I haven't been reading my favorite message board, Gentle Christian Mothers (GCM), since it is currently Lent. A fellow blogger, however, posted this statement. So, I went to the GCM facebook page to copy down the statement and pass it along. I stand in solidarity with my GCM friends and the many other Christian parents, who reject the teachings of the Pearls and choose to parent with grace and compassion, as Jesus taught us.
A GCM Statement: It is Time to Speak Out Against the Teachings of Michael and Debi PearlThis statement may be re-posted in it's entirety.
The admins of Gentle Christian Mothers (GCM) have felt led at this time, as we mourn the loss of seven year old Lydia Shatz, to issue a statement of disagreement with Michael and Debi Pearl and their child rearing methods. Not only are their methods extreme and outside the realm of normal and healthy child rearing practices, but the doctrinal foundation for these methods contain a level of heresy, including denial of the Christian doctrine of original sin, which leave them without biblical basis and at odds with the truth that all are in need of salvation which has been provided through Jesus alone.
Though the Pearls affirm the value of relationships in parenting in their attractive "tying heartstrings" message, their harsh teachings are in diametric contrast to building healthy relationships. They advocate "training" and "chastisement" of children, starting in infancy, using methods and means not described in Scripture -- including using ¼ inch plumber’s supply line as a spanking instrument and claiming that a "proper spanking leaves children without breath to complain" -- for stated purposes of absolving guilt and cleansing the child's soul.
The combination of an adversarial us vs. them mindset where the parents must "win," physically "disciplining" children until they surrender their will and show total submission, and false doctrine makes the Pearls' methods dangerous. They present a very distorted picture to the world of what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a Christian parent in the world today. It is time for Michael and Debi Pearl to be held accountable for their teachings. We urge other Christians to join us in speaking out against what Michael and Debi Pearl have been teaching for far too long.
1. Godly discipline turned deadly: A controversial child "training" practice comes under fire -- this time from Christians themselves, Lynn Harris, Feb. 22, 2010
2. Second Council of Orange (529)
3. Teaching tape on Romans 5:12-21 by M. Pearl
4. Michael Pearl on Original Sin: An Analysis, Catez Stevens, October 11, 2005
5. To Train Up a Child, M. Pearl, D. Pearl, chapter 1
6. "In Defense of Biblical Chastisement Part 2," M. Pearl, October 2001
8. "Angry Child," M. Pearl, August 1998
9. "In Defense of Biblical Chastisement Part 1," M. Pearl, May 2001
For more resources, check out: Why Not Train a Child?