He Makes Pearl’s Teachings Seem Gentle

R.L. Stollar has an in depth analysis of Voddie Baucham’s teachings in The Child As Viper: How Voddie Baucham’s Theology of Children Promotes Abuse.  In it, Voddie Baucham’s teachings are compared to Michael Pearl’s teachings with this conclusion:

Baucham’s system thus ends up being more authoritarian than Pearl’s, and that is caused by the fact that Baucham not only believes in original sin (as does Pearl), but also total depravity. How Baucham applies his belief in the latter (total depravity) makes Pearl’s child training system appear gentle and weak in comparison.

This is a very long examination of Voddie Baucham’s theology followed by 3 detailed critiques:

Critique #1: Baucham’s Theology of Children is Unbiblical
Critique #2: Baucham’s Theology of Children Encourages Contempt for Children
Critique #3: Baucham’s Theology of Children Promotes Abuse

While long, it is well worth reading all the way through to the conclusion.

HSLDA Speaks Out Against Patriarchy

Michael Ferris, on behalf of HSLDA, speaks out against Bill Gothard, Doug Phillips and the teachings of Patriarchy in A Line In The Sand.  It’s a shame they still recommend abusive books, such as those by Dr. James Dobson and John Rosemond.

Review of TTUAC on HeraldNet

Jenny Bardsley has a post on HeraldNet honoring Hana Alemu “Williams” and reviewing the Pearl’s book, To Train Up A Child.

She speaks more about the book and homeschooling here.

She also discusses their teachings in her review of Elizabeth Esther‘s book.

Bill Gothard In The Spotlight After Abuse Allegations

World Mag Reports that Bill Gothard has been placed on administrative leave while they research recent  allegations of abuse.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey has an investigative report on this story on ReligionNews.com and here is the story from the Christian Post.

Naturally this story has impacted many people. Here is a testimony from Micah Murray which reflects on this news as he looks at Growing Up in Bill Gothard’s Homeschool Cult.

 

Escaping Abuse

Kathryn Joyce has an article about young adults who were homeschooled by controlling, fundamentalist parents called, The Homeschool Apostates.

Cindy Kunsman shares about how she came to realize that she was involved in an abusive church in, When your Religious Leader Falls Off the Pedestal.

You also might be interested in Cindy’s post about Understanding the Cycle of Spiritually Abusive Groups.

Cindy’s series continues with After the Epiphany Moment: Making Sense of Your History in Light of Spiritual Abuse.

Why Not Regulate Homeschoolers?

I was asked in the comments to my post, The Beast Look At  Homeschooling, why I believe that regulation of homeschooling is a slippery slope and what would be appropriate oversight to prevent abuse.

My opinion is that parents are responsible for their children, the state is not. I do not believe that the state should take charge of children unless there is a dire circumstance such as obvious abuse. I do not believe that the state should be checking on children in order to make sure that they are not being abused. In order to simplify my thoughts, let’s consider the following. [Read more…]

The Beast Looks At Homeschooling

The Daily Beast looks at the problem of certain parents who use homeschooling as a way to hide their abuse  in The Sinister Side of Homeschooling.  This article does make it clear that homeschooling is usually not done as an excuse to abuse and that most homeschooling parents are not abusive.  However, the author of the piece also appears to be advocating for more oversight of homeschooling.  I am not sure I agree with that.  More children who attend public schools are abused than homeschoolers and even so, many die.  How much oversight would be necessary of homeschoolers in order to make sure that they are not abused?  I do feel that it would be a slippery slope.

Considering Adoption Reform

Whatcom Mom had an interesting comment which I would like to highlight.

I’m hoping the readers here will have some ideas about improving adoption home study practice, based on what we have learned from the deaths of Hana Williams and Lydia Schatz and injuries to their siblings.

