Welcome message

Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Saturday, October 29, 2011

This is one of the most powerful posts I have read all year - This is Theology of Motherhood at its best

This is one post that I strongly urge you to read. I am really deeply moved by such powerful expressions of truth.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Accurate information from the Bible and Academia can change minds on the issue of Spanking/Smacking Chiildren

Here is a post from a friend of mine, Faith Gallup, from Chicago. In this post, she mentions attending a seminar (in 2007 in Chicago at which I spoke) sponsored by Dr. Madeline Gomez, the President of Psychealth, Ltd.
PsycHealth, Ltd. (www.psychealthltd.com) is a multi-disciplinary team of behavioral health professionals dedicated to excellence in service delivery and program development. We support the human and individual rights of all persons regardless of ethnicity, sex, religious or sexual orientation or native language. We are committed to non-violent family interaction and child rearing and believe that compassion and consideration are of utmost importance.We recognize that as we help each person, we help our families, our friends, and ourselves.

The presentation I gave I still have today in MS Powerpoint and it has a paper that accompanies it. Anyone who would like to have that paper and the Powerpoint for presentations to groups that you might be aware of is welcomed to contact me. info@biblechild.com. 
You can see from Faith's testimony that attending that seminar (where I was one of three speakers) gave her the information she needed to completely change her mind on this issue.
Thanks Faith for letting me link to this. Bless you and a huge thanks to Dr. Mady Gomez for her leadership on this issue.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Patriarchial Longevity in the Antediluvian Age

Dear friends,

The book of Genesis is one which has interested me ever since I first got interested in writing about Scripture. I believe that the book of Genesis contains Biblical truth. 

Dr. E. W. Bullinger, the compiler of the Companion Bible, referred to Genesis saying (I agree with his assessment precisely): “Genesis is the seed-plot of the whole Bible. It is essential to the true understanding of its every part. It is the foundation on which Divine Revelation rests; and on which is it built up. It is not only the foundation of all Truth, but it enters into, and forms part of all subsequent inspiration; … Genesis is quoted or referred to sixty times in the New Testament; and Divine authority is set like a seal on its historical facts.”[1]

[1] E. W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, Appendix II - See Matt. 19:4-6;24:37-28; Mark 7:4,10;10:3-8; Luke 11:43-51;17:26-29; Jn. 1:51;7:21;8:44-56

I am posting a new introduction a brand new small publication that I have been working on for over 15 years and it is my intention to publish the first edition of this new publication before year end. I will be updating you concerning the finalization of this new short publication (and how you can get a copy once it is published) very soon as the final version is almost complete. Here is a small excerpt from the introduction. Stay tuned for more information. Rest assured, this new publication will present a very thought provoking, Biblically conservative approach to this age old question.

Patriarchal Longevity in the Antediluvian Age by Samuel Martin

One of the most interesting aspects to the early history of human kind concerns the Biblical data showing that certain individuals are identified has having lived lives reaching up to almost 1,000 years of age. We today look at these Biblical texts and wonder if they are true or if they just represent ancient myths that primitive mankind believed in.

In this new publication, we are going to explore this question with a view to illuminating difficult passages of the Holy Scripture concerning this question. We believe that the LORD has given us all the information that we need within the Scriptures themselves to answer all the questions that we have on most subjects. 

Understanding how the Patriarchs in the Antediluvian Age lived to be so old is no exception. We pray that you find this publication valuable in your Bible study.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book giveaways on samuelmartin.blogspot.com to continue

Thanks to everyone who has entered this drawing. It is not too late to enter still. See details below.

Rest assured, I will be having more drawings for great books that I love on my blog.

Stay tuned.

"Corporal Punishment in the Bible - A Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts" to be given away on SamuelMartin.blogspot.com - 
Give away ends November 1 2011

Dear friends,

I am delighted to continue endorsing strongly Professor William Webb's book. I can't recommend it enough.
Here is where you can get your copy - http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/toc/code=2761 

So, I am pleased to announce that I am giving a copy of this book away. This is the first book I've ever given away on my blog and I am pleased that it is this book.
To win this book, all you have to do send me an email (your email address will be kept confidential not to be shared with anyone) with your first and last name to [info@biblechild.com] answering the following three questions:
1.  I have read your book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy - YES or NO
2. I have read Professor Webb's book - YES or NO
3. Pick one of the following: 
A. If I don't win the Webb book, I am planning to buy it.
B. I have already bought the Webb book and plan to give away the book if I win it.
C. I have not yet purchased the book by Prof. Webb.

So that is all there is to it. Except for one other thing.
The first name drawn will win the Webb book. Then, I will be drawing another name. The first name that I draw thereafter who answers the question "I have read your book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy" with a "NO", will win a free autographed copy of my book.
I look forward to hear from you very soon. This drawing ends 23:59AM Jerusalem time on November 1.

Monday, October 17, 2011

And the waters assuaged (cooled down).” (Genesis 8:1)

“And the waters assuaged (cooled down).” (Genesis 8:1) 
Samuel Martin (www.facebook.com/byblechyld)

Note: I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about some research I did about fifteen years ago. I hope you find it interesting and I am definitely looking for feedback (or feed forward) on this subject.

The book of Genesis is one of my favourite books in the whole Bible. When I first began to do serious research into the Bible, Genesis was the place I started and the things that I have learned about Genesis, particularly in the early sections, really amazed me (and continue to do so today). I hope someday in the near future to be able to bring out more of my own research on the early sections of Genesis even beyond the subject of the Mark of Cain (which was first published in 1996 in association with the ministry of my late father)  that I have already published (contact me for details of how you can get a copy if you are interested - info@biblechild.com). (Note: I am working now on publishing some new research on showing how it was the ancient Patriarchs lived in some cases to be almost one thousands years old. Stay tuned.)

