W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
Scuttling and Hustling
Aiming, Doing and Shooing
Charades, Parades and Reality
The Advertiser, July 6, 2002
The Australian, July 9, 2002
Words of Woe
Australia deserves a lament. The Family Court Chief Justice does not represent the culture of Australia, but he well may reflect its current development thrust, when he so assails the concept of smacking a child, that he is moved to bring in reference to the cessation of such treatment of women (chastisement) 100 years ago, presumably in some legal environment of guilt.
Shocked was he, the report relates, to find that common law still allowed parents to smack children. Indeed, we read "I am astonished that in this country in the 21st century it is still a defence to a charge of assaulting a child that you were engaged in reasonable chastisement." That his concept is not concerned merely with 'chastisement' in some dubious and extreme sense, is made clear not only by the report which, if correct, declares that he has "called for laws to treat smacking a child as assault"*1, but by the additional statement that "he found it remarkable that the law still saw it as harmless to smack a child when he or she stepped out of line."
There are so many issues confused together in these words that if the report correctly represents the judicial words, then woe betide an Australia which is so pre-empted in judgment as to follow this cultural concept.
Actually, we should tease out the internal issues in the case, a little.
First of all, generalisation in such a sphere as this would remind one of efforts to generalise about assault itself. Thus a burglar enters your home, and you find him about to enter your daughter's room. Using a rugby tackle, you bring him to the ground, apply a half-nelson and suggest to him another line of conduct. In the scuffle, he bruises his arm, his face hits the ground creating a small cut, and some blood begins to ooze out of it. He is discommoded, lying under your applied pressures, and feels that he has suffered assault. It would not surprise this author if in some country this was declared assault, the man protecting his daughter was found guilty and fined, and made to contribute to the support of the psychologically distressed burglar, whose efforts towards your daughter, you interrupted before they began.
Assault, if to be gauged as criminal, has to be seen in the context. Indeed, the term 'assault' is prejudicial if not pejorative, and to call it assault which interferes with the application of evil, in theft, molestation or other illegal activities is itself, in terms of common sense if not law, a confusing of the issues. If the word carries a sense of impact that is wrongful morally, pressure that is undue or inept, a damage to personal freedom and so on, then in self-defence any reasonable action to protect is NOT assault. Let us not be deceived by the handling of words, as if the issues themselves were not the point.
If 'assault' implies evil, then self-defence against the illegal is not assault. If 'assault' does NOT necessarily imply evil, then it may be used correctly in a general sense, in the way indicated. However DOES 'assault' imply no evil, and IS the very term in the mouth of a lawyer a degree of progress towards conviction, if it insinuate itself correctly applied ?
Hence it would seem ludicrous to use such a term when there is a reasonable defence to protect property, people or situations against illegal assault on things, people or events. The term 'reasonable' is being scrupulously used, for obviously there can be gross disproportion between the type of action which produces the risk to people, property or situations, and the type of defence chosen. Allowance would have to be made, if justice is the question, for the effect of surprise and peril, in that one may not have the time and place for investigation of options, that one would like; but still, there would for all that, be limits.
Again, one would have to distinguish quite carefully between the efforts and intentions of the one protecting, and the result. Thus in the effort to prevent an evil, a person might apply pressures which would, in all normal circumstances, be imagined to be relatively harmless, but in the reaction of the wrong-doer (there still IS such a concept, though it is often deviously misapplied to self-defence), these might lead to something beyond the intention of the protector.
The point of these preliminary remarks is simple. It is to show that there are, in anything to be termed 'assault', a whole array of issues, which we have simply touched, not delved into, which relate to the application of such a term, and to the question, if it be used, of guilt attaching to it.
Now we are not here discussing law as such, for two very good reasons. The first is this, that the moral aspect underlying all law, is our concern. The second is that the Chief Justice is talking about NEW laws and his appeal is evidently to some concept which he appears to use, of morals. The issue at this point IS MORAL. LAW as envisaged is to implement morals, quite specifically in this case.
IF however such a law for this or any other reason SHOULD be implemented, which would not deign to touch the multitude of related issues, but allow some one concept to rule, it would be a time for lament for this country.
Let us now apply these considerations to the question of caning, chastisement and smacking.
issues are related to 'assault', for this is the intention of the judge,
according to report, to make 'smacking' to become legally defined, wrongful
'assault'. Smacking, like other physical activity designed to restrain
or punish, or both, is a highly variable phenomenon. First, its MOTIVE
varies enormously. Secondly, its IMPLEMENTATION varies according to situation
and social context, and thirdly, its RESULT depends partly on the particular
case, the person receiving it.
WAYS OF WOE
Thus in the Malaysian case, which this author must confess is found to be nauseating, the rattan action, it MAY indeed have a crime restraining effect, at some levels, though criminals being people with motives, and sin being a salient sort of thing, while human imagination and ingenuity is high, the mere diversion of criminal intent to other spheres has to be considered in this context. However with the rattan action, there is bodily marking, a risk of some measure of maiming, an intended humiliation at the social level which is to render, or may well render the culprit or imagined culprit low and debased in appearance. Such action is therefore dangerous, in this, that it may exceed the stated intention of the punishment, in view of the nature of it.
it be said that a criminal DESERVES such a type of risk, then this is not
justice, for if it is deserved, why is it not applied in some form where
you are not judicially GAMBLING with his
future ? Is THIS justice or contrivance, pragmatism replacing principle! Questions of the strength of the body enter in, and the limits of medical capacity to forecast.
