unlike a horoscope’s reading… in that it can be ‘interpreted’ this or that way.
          This is nonsense. I am a student of science – and there is just one science; sometimes disputes arise in details, they are resolved, retractions are made and the endeavour moves forward.
          Religion is splintered because it is a reflection of psychology and culture – nothing more and nothing less. It is the philosophical wishes of humans projected outside of themselves in order to justify and validate their own hopes, fears and wishes.

          • Dr J R Crompton

            Dear Meme Man,
            U R joking of course!!
            ONLY ONE SIENCE?
            I wont even try to explain because if you believe that you must believe in aflat earth.
            As for 3 versions?
            There is not such a thing!
            There are anumber of translation but if you dont know that please stop making a fool of yourself with your childish remarks.
            I say this in love so you can stop acting loke a fool.

          • Meme Man,
            Is your last paragraph a statement of science?

      • Well done to Gateway News for allowing everybody a chance to state their opinions on this subject, even though there are bigger issues out there. I thought the comments were more interesting than the article itself, and was pleased to see Christians of all persuasions respectfully debating with each other and with non-Christians. This affirms Gateway’s mission statement : “We believe that God will use Gateway News to build faith in Jesus Christ and empower Christians in SA to maintain a Biblical worldview and to be effective witnesses in a secular culture that is hostile to the Gospel”.
        I was, however, disappointed with Stuart Wragg’s rather hostile remark to Meme Man when he said “With respect mate, typical Christian hater who comes onto a site for Christian believers, offers an opinion, waits for a response and then critises. This “site” is to keep Christians informed and not to debate or concert with non Christians such as yourself”. I don’t believe that Meme Man said anything that justified this kind of hostile response from Mr Wragg, and as a fellow Christian, would strongly suggest that an apology is due.
        The comments have shown that the disciplining of children can be done in the Spirit of Christ or in a wrong spirit, regardless of whether Biblical guidelines are followed or not. In the same way, our attitude to non-Christians and their opinions can also be in the wrong, even though we are claiming Biblical truth. Hostility can be a two way thing, and if we are going to be persecuted because we’re followers of Jesus, let’s ensure that we are also acting like Jesus. Otherwise we are just being persecuted because we’re acting or reacting out of anger,or immaturity, or out of the Spirit completely.

      • You dare to question God??? Let me tell u He s not i terested in what u think, He is the Supreme Commander of the Universe, and is not AT ALL interested in ur opinion.

      • Lisa Vagaggini

        correct, it is indeed in the Bible.
        The rebellious kid that refuses to listen be taken to the town center and stoned to death. SAHRC must believe that they are above the Word of God or perhaps even believe they are God. God’s Word IS THE FINAL AUTHORITY.

    • Typical religious site – any dissenting comment is immediately removed – this is the only way you can end up and remain believing you’re right – you hear nothing that gives you another view

      • Somerset (Sommie) Morkel

        Was anything removed? Email it to me at

        • Somerset – I retract – (there is no delete button for me to remove my comment)… commendation to you; a technical glitch seems to have made it look like it was deleted. I was wrong. Sorry… (my experience until this moment has been that xtian sites remove dissenting voices – bravo for breaking the mould)

      • Hi Meme. Perhaps you can explain your remark? We really welcome any comment and all views. As stated at the top of our Comments Pages, we will not approve comments that include hate speech or vulgarity. In the two years and 8 months that we have been publishing, I have in fact only blocked one hate speech comment (insulting a racial group), and possibly two comments which were full of swear words.(Editor)

        • Forgive – look above. Retracted. Technical glitch.
          I’d delete my own comment if I had the facility

        • I suggest that you update your comment lest it be considered a lie. I have personally had at least two of my comments removed from other articles that contained neither hate speech nor swearing. I understand that these may have been removed due to a policy of not allowing ‘prolonged debates’, however I perceive it to be a form of censorship.

      • With respect mate, typical Christian hater who comes onto a site for Christian believers, offers an opinion, waits for a response and then critises. This “site” is to keep Christians informed and not to debate or concert with non Christians such as yourself. We can only pray that your eyes are opened, your heart is softened and even if you do not receive Christ as we have, and which of course is your choice, then you at least can accept that we have a right to our belief without being insulted, attacked or as you so nicely put it, “giving us another view”. We are not going to change our belief even if threatened with death. You should at least know that by now. God bless.