So you know where I’m coming from. I’m an adoptive parent of now adult daughters, one adopted as an infant from a local nonprofit agency, the other as a toddler through state foster care. I’ve been active in pre-adoptive education and post-adoption support and have had plenty of occasion to reflect on issues that arise in transracial, special needs, and international and open adoptions. I have long been concerned about adoption agencies that place especially needy and difficult children with naïve, unprepared (and maybe overconfident) families and then fail to follow up with oversight and support.

I followed the Williams trial especially closely because the family lives in my area and because I know people who have worked for, and adopted from, the agency that placed Hana and her brother Immanuel. [Read more…]

Some Looks At The Williams

Cindy Kunsman, from Under Much Grace, looks at the Williams Trial and compares the Williams family with the Schatz family in
Awaiting the Verdicts in the Williams Trial: Another Michael Pearl/To Train Up A Child Associated Death.  She also gives a brief outline of Pearl and his teachings and a lamentation for the devastation they have caused both to Christian families as well as to the lost who observe and turn away in disgust.

Maureen looks at the homeschoolings aspect of the Williams in Homeschooling, Christians, Identity, and Isolation.  (Speaking of Maureen, I just added a (very triggering) link to the 2nd half of Carri’s testimony to last friday’s post.)

Another Look at Voddie Baucham’s Prescription for Spanking

Spiritual Sounding Board looks at Parenting “Experts” who promote what they call, “Biblical Parenting” in Voddie Baucham: Prescription for Spanking and the Shy Child.  Remember, the discussion  is in the comments so don’t miss them.

A Romance Novelist Encounters the Courtship & Betrothal Movement

Christian romance novelist, Sharon Lathan, stumbles across the Courtship & Betrothal Movement to her great consternation.

Reb Bradley

Latebloomer was raised in Reb Bradley’s church, Hope Chapel, and is one of the Sheltered, Controlled Homeschoolers who “didn’t ‘turn out right,’ yet another disappointment to the former parents and leadership of Hope Chapel.”  She shares some important insights about this in “Biblical” Parenting, Introduction.  (By the way, I was surprised to see Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz mentioned in this post.)

This post is the introduction to series of posts reviewing Reb Bradley’s book “Child Training Tips”.  In this series of posts she looks at how this kind of parenting is “damaging to individuals and relationships because it sacrifices all other virtues for the sake of authority and submission.”

Each Post in her series focuses on one criticism.

Criticism #1: A Parent Who Assumes The Worst in which we see the concept of adversarial relationships taken to new levels.

Criticism #2: Parents are urged to exercise an extreme level of control of their child’s mind and body, which prevents the child from preparing for adulthood
in which we learn how his teaching grooms perfect victims for child predators by breaking the child’s will, removing their sense of bodily ownership and teaching them that they must respect and obey anyone older than themselves.

Criticism #3: A Parent Who Tries to Change Minds and Hearts through Spanking in which we learn about his teachings on spanking which take abuse to new levels as well as his “severe misunderstanding of the Bible and serious scholarly negligence.”

Criticism #4: A Parent Who Isolates In Order to Control in which we learn that he teaches parents to isolate their children from the world and the results of such isolation.

Conclusion

The Vision Forum’s Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy, 16-21: Education, Transformation, and Control

Note: This is an edited and collated version of a series of posts that I made at Free Jinger in August 2011.

For much of my life, my encounters with U.S. fundamentalist Christianity were sporadic and bewildering.  I started digging into the roots of the fundamentalist mindset when I became a homeschooler and a Sunday school teacher.  As many of us have discovered, fundamentalism has become prevalent in both fields of endeavor–particularly homeschooling.

Fundamentalism, of course, is not a monolithic entity, but different fundamentalist groups share many common traits.  A particularly disturbing common trait is the fundamentalist use of exegesis.  In short, it stinks.  This incompetence exists right at the foundation: not only in interpretation, but also in basic reading comprehension.  This is a disturbing [Read more…]

Spare the Rod: The Heart of the Matter

Little Hearts Gentle Parenting Resources has a post explaining how we should interpret the 5 Rod verses in Proverbs in light of the New Testament: Spare The Rod: The Heart of the Matter.