One of the most interesting subjects in the Bible is that of the Flood of Noah. This event is really a mystery to many people about the details of how it happened. No doubt, people are really interested in this issue. If you do any research at all, you will find hundreds of opinions on the Flood and how it happened and these opinions will cover a whole range of different opinions. Numerous books, articles and websites are devoted to this important issue.

The title of this section is “And the waters assuaged.” (Genesis 8:1) So let’s talk about this seemingly unimportant passage because it is in this passage that much interesting information is contained. Honestly, when we study Genesis or other sections of the Bible where we have very little information, we have to take what we do have seriously and look very carefully and closely at the information provided and do our best to understand what it meant to the writer who wrote it, who in this case was Moses. We want to know the meaning that Moses wished to convey if we can.

We in the modern world have been influenced wrongly by epic films and artistic depictions about biblical subjects concerning many issues including the Flood

Now, what difference does it make? The point is, films (and by extension photographs, television and paintings) influence dramatically people’s opinions about all kinds of things and the Bible is no exception. Look at the Hollywood films about the Flood. They seemingly follow the Biblical narrative and you see people climbing up to the tops of mountains to escape the Flood; you see the ark floating on huge oceans of water and torrential downpours; you see rain for forty days and forty nights; you see the water covering the tops of the mountains and so on. However, are these really accurate descriptions? According to Hollywood, yes; but according to the Bible, no!

However, there is one verse which I am focusing on in this short paper which seems to indicate this idea pretty clearly. It is the following which are the last few words of the passage in question: “And the waters assuaged.” (Genesis 8:1)

When you read this passage, you get the feeling that the waters that were submerging the whole mountains were somehow miraculously removed from the earth by a divine agency. This is what you feel on the surface when you read the last section of Genesis 7 and the first verse of Genesis 8. It seems so clear that this is what it means. But is it?

When we look at the Hebrew word for “assuaged” which is ישכו - yascu, this word needs some defining. Yes, it can mean “assuaged” or “receded,” however in this context many ancient commentators point out something else.

Rabbi Raphael Hirschinson in his excellent commentary on Genesis says the following: “וישכו  –  vayascu (root שכך) The use of this expression indicates that the action of the water of the flood was not merely mechanically destructive but also chemically dissolving. According to one remark in Sanhedrin 108b (quoting here from the Babylonian Talmud – one of the ancient authoritative works on Jewish law and Bible interpretation – see http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_108.html), they were רותחין, seething. שכך is the reverse of boiling and bubbling up of a torrent.” (pg. 155). Continuing, Rabbi Hirschinson shows that to understand this verse it is essential to refer to a passage in the book of Esther chapter 7, verse 10, which says:

“Then the king’s wrath was pacified.”

The word for “pacified” in Esther 7:10 and the word for “assuaged” in Genesis 8:1 come from the same root. The point that arises out of these passages when we begin to dig deeper is that the Floodwaters themselves were boiling hot. Rabbi Hirschinson references a key passage in the Babylonian Talmud in this regard and it is good to show here what those ancient commentaries said about this verse. Note if here:

R. Hisda said: With hot passion they sinned (speaking about those in the pre-Flood period), and by hot water they were punished. [For] here it is written, And the water cooled; (Genesis 8:1) whilst elsewhere it is said, Then the king's wrath cooled down. (Esther 7:10) (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b)

You can see that this ancient commentator clearly understood that the waters of the Flood were hot water and he even translated the word as “cooled.” When we think about it, depending on our perspective, it could very easily mean that the waters indeed “cooled off” rather than “assuaged” or “run off” from a higher point to a lower point. What we find here is that those individuals who translated the word “assuaged” may have been influenced by their opinion of what took place in the Flood through means other than looking at the ancient sources (like religious art, paintings in churches, stained glass windows or icons) and comparing the information we find in the Biblical texts.

Hot water during the Flood? Yes. In fact, we have many ancient nations producing Flood type narratives and “a Finnish story of the Deluge (the Flood) is of hot water.” (Hastings: Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. IV, p. 548)

What has to be understood is the whole conception of what took place in the Flood needs to be reexamined. Even the word for “flood” (מבול  mabul) does not always specifically mean “flood.” Note that in passages in the New Testament where the Flood is referenced, the Greek word used is kataklusmos (kataklusmos), from which we get the English word cataclysm or cataclysmic. The point is, while all floods to one degree or another can be cataclysmic in effect, not all cataclysmic events are necessarily floods. It is important to note that the Hebrew word  (מבול  mabul) only appears in the Hebrew Bible 12 times, 11 of which are in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. (the remaining time is in Psalm 29:10) We even find in the first passage where this word in referenced that the Lord says: “I do bring a flood (מבול mabul – “a cataclysmic event”) of waters …” (Genesis 6:17) It seems to indicate that to limit the description of this event to that of a “flood” is to miss the intent and power of this word. What took place in the early chapters of Genesis was a complete destruction of everything alive on earth and it looks like that while water was involved, that water was not only very hot, but that it also had corrosive qualities to it. [Much more to say on this later.]

What I hope to show through this short article is that there is much to learn in these early sections of Genesis. While the language is terse and brief, we have to remember that this is what the Lord has provided for us to know about the early earth. Let us take these passages, believe them and be willing to study them carefully asking the Lord to guide our path. There is still much teaching to be had from that good old Book.

