Is Michael Pearl Responsible For a Girl’s Death?

by Matthew Raley

A few weeks ago, a prayer request went out at church for a family whose child had died suddenly. We later learned that the unnamed family was that of Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, now charged with the torture and murder of their 7-year-old adopted daughter Lydia.

The couple will enter pleas on March 18th.

Many of our people know the Schatzes personally through home school groups, so the story has already hit them hard. Could the couple really have done this? What could have motivated them?

But Butte County D.A. Mike Ramsey asserts a “direct connection” between Lydia’s killing and the teachings of Michael Pearl, raising the killing to another level. The story has been picked up by Salon, which had already run a critical examination of Michael and Debi Pearl in 2006.

Many of our people read the Pearls. Privately, I have been asked several times over the years about the Pearls’ teachings, and my answer has always been, “They’re authoritarians. Run away.” I give the same answer about Bill Gothard and Gary Ezzo, other child-rearing gurus. Since Lydia’s death, however, I have been looking more closely at the Pearls’ teaching, and I need to make my views public.

Before doing so, I want to be specific about where I think Michael Pearl’s responsibility lies in relation to Lydia’s death. Local law enforcement investigators and national journalists have not accused the Pearls of advocating child abuse, being careful to quote Pearl’s warnings against doing physical harm to children.

These critics are making a different argument, namely that Michael Pearl irresponsibly encourages abusers, even if the encouragement is unintentional.

I agree, and I want to show you that the encouragement toward abuse is in Pearl’s theology. His false gospel imposes mandates on parents that go far beyond what God requires.

1. Michael Pearl does not believe in the imputation of Adam’s sin to all human beings.

He writes, “When a descendent of Adam reaches a level of moral understanding (sometime in his youth) he becomes fully, personally accountable to God and has sin imputed to him, resulting in the peril of eternal damnation.” Pearl adds, “When man reaches his state of moral accountability, and, by virtue of his personal transgression, becomes blameworthy, his only hope is a work of grace by God alone.”

This seems like a minor quibble, but it is profound. The Bible’s teaching that all human beings have an inherited sin nature means that no human institution has the ability to purge sin and do away with guilt. Only Christ can change our nature. Throughout history, teachers consistently attack this doctrine in order to tell their followers, “If you put yourselves under my authority, you can learn the secret to getting rid of your sins.”

Pearl imposes on parents the mandate to form godliness in a child before the “age of accountability.” Pearl believes that parents have a direct role in saving children. The “hope” he offers in “a work of grace by God alone” is for those whose parents failed.

2. Michael Pearl believes that spanking delivers a child from guilt.

Because Pearl does not believe you inherit a sin nature, he articulates a new doctrine of salvation that is dependent on a parent’s will. In his article, “In Defense of Biblical Chastisement”, he writes,

When a child is bound in self-blame and low self-esteem, parents are not helpless. God has given them the gift of the rod. The rod can bring repentance, but it goes much deeper than that. The rod in the hands of a righteous authority will supply the child’s soul with that moment of judgment that he feels he so deserves. Properly applied, with instruction, it will absolve the child of guilt, cleanse his soul, and give him a fresh start through a confidence that all indebtedness is paid [my italics].

That simply annuls the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Notice that forgiveness is granted only on the basis of the punishment of the sinner, and that a human “righteous authority” is the source of this “gift.” “All indebtedness is paid,” Pearl says, not by Christ, but by the rod. No parent can believe this statement without also believing that he or she has the authority to cleanse a child of guilt.

Pearl goes much further:

To the child, a righteous parent is a surrogate god, representing the rule of law and the bar of justice. When the child is yet too young to fathom God, he is nonetheless able to relate to his parents in the same manner that he will later relate to God. The properly administered rod is restorative as nothing else can be. It is indispensable to the removal of guilt in your child. His very conscience (nature) demands punishment, and the rod supplies the needs of his soul, releasing him from his guilt and self-condemnation. It is the ultimate enforcer, preserving the child in authority and discipline until he is old enough to submit himself to The Eternal God.