These are some of the reasons why this sort of assault is found unacceptable, even foolish.
There are, however, despite its debased character, some good intentions, mixed with poor practice. It is desired that those who humiliate others (say by street scuffling in order to rob, hitting indiscriminately with some implement and so on), will themselves feel the teeth of their own conduct. Again, it may be felt that those who are ignorant because of some kind of special pleading, of the results of their crimes, should FEEL them as others do.
Such things relate to justice, but in such a case as this, NOT to mercy*1A. The perils at once can proceed PAST the stated intention, on an unknown basis. IF the judgment is later found to be WRONG as to fact (and it certainly can happen!), then the bodily damage may yet stay permanent, and the risk factor becomes enormous. It is rough justice that ceases to be justice at all.
it does focus some aspects of the case.
WORDS OF PRECISION
Let us now return to the term attributed to the Judge - 'smacking'. This term in our language does NOT, emphatically not imply severity of any kind. To do this, you would have to include other reference, such as 'protracted' smacking or the like. The term in itself implies little more than a movement of the hand to a part of the flesh of the culprit, or assumed culprit, in such a way that a sharp sound is likely to be heard, and a degree of pain inflicted which is relatively small, not at all significant in the range of human pain, and actually more an indication of dissatisfaction reaching the bounds of action, possibly after due restraint in the earlier times, than any graver response. That would be a normal parental role in such a thing, traditionally.
Of course, the complexities are always there. The parent MAY not like the child, MAY be unjust, MAY be by nature perverse or irritable, MAY simply have lost his/her temper, MAY be afflicting a good child out of some perverse and twisted concept, such as the child's success in studies, when this brings a sense of inferiority in the parent. Truly many are the possible distortions and evils which MAY lurk in smacking, as for that matter, in feeding. Imagine someone deliberately over-feeding a child in order to induce a fatness which would be socially unpleasant. Perverse ? of course. Unlikely ? presumably, but a case. Smacking CAN be like most other things, in the wrong spirit, with the wrong application, at the wrong time, with the wrong motive, and even the wrong assessment of what happened. In such cases, justice does not like it.
However smacking, like feeding and most other things, MAY be for a deliberate and carefully considered reason. Thus a parent MAY consider a child, love the child, look after the child, pray for the child, seek to advance the child's understanding and capacities in many ways, consider the spirit of the child, seek the joy of heart in the child, love the liberties of the child, sacrifice for the upbringing and education of the child, and find in one area or arena, that for all this the child is wilfully, continually, ruggedly self-reliant to the point of scuttling wisdom in the interests of baneful, banal ignorance of issues and arbitrary dismissal of valid principles (cf. News 122). The case can come when it simply WILL not do something important to welfare, development or righteousness. Perverse and foolish, it rejoices in the mere display of self (cf. News 97, The Other News 7, 10, Licence for Liberty Ch. 4, End-note 1, Steeping Out for Christ Ch. 3 and see *3A below).
Again, there is complexity within complexity. The 'welfare' may be merely stubbornly imagined to be such by the parent, who may in fact be guilty of imperious hustling or simply a shooing for convenience. It may in fact be based on some suppressed or not even conscious desire to bring something to pass in the child, which is merely inept, and wrongly conceived. To be sure, this may be so.
Yet when all the mischiefs are considered, the fact is that not all is unhealthy, not all is selfish and perverted, twisted or ignorant, not all manners are mere conventions and not all conduct is merely imposition. There are some considerations, such as courtesy to one's mother, respect to one's father, but not necessarily to the ideas of either, which are fitting for the young, undeveloped and potentially wilful, lazy, selfish and insensitive child. The faults may appear on either side, as indeed in a football match where they have umpires. Undoubtedly, umpires MAY be too slick, too lacking in consideration, have favourites or the reverse among the players, not be sufficiently perceptive and so on; but the rule is not usually to find things so. We do not exclude them because they are fallible, but rather keep a watch to ensure that their fallibilities do not rule, or fail to receive correction if they become blatant!
here. To smack, like feeding or umpiring, MAY be wrong in concept, purpose
and execution. That however is the defect of the virtue. It does not comprise
a case against it, but for the supervisory care about it. In the actual
case of smacking, it would be rational to seek to be sensitive to BASHING,
to HARSH SMACKING for little things, to the use of punishment instead of
precept and so on. However, to intrude into the home to the extent that
smacking is condemned brings up the concept of justice, teaching, upbringing,
the nature of childhood and the other options available.
CONTRACTUAL KID ?
Who is kidding whom ?
Thus in some schools, the often ludicrous concept of 'contracts' between teachers and 'bad' students has come to the point that it is almost an epidemic. There is no right and wrong: this is the assumption in some such cases. Hence there are simply two parties, one in power and one not, who are to assemble their thoughts, consider their options, negotiate a 'settlement', sign an agreement and then stick to it. If it is not followed, then the 'moral' element is this, that what was carefully considered and agreed, is NOT DONE!
However this begs a few questions, in order for it to stand. IS the child rationally developed to the point of being able equally to assess the nature and implications, personal and social, present and future, of the contract ? What IS a child ? an adult, a mature person ?