Closing comment: As time permits, I hope to bring out more research on this interesting subject in the future as what I have given here is a summary of more research to be published later.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I was wrong and how I intend to make it right: A tested Biblical methodology for addressing traditions and false teachings in Christianity

I was wrong and how I intend to make it right:

A tested Biblical methodology for 
addressing traditions and false teachings in Christianity

Being wrong is one of the finest things that can happen to a person. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be wrong a majority of the time. No one does. But let’s face it, were imperfect. I think most of us are fairly familiar with the Biblical information in this regard.

There is a bad thing about being wrong. It reminds you that it represents a step away from God, a move in the wrong direction. However, God can even use us people moving in the wrong direction for His work.

There are many ways, of course, to be wrong, but when you are someone like me, who writes his opinion about theological subjects, the negative effect can have bigger repercussions. This is what the Lord showed me a few days ago due to some advice I gave to a woman who I do not know personally, but have since come into contact through that magical online universe known as FACEBOOK.

As for the context of this, here is the thread, so you can all see the context of where my foot entered my mouth.

Here is the statement that prompted my moronic advice.
I got up and walked out of my Mother's church last week. The entire pastor's sermon was about how he was so proud that he paddled his kids, even when they were a senior in high school. He kept going on and on about spanking and how it is godly and a necessity to raise children. It really made me sick. I am so glad that I found a church with a pastor that would never preach such a sermon.”
And what did I say in response to this?
“I would like to send you a free copy of my book immediately to give to that pastor. Maybe the best place for you is in that church praying every Sunday for him to change? Maybe after reading it, he may change his mind and repent. I hope so. Thank you for sharing.”
Kristie, let me tell you a fact. Your first instinct as a woman and a mother was the right one. Getting up and leaving was the right thing to do and if I were you, I would never go back.
Now my advice on the surface sounds so nice and touchy feely. It is the right thing to do to now show that dear misguided pastor friend “the truth.” Oh and if we just pray hard enough and sit there and ask God to open the pastors heart, he may change. That is all true and nice and makes me feel good just thinking about it and that is where it is 100% dead wrong.
Look, anyone who has any common sense knows that the chances of that pastor ever coming around are about as possible as you walking into Wal Mart, pulling a three dollar bill out of your wallet and attempting to purchase some goods you wish to buy. Dear friends, in short, it ain’t gonna work!
Why? Because that pastor is a man of God. He is ordained of God to be in the ministry. He is in authority over his congregation. He is responsible for their spiritual development and growth. He is the expert.
Who am I? Just another one of those misguided Christian who doesn’t know Bible truth if it came up and slapped me in the face! Do you mean to tell me that the Bible suggests something different than what our dear pastor friend is teaching? “I mean come on Martin? Are you serious? Can you read English? I mean are you an idiot?”

What will be the reaction? It is the same reaction that we get from Michael Pearl - Pearl has publicly appeared unapologetic (March 2010): “Michael Pearl laughs at his critics.” - http://pearlchildtraining.blogspot.com/2010/03/michael-pearl-laughs-at-critics.html

It is the same reaction we get from Detective Robert Surgenor of the Family Defense Network of Ohio, a well know proponent of corporal punishment and the author of the book “No Fear”. In his book on page 41, Surgenor’s dad, a born again minister, who found the Lord due to a purported heavy equipment accident in which his life was apparently saved, said: ”When I hear that spanking actually produces violent children my sides hurt – from laughing.”

So, are we noticing a trend here? While many of us are still crying over Sean, Lydia and now Hana, these dear people are laughing. With such people, Kristie’s motherly protection response to get up and leave never to come back is the right move, 100% full stop. I was dead wrong in telling her to go back there and pray for that pastor.

Am I saying she (and you and I) should not pray for that pastor? No I am not. But as I said earlier, he is the minister of God, God’s instrument, God’s shepherd to his flock, he is spiritually responsible for the people in his church. What is it going to do to his position of authority in that church to backtrack? How will he, the great man of God, look in the eyes of his people if he now goes down another path? Were he to do that, he would not last 10 minutes in that church. But as long as he toes the party line in his denomination, he is sitting pretty. He is the big boss, the top dog, the cash keeps rolling in, the heads keep blindly nodding up and down and the world is right side up.

So, Kristie, I lead you astray and I have to say that it was a major ‘blow it.’ The thing is, though, if you have a flat tire on your car, are you just going to continue to drive it around with the flat tire, or are you going to get out of the car, pull that spare out of the trunk, get your hands dirty and change the tire and move forward? That is what this paper is an attempt to do.

Good luck if you intend to challenge most church, church hierarchies, ministers and church leaders

As we have shown here, most people in hierarchies created by men and women, especially religious hierarchies, are one of the most resistant groups to change one could possibly imagine. Why? Because their jobs, authority, prestige, relationships, networks, etc are all connected to the perpetuation of what ever party line they are toeing.

Those who promote corporal punishment are especially like this. Do you think for one minute that a leader of a huge mega church or a nationwide ministry with hundreds of radio stations with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars is for one minute going to come out and admit he was wrong? Not a chance! He would lose all of the power, influence and prestige he has built up, not to mention his ministry would come crashing down. No way on earth is he or any one in his position going to change very easily, if at all. Think this is not the case? Ask yourself this? How many people like one of these mega preachers or Christian psychologists or people like them have changed their mind on anything? You just will hardly find an example of that.