        • Hello Stuart
          As I say – mia culpa – I have apologized above; my error – an error based on technical issue and a long history of xtian sites practicing deletion – all credit to you guys for not having done so; apologies.
          I am certain you wont’ change your view – I fully understand the psychology of superstition.
          The issue is this, though – and I know you will not want to hear it, but it is true – Belief is crumbling around the world in the youth. Already in the US, non-belief is approaching 50% in the under ’20’s… this is an inevitable consequence of education and understanding those aspects of life and morals that are better answered by the sciences.
          So – presuming you are like me – middle aged – we will live to see our kids and grandkids be much less ‘believing’ than we are. By my offering you some arguments, you may; during this time of your middle years; at least become acquainted with non-belief, because it is something you will face in old age… if you don’t have the practice and understanding now, how much more difficult it will be when you are seen as a foolish old man…. laughed at.
          Truly – I mean that with all sincerity.
          Consider what I have to say here as something of a “voice from the future” that you can learn to deal with before you get to your future.

          • The last word from me, I must move on, I lived with unbelief for most of my life and only recently gave my life to Christ (ten years ago)…and yes, I am middle aged. While you may refer to my faith as superstition, I on the other hand am able to talk and write a book on miracle after miracle that I have personally experienced these last ten years. As a Christian, my eyes are wide open to unbelief. my Bible tells me that I will be persecuted in His name. My Bible also tells me that the road to heaven will be narrow and only few will pass it. My Bible tells me to expect persecution and even death. I still believe knowing that this is happening and is still to come in an even greater extent. I know of many Christians who have chosen death rather than convert to Islam or merely to recant their faith. You must admit, the word superstition does not quite explain this. Being and educated man, people often ask me how I can believe in Fairy tales. I know from experience that no one can be argued into believing in Jesus. I know this to, have seen the hardest of men give their lives to Christ and become the most loving of men. Men who are finally at peace. Shalom achi. Lehitra’ot.

    • Somerset, ai Somerset, steeds het jy nie verander nie en is jy steeds evil tot ander mense. Ek is soooo bly ek is nie jou kind nie. Jy het nie ‘n benul wat dit is om ‘n kind in dignity groot te maak nie.

  2. I was caned 32 times in my Std 6 year at Boarding School by the Prefects for absolutely no reason whatsoever. The older kids could put a `Fang` against your name for absolutely no reason at all –and when you had three Fangs you were called into the Prefects study and given 3 cuts which often drew blood. I regarded it as a form of bullying and I still regard it as a gross abuse of Human Rights and a Barbaric and Antiquated Practice.

    • @ Mark Halbert. Your story cant be compared to corporal punishment. It wasn’t inforced by your parents and it wasn’t done in love, but out of spite and definetly a form of bullying! That school’s system was defective!!

      • Somerset (Sommie) Morkel

        I agree – often people who were abused want to throw out the whole principle, whether is is sound or not. It’s the world – according to their ‘experience’ which now should be a law unto all.. It becomes ‘the world according to ME’, in stead of seeking the wisdom and the truth behind a pirnciple.

    • Why are there people visiting this site who clearly oppose what God has to say? What r u doing here?

  3. Jeane Lopes Ribeiro

    I am not a mother yet, but I can say as a daughter that spank is necessary just because it is biblical, and just if it is necessary. Fist you instruct you child, teach. Spanking is never the first act neighter a act of anger, but of love. Being sure that your child understand that from every act there is a reaction, and is like that in life. You are not teaching to be violent or not self-controlled, but you are teaching the principle behind it.

  4. Everything in context and moderation is sensible, we belong to a God of structure and order, this is direction to maintain order with love when necessary.I am a mom of 2 boys 11 and 12, we teach the scriptures and they behave accordingly,when they have a moment of ill disciple they measured and punished accordingly. If you don’t discipline the government will, hence more taxes etc..

  5. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and the Church is to blame. They continue to vote for people who promote abortion, humanism, homosexuality. Many of us are standing against this. The Family Policy Institute are championing the cause with their ‘Watchmen on the wall” program on DSTV. At Peniel we are holding seminars and promoting the 7 mountains strategy which will turn this all around just as has been done in Uganda. Sadly though, Christians seem to be in a coma of ignorance. IF WE DO NOTHING, THERE WILL SOON BE NOTHING THAT WE CAN DO! Pastor Harry Heydon
    Together we can overcome, segmented as we are – not a chance!

    • Yes! Best act now before corporal punishment goes the way of slavery. Slavery is clearly sanctioned by the bible and the evil liberal humanists stole that from us years ago.

  6. Am I wrong in saying that the bible also teaches you to obey the laws of the land?

    • You are correct Leah. But it seems the SAHRC is jumping the gun. See this paragraph from our report:

      Corporal punishment in the home is not illegal in South Africa but it has been outlawed at schools since 2006. The Government is currently working on draft legislation to outlaw spanking at home.