Again, IS there no objective right and wrong, so that there is no NEED to make agreements in many things, since the nature of the case is PRE-defined ? If so, this is not law, but philosophy seeking to manipulate people by means of law! That is, if law is to be brought in to define, to display and to prohibit various things in this disciplinary mode, there will be presuppositions about right and wrong, and if these are to subjectivise all morals, this is not a legal question per se, but a moral one. In that case, a particular philosophy may be seeking to invade the community, and to con it into conformity to itself.
What IS such a philosophy ? It is moral subjectivism*2 or relativity. How could you KNOW (judicially, with the robes of righteousness upon you, as it were) that morals are subjective ? You would have to reach BEYOND your theory in order to apply it. If subjectivity and non-subjectivity are assessable and definable in terms of morals, then to man is given the power of oversight and objective assessment of the moral case.
This merely contradicts the assumption that morals are subjective. If there is no truth in any sphere, then for you to know that this is true in that sphere is itself a contradiction of your assumption. We have in News 19 considered the nature of morality, and the reader is referred to that analysis for detail and divisions in the sphere; but the point is simple, that if good is the aspiration of many, the desideratum and the appeal, it is quite different in qualitative kind from desire, which by nature may conflict or not, with it. Its kudos, its appeal, its summoning is of a different kind from mere desire; for it can direct desire, correct it and discipline it, in order to be fulfilled.
All assumptions that people are mad, or effectually so, are prone to the comment that in this case the author of the concept being a person, one need not listen to a madman! And so is the case in the various stages of repudiation. If people are so foolish that they imagine that what society is clamouring for them to do, is right as such (leaving no explanation for those who rationally and carefully, historically and analytically reject a given movement in social morals), then the debility of mind, the surrender of perception implied is total. To be sure, self-serving people may readily co-operate with Nazi or Communist, rather like the Vicar of Bray, who knew what to say, in order to stay in his preferment! This however is merely one approach, of which many disapprove, not difficult to read and to avoid. It is not HUMAN PER SE!
People are not mad per se; they do not suddenly lose all perception, all deviousness, all consciousness, all power to think. They are as they show themselves to be, capable of considerable blindness, amazingly manipulable concerning God (some of the sects leave one almost speechless with horror that anyone could so treat the evidence), but not at all deprived of reason, of capacity to see now this and now that element, and the chew it publicly or privately.
if a society, like that in Australia, wishes increasingly (indicated by
the trend of its ACTIONS and RESOLUTIONS) to distance itself*3
from its founding moral principles from the Bible (in that it was founded
by Britain, which ostensibly at least, had such principles in the book
presented to the sovereign as wisdom's place), that is one thing. To seek
next to ENFORCE relativity in moral conceptions per se, is another. This
is a trip!
- Significantly, any national or supra-national body which presumes to direct, dictate and thrust forth its own concepts, this may be doing just the same as the wilful or even drunken parent: conveniently shooing or imperiously hustling*3A. It may take over crucial elements of parenthood without God, in the interests of an ostensibly 'neutral' approach, which starts by evacuating divine revelation and substituting its own preferences, while with slithering strength, it insinuates a devilish option as if it were in some sense 'right', when its presuppositions, or those at least acknowledged, prevent morality at all, allowing merely convenience (*3A).
- Thus the convenience of nations becomes the mandate for the parent, and the least of visions becomes as maleficently mandatory as in the days of Hitler. It is another concept, but the same soaring prejudice and dead centre, debased to the parameters of hell itself, forcing what is blind on those who see (cf. The Other News 19, Appendix). In times past, the great destroyers and invaders have suffered their fall; when the international 'community' does it on a yet more ambitious but equally deluded scale, the same result will come, this time with a certain finality that makes the judgment on Babel a mere prelude!
We return therefore to the fact that the concept of smacking includes a large diversity of elements. The concept of legally prohibiting it does no less! The concept of justice is not wisely abandoned by lawyers, and it is not something unknown to man, or to his most basic actions. If then, justice is to be considered, not irrationally philosophic reductionism, the case of smacking would depend on the nature of the event, of the child, of the circumstances and of the response.
If the child has insulted its mother ludicrously, wilfully, repeatedly, against reason, appeal, despite grace and goodness, then the question arises: "what is a good way to indicate to the wilfully thoughtless child, that things hurt, when its spirit is evidently gleefully astray, its mind indifferently applied and its actions grotesque ?" Smacking is one option. It is not (properly, in terms of normal usage of the word) risking any permanent damage, or major affliction.
is a reminder in short term of the needs in the long term. It may be efficient.
The author remembers one slap given on one occasion for which he is heartily
glad. It was deserved, it spoke. It was not really painful, though doubtless
it was felt; but it was a reminder of the scope of one's action, that it
needed immediate change. It stung the mind to think, rebuked the spirit
and by its very surprise, shocked into consideration. It was very economical,
efficient and just.
THE GENRE OF GENERALISATION
Generalisation concerning smacking is like generalising concerning burglars, and it is a danger in some law, that this too may be done. We do not need any further decline into summary decisions which limit the due, efficient and well-meaning actions of parents, as though philosophy got into the family tree, and started throwing nuts at those under it.
Caning of course is going further. Here there is a more serious case. It can be abused also. It has been used for hundreds of years in schools, and it seems that in Churchill's case, it was severe, though he does not appear to have lamented it too much. Sometimes, if a word fails, and another, and the case is as above, then caning can be apt. It should not be a substitute for reason, for good teaching, or for love but an expression of it. As the Bible says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten!" (Revelation 3:19). Discipline is in itself a huge topic, involving objective righteousness, wise provisions and non-reliance on force, merely its use discreetly where foolishness unfettered has come to play.