To sum up, I am going to add a quote here from my father in this regard who taught me the following: “And the most resistant of all to the gospel truths are the leaders of denominations, churches, church schools, or church universities.  The hierarchies of the established religions are interested in usually only one thing -- the perpetuation of the cult of traditionalism.  They do not want to know the truth, which will cause them to change their ways.  In other words, they claim in many cases, these leaders of denominations, churches, and schools, and universities, to be the ones who are commissioned by Christ to teach the gospel at this time.     They think that they have an ordained status from God, a ticket from Him, to be able to give the message of the gospel to the world, and they look on all others, even academic leaders and the general public, as not being capable of taking this message of the gospel to anyone.  They feel they are the ones in authority to do it.  And those who accept that type of a belief are the most difficult to reach with the truth.

Now the greatest detriment to bringing forth the new truth that God prophesies will come forth at the end of the age from this good old book, called the Holy Bible, are those who are the hierarchical leaders of organized religious organizations.  And if you start to take it to them, I will assure you, in most cases, you are wasting your time.   Don't even take any new truth to religious leaders, that is a church pastor, or a church administrator.  That doesn't mean that the person is necessarily bad.  No.  It's just that he is resistant to the truth, because he is in a position of authority, to be able to maintain the status quo, or, the traditions that have been given to him by his ancestors, by the authorities who ordained him, or commissioned him by the laying on of the hands in the first place.

He gets his living, his job, his prestige, his money, by being able to perpetuate what they consider to be their denominational creeds.  And if you come along with a new teaching from the Bible, and it's absolutely the truth, still they will resist in most cases.  And why will they do that?  Because you are going counter to the teachings which that denomination, or that church, accepts as their creed which governs the lives and the thinking processes of their people.” (Ernest L. Martin – “Principles for Gospel Teaching”: Audio Cassette Recording, ASK:1990)

Let us understand that this information is not new. “Now that's exactly what happened to Christ and the apostles in the First Century.  That is why Christ, when He went to the scribes and the Pharisees, He had a great resistance on their part, because they had already established, in the first Century, traditions.  And the word "traditions" simply means teachings counter to the Scripture (you can find this in the dictionary, if you'd just look it up) counter to the teachings of the Scripture, which they have inaugurated, extra-biblically that is, outside the Scripture, but which are the dominating factors in their belief systems.  That is what traditions are.  That's what the word "traditionalism" means.” (ibid.)

Let me tell you a fact. The doctrine that is trumpeted by many Christian leaders today is a teaching which is found in the Bible, but that teaching is not found clearly in the Christian New Testament! I’ve point this out in my book, “Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy.” Do you realize that not one of the texts which are found in the book of Proverbs and seem to authorize this practice is found in the New Testament? That is right. When you look at the doctrine of corporal punishment, you find many divergent opinions throughout the ages and there is no uniformity of belief concerning this issue. I have also shown this in my book.

Now, there are some things that all Christians believe and agree upon. I’ll give you one teaching that we all agree on. There was a person who lived 2,000 years ago. His name was Jesus. He was God in the flesh. He was born here in Israel, lived and died and was raised from the dead. Almost all Christians would solidly agree on this fact. It is NOT a belief of tradition. It is one solidly found in Scripture.

Corporal punishment of children is not so. Yes, there are seemingly teachings about it in the Old Testament, but when it comes to clarity concerning it in the New Testament, it is interesting how many advocates of the practice are forced to primarily quote Old Testament Scripture for their justification of it. It is not so clear in the New Testament.

Couple that with the fact that later Christians did not develop a unanimity of belief. Many divergent opinions about these texts in Proverbs emerged. I have pointed out that we have  a 3rd century Syrian text known as the Didascalia which interprets the texts in Proverbs related to spanking children as not relating to a literal ‘rod”, but the rod in question are the words, not rods.

O.M. Bakke, an associate professor of Church History at the School of Mission and Theology, Stavanger, Norway wrote a book titled "When Children became People; The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity" This is a scholarly book which is filled with information on children in the ancient world. My copy is already full of underlines, notes and comments. I really could not put it down.

This book is a major contribution to this subject and represents the fullest picture yet of the experience of children in the classical period and the ancient Christian church community. This book is a seriously in depth scholarly examination of this subject. Bakke deserves a huge "thank you" from the whole Christian world seeking the true picture of the experience of children in ancient times. Additional credit should also go to the government of Norway (here was one government program that is doing fantastic things – great job Norway) for their support of this project, which allowed Bakke a whole year to write the book. This is a vital piece of scholarship with some 54 pages of notes!

So what does Bakke say about corporal punishment? A great deal. For example, he quotes a text written in the middle of the third century by the Christian community in Syria saying the following. This quote will certainly give those biblical literalists focusing on the literal interpretation of the "rod" in the book of Proverbs something to think about.

"The Didascalia goes even further in emphasizing the obligation to raise one's children in accordance with Christian ideals. It was composed in Syria in the first half of the third century and combines a church order and pastoral exhortations. The fact that it devotes an entire chapter (though one that is relatively brief) to the upbringing of children makes it the most detailed discussion of the subject in the Christian tradition up to that date. The author underscores that if parents neglect to correct their children, their children will imitate the evil actions of the pagans. Much is at stake here, and this is why the author admonishes parents not to be slow to 'rebuke and correct and teach them; for you will not kill them by chastising them, but rather save them alive.' He writes that such a practice is in keeping with the doctrine of the Lord, and adduces as scriptural proof Proverbs 23:14 ('Chasten thy son, that there may be hope for him: for thou shalt strike him with a rod, and deliver soul from Sheol.') and 13:24 ('Whosoever spareth his rod, hateth his son'). The 'rod' in these texts is not understood literally, but as a metaphor for the Word of God, Jesus Christ; the author draws the conclusion that anyone 'who spares to speak a word of rebuke to his son, hates his son.'" (Pg. 158)

According to this and many other examples I have given in my book, corporal punishment of children looks like a tradition, not a Christian doctrine precisely taught in the New Testament. Here is another quote from my father in this regard:

“Now Christ and the apostles had the same thing that they had to go up against in their day.  And we have it today.  Look at what Christ said in Matthew, chapter 15, beginning in verse 1.  Here were the scribes and Pharisees coming to Him, and He was trying to teach them the truth.  But what happens in regard to traditions of men?  They will believe the traditions, any day, most people will, over the teachings of the truth.  Chapter 15 of Matthew, verse 1:

"Then came to Jesus, scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?  for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.  But he answered and said unto them, Why do you also transgress the
commandment of God by your tradition?"

