CON Contact Us DON Donate
Our History General Assembly Worldwide Outreach Ministries Standards Resources

Question and Answer

Spanking Children


Does the OPC have a specific policy about spanking children?


The OPC doesn't have papers generally relating to various social matters unless they are formally and officially dealt with by a General Assembly (the highest ecclesiastical court of the church). But the OPC is not indifferent to such issues. Our primary standard of faith and practice is the Holy Scriptures (the Bible). And our doctrinal standards are the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms which teach that system of faith and morals taught in Scripture.

SPANKING CHILDREN: The Bible is quite clear on this subject. "He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently" (Proverbs 13:24). "Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol [hell]" Proverbs 23:11-13). The writer of Hebrews quotes Proverbs 3:11-12 and applies it to God's fatherly dealing with His children: "And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons" (Hebrews 12:5-8). (This latter verse means that those who reject God's providential dealings with them evince an unbelieving spirit.)

I realize that it is dangerous to spank children publicly nowadays. It is counted "child abuse." And severe, bodily-injurious spanking or whipping is child abuse. Parents ought NEVER to take out their anger on their children. But "hurting" their children's pride and hurting their bodies are two different things. Up to the point of bodily injury, children ought to be disciplined according to their degree of disobedience, willfulness, or defiance; the Bible teaches that bodily discipline is legitimate, but only if done in love, never in anger. What the practice of OPC households is, I cannot answer. But, if you read the Scriptures and put it all together, it makes sense.

So we don't spend time in our church courts arguing about matters that are quite clear in the Word of God. I hope I've been a help to you. Please feel free to return with other questions.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

© 2020 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church



Chaplains and Military Personnel

Diaconal Ministries


Inter-Church Relations

Ministerial Care

Planned Giving

Short-Term Missions


Church Directory

Daily Devotional

Audio Sermons

Trinity Hymnal

Camps & Conferences

Gospel Tracts

Book Reviews



Presbyterian Guardian