Chastening, child-training, includes a variety of measures to correct (cf. News 52). These are not the essence, but the outcome. They are applied as grease may be applied to an axle. It is not the nature of it that it cannot work without it; it is not the chief principle; but it is apt on occasion, if necessary, that it be done.
Next then what ? Will someone go even further and seek to outlaw marriage (statistics seem to suggest that the use of marriage is declining, temporary relationships based on mutual self-interest replacing the enduring faithfulness of commitment in love), on the basis that often the man is brutal, or violent, adulterous or unfair ? The woman indeed may be no less, though the likelihood of physical strength in favour of the male can the more readily, or at least more obviously, make for some disproportion.
"He," says Solomon, "who spares his rod, hates his son, but he who loves him, chastens him at times" (Proverbs 13:24*4). Spare the rod and spoil the child. It is the word of God versus a judge, in this case, then. That is the Biblical position. To be sure, the fact that a mode of conduct is given place, does not allow its MISUSE, but it does DISALLOW the rejection of it. Ability to walk does not give you freedom to tread on other people's corns; but you are not prohibited from walking IN CASE some day, such an idea should enter your mind! Error is FOUND, not assumed. Liberty is provided, not merely suppressed because some misuse it. That is to destroy life, as far as possible, by law!
people do not want the Bible, that is their liberty. If people want it,
that is their liberty, unless LAW is to become a DICTATOR, a rod, and judges
are to cane the populace with rods of prohibition, causing acute damage
to the individuals oppressed, the parents. Biblically one finds, as also
by much observation as a teacher, pastor, headmaster, lecturer, principal
and parent, this is the case. That is the issue!
FRIENDLINESS AND FAITH
While, therefore, the abandonment of Biblical virtues by mere unbased philosophy (cf. SMR Ch. 3, pp. 422Qff., 386ff., Little ThingsCh. 5, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9 etc. ), is a furore in the social frenzy of our times, this area constituting merely one example, albeit one equipped with censure for biblical wisdom, yet legal rejection of it, implicit or explicit, and the production of the tag CRIME for the mere performance of it en bloc, rather than where cases of abuse of the art occur: this is a wild-seeming spree. It is a social mauling, and a spiritual presumption. With Christ, we have liberty; when law seeks to displace Him without grounds, minus reason, by will, we yield to mere dictation.
is of course a large hinterland to this phenomenon. It did not come in
a day ...
(cf. below, *3A)!
There is also a large results sheet! On this, see News 51, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix I; and there are multiple causes of which what is called the 'silly self' in News 122 (cf. *3A below), is one. The intoxicated vestment of man becomes a god without limit, meaning or restriction, and this is often one of the bases of the desire not to chasten children. Gods are not chastenable, some think; but if only they were gods - if such a thing could be! (which in sober reality, it cannot - SMR Ch. 1).
News 121 shows some of the allied causes and together these references provide both a system of causes and results, but at that, they are but part; and That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 5,6, 7 provide more. Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 3 dwells further in the naturalistic fallacy side of things.
Such activities, based on the meaningless, are intensely meaningful. They mean that man abandoning God (although not all realise at, perhaps partly because of the growth of subjectivistic religion*5, abandoning the Bible surreptitiously, but still 'using' it or even acting as if it were a rule of some kind, while ignoring it at will), lacks meaning (of course, being without course, merely having concourse cf. SMR Ch. 3), and so invents whatever baseless thought he can or will,. And then ? not seldom, he begins to dictate to others about his new meaninglessly constructed system.
This ? It is not pleasant, in law, in politics or in morals. Nor is it uncommon. Like influenza you can get it if you take no care, rather readily!
leads to countless deaths from such systems as communism, merely one of
that ilk, and religious variants, in which an opted god is used to replace
the relentlessly attested one, as in Romanism and Islam, each of which
is stained with massive slaughter physically, on grounds reputedly spiritual,
while each 'uses' Christ, though making Him into something manipulable
and other, whatever the intention may be! (cf. More Marvels Ch.
4 and SMR pp. 1032-1088H,
Arrows and Balms 30). Naturalism
in the form of Darwinism with some other variants, equally incites to vehemence,
the silly-self syndrome and all the allied superiority paraphernalia, as
if life were some sport in which death were a mere meaningless event (cf.
Alas for their folly, such a concept is ruled out logically. ( SMR Ch. 3). Alas for the world, it is frequently ruled in sociologically!
What however is indicated in this writhing confusion of multiplied subjectivities and desire, is falling standards.
What is one way in which these occur ? As the above News references specify, there is in fact a large departure in religious bodies from simple Biblical faith, hence relevant morals, ethics and standards. Thus cultural proclivities will tend to move in the residual direction, according to desire, to sin, to lust, to misconception, to convenient but indefensible abstractions. One case in point is particularly interesting. In the Anglican Church, which has special interest in this case, in view of relationship with England, and that nation's founding relationship with Australia, the Primate in our country as we have noted*6, has denied that you need Christ to find God, thus entering the Christ or Primate stakes, for you cannot have it both ways (John 14:6).
There is no comparison, in any kind of realism. The case is shut before it opens. The works of each are not comparable, the power or the presence, the prophetic forecasts or the massive performances (cf. News 97, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix I, IV, Repent or Perish Ch. 2), just for commencement! This is merely a movement into a new anti-biblical 'faith'.