These statements are the logical and inevitable application of his semi-Pelagian view of sin. Before the age of accountability, O parent, thou art a god.

(For another detailed treatment of Pearl’s teachings, cf this analysis.)

To spank a child as a reasoned limitation on his or her behavior is one thing. But to imagine that you are purging the child of the guilt of sin, and that the pain is psychologically purifying, is to cross into another rationale entirely. In the wrong mind, it forms the imperative to “give” more and more pain. Such a mind would ignore Pearl’s warnings against abuse, to be sure, but not necessarily his logic.

The news accounts of “quarter-inch plumbing supply line” sold by Pearl are chilling, but nowhere near as disturbing as the doctrine he sells.


47 thoughts on “Is Michael Pearl Responsible For a Girl’s Death?

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  1. I am sickened by what I have read, not only here, but also in the ER. I ache over the death of a little girl. I didn’t know that this has happened.
    I am familiar with Mike and Debbie Pearl. My wife and I have read portions of thier literature. Thankfully, due to our discerning Church and the grace of God, we read with a grain of salt -which ended up needing to be a salt shaker. I remember being uncomfortable with Pearl’s exegesis. Of course, I couln’t articulate in terms nowhere near the way you have here, but my wife and I did notice the lack of orthodoxy.
    We do think, regarless of the Pearl’s theological misunderstandings, some of their training strategies are useful. But these strategies are not their original ideas. Such as, teaching a child not to touch a light socket by pointing to it and saying ‘no touch.’ If the child touches it, he receives a tiny spanking. After repeating the above steps three times, our son no longer touches light sockets. Great, this strategy worked! However, this training holds zero force to weaken or to prepare-for-change my son’s enmity with God. That is the work of God ALONE. We train him not to touch the light socket so that he will not get shocked.
    If one adopts an erroneous way of (theological) thinking, that strong current can sweep one to very dangerous and destructive shores. When it comes to Pearl, I say ditch his theology at all cost. For he has concluded (perhaps indirectly) that the Atonement is insufficient – that Christ is insufficient.

  2. You do the Pearls a profound disservice by quoting them out of context. You should have provided links to their writings from which these quotes come so that we could better understand them. The Pearls may not be perfect in doctrine, but neither are you. Their doctrine of “original sin” or whether they are “Pelagian” or “semi-Pelagian” has no relevance. Here is relevance: Do the Pearls seek to follow God as revealed in Jesus? Have they raised children which do the same? Have they promulgated teaching which helps parents raise their children to love and obey God?

    I have read two books by the Pearls and I would say the answer to all three questions is “Yes.” But I, not the Pearls, am responsible for the way I have raised my five children (ages 16 to 28). I, not the Pearls, would be responsible for abusing or harming my children, even if I based my actions on their teachings. Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, not the Pearls, bear the responsibility for their sins. If we blame the Pearls, then ultimately we must accuse God for giving us the maxim, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” and many others like it. Are you finding fault with God, or do you claim to perfectly understand him?

    Actually, what you quote above from the Pearls is quite wise. More would be wise to obey Biblical commands for discipline, rather than the world’s useless philosophies. “Godly discipline brings sorrow,” and what is sorrow but repentance? And what does repentance bring except the cleansing of one’s conscience? So we see that the Pearls are not far off in what you have quoted. But it seems to me that you have slandered them indeed.

  3. Zedek,

    The links are in blue. Michael Pearl is responsible for teaching a system of doctrine that turns the parent into a “surrogate god.” The living God has no surrogates.

    Since you’re a devotee of the order of Melchizedek, I am surprised that you don’t know the true source of the cleansing of the conscience. It is not godly sorrow, or repentance, but faith alone in the blood of Christ alone (Hebrews 9.11-14).

    Your admission that both you and Pearl believe that repentance purifies us is further evidence that I have not slandered Pearl at all.

  4. This is what pastors who allow the Pearls’ materials in their churches need to hear. Pearl himself states he is now sinless, and has been living a sinless life for years. (“Living Parallel Lives in the Same Space”, No Greater Joy, Jan.-Feb. 2005.)

