Counter Arguments 2

I’ve been mulling over a follow up to my Counter Arguments post for almost a month now.  Recently Crystal was kind enough to leave me a comment, letting me know her disagreement with this site.  This was very helpful because it allows me to address her concerns.

I will quote her and respond to her concerns point by point.

This is utterly ridiculous. For those of you who are jumping on the bandwagon without reading the whole book you are really missing out on what God has intended for you and the joy you and your children can have.

First of all, I should explain that this website is not a bandwagon. This is a clearing house of information. I mainly link to arguments. As I said in my reply comment, I have read the whole book To Train Up A Child and as far as I know, so have most of those who whom I link. I am a bit mystified as to how you can know that we are missing out on what God has intended for us. We have read a book and found much of the content to be problematic (to put it mildly). We studied it and wrote well thought out arguments explaining our points of view. How is that missing out on what God intended for us? I assume you mean that by refusing to follow Pearl’s advice you feel that we are missing out. I maintain that I would never want the “joy” of training my children in that way. Nor do I believe that the Bible calls me to do that. I do not study the Bible in only English, I study the Hebrew and Greek words and try to get the real meaning.

The bible clearly states, “he that spares the rod, spoils the child” If you do not spank your children then what exacltly is working for you?

Now, when you say, “rod,” what exactly do you mean? Did you use the dictionary to get the English definition or did you study the Hebrew meaning of the word? Here is a word study on the rod so that you can really understand what the Bible says.

Edited to add: It has been pointed out in a comment below that “he that spares the rod, spoils the child” is not even in the Bible. Thank you, C.L. Dyck

Now, not everyone to whom I link is arguing against spanking. Here is a list of people who do believe in spanking but still have concerns about Pearl’s teachings.

Do you have sweet children? Do they obey you the first time?

Children are people. They are sometimes sweet and sometimes not, just as are adults. I can’t speak for everyone else, but my goal is not to have sweet children who obey me the first time. My goal is to raise healthy, thinking adults who love God. And I can’t make them that way, only God can. I can certainly do my best to guide (or train up, if you will) them onto the right road. I explain and lead by example. I allow them to question me and explain themselves. I do enforce obedience, I just don’t expect them to obey me without thinking first. And lest you think that my children will turn out badly, just know that they are already 19 and 17 years old and I get many complements on their behavior.

Or do you have to count to ten and call them 10 times before exploding and yelling at them, those are the kind of people who end up “spanking” but really its abuse because they got so mad and really end up despising their children because they hate to be around them.

You are not describing non-spankers, you are describing the permissive. I do not recommend permissive parenting. I recommend gentle discipline. You can learn more about that at Arms of Love Family Fellowship and in these posts.

People who spank there children in a calm manner and who are absolutely consistant 100 % of the time will have tremendous success.

If you define success as children who are always sweet and obey the first time, yes, they will usually have success. Unless their child is a special needs child. Some children will continue to defy and refuse to submit. Now most parents will figure this out and try something else. It is very tragic when parents continue to apply the rod to children who will not submit because it has been proven that if switching goes on too much and for too long the child will die.

However you will not have success with any approach unless you yourself have true joy. Children know if you are faking it. Joy is the byproduct of thankfulness and love. Your joy radiates to your children.

Okay. So, are you saying that any approach will work if the parents have true joy or just the Pearl’s method?

Michael Pearl also recomends spending so much time with your children, they are your first and foremost responsibility, they must know that you delight in there presence, get on there level, do what they enjoy, do somthing that makes them smile every 5 minutes. But does anyone say that on this website?

Many of the arguments I have linked to have mentioned that Pearl teaches many good things. But no matter how many good things he says, even one wrong or dangerous teaching means that one has to use extreme caution in following him. A little leaven leaventh the whole lump.

Also, his doctrine is full of heresy, as explained in the Parenting in the Name of God series. If you don’t want to read through the entire series, you can look at An Examination of the Pearl Method.

There are many more things I could go on and say but those who really want to know more know where they can get the information. I would love to compare a houseful of “Michael Pearl” children who love and reverence him and are a great addition to society to the “non spanked” let them do what they want group, who is probably still working at jack in the box with numerous tattoos and peircings, pregnant at 15 and has no relationship with their parents.

Okaaay. I believe that this is what is known as a “strawman argument.” It makes no sense.

Wait. Love and reverence who? I don’t want my children to revere anyone except for God.

What is wrong with a 15 yr old working at Jack in the Box? I think that would be a good thing, as long as s/he is also still in school. I know many teenagers who were not spanked and none of them were pregnant at 15. They don’t have piercings or tattoos either, although I fail to see what that has to do with anything.

It’s funny that you should mention not having anything to do with their parents because I know many who were raised by Pearl and Gothard methods who fall into that camp and none who were not spanked. I have noted that children who were raised by attachment parenting have great relationships with their parents. That is one reason I decided to use that method.

Edited to add: C.L. Dyck left an excellent response to Crystal’s comment here.


