Lisa has said very well what I have had neither the time nor energy to write so I am going to give her comments the exposure they deserve.
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?
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 Pearls. 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.
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 Pearls’ 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!
Lisa, thank you SO much for taking the time to write these arguments and testimony!