    The grassroots effort has been building steam and is great, but what is really going to impact this person is cutting out or cutting back his income stream. And that won’t happen until the pastors, preachers, and priests wake up and start denouncing him from the pulpit.

    Thank you for doing your part!

  5. The scary thing about the “homeschooling trend” is that many Fundamentalist Christians can abuse their children without anyone ever finding out. No wonder radical fundies love to homeschool so much.

    A real Christian knows its wrong to beat your child.

    I don’t want to refer to these children as the “daughters” of the Schatz’s. These girls were adopted from Africa. There is a lot of child trafficking and babies sold to orphanages in other countries, to satisfy the demand for Western adoptions. These girls may very well have living, biological parents who are searching for them. The Schatz’s are NOT the real parents, period. And they had no business adopting.

  6. I do not defend Pearl’s theology, especially if he says he has reached “sinless perfection,” as one of these commenters said. If anyone has a link to his site that says that, I would apprecite you emailing me at

    Matthew, I think you may not fully understand the first command with a promise, “Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you.” (Exodus 20:12 KJ2000) It is true indeed that parents stand in the place of God to their children and that they have been invested with authority from God to teach them his ways. It is also true that God gave us the following commands:

    1) Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15 KJ2000)

    2) Withhold not correction from the child: for if you beat him with a rod, he shall not die. (Proverbs 23:13 KJ2000)

    3) The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame. (Proverbs 29:15 KJ2000)

    If someone can produce a quote and link to a source of Michael Pearl teaching that someone may Biblically “beat” their child in the way that produced this death being discussed, then please show me. I will repudiate him immediately. But, if you use this example of warped and foolish parents killing their child as a reason not to spank a child with a rod, then you deny God and his son, Jesus, by contradicting them. This is what Jude means in his book.

    What does Jesus mean when he says through John,
    “And she brought forth a male child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne?” (Revelation 12:5 KJ2000)

    If you want to know and don’t, then you may want to read some posts on my website at


  7. When are people going to start being accountable for what they do and stop blaming others!! It so much easier to blame the Pearls then the parent who went way to far. If you have truly read his books he talks about the difference of training and abuse. But of course you wont post that, would you. Because just like those parent who killed there child it is easier for you to blame someone you don’t agree with. I am a mother of two and I KNOW the difference between training and abuse. Where those parents that stupid that you want me or even GOD to believe that they had no idea what they were doing was wrong!!! you people are so ignorant!!!

  8. Um,Zedek,
    “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” does not come from the bible but It was from a poem written by Samual Butler in 1663:
    If matrimony and hanging go
    By dest’ny, why not whipping too?
    What med’cine else can cure the fits
    Of lovers when they lose their wits?
    Love is a boy by poets stil’d
    Then spare the rod and spoil the child (Part II, Canto I, ll. 839-44).

  9. Zedek,

    Be serious.

    1. The commandment to honor your father and mother does not put a parent in the place of God. Having legitimate authority does not invest anyone with surrogate divinity.

    2. I have been quite specific in what I am holding Pearl responsible for. I have not accused him of advocating child abuse.

    3. I have not said parents should not spank their children. I have said that spanking does not purify a child’s conscience.

    4. You have not accurately interpreted my arguments. Why would I want your interpretation of the Apocalypse?

  10. Wow. I don’t know you and sure don’t mean any disrespect, but you are way off base. Have you listened to Pearl’s teaching on Romans? They have never taught that a person is not born into sin or that parents are surrogate gods to their children or that “a new doctrine of salvation is dependent on a parents will”. Your article is akin to slander and I am grieved by it. You definitely do the Pearls an extreme disservice. So much so, I wonder how much you have actually researched for this article.


  11. I reject the idea that parents ‘stand in the place of God.’ I agree that parents have received responsibility and authority from God, but never ‘stand in the place of God.’ My hope is that Zedek will amend this statement. Oh, I just realized that Matthew already addressed this.

