Are the Pearls praying for the death of their enemies?
It would appear that the Pearls are facing legal problems over the damages their teachings have caused. Vyckie Garrison reports on this in an article entitled, “Evangelical couple begs God to strike critics dead over child abuse claims.”
When I saw this article, was surprised. I feel that I know quite a bit about the Pearls and I know that they strive to be good Christians. I disagree with fundamental aspects of their teachings on child rearing to the point that I consider much of it dangerous. However, I do believe that they are sincerely trying to serve the Lord. So, I read the article right away, looking for what Debi Pearl really said.
She starts out describing a time when Mr. Pearl was brutally attacked by dogs while serving the Lord. She explains how this was really a satanic attack. She then likens it to this new legal attack. She decries her attackers which she explains are also led by the forces of darkness. She then tells of a time when the Lord delivered them by destroying their attacker. She did not say that someone died, but it is easy to come to that conclusion. She exhorts her followers and ends by asking for prayer, giving her followers a sample prayer. Here the excerpt in question:
…we ask that you step in and bring down the evil that is set against Michael Pearl’s family. Bring to an end all those that testify in lies and deceit.
Now, I can totally see where people would interpret that to mean that they are asking for people’s death, but I also suspect that they would be shocked and offended at that interpretation. I suspect that are asking for an end to the evil and that a change of heart would cause there to be no more people testifying against them. Of course, I can’t speak for them, but that is how I read their words.
Either way, the prayer is appalling. One of my commenters expressed why very well here.
[…] response to my post regarding Debi Pearl’s public prayer asking God to destroy her enemies, Lisa […]
Just to add one more thing. In the prayer, the obvious conclusion one comes to is that they had prayed for the death of someone and God had answered by obliging their wishes- yet, you are correct, she does not come out and state this. She alludes to it. She plants the idea yet leaves herself room to deny she ever said it. I find this to be deceptive and manipulative, and in either scenario, it is a threat.
Even if the person did not die, the idea that they prayed God would “remove” this person and God did it, is still problematic. What if this person was actually in the right? She gives no details so others can draw their own conclusions. It’s all black and white. We’re supposed to just assume it was something against God because it was against them, and the bottom line is that God does their bidding and their detractors had better watch out.
Anyways, thank you for this blog, I appreciate what you are doing here. I know you want to give the Perls the benefit of the doubt and I appreciate your sense of fairness. Although the Perls’ books were not out when I was raising my children, there were similar ones and I once sincerely believed these kinds of teachings were ‘biblical.’ As a mom and grandmother who has seen it all full circle and has since studied child development, I feel these teachings are dangerous and actually tend to accomplish the opposite of what they are intended to, and I especially want to warn people that their tactics should NEVER ever be used on infants!
Thank you, Linda. I’m sorry- I didn’t mean “you” personally, but in a rhetorical sense to anyone who finds themselves trying to decide what they think about the Perls. I think most of us, if we found ourselves in that situation would respond with horror and sorrow. And yet their response seems to be to double down, deny any responsibility, and continue on. Is this pride? It’s not my place to say but I do note these things and I know they are not people I would want to trust for information or leadership. I see the same issue in this prayer. There is an assumption that they stand in the place of God, characterizing those who criticize them as God’s enemies, as though they and God are one and the same, and an inability to look within themselves and see their own errors.
Thanks for writing about this, I think it’s important. There are many leaders in the Christian world who are toxic under the surface. They slowly lead sincere Christians off the path. But once in a while there is a defining moment that makes things obvious and gives those followers a reality check and hopefully they can recognize this is not what they should be following after. I think this prayer is one of those moments.
I read the article, also, and I was appalled. A prayer should not ever need excuses for why it sounds like a prayer for another human being’s death.
What if they had asked God to open their eyes and hearts and show them ‘if there is any hurtful way in them, and lead them in the everlasting way’? What if they had asked God if they had a log in their eyes that they needed to remove in order to see more clearly? What if they had asked God to bless these people?
When Jesus said to pray for our enemies, I think he meant to pray for their good and their welfare. I think that if someone attacks you, the very first thing you should do is examine whether there is any merit to their complaint. After that, humble oneself and depend on God.
I think that to compare any human beings to attacking dogs is a mistake. The Psalms may contain references like this but these are preshadowings of Christ’s affliction. We are not Christ, and we are now in the New Testament and Christ has taught us to love our enemies and do good to those who would despitefully use us. None of the apostles, nor Steven, prayed for the death of their enemies.
Finally, if I had ever written a book that led 1 other person (much less 3) to abuse their child to the point of killing them, I would be devastated beyond description. I would take that book off the market and burn every copy and repent on my face before God. Wouldn’t you?
Well said! I have edited the post. And, yes I would. I have said that before. I’m not exactly trying to excuse them, I just don’t want them (or their followers) to be able to say that I put words in their mouths. I’d rather err on the side of caution.
You are a very charitable and kind person. I approach the Pearls’ teachings through the filter of a survivor of sadistic child abuse, and it strikes me that the Pearls are not striving to be anything except big fish in a small pond, or more precisely, one shark and one remora.
They have specifically and gleefully preached sadistically abusing children to the point where they have “no breath left.” Let consequences ensue.
I respectfully disagree. I read the original post too. She is praying for their deaths.
Also, it should concern us that one of their fanatical followers may take what she wrote as a mandate to harm whoever(s) it is.
Stranger things have happened.
Interesting point (about the fanatical follower.) I guess it’s possible, but it seems extremely unlikely to me.