What is more interesting however, is the more recent news (The Australian, July 9 (Features, p. 11) of the diocese of Sydney, reputedly the 'richest' such in the world, that it has a new archbishop, who is covered and featured as if (and he is deemed 'evangelical'!), as if he had something excitingly or substantially novel to say, relative to the biblical faith. What one does find, however, is neither new nor exciting, despite the glamour evoked in the article.
What then is found in this report, to our present point ?
It is this: "The Archbishop concedes that there is a possibility that Christianity may be incorrect..."
The article is a glowing account of him and his interest in 'friendliness', and to be fair, he gives the view that the RC faith is one from which his Anglicanism "differs vastly", lacking Christ as personal Lord and Saviour; but there is more to 'faith' than a dismissal of error! Can you imagine Christ declaring, "There is a good possibility that I am the way, the life and the truth, and if you hitch your wagon to my star, who knows, you could do better than most..." or any such trifling triviality.
THIS Jesus, whom YOU crucified, God has made BOTH Lord and Christ! declared Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:36). The apostle did not claim this was a foremost possibility. He presented it as without question, fact, requiring apposite action, precisely as if you had (accidentally ?) blown up the Statue of Liberty. It is in fact far worse, for the murder was of the source of liberty itself! To that people were required to address themselves summarily! That is what the apostle had to say.
There is no other gospel, and cursed is he who makes one, says the apostle Paul (Galatians 1) and preaches it! He does not say, I do not think there is any other gospel, and you run a real risk if you make one. No, he declares, Let MYSELF be accursed if I preach any other! Why does he say this ? For this reason: He did not learn it from men, but from God, and his task is not to persuade God, but men! (Galataians 1:6-12).
The whole reality of Christianity is that GOD HAS SPOKEN THROUGH HIS SON in these last times, and this Son has done what it took to make the way home apt and available (Hebrews 1:1-3), in the way that Hebrews indicates. He who does not believe, says Christ, is condemned already (John 3:18), not statistically running some risk! Christ did not say, "To the best of My knowledge and belief, I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6 relates), but I AM ... THE TRUTH. Would the truth then not be sure of itself ?
But one may say, Yes it is true, but for mere ordinary Christians, you cannot expect the certainties of Christ as Messiah or of Paul as apostle. So 'faith' is equatable with 'not faith' ? In fact, biblically, you believe or you do not.
What does James declare in chapter one ? This: "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord: he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
Now this is a generic statement: it applies to ALL! It is categorical, unqualified and severe. Further, the judgment is immense, intense, and the disclaimer concerning the practical life involved is prodigious!
Another may protest that the case of the man who declared, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24), is relevant, and that in Isaiah 42 we are told that Christ will not quench the smoking flax.
If however he DOES believe, his unbelief is merely an accompanying circumstance which cannot quench the announced fact that in the case before him, HE DID BELIEVE! After all, quantitatively, a grain of mustard seed size faith is sufficient. Provided you DO believe, it works (Matthew 13:20-21). Smoking flax and bruised reeds (Isaiah 42) are not something else, but weak examples of their class.
It is a categorical matter, in other words. You do not work by being marvellous in faith, basically, but by simply believing. If you believe, then you CANNOT say that it might possibly be wrong. It may, let us be clear, be bad communication, and not personally true of the speaker in this case, but as doctrine, it is flamboyantly anti-biblical! Certainly the good pastor will encourage someone with problematic faith into full faith, as the Lord leads, and help one with troubled faith into calm waters; but this is therapy, not definitional Christianity. You are saved without works (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-12), but not without faith, and faith works! Faith IS confidence and assurance and inward testimony and confirmed status (Hebrews 11:1).
What is not faith, is not Christian. Granted some need help; when the help is past, the need is met. The SMALLEST part of faith works; but it MUST be faith, and faith is a conviction, assurance based on reality, and in this case, a LIVING as well as a lively reality (Romans 8:16, Galataians 5:16-24). Something else is a mere excursion into pathology, to make it the determinant. As in all sickness*7, it constitutes a disturbance, but it does not signify the nature of the body.
It is, then, this sort
of relativism which allows more and more to discount the church, and more
and more church people to discount the need to testify and to proclaim,
because their sort of 'faith' does not have to be there at all! It can
easily then become a sort of comparative 'faith' in which you find, as
in the article, that what you have is so much better than this and that,
and that really, positively, it is the best: without absolutely asserting,
like Jesus and the apostles, THIS IS SO.
Accordingly to your faith be it done to you! is a word from Christ. What if then there is a possibility that it is wrong ? This is persuasion not faith.
That is, in the end, on a propositional basis, another religion. It is in terms of the cultural presence of this type of revisionism that can faciliate a judge so readily to proclaim things which are manifestly an invasion of the household in the making, without anything but what might appear a certain acerbic self-assurance.
Christ on the basis of testable authority and truth, fitting into the age-long testimony of God, acting as God manifest, and receiving all challenge that man could provide, Himself challenged the accepted religious forms and norms, except those from the Bible, in His day. This was, has been and continues biblically to be a chief criterion of Christianity. It is the truth. This site in no small measure, has an an aim, the demonstration that it is just that.