    • Somerset (Sommie) Morkel

      Yes, but… Where the state goes against the Word of God, you must obey God.. When the state legalises something which is against God, you are obligated as a Christian to disobey the state.

      • Well I’m pretty sure god didn’t say it was ok to beat your child…..

        • Somerset (Sommie) Morkel

          He in fact said it was very necessary. You will find it in the Bible. But obviously within the context of love and correction, not brutality and unnecessary power-play of parents vs children.

  7. All this commotion and protest, just because you would like to spank your kids? I am sometimes flabbergasted over the effort christians would do for trivial matters like this – though in this case it is not trivial at all, but utterly harmful to the healthy development of our kids. Shame on you!

    • Christopher-James Neethling

      Spanking is merely the topic here. If we lose this battle, it will merely be the beginning of many other things they will take away from us. We are fighting for religious freedom for everyone in years to come.

      • That is a slippery slope style argument. South Africa has one of the most liberal constitutions. Freedom of belief is not going to be challenged. Just like if some crazy religion thinks its okay to beat women or sacrifice children our laws would outlaw the action, but still allow the belief. As Christians this MINOR issue can be worked around should it come to that. The bible teaches discipline, not spanking…there are other ways to go about it.

    • Petra we do not like spanking our kids, it is one of many possible corrective actions but it works when applied in a loving manner, I understand you disagree but if we do not respond to this interference by the SAHRC it will de-facto become law, this is not a trivial matter and I believe a sinister comment by you. It is a minority that is trying to change the church and I am convinced a referendum would prove that. I do not believe it is harmful if done correctly. What is truly shameful, is parents who do nothing when their children are acting disgracefully. Boundaries for children create security which leads to a stable foundation on which to build. Obviously for some parents its not correction but abuse.

      • Richard, what I meant with “trivial”, is if you compare an issue of spanking kids, with something like promoting the use of condoms, or creating job opportunities – these are the things our country needs most. Christians are so out of touch with the real world, that a spanking law makes bigger waves than anything else. I regard this as trivial.

        What I never understand, is why people believe that corporal punishment is the only method to discipline kids. I have two children, have never spanked them, yet they are responsible and caring children. I agree with your sentence, “What is truly shameful, is parents who do nothing when their children are acting disgracefully.” But I challenge people to find other ways of discipline. Like Asher said, “The bible teaches discipline, not spanking…there are other ways to go about it.”

        • Thanks for the reply Petra, I have raise three lovely teenage girls and have only had to resort to a gentle hand on the bottom a few times before the age of say 8 and never again, the church regularly takes up your challenge to find alternate ways but still wants the option, I admit open to large abuse. I disagree with you, the bible teaches on discipline “and” spanking. I do not believe most Christians are out of touch with the real world on the contrary, the church is more involved, with all social aspects, than the secular community at large. I personally have no objection to promoting the use of condoms however abstinence until a union is formed, is a better option which the secular community do not usually promote, understandably some are going to do it anyway, HIV etc. From my vantage point, the church in Port Elizabeth is in the forefront of job creation holding monthly meetings with our city fathers and my particular church holds free training sessions for interpreters earning less than R100 a day. Go Well

          • That sounds really good Richard. I admire and appreciate all the social work your church does. You are the type of person one can really have a constructive conversation regarding these issues. Good luck with all your work and finding alternatives to spanking – let’s share them somewhere when we find them. I will still never agree that spanking is a positive form of discipline. I suffered a lot of (subconscious) emotional damage as a result of corporal punishment and do not believe it is good for all children. In order to avoid that emotional damage to some kids, I still believe it is better to not spank at all.

    • With respects Petra, this is more than a trivial matter. I am not sure of your back ground but I have personally witnessed how, as parents attempt alternative methods of parenting, so do children lose touch with positive characteristics and values such as respect, consideration, integrity, perseverence etc. As a result of this such children find themselves unable to deal with real life pressures because they have been molly coddled (for want of a better word) and this in turn leads them into destructive behaviour, i.e. drugs, suicide, reckless living etc. It is so important not to take scripture out of context. It says very clearly “If you love your children…” Not sure if you have kids to understand this. Also not sure if you have kids who have to make it on their own now that they have left home, but it all starts with structure in the home. Structure that has long term benefits that is, not structure that appeases the mind in the short term and keeps you fashionable with friends.

      • Stuart, thanks for your comment. I have two loving and responsible children aged 7 (boy) and 9 (girl). I haven’t had the experience yet of kids leaving home, but I am not afraid of that day, because my kids already have an above-average sense of responsibility and caring towards other people and the environment. All of this was achieved without spanking, which I believe can break a child’s spirit. I have experienced these destructive consequences being spanked as a child myself, and it took many years and therapy sessions to overcome a bad self esteem, which was partly caused by corporal punishment.