  1. JR Neumiller on January 2, 2016 at 5:52 am

    I’m no big fan of Michael Pearl, not because his methods are not biblical but because his arrogant attitude makes following them dangerous for those not imbued with a sober spirit. It’s like having a gun to a four year old – there can be great disasters.

    But that doesn’t mean that corporal punishment is bad, wrong, or evil. It certainly is not as Good has promised to bring stripes to His children for their own good. It’s called chastisment and it involves pain and discipline.

    Of course, a rod doesn’t have to be used as long as some form of negative consequence is applied. That’s the basis of correction and it MUST be used in love, not just good intentions. There must be genuine sympathy in all forms of discipline – otherwise, a hateful attitude can form due to lack of caring.

    Another topic that is mentioned on this site is reverence for a father or a husband as being somehow wrong or evil. God specifically teaches, “and let the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

    Again, with the wrong attitude and application, this can be misconstrued into something ugly or servile, but this is surely not God’s intention. He wants the best for His children, and encouraging women who are following God to obey and treat their husbands like Sarah treated hers, (calling him lord and treating him like such,) is absolutely the best behavior for all involved. (The contrast is the unruly attitudes found in so many rebellious women who reject God’s teaching and have much loneliness and bitterness to show for it.)

    Husband-honoring and reverring wives are those likewise with a meek and quiet heart, which are a precious ornament in the sight of God, which cannot be spoken against.

    Appreciate your site, but not the overwrought attitudes against the Pearls, casting them as corrupt at every turn. Michael Pearl has attitude issues that affect his instructions, but that doesn’t mean he’s not teaching what God wants His children to be doing.

    Last comment: “Spare the rod and spoil the child” may not be literally a biblical quote, but reflects a very biblical teaching. Proverbs 13:42. So, it’s pretty disingenuous for those claiming to have knowledge about this deliberately overlooking that.

    • Hermana Linda on January 2, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Hello, and thank you for your comments. It sounds like we agree more than we disagree on most topics. I really try not to cast the Pearls as corrupt at every turn. I am only arguing against the dangers I see in his teachings, and have even been known to defend them as I did in my latest post.

      I totally agree that a wife should honor and respect her husband. Revere is a strong word in modern English and reserved for God. I realized that the KJV uses it but I don’t believe that it means that the husband should take the place of God. Other than that, I’m not sure what you are referring to. I assume you read What I Believe. Most of the links I have are written from the point of view of helping women who are being abused, which as you pointed out, is not God’s will.

  2. Katie on November 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I was wondering if you could expand more on the false “gospel”. I have read many of the Pearl’s books. While I do not agree with everything written I do agree with some of their literature. I don’t think that Pearl’s teaching should be followed to a tee, I do find wisdom in a lot of it. I especially enjoyed, “Created to be a Helpmeet.” Any thoughts?

  3. Zooey on May 20, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    First, Cat, thank you for saving me the trouble of linking to the Butler poem. (It is yucky enough to know about; reading it again tonight would be a bit much!).

    Crystal, I am also puzzled by your reference to: “I would love to compare a houseful of “Michael Pearl” children who love and reverence him”. Who are these children supposedly reverencing? A mere sinful human named ‘Michael Pearl’? May God grant that it may not be such a horrible, sinful, idolotrous thing!!!
    I do know some people, however, with tattoos & piercings. They have Christian parents who spanked them (actually, they BEAT them), & they not only have no relationship with their parents, they also vocally proclaim their hatred of Christianity.
    Michael Pearl promises perfect results, I know that from reading his writings. He does not deliver, or he would not be selling a book for parents who have followed his advice & seen their children desert them utterly.
    What is worse, is that the Pearls teach a false “gospel”. We cannot expect good fruit from a tree built on a foundation other than that which Jesus Christ Himself has built upon the solid rock.
    Michael Pearl, on the contrary has built, not upon Christ, but upon sinking sands. “And great was the fall of it”.

    God bless all here.

  4. C.L. Dyck on May 20, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    >The bible clearly states, “he that spares the rod, spoils the child”

    Actually, several blogs and articles have pointed out that the Bible does NOT say this, it’s a quote from a Samuel Butler poem, Hudibras, ( which references S & M. Butler says “love is a boy,” uses the term “rod” in an obscene context, and the phrase as a humourous argument in favour of sexual excess to avoid “spoiling” the metaphorical “child,” love.

    The phrase “spare the rod, spoil the child” is actually from a burlesque poem from the 1600s by Samuel Butler, and it’s actually about sex. The whole phrase goes like this: “Love is a boy by poets styled/Then spare the rod and spoil the child.” It’s a love poem, well, “love,” between a fat man and a widow, and this is hardly a good source for parenting advice.

    Also see for how this is being used towards Christians.

    For those Pearl supporters who quote the poem instead of the Bible verses, may I respectfully recommend that you use the Scripture to reinforce your arguments, as the immoral literature presents an inaccurate impression of “hidden twistedness and religious hypocrisy” to the world at large. I have no wish to see any believer, regardless of their stance on the Pearls, have this used as an attempt to discredit their faith or label them indecently.

    • Hermana Linda on May 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      Thank you SO much! I totally overlooked that. *doh*

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.