  12. Karen,

    Michael Pearl is quite clear both in his doctrinal statement and in his sermon on Romans 5.12-21 that he doesn’t believe in the imputation of Adam’s sin. His system of parenting is based on the idea that a child cannot know God or relate to God, and he says this repeatedly. This is the foundation of his statement that a parent is a surrogate god. I did not make that up. I have already provided links in this post. Time to open your eyes.

  13. Now that some are accusing the Pearls of INFLUENCING MURDERERS,have they killed any of their children so as to be really proven that they have set an example? The critics should be honest enough and admit that they treat their children like eggs and would justify that they don’t expect to be corrected by anyone else.Such children become instant brats starting from home,school(especially here,they bully,insult authority,knowing that mum and dad will defend me if anyone rebukes or spanks me!)What the critics are trying to ignore is what disaster such children are causing to the society.They are rebellious and they do anything because they have “rights.”In Kenya where I live,spankings were illegalised ten years ago in schools.The number of strikes in schools have gone up,public vandalism and confrontation by police has risen(including burning of University premises by students).This has accelerated a culture in Kenya we are calling IMPUNITY.Parents eventually have become the victims of their own making when their children return home as corpses:shot by anti-riot police,mob lynching,drug abuse and robbery with violence death).What will you do with the body of a former ‘mammy’s boy’ just because you as a parent withheld training and discipline?Give us a break and stop justifying child petting.We have seen enough of these social misfits!

  14. Shadrack,

    As I have said in response to other comments similar to yours, the choice is not between Michael Pearl and anarchy. None of Pearl’s critics here advocate not disciplining children. You’re very close to off-topic.

  15. To be honest, the death of little Lydia does not surprise me. Since I was about five years old I have known that only death and hurt would come of the Pearl’s “ministry.” My parents read their literature, and unlike the more discerning parents that have commented, they believed every steaming pile of s*** that Mike and Debbie Pearl wrote. I was physically and mentally abused, and even six years after my last beating I still shudder and sometimes cry when I think of the constant abuse that I endured because of my parent’s stupidity and the pure evil that is No Greater Joy and the Pearl family’s other “ministries.” From an early age I was taught that when I made a mistake, no matter how small (raising my voice in excitement about a gift, or accidentally upsetting my mother)I should feel immensely guilty and crave punishment for my “sins.”
    In reality, it was not the pain I was looking for in punishment (because it really did hurt a lot, often leaving welts, bruises, torn skin, and sometimes drawing blood. I in no way enjoyed that.) but it was the acceptance that I felt when I thought that I was pleasing my parents by accepting punishment. Even in early puberty it seemed to me (and my siblings) that my parents enjoyed “spanking” (beating) us, because of the methods they used (taught to them by the Pearls’ books). Unfortunately the pain of such horrific episodes didn’t end when the last bruise had faded or when the welts went from hot pink back to my white skin-tone. No, even to this day I sometimes fall into deep depression and self-loathing and it brings me right back to the memories of my legs being belted by my mother while my father sat on my shoulders and covered my mouth so the neighbors wouldn’t hear my screams and call the police. I am now 17 years old and I have already taken a pledge that I will never raise a hand to my children (if I choose to have any, which I probably won’t given my past) and I will continue my fight against the authoritarian, sadistic, and vile Pearls.

  16. What do you mean by spanking a child as a reasoned limitation? What purpose are you trying to serve.

    What Pearl says is not only reasonable but it is common sense. How does any child feel after a spanking? Remorseful and usually more connected to the parent. Watch any parent who does not believe in spanking: First, the child is taught of course that it is ok to be disrespectful. But the worst part of it is that the child usually emotionally abused by the parent who is so frustrated that in there attempts to plead with their child to behave the way they desire. They confuse the child and are oftentimes if not nearly all the times emotionally abusive as they attempt to manipulate the child to conform to their will.