        I love my children, yes. And I respect them enough as HUMAN BEINGS not to lay a hand on them. They are not pets or slaves in my house. They are fellow humans. Respect generates respect.

  8. Christopher-James Neethling

    I am 23 now, far from being a parent, but I speak as one who received a good hiding when I was naughty. My parents did it, because they loved me and I knew it. I never experienced any form of rejection or abuse while receiving a hiding. If I could have my childhood years over, I would not change how my parents disciplined me.

  9. I grew up as a child lacking self confidence, self worth, was timid, quite etc. For this reason I believe that I became a target of a bullying sort of schoolteacher. Hardly a child goes through school without being bullied by some other learner, but in my case, school-teacher bullying has left the greatest long term psychological scar.I firmly believe that in certain cases, the male school-teacher administering the corporal punishment, got self satisfaction in the form of a ‘power boost’ to himself. What I experienced was not discipline, but bullying. I had some superb teachers, some of whom are my Facebook friends today,and who are people who I would always admire. Interestingly, not one of those whom I today admire, ever had to dish out corporal punishment to me. If any teacher had to ever dish out corporal punishment to any of my children-I would regard it as a personal attack upon myself, and would then pursue an ‘in court’or perhaps even an’out of court’ settlement. it would be the first and last time they would ever try it.

  10. Estelle Fabricius

    I fully agree that this issue is just a precursor for things to come. As Christians we need to learn to see the big picture… What is next? If they stop parents from lovingly applying Biblical principles today, what will it be next month? Let’s stand together fighting for freedom of religion and freedom to live out God’s word.

  11. “I think we should outlaw all knives, since they are used in many murders and people get hurt when they are abused.”

    “Would abusers really stop abusing if you outlaw corporal punishment or would they continue? Are abusers the type of people that would stop without intervention?”

    Some of the things mentioned above like abuse and bullying is not the same as corporal punishment given by a discerning and loving parent. Abuse is already outlawed. That is why we have social services. If you have been abused, it is not the same as getting a hiding from your parents. You should report that and the law is already in place to deal with such things.

    I got hidings, but it’s not like it was abuse. But some people seem to be confusing a hiding with abuse. If you never knew a loving parent that disciplined you, you must know that it is not the same thing. We must stop child abuse, but neglecting physical discipline is also child abuse.

    It is not a victory that there is not corporal punishment in schools. I can say this cause I spoke to a teacher yesterday that described another drug bust and search at their school as if it was just a another day.

    Government should spend time and money for social services so that there is better protection for women and children that are being physically abused. More safe houses, more centers where street kids can learn and sleep.

    Physical discipline from loving parents is not a social problem. Abuse, rape and neglect are real problems.

  12. So Jesus tells us that the world will hate us because it hated Him first. Then when it does we throw up our hands in surprise and complain about our religious freedom. When Paul was in prison for his beliefs was he promoting religious freedom? When Jesus died for us on the cross was he calling us to unite with other religions who do not believe in Him so that we can stand up for our precious religious rights? Tell this to our brothers and sisters who are being put to death for their core beliefs. Although this topic may be important and complicated don’t being the Gospel into disrepute over whether or not disciplining our children means beating them or not.

    • At last, someone who picked up on the “unite with other religions who do not believe in Jesus”. I’ve been wondering about that….

      • I wonder, if the Muslims do support this point, what would happen, if in the future one of their beliefs are being threatened and they ask JGC for support – would JGC return the favor??

  13. There is more to this story than meets the eye. It is legal to smack you child reasonable in this country. The SAHRC would not investigate unless there was being a law broken. They must be breaking a law, and if a law is being broken, then we are to condemn this church.

  14. Using religious freedom as an excuse for hitting children creates a bit of a logical paradox. Just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean your kids are. They aren’t Christian (Hindu, Muslim etc) until they make a conscious choice to be. Inflicting Christianity based corporal punishment on them would be forcefully denying them their religious freedom not to be Christian in a very real and forceful way. I would say that bitter children would have a right to sue their parents for forcefully applying religious doctrine to them.

  15. In two of my articles, I address the issue of religion/superstition in education. Bottom line – religion is superstition, no matter which way you cut it… and superstition is no way for a modern human to navigate their life:

    If you want to read other essays:

    • Somerset (Sommie) Morkel

      What you speak of is true… about religion. Religion is organised superstition. But there is something such as true faith and a relationship with God in Jesus Christ. That is superstition only to those who do not want to believe and are in rebellion against the true God.

