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1. Culpability: without exception, every person able to reason, who knows that what they are doing is wrong (Jam 4:17) is not only fully culpable for their actions but also fully capable of turning from them (repentance) (Act 17:30; Deu 30:9-14).

With respect to one’s ability to reason consider:

1) God makes such a distinction in multiple OT texts (Jon 4:11 “know the difference between their right and left hand”; Isa 7:15-16 “know enough to refuse evil and choose good”; Isa 8:4 “My father…my mother” ) = A person able to demonstrate (e.g., in conversation w/others) cognitive reasoning skills (i.e., able to make distinctions for the purpose of comparing and contrasting -or use deduction as part of their thinking process [“if this then that”]).

2) God’s makes a punitive distinction between those who are able/old enough to reason and those who are not in (Deu 1:39 “have no knowledge of good and evil”) = Not yet old enough to reason. A person’s ability to reason therefore renders that person subject to the full weight (or punishment) of the Law with respect to their sin (e.g., penalties related to restitution, death for a capital crime).

3) That no distinction should be made between a person’s ability to reason in general and a person’s ability to reason from a moral perspective (i.e., one implies the other) is confirmed in Jesus’ condemnation of the Jewish leaders (Mat 16:1-4).

4) Though not fully culpable, those unable to reason still commit sin and possess some level of culpability (e.g., Isa 48:8; Psa 51:5 [hence, vv6-9]; Psa 58:3). Hence the reason God commands parents to be diligent and severe in the corrective punishment of their children (Pro 23:13-14).

5) The age at which a person is able to reason is not the same as the age of bar/bat mitzvah (“son/daughter of the law”), the age at which all legal rights were extended to a Jewish boy or girl including the ability to marry and own property.

 

2. Correction: God’s relatively easy first expectation of parents in relation to their children is that the level of correction (negative reinforcement) applied to their children will be swift, consistent and severe enough to immediately establish their authority and stop those children from practicing all forms of overt rebellion against them or any other authority figure before those children possess the ability to reason.

(Exo 21:15; Deu 21:18-21) = All capital crimes are crimes that could have been easily avoided had the responsible parties been obedient to God’s preventative prescription. They are therefore crimes which are the result of sizable neglect, unbelief, cowardice and selfishness.

Hence why:

1) parents who fail to meet this first expectation are said to be desiring their child’s death (Pro 19:18).

2) spanking is required until this first expectation is met (Pro 29:19 “does not respond”) = Words will not be enough to secure compliance. This is especially true in children not yet old enough to reason. In this respect, they are like a slave (Gal 4:1-3 “elemental things”) = Rudimentary means of learning/education – i.e., spanking or “association training.”. This is the law of the animal kingdom or the base level of brain operation found in creatures possessing a brain (e.g., canines – wolves establish order/peace through the association training of negative reinforcement)[1].

3) Though the indwelling Spirit given at baptism allows us to eventually leave spanking behind, the Spirit does not replace a person’s ability to reason. Rather the Spirit works w/our ability to reason. Hence in those unable to reason, other measures must be adopted.

4) the modern world’s embrace of only those forms of correction which employ reason reveals their great ignorance of – and obstinance to, both General and Special Revelation (Ecc 8:11 and Isa 26:9-10) = Justice (swift and painful punishment fitting the crime) is the key to effective correction and the mitigation of similar actions in others.

 

3. Compliance: doing better than you did before, yet still not meeting God’s expectation (of faithfulness) means that you are still in sin (or not fully) repentant and will go to hell if you do not do what it takes to become fully compliant.

Consider:

1) The serial killer who reduces his murders from five every month to two every month is still guilty of practicing murder.

2) (1Jo 3:7-10; Heb 12:1-4; Mat 5:29-30, 18:8-9; 1Co 9:27-30; Mat 16:24-26 w/27).

 

 

4. Counsel: attempting to play the spiritual physician in the covenant community when you do not possess the proper training or have passed the proper tests is worse than medical malpractice (Mat 18:6-7). Hence the reason all spiritual council (advice) given by the church’s members should be immediately reported to its licensed spiritual physician, the (ordained) pastor (“physicians of the soul” – Richard Baxter).

1) (Pro 6:19, 13:10, 16:28, 17:19, 18:1-7 w/15; Rom 16:19 w/1Co 5:1 w/2Co 7:7; Phi 2:19; 1Th 3:5; 1Co 1:10 w/ Phi 1:27 = Standing together for the gospel requires we be of the same mind which is impossible if the counsel we give or receive is contrary to God’s appointed teacher in the church – i.e., the ordained pastor).

2) In this light consider (2Co 10:3-6) = Paul saw the censorship, removal and even prosecution of every form of bad counsel, thinking or theology posited by the congregation as an important part of his role as a pastor and responsibility to protect the flock (“spiritual warfare…fortresses” = Mental strongholds inhibiting people’s obedience that will eventually lead to their apostasy).

3) How we should think about our relationship to the ordained pastor: like the doctor-nurse relationship in a hospital (nurses are to report all treatments administered or new symptoms to the attending doctor) or the relationship between the Executive Director of an Assisted Living facility and his staff (e.g., Richard Conklin’s job as E-D at Morning Star = Protective oversight req’g all depts and staff to share all counsel and situations affecting the safety and prosperity of the residents – e.g., staff tells a resident that it is okay to keep a coffee table in their apartment who unbeknownst to them has a history of falling).

4) How we should NOT think about our relationship to the ordained pastor: like the relationship between the police and a criminal (“criminals don’t rat out fellow criminals to the cops”). This is the mindset of the wicked and the world w/respect to authority – including the authority in the church (a ghetto or street theology/mindset; e.g., “I want to confide in others or receive advice from others who will not seek pastor’s counsel”) = I am a stumbling block/attempting to make another guilty of collusion or malpractice.

5) If we are truly family, then nothing should be hidden from those God has made our spiritual parents for our protection and prosperity (pastor = our spiritual father; “father knows best”; 1Co 4:14-15; 2Ti 1:2).

[1] Colorado Law: A parent, guardian, or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or an incompetent person,

and a teacher or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor can use reasonable and appropriate physical force, if it is reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain or promote welfare of child. Sec. 18-1-703.[Cr.] “Reasonable” or “appropriate” physical force which is “reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain or promote the welfare of the child” is defined as follows: not excessive or abusive.

Colorado Law: “Abuse” or “child abuse or neglect” means an act or omission that threatens the health or welfare of a child in one of the following categories: Skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, failure to thrive, burns, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or death and: The condition or death is not justifiably explained; The history given concerning the condition is at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death; The circumstances indicate that the condition may not be the result of an accidental occurrence. Those investigating cases of child abuse shall take into account child-rearing practices of the culture in which the child participates [this includes the religious beliefs of the home]. The reasonable exercise of parental discipline is not considered abuse. Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 19-1-103; 19-3-103.