Pearls Before Swine: Paige Coleman Responds to Recent Media Attacks Against Michael Pearl
The Bible says that true followers of Christ will be hated by the world (1 Jn. 3:13), that those who are friends of the world are not only enemies of God, but adulterers and adulteresses, too (Jas. 4:4), and that anyone who loves the world is a follower of Satan (1 Jn. 2:16).
Further, those who are in Christ Jesus, who live godly lives, will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12).
While many of us cower in the face of persecution, perplexity, trouble, and disapprobation, the stalwart faith of the true Christian protects and shields her from distress, despair, rejection, and destruction (2 Cor. 4:8-9). While many of us shy away from our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who suddenly come under worldly attack (Dr. Kent Hovind is a case in point), the true follower of Christ expects it, suffers it, and, victors over it. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:3).
The Bible teaches that because true Christians live in Christ, they are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 4:10-11). As a result, they are partakers of the Lord’s suffering and are therefore partakers in His glory (1 Pet. 4:13, 5:1).
Debi Pearl is one such person. I have never met her, but her book “Created to be his Help Meet”, which is based on Biblical wisdom, changed my life and my marriage for the better. For her faithfulness to the Word of God, I call her friend.
How can one be delivered unto death more than once? The Biblical answer to this seeming impossibility is that true Christians daily crucify their flesh in order to walk in the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:24). This is accomplished by self-denial, something very few people – let alone nominal Christians – are ever able to understand because they’ve never actualized it. No one can experience “abundant life” the way God intended it (Jn. 10:10) without wilful, cheerful submission to Jesus Christ. A resentful or begrudged submission is not submission in the eyes of God and it demonstrates a lack of understanding. Because of their disobedience to the Bible and unwillingness to submit to Christ, people such as Larry and Carri Williams who claim to be Christian but don’t follow Christ will receive full and final justice from the One true God. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7:23).
I suggest that so few are able to actualize the amazing, God-given gift of abundant life because they were never properly chastised as “children”. “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Heb. 12:8). The Bible teaches that those who belong to Christ are given opportunities to obey God. If they receive God’s instruction in grateful and cheerful recognition of who they are in Christ (beloved children), they prove that they are His. If they spurn these opportunities, calling them unfair or unnecessary, they prove that they belong to the world (illegitimate children). As such, they lack the appropriate self-discipline and self-denial that Christ requires of true believers.
Recently, the Pearls have come under malicious attack for a book Michael Pearl wrote 20 years ago: “To Train up a Child”. 20 years ago it was completely logical, justifiable, and common to punish disobedient children with a spanking. It was also, unfortunately, common that wayward parents would abuse their authority and apply a spanking in anger. Today, common sense is less common, spankings are considered unacceptable, and because children become more disobedient, parents are angrier.
The Bible teaches clearly that anger is a sin (Ps. 37:8, Jas. 1:20). Those who chastise in anger while using either a scolding or a spanking are abusive and ungodly. Most of us know how it feels to be at the receiving end of an angry scolding. What a difference it has to an admonition that is given with a kind voice devoid of hostile frustration!
Angry reprimands are no less mentally damaging than spankings are physically damaging. In fact, the reason that a spanking was traditionally aimed at the soft part of the bum was to ensure minimal physical damage while at the same time supplying the necessary release of guilt. Children at the receiving end of Biblical chastisement knew that they were loved and grew up to be well-adjusted, self-disciplined, and productive adults. Dare I say that they also grew up to be good parents.
When we sin, the Bible tells us that we tremble in expectation of justice (Heb. 10:27). This is because the moral law is written by God on our hearts (Rom. 2:15). We are painfully aware of violating it. The result of sin on the tender heart of a child is guilt. When a particular behaviour is forbidden by a parent, and the consequences of disobedience are clear, a child not only expects to receive the promised punishment, but needs it. Children do not have well-practised psychological coping mechanisms for guilt. A delivered punishment erases the guilt for them, freeing their hearts from self-recrimination.
Time and again, experienced parents and child psychologists alike witness this amazing phenomenon. Children who go unpunished for disobedience invariably learn to dislike themselves, resorting to acts of self-loathing and violence toward themselves as well as to acts of hostility and anger towards their overly-permissive parents.
Let me be clear about what I mean when I say “punishment”. A punishment is simply a negative consequence of disobedience. The “negative” reaction can be the withdrawal of a privilege, an extra chore or duty, or some other sort of delayed gratification. It can also be a “switch”, a “spanking”, or the use of what the Bible (and Michael Pearl) call a “rod”. As long as the punishment is clearly anticipated by a child before the disobedient behaviour arises and the punishment is given in love and never in anger, then it is justified. Historically, courts of law have seen the logic of this and have substantiated it.
In a society that is quickly losing its grasp on truth, elevating tolerance above logic, glorifying bondage to Satan over freedom in Christ, calling the just unjust and the unjust just, is it any wonder that Michael Pearl has been targeted in the media instead of the actual perpetrator of the abuse?
I recently read an article posted by theexaminer.com. Of the 1,066 comments left by respondents at the time I read it, more than 20 of them resorted to abusive language and name-calling with each other in writing. It led me to wonder with sadness and sobriety what kind of parents these respondents are. If they lack so much self-discipline that they cannot carry on a calm and intelligent conversation online, what do they do in anger to their children when no human third party is there to see?
Allow me to share with you something about my experience growing up. While I forget every case but one of the corporal punishment I received, I remember every psychologically damaging word thrown at me. They hurt far more, and the negative effects of them lasted far longer.
For those of you who left nasty comments online, please be adequately informed before you raise your voice in protest. Humbly consider what you say to your children and what you say to others. If you call for the banning of “To Train up a Child” because of the actions of those who read it, then by following your own logic, I could call for the banning of the examiner’s website. After all, the author of the article clearly provoked you to anger. Let’s blame him instead of you! If Michael Pearl is responsible for Carri Williams’ anger, then the examiner is responsible for yours.
If you are a Christian, carefully consider the source of the articles you read and soberly consider the devices of Satan that are within your midst. Be well-informed in the ways of Christ so that you can identify a lie when you see one. Remember that those who are “falsely accused for [their] good conversation in Christ” (1 Pet. 3:16) will be justified, avenged, and glorified by God the Father Himself. I would not want to be put to an open shame before God for pointing an unjust finger at them while on this earth, would you?
I don’t blame Michael Pearl for what Carri Williams did. I blame Carri Williams. Forgive me if I err, but I may well be erring on the side of logic, the Logos.
Thanks for reading. Paige