... You can find what those oral traditions were.  Some of them claim, they said, came directly from Moses through oral tradition.  You could not find a word of it in the Old Testament, especially on this washing of hands, and numerous other doctrines. … , Yes.."Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?"

Now that is what Christ said to the scribes and the Pharisees from Jerusalem.  You see Jerusalem was the capital.    That's where the Temple was.  That's where the headquarters was.  That's where the administrators were.  And the scribes and the Pharisees were the administrators, and they were carrying on with their traditions.  And then it goes on to say, verse 7: "Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

Now that's it.  And that's what traditions are, the commandments of men.  They do not come from the biblical revelation.    And that is our problem that we have today.  Here we live at the end of the 20th Century, and most of our Christian churches, or denominations today, claim to get their teachings directly from the New Testament.” (ibid. - Ernest L. Martin – “Principles for Gospel Teaching”: Audio Cassette Recording, ASK:1990)

Of course, spanking children is one of those teachings. It is a traditional teaching. But while this is the case, many of the key stakeholders and power structures in Christianity epitomized by Kristie’s pastor, hold the majority view concerning this issue.

So this paints a pretty grim picture, but this is the way it is. However, thankfully, all is not lost. Thankfully, there are two groups of people who are receptive to new ideas from the Bible and we are going to consider them now. 

Where you can go and how to do it to advocate for Biblical truths

I know the abovementioned title is a bold statement, but what I am going to tell you now will be something that many of you in fact will be very familiar with and something that many of you are either consciously or unconsciously already doing.

There are two groups of people that I believe we should concentrate our attention on reaching out to build their educational capacity when it comes to issues that many of us have been studying for decades now. These two groups are as follows:

First, go to the general public and second, go to the top scholars in universities, seminary or colleges. These two groups are the most receptive to new information.

The general public are generally speaking practically minded men and women who have to go out and earn a living and care for their families. Kristie I think probably considers herself to be one of these people. She was smart enough to get up and walk out of that church when her motherly protection God inspired inner voice told her that what she was hearing was not inspired by God’s Holy Spirit or from God’s Holy Revelation.

The general public are the most open to new truth. We all remember how the religious authorities in the First Century “feared the masses” because they held Jesus and John the Baptist to be great prophets! Go to the general public directly with the best information you can get and let the practical minded no nonsense everyday man or woman in the street have an opportunity to see a new way of looking at things.

This is exactly what I see taking place around me on a massive scale. One way in which it is taking place is via the web, via blogs, via FACEBOOK, in newsletters, in e-books, in people taking initiatives and speaking out against the status quo and I believe that God is blessing these efforts.

Everyday people are sharing not so everyday information that one will NEVER find preached in most pulpits today, but this information is spreading like wildfire and in fact, it is not wildfire, it is Spirit water, which quenches souls, refreshes, restores, heals, entertains and brings joy.

There is a second group who are also essential to take new information to. This group comprises the top scholars, theologians, academics, professors in institutes of higher learning. People at the very top in particular have often reached such high positions in their respective professions that they are threatened by no one.
Let me give you an example of this. In this case, I am going for the Biblical approach and give you an example of two witnesses of high academic scholars who have shown recent openness to new ways of thinking and in this case we are going to use and example specifically related to corporal punishment.

The first quote comes from Emeritus Professor of the New Testament, I. Howard Marshall.  Dr. I. Howard Marshall, BA (Cambridge), MA, BD, PhD (Aberdeen), DD (Asbury) Emeritus Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Honorary Research Professor; Formerly Chair of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research; President of the British New Testament Society and Chair of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians.

But, where these other works tend to be more academic in their approach, this book has added a nonacademic postscript written at a more down-to-earth level, with abundance of personal insight and experience as well as practical application that parents will find helpful. (I could have profited much from it if it had been published when Joyce and I were bringing up our four children.) Moreover, the approach is conciliatory and gracious toward those who are gently but firmly corrected for not realizing that their approach to Scripture does in fact lead them to move beyond what Scripture says while holding to the supreme authority of Scripture. … And that in its turn will forward what matters most to the author: the development and practice of behavior that is truly biblical and Christian, and so pleasing and glorifying to God as well as commending the gospel to the people.

In short, I enjoyed the book and could not put it down once I started to read it.”

”Foreword - Corporal Punishment and the Bible: A Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic for Troubled Texts - http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/toc/code=2761” – Buy yours here.)

Notice the text in bold. It plainly says that this dear Christian scholar, Prof. Marshall is pointing out that this book breaks new ground. So much so that even he “could not put it down once he started to read it.”

Here is another example from Prof. Webb himself whose comments appeared on this blog just a few short days ago.

