Did God Really Say to Stone Our Kids?
- Thursday, April 07, 2005
How can you say all Scripture is divinely inspired when we read passages like the following:
"If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." 21Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid." Deuteronomy 21:18-21
If I raised my kids according to this Scripture I would be jailed. Please explain how this can be considered truth.
Thank you for your honest inquiry. There are three aspects of Biblical law in the Old Testament. First, there is the moral law of God or what we simply call the Ten Commandments. This law according to both the Old and the New is pure and just. It is that very law, even though it is good, that stands to condemn men in their sins. Yet, even that law is an act of God's grace and mercy in that He has clearly taught us what He requires. But according to Galatians that law was given as a “schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24) to bring us to Christ. In other words, sinful man cannot keep the moral law of God. That is why we need a Savior. Christ came to free us from the bondage of the moral law. The moral law of God is still binding.
The second aspect of Biblical law is the ceremonial law of God. Throughout the books of the Pentateuch certain sacrificial laws were formulated to allow sinful man a way in which he could approach a Holy God. The blood of bulls, goats, and all of the other integral parts of the sacrificial system were designed to be types of Who was to come - Jesus Christ. He would shed His blood once and for all. After giving His life there is no more shedding of blood. Read the book of Hebrews in conjunction with both Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Plenary inspiration demands we see the Old as fulfilled in the New. If there is no Old there is no New. (For example, Moses is a type of Christ. So are Joseph and David).
The third aspect of Biblical law is the civil law of a nation governed under a theocracy. In that theocracy there existed a demand for purity and holiness. For example, countless passages warn against intermarriage with the non-elect. Samson is a prime example of one who disobeyed and paid the consequences. Children were raised to know, understand, and obey the Law of God. Proverbs 1 through 9 was written for that very purpose. Wisdom and understanding is taught. It is not inherent to our children. They are born with a sinful nature and must be led to Christ.
Allow me to pursue the context. The passage you noted is an application of moral law, specifically the sixth commandment on murder. The entire chapter deals with the second law (that is what the word Deuteronomy means) or specific applications of that sixth commandment. In its context several issues emerge. First, the youth is out of control and is a danger to society. That is evident from the words used to describe his behavior. Second, there is no evidence anywhere in Scripture that this sentence ever had to be carried out. Third, the specific reason for such an insistence upon the protection of society is spelled out in verse 21 … Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. The fear of God is a lost Biblical doctrine. If one wants to know what God thinks of sin, he need look no further than the cross where God turned His back on His only Son in love to redeem a fallen race. God's holiness is so trivialized by today's post-modern church. In our quest for a pacific God we have forgotten what He really thinks of sin. In the words of one author “what ever happened to sin” becomes the key question.
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