Just A Sore Thumb was having similar thoughts when he wrote, Spared Rods.

The Fruit of Sheltered, Controlled Homeschoolers

Reb Bradley has a long and very informative article about mistakes he and other sheltering and controlling Christian homeschooling parents have made in Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers.

For more information about Reb Bradley’s teachings, please see the comments below as well as this post.

 

 

Novel About the Quiverful Movement

The Christian Century has an article called, A Quiver Full of Controversy, about Meg Moseley’s recently published novel, “When Sparrows Fall.”

An Exposé of the Courtship & Betrothal Movements

I tended to think that the Patriarchy Movement and the Quiverfull Movement were pretty much the same thing, but I was wrong. The Quiverfull movement falls under Patriarchy or Patriocentric teachings, but not everyone in those movements is Quiverfull. There is also the Courtship and Betrothal Movements which do allow the limiting children, but are still patricentric and authoritarian.   Here are some Courtship and Betrothal Essays which expose the unbiblical and destructive teachings of Jonathan Lindvall.

Here is the link to the page about Bill Gothard.

One thing all of these things do seem to have in common is an affiliation with Vision Forum.

Disclaimer: I have only scanned these pages and have not read them carefully.  These essays are not only very long, they are also very disturbing.  I am posting them because I feel  sure that they will be be of use to someone either as a warning or to help argue against such teachings.


TTUAC: The Good, The Bad and The Shocking

Elizabeth, at Virginia Is For Mothers, reviews To Train Up A Child. In part 1 she shares her overall reaction which is mixed, and then what she found Good and Helpful about the book. I agree that there are some good and helpful messages in that book. To say otherwise is to put up a wall between us and those who are so taken by the good that they downplay the bad or don’t see it at all. There is a lot of good and that is what makes the book so dangerous. Nobody would eat a bitter tasting poison, it needs to be mixed with honey if anyone is going to eat it. And yes, this is is a very good honey.

But Elizabeth is not fooled. She says:

Here’s what I think about To Train Up A Child: SIGH….these people are such a mixed bag of normalcy and wisdom with a whole lot of weird thrown in. It takes a lot of concentration to weed through the information and advice to find pieces that I think are reasonable and biblical. Once again, I did glean some encouragement and reminders to do what I already believe in doing. So, I’m going to start with that and later write about the (many) parts of the book that had me raising my eyebrows, cringing and picking my jaw up off the floor.

Which brings us to Part 2 in which she reminds people not to fall into the error of relying to heavily on one parenting method and then shares what she found Weird, Harsh and Downright Shocking.  She includes plenty of quotes to back up her conclusions.  I’m glad that she is participating in warning people about this book.

Series about Patriarchy

E. Stephen Burnett has a teaching about the problems with Patriarchy in a 5 part series called, Sins Of The ‘Patriarchs’.  Interesting to me is that with all the words he has written about patriarchy, he never mentions spanking or harsh discipline.  He does mention control, but not the physical aspect (unless I’m misremembering.)  This would make it a good series to share with  pro-spanking people.

He also wrote a book review of Quivering Daughters by Hillary McFarland.

I might as well mention that he also has warnings about Vision Forum on his site.   He is worried about their possible influence on homeschoolers and he shares  that he was homeschooled as a child.  He has a very interesting site and it is well worth checking out.

Secular Homeschooling Magazine

The homeschooling movement is taking notice of the Pearls. Secular Homeschooling is a rather large magazine and they have written an exposé of the Pearls and their teachings. She looks at all aspects of the Pearls and gives some advice on how to respond when offered the book at a homeschool gathering.

To Train Up a Child: The Greater Problem by Deborah Markus

Mama D shares her concerns and book review

Mama D. used to recommend the Pearl’s teachings but has since taken another look and has now written about her concerns in a post entitled, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.”