It is my hope that my recent book (Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts) will inspire hope and positive dialogue that helps the Christian community move towards something better for our children.  The book outlines how Marilyn (my wife) and I changed our minds about spanking.  Like the Pearls we were severely deluded in thinking that the rod was God’s way.  But over time we learned how to read and understand the Bible differently.” (Comments by Prof. Webb – http://samuelmartin.blogspot.com/2011/10/v-behaviorurldefaultvmlo.html)

In these two statements, we see two top theologians whose professional job it is is to interpret the Bible and help it make sense for the non-expert saying basically: “We are here presenting something new which we think reflects well on what the Bible teaches.” As for me and my house, given the choice between the preacher that Kristie walked out on and these two Bible scholars, I am going with the later.

Scholars have pushing the envelope, challenging the status quo, putting their ideas out there, publishing first and talking later in their job descriptions. The General Public also are amenable to new ideas.

Churches, church leaders, church councils, church committees, individual pastors are often the most resistant to change because they have the most to lose and they are also holding fast to their traditions from which their power originates.


I know that when many of your read this, you will see that you have already been doing this. You’ve been searching for accurate information from top people, from academics and scholars and you are now taking it to the general public through the means you have available. This is what I am doing and I think solid results are being produced. I say lets move forward and keep it up. I believe that God is blessing this approach and His Name is being honored and glorified due to the same.

Let’s continue in “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. (I Peter 3:15)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book giveaway ends November 1

"Corporal Punishment in the Bible - A Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts" to be given away on SamuelMartin.blogspot.com - 
Give away ends November 1 2011

Dear friends,

I am delighted to continue endorsing strongly Professor William Webb's book. I can't recommend it enough.

So, I am pleased to announce that I am giving a copy of this book away. This is the first book I've ever given away on my blog and I am pleased that it is this book.
To win this book, all you have to do send me an email (your email address will be kept confidential not to be shared with anyone) with your first and last name to [info@biblechild.com] answering the following three questions:
1.  I have read your book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy - YES or NO
2. I have read Professor Webb's book - YES or NO
3. Pick one of the following: 
A. If I don't win the Webb book, I am planning to buy it.
B. I have already bought the Webb book and plan to give away the book if I win it.
C. I have not yet purchased the book by Prof. Webb.

So that is all there is to it. Except for one other thing.
The first name drawn will win the Webb book. Then, I will be drawing another name. The first name that I draw thereafter who answers the question "I have read your book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy" with a "NO", will win a free autographed copy of my book.
I look forward to hear from you very soon. This drawing ends 23:59AM Jerusalem time on November 1.

Note: My ebook can be downloaded here for free -


Thursday, October 13, 2011

A new message from Janet Heimlich, Author of the book "Breaking Their Wills: Shedding Light On Religious Maltreatment"

A new message from Janet Heimlich, Author of the book 
"Breaking Their Wills: Shedding Light On Religious Maltreatment"

At 7pm on October 16, I will speak in Seattle at the University Temple United Methodist Church about religious child maltreatment. As it happens, tragically, there has been a case close to home here. Last May, 13-year-old Hana Williams died after suffering months of physical and emotional abuse. According to a detective's affidavit, the cause of death was hypothermia, as the underweight and malnourished child was found outside in 40-degree weather.
Hana had been adopted from Ethiopia by Carri and Larry Williams a couple years before, along with a boy, now ten years old, who was not related to Hana. Normally, children who come from poverty-stricken areas of the world thrive after they are brought to this country. But Hana and her adopted brother entered a world that was likely more hellish than anything they would have endured back home.

According to police records, both children were physically punished constantly for the most minor of infractions. For example, Hana was expected to stand still within a space that was one-foot wide, and her brother, who was deaf, angered his parents when he did not respond them stamping their feet on a concrete floor.

Witnesses say that the children were frequently beaten and made to sleep on the hard floor. Hana was forced to spend hours outside outside in the bitter cold and sleep in a barn. She was also repeatedly denied food and locked in a dark closet for days, while her parents played Bible readings on-tape and Christian music. The Williams have been arrested on murder charges and child abuse charges in connection with the boy.

Even more devastating, we now know that the Williams were followers of Michael Pearl. They had a copy of his pro-corporal punishment book To Train Up a Child in their home, and witnesses say they used a number of Pearl's "training" techniques, including spanking the children with plastic plumbing pipe. Hana's body was covered with bruises and other signs of having sustained beatings.

We can sit and wonder, how could parents abuse children in this way? But we do know that, if what the witnesses say are true, Hana is the third child to die at the hands of those who follow Pearl's teachings. As I have pointed out to the media, Pearl is a minister who uses his authority and Bible verses to prove his message -- that children must unquestioningly obey their elders and that corporal punishment is a God-approved way to gain that obedience.

Pearl's book has sold in the hundreds of thousands. Surely, not everyone who buys it abuses their children. But we must ask, how many children whose parents follow Pearl are suffering on a daily basis? Why do bookstores, such as Amazon, continue to sell such a dangerous book? How many more children must die before Michael Pearl finally realizes that he, a man who has no training in child psychology, should adopt compassionate disciplinary techniques or get out of the childrearing consulting business? (Janet's comments end here)

It is my honor to have Janet on this blog. I urge all of my visitor to support her by buying her book and benefiting from it. In this regard, please see link below. Thank you. Samuel Martin.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Professor Curtis Hutt of the University of Nebraska shares his view concerning the ongoing debate about violence against children

Dear friends, 

Curtis Hutt
Great ready for a intellectual treat. Do yourself a favor and read and reread the following guest post from my close friend and teacher, mentor, a scholar and a keen observer of our times. Ladies, you'll particularly appreciate Professor Curtis Hutt's perspective here. 

