October 2011 Newsletter
The Newsletter of the “New Foundation for Biblical Research.”
A project of the Century One Foundation, Inc. (www.centuryone.org)
© Samuel Martin
Samuel Martin – Project Director – www.biblechild.com
Religious scholars speaking out against the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl
Many of you may have by now heard about Hana-Grace Rose Williams, who died in May at the tender age of 13. See the details of her story here and how Michael and Debi Pearl’s book “To Train Up A Child” is yet again being implicated in this horrifying case. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016361753_hana30m.html
When I saw this, I postponed what I had planned to publish this month and I immediately started writing to a number of religious scholars that I know asking them to speak out on this outrageous, unacceptable and evil publication. Thankfully, my call has immediately been answered by Prof, William Webb of Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada. I know that I will be hearing from other religious scholars very soon and I will be sharing more testimonies and comments from them as I receive them. We need to hear these voices now.
|Prof. William Webb|
Many of you know that I have strongly endorsed Prof. Webb’s book in this newsletter (July 2011 Newsletter). Today, I am herein once again not only endorsing this book, but I am asking you to support this book to ensure that it obtains the widest possible reading, attention and exposure. Rather than telling you what Prof. Webb told me, I am herein including a written communication from him that I received just this morning. The following is a direct quote from Prof. Webb and is used with his permission.
THE PEARL’S BEATINGS ARE NOT REALLY BIBLICAL
“Although they will tell you it is from the Bible, the Pearl’s version of child discipline is not really biblical. Not in the truest sense. Not in the deepest sense of what should shape biblical authority. Not in a way that honors the Bible’s underlying redemptive spirit. It is utterly heart breaking to watch “Christian materials” written by Michael and Debi Pearl become part of the murder investigations in three separate cases where so-called Christian parents allegedly abused their children in life-threatening and life-ending ways. I am stunned and appalled by what I have seen on CNN, King5 News, etc.
Unfortunately, Christians often get stuck in their ability to apply the Bible in today’s world. It is my hope that my recent book (Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts) will inspire hope and positive dialogue that helps the Christian community move towards something better for our children. The book outlines how Marilyn (my wife) and I changed our minds about spanking. Like the Pearls we were severely deluded in thinking that the rod was God’s way. But over time we learned how to read and understand the Bible differently. We also learned a truck-load of non-corporal methods of discipline which were far more weighty and effective than the Dobson version (2 smacks max) and certainly better than the abusive Pearl prescription (many beatings with the rod). Like the slavery texts of Scripture, the answer is not simply in moving towards a better form of slavery. That only captures part of Scripture’s redemptive spirit. The Dobson approach is to be commended because they move away from the Pearl-type literalism. But, that is not where biblical application should stop. Like the slavery issue of past days, we need to move beyond a gentler, kinder form of slavery/corporal punishment. Two smacks max is good but it does not reflect an ultimate ethical application of the Bible. As with slavery, only abolitionism (of the rod) will permit Christians to fully embrace effective non-corporal methods and do the courageous, William Wilberforce action in this hour of time. I pray that contemporary followers of Jesus might be known as those who want to live out the very highest ethical application of Scripture. What the Pearls offer is nothing other than “gutter theology”; it is not really the Bible at all . . . well, not if we want to live out Scripture’s redemptive heartbeat.” Dr. William J. Webb is Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada. (Quotation from Prof. Webb ends here.)
Brethren, now is the time for all of us to take action to work to stop what is happening today to children at the hands of dear misguided parents/others who think they are doing God’s will.
First, I am asking you to take this newsletter and the exact comments of Prof. Webb and post them to your blogs, pass them to your networks, put them on your FACEBOOK pages and disseminate his above referenced quotation as far and as wide as you can. For more links, reviews and other information about Professor Webb and his book see: http://redemptivechristianity.com & http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/review/code=2761. Please include these in your posts.
Third, I am asking you to write positive reviews of this book in any forum that you come across including but not limited to Amazon, news sites and other book related sites and blogs.
Fourth, I am also you to join me in applauding and supporting InterVarsity Press (www.ivpress.com) for publishing such courageous and careful scholarship. They need to know that we are watching and supporting Christian publishers who stand up for what is right. Please join me in doing this by writing/emailing them or leaving comments on their site.
I would like to thank Prof. Webb for standing up and letting his voice be heard through this newsletter at this difficult time. His message is an important one. His work is really an inspiration for those of us who are looking for truth. I am reminded of a quotation from a giant of Biblical scholarship who was a friend of my late father, Dr. Ernest. L. Martin, and I think it is appropriate to reference it here. "...we must bear in mind that the cause of learning has often been promoted by scholars who are prepared to take a risk and expose their brain-waves to the pitiless criticisms of others" (F.F.Bruce, "Modern Studies on the Judean Scrolls," CT, I (11):5).
Prof. Webb, thank you for your courage, risk taking, intellectual honesty and standing up and speaking out for the truths of the Holy Scripture. I look forward to supporting you and your work for many years to come.