(I hope Greg doesn't mind, but his comments on the recent spanking post really deserve a wider audience. Consider this a "guest post".)
Samuel Martin's argument is his research citing ancient rabbinical sources and commentary that even the corporal punishment approved in the Bible never was of small children--only of young men. Furthermore, it was not for behavioral modification as much as an ancient theory of pedagogy or learning: if a young man was being taught and got an answer wrong to a question, the idea was that if you beat the crap out of him, that would teach him to pay better attention and improve the chances that he would get the correct answer the next time, and thereby learn faster.
That was the basic idea anyway; to help the young man more effectively learn what his elders were teaching him and be more attentive to their wise words by beating him when his attention strayed. Samuel Martin's interesting point is that whatever views one may have today concerning the merits of this ancient educational theory for the purpose of improving the learning process in teenage young men, it never applied to toddlers or small children.
Incidentally, has Mark Armstrong ever repudiated the horribly damaging advice promulgated for years in his father's booklet, "The Plain Truth About Child-Rearing?" He would be in a position to do real good in the Church of God community--a small step toward redemption and healing--by absolutely repudiating the toxic advice and legacy of that booklet--and who he is would give his words credibility if he were to do so in a strong voice.
If he does not do so, he remains part of the problem, which holds true for all of the other COG groups' leaders as well--all leaders who continue to advocate and legitimize the intentional physical infliction of pain and humiliation on defenseless small children ... which has justly become illegal and criminalized in a growing number of nations, 30-some now at current count, including nations such as Israel, Germany, most European nations, New Zealand, and more, all since Sweden started as the first nation to do so in the 1980s. It is comparable to the worldwide movement to abolish slavery of earlier centuries, which although slavery had been done for thousands of years, succeeded. Except the worldwide movement to ban corporal punishment of children is succeeding far faster than did the earlier abolitionist movement against slavery.
Scroller (Greg D.)