    But as this is a forum on Mike Pearl and not spanking, I will digress. Everything Pearl said sounds reasonable to me. I see no where stated by Pearl to “give” more and more pain. You have no facts to justify this claim. Only poor intuition. Mike Pearl speaks of an “correctly applied” spanking. I am somewhat familiar with his work and I believe he explains it quite clear and it is not like this.

    Sometimes I long for the days when a simple spanking could take care of everything. As an adult the consequences of my actions can last much longer. Sometimes I wish someone would just give me a swat on the butt.

  17. Jeremy,

    Thanks for the calm argument. Many comments supporting Pearl have frankly been hysterical, abusive, and off-topic, I have not approved them. I agree with you that when a parent does not spank, he/she often falls back on emotional manipulation to gain a child’s compliance, and that is deeply harmful. But the choice is not Pearl vs no spanking. Pearl’s teaching on spanking is behavior modification, pure and simple, and I and many others have documented this at length. I would encourage you to consider the quotations of Pearl about doctrine and method I cite in this and other posts.

  18. Let me introduce myself- my name is Jamie, I’m 15 yrs. old, I live with my parents, my 3 sis. and 1 bro., I’m a Christian (my whole fam. is), and without Mike Pearl’s “To Train Up a Child” My siblings and I would not be near as happy as we are today! There is joy and peace in our house and I thank God I have the parents I do. I ( and my siblings) was ever BEATEN. The Pearls make it clear there is a difference between that and a swat. The death of that poor girl is the fault of the PARENTS, not the Pearls.

  19. I don’t believe that Michael Pearl is in anyway responsible for any child’s death. That is like blaming spoons for Rosie O’Donald being fat. Instead of shooting someone verbally and publicly for something random, we should uphold the Pearls for all the good that they have done and all the hope and help that they have brought to families everywhere. No one is perfect in their “theology”. Jesus said that if they are not against me then they are for me. “If you don’t love your brother whom you know, how can you love me?” If you are a child of God, Michael Pearl is your brother. Support and uphold him. Stop trying to blame someone. Do what God commanded. Pray for the family who lost the child. God loves them regardless as to whether or not they committed a crime. He will judge.

  20. C.L., I did see Pearl’s article and have been following the comments. The commenter there who directed people to this post pointed out something else as well: Pearl has denied saying what he obviously did say. He did indeed make the “surrogate god” statement, as documented in my post above. Pearl’s supporters then argued that it didn’t matter. So, as it now stands, the Pearlite argument compiles roughly like this:

    1. Mean people are accusing Pearl of saying that parents are surrogate gods.
    2. Pearl didn’t use the words “surrogate gods.”
    3. His use of the words “surrogate gods” was just another way of saying little boys love their Daddies, which is exactly what is so adorable about Mike Pearl.
    4. Theology is for meanies.

    I eagerly await Pearl’s explanation of how he came to write the words “surrogate gods” without using them.

  21. Jennifer,

    Yours is the final comment I will approve saying that I am blaming Pearl for the killing of Lydia Schatz. As I have repeated several times, my argument above is that, even though Pearl writes against child abuse, his writings about spanking are doctrinally irresponsible. Every author and pastor has a duty to confront not only the actions of abuse, but the sick logic of the abuser. In this regard, among many others, Pearl’s writings do not pass the test.

    Another point: Before you say “theology” is not crucial in this debate, you ought to consider that Pearl himself doesn’t agree with you. He spends a great deal of energy teaching theology.

    Finally, I can’t overlook the evasive way in which you describe the Schatzes as “the family who lost the child.” Lydia was not “lost.” She was killed.

  22. “I eagerly await Pearl’s explanation of how he came to write the words “surrogate gods” without using them.”

    Indeed, Matt. :~) Though you may be waiting a long time, based on Pearl’s past demonstrations of inability to self-correct. Ah, well. He stands accountable before a fearsome, fearsome God. (‘Scuse me while I have a Prov. 31 moment…”and she smiles at the future.”)

    In the meantime, I’m enjoying your biblical discernment audio. Keep on keeping on–you are a valued member of the online community, and, I can indirectly attest, your immediate faith community as well. God’s blessings on you.

