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Theological Foundations of the Statement

In the Church (today and in the past), corporal punishment has been justified on narrow interpretations of the Bible. Yet the Bible and Jesus’ own teachings value children as gifts to the community and as bearers of God’s Image. This section of our site explores how a deeper understanding of the Bible and a richer theology of childhood strengthens the Church’s commitment to   reconciliation and child protection, and helps us all to honour the full humanity and contributions of children.

Dr. Marcia Bunge is a prominent leader in the international conversation about theology and child protection. She was a theological contributor to the Joint Statement on Child Protection Issues by the World Council of Churches and UNICEF (2016). She is a Kempe-Haruv Fellow for the International Initiative on Child Protection (Kempe Center, University of Colorado; Haruv Institute, Hebrew University of Jerusalem). Click on the  buttons below to read some of her work.

The Reverend Dr. William Morrow is a Professor in the School of Religion at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He has spent much of his professional life teaching candidates for Christian ministry, and is an active ordained Anglican minister. His research focuses on questions of law and violence in relation to both the communities that created and transmitted biblical literature, and contemporary experiences of religiously motivated violence. Click on the button to read his interpretations of passages in the Book of Proverbs in relation to physical punishment of children.

Victor Veith is a former child abuse prosecutor who gained national attention for his work to address child abuse in rural communities. He went on to direct the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse and founded the National Child Protection Training Center. He is President of the Academy on Violence and Abuse and serves on the board of directors of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). In addition to his work as attorney, he also has a Master's degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary and has published a number of theological works pertaining to the spiritual impact of child abuse and neglect. 

Dr. Bill Webb is Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto, Canada. He has worked as a pastor, chaplain, and professor for more than twenty years. In addition to conference speaking ministry, he has published several articles and books, including Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts (InterVarsity, 2011). Click on his picture to read some of his thoughts on Corporal Punishment in the Bible.