What Does Mr. Pearl Really Believe?

Michael Pearl has a very interesting article on his website where he responds to Pastor Raley‘s warning against his teachings in his church bulletin.  Now, in this article, Mr. Pearl says that he did not say what Pastor Raley says that he said.  I found that very interesting and so I decided to go through the articles and get to the bottom of this.

I clicked on the links where Pastor Raley cites his quotes and used CTRL F to search for them.  Here are the quotes Mr. Pearl claims that he did not write and my findings.

When a descendant 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.

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.”

These quotes are found in Mr. Pearl’s article, What We Believe.

If you put yourselves under my authority, you can learn the secret to getting rid of your sins.”

This was a generalization which I don’t believe that Pastor Raley meant to attribute to Mr. Pearl.

…age of accountability.”

I do not believe that this was meant to be a quote from Mr. Pearl either.  I think Pastor Raley meant these as “scare quotes.”

…a work of grace by God alone

This was found in Mr. Pearl’s article, What We Believe.

In the next 4 paragraphs are quibbling about whether or not he used certain words which he certainly did use in the article, In Defense of Biblical Chastisement.   Michael Pearl says,

The next paragraph attributed to me contains 118 words. The first 50 words are entirely false and certainly do not represent anything I have ever written or said. It contains words I have never employed and concepts I have never endorsed, like “To the child, a righteous parent is a surrogate god.”

It is especially interesting to me how he protests that he never used the words, “Eternal God,” when he certainly did. He says in the article,

I wrote “the higher powers” with “powers” in plural and in all lower case letters. If I had wanted to say “The Eternal God” I would have done so. I ask, why does my critic want me to say something different from what I said? Why did he find it necessary to change my words in order to find fault? His quote is a lie, his criticism slander. Why? To what end?

The quotes are there, exactly as Pastor Raley quoted them, in In Defense of Biblical Chastisement.  I think that Mr. Pearl owes Pastor Raley an apology for accusing him of lying and slander.

He also claims to have not used the word, “give,”  although he uses it 8 times in that same article.

Apparently there was some confusion as Mr. Pearl thought that his book were being referenced and in actually it was his website. It seems a bit odd to me that he forgot to check the website, especially as it will pop up in a Google search of the first quote, but maybe I’m missing something.

In the rest of the article, Pearl argues that what he said is not really what he meant and that he fails to see how anyone could possibly think that he could have meant what we accuse him of meaning.  He further insists that to even suggest that he means such things makes it obvious that we have evil intent.  Ok, he did not actually say those words, I am paraphrasing. Of course, I’m probably misunderstanding him, so I’d better stop putting words in his mouth and quit while I’m ahead. I have proven that did write the quotes which he claims to have not written. I’ll leave the rest of the article for someone else to answer.


Update:  On Dec 10, 2010 Michael added a retraction to the bottom of this article to explain that he did, indeed, write one of those quotes.  He still maintains that he did not write the rest, especially the one which was meant to be a paraphrase.


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