      • Two things Sommie
        Faith (and belief) is/(are) an emotion… One cannot get away from it. And, emotions are very often wrong – consider the potent emotion of either love or hate… sometimes, down the line, you find out that neither were the right judgement for a particular person. Or fear – fear is an emotion… very often misplaced.
        The ‘relationship’ you have with a god is a psychological process within your own head.
        That is no insult – it is just a matter of fact.

        Secondly – every notional god’s (3,000 of them and counting) followers have said the same thing “rebelling against the true god”.
        Of course – that god figure is an aspect of your own ego – that is why god knows you so well and you know him so well… he is you and your projection.

        • This is fact. I believe in God. If I die and God does not exist, no problem. If you die and he does…..

          • Stuart – That’s Pascal’s Wager
            Two problems with it:
            1) Most gods are jealous… if you pick the wrong one…. oooops.
            2) Belief is not a choice, you either do or you don’t: A super-being/god who knows my thoughts would know that my pretending to believe is worse… making me dishonest. I would rather be an honest questioner

  16. I have been a memeber of Joshua Generation, and regardless of what they do as a church, i think its ridiculous to think the the government are able to dictate to me as a father whether or not its legal or illegal to spank my child. I have a 4 yr old boy who constantly pushes boundaries and if normal reasoning, parenting, non physical measure fail, every now and then one spank on his bum gets the point across…..they must try and arrest me becasue im trying to teach my child the value of understanding boundaries and taking instruction which is all for his benefit…..and done entirely out of love….

    • Hit someone out of love hey…. and your invisible friend agrees with you… hmmmmm.
      I was also hit as a kid – my father was hit more… his father more than him. There is a decreasing need for it as we understand the managing of emotions and psychology. I’m sure you could improve on using pain as an inhibitor if you just took the time and effort.

  17. Another question for christians to think about. Why wasn’t this commotion seen the day that murder was outlawed? Is that not also taking away your freedom to obeye biblical commandments?

    “All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)”

    I rest my case.

    • Again Petra….dont read Scriptures out of context. It always surprises me how non Christians spend time reading and quoting Scripture to prove that Christians who believe in Scripture are wrong.

      • Stuart, I agree that scriptures should not be used out of context. Please explain to me (I really would like to understand) how the “spanking” scripture is regarded as “in context” and the one I quoted is regarded “out of context”.

        By the way, I was a dedicated christian for more than 30 years of my life. I spent lots of time reading the bible and did a one year bible course. These scriptures always baffled me and I still don’t understand how and why one is treated differently to the other. These contradictions together with a few other facts, in the end lead me to realise that religion is, and always was, man-made. This was a big relief for me to fathom that there didn’t in fact exist a super-natural God, who could write such evil passages.

        For more “evil” scriptures, visit One doesn’t have to go looking for them because somebody already did ;).

  18. Don’t misunderstand the fight is not to retain the right to spank but its about retaining the right to follow a believe system… I got spanked a lot and it was for the best otherwise i would have been hell for those around me, it did not make me want to spank the day light out of everyone nor am i prone to violence now, but am well grounded, balanced.

    If the government gets to stop us from doing as instructed by our bible then what will stop them form taking further rights away when will the right to go to church be taken, to pray, etc. Its not a fight about spanking but about having the right to believe in a set of “rules”.

    So don’t let this become a matter of allowing spanking, but see it for what it is, an attempt by government to take freedom of religion away…

    And don’t think for one moment the “christian faith” will be the only one to fall under the hammer.

    • Nana, I would any day retain the right to follow a believe system that promotes murder, rape and slavery (to name a few – see in their holy book. Please explain why corporal punishment is an exception? Why does the retaining of spanking suddenly mean to you the retaining of your right to follow a believe system? I would think that was sorted out the days that rape and slavery were outlawed?

  19. The SAHRC have a problem with me spanking my child because I love her, but murdering her before she was born would have been fine.

    • Tim you hit the nail on the head, thank you. The attack on our beliefs is only to silence the world’s conscience screaming at them “that there is a God that loves them”. For me, I not only believe but have experienced miracle upon miracle in my walk of faith in Jesus Christ…I love Him because He first loved me “while I was yet a sinner”. The world can rant as much they like, but it’s a living relationship with the creator of the universe that drives my passion to yield, regardless if they cannot intellectually understand this, because you cannot, hence why it’s called faith!

    • Tim
      A legal abortion is not nearly the same as murdering a child. What is removed; only because it’s birth would be a misery to itself and its community, is a creature with fur, a proto-tail and gills; it is not a thinking developed organism with ambitions and feelings yet.