In further exemplary exhibition of this matter, Paul the apostle, the master builder, cast down imaginations (II Cor. 10:5). Alas, the 'church'*8 of today is partly responsible, in its many eroded or even merely imaginary forms, for the advance of secular humanism which, before too long (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5), will start to promote its vacuous nothings with nothing like nothing, but by contrast with the theoretical vacuum, in the way of force and insistence.
It is hilarious ? Certainly,
that those whose bases PRECLUDE morals, should ask in morality's name for
obedience to its non-faith! However, what dictator was ever reasonable,
who sought power and used it!
What you sow, you reap*9 ? Then heed carefully what it is that is being sown, on the one hand in many a church, and on the other, in secular society! The tides are mutually reinforcing, and not for ever does God suffer mockery, whether intentional or not. Sow the wind, and reap the whirl-wind is a painful but necessary reminder (Hosea 8:7). Japan sowed it in 1941, and reaped in 1945. It need not take very long; but we, we have had many decades in which to replace the moribund with the lively, and to play the man. In fact, as the News references above indicate, the process is now far advanced, in the combination of religions, the distancing of the absolute, and the invention of a 'faith' by man, which is neither from God, nor possibly so, but merely a convenient social abstraction for convenience.
Friendliness ? It is good,
but not as a substitute for faith. Air ? it is good, but not as a
substitute for water...
In the end, humanism and secularism, like relativism have no more to offer than incidental cranial activity. They have neither possible validity (cf. TMR Chs. 5 and 7, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7, SMR pp. 316Dff. cf. *3A below), nor substantial reality. Lacking power, they provide tyranny countless times, in the end. It is God who must be sought and found. These are mere ashes, and it is this state to which the world is moving, as offensive against the living God, the author of the universe as of the faith. Trying each folly with sometimes meticulous zeal, the world fails like a mouse trying to imitate a sheep dog, running on the sheep's backs!
Voluntary failure, however, in the place of achieved success, when the achievement granted freely is life eternal, is the final achievement of non-faith in Christ. It is naturally ruinous (John 3:19,36). When you BELIEVE, of course, on the other hand, you live like it, look like it, think like it, find its fruits and rejoice (John 14:12). Imperfect, you proceed (Philippians 3:7-13); in weakness, you prevail, knowing that as to the living Christ, His grace is sufficient for you (II Corinthians 13:9), and that God Himself, triune and triumphant, is your sufficiency (II Cor. 3:5).
His is beauty (Psalm 110:3)
that endures, that speaks: not glamour (Isaiah 53:2), but goodness
is His. THERE is the real happiness, and it does not founder because it
is founded, on the Rock! (cf. Isaiah 26:1-4). This ROCK, it has moisture
in abundance! (John 7:37-38, 4:14), indeed it flows from it (cf. I Cor.
10:4); and it has within it, a viewing place that is secure and sure (cf.
John 14:9, Exodus 33:17-23, Isaiah 33:17, John 14:21-23), select and cool,
impregnable and immutable (John 10:27-28, Hebrews 1:10-12).
Biblical emphasis on justice AND mercy, is memorable and delightful. This
is what one would seek, and should disperse. Again, to be unmerciful is
to be less than human, failing to exercise the proclivities of mind and
spirit given, robotic rather than ruling. See Proverbs 3:3, Psalm 89:14,
THE SCOPE OF DISCIPLINE
See article on caning in Joyful Jottings 13, and observe that Oklahoma State legislature encouraged parents to know that caning, if not abusive in type, was quite legal, and asked parents in realising this, not to neglect discipline! What indelicately doting parents may allow becomes readily what embarrassed society must correct FOR them! When it is forbidden to do so, the society easily becomes a pampering pest, which others may discipline for their folly.
It is the fact of discipline which is important, and it is all but impossible to understand it if you do not know the love of Christ, which inspires it, limits it, qualifies and directs it, does not wish to substitute force for reason or wisdom, but to direct thought to folly before foolishness grips. When it does, the behavioural characteristics can become a problem in their own right. Society is feeling this increasingly, and unless the aim should become to give to more social workers more employment, so reducing the rate of unemployment, the indulgent society readily becomes the invaded one.
is far from endorsing or even condoning violence, strong arm tactics as
substitute for spiritual and personal perception, or any endeavour to force
conformity to mere preference, by the stick.
It is a matter of one of a whole gamut of disciplinary measures, in child care, with the objective of inhibiting wild folly, increasing thoughtful consideration, directing the child's spirit to reality and aiding it to grow considerate at least in this, that it thinks before it acts, and if it acts amiss, considers on what ground it could defend itself. After all, caning is not another name for act first think later, but for failure to respond to reasonable requests in a reasonable way, when this has become a habit, or an indulged matter of personal wilfulness. Children can play games, and the sooner they learn the place for these, the better. When they are well-disciplined (NOT the same as much disciplined!) children, then fun and games can have a beneficial and delightful contribution to make for all!
Again, this emphasis on due place to discipline is not to suggest that the METHOD by which they so learn, should be harsh, precipitate or significantly physical at all. It is merely to note that one of the methods of last resort is physical, and it is wise to consider its use more readily where the case of wrong-doing is unanswerable. This brings up an interesting sub-question. What of the child too young for formal reasoning ?