Professor Hutt splits his time in Nebraska and Jerusalem teaching in both places. He brings a very unique perspective to his work with a solid background in Biblical studies. 
Curtis Hutt received a Ph.D. in Religion and Critical Thought from Brown University in 2007, where he wrote his dissertation on religion and the ethics of historical belief. 

Since graduating, Hutt has taught classes and mentored graduate students at a Christian research institution in Jerusalem in the anthropology of religion, the history of women in religions of the ancient Mediterranean, and comparative religious ethics.  

He also has graduate degrees in philosophy and history.


Any of you who are anywhere near the University of Nebraska, run do not walk to Prof. Hutt's classroom. I believe that online options are also available through www.uhl.ac, my home institution. 

I am deeply honored that he has graciously taken his time to speak out in favor of children. 

Thanks Curtis. Rest assured that this will not be the last time you hear from Prof. Curtis Hutt on this blog. In fact, anytime he has anything to say, the door is open, Curtis. Thanks so much. His comments start below.

"J.Z. Smith, the famous historian of religion at the University of Chicago/Divinity School, several years ago argued in his article “Religion, Religions, Religious” that IF all religions shared one thing in common (btw: he does not think this is the case) it would be the tendency of their followers to break the world up into “Us versus Them.”  Smith certainly, following others like Mary Douglas, thinks that many religions/cultures are xenophobic and often engage in acts of violence against "others" who are not part of their group.   While many Christians in the United States claim not to be “religious” but instead “spiritual,” recent and sometimes longstanding practices indicate that they do not escape this base inclination.  First, Christianity is clearly a religion like many others, and the need to deny this fits perfectly with Smith’s tentative definition outlined above.  Second, self-identified Christians like the members of other religious groups often embrace acts of brutality against “others” – something very different from what I think is promoted in the Christian Testament. 

Sam – I think your work on kids, though not overtly political, occupies a critical position on the frontlines in the fight against brutality in Christianity.  Kids don’t need to have their sinful nature beaten out of them.   If Jesus had kids, I can’t ever imagine him doing such.  Instead, Jesus identified his permissive attitude towards little children with the kingdom of God. (Mk. 10:14)   It does my heart good to read of your work.  It stands in such contrast to what is found in books like Leon Podles’ The Church Impotent – The Feminization of Christianity.  Podles in his ignorance doesn't understand that Christianity from its beginnings was "feminized" by the presence of disproportionately large numbers of women (like slaves) adopting the faith.  This is documented in numerous publications on early Christianity in recent years.  Extrapolating on the work of Rodney Stark, one might even argue that Christianity fits the mold of a women's religion in the Roman Empire rather than a religion of men. I do not believe like Paul and Sandra Coughlin that “Christian Nice Guys” need to be toughened up.  Enough of Chuck Norris’ hard-hitting Christianity and Stephen Sawyer’s  “boxer Jesus.”  By exorcising mercy and compassion from Christianity, Jesus and his message are betrayed. 

Comments from Curtis Hutt end here. 

PS. Prof. Hutt mentions Rodney Stark here. I am hoping very soon to have Prof. Stark join this discussion. We'll  have much more to say going forward on some of the tidbits here referenced about those disproportionate numbers of women in the early Christian Church. Please join me in reading the Gospel of Luke tonight and see women and mothers everywhere. We will not let Prof. Hutt get away with not coming back and telling us about those numerous publications talking about women in the ancient Church. We are waiting for that. 

"Corporal Punishment in the Bible - A Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts" to be given away on SamuelMartin.blogspot.com

"Corporal Punishment in the Bible - A Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts" to be given away on SamuelMartin.blogspot.com - 
Give away ends November 1 2011

Dear friends,

I am delighted to continue endorsing strongly Professor William Webb's book. I can't recommend it enough.
Here is where you can get your copy - http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/toc/code=2761 

So, I am pleased to announce that I am giving a copy of this book away. This is the first book I've ever given away on my blog and I am pleased that it is this book.
To win this book, all you have to do send me an email (your email address will be kept confidential not to be shared with anyone) with your first and last name to [info@biblechild.com] answering the following three questions:
1.  I have read your book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy - YES or NO
2. I have read Professor Webb's book - YES or NO
3. Pick one of the following: 
A. If I don't win the Webb book, I am planning to buy it.
B. I have already bought the Webb book and plan to give away the book if I win it.
C. I have not yet purchased the book by Prof. Webb.

So that is all there is to it. Except for one other thing.
The first name drawn will win the Webb book. Then, I will be drawing another name. The first name that I draw thereafter who answers the question "I have read your book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy" with a "NO", will win a free autographed copy of my book.
I look forward to hear from you very soon. This drawing ends 23:59AM Jerusalem time on November 1.

Note; My book can now be downloaded for free from this site.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Want Information on Jewish Scholars Against Corporal Punishment? Read these!

In mentioning this book - Munk, Sparing the Rod: A Torah Perspective on Reward and Punishment in Education: Mishor Publishing, Bnei Brak, 1989 - available via Judaica Express I hope, 1-800-2-BOOKS-1 - I thought it appropriate not to miss an opportunity to mention and strongly endorse another excellent book which is quoted often in the above mentioned book - http://www.feldheim.com/planting-and-building-in-education.html - Do yourself a favor and buy this book.

I know that I have reread mine half a dozen times and will probably read it another half a dozen times because it is so full of powerful Biblical teachings.
Thanks to the book's translator, Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen (www.lawrencekelemen.com) - whose own book 'To Kindle a Soul' is an absolute must have. Rabbi Kelemen is a strong opponent of corporal punishemt I am happy to say and thankfully his book has been well received. If you don't know about it, I urge you to join the more than 30,000 others who did buy it and were blessed by it.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Prof. Dawn Devries, contributor to "The Child in Christian Thought" shares her view on discipline

Dear friends,

Please note my recent FACEBOOK thread where Prof. Dawn Devries, a New Testament Scholar and Systematic Theologian from Union Theological Seminary in Virgina comments on the Pearl's book.