  23. I believe that Debi’s book, Created to be His Helpmeet, has some easily mistaken points in it. I believe the training books do, as well. But regardless of how miserable or happy a family is does not depend on anyone but themselves. Just as I can choose to love my future children and my husband or decide to remain bitter and fearful because of where I come from, so also these parents who tortured their beautiful little girl had a choice of good or evil.

    I pity them from the depths of my heart. Let us react in love. Not bitterness.

  24. Matt – thank you for your clear and concise post about the Pearls. When our first child was born, I received “Train Up a Child” as a gift from a mentor. Certainly there was sound advice in there but a lot of it felt “off” to me. My mother’s heart didn’t mesh with placing a plate in front of my child, telling her not to touch it and then “disciplining” her when she did touch it. It seemed contrived and, in fact, very much like the way my dad used to train his dogs! My husband and I sought out other parenting advice from experts and sifted through it all. As one of your commenters said, he does have *some* good information but, ultimately, that information is not original to him so, just as I believe with Ezzo, why should we use his material if we can get the good stuff elsewhere (like Shepherding a Child’s Heart) without getting bogged down in the mire digging for nuggets of truth. You are right on that he is irresponsible in his teachings and don’t even get me started on his wife’s book! I just found it recently (also given to me by the same friend) and tossed it into the paper recycling box. It’s not fit to pass on or donate for fear that someone without discernment might pick it up. It is easy for us to say, “The parents should take responsibility for their actions…” However, when someone like Michael Pearl sets himself up as an authority there are people who will inherently trust him because he wrote a book and seems to “know a lot about God”. Those people will begin to find him infallible and will lack the ability to sort truth from personal opinion.

    Great post…well thought out, fair and truthful.

  25. Regarding most of the postings against the pearls. I would like to foremost recognize the fact that I do not believe in treating my child like a dog. I do not agree nor do I wish to carry any of that trait onto my childrens children. But I did read Created to be his helpmeet. I would just like to say that I stand behind this book. For one they do give consise versus and the meanings, I am not one who leans on my own understanding and I do go out and question as many pastors and elders as I can and make sure what is said is true. Debbie goes by what the bible says, and I personally can say that her teachings are just the back bone of what is expected by god and it is from GOD! I know for a fact just for the simple fact that it not only saved my marriage and my family but it gave a better understanding and encouragement on what is expected to be a Godly wife. To not take heed to the Lords word which is on practically every single page of this book, would be foolish in itself. I do feel that these people are not off from what they teach but right on. I do not state this because I have nothing better to do but because my husband was in a horrible adultress affair and at that time we had been married for 11 years of horrible fist fighting abusive life but after I read this book my life and my family’s life changed all the abuse all the hate all the evil that dwelt in our lifes dwells no more! and it was only for the best. I can not say that these people who murdered their child was following Gods ways or the “pearls” way for that matter for if they did this child would still be alive. I’m sure that it wasn’t the pearls intention for that family to misconstrue the versus or the meaning of the words they read. It was done only by the parents hands and their hands alone and unless any of you live with or are around the pearls or the parents who murdered the little girl none of us can plead the truth cause none of us can truly say what the truth is regarding this little girls death my father will deal with this matter righteously and I have faith that if the pearls have done wrong than my father will deal with them rightfully on this earth so that anyone who has been misdirected can be redirected. But I myself along with atleast a good 30 women in my church would have to say that for the most part the pearls are right on, and anyone who disagrees should not point fingers and say how wrong they are but by that matter point out the versus that will correct their imperfections on that subject to help correct their mistakes which I truly can say are not even close to haveing to do with abuse. Regarding “Michaels” posts. I honestly believe that someone else posted false writtings and teachings from the pearls because the pearls perfusely say over and over that they lean on the lords word and works not their own! It would make no sense that they would go against what they have written in a book. And if it is the truth that the pearls have spoken blasphame upon the Lords word, than give the versus needed and pray for correction in their lives and ask that they not stand in the over righteous soap box that they might stand on. I myself do not believe that, that is so. To claim that the pearls are wrong would be wrong in it self for I know from my own personal life let alone the people in my church that our lives have changed for the better because of the way they do their teachigs. Just remember to: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and DO NOT LEAN ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING. Proverbs 3:5 and also Lets not forget though The heart is Decietful above all things and Desperately Wicked who can know it but God. Jeremiah 17:9 But just to add my other feeling. I feel it is wrong that a pastor corrects another pastor infront of the sheep! For when one does wrong you pull them aside privately and speak of what they have done wrong and if he does not listen then you take a friend along who has witnessed the same of what this person has done wrong and you speak in love with correction if they still do not listen then you correct infront of the church but it doesn’t say for it to be open floor mic night or for that matter an open blog for thoughts and opinions for all to place their imput For it is said Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law! Also just to note a question??? Has any other parents killed their child after reading this book? I’m currious on this answer. If they are so wrong there must be hundreds of children murdereded on a daily basis. It is foolish to blame an action caused by anothers hand on one’s soul words. Have we become that uncivilized that we accuse the innocent and set free the evil doer? Does this sound familiar? I dont know like maybe Matthew 27:20 But the cheif priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death! Barabbas was a murderer! We really need to recognize what is the true reality here…