She has also posted a 2 part book review of “To Train Up A Child”:
(Part 1) Book Review: To Train Up A Child
(Part 2) Book Review: To Train Up A Child

Jumping Ship

Mrs. Darling has written A Critical Review of Jumping Ship by the Pearls at her blog, Dishpan Dribble

Letter for Homeschool Leaders

TulipGirl sent me the following letter:

Dear Friends,

I would like to pass along this important letter penned by my friend, Mrs. Karen Campbell, regarding the recent death of Lydia Schatz.  Her letter is filled with much wisdom.  I would encourage you to pass it on to anyone you feel might benefit.

 

March 1st, 2010

 

An open letter to my brothers and sisters in Christ who serve in leadership to homeschooling families:

On February 6, 2010, Lydia Schatz, the seven year old homeschooled daughter of Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, died after having been brutally beaten for mispronouncing a word while reading out loud to her mother. Butte County, California District Attorney, Mike Ramsey, reported that evidence shows the child was severely and repeatedly whipped, most likely for several hours, with a 15” piece of ¼” plumbing supply line, the same instrument that also left her older sister with severe kidney damage and in critical condition. The other seven Schatz children are now in foster homes, their parents having been charged with torture and murder.

While it might be comforting to believe that this is one horrific, isolated case of abusive behavior, the fact is that Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were Bible-believing Christians who welcomed not only their own children into their home but three adopted ones as well. Their friends reported how shocked they were to hear this story about parents whom they called “loving” and “warm” and children who were “polite and well-behaved,” words that could describe most homeschooling families.

But Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were also devotees of the book To Train Up A Child and its authors, Michael and Debi Pearl, and they patterned their “discipline” methods after the Pearls’ instructions, down to the very instrument they used to beat their children.

This is not the first time a child has died at the hands of parents who embraced the teachings from TTUAC. In 2004, four year old Sean Paddock suffocated after his mother also beat him with ¼” plumbing supply line and then wrapped him tightly in a blanket to keep him from getting out of bed. She is now serving time in jail for first degree murder.

The killing of precious children in the name of “discipline” must stop and those of us who desire to come alongside and encourage homeschooling families must do all that we can to see that this sort of tragedy never happens again. I believe that the Pearls’ teachings on chastisement unto repentance, found in their books and magazines and on their website, is not just one among many approaches to disciplining children, but rather, is a form of child abuse and even one that is considered to be assault and battery of a child and punishable by law in many states.

As Christians, it is even more important to understand that the Pearls’ philosophy is based on the aberrant theology of “sinless perfection,” a perspective that leads to the notion that parents are able to change a child’s sinful heart and save a child’s soul. Here are some excerpts from TTUAC:

“The parent holds in his hand (in the form of a little switch) the power to absolve the child of guilt, cleanse his soul, instruct his spirit, strengthen his resolve, and give him a fresh start through a confidence that all indebtedness is paid.”

“The guilt burdened soul cries out for the lashes and nails of justice. Your child cannot yet understand that the Creator has been lashed and nailed in his place. Only the rod of correction can preserve his soul until the day of moral dawning.”

“Let the guilt come, and then, while they are yet too young to understand, absolve it by means of the rod. When their time comes, the principles of the cross will be easy to grasp.”

The Holy Word of God tells us that only by faith in the finished, atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, an act of His mercy and grace, is a person saved. (“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”~Titus 3:5) Physical chastisement by a parent cannot truly absolve a child of guilt nor can it cleanse his soul. To teach this and to lead any parent to think otherwise is promoting false doctrine and false hope in the works of man.

To that end, I would like to ask those who serve as homeschooling support group leaders and others who seek to serve within the homeschooling community to join the growing number of voices who are expressing their outrage and horror at the death of little Lydia Schatz and I would ask you to remove any recommendation of Michael and Debi Pearl’s teachings you have on your blogs or websites. Please stand with me and publicly say “This is wrong and it must stop.”

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” ~ Proverbs 31:8-9

By His grace,
Karen Campbell,
homeschooling mother and grandmother
www.thatmom.com