Many of you may know Prof. Devries from her contribution to the book "The Child in Christian Thought" where she points out concerning the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, "known as the father of modern theology" that "Schleiermacher rejects external enticements as inconsistent with Christian faith. In particular, he denounces the use of corporal punishment with children. Discipline is not about punishment, but about promoting an orderly life."

I give this book my strongest possible endorsement.

Here is the conversation with Prof. Devries important comments.

Samuel S. Martin Dawn .. As a mother and a New Testamant scholar and a systematic theologian, we'd love to hear your view on Michael Pearl and his teachings if you'd grace us with your vast knowledge? I know it is a bit on the spot, but we'd love to hear anything you have to share especially in light of what you said about in the above referenced book.

 Dawn DeVries Samuel, I can't render a judgment unless I actually read the book, which I haven't done to this point. But I firmly believe that my Christian faith convicts me to treat little people as human beings created in the image of God who must be treated with dignity and respect. I do not believe that violence against another person ever teaches them anything except hate and the cycle of violence. So I firmly oppose anyone who suggests that God someone encourages us to "discipline" our children through violence and force. I do believe that Schleiermacher was a little ahead of his time in recognizing these truths--even in an age when corporal punishment was more the norm than it is in our world. And I am heartsick about the little girl who died because her parents claimed to be following Mr. Pearl's child-rearing advice. That's all I can say for now.

I will be making sure that Prof. Devries secures a copy of Mr. Pearl's book for further review and will hopefully be sharing some of her thoughts in the future in this regard. 

What do Wives, Children and Good Samaritans have in Common?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Why I think the Pearl book should be removed from Amazon and any other internet bookstore or other distribution channel

Why I think the Pearl book should be removed from Amazon and any other internet bookstore or other distribution channel

What if the life of one innocent child, like Lydia Schatz who was seven years old when she died, were to be saved because that book is not on Amazon? Should the book be removed to save one life? I say "yes" resoundingly! I say you have to protect children whose parents could potentially get a hold of that book and take its teachings too far. We are now talking about matters of life and death here. Lydia Schatz and other children have had their life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the ability to love, stolen from them permanently. This is the ultimate human rights violation: the violation of the right to live! In my view, the book "To Train Up A Child" should be illegal and should not be sold in any way, shape or form, but today in many countries the political systems are influenced by people who continue to support the corporal punishment of children. That is their right and that is what the majority still wants. I personally think that in the absence of a law banning the information, people who care have to do what they can and try to take steps in the interim to protect the lives of the innocent people (in this case children) from those people who take things to extremes. One way to do that is to try to influence and stop distribution channels which make promulgation of the information easy to obtain. Also, these authors hide behind the law and say their arguments are covered by freedom of religion. So, we have to do what we can to try to stop them because they are currently protected by the law. Being a law abiding citizen, I believe one must work within the legal framework they have to try to right wrongs that exist.

People for centuries have been dealing with this issue of corporal punishment and religious scholars have always sided on the imperative to protect human life, especially innocent human life that cannot protect itself. Occasionally this means protecting innocent human life even from the people who brought that life into the world (or who are responsible for protecting that life like the adoptive parents of Lydia Schatz, whose actions contributed to her death and who plead guilty to the charges against them and are currently paying their debt to society for the wrongs they have done.)

Some 1,700 years ago, Rabbinical scholars grappled with a case which forced them to act to protect all children. I refer to this case on page 39 of my book “Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy” saying: “In this regard, children should never be threatened with punishment at a later time because of a key legal case in which a parent threatened his child with a beating at a later time and the child went and committed suicide. This event in Jewish legal history has profoundly affected all interpretations surrounding corporal punishment of children since the time when this event took place over 1700 years ago.)” The effect was that because of this individual case, the Rabbis ruled that to avoid this ever happening again, parents could not threaten their children with a beating to be administered at a later time.

Today, in the absence of laws like the above referenced one which are designed to protect all children, even from their parents, in this environment, one has to work to do what they can to protect innocent children. That is why I say, ask the distribution channels for this material to cut it off.

I take this issue very personally as you can tell and look on it in a very familial way. Why? In Acts 17:28, St. Paul speaking to the men of Athens said: “'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' So, if we are ‘His offspring,’ which I believe is true, then we are all God’s children, but the Bible speaks of the third and fourth generations.

Generally speaking in life, we are normally aware of either three or perhaps four generations in our lives. Most of us knew our grand parents (the third generation) and occasionally great grandparents (fourth generation). Each person finds themselves in the generational level that they are in.

I am in the generation of being a parent (second generation) to two children (first generation). Since all men are brothers, as Paul said, the children of one Father, God, then other parents are, according to Scripture, my brothers and sisters. And logically this would mean that I am the ‘uncle’ of their children according to the way God looks at it.

As the ‘uncle’ of Lydia Schatz, Hana Williams, Sean Paddock and every other child on this earth, I will do what I believe is needed (and what I believe the Lord would have any one who cares about their family members to do) to protect those children when my misguided brothers and sisters (their parents) and the legal systems (in numerous countries) have failed them. Where parent and legal system fail, we need to do what we can to protect life and that is why I favor seeing that book removed from Amazon and any other forum where it can be bought and could potentially influence someone to do what was done to my nieces and nephews, Lydia, Sean and now Hana. This is now a matter of saving life.