  20. Did Jesus tell us to spank our children… Nope, not according to the Bible:
    “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    He spanked the adults in the temple… Hmmmmmm

    Corporal punishment is evil. If you disagree then I think it is time that we institude that men hit their wifes again as it used to be.

    Or maybe God was right:
    “He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”

  21. Biblical Discipline of Children
    The rod is the family’s symbol of authority: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.” Proverbs 23:13-14. Of course, the rod is not the only instrument of discipline available to parents (others are verbal instruction and correction, denial, withdrawal and disinheritance). As the parents discipline their children by using suitable methods, including the rod, they are performing an important role within society in building character and thus preventing delinquency and immorality.

    In the first instance, the fear of God ought to restrain parents from abusing their position. “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in Heaven always see the face of My Father in Heaven.” Matthew 18:10

    Biblically, the state’s legitimate interference in the family is limited to when parents commit crimes against children, or children commit crimes, including against their parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

    “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Proverbs 13:24

    “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15

    “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.” Proverbs 29:15

  22. How should Christians discipline their children? What does the Bible say?

    How to best discipline children can be difficult task to learn, but it is crucially important. Some claim that physical discipline (corporal punishment) such as spanking is the only method the Bible supports. Others insist that “time-outs” and other punishments that do not involve physical discipline are far more effective. What does the Bible say? The Bible teaches that physical discipline is appropriate, beneficial, and necessary.

    Do not misunderstand—we are by no means advocating child abuse. A child should never be disciplined physically to the extent that it causes actual physical damage. According to the Bible, though, the appropriate and restrained physical discipline of children is a good thing and contributes to the well-being and correct upbringing of the child.

    Many Scriptures do in fact promote physical discipline. “Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death” (Proverbs 23:13-14; see also 13:24; 22:15; 20:30). The Bible strongly stresses the importance of discipline; it is something we must all have in order to be productive people, and it is much more easily learned when we are young. Children who are not disciplined often grow up rebellious, have no respect for authority, and as a result find it difficult to willingly obey and follow God. God Himself uses discipline to correct us and lead us down the right path and to encourage repentance for our wrong actions (Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 1:7; 6:23; 12:1; 13:1; 15:5; Isaiah 38:16; Hebrews 12:9).

    In order to apply discipline correctly and according to biblical principles, parents must be familiar with the scriptural advice regarding discipline. The book of Proverbs contains plentiful wisdom regarding the rearing of children, such as, “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). This verse outlines the consequences of not disciplining a child—the parents are disgraced. Of course, discipline must have as its goal the good of the child and must never be used to justify the abuse and mistreatment of children. Never should it be used to vent anger or frustration.

    Discipline is used to correct and train people to go in the right way. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). God’s discipline is loving, as should it be between parent and child. Physical discipline should never be used to cause lasting physical harm or pain. Physical punishment should always be followed immediately by comforting the child with assurance that he/she is loved. These moments are the perfect time to teach a child that God disciplines us because He loves us and that, as parents, we do the same for our children.

    Can other forms of discipline, such as “time-outs,” be used instead of physical discipline? Some parents find that their children do not respond well to physical discipline. Some parents find that “time-outs,” grounding, and/or taking something away from the children is more effective in encouraging behavioral change. If that is indeed the case, by all means, a parent should employ the methods that best produce the needed behavioral change. While the Bible undeniably advocates physical discipline, the Bible is more concerned with the goal of building godly character than it is in the precise method used to produce that goal.

    Making this issue even more difficult is the fact that governments are beginning to classify all manner of physical discipline as child abuse. Many parents do not spank their children for fear of being reported to the government and risk having their children taken away. What should parents do if a government has made physical discipline of children illegal? According to Romans 13:1-7, parents should submit to the government. A government should never contradict God’s Word, and physical discipline is, biblically speaking, in the best interest of children. However, keeping children in families in which they will at least receive some discipline is far better than losing children to the “care” of the government.

    In Ephesians 6:4, fathers are told not to exasperate their children. Instead, they are to bring them up in God’s ways. Raising a child in the “training and instruction of the Lord” includes restrained, corrective, and, yes, loving physical discipline.

    Read more:

    What does it mean to ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’?

    The phrase “spare the rod, spoil the child” comes from Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” The Lord uses discipline to reveal our sin to us. This is also how parents reveal the truth of our need for a Savior to their children. When a child does not feel the consequence of his sin, he will not understand that sin requires punishment. The Lord provides a way to salvation and forgiveness through Jesus, but that means little to those who do not see their sin.

    Furthermore, correction shows us that we are not above reproach and that we are accountable for our actions. Our natural pride blinds us to our need for a Savior, and discipline reveals the truth of our wretchedness (Revelation 3:17). Since salvation is the most important choice the child will ever make, it is imperative that parents are leading them to Christ, and discipline is critical to this process. Proverbs 23:13 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.” In the context of verse 13-14, “die” means spiritual death of hell. Children who respect authority and feel sorrow for their sin are much more likely to ask Jesus to forgive them and be saved.