  26. I can see your point and believe you’re right on the point that it seems Michael teaches that the parent can cleanse from sin. But when I read the post on the Internet about him being responsible for Lydia’s death, I think that’s ridiculous. Why would his teaching to train children, be anymore responsible for a child abuse victim than those who advocate a liberal view point be responsible for the thousands of deaths due to those who have never known consequences and so have matured into spouse abusers, drunk drivers, gang members, thieves, etc. I’ve never heard anyone make that accusation . I still am glad for a voice speaking a new verse, than the refrain we’ve heard for a generation that’s taken parents out of their position as leaders of the home and instead has put them in subjection to the children. I believe the Bible has it the other way around.

  27. Dee, again I hear this line that our choice is between Pearl and moral anarchy. That’s the way he frames these issues. The fact is that there are many voices who teach how to raise children in a godly way who do not tell parents to beat their children the way they beat their dogs. And, again, I hold Pearl responsible for his anti-gospel doctrine. The parents of Lydia are responsible for their own uncritical adoption of Pearl’s teachings, and clearly are responsible for her death. I have said this many times.

  28. I encourage you to read To Train Up a Child. Nothing in the book can be used to justify the behavior of the parents who killed their 7 year old daughter. The DA’s response on CNN claimed that there was no question in his mind that the book influenced the parents to do what they did, but he gave no evidence or examples. He also mentioned the Pearls were free to write “awful things” but gives no example of awful things that were written. The CNN Report was a one-sided portrayal of a terrible event. Almost every person that has had negative comments on the book has never read it. We have thousands upon thousands of positive letters and emails praising the book from those that have read it and followed its principles.
    Here are quotes from the book that actually warn against abuse.

    “Train up-not beat up. Train up-not discipline up.” “A child needs more than ‘obedience training’, but without first training him, discipline is insufficient” page 4
    “Disciplinary actions can easily become excessive and oppressive if you set aside the tool of training and depend on discipline alone to do the training.” Page 9

    “Parent, have you trained yourself not to discipline immediately but to wait until your irritation builds into anger? If so, then you have allowed anger to become your inducement to discipline.” Page 25

    “Parent, if you are having problems with your children, you can be assured that you are not alone. Your children are also having problems with you. You are going to have to make adjustments in your own life if you are going to help them with their problems.” “… the responsibility for making a significant change is completely yours.” Page 32

    “There are always some who act in the extreme. These individuals are capable of using what has been said about the legitimate use of the rod to justify ongoing brutality to their children.” page 50

    “The rod should never be a vent for parents’ anger. Where the supreme motivation is anything other than the child’s good, it is inevitable that such behavior by the parent will assuredly create problems.” page 51

    These quotes and the rest of the book are about turning the heart of parents to the children and the hearts of children to the parents. Those that properly practice the philosophy of To Train Up a Child enjoy the fruits of joy that it produces.