Here one must be careful. Few children are too young to reason at all, where social behaviour enters into consideration. They surmise, or apprehend, or intuit, very often, and perceive the direction of things. If nothing else prevails, a slap of duly delicate proportions indeed may be wise. If a child not taught, and inclined to be wilful, dies in an excursion across the road and on over the creek, as one child in our area managed to do (minus in this case, the death, but not the considerable possibility of it), the hurt of a minor slap at the RIGHT and early time, when words and other indications fail, may be merciful. For my own part, I should like such to receive a due merciful discipline far better than dying under someone's (relatively) barbaric tyres!
It is of course necessary to consider WHAT IT IS that one disciplines!
the relationship of personality as such, to discipline, see Deliverance
Ch. 8. Failure to realise the design of personality can easily lead to incapacity to appreciate its needs. These are both more subtle and delicate than the oppressive humanism that can lie behind the prohibition of caning, may perceive, for it contradicts the nature of personality (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7); and also more demanding, since life is so serious that every aid, short of intrusive violence, needs to be weighed with the young, before they are set in alcohol (choose your own! of course), drugs (personal self-expression, what else! deny that ...), violence (self-fulfilment, you cannot dictate to the child), crass indifference to the end of life in terms of the beginning (it is for them to choose, they are gods), and so on.
Actually as Oklahoma legislature seems to have realised, you can spoil the child by failing to take into account all reasonable means of discipline, including caning. For that, you could be called to account, and before Him who declares in the Bible, "He who spares his rod, hates his son, but he who loves him, chastens him at times," it will be an answerable charge for the ungodly. It is, quite simply, a rejection of His counsel. When it comes to the answer of God, it is we humans who are answerable, one and all, and the Judge for us is more than merely human, being the infinite Creator, who so concerned Himself with human nature, having made it, that He offered it redemption, that the epitome of cure, the height of hallowed resolution for the disorders of man, of which foolishness, wildness and exploitation are merely passing examples!
Finally, one should consider the place of discipline on specifically Christian MORALS, in the home. This is not a question of faith as such, for a sense of exquisitely careful justice and care in personal relationships, relating to loving your neighbour as yourself, while a result to be sure, of Christian teaching, does not require those in a home dedicated to such conduct in Christ, to believe in Him. Nor is it some egregious imposition. This is a breaking point between faith and practice, provided for the unbeliever in the family, if any. Thus, if the family is to be run that way, just as a NATION elects to run its morals in one way or another, as couched in laws, then that is the way of it. No more does this mean that the family is imposing its religion, than that the State is doing so when it makes laws founded on this or that moral schema!
When however a State prohibits what God requires, as here is in view, from the biblical perspective, then there is a form of dictatorship. In this case, ALL families are REQUIRED NOT to have a religion of Christian and Biblical kind: and if they do, they are REQUIRED legally to break with it or suffer as victims of spiritual oppression, because of it. If martyrs is one thing a State wants, then this is a fruitful way to obtain them.
Thus, such a dictatorial and intrusive violence into the home is considerably more vehement than any carefully controlled, appositely derived caning could possibly be. The latter is a relatively small rebuff; this, on the other hand, this State law, would be a sedition of the family, a separation of its usage from God or of increasing sums of money from it, and a presentation of increasing walls of shame to it. It would be violence of the most primary character, discriminatory in religious implication, intrusive in family orientation, meaningless in philosophical background and divisive in kind, making the State a virtual bulwark of anti-Christian ethics in a most important area, affecting outcomes in the children of parents who themselves have much to bear with the results!
Further, no Christian parent could possibly in any measure of consistency OBEY such a law, for that is a case of TAKING for Caesar the things that belong to GOD (cf. Matthew 22:21). In this, it is a direct confrontation with Christ WITHIN the Christian home, courtesy of your State!
If that is not dictatorship, perhaps someone could find some definition refined enough to exempt it! On the other hand, it would be a reasonable result of secularist, materialist, or naturalistic thought, based on expectations never found in practice, of new and wonderful 'arisings' which discipline might squash! Thus religion, for naturalism IS religion, would tend to be established, and would raise its violent paws to the throat of Christianity in particular. In the case of this particular country, Australia, it would be rather like an unruly child seeking the throat of its parent, with no good will at all, for it was founded in this way; and it is as a matter of fact, amongst the most blessed of nations, SO FAR! If religion is what concerns itself with affirmations concerning ultimate reality, prosperity, meaning and conduct, then naturalism assuredly qualifies, and its results, in this nation, at the Commonwealth level legally, and in States, morally, if enshrined in law, would be merely the delusions of dictatorship; and of course, in a crucial regard, this is the condition in education in State Schools in South Australia at the present time (TMR Ch. 8).
Thus at the Commonwealth level, it would not merely be dictatorship, but illegality (cf. The Other News Appendix I).
Better by far is reasonableness, in which extreme programs of this type are not forced, and manifest abuse in the implementation of bad temper, disproportion and the like, are made specific offences, but the category as a whole is not made subject to specious and inadequate generalisation. When such carelessness does occur as to implement such programs, it merely provokes the people, dishonours God and evinces the direction which the Bible has indicated, is to come (Matthew 24:11-12).
? It is of course of Christian Apologetic interest, since it moves
towards the fulfilment of Christ's words, and is in step with the end predicted,
in a State where the image of the beast, the mundane State control of values
and religion, as well as other things (cf. Revelation 13), comes to the
fore. However, as a social contrivance, it would leave everything to be
desired, whether social sensitivity, case by case particularisation, or
realism about human nature's dangers and proclivities as it is currently
constituted: what is needed is in this way lost, and what is heeded is
empty philosophy or unbased desire.