    All children are born sinful (Romans 5:12-19). Their natural self is destructive and unrighteous. That does not mean they aren’t infinitely valuable and worthy of love (Psalm 127:3). It means that they are not born with any natural “goodness” in them. That is why all children need discipline. Proverbs 22:15 says “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.” Discipline is critical for wisdom (Proverbs 29:15), and a child who obeys his parents will be wise (Proverbs 13:1). And even adults who do not heed correction will feel the consequences of their foolishness (Proverbs 10:13).

    Some people believe in discipline, but not in physical discipline such as spanking. However, the Bible is the final word on what is truth; it is not mere opinion or theory. The word “rod” indicates a thin stick or switch that can be used to give a small amount of physical pain with no lasting physical injury. A child should never be bruised, injured, or cut by a physical correction. The Bible warns that parents should never abuse the power and authority they have over their children while they are young because it provokes the children to righteous anger (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21). Physical discipline is always done in love, never as a vent to the parent’s frustration. It is also just one part of discipline and should be used when the child shows defiance to a clear limit, not in the heat of the moment.

    God instructs parents to parent their children the way He parents His children. Hebrews 12:5-11 tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves to perfect their righteousness. God only disciplines His own, which proves that Christians are His beloved children. Notice that David says that the Lord’s rod comforts him in his time of trouble (Psalm 23:4).

    Finally, we know that no discipline feels good while it is happening, but afterwards the rewards are rich (Hebrews 12:11). Godly character, fruit of the spirit, and peace are rewards of God’s discipline. The same is true for our human children. Children who have learned how to take responsibility for their actions are much happier people (Proverbs 3:11-18). The importance of the rod of correction is that it steers the heart of a child toward Jesus and forgiveness of sin He offers. When parents trust God’s methods over their own, they will see the blessings for their children and themselves.

    Read more:

    What does the Bible say about child abuse?

    The Bible does not specifically use the term “child abuse.” There is no record of a single instance in the Bible where a child is being abused. What the Bible does tell us is this: children have a special place in God’s heart and anyone who harms a child is inviting God’s wrath upon Him. When Jesus’ disciples tried to keep children from coming to Him, He rebuked them and welcomed little children to His side, saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). Then He took the children in His arms and blessed them (v. 16).

    Children are abused and mistreated in several different ways, all of which are abhorrent to God. Too many children are the victims of angry beatings and other physical abuse as their parents take out their own anger and frustration on their children. Anger is almost always sinful, and anyone who abuses a child in anger commits multiplied sins. “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins” (Proverbs 29:22). There is no place for unrighteous anger in the life of a Christian, as Paul reminds the Ephesians: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Anger should be confessed to God long before it comes to the point of physical abuse against a child or anyone else.

    Psychological and emotional abuse is also forbidden in Scripture. Ephesians 6:4 warns fathers not to “exasperate” or provoke their children, but to bring them up in the “training and instruction of the Lord.” Harsh, unloving discipline alienates children’s minds from their parents and renders their instructions and corrections useless. In addition, it often leads to sin against God, as it is difficult in the best of children to be angry and yet not sin. Parents can provoke and exasperate their children by placing unreasonable requirements on them, belittling them, or constantly finding fault, thereby producing wounds that are far worse than any physical beating can inflict. Colossians 3:21 tells us not to “embitter” our children so they will not become discouraged. Ephesians 4:15-19 says we are to speak the truth in love and use our words to build others up, not allow rotten or destructive words to pour from our lips, especially toward the tender hearts and minds of children.

    So, even though the Bible does not specifically mention child abuse, it is abundantly clear how God feels about the issue. Anyone who suspects a child is being abused has the obligation to report it to appropriate authorities.

    Read more:

    What does it mean to train up a child in the way he should go?

    Solomon’s advice to parents is to “train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Raising and training a child within the context of this proverb means that it begins with the Bible, as “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training…” (2 Timothy 3:16). Teaching children the truths of Scripture will make them wise for salvation (2 Timothy 3:15); thoroughly equip them to do good works (2 Timothy 3:17); prepare them to give an answer to everyone who asks them the reason for their hope (1 Peter 3:15); and prepare them to withstand the onslaught of cultures bent on indoctrinating young people with secular values.