    I was 11 years old when I first read To Train Up A Child and having been Strictly disciplined as a child, this was the way I wanted to raise my kids when the time came. Mr. pearls writing has so much common sense and is so straightforward that a mere child can see the wisdom behind the book. How anyone could say it inspired this is beyond me.

    11 years later I have a sweet baby girl that I fully intend on training up!

  29. “he DA’s response on CNN claimed that there was no question in his mind that the book influenced the parents to do what they did, but he gave no evidence or examples. He also mentioned the Pearls were free to write “awful things” but gives no example of awful things that were written.”
    I can help. The influence was this. The book teaches parents to never back down, to be 100% consistent. It teaches them to keep giving licks until the child submits. Failure to do so will doom the child. The book does not explain what to do in the unusual case that the child never submits. It is true that the book says not to abuse, but it does not draw a clearly defined line. So, if the parents are switching calmly and methodically for hours and the child continues to fight back, cry and scream or refuse to pronounce the word correctly (assuming that she had done so before so that they had reason to consider her refusal to be rebellion) the teachings of that book are that the switching should continue. In this case, the switching continued for 7 hours until the child’s tissues broke down and protein clogged her kidneys, leading to death. I would expect Pearl to at least modify his teachings to warn about such a risk, but he refuses to consider the possibility that this could ever happen again.

    Now for examples of the awful things in that book, please check out the quotes at

  30. Are young children who die damned to hell? According to you yes. Becuase they have a “SIN NATURE”, which exist only in “dynamic translations” of the bible. Don’t like the kjv try the nasb what does it say flesh. Sin nature is dualisim and is not tuaght in scipture. Mainstrem Christianity uses sin nature as anchor in peoples lives that they can never be free of so they need to warm the pews every week to keep the sin nature in check. Is Mr Pearl a semi Palagian? No, he is 100% Pualian.
    Read the the the first chapter of Romans. Pual clearly lays it out. No one has an excuse the blame is on our shoulders not Adams he only separated us from God leaving the flesh to indulge. Christ kills the flesh and we are born again. The human mind can not fathom that concept becuase nothing seems to have changed we still have the urge to sin, what gives? So we say there must be a sin nature. Is Christ perfect? Yes. Is a saved person born again in His body? Yes. Does the scipture says many times we are free from sin? Yes. Mr. Pearl states that he walks in victory aganinst sin not all sin. He as the rest of us is still maturing and being perfected. I have read and listened to a great deal of his work and as I understand it he alone has never claimed to be perfect. But though the work of Christ.
    In closing, did Michael Pearls teachings lead to the death of a little girl?
    No. Two evil people killed their child. And a reckless DA used a book in their library to weave a tale of some creepy assed, isolationist , weird homeschooling cult members taking orders from mean old Mike Pearl killed their child. No where in his book does he advocate what those people did to their child. Not even close . In fact, if you read the book instead of being fed what you should know from the people who disagree with his theology, You will discover his methods are tame compared to the way most of us were raised. I have a quran in my library, is that going to turn me in a killer? Think about it.

    Furthermore, he is not out for power or to bring you under his authority, he has no secret doctrine he ws given out in the woods by some mystic being. He simply teaches believe scripture as it is written. Do that, believe the word of God not just what you are fed. When was the last time you were tuaght”Love thy neighbor as thy self”. Consider this?would your pastor/preist do what they do if they did not get paid and had to feed, clothe and shelter themselves? God bless and i will be praying for you weather you like or not. Please prey for me. I need it.

  31. Mark j, I am glad to see someone acknowledge that Pearl does indeed teach these doctrines about the sin nature. Though I couldn’t disagree more with your beliefs on that issue, I am refreshed to read someone who has heard Pearl clearly.

    As to the issue of Pearl’s responsibility for the killing here in northern California, and those in several other places, I have addressed that issue repeatedly in the comments. THank you for writing.

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