*2 Cf. News 52, *1, News 98, *2.
*3 Ezekiel 32:7ff. expresses the divine disfavour for the presumptuous nation which exalts its own wisdom and puts its conceptions and culture above the Lord. It is indicative of the biblically revealed attitude of God to all such Statist philosophic parvenus.
" 'And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land,' saith the Lord GOD.In this, there is an all but unspeakable sense of lament, of a parent for a wilful child, perversely destroying career through ambition, productivity through pride and morality through cultural captivity (cf. SMR pp. 316D ff., 422Eff., 374ff., 422Q ff.). If judgment obtrudes, then pathos pierces the condign gloom, and tragedy is the twin of imperious vanity, now exposed and despatched to its final place of no rest.
" 'I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known. Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.'
"For thus saith the Lord GOD: 'The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee. By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall, the terrible of the nations, all of them: and they shall spoil the pomp of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed. I will destroy also all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them. Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord GOD.
" 'When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full, when I shall smite all them that dwell therein, then shall they know that I am the LORD. This is the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her: the daughters of the nations shall lament her: they shall lament for her, even for Egypt, and for all her multitude, saith the Lord GOD.'
"It came to pass also in the twelfth year, in the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 'Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cast them down, even her, and the daughters of the famous nations, unto the nether parts of the earth, with them that go down into the pit.
" 'Whom dost thou pass in beauty? go down, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised. They shall fall in the midst of them that are slain by the sword: she is delivered to the sword: draw her and all her multitudes. The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.' "
The preliminaries must be considered, as exemplified in various cases such as that of Moab (Isaiah 48:36 - "Therefore My heart shall wail like flutes for Moab," and "We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed" (Jeremiah 51:9). The judgment is not so hurried as to be pressurised, nor so lax as to be absent!
Cf. News 97, The Other News 7, 10, Licence for Liberty Ch. 4, End-note 1, Steeping Out for ChristCh. 3, News 126, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 9, Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 10, A Spiritual Potpourri 17, News 44, SMR pp. 620ff..
also, on developing evidences, News 121, 122,
*4 On the status of the Bible, see SMR Chs. 1, 10, Appendix D.
See Meta-religion, News 122.
*6 See Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 7.
The faith is demonstrably true (SMR), but it still must be received BY FAITH. WHAT must be received by faith ? Christ must be so received, He being the rock on which all else stands in the revelation of God to man (I Corinthians 3:10-11, 10:1ff.). Then He leads to all the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17ff.) with assiduity, and to the coming new (John 14:26), with the terminus as John discloses it and the Church rightly determined it (cf. SMR Appendix D, C).
Without faith, you CANNOT please God (Hebrews 11:7), and faith is the conviction, the assurance (Hebrews 11:1). Indeed, Hebrews 11 shows by example the immense works wrought by faith, having defined it in the first verse. Thus it is by FAITH that we understand that the worlds were created by the word of God, the visible from the invisible, and reason as we see (for example in It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5, TMR Chs. 1, 8) can only confirm and insist on its own, that this is so!
What then are we to do ? We should "endure chastening" as needed, we read (Hebrews 11:7ff.), for otherwise we are as illegitimates! Chastening is part of fatherhood's activities on this earth (Heb. 11:8). So STRENGTHEN the hands hanging down, and the feeble knees (Heb. 11:12), and make straight paths for your feet, it declares. "See you do no refuse Him who speaks ..." (11:25).
We recall the example of Israel in being brought to the promised land and then fainting instead of believing, about entering it! (Numbers 13-14). THEREFORE God refused to LET them enter, and preserved the opportunity until the next generation. FAITH is not an option; and faith is a conviction. It is on the one hand, a non-refusal, and on the other, an assurance. Of what you are assured, when God is the One to whom it relates, you are not in a position to premise its error; for in that case, you are NOT assured, merely opinionated, or preferring, or estimating.
Israel did not have to believe that it COULD go in, but that GOD HIMSELF was calling them to do so, and not something else, some probability, or some current of events, some analysis or some effort, some mere hope or attractive proposition; that He would accompany them, and by His own power, have His own will.
They did not: they perished.
Let us be clear: the 'church' is not the church. The inverted commas signify a diseased species, as predicted (II Peter 2, I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3, Matthew 24:12), which is increasingly to take the role of Judas, in our day. Though this cannot lay hands on the Christ, it has others whom it can betray. The Bible itself is the test and the criterion at all times (cf. Matthew 4, in Christ's own temptation).
This theme is found twice in Hosea, with great force and stimulus.
Thus in Hosea 8:7, we see:
The parallel is in the inordinate on the one hand, and the development of wind into whirwind on the other.
Again, in Hosea 10:13, you have this:
has been the nature of history, one may add, since history has been invoked,
Nations litter the littoral, like Tyre and Egypt, Babylon and Ninevey (cf. SMR pp. 713ff. ), in direct line with divine protestation and prophecy combined. This, it is not only law, but the Lord! It is wise not so to act that He is excluded, since He IS included! His word exhibits in its very form, the folly of seeking to be functional without basis in truth, validity and reality.
Thus in Ezekiel 29:18-21, we find the Lord predictively presenting Babylon with 'wages' for being the chosen instrument for effecting a judgment on the earth!
“Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it.
"Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for Me,’ says the Lord God.
" ‘In that day I will cause the horn of the house of Israel to spring forth, and I will open your mouth to speak in their midst. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.’ ”