    The Bible tells us that children are a reward from God (Psalm 127:3). It would certainly seem fitting, then, that we heed Solomon’s wise counsel to train them appropriately. In fact, the value that God placed on teaching our children the truth is clearly addressed by Moses who stressed to his people the importance of teaching their children about the Lord and His commands and laws: “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9). Moses’ thoroughness underscores his deep concern that successive generations maintain obedience to God’s laws to ensure they would “live safely in the land” (Leviticus 25:18), that all would “go well” with them (Deuteronomy 12:28), and that He would bless them in the land (Deuteronomy 30:16).

    Clearly Scripture teaches that training children to know and obey God is the basis for pleasing Him and living victoriously in His grace. Knowing God and His truths begins with the child’s understanding of sin and his need for a Savior. Even very young children understand that they are not perfect and can grasp at an early age the need for forgiveness. Loving parents model a loving God who not only forgives, but provides the perfect sacrifice for sin in Jesus Christ. Training up children in the way they should go means, first and foremost, directing them to the Savior.

    Discipline is an integral part of raising godly children, for we know that the “LORD disciplines those He loves” (Proverbs 3:12). Thus, we should neither take discipline lightly nor become disheartened by it as the Lord “punishes everyone He accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:5-6). And we know that God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). Likewise, when we discipline our children, they receive wisdom (Proverbs 29:15) and they will bring us peace (Proverbs 29:17) and respect (Hebrew 12:9). In fact, even at a tender age children are able to discern that discipline is rooted in love. That is why children who grow up in homes without discipline often feel unloved and are more likely to disobey authority as they grow older. Now, the discipline administered should be commensurate with the offense and physical discipline, such as spanking (rightly motivated), is certainly condoned by the Bible (Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, 23:13-14). Indeed discipline, though it may seem unpleasant when received, will produce a “harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

    Parents should have the same zeal for teaching their children that Moses did. Parents have been given the privilege of being stewards of their children’s lives for a very short time, but the teaching and training they provide is eternal. According to the promise of Proverbs, a child who is diligently trained in the “way he should go” will remain true to that way in this life and reap its rewards in the next.

    Read more:

    • Hanno
      You have, as hypnotized-into-religion people always do – just quoted an awful lot of bronze age myth to justify bringing up a child according to bronze age psychology.
      You don’t think we’ve learned a thing or two since the bronze age, when afterall, they thought the heart did the thinking and the brain was a radiator to cool the hearth?
      I am always stunned when people cling to such outdated nonsense.
      Why not consider what the ancient Aztecs thought, or the Greeks or Roman mythologies. Why not follow a Viking tradition – no doubt they brought up good, strong members of their society that also went on to have loving feelings, etc.

  23. Jesus said, `Whatever you do to the least of these thy brethren you do it unto me. Remember that the next time you advocate corporal punishment instead of love.

  24. Andrew Selley of Joshua Generation church appeals via a YouTube video:

    You can follow Andrew Selley and Joshua Generation church on Twitter: @andrewselley @JoshGenChurch

  25. It’s no coincidence that kids’ behavior in schools has deteriorated since outlawing prayer and corporal punishment in schools. It is only since 2006 that kids have been stabbing and shooting each other at school, abusing teachers and disrespecting authority. Each child is unique, but every child needs appropriate discipline and parents must be free to discipline their kids, appropriately, the way they see fit.

    • I call shenanigans on your statement. I matriculated in 1993 and stuff like that went down at my high school before then.
      In Sweden it has been illegal to spank children in the home and at school since the 70’s. I guess that explains all the Swedish antisocial behavior that is always sweeping the news. Oh wait, there isn’t any.

    • Oh and prayer at school in SA still happens all the time. 3 Weeks ago I attended an assembly at a “model c” primary school and about a 3rd of it was spent praying/talking about God.

  26. God is real. God has communicated directly to me on a number of occasions. “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfuitful.” (Matthew 13:22)

  27. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe the discipline required must fit the level of grievance. Spanking a child in the correct loving environment of the family unit is vital to a healthy society. There are parents who do not understand the role of spanking and as the days of pushing God out the picture grow, so will the level of abuse towards children,animals and adults. God is the only defence against abuse. Jesus set the example when He re-defined the corporal legislation against the woman who was to be stoned. Jesus weeps at the abuse broken people impose on innocent people. He weeps at the neglect and torn apart families that we see today. This world is just like a pair of shoes – it was once new and through the trampling of humans who do not want God to be real – even though He is, this world will pass away just like the shoes that have done their time. Children need protection from adults who are abusive, not spanking when implemented to the benefit of the child. Its like guns – they are subjected to the personality and morals of the person pulling the trigger, on their own, they pretty harmless.

  28. Pingback: Corporal Punishment of Children within the Confines of the Family Structure in South Africa | From the